getting it DONE and also: pasta/salad

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Well. In good news, I can finally get this kid napping! Unfortunately, this has to take place on my person with a bare boob pressed against his chubby face OR in the stroller while being kept in constant motion, preferably on bumpy asphalt while a light, westerly breeze wafts through his gauzy blanket. Seeing how these efforts account for several hours of our day, you can imagine this really cuts down on Mommy's free time.

Lately life has been great at doling out these types of lessons to me: get it done however you can and don't wait for the perfect conditions (read: BABY NAPS IN CRIB WHILE MOMMY TENDS TO BASIC LIFE NECESSITIES LIKE SHOWERING). Kinda like the photo above, taken in crappy lighting while DP was upstairs taking his turn tending to a screaming child as I nervously gulped a beer and made dinner, quick-and-dirty-like. Or like this blog post, hastily typed with one hand as I lightly jostle Louis into his next sleep cycle (God willing).

I still fight my obstinate old habits where, before doing anything creative (or hell, to feel like a successful human), I require zero dishes in the sink, a made bed and a completely crossed off to do list. That's not happening these days ever, creative endeavor or no. So here I am, working on letting it go, getting it done despite ideal/perfect conditions. In all areas of my life. Crap, this is HARD for me. All I do is bump up against my control issues. However, I know it's good practice for me because control issues. Have I mentioned I have control issues?

Four months in, DP and I are getting into an easier groove over here with our awesome little dude. We are still in the weeds, but instead of requiring a machete to hack our way through, they're lower now. We can actually see up ahead but those pesky weeds are still knee-high and the fuckers sometimes tangle around our shins something fierce. At this point I've been in the thick of the hard stuff a lot and often in my desperate, exhausted overwhelm I've thought: I can't do this and then I realize: I am doing it. It's happening. I'm getting up in the middle of the night for the fifth time because he needs me. I'm bouncing this kid on an exercise ball even though my back is killing me because this is what it takes. I'm "showering" with baby wipes, pumping breast milk and driving to an audition all at the same time because otherwise it won't happen. You get all kinds of resourceful when a small, helpless human is depending on you for love and food and survival, no matter the conditions. You dig deep. And thank God there's immense beauty and laughs and fun peppered in there so you don't lose your shit. The hard stuff is hard but the good stuff is better. And that cliche is true: It does get easier. There's tremendous momentum in making it through those rough patches. You start to remember you can. You are insanely capable. You will figure it out, despite conditions presenting themselves in ways that hardly feel ideal*.

serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish
adapted from Jamie Oliver's Funky Spaghetti

I forgot how much I like this one-pot meal--I'm bringing it back into heavy rotation, especially now that summer's around the corner, when tomatoes, basil and arugula are on their best behavior. Throw enough greens in there to make it healthy.

3/4 pound dry fusilli (I used TJ's quinoa/brown rice pasta)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 dry pint cherry/grape/baby heirloom tomatoes, halved and gently squeezed to remove most of the seeds
2 handfuls chopped basil
4 handfuls baby arugula
1/3 cup evoo plus more to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar plus more to taste
good sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good grated Parmesan plus more for serving
1 package (4 big links) cooked chicken sausage of your choice (optional)

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to its directions on the package. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, prep all your vegetables. Add these to a big bowl along with the garlic, basil, arugula, evoo, a good dozen shakes of the vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir together and let marinate. Meanwhile, slice the sausage into coins and brown in a skillet. Set aside. Drain the cooked pasta and while hot, toss it with the tomato mixture. Add the cheese and browned sausage. Taste for seasoning. (I usually wind up adding a bit more olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.) Serve warm or at room temperature topped with more cheese.

Love you guys,

*Once you clean up your fifteenth poopy blowout in a public bathroom you freak out about it less and laugh about it more. Especially if you've had a glass of wine first.
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