three things

My mother discovered a way to stretch her home-canned salsa: scoop some of the canned salsa into a bowl and stir in some plain tomatoes, either fresh or canned (minus the juice).

No one can tell the difference (though if you’re using fresh tomatoes for filler, the salsa tastes fresher), and you get more bang for your buck.


A few weeks back, our family (minus my older son) joined up with a local senior group to go the the National Museum of African American Art and Culture. I’m not a huge museum fan — I don’t like the feeling of “being told,” and I invariably get information overload — but I’d heard great things about this museum. Plus, we had a group to go with, and zero responsibility for transportation and scheduling, so it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

My younger son stayed with me for most of the day. Together, we sat at the huge lunch counter, clicking through the different menu options to learn about the freedom buses and the sit-ins and the student marches. We walked into red box zones (my son said he’d be okay) and saw the horrific lynching displays — the part that most distressed him was a photo of a smiling white girl, about his age, in one of the mobs. We filed by the coffin of Emmett Louis Till (the display that most impacted my older daughter) and watched a video of Emmett’s mother describing his mangled body.

As we wound our way from underground (the dark, overcrowded belly of the slave ships) and up to the fifth floor with its high ceilings and natural light and riotous celebration of all the many, many African American contributions, I realized that I was not only seeing the history, I was feeling it, too.

But it wasn’t until we were back home and my husband and I were processing the day’s events that I began to fully appreciate the experience: the whole thing had been sobering, yes, but we’d been left, not with feelings of despair, depression, and guilt, but with appreciation and gratefulness, inspiration and hope.

I’m so glad we went.


A couple weeks ago, the girls and I watched Real Women Have Curves. They weren’t too enthused at first, but I’d been wanting to watch it with them for quite some time, so I forced the issue.

They soon got into it (I knew they would), and by the end they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

It was just as good as I remembered, and now I’m left wishing for more movies of similar caliber.

(And while we’re on the subject of movies, The Biggest Little Farm makes for a great family movie. We loved it, all of us.)

This same time, years previous: kitchen notes, the quotidian (10.16.17), a list, grab and go: help wanted, that thing we do, Italian cream cake.

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