Partying with Saveur

Me and Yancey

I've been putting off this post because trying to tell you about partying with Saveur Magazine at the Best Food Blogger Awards in Vegas would be like trying to take a sip from a fire-hose.

I met Marcella, Naz, Lilian, Maureen, Sarah, Cheryl, and so many more. (For a great play-by-play, see Lilian's post. Or Stephanie's. As you know, details aren't my thing.) We watched chefs at the Bellagio make dim sum and chocolatiers make truffles. Scotch, champagne, and gelato were delivered to our rooms, we had a little time leftover for the pool, and the Bellagio welcomed us on the jumbotron. Miraculously, I got over my imposter syndrome ("What? Me? How did I end up here?") and enjoyed every minute of it--Yancey in his suit, champagne cocktails, iPhone photography mania, and being in the company of such creative, generous people.

The headlines for me might go something like this:

Being an expert doesn't call to me as much as being a connector does. This is news to no one. But I realized again that being in the kitchen is a generative place for me--it's the gateway to so many other things I care about. Family, community, neighbors, creating gracious space where people can be honest with one another and with themselves.

I'll just keep being myself. My shadows might say otherwise. Stuff like, "You really need a nicer camera. You should put more time into editing your posts. You're not active enough on social media. And quit talking about spirituality so much!" My deeper self says, "All is well. It's okay."

I'm going back to Vegas. This was our first time there, and I didn't expect to like it. But we have such cheap flights from Bellingham, and I'm definitely going back for some more pool time and late-night snacking. Yancey and I had a magical 90 minutes sitting at China Poblano's bar, people-watching and licking our fingers.

You must be present to win. I first heard this from Jack Kornfield, and have since seen it on pendants and plaques. It's corny, but true. To get the goods in this life (love, connection, friendship, contentment, curiosity, beauty) we have be awake. All the glamour of Vegas (or careers, possessions, and notoriety) doesn't mean a thing if we're not present to the reality--suffering included!--of our daily lives. I loved the crazy hotel lobbies. But even more, I loved holding hands with Yancey and drinking coffee across from him in the morning.

This blog isn't going anywhere. If I can sporadically plod along for 5 years and still have readers, I'll do it for another 5! Or more! I'm reminded again of how all of us die on the vine if we're not finding places to be creative, to be producers instead of just consumers. To put our loves and fears out into the world instead of just letting our lives happen to us.

And the biggest headline of all: YOU! Writing for an audience is what keeps me going. Thank you for the huge torrent of LOVE I felt before and during my trip. I just soaked it up.

Off to Vegas

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It's hard to extract myself from my life sometimes. But we're going to Las Vegas for the Saveur Best Food Blogger Awards, so I guess it's worth it.

Make the lists for the 4 people that are helping with the kids. (And now the dog gets his own page of instructions. He can't talk and give them himself.) Leave with too much work undone, the stairs not vacuumed (Again, dogs. His hair.) Cross my fingers that Wyatt remembers all his baseball gear, that my newly planted veggie starts don't croak, that the kids don't forget their lunches because their enabling mother isn't around to remind them.

But even if it all goes south (which it won't), I get to steal away with my honey for 3 days and be celebrated. I've been thinking of this time as a way to be 100% grateful. My spiritual director said, "If 'thank you' is the most essential prayer, you're going to be awash in prayer in Vegas." And maybe some gin and tonics, too.

The last few weeks have ploughed me under a bit. Too many responsibilities and too little time is what it feels like. But underneath it all, there's a seed of blessing, of belonging, of connection, and its my busyness and ego that obscures it. Vegas might be a funny place to dig it out again, but that's my plan.

And you, my dearest, most favorite, most beautifully aware readers--thank you for being in conversation with me for 5 years! I was reminded this week, listening to an interview with Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, that "Listening is an act of love." You have done that for me, and I hope your lives are full of people that do that for you.

If you're an Instagram user, I finally have a profile for In Praise of Leftovers (inpraiseofleftovers) and you can follow along if you want to see my mind blown.

P.S. Jordan took this photo of me when were together on Lummi Island last month. It reminds how happy I am and all of us when we feel known and loved. Thank you for being part of that for me.

Four Years and a Plea

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I'm not a scrapbooker, and I've given up hope that I'll ever do anything with the photo boxes stashed in my basement, marked things like "2000-2007?" or "To sort!"

But I have this blog, and I've been nostalgic lately about everything it's seen since I started it 4 years ago. Loretta was 2, Wyatt was 6, I was starting my consulting practice and waiting for clients to call. Yancey had just gotten into the fire department, and we were pinching ourselves and missing each other. I posted almost every day. When I look back, I realize this was a vital window onto the world for me. In fact, it helped me see the world differently. 

I went back and found this photo of Loretta, and I'm crying as I sit here. I have the feeling, every day now, that these are the years I will miss. "Mother" is just one of my identities, but it's the one that has transformed me the most. There are lots of ways to be broken open, but motherhood has been mine. 

That's why I'm so honored to have Saveur pick In Praise of Leftovers as one of 6 finalists for their "Kids' Cooking Blog" category in their "Best Food Blogs 2013" awards. I have never thought of this as a kids' cooking blog, but it's clear other people have. I couldn't be happier to know that I might have played a part in more families cooking and eating together. Or in more mothers feeling a little less alone as they take care of their families and fulfill their other callings in the world.

You can vote here and it's sort of complicated. Bear with me! You have to do the following:

  • Login as a Saveur user (or register if you don't have an account.) This is so annoying. I'm sorry.
  • They have twelve different categories. Scroll through or hover until you find the "Kids Cooking" category. I'm listed with 5 other wonderful blogs. 
  • Click on In Praise of Leftovers after you've logged in, and that's your vote. You're allowed one vote per category. I know I've got some people my corner (Jordan, Emily, my mom and sister) who would stay up all night voting for me, but they've figured you out. You can't do that.
  • If I win, I'll be really, really excited. That's most of it. But they'll also give me an all-expense paid trip to a big giant food extravagaza in Las Vegas next month. At first I thought, "That's not my thing." Then I thought, "Why not?!" I've put a lot of heart into this blog, and it would be silly not to celebrate that.

When people ask my father-in-law how old he is, he says, "65, thank God!" I'm 39, thank God! Getting older every day, and so grateful be to alive and learning how to pay attention. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me into your life and giving this life of ours--yours, mine, and beyond--the attention it deserves.