Thursday, June 14, 2018

What? Oh, nothing much.


While I have your attention, with this INSANE / WTF? picture of Ben's graduation, about which I have been joking--What if he was ever actually going to graduate from high school, since he's still sucking his thumb and hanging onto a hank of my hair from inside the back pack?--for nearly two decades, won't you please sign up for my mailing list? I promise I won't email you more incessantly than is strictly necessarily. In fact, it is actually possible that I will, sigh, *never* email you. That's kind of how we roll. Also, it's entirely likely that I've set the email harvester thingy up wrong. 










("Bennnnnnn! Can you please help me with the email harvester thing?" I'll yell in a second. Once he wakes up from the blessed sleep of the newly-graduated-not-quite-yet-employed-for-the-summer.)


Meanwhile, the world. Sigh.

Warm, buttery lentil salad with or without bonus kielbasa. So effing delish.
But also, I have been making a lot of food and, oddly, keeping all of it a secret from you! This is related to the potential that I will never email you, and I think the word for the umbrella category of thing that this falls under is inertia or maybe technolaziness. 

The only better chicken recipe I know than these long-roasted thighs is, perhaps, my own chicken wing magic. Forgive my immodesty!
Most of these recipes are over at the diaTribe (making sense of diabetes) website, which I get to write and develop for because it's the enormous project my beloved friend and college first-year roommate Kelly Close. It's a wonderful site, and I'm giving them some of my best-ever recipes, so I hope you'll visit! There's a low-cost, low-carb series of recipes here, and a straight-up low-carb one here. Also lots of other recipes. And if you aren't managing diabetes, please understand that these are all just my normal sorts of recipes, spun this and that direction to fit the categories, if you know what I'm saying. In case you're picturing, like, those xylitol hard candies in the diabetes section of your 1978 supermarket.
I have gotten more fan mail about these cottage cheese pancakes than about, possibly, anything else I've ever written, including crack broccoli and the open letter to the guy who harassed Ben in the men's room of a ski lodge.
I've also been making lots of seasonal recipes from this very blog. The Ben and Birdy blog that you're reading right now! This rhubarb cake (I sub in gf flour), these stuffed grape leaves, this smoothie (which I've been sweetening with dates), this tabouli (I sub in quinoa for the gluteny bulgur, and I've been adding feta, pickled red onions, and loads of slivered pepperoncini), this strawberry-rhubarb crisp, this cold brew iced coffee, this granola (I seem to use more and more pecans, coconut, and almonds, and fewer and fewer seeds, because life is so perilously short).


Oh, there is more, my darlings! Books to recommend. Rites of passage to describe. Cats to celebrate. I am going to write a summer update soon. I know that lots of you are in the same life moment as me, what with the driving and the graduating and the plummeting estrogen. Sending love to all of you.

52 comments:

  1. How? How?? How it possible the tiny Ben we "met" via babycenter is grown up and graduating? Congratulations to you all, Ben wishing you all good things in the years ahead.

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  2. I too have a graduating senior and seem to be totally exhausted. Just after I've recovered from all the many many activities leading up to graduation, graduation and the large party afterward we are now heading to college orientation tomorrow. I can't wait for the "real" summer to begin!

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    1. It is strangely exhausting, isn't it? Congratulations, Mama.

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  4. Congratulations, Ben!!

    "...what with the driving and the graduating and the plummeting estrogen."
    Hahaha! I feel so seen.

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    1. Me too! Catherine clearly knows her audience! lol

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    2. My loves! Thank you for being in it with me.

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  5. I'm in tears! How did our babies grow up so fast? I have been reading you since the BabyCenter days, before Birdy was even born. My own graduate from two weeks is also sleeping late and unemployed, but he has a music scholarship to the University of Alabama in Huntsville! I can't figure out how to post a picture. Congratulations to Ben and family!

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    1. Ahh congratulations to you and your boy, dear Kristie! How wonderful. xo

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  6. Yay Ben! How quickly they grow....

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  7. Favorite parts:

    1. "(I seem to use more and more pecans, coconut, and almonds, and fewer and fewer seeds, because life is so perilously short)."

    2. "Cats to celebrate."

    3. "I know that lots of you are in the same life moment as me, what with the driving and the graduating and the plummeting estrogen."

    I also poked around the comments to see if anyone else was commenting on Michael's hair, because did we already know it was cut short? Maybe there was even a whole THING about it, and maybe it was a long time ago, and then I will look foolish commenting on it like it's a new thing. It may be related to the plummeting estrogen but I am so flaky these days. I had to be completely re-reminded of something I had had an entire conversation about the evening before. At first I was completely blank---what was this person even TALKING about? And then it came whooshing back. So I am waiting to see if Michael's Haircut comes whooshing back. Also, I am now wondering, is Michael the right name, or have I got that wrong? Where did I leave my glasses? Don't I have an appointment today?

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    1. I am literally laughing out loud. I love you so much. And yes, Michael's haircut is brand new!!! Thank you for noticing. xo

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  8. Bless you all too. You have finished that first 'creating a whole human' project! It's weird to me how they change from children I am raising to inadvertent pseudo-adult housemates. I didn't mean to move in with teenagers but here I am.

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    1. I love this! So true!!!

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    2. Nimble, OMG, I know exactly what you mean! Yes. These wonderful teenaged housemates. Sigh.

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  9. My own Ben has just graduated as well- I have been reading you since the babycenter days and I simply can not believe all this time has passed! Fortunatley I have my own Birdy - a second son who is now a freshmen, so I still can mother away for the next few years

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    1. Oh, man. I really hear you. About the time passing--and about the luck of having a younger someone to keep at home. xo

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    1. Oops. Needed an edit!

      When my first driver was showing off her newly “mastered” manual transmission driving skills (thanks to Daddy, because it turns out Mama is not an overly calming presence for the newly-behind-the-wheel set), we were in a parking lot, and she was about to shift into reverse. She said to me calmly, “Mama, it’s going to seem like it’s not going to be ok, but it’s going to be ok.” Then she proceeded to take her foot quickly off the clutch and we lurched and jerked and I screamed things while she repeated, “It’s cool! It’s cool!” When we were once again in forward motion, I let her know that there is a little clutch/gas balance trick that she must have missed along the way! Teaching a kid to drive is terrifying.

      That little nugget of wisdom, though, from my sweet girl has been repeated many times (most often by me, to myself!) since that day—like on her graduation day, and then when I left her halfway across the country a few months later...it’s going to seem like it’s not going to be ok, but it’s going to be ok. I am so happy to report that she was right. :)

      Happy happy happy graduation to Ben and to all of you! It is such an exciting time! And here’s to plummeting estrogen! (Thank god for the ceiling fan with a remote control in my bedroom. Ugh.)

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    2. Anonymous9:22 PM

      I love this life lesson (that's it's going to seem like is's not going to be ok, but it's going to be ok). My oldest "baby" just graduated, too, and these are perfect words for now as well as all the last 18 years! Thanks for the wisdom. :)

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    3. Agreed! This is the best advice. :)

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    4. Thank you for this! So beautiful that your daughter said it to you--and that she was right, too. Sigh. xo

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  11. Congrats to Ben!!! 🎉
    My son just graduated as well and my daughter is Birdy’s age. This just makes me feel so connected to you & your writing! ❤️

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    1. Oh, thank you, Jen! And congratulations to your son too! xo

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  12. Kelly9:07 PM

    "I know that lots of you are in the same life moment as me, what with the driving and the graduating and the plummeting estrogen. Sending love to all of you."

    This, all of this! Reading this reminds me of the very first Catherine Newman article I read. You talked about sweating in the grocery store aisles with a baby Birdy and toddler Ben. Never have I felt so understood in just a few paragraphs. This one sentence holds the same relevance and poignancy for me today.

    I hope you will write more about this new land in motherhood, the one with the "driving and graduating and plummeting estrogen". I look forward to future posts, as I remember so fondly those Baby Center posts and the community of parents in the comment section. I remember one in particular in which you talked about the lovely and yet most tiring of daily rituals ... the bath at the end of the day and that we were not alone in that ritual. The comment section exploding in a chorus of yeses.

    So thank you for infusing your writing with that honesty and understanding both then and now and all the years in between.

    Love the photos! I still can't believe it has all gone so fast.

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    1. Kelly, thank you so much for this. I really love the encouragement to write more about this time! Even though it's so hard to write about. Thank you for being in this community with me. "My people," as I like to say. xo

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  13. Geez, I step away from the computer for five minutes, and people's kids GROW UP! Congratulations, Mama!!!! I'm one year away from my biggest baby graduating and though I'm sure I'll be all weepy that day, I secretly (or not-so-secretly) CAN'T WAIT! Life is short, but it really takes a looooong time to raise these man cubs. And I'm glad and impressed that you're still cooking, because now that my kids are all teenagers and I've finally discovered frozen pizza, I never want to do a domestic thing again, ever. I've already told my husband, "Once the kids move out, we're eating cereal for every meal."

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    1. Andrea, it really does take a long time to raise these man cubs! And I told Michael the exact same thing! But, sadly, I think the cereal for dinner is starting while Birdy's still living at home. She's going to get shafted, dinnerwise, that poor girl. xo

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  14. alison12:38 PM

    So Happy You Posted... Can't wait to read every link!

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  15. In your teen advice column, you recommend getting "a really good book — a feminist one that presumes that sex is good and girls should come too." Is there a book you'd recommend? Thank you! Love you! :)

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    1. Oh, Keryn. Yes. It kind of depends on their ages. There are really sex-positive ones. It's Perfectly Normal is still pretty good for younger kids. But there's a rad feminist one we took out of the library. Check out this link. I think it's the S.E.X. one: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/75135.Progressive_Sexuality_Education

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  16. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Been reading you since 2002 - in the same boat. I know it's normal they leave, but I will so miss knowing he's upstairs ignoring me or sleeping or sneaking in late or leading whatever other secret life he has had. At least he was living some of it some of it under my nose. Afraid to even ask how far Ben's next adventure will take him...

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    1. I know! It's so special now, the rare weekend morning when we all wake up under the same roof. I realize it will get even more special. . .

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  17. This makes me SO SAD. I mean, tears sad. Sweet little Ben...a graduate? WTF, life?!!
    All my love to you, and your family. I love you (virtually) so so much. xo

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    1. I love you too, HAS. And thank you for the WTF. I appreciate it. xo

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  18. Congratulations to Ben! How exciting!

    My daughter is a year behind him and the years are passing too fast. Just too fast.

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  19. Okay - so as Ben and Birdy go rocketing out into grown up life, may I suggest that you modify your blog to talk about plummeting estrogen, and being wide awake at 4 am for now reason, and so forth? I think many of us are "of similar vintage" and since we've been here so long already, maybe you could just keep up the awesome writing on relevant topics. Yeah?

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    1. Yeah! Thank you, dear Unknown. xo

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    2. Anonymous9:29 PM

      YES, please, Katherine!! I second that request. The plummeting estrogen is wreaking havoc. I keep joking that I would not recommend going through menopause while your first child is about to GRADUATE (whaat?!) Emotional (and physical) roller coaster would be an understatement, truly. It would be wonderful to read some insights from someone who "gets it!"

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  20. Sukey Says4:47 PM

    I'm another reader/follower since the early days, and have kids exactly the same age as Ben and Birdy. Whoosh! I never wish the early years back, but I would stick to adolescents for a long time (particularly when they can drive themselves!). I hope Ben is excited about his next adventure, and that it's not TOO far away, and that you have time to go camping before he leaves.

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    1. I feel the exact same way! If I good King-Midas-bad-decision them to be this age forever, I would. Not too far away, and yes--we're camping next week! Thank you for asking, dear Sukey. xo

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  21. Anonymous7:36 PM

    Congratulations to Ben and to you, Catherine, for raising such a special person. I’m another long time reader (from when the blog was just “Bringing up Ben”) and my son and daughter exact same ages as Ben and Birdy. This is such a surreal time of life - I am so happy for my son’s graduation (he did it!!) yet will miss him SO terribly when he goes to college in the late summer. As another poster said, even if he is out with friends or up in his room ignoring me he is still now under our roof - literally and figuratively. Which will soon no longer be the case. Sniff, sniff. Toss in the flagging hormones you mentioned, the mid-career boredom/slump, shifting and changing relationships with our friends, family and bodies and we need your words of wisdom more than ever! I find myself frantically searching all your sites to devour any new piece of your writing. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences navigating this scary, exciting, joyful and yes painful pre-peri-post menopausal time in our lives!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for writing. And congratulations to you too! I know. I can't stand it. Sniff, sniff right there with you. xo

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  22. Congratulations to Ben on what I'm sure is a well-earned degree (and if it isn't? - oh wait, that's most high schoolers) and congratulations to you, Catherine, for making it through these pictures without the visible eveidence of the tears of bittersweetness weeping down your face. You're a brave, inspirational woman/mama, and I thank you for all that you share with us.

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    1. Also, Ben's face in that picture is so perfect! The best new graduate face, ever, I think.

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    2. Thank you, dear Katie, for both of these loving messages! I know. I love that Ben face in the picture! Ha ha ha. xo

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  23. How is this possible? I've been reading you since Birdy was wee. My son is a year younger than Ben, and for the past year I've been in a constant state of stunned dread thinking about the graduating and the leaving. But there you are - still standing upright, not collapsed in a weeping mess. There's hope! Congratulations, Ben!! It's been a joy to watch you grow.

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  24. You were pregnant with Birdy when I found your words. We just started birthday week for my sweet girls yesterday and she slept a solid 12 HOURS to recover! She will be 14 Wednesday, is starting high school next month and OH MY HEART...Your words, wisdom, and food have carried us so so far already. Thank you

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  25. Congratulations to your Ben! What an exciting time, I was going through this last year with my youngest, and what a wild ride it is. I think it is harder on us than them. I love your photos and Ben's long hair and big smile and the whole family shot is pretty cool too! Hope you have a fantastic summer!I'll be thinking of you as fall nears....but in the meantime....enjoy having him home - I know you will<3
    xoxoxoxo

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