Recipe: Creamy Almond-Coconut Chowder

By Tilly Dillehay

Gluten free, dairy free, low-glycemic, paleo

This chowder is absolutely my favorite soup in the world. I discovered this way of making chowder a few years ago, when I was trying to cut down on dairy in my life, and wanted a healthy lunch to make in large batches and eat throughout the week at the office.

Boy, did this fit the bill! Even now, I often get cravings for this soup, although for some reason it feels most appropriate in the summertime.

 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 large onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 ears corn on the cob, baked in the husk until tender
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (or a favorite, cheaper fish like tilapia, salmon, or cod)
  • 4-5 tomatoes on the vine or Romas
  • 1 quart plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 can coconut milk, regular or lite (find in the Asian section of grocery store)
  • salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning (I use Tony’s)

 

Directions

  1. Chop the onion and sauté in the bottom of a large stock pot until just becoming tender. (I love to use my enameled cast iron pot for this, because it’s the only dish I need for the whole cooking process.)
  2. Add the garlic and and the shrimp and sauté together for five minutes or so. Slice the kernels from cobs and add. (Optional: throw in an extra veggie… I put some sliced cabbage in the batch pictured, just because I had it on hand.)
  3. Pour in your can of coconut milk, and about 1/2 to 3/4 your cardboard container of almond milk. You want to just cover your other ingredients with a little extra. Add salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to taste. Lightly simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add your tomatoes and simmer for another five minutes and then turn heat off and cover. Be careful not to overcook because onions and tomatoes both become a little mealy.

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Here, I’ve used thawed cod fillets instead of shrimp. I grilled the cod in a separate pan and then flaked and added it at this point.

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Lifestyle: Backyard Getaway Step 1

By Tilly Dillehay

 

My husband and I live in the little rural town of Hartsville, TN. But we live on a street, like real city folk. No winding gravel roads and gorgeous green woods behind our house. We’ve got a cute little landscaped front yard that we inherited, and a backyard that looks invitingly onto a rusty shed and the back of a church building that abuts our property.

This back yard has been a quandary since we moved in. What to do with it? It’s ugly, bare, and useless. Well, this year I’m doing something about it. In addition to planting a little veggie garden on the back edge of this yard, I’ve decided to create a little oasis right in the middle of it.

This is something I’ve seen online that is just the tiniest bit redneck, but seems to really do the job: canopy tents as stand-in for actual covered porch. So when I saw this burgundy 10 x 10 pop-up tent at my local Fred’s last week, I just bit the bullet and brought it home.

Then, to inaugurate the search for outdoor furniture, I purchased a lovely antique cot from a store in Gallatin. The cot looks like maybe early- or mid-20th century, made of canvas and wood. Not only that, but it lays very comfortably, and as soon as I set it up under the tent, my daughter toddled over, laughed, climbed on, and plopped there like it was the best thing she’s ever sat on.

It was $45–a chunk of my very low budget for this project–but it answers for a bench, and now I only need two chairs. I plan to make my own little table out of pallet wood.

Let me know what you think!

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The cot folds into a cunningly small shape, but when opened up, could seat 3-4 people comfortably. Here, Norah looks very sunburnt but this is all due to our new cheap burgundy tent:)
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Recipe for this green smoothie we shared outside to celebrate: *almond milk *banana *lots of spinach *a bit of local honey *stevia *chia seeds *hemp seeds

 

 

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Recipe: Red Onion Flowers

By Tilly Dillehay

I don’t know about you, but when my husband asks me what’s for dinner, I generally find myself leading with whatever I know he’s going to be most excited about. If we’re having steak, for instance, you better believe that’s the first thing coming out of my mouth when he asks what we’re having.

Well, when I make these onion flowers, I kid you not… that’s what I lead with. He loves these things, so much so that they sell rest of the meal.

I love them too. They hit every category of food desirability, in my eyes. Healthy? Check. It’s an entire onion per person, full of antioxidant flavonoids and phytochemicals. Cheap? Nothing cheaper than a bag of onions from Aldi. Pretty? These things make the centerpiece of the prettiest plates I ever serve.

Delicious? You better believe it. I like to serve them with baked sweet potatoes and chicken tenderloin breaded in almond flour. Something about the red onion, slightly caramalized, still a little bit crisp, with the sweet potato, just WORKS.  It’s the perfect bite assemblage.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small red onions
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp capers, from a jar
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

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1. Preheat oven to 400. Peal the outer layer of your onion. Slice just the very toughest part of the base of each onion off. Leave some of the base to act as bottom weight for the onion.

 

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2. Make four cuts in the onion through the top, at crossways, like cutting a pie. Be very careful not to cut all the way through. This will leave your onion with 8 visible sections
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This is what happens when you cut too far. You can still cook and eat this delicious onion, but it’s not going to be pretty.
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3. Place your onions on a baking sheet, with plenty of space between (they’ll grow!). Tug them just slightly open so that you can glimpse inside flesh. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and capers.
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4. Lay a sheet of foil on top, and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15-20 minutes more, until onions are tender, and slightly blackened at the tips.
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4. Serve with meat and another side, remembering to spoon capers on top as you transfer from baking sheet. You’ll need a knife and fork for onion flower deconstruction and perfect bite assemblage.

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Recipe: Strawberry Rosemary Pie

By Tilly Dillehay

I stopped by a produce stand in my little town this morning and brought home a little box of strawberries. Fresh from a run, I was both hungry and thirsty, and a glimpse of that red fruit on the side of the road just called to me.

When I got the strawberries home, I discovered that although perfectly ripe and with just the right texture, they weren’t as sweet as I would have liked. Solution?

One word. Pie.

I went online, combined some pie recipes, pulled some rosemary out of my garden on a whim, and incorporated the herb on a hunch.

 


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Ingredients

Crust

1 refrigerated pie crust

Filling

  • 5 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Topping

  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream (heavy whipping cream, whipped with a little sugar, or prepackaged whipped cream)

Steps

  • 1) Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 15 minutes.
  • 2) Meanwhile, in small bowl, crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; stir in crushed strawberries and water. Add two whole springs of rosemary and allow them to cook with the mixture. Remove rosemary before the mixture has thickened. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. If desired, stir in food color. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 3) Place remaining strawberries, whole or sliced, in cooled baked shell. Pour cooked strawberry mixture evenly over berries. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours, before serving.
  • 4) Just before serving, top pie with sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with rosemary sprig. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

 

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How I doubled my body weight in 3 months

…without really trying!

Name: Norah Dillehay

Age: 3 ½ months

Occupation: Full time stay-at-home baby

Starting weight: 7 lbs, 11 oz

Current weight: 16 lbs and climbing!

 

Let me share with you my incredible weight gain journey. Without diet or exercise, I gained over 9 lbs in just three and a half months… and I have kept it on!

 

When did you become unhappy with your weight?

About 3 ½ months ago. I woke up one day outside the womb and was like, ‘what? What has happened to me?’ I was lethargic. I couldn’t even sit up, it was so bad. My arms and legs didn’t have full motor function; my head could barely support itself. It was embarrassing—all I ever really did was lie around and watch any bright colors or faces that happened to pass within a couple feet of my eyeline. People stared at me a lot.

What changed for you?

Well, I distinctly remember this—one day, they put clothes on me for the first time and they were embarrassingly large. I saw the way they sleeves were just hanging off and I thought ‘this is it. I have to do something different.’ And it just so happened that around that time, somebody introduced me to The Boob.

What is that?

It’s a multi-purpose feeding apparatus that is uniquely designed for fast, easy weight gain. The meals come conveniently pre-packaged and are served warm, with little or no inconvenience to myself.

I have a busy life. I don’t have time to cook. I really don’t need to be messing around with ‘pots’ and ‘cutting boards’ and ‘spoons’. With The Boob, none of that was necessary—I had the nutrition I needed without all the hassle. And portion control? Easy. The Boob knows what you need and gives it to you right when you need it.

Sounds too good to be true? I know! But trust me—it is as easy to use as it sounds.

And what were your results?

Results were immediate. Within a few days, I was up a pant size. A few weeks after that and I was at the top of my weight class. I had gained 3 lbs by my 4 week appointment. I’m not a math person, but that’s almost a pound a week! And here I am, 3 ½ months into this— I’m already busting out of my size 2 diaper.

Even better, my health has obviously improved. I can now grab things with my hands. I smile now, socially… I sleep better at night. My eyesight is vastly improved—I can see people across the room now and sunlight doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I’m able to basically support my head now, and if I had the balance, my legs are so strong I could pretty much stand up. I’m on my way to sitting unassisted—something I wouldn’t have even dreamed of when I began this journey.

How affordable is The Boob?

I don’t understand the question.

What would you say to others considering weight gain measures?

I would say this: you owe it to yourself. Take control of your health with The Boob. It worked for me and it’s worked for literally millions of others. Order today at www.theboobworks.com or by throwing back your head and letting out a good howl.

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I’m just not a TV person…

By Tilly Dillehay

Two weeks ago, I had a crisis of boredom. Lying in bed chatting with my husband before sleep, I confessed my problem.

“I’m bored,” I said. “I’m just… not excited about anything. I can’t get into any projects; I feel unproductive and sort of blah.”

“Well,” he said, kindly (but, I noticed, without even a pause to think about it), “I think you need to stop watching so much TV.”

I mentally reviewed the previous few weeks. Well, Netflix was charging me only $7.99 a month. I meant to have the membership only for the few weeks before I gave birth—to help me through, you know—and then for the first few weeks of nursing and not being able to move around much. But then I got into The Office. It’s true—I nursed my way right through almost every season.

But I put it all aside for a while—after all, we don’t own a TV. I’m awfully proud of that fact—I wave it around in front of people whenever I can. We’re just not TV people. We don’t own a TV because we’re too busy reading; we’re too busy getting out into the great outdoors. We don’t want our living room to be dominated by a great big Screen of Intellectual Laziness and Relational Suicide. Come on over, check out our living room—nothing but couches and cheap art.

We read through good fiction together, aloud, in the evenings. Not for hours or anything. Just about 30 minutes at a time. We’ve read Dickens, Austen, Lewis. But besides that, he has his reading and I have mine—although I’ve had bad luck with my book choices lately. (Vanity Fair was supposed to be a classic, right? Well, I hated it.)

Then, last month, I remembered about 30 Rock. That was a pleasant show. Maybe I could watch an episode during the afternoon feeding, when both baby and I are tired and a little bit fussy. One episode really should get me through a whole feeding—but what if I just rock a little while longer and let her fall asleep?

What about the midmorning feeding? Would it be so bad to watch one then? I’m just sitting here.

A few nights later, my husband and I watched our first episode of Sherlock. It hit us like a shot—are all suspenseful TV shows this good??

Soon, it was an episode every night that we weren’t out. A few days after that, I found myself on the verge of inviting someone for dinner… and paused. Do I really want to deal with sitting around talking to people… Instead of watching Sherlock?

And a few days after that: Game night? LAME. Sherlock wouldn’t go to some dumb game night…

And finally, the last stage of the descent: my husband, home from work, sat and read a book in the same room with me while I watched a show on my laptop with headphones.

This is what we swore we’d never do. When we watch something, we watch it together—none of this Your Movie, My Movie stuff. The pattern has been to take turns choosing what our weekend movie would be. This way, each of us see things we wouldn’t otherwise see… and no one is lumbering off to their own screen.

But here I was, sitting in the same room, vegging out and tuning out like nobody’s business. He saw it.

And that was why, laying bed two weeks ago, he was able to diagnose me in two seconds. And after about a second of reviewing my recent habits, I had to admit: he was right.

“Well, my goodness,” I said. “I’m going to go on a weeklong TV fast! Starting now!” “Okay babe” he said.

The next day, I was forcing myself to read through my nursings.

The day after that, I was deep-cleaning the house… and kind of enjoying it.

The day after that, I woke up early and went for a walk with friends. Then I called somebody up to invite them to dinner.

The day after that, I found that I could understand what I was reading… and actually liked it.

When Sunday came, I got home from church and instead of unwinding in front of a screen, I took a nap. I loved that nap.

The day after that, Justin and I bought this book of conversation starter questions and started working through them over dinner.

I organized a spa day in my house. I cooked a totally fancy-looking new dish for supper. I sewed my daughter a little dress.

Here we are, two weeks later, and I think the deadpan expression is starting to leave my eyes. But you know… my baby is sort of fussy today. I need to think of something to do while I sit around holding her during the long afternoons.

That documentary series about chefs looks really good…

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The only 10 things I can talk about now that I’m a mother

By Tilly Dillehay

 

You need to know something about me: right now, for at least the next few months, there are only a handful of subjects that I am capable of discussing.

If you talk to me about other things, I’ll listen to you. I’ll nod my head and I’ll ask questions even, and I’ll smile. But the whole time, I’ll be wondering how anyone can stand to talk about anything except the following list of things. I’ll be just counting seconds until we can get back to the Important Stuff, the stuff related to my 3-week-old Norah.

These are the things that I’m currently able to discuss with you:

  1. The fact that everything smells like Norah.

My clothing, my couch cushions, my hair. It’s a sweet smell, something I’d never smelled before until I was holding her. It must, I assume, come right out of her very pores, but there are elements of sour milk and baby powder in it. It almost feels like I’ve got it in my nostrils—even when I’m not near her or anything she’s touched, the smell hovers around me.

She’s all over everything already. And she’s only been out here in the world for three weeks.

  1. That little cry that she does in her sleep. She just makes this one little sound, one little mew. It is very quiet and you have to be holding her to hear it. It probably could be sold on iTunes.
  1. A rotation of the following topics: She has so much hair, She makes so many faces, All other babies look enormous, and Don’t you love her name?!
  1. The fact that my husband is a super hunk. He helped me make her. If we’re not talking about her, we should be talking about him. How he looks when he holds her, how he looks when he’s waking up and taking her from me to change her, how he looks when he comes back in the door after working all day and kisses us both. I will also talk with you about these things, all day long.
  1. Why are you not ALL LIKING EVERY PICTURE I put up of Norah? Are you heartless? Have you no eyes? What are you doing all day that is stopping you from scrolling your feeds constantly, looking for pictures of Norah? If I wasn’t holding her all day long, that’s what I’d be doing. Just think about it. That’s all I ask.
  1. The fact that my husband and I both do things that remind us of Norah.

When I stand at the fridge and scarf down something, hungry with that special breastfeeding-mother hunger, I remind myself of her. She eats like that—breathing fast when she’s about to clamp down, excited or desperate, rooting like mad, latching on with a little smile and getting a mouthful… then pausing. She always pauses right at the moment of the latch, closing her little eyes and going perfectly still. Then she goes on. When I stand at the fridge, ravenous, I find myself taking the first bite a little desperately and then pausing and just breathing… ahhh. Thank goodness. I found food.

And I’m acting just like Norah. Or she’s acting like me? Who’s aping who here?

My husband yawns like her. He throws his head back into the yawn and really lets it go, and at the end, gives his head a big shake. Is he imitating her, or has he always done it like that?

  1. Is it normal for me to be crying this much? Is it normal to be both outrageously happy AND crying this much, and for it to be BECAUSE I’M SO HAPPY? (and also because of that hymn or sermon… or Pampers commercial…)
  1. Let’s talk about her sleeping habits. Let’s talk about her eating habits. Let’s talk about what her poop looks like and whether she’s spitting up enough, and how much she weighs. If it’s related to infant health, I want in. Please bring notes because I’ll actually read them. (I finished my breastfeeding book and have run out of things to google.)
  1. The fact that my parents are awesome. I can’t believe they got to do this seven times, and then they also did all those other parts, like the parts where the kids get bigger and more complicated and then get old enough to start having babies of their own. I can’t believe they’ve done all those stages with so many kids… is this what it was like for THEM?
  1. The fact that God has placed so many gorgeous designs into this process of lifegiving. So many things that work so well, with such timing, and such wonder and symmetry. The family, the hormone, the infant skull, the breast, the human soul—material and immaterial, they all show such a mastery of purposeful art.  It feels so close to me right now: the dance, the story. I feel like such a small part… but a participant. A participant! If you want to talk about something even remotely larger than this little 8 lb person in my arms, I think I have the stamina to talk about this… for a while. (Then we’re going back to the poop conversation.)

So there you have it. Don’t push me. I’m just not strong enough to venture very much farther than these ten, and I even know why. A nurse at Vanderbilt told me that studies have shown the IQ of new mothers drops by a significant number of points after a newborn arrives.

Do they get it back? She didn’t say.

Norah montage

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brownie

I can’t believe it’s got no gluten!

brownieI baked a cake yesterday that was missing gluten. An entire cake, baked up just like it was a real cake, except that one of the main things that makes a cake a cake was missing.

It was made of almond and coconut flour. It also contained butter, eggs, baking powder, milk, and a concoction of sugar and stevia.

The really surprising thing about this cake is how much I love it. It tastes just like any other moist almondey cake I’ve had in the past. The difference here is that I have successfully tricked myself into believing that it is a kind of superfood-and-treat in one, and that it can be eaten in unlimited, pregnant-sized quantities with no repercussions (except renewed health and well-being!).

I’ve noticed this same trick playing in the minds of all my alternative-baking friends. They find a recipe for a brownie that is a nut-based, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo brownie. They make this brownie. They are overcome with awe and enthusiasm for the brownie, and make all of their friends taste it. “Isn’t this delicious?” they say. “I can’t believe it’s got no gluten.”

And everybody agrees. It’s delicious. But in the back of your mind, you have to admit: it’s delicious CONSIDERING that it’s got no gluten. But if you were standing in a buffet line, and this dessert was sitting next to a fully-formed bona fide brownie with ice-cream, and there was no nutritional reason for choosing the g-f s-f brownie over the bona fide brownie, you’d never even for a second consider choosing the healthy brownie over the real brownie.

They simply don’t taste the same. It’s a trick. They’re delicious FOR WHAT THEY ARE—but not if you compare them to the rich, fudgy, full fat, full sugar, white flour version of themselves.

So, recognizing that I must be playing this same psychological trick on myself in the case of my almond-coconut flour sheet cake, I must not be enjoying it quite as much as I think I am. Because in my mind, I’m eating an actual vegetable—basically a plate full of greens and assorted superfoods—and it’s tasting EXACTLY LIKE AN ALMOND CAKE.

So I’m still eating it. And still eating it. It’s 9 a.m., the morning after the day I baked it, and I’m now giving myself little victory talks as I carve slivers off the edge.

“The question isn’t ‘why am I eating cake at 9 a.m.?’” I’m saying to myself. “The question is, ‘what kind of a superwoman of self-control am I, to have made a dish that behaves like cauliflower in my body and tastes like a pastry from Starbucks, and there’s still a little bit of it left in this pan?’”

I don’t know the answer to this question. There is no answer to this question. The answer is to invite somebody over and make them taste it.

 

Isn’t this delicious? I can’t believe it’s got no gluten!

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hugh grant

My first love

hugh grantWhen I was twelve years old, I fell in love.

I was standing in a corner at our new church, near the table where they laid out donuts and coffee for everybody. I looked up, trying in my usual way not to make eye contact with anyone, and my eyes fell upon a creature unlike any I’d ever seen before.

He was striding across the far side of the room, with a donut in his hand that was wrapped in a paper napkin. He smiled easily, greeting somebody along the way. He wore smartly pressed khaki pants, a button down shirt, and a jacket that looked just like what a grown man would wear. He had a sort of Ivy League brown mop of hair, like Hugh Grant in the 90’s.

I would later notice that he had an unusually long torso and short legs, so that they just about met in the middle. Altogether, this only added to his oddly magnetic way of carrying himself—he had such ease and confidence, such an air of ‘I know how to spell facsimile’!

He bounced a little on his heel with every step; his walk was, in fact, inimitable and wholly charming.

I couldn’t stop watching him. I swallowed an entire donut, all except the hole, before I knew what had happened.

After that day, it became slowly clear to me from Sunday to Sunday that he could spell a lot more than ‘facsimile’. He could also answer every conceivable question that arose in the youth group Sunday School class, which I was old enough to get into just a few months later. The teachers would ask a question, wait, and turn to him expectantly; he would grimace his full, privately-educated lips and deliver an answer made out of four-syllable words.

Way to go, Henry! They would all say. The dudes nearby (all the teenage boys were ‘dudes’ to me except for him—ah! Who would ever presume to call him by such a crude term!) would slap him on the back and wait for him to say something else. They giggled. They shoved each other around.

Henry never giggled. He never shoved. He was a paragon of manly virtues.

I learned to keep a close eye on his whereabouts when we were at church. Wandering through the building, trying to look busy, I would take alternate routes in order to cross his path again—never to speak! Only to pretend I didn’t see him and walk on by.

In fact, Henry is the one who first taught me how to intensely pretend not to see somebody. (This is a skill I still utilize, in the lunch line at Subway, or when I meet an old coworker whose name I can’t remember.) For some reason that my young heart could not understand, I wanted him nearby, but I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like if the silence was broken. I was terrified that if we spoke—if he, for instance, made a comment about the lesson while we were both sitting in the Sunday school room waiting for others to show up, or if I, by some miracle, asked him what kind of extracurricular activities he was into—that he would notice I was in love with him.

Over the next year or so, our families struck up a kind of friendship. Our mothers seemed to get on well, and I delighted to see it happen—because it seemed to me that our marriage was more likely if the families were already acquainted. Henry being so very much older than myself (he was 15!), I wasn’t sure if they would ultimately approve, but I thought that a family alliance was sure to help the cause along.

One day, the worst/best happened.  

My older sister, who was loud and outgoing, had managed to worm her way into a conversation with him more than once. How bold she was! I trembled to watch her. By some miracle, he always seemed to answer her questions most cordially—as if he was just another human individual and not Hermes himself walking among us.

On this particular day, she asked him a few questions, and when I accidentally walked past them a little too close, she turned towards me and called out, “Henry is going to be in a play.” He leaned his long-torsoed body back against the doorway and turned towards me as well, to the point that it was nearly impossible to pretend he was made of anything less than substantial material, visible to the naked eye.

I was caught. I was about to be forced into the admission that I was aware of the existence of a boy who had been in Sunday School with me for over a year. I almost said ‘Who?’ but my quick mind soon apprehended that he since he was standing right there, even a dummy should be able to infer that he was the Henry in question. 

“Really?” I said, smiling. I looked at him politely, though perhaps a little intensely.  

“Yeah” he said. He grimaced his fat lips in the usual way. This was fine, except that it was an angle I wasn’t used to—he was facing me, talking to me as I’d often seen him do with others—and it was almost overwhelming. THAT’S what his face looked like from the front? My knees almost audibly knocked together.

“Where?” I said.

“School,” he said, grimacing. He shook his flop of hair to the side then, exactly like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

“Cool,” said I. Even my natural humility couldn’t hide it from me: I was doing a really great job here. He probably was wishing he could know more about me. He might have already noticed the blue skirt I had on (picked out, always, with him in mind); if not, he surely would in just a few more seconds of real-life-conversation.

Unfortunately—maybe before he could even notice the new skirt—he gave a little half smile and swaggered away from us. I stood there watching him go, and could feel my ankles itching with joy. He must have known who I was, to talk with me like that. Perhaps he even knew my name.

A few months after that, I’d started up a sort of friendship with his younger sister, who was all limbs and freckles and seemed to adore him. She also must have quickly picked up on the fact that I listened to her best when she talked about him, because she obliged me.  She chattered incessantly about everything from his girlfriend to his room to the way he’d been recently grounded for something or other (Injustice! Thy name is Henry’s father!). 

One time, probably six months after the conversation about the play, Henry wandered up to the two of us while we were talking. He must have overheard something, because came out with a grin and a “What is she telling you about me?”

“Nothing important,” I said. My diaphragm instantly sagged with the weight of this flirtatious move.

“Well, don’t believe all of it,” he said, and I think he gave her a head scratch or something else quite brotherly and adorable. My heart sang, and I felt certain that he would make a good father.

A few years afterwards, we changed churches and he went away to school, although I still got snatches of news from the family. The last time I saw him, I was a college student selling perfume in the mall and he and his sister came by.

His hair was still gorgeously brown and floppy, but I wondered, did he always grimace like that?

Also, I don’t remember his torso being quite so long in relation to his legs…?

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Bunker Log: The Great Storm of 2015

photoFirst Day

Hour 1

Woke up this morning and the sleet had iced over our driveway and cars completely. Will still try to go in to work and make every meeting I had planned. Justin is going to work—no problem.

Hour 2

I said I was going to work but I hadn’t tried to walk around outside yet. I am not crazy. I will stay home today. Justin went to work and he was one of two employees who made it.

Hour 5

The snow has begun in earnest—will it ever stop? There must be a full inch accumulated out there. The last time I remember it getting this bad was in 1993.

Hour 6

The power went in and out a few times. Later on it went out completely, and has been out for forty minutes. I have been forced to get off the internet and put another layer on.

Hour 7

Justin is back home—they lost power there as well. We are going to brave this storm together, and if either of us dies, we’ve agreed that cannibalism is not ethical.

Hour 8

The power is back on. The snow is now up to three inches, and looks like it’s stopped. But no one is going anywhere; everything is quite frozen. Except UPS did make it here with a package from Amazon just now—what a relief. Could be the last delivery of books for a while, and it has to get us through this storm.

Hour 12

We had a good supper, but of course it could be the last for a while. I almost had Justin run down to Sonic and get me a burger while the power was off and I couldn’t get anything hot to eat. Then the power came back on before he was done with his other errands.

Hour 14

We watched an Amazon Prime movie tonight, here at the compound, and at times internet was so slow that the picture was a little blurry. We might need to start conserving our oxygen as well.

Second Day

Hour 1

Tennessee has declared a state of emergency. Justin was told not to go in to work (well, duh!). I spent the morning arranging things in the baby room, and pretended to go into labor a few times just for fun (Justin didn’t think it was funny, though; I think storm is probably starting to get to him. But we must do what we can to keep up morale, I think).

Hour 3

We ran out of cottage cheese and bananas at about ten o’clock, and there are only a few eggs left. Justin says that he will brave the cold to get to the Piggly Wiggly down the street—walk there, if he has to. I begged him to reconsider—there is still cereal left, and the other groceries in the fridge should last us for a week or so. But he doesn’t think we can make it without eggs, and secretly I know he’s right…

Hour 7

Being holed up here is starting to get to us. Justin has been reading quietly in his office for a while now—probably to hide his desperation. I find myself peering out the window from time to time. I wonder if anyone is out there? I wonder if anyone else is clinging to the life they knew?  It’s the not knowing that really hurts. Of course, when I get back on Facebook, I see enough evidence of survivors to comfort me somewhat—photo albums of kids sledding, statuses about cocoa, and Instagram pictures of footprints in the snow.

Perhaps there are others out there. Perhaps we’re going to make it through this after all… perhaps, somewhere out there in the great white, another family is huddled in a snowbank, clinging to life.

If not, Justin and I plan to propagate the species. 

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