Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The art we love the most is that which expresses our truest self.

Usually, when I'm posting about art it's my own, but lately I've been kind of obsessed with my favorite artist Frieke Janssen's new series "Smoking Kids". I can't say exactly what it is about this particular series that I find so compelling- maybe because I spend so much of my time in endeavors to maintain/benefit the good health of my own daughter... it seems surreal to see children engaging in a harmful self-destructive behavior, like smoking.
Maybe it's because kids really do grow up soooo fast these days, and their adultesque expressions underlie the innocence and sweetness that's more natural to kids their age. Maybe because it's what smoking represents- a lack of concern for one's physical well-being, a need for relaxation beyond what one can conjure up without some kind of aid, and, perhaps, a sense of having given up a little. This girl with a sleepy jaded dreaminess,

in particular, is my favorite... probably because I see so much of myself in this portrait, and not just because I have a heart locket I love, and a pink sweater I could wear every day of the winter. At her age she should be happy and energetic, but she just looks so defeated and jaded. She looks exhausted and overwhelmed and full of dead dreams. I want to give her a hug, pour her a glass of milk... and maybe join her in a smoke. 

------------Post edit------------------------------------------------- 
You can see all of Frieke's work HERE. Also, like me, none of the kids in the photos are actually smoking- it's all painted chalk and incense.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chicken Soup for the teething toddler: Frozen Celery

I can't solve the world's problems.

I can't go back in time.

I can't give Dr A the medical residency he deserves.

I can't seem to make my mind stop racing long enough to get a fracking decent night's sleep.

But today... today I was a rock star to a fifteen month old because, even though I'm not the doctor, I was able to take away her pain today. In fifteen months, my sweet girl only grew four teeth, then this week, almost her entire mouth has turned red and swollen. Everything, whether it's my Dr Who box set or Dr A's $100 copy of Harrison's, becomes a teething toy the second it comes within her reach. Only one thing is so soothing I get a standing ovation the second I bring it out- frozen celery.           
 She's always loved celery, but one day I put it on the top shelf of my fridge (we call it the slushy shelf, because it's way colder than the rest of the fridge and turns cans of soda into partially frozen slushies) and the miracle that is frozen celery was introduced. Now she goes around with celery in her mouth like a tiny ridiculous mobster with a cigar. After about an hour of being toted around and gnawed on I have to pry it from her tiny furious fists and replace it with a fresh one. I hate hate hate using analgesics like orajel almost as much as I hate to see her in pain, so I'm thrilled to have found a completely organic remedy to her teething pain. Never in a million years would I have thought that frozen celery would be something I couldn't live without. but it is.    

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Goldfinch Rush

"Birds of a Feather"

20 X 16 inches

Acrylic on canvas

$120 (Or best offer)

I haven't posted a new painting online for a while because I've had my hands full with other projects, namely taking care of Elsie, helping Dr A apply for jobs and write letters to various residency program directors inquiring about observerships/ residencies/research positions, and my new favorite "fun-time" project of writing/ illustrating books for (and about) Elsie. I really don't want to reveal too much of the "Elsie And..." project until I have the first three finished and printed. In the meantime, buy these birds!

The best chicken and dumplin's recipe. period.

Mama Sha's Old Fashioned Chicken & Dumplin's

If you are looking to put a little meat on your bones this recipe will do the trick! It has about a year's worth of carbs, but it is soooo good. It's simple and hearty and will warm you to your very soul. I don't put veggies in mine, but you could easily add some carrots or celery to add a little variety to it.

I don't know how many times I've been asked for this recipe, but since it's one of those things I learned to cook from my grandma it's been really hard to nail down specific measurements for the ingredients. This is definitely one of those old fashioned recipes where you after a few tries you'll be able to cook it without looking at the recipe at all. Here's an actual conversation that took place a few years ago when I was first trying to make it:

Me: "How much flour do I need?"

Memaw: "I don't know... enough to make it thick."

Me: "How much salt should I add?"

Memaw: "However much salt you like baby."

Me: "How long should I cook it?"

Memaw: "Till it's done."

After trying to learn my grandma's recipes I had so much more insight into why my own mom didn't learn to cook until after she started watching Food Network:You can't get recipes out of people who don't use them.

1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
16 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into strips
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1) Boil the chicken (this step also gives you your chicken broth if you don't like the canned stuff).
2) Tear the chicken into bite size pieces.
3) In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, stir together the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and milk.
4) Add the chicken and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
5)To Make Dumplings: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour into the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

6)Drop tablespoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the chicken stew ONLY AFTER IT IS AT A STEADY BOIL. Cover pot tightly, and simmer for another 12 to 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls, and serve hot.

This particular version feeds 2 or three people depending on how hungry you are (although I should warn you that it's a pretty heavy dish so it doesn't take much of the stuff to feel full.) To feed 4 or more I'd recommend doubling the recipe.

---------Post Edit-------------------------------------------
Dr A is still desperately seeking a PGY1 residency. In anything. Anywhere. Seriously, a residency in toe fungus medicine in Northern Alaska would be like winning the lottery right now. He's going to take the USMLE Step 3 at the end of the Summer, but he still really needs either a research position, an observership, or a residency, but so far we haven't found been able to get him a position in any of those. His grades were all pretty good (even though he did have to take Step 2 twice) and he got honors in all his clinicals, so it's still really mystifying/frustrating that he hasn't been able to move forward yet.