Tag Archives: Memories

Toast! to Breakfast 3/365


My body shakes and shivers with the memory of breakfast back in the day.  Mountain Dew. Marlboro Light (cuz you know, it was healthier than Marlboro Reds) and a pop-tart if I was treating myself. The goal was to get as much sugar and caffeine in my system as quickly as possible.

I didn’t pay any attention to what I was doing to my body or to my heart or soul, actually.  So does that mean that breakfast is supposed to be moving shit around in your soul?  Well, no. I guess not. But it can and that’s kinda cool.

I eat my morning oatmeal and think about being a kid and how oatmeal was made in a big pot to be shared with my brother and sisters.  I think about my grandma, for some reason. Even though I know the reality is that she didn’t always live with us and when she did she left early for work at the local Campbell Soup factory, so did she make us oatmeal?   Maybe it’s a Saturday. Or I just connect comforts of my childhood with her.

My mom didn’t fix breakfast for us kids every day. We didn’t have the tradition of her being in the kitchen to greet us. Not everyday.  Sometimes my big sister cooked for us. But usually we were on our own so it was a bowl of dried cereal and milk, some scuffling, bitching and whining with my siblings and then out the door to school. I think it was the cold Minnesota mornings with freezing winds that were waiting for us at our doorstep that I’m remembering now. These were special occasions when Mom would fix us hot cereal.  I wish I had more memories of her taking care of us.

Oh… coco wheat. That’s what she’d fix…now it’s coming clear to me. I can almost taste it. Yummm.  Hot. Lumpy. Extra sugar. Thick milk. That shit would pack in tight against my ribs and I’d be set to head out into the world.

When Bird was born I decided we would always have breakfast together. That meant many mornings of getting up early, running around a bit so we could make it to the table to eat together. Just me and my girl. I loved fixing her breakfast. Making the healthy choice for her and knowing that she at least had food in her as she ventured out to school everyday.  When she got older, in middle school, some of that, “let’s sit together” began to change.  Mornings included the radio cranking out current pop hits, some Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl” with Bird not singing all the lyrics (she didn’t swear in front of me until college. Weird rule. I know, cuz I cuss like a fuckin sailor) But anyway…some mornings I’d get out a cassette or DVD of something fun and funky. And we’d dance in our tiny kitchen. This happened more often when she discovered the joy of The Breakfast Club and that her mother could dance like Molly Ringwald.  She played me music she liked when her crush on Usher revealed itself by the posters that adorned her bedroom wall. I played her old new wave and early punk when she discovered The Clash. She lit up my mornings! And yeah, probably not too cool to be dancing with your ma over breakfast but she did and she’d laugh as we began our day with love.

These days she’s more of a bagel and a coffee heading to the train New York City kinda girl. Or she cooks for herself. I hope the days she can actually sit and enjoy her breakfast, she has fond memories of us, too.

For me, breakfast is oats with fruit and flaxseed.  A sprinkle of stevia. Some cashew milk and a big mug of hot roobios tea.  I start some mornings slowly like this. Soothing like this. Being kind to my body while flooded with memories.

Toast! to Inspiration!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about what I’ve Toasted, so sitting down to share with you, Inspiration is the what I’ve been thinking about and here’s why.

This spring as Peter and I have been gearing up for our first Through the Wilderness, LLC production- a short action film about a Native American cop who is forced to deal with her feelings around miscarriage, motherhood, and justice when a dying hooker leaves her baby in her garage (btw, I LOVE this story but that’s a different posting) – I find myself attempting to develop a business mind while watching for the obstacle to my creative work that I fear this business mind will create.

I get that might not happen and perhaps this is just the work of my critic taking advantage of the change in my life to whisper more shit in my ear. I get that.  Yet, the reality is, the time I spend researching to understand…franchise taxes, accounting practices and deal memos and marketing strategies, is all time that I’m not writing.  And let’s be clear, before all this other business in my life, getting to the page to just write was hard enough to begin with. Sometimes.

But before I can go to the page, I need to be inspired, so what is that and where is it?

I’m at my messy desk, in my robe, blanket wrapped around my feet- yes, this is the glamourous life, and I ask myself where is that inspiration.  I look to books next to me. The Quran, Jon Kabat-Zinn Full Catastrophe Living, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, my bills to be paid, my bowl of nail polishes, crayons and greeting cards, The Ten Indian Commandments on my wall, my empty bowl that held oatmeal and berries, my now cold cup of green tea. Then I hear the birds outside. The hummingbird that flutters to my window and peeks in at me in the mornings has arrived. Outside my window beyond the bush, I see the new bistro size patio table and chairs, the big bright yellow and white umbrella, the expansion of my office. Then my mind travels outside our gate and down the street. The sky soft blue (yes, under the LA smoggy haze but stay with me here…smog is an inspiration, too, different post, different story), the palm trees create a landscape so different than home in MN, which I now see in my mind, the big oaks, the flat farmland alongside the highway to my mom’s, the tall cedars along the North Shore,  all so different than…awww…there it is- the places I’ve traveled this year, the people I’ve seen, the voices and languages, songs and food. O yes, the food. But there’s more that inspires me.

The last couple months have been filled with great joys and opportunities. Celebrations, one after another rolled through my life.  In May my daughter, Bird, graduated from college in San Francisco. Family met us in Santa Cruz for beach time, for little girl laughter and salt water taffy on the boardwalk. And in San Francisco, a beautiful city filled with rolling hills and tall skinny houses hugging at the shoulders, I had early morning moments on bagel runs for the family packed into the hotel suites. And in those mornings, with the sun on my face, feeling grateful for love and support, I felt inspiration, too. I did.

I listened to speakers at SFAI send the graduates out into the world with advice. Some was good. Most was daunting, but I saw fresh and slightly frightened young faces eager to run out and show us their world. And at the gallery, I saw my amazing Bird beaming in front of her painting, revealing to us, her family, what she learned about herself at school. And I was inspired by the depth of her creativity, by the young woman she’s become.

For her graduation gift, we took her to Tokyo. Yes- we are able to travel like that. A blessing beyond our wildest dreams.  While there, oh, the sounds and smells. I was often overwhelmed but yet, I had moments of sheer joy, moments of  being deeply awe-struck by beauty, like in Kamakura, the tiny beach village where the huge statute of Buddha lives.

While there, we walked to the shore. And standing on the “other side of the Pacific” while Peter waded into the water, I looked to my daughter and nearly fell over with love and admiration. The three of us inspires me. Our family in MN and across the country inspires me. Our journey that got us from the the tiny, poor little places we lived in while Bird was a baby, to that moment on the Japanese beach, inspires me. Yes. the memories will keep inspiring me, will keep my creativity alive.

So, the Toast! is to Inspiration whether it’s from the photos on the desk, a song on Spotify, the wee bird at the window, or a breeze that invokes a memory, inspiration is all around me.  And my wish for you is to be inspired by what’s in your life, what’s in your heart, what’s in your memories.