Moments that define you.

I have a friend named Tami.  She is the person on my shoulder that  whispers in my ear what to do and what not to do.  My conscience.  She is actually  a real person as well, and actually comes in my office and lets me know when I am being too hard, or soft, but rarely that I am being to soft.  So, yeah….I guess I am what you would call a strong leader who needs a soft soul at her side.  That is Tami.  Why am I bringing this up?  Because I wanted to talk about moments that define you and these are moments that you do not have your Tami next to you.  When you actually make a decision, good or bad, and they define you.  The decision becomes a trademark, or an indelible memory that people will never erase and it will be always etched on you, like a tattoo.

For some it is something that sends them to prison.

For some it is something that wins them a Nobel Peace Prize.

I think we have many of these, and sometimes you have defining moments that erase all of the old feelings, or ideas about you.  Think of, perhaps a leader who was racist, until they did some sort of a grand gesture, switched sides, then spend decades working on equality – that person would have had a defining moment and then would always be remembered for the good they did, and perhaps the 20 years prior of hate and pain they caused is erased.  Is that fair?  I guess that is up to you.  These are large scale items.  What I am writing about are the small ones.

I am not sure if you ever know when your moment is coming, so the idea is that you live a life based on making good decisions so that you are defined as good.  I wish I had that to offer.  44 years of great decisions.  Popular choices.  Staying on the right side of the tracks.  I don’t and I will not even try to kid you about it.  I am pretty damned average and have had moments of splendor and moments of weakness.  Both are acceptable in my book, and frankly my book is the one I live from.  The weak decisions shape me, and the splendorous moments lift others, and perhaps the opinion of others in the process, which I am told we are not supposed to care about.  Confusing, right?

I have had many moments.  I decided to move to Portland.  I married Jason.  I decided to switch jobs 4 years ago.  I decided to have kids.


Yes, decided because I am infertile and I had to pay a lot of money to have my children.  Yes, I am infertile.  I am okay saying that.  I started trying to have kids when I was 34 and after we went through all of our treatments and achieved pregnancy my Dr told me “we do not like to tell women this, but we are confident that you would never be able to have kids naturally.  You made all the right choices so we did not have to address this, but I think you should know for the future.”  Did this hurt?  Hell no, it justified 50 thousand dollars. (no insurance would cover my treatments)  So, cash money was well spent.

So, to sum it up, my moment that defined me was:  Choosing to be a mother.  

Not everyone’s life changes when they have kids.  We get a lot of comments from people about how much time we spend with our kids.  I think it is sweet, but I am always surprised, maybe embarrassed. Do we seem obsessed with them? ( yes) Are we over the top with family time? (likely) Do we both run home after work and have all sorts of plans every night for what we will do as a family? (always).  But, here is the thing:  I am average.  But maybe, my moment that defined me was not the same as others, and that is okay.

As I wrap up the year I am humbled by the fact that I was given the opportunity to have a family and children.  That my life is easily and clearly laid out in front of me now.  That my priorities are all lined out and I do not have to rely on Tami to keep me in line anywhere but at work.  I have the rest of my life’s greatest work of art in process.  What a privilege to already know what the picture I am painting will be.  Now to focus every day on my greatest work, my priority, my moments that define me.

Happy Holidays dear friends.  Happy holidays indeed.

Simple Kitchen 12-20-15

Missy and James take a look back at the astonishing year that was 2015. They share some of their favorite memories from the past year including some of the things they learned and what tasted good.


Missy and James take a listen back to some of their favorite moments on The Simple Kitchen. From their love of Dune, to what Jeggings are. From berries to ice cream, it’s all here, and it’s all weird. James gives a tribute to the glory that is Missy Maki.

As a special gift, James tribute to Missy

Life comes fast and bittersweet musings from a mommy

The velocity of life once you have children is astounding.  My daughter just explained that Santa comes through the fireplace.  She was drinking a bottle just a year ago and now she is telling me how things are.  She also let me know that “pwesents go in a big socky” Which is clearly her stocking.  My son can build buildings taller than himself as well as starts his own baths and takes a shower now.  He takes a shower.  Alone.


I have to stop and reflect on how once they get going, it is like a train on the track.  The train is out of the station and they are off on their journey.  Their life journey.  I am here, I suppose, to keep them safe, feed them, and keep them from going down the wrong track.  I don’t know.  On my best days, I don’t know a damn thing.

I can openly tell you that I am a novice at parenting.  I want to be a pro, read the books, focus on their early childhood education but they are already ahead of me.  They are counting, saying parts of the alphabet, can find their way, on foot, to the park that is half a mile away.  I just follow.  I am officially just following and I can’t get ahead.  I expected this once we hit math in abut 10th grade, but not now.  I did not expect to be so lost at 2.5 years.

I guess they are launching, and this holiday season is the point, I believe,  in my memories that will stick out as a turning point due to them being self sufficient in many ways.  This is what I have been waiting for, what I dreamed of, but it hurts.  It hurts so much to have them so independent.

Being a mother is bittersweet.

Simple Kitchen 12-13-15

Missy overshares with James. Holiday entertainment tips from a master. Hard to shop for Foodie friends? Missy has some great ideas for you. Missy is obsessed with Popping Corn.

More about Popcorn. Prime Rib. What is it? Why do we love it? How do you cook it? Things go a little off the rails when Buffalo Bill enters the studio and the Seven Deadly Sins are discussed. Waffle bread pudding? Yes thank you.

Simple Kitchen 12-6-15 HR1

Missy and James celebrate two years in the Simple Kitchen together. Chris Angelus of Portland Food Adventures is back from Europe and is sharing his culinary adventure with Missy. Chris talks about a very moving experience in Spain.

Zeph Shepard of Proleriat Butchery sits down with Missy to talk about building his butcher shop from the ground up and being Eco responsible. Missy is curious about some of James holiday favorites and is disappointed.

Distracted Mother

My new me is very distracted.  I am constantly with an eye on a child, cooking, working, managing a household and nurturing a marriage as best I can.

I just went to a game with a few friends and had zero conversations over 2 minutes with any of them.  This is one of the reasons I stopped entertaining – I would spend a lot of money, a lot of time, and host and entertain 20-30 people in my home and then at the end of the night be cleaning up and realize that I did not talk to anyone for more than 5 minutes.   I get more out of one 30 minute coffee date than that.  I love seeing everyone, but a better investment is rest and one on one time with friends when you can both fit it in!

I guess what I am saying is that I know I am distracted.  That I have little to offer a friendship unless I am willing to throw a party or take an entire day away from my children to hang out.  As a working mother, my time with my family is so precious and frankly, I do not want to miss anything.   I am one of those mothers who feels the absence of her children deeply.  Is this healthy?  I am sure it is not, but I think it comes with the struggle it took to get here.  A 5 year fight with my body.  I also know this time is fleeting and soon enough the kids will be off and doing their own things.

I am also older now and require more rest.  I had a difficult pregnancy that took a year for my body to recover from (I have preemie twins and had preclampsyia which really affected my nerves /energy/recovery rate) but I DID recover.  I didn’t talk about this because it was embarrassing.  Being infertile is embarrassing.  Not being perfect, or energetic, or able to do everything you did before feels like a defeat.

I am distracted.  I live in the moment.  I wipe noses, change diapers, and hand out crackers.  I am a harried mother and will be so for another 4 -16 years I am sure.  Until then you hope people will remember you for the fun things you did, and all that you put into friendships and life and hope that there is enough money in the bank to get you through this time.  Perhaps through a decade, if needed.

I’m still me, I still need companionship outside of my home, but I am not able to find the time.  I am terribly distracted, and it is no ones fault.  I love no one less.  I am almost 45, and I like this mother version of me better than any other version of me I have ever been. Life is a filled with trade-offs, right?


~Missy Maki