it’s all happening…{day 155}

I look at this photo of us, sharing a kiss during a Cape Cod sunset, and it reassures me he was happy. People have a way of losing themselves in parenthood. It’s a constant juggle, and often one half of the couple is left feeling they have more than their fair share of balls to keep in the air.

We were no exception.

But the way his eyes are closed in this picture, the way his lids rest gently on his lower lashes, they tell me he found peace with me. The same deep brown eyes that, when open, spoke volumes when not a single word was being uttered—they do the same thing in this moment captured, but they are closed.

Months after Michael and I started dating, I remember snuggling my head in his chest, and saying it was my favorite place in the world. I continued to tell him that as days turned into years, and the other night I found myself burrowing my head into his pillow, in search of the warmth that crook of his chest gave me for 16 years.

A few days after this past Thanksgiving, an email came from my literary agent. The subject was simple, with just two words—”an offer”. My breath stopped momentarily. Then a tingling sensation spread to my fingertips. I happened to be in our old apartment at the time, working while the sitter was at our new home with the girls.

It felt very fitting, and surreal to call Stacey back and talk about the offer. That kitchen was where it all started, the seedlings of an idea nurtured, Michael’s words always encouraging me to dream big. Now, I have the chance to move forward on my terms.

For the next two years, as I write two books for Running Press, there will be an invisible tether between my two lives—the one with Mikey, and the one without. I think these two amazing projects will allow me to weave a bridge with words to eventually feel like a whole person again.

I’ve been working on the cookbook proposal for two years. It is a part of the life we shared together. Mikey is even the one who came up with the title City Girl, Country Kitchen. I racked my brains for countless hours, and then in one five minute conversation I explained my goal for the book to him and the words City Girl, Country Kitchen rolled off tongue with such ease, I was envious.

Mikey, this is what I would’ve had waiting for you when you walked in the door as a toast to this very big dream we both shared. I love you baby.

TheCelebration

The Celebration

serves one

I’ve been on a non-alcholic cocktail spree for a week now. I love how a drink can be complex, and filled with layers of flavors but nary a drop of liquor. Go for “top shelf” ingredients here, as you would if making a boozy elixir.

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 blood orange

1/2 teaspoon good quality maple syrup

2 dashes of orange bitters

Seltzer, to top off the glass

Burnt orange peel, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the juice, syrup and bitters. Seal the top and shake vigorously until beads of sweat form on the outside of the shaker. Pour into an old fashioned cocktail or martini glass, garnish with the burnt orange peel to serve.

How to make a burnt orange

Just before serving the cocktail, light a match, or use a lighter, to release the essential oils from the orange peel. Do this by holding the peel with the white, pith side up, and waving the flame underneath over the outer skin of the orange peel.

Comments

  • Svasti: Congratulations, and how wonderful. What a special way to be able to give your hubby’s memory a place in the stars.

  • Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions: You’re an inspiration Jennie! Congratulations, I know Mikey is celebrating with you.

  • Cindy: I have followed your story since Mikey died. You capture so well what a widow goes through, what this journey is truly like. I am approaching the six year mark in my own journey and I want to say thank you for sharing so honestly. Your book will be a balm for those who share this road-lending some sanity to an insane reality.
    At six years I finally feel like I have bridged the gap of the old life and the new life and have found a place where happiness and even new love are possible. I treasure my past and am able to embrace my future. I know the same is in your future.
    My love, thanks and admiration to you and your girls. I wish you all the best in your new adventure. I have no doubt Mikey is right beside you all the way.

  • Mel: Dear Jennie, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it – and though we don’t know each other I feel so happy for you about this news on the book! Congratulations! I look forward to reading it and reading your posts in the meantime.

  • Tracey: Jennie
    How exciting for you. And of course at the same time, as it will be, sad.As you know, you have a way of bringing tears to my eyes, at such an early time of the day for me!( I go to work at 6 am) I am envious of you—maybe it will encourage me to start my book too.Hope you have had some comforting signs from Mikey.
    Hugs,
    Tracey

  • Maria: Yeah!!! A BIG congrats piasano girl!! this is just such nice news that you shared with us. I don’t want to call it a diversion, because nothing will ever make you forget Mikey, but it will be nice to have a project like this to work on to keep you busy. I’m very happy for you, but one question is, when I purchase my copy of “the book” if I mail it back to you will you autograph it for me? >VBG<

  • elissapr: This is incredible news! I’m so excited for you! Yay!

  • Shelby @ Lady Gouda: Congrats, Jennie! I was so hoping this was in the works. I am floored by the double book concept. Best of luck as you continue to write, create and remember. We are all rooting for you.

  • Sunchowder – Wendy Read: I offer my sincere congratulations to you Jennie. I understand that this is bittersweet for you, but hopefully this will give you two years of graceful healing.

  • Jacqueline: I hope these are the first of many big dreams to come true. Congratulations!

  • Rachel Willen@Foodfix: Congrats Jenny! Live the dream!

  • lori: Congratulations, Jennie!!!!!!

  • Winnie: Wonderful news! Huge congrats and very warm wishes as you embark on these book projects, Jenny :)

  • StephRussell26: Congratulations Jennie on your newest endeavors. Really bittersweet, of course, but exciting nonetheless. Can’t wait for your books to come out! Best of luck to you.

  • Belinda: I love the non-alcoholic, yet beautiful drink you made! I love beautiful drinks but don’t “hold my liquor” well or find that some have way too much liquor in them! Thanks for sharing this one!
    I “found” you through another blogger when they were making Mikey’s pie in remembrance and honor of him. I am now a follower of you and am your ‘friend’ in Illinois cheering you on as you continue on in life while missing Mikey. My heart reaches out to yours. Congratulations on your offer! I look forward to hearing about your progress and to seeing the final product in my home!:-)
    Best,
    Belinda

  • movita beaucoup: Congrats, dear lady! Oh, how I hope this is the beginning of new things and a lighter heart… Best wishes!

  • Allison: Congratulations on your book deals, Jennie! I will be rooting for you and look forward to adding them to my collection :)

  • Maggie at Eat Boutique: ahh, I love a cocktail and there wasn’t a better occasion!

  • Terri Moreno: I look forward to each and every post from you! I admire your courage and strength to move ahead with despite everything you have gone thru. You also have made me appreciate my husband even more!! We will be celebrating 13 years together in a few weeks. Congratulations on your book deal and I look forward to buying a copy!! Maybe I will meet you at a signing someday!!! Good Luck!!!

  • Laura: Congratulations, that is wonderful news and very much deserved. I am sure both books will be amazing.

  • Erin: Congratulations! I know it is all very bittersweet…but I hope that the projects will be therapeutic. I’m sure he is so proud of you.

  • Ushi: Mozeltov!! I am so happy for you! You are amazing. — my husband died in June and I learned that I can be happy within the sadness. Wishing you the best!!!

  • Mari in Chicago: Congratulations!!!! I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year and a new way to rebuild your life. Enjoy your new adventure.

  • Lynne: Congrats on your book. Widowhood is not the place I wanted to be in my life. But your blog is a great place to park.

  • rachel: So happy to hear great news from you. This is wonderful for your whole family. Enjoy it! I know your books will be special ones.

  • Fuji Mama: Congratulations!!!!!!!

  • Michelle W.: Jennie, we don’t know each other, but my heart wants to speak the words, “You make me proud.” As a widow, I’ve been through so much of what you are experiencing, and watching you come through this strong makes my heart beat stronger. Too many women in this situation crumble and disappear. Thank you for encouraging all women by living a life that proclaims, “I’m still here!” (with emphasis on the “I”. Bless you!

  • Patsy Witchey: I’m so happy and excited for you!

  • Blossom P.: Jenny,
    You make me thankful for everything that I have in this world. You make me realise that there is so much good around me… and I thank you. Thank you for sharing your struggles, your joys, your highs and lows.. thank you.
    Today I enrolled into the George Brown Culinary Arts program in Toronto b/c I realised that I need to do something I love. There is no time like the present to follow my dreams and to do it with the people I love.
    Thank you.

  • Kim in MD: Congratulations, Jennie! I am so happy for you, and yet sad that Mikey is not here to share this moment and toast your success. He would be so proud of you! Cheers! :-)

  • Nicole: Congratulations, Jennie. You deserve this opportunity and I can’t wait to read the final product.

  • April: Congratulations! (Also that photo of you two is priceless, so sweet.)

  • Deena: Cheers to you and to your future.

  • Suzanne: Congratulations on your new cookbook! I can’t wait to purchase it, and yes, the title is wonderful. I plan on rebooting this blog, and spent hours (more like days) trying to come up with something “perfect. It is so difficult. It is one more gift that Mikey gave you.

  • Patty at A Day in My NYC: I’m so thrilled for you! Yes keep dreaming big :)

  • Kim Tracy Prince: Congratulations, Jennie. How I wish you could be sharing your (non)cocktail with him.

  • Miranda: Wonderful news! I cannot wait to buy both books.

  • stacy t: congrat’s. i got chills for you!

  • Lauren from Baklust: Congratulations! I look forward to reading it when it comes out!

  • Nicole Feliciano: Cheers and congrats. Can’t wait to follow along on this journey with you.

  • SamCyn: Congrats, I don’t doubt you will have great success!

  • Mama’s mama: What can I say that I haven’t already said to you. I’m so proud to have you as my daughter. I luv the strength you have shown. Michael is now “The wind beneath your wings” so fly so high & continue to DEAM BIG!!! luv u always

  • Vertigo B: He is so proud. Congratulations.

  • Kendra Bailey Morris: I’m just seeing this Jennie, and I wanted give you a big and very well deserved congrats! I can’t wait to read the book(s) and wish you the very best.
    Kendra

  • Amanda: I’ve thought so often about you and each day bringing with it a new milestone, one you’d expected to reach with him or dreaded reaching without him. I think it’s beautiful the way you are placing one hand in another to create an eternal touch between then and now, once and always.
    I wish you so much beauty and the light to celebrate what you’ve accomplished.

  • Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy: Jennifer, this is amazing news and a great tribute to your husband. Congratulations.
    (First time visitor after listening to your podcast with the Blogging Angels)

  • IlinaP: Cheers! This is a fitting 5:00 Fridays, even though it’s Tuesday and there’s no liquor in your cocktail. ;-)

  • Danielle: SO happy to hear this wonderful news of yours Jennie! You continue to be an inspiration to so many and I hope we can continue to be the support you need as you weave your bridge and write your words.

  • joanne nixon: good things will happen…..: )

  • Kristy: You are amazing. He would be SO proud, it sounds like he always was…your posts are nothing but truth and strength, shining on. Your girls have a loving and hardworking mom, doing what she loves to do. Rock on sista and keep a cookin’!

  • lisa: Congratulations what wonderful news : )

  • Glenda: Beautiful post! Beautiful picture! You see and feel the LOVE in that picture!
    Congrats on the book news!
    Peace & Strength

  • MotherWouldKnow: Lovely (though perhaps bittersweet) news. Many thanks for sharing it with us. Enjoy the book writing process and we’ll all enjoy the results.

  • Sue: Congrats, Jennie! I am so excited for you! Can’t wait to have both books on my shelf. I look forward to following along as your books are completed. Keep dreaming big! Love and peace to you ad your girls!

  • Amanda H.: Such exciting news. I know from following your blog what a treasure both books will be and I eagerly await them. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your recipes and journey with all of us!

  • Lindsey @ A Pear to Remember: My most heartfelt congratulations on your writing endeavors! I have been following your blog for some time now, and am so inspired and touched by your skills and tenacity. Writing is a beautiful, healing thing for me, too, and I wish you a remarkable journey. Here’s to many new recipes, and two wonderful books!!!
    best, always,
    Lindsey
    A Pear to Remember

  • J: Here is to you!

  • Valentina: Felicidades! Your writing is beautiful and I will look forward to the books! Surely Mikey is smiling about this.

  • Laurie: So beautiful. I tear up every time I read you. I can’t wait to hear about the new project.

  • sugarpie project: super touching. hearty congratulations.

  • talia: Congratulations! What wonderful news. Enjoy every minute of this time.

  • Roz@weightingfor50: Hi Jennie. VERY VERY excited for you!!! Wishing you all the success with the offer, the writing, the publishing and the healing as you go through the process. PS: BEAUTIFUL PHOTO!!!

  • Rocky Mountain Woman: Congrats sweetie. Somewhere, somehow he knows and is smiling!

  • Renee – Kudos Kitchen: You are a beautiful writer. Congratulations on the book. It’s a wonderful title!!! I wish you every success!

  • Eri: Jennie
    Congratulations!!! I have never left a comment but have always enjoyed your posts. Just wanted to let you know that it is pretty clear how much you have loved (and still love) Mikey and what a lucky/blessed guy he was to have someone who loved him so much. I am cheering for you (along with many other people who read your blog and your friends & family members) as you take difficult but sure steps forward with your daughters. You write so beautifully and communicate so well. And no doubt a creative and good cook/baker. Wish you the best for you and the girls.

  • Adrian J.S. Hale: I have followed your story since before Mikey died. Your story is so similar to mine (Gregg and I have been together 16 years, there’s a similar age difference, he’s a filmmaker, we have two kids)– or it was until that fateful day. Since August 7th, your story has nudged me to hug Gregg and the kids a little more often. Your honest, clear words have made me realize we really can’t take our lives together for granted.
    I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you share these thoughts and words with us. I often have the desire to give back, to reach out and do something to help in your journey. When I read this post tonight, it touched me so much, I flat-out cried. There’s not much we can do, but I hope our being here on the receiving end of this conversation is doing its small part in helping you get through this whole thing.
    As always, thank you for sharing so many intimate thoughts with us, while also reminding us to dream big and hug those we love. And, of course, a big Congratulations! Very much looking forward to both books.
    JP’s note: Adrian, it’s so very nice to hear from you again.

  • Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama: Congratulations Jennie! I’m sure Mikey is raising his glass to yours in celebration! I look forward to your books and can’t wait to add them to my collection!

  • Coach Laura: Congratulations!

  • kristin: Congratulations, Jennie!

  • Emiliy: I found this website today http://miccacampbell.com/ and just want to encourage you to check it out! Micca has been through the loss of her husband, too. She’s been an encouragement to me & I think she can be to you, too.
    Sending hugs,
    Emily

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction: Congratulations! That is amazing news, and I am looking forward to hearing about the journey and paging through your beautiful book when it is published.

  • Joanne: fantastic title and concept. Best wishes!

  • chris: OMG OMG, I am so happy for you, Jennie! Such wonderful news!

  • debra/eatquestnyc: fantastic! you have an audience in place already hungry for your words. cannot wait!
    and if only….so true. am very glad that the bond you guys had and have will be there while you write and while we read. always. each moment of the future born from the last. congratulations.

  • Sarah Lasry: Looking forward to purchasing your book and adapting it into my kitchen!
    I am just waiting for you to announce the movie deal :)
    Enjoy the moment!

  • Everyoneintothekitchen.blogspot.com: Congratulations and Mazel Tov. Is it too early to pre-order the books on Amazon? ;)

  • Gloria: Congratulations Jennie! It’s completely inspiring to watch your big dreams unfold. Thank you for sharing.

  • Heather: i have never, ever, posted on a blogger’s page in my life. i am a major crimes detective (homicide, rape, kidnapping, suicide, robbery, all major crimes against a person, which also includes what ends up being natural deaths, etc.) and i do not get impressed by people often. at. all. but you? very impressed with your head on insistence on healing. the hardest part of my job, is doing a “notification”….going to a family member and telling them that a family member will never come home again. to say that this takes a toll on a mother’s heart (not to mention working the case to begin with) is putting it beyond mildly. thank you for letting me know that some people will be alright. because that? is one of the things that keeps me from sleeping at night.

  • sofia: i don’t know you, i cook like you, last year i lost my father in law and then my father, the power of cooking is amazing when you are in trouble, whilst my father had a leg amputated and became ‘homeless’ in mexico, my father in law in the uk was dying and the only thing i could do was pancakes! it sounds daft but cooking is the only thing sometimes to ground you. my father died the night you took that picture of brooklyn bridge and i saw the same moon in mexico city and now i can see it in your blog, i am very sorry about your husband, your offer of a book is a blessing that you are getting from your husband, amazing things happen and although it is very little comfort in comparison, you are not alone, we are not alone and we become new people, i don’t know you but i wish you the very best. sofia

  • Margie: Congratulations, Jennie! Wonderful, wonderful news. Kudos to you.

  • Sonya M Frymoyer: Jennie, I have been following your blog for sometime now. The things you describe of your Mikey, remind me so much of my own husband. He too in a blink of an eye helped come up with my blog name insonyaskitchen. He also helps me with downloading the photos. I too find peace & comfort with my head on his chest. Someday when in NY I would love to meet you. I feel so connected to you. I so look forward to your book release and purchasing it as well. Will you autograph it for me. 2012 will have amazing wonderful things ahead for you and your girls. Enjoy the journey of blending your future with all that you love of your past.
    Sonya

  • anna: congratulations! I just happened on your blog today. I am in awe of your strength.

  • kia: Congratulations as you set forth with these ventures. I look forward to cheering you on.

  • Coach Laura: Congratulations Jennie! Such an achievement.

  • Cheryl: I was just told about your blog and have begun reading them. I, too, just lost my husband and best friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful daughters.

  • DizzyMsLizzi: Congratulations!!

  • WineDineDivas: Congratulations and we are so happy for you. We raise our glasses to your fantastic new books!
    Best,
    Judit & Corina

  • Vanessa: Congratulations Jennie! As has been said here, I have been following along since your loss. I’m so happy for you that this gift has come your way – I hope it will be a way for you to find peace and great joy – accomplishing something you two started together. Your strength always amazes me.

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