Liz arrived on the ferry with her family last night. Remember when we talked about summer camp for biologists? 
So now, Liz, Dana and our old friend Martha  have finished chopping a huge pile of vegetables and are in the kitchen of Cottage K, enjoying the smells from the giant, inspired pot of bean soup we’ll enjoy together tonight. All six of our kids (ages 3-9) are playing “Zingo” in the living room and bumping around inside and outside the cottage.
As we sit at the kitchen table, we marvel at how our visit together is so much like the soup we are making. We share stories, borrow bits and pieces from each other, add them to our own experiences, and burble them around. Each bit is a contribution to the soup of our lives, the huge number of different ways to be with children and manage our work. We benefit greatly from the reciprocal exchange of ideas and stories. Martha, a full-time professor, keeps Dana and Liz posted about networks and opportunities in the community of women academics. Liz and Dana balance Martha’s mama side, which doesn’t get exercised in her daily academic collaborations.
We spend the afternoon talking about all sorts of things, but one topic that keeps coming up is the importance of coming together as a community, whether on line or in person. Liz brings up a comment from a mama-blogger friend: in today’s society women have so many options available that we don’t have the concept of what a “normal” life is the way our mothers and grandmothers did. With so many more opportunities, our lives are less clearly prescribed. We see our blogging and public introspection as an important way to seek direction and find common ground with other academic moms. And we’re lucky to have an annual get-together to throw around ideas in this intimate kitchen setting.
Recipe for Mama Blog Soup (potluck from three kitchens)
13 bean medley, soaked overnight – contributed by another lab friend and mama
3 tomatoes – contributed by Martha
3 assorted potatoes - contributed by Martha and Dana
1.5 onions - contributed by Liz and Dana
Several stalks of celery, chopped - contributed by Dana
Parsley - contributed by Dana
Ground Cumin – contributed by Martha
Ground Coriander – contributed by Martha
A splash of old, not so hot for drinking, wine – contributed by Dana
Kielbasa, chopped and pan-fried (optional) – contributed by Liz
Burble all afternoon…