09 November 2007

in the dreaming

Last night i fell asleep at nine, cuddled up with Eli, and awoke with creases on my face an hour later when Jeremy came into the bedroom to pack. he's headed to Phoenix this morning, so we woke up early today (5:40), but i feel rested. i miss him when he's away. i hold down the fort here at home while he goes off to the trenches armed with an acoustic guitar.

i almost always remember my dreams; they are vivid. last night i dreamed i was with a slew of Italian relatives (my mom's side.) a lot of them were people i have never seen in 'awake' life before, and when that happens i wonder...how do people you do not know in real life end up in your dreams? are they people i glanced at while sitting in traffic or pumping gas who managed to slip into my sub-conscious, waiting to reappear as my Great-Aunt Rose at an imagined family reunion in my sleep? or does my sleeping mind just invent them out of thin air? this is puzzling. at any rate, it was fun to be with my dream-relatives, kissing both cheeks as we greeted one another. a lot of old ladies with white hair and chubby bodies from all the pasta.

this morning Eli is tucked in his crib under a stack of blankets. the heater buzzes. i wonder what he dreams about and if it involves doing things he cannot yet do...like chasing the dog around the backyard, or catching fish, or asking for a piece of chocolate cake.

he can do one thing though: he can play the piano. we have noticed his affinity for instruments for awhile now. he loves to listen (and sort-of sing) while Jeremy plays our old upright. the other day he was crawling from room to room and we suddenly heard a banging of keys. we peeked around the corner and there was Eli, having pulled himself up against the piano bench, the tips of his fingers just barely able to reach the keys. he couldn't see them, but he was playing...

he has done this several times now, and glances back over his shoulder to make sure we are watching. he awaits our applause, grinning proudly.

so perhaps he dreams that he is Michael Bublé (it is possible), playing a concert (or a Starbucks commercial) before thousands of adoring fans. one day soon i will ask him if this is so, and he will answer.

i realized the other day that i am not just responsible for raising a baby. i am raising a child, a teenager, a man. i am impacting the person he will become.

someday, this little sixteen pound ball of limitless energy, wide-eyes, and a love of cheerios will stop peering over his shoulder for our encouragement and go off to the trenches himself. i am sure we will still be there applauding, of course, but it will be different. Eli will be standing on his own two legs without wobbling. i will be dreaming different dreams by then, and probably be white-haired and chubby. from all the pasta.

06 November 2007

eli's post...

xc , jc vtcz refd,.,..
Thanks so much for your help!
Kierstin v


[he is always wanting to type, so today i let him try a blog post of his very own. he even managed a capital letter and a paste from an email i had written. impressive!]

04 November 2007

fruits unknown.

Finding joy in small, simple things: this seems to be happening more and more lately. I love a collection of all-white dishes neatly stacked up, a slice of perfectly toasted bread, a walk downtown at dusk, and Eli's little wiggle as he crawls through the house.

On Friday, the baby & I spent a glorious hour and a half at our brand new Whole Foods Market. I seriously felt like I was galloping through WiLly WOnKa's ChoColate FacTory...amazing wonders every place I turned. And that was just the produce section.

Eli sat perched atop my shoulders as we surveyed the crayon box of imported flowers near the entrance. Delicate tulips, miniature calla lilies, vintage blue hydrangeas, large pots of rusty fall mums, and an assortment of fragrant herbs.

I let Eli examine the exotic prickly fruits that resembled baby porcupines, and he squealed and squirmed with curiosity at the buffet of dragon-fruit, leafy tangerines, quince, and papaya. He reached out to sink his fingers into a trough of jumbo cranberries bobbing in a water bath.

Exploring the vast display of blue-footed mushrooms and small, skinny fungi with tiny hats reminded me of Fantasia characters. A wall of unique vegetables included sea beans, baby zucchini with their blossoms in tact, and stalks of lemongrass resting next to a pile of folded banana leaves and chunks of aloe plant. I'm now inspired to try a recipe full of gourmet ingredients I've never used before. I don't have a clue what sea beans taste like, but they seem like they'd be fun to cook with.

From there we explored aisle after aisle. Whole fish laid out on beds of chipped ice like you see in European markets. Eli reached toward a shelf of bottled vinegars with pretty labels. I snatched a decadent sample of spicy mayan-chocolate truffle while he played with my eyelash curler and tried to be patient.

I managed to resist [a lot of] temptation and only bought two brown sackfuls of groceries...a jar of organic applesauce for my hungry co-shopper, a package of fresh Naan to accompany our Indian meal, a box of no-pudge brownie mix & some tea for jeremy, and a bit of produce for myself: avocados, pears, shallots, sweet potatoes, basil, and a mango.

Yesterday, I took Jeremy back with me and we each picked out a few things. He chose more Indian ingredients (becoming a favorite), 1/3 pound of mocha java, and a chocolate bar with raisins and pecans. I chose a container of sushi, spicy sesame noodles with tofu, and some dried cranberries to toss into salads.

As we left, I told jeremy that one of my *dreams* is to be able to shop at Whole Foods for everything we need each week. He said it was fun to watch my excitement as we walked around a grocery store.

Small, simple things.

01 November 2007

candy for a monkey.

We took Eli, dressed as a monkey, to the Green Hills Mall to trick-or-treat with his plastic orange pumpkin. His friend Elliott, who has many more teeth with which to eat candy, was a cowboy. Ok, the candy is really for us, but Eli did enjoy playing dress-up...for a little while at least.

a piece of Toast.

Toast UK - House & Home catalog sent by Jenni... photos that inspired photos [of those photos] pieced together to tell what a day can be.

by the window...

ironing while the page turns...

a day's work...

tuck in...

by candlelight...


a morning cup...

to wake up...

breakfast...and begin again.

lost among the people.

The timer is set. I have 24 minutes to write until my bubbling batch of Sara Snow's family recipe mac-n-cheese with tomato is out of the oven.

I walked downtown this evening.

Just walked around and buried myself between the diversity of people who live and work and do "downtown" things. Punk kids on bikes racing by. Young executives heading into their urban lofts with the turn of a key. Up the elevator. People waiting for the city bus. Crowds of every type of human mingled together in all shapes and colors, crossing the street when the red hand fades and the walking-man lights up. I wandered among them.

I was very much in need of what feels like a confessional word: a little taste of freedom. For ninety short minutes, I just needed to get lost in a sea of strangers and walk around the city without a care.

Truly, I can hardly imagine it possible to love my little Eli Henry more than I do. But I think... well, I have found, that in order to be a good mother to him, I need to find time to let myself refuel. Just get out and have moments where clock-watching stops, where I know that his daddy is home with him reading a story-book and playing with farm toys and I am not pressed on all sides. Not needed for the moment. I am free to roam, to have a small adventure all to myself before the sun sets.

I began my journey at our wonderful three-story library where I picked up a collection of Little Golden Book stories tucked into one volume for reading to Eli at bedtime. I also grabbed two cookbooks to inspire new dinners: The Foster's Market Cookbook and Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate.

After the library I found a parking space near Printers Alley and ducked inside a downtown location of one of my favorite little shops: Fire Finch. Nothing bought, but always something fun to look at...good-smelling candles, funky jewelry, an assortment of hats, and colorful sets of paper coasters with birds & trees.

Up a block as evening descended, I walked. Peeked inside the fancy little Urban Market grocery that caters to loft-dwellers. Pulled a muffin from behind the self-serve plastic case. Put it back. Bought some cheese (for tonight's dinner) instead, and a bottle of sparkling apple juice.

Then back among the people. It was nearing six o'clock so foot-traffic was picking up. People heading home to their families. I studied the alley-way of old print shops from a distance. Now it's dance-halls and blues clubs and a feeling that it's too scary to walk alone, so I didn't. Instead, I spotted something else. Like a beacon in the almost-night, four green letters [O-P-E-N] on a storefront I had never seen before: a new coffee shop at 4th & Church Street.

It was cozy inside. Leather chairs and moody lighting and an old upright piano. Bins of freshly-roasted beans. I bought a half-pound to take home to the coffee-loving man who lives in my house.

Today was a good mail day too. The manila envelope arrived from Jenni. Toast - House & Home catalog, and a yummy orange blossom lip balm that smells of citrus & honey. Sadly, Jeremy says it smells like dead insects. There are occasions where we disagree, this being one. [which leads me to ponder...how exactly does he know what a dead insect smells like?]

Two minutes left till the buzzer so I'll publish this after dinner, along with some images that brought a good end to an even better day for getting lost.