28 November 2008

what a family is.

the only things left to wash are a bundle of silver-plated flatware and a lonely gravy boat.

we spent thanksgiving with two and a half members of our nashville "family"...cason and katie and their soon-to-arrive baby boy came over for dinner. the cervenys peeked in as well on their way home from a nearby celebration with relatives. the cooleys brought delicious vegetable casserole and cranberry sorbet; i made my grandmother's stuffing and my own rosemary mashed potatoes.

we had much to be thankful for as we gathered around the table. our marriages and children, friendship and family, a bountiful feast before us.

last weekend, jeremy and i pulled together to help our son, sick with a stomach bug, and our little dog Sam, who got attacked by two large huskies behind our house. following all the ensuing commotion and piles of laundry, we spent yesterday watching the Macy's parade, then tidied up the house and prepared the Thanksgiving meal.

so this morning Eli and i are lounging a bit. i am reluctant to admit it (denial, perhaps) but i fear i may have caught his sickness. something in my stomach just does not feel quite right. i am hoping it is nothing more than the dish of leftover bread pudding i ate for breakfast, but i suspect otherwise.

still, i am thankful for good health, knowing that there are many without it. i am thankful for this sturdy, warm house with its view of squirrels running along the telephone line. i am thankful for my prudent, hard-working husband whose insistence that we not use credit cards has saved us greatly in this new economy. i am thankful for my quietly napping little boy who has energy again and can finally enjoy a chocolate chip waffle. for his tender heart and his love of cheese. for the way he whispers, "goggle, goggle" whenever we ask him what sound a turkey makes. and so much more.

18 November 2008


whenever the weather turns cold, we always wish to have something warm and good-smelling simmering on the stove. jeremy and i both come from italian families, so last week when the temperature dipped and we pulled out our sweaters, we also decided to pull out my great-grandmother's recipe for spaghetti sauce. her name was Zelmira Mencarini Della Maggiora and you can't get much more italian than that.

it took two stores to find the dried porcini mushrooms necessary for the slow-simmered recipe. i can't disclose the entire list of ingredients because then it wouldn't be a secret family recipe, but aside from the dried mushrooms, the juice of a lemon + its rind and a healthy pinch of allspice also went into the pot, along with handfuls of fresh herbs and a glass of dry red wine.

this is not your typical spaghetti sauce, at least not by american standards, and as jeremy and i twirled bites around our fork we relived a favorite meal from our trip to Florence. a little italian nonna (grandmother) surely stood behind the stove in that kitchen too.

jeremy's dad makes a similar-tasting sauce with a few variations from my family's recipe, but equally as authentic & delicious. i am hoping eli will grow up with an awareness of his italian heritage, and a memory of eating many family recipe spaghetti dinners, always prepared from scratch.

11 November 2008

men in tents.

veterans day was a usual kind of day for the most part. several walks with eli down the gravel drive to the mailbox before i remembered that there was no mail today. the two of us went to the Y, then had soup & special grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch (it was an overcast day) with chocolate squares for dessert. we set up eli's tepee from his great-aunt jeanne in the living room and he dragged in various supplies including but not limited to: the TV remote control, a blanket, two mini pumpkins, his keyboard, and a pair of my shoes.

after dinner and a good talk with jeremy, i crept upstairs to peek at the sleeping little boy who woke up only briefly, then settled back down onto soft layers of blankets. i watched him for awhile, turned off his lamp, quietly pulled the door closed, and went to find this photo of my dad from when he served in Vietnam. it's good to remember.

07 November 2008


last evening we returned from a trip east and i was so happy to see nashville's face again. its traffic lights & busy gas stations, its two-horned building off in the distance...i would have hugged this city were my arms wide enough. we picked up italian take-out & a bottle of wine on our way home from the airport. i was asleep by 9:32.

today i ventured to opening day at trader joe's. eli got bagel samples, a balloon & a sticker for his t-shirt. i got kitchen soap, a bag of avocados, arugula, bananas, cheese, soup, pasta, and a loaf of tuscan bread. then home to make a salad & have coffee on the porch. so many leaves falling that i tried to calculate how long it will be before all the trees are empty.

and i keep looking at this photo in disbelief. my friend mandy sent it to me of halloween. i just keep staring at this little boy's face, knowing that he's mine but wondering who he is at the same time. he looks so grown up to me. today i taught him how to say shoe.