Here and There

Monday, September 24, 2007


This is a picture of my recipe binder. I made it to organize all the magazine recipes, recipes and old recipe cards I had floating around and I love that it is like my own cookbook. One thing I like to do is write on different recipes little notes about when I made them. That way it's kind of a journal too. For example, "Nimota's birthday, added 1/2 cup more sugar to the frosting." or as seen below "Back in the saddle meal." That was from when morning sickness had lightened and I cooked a real dinner for the first time. So yesterday after my dear church had brought me meals for 6 weeks!, I was on my own, ready to start planning some dinners. I pulled out my trusty recipe book. Tonight is Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce and I will jot a little note to remind me of this day and this meal.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Farewell Summer

These are flowers from my garden, a farewell summer bouquet. The blue bachelor button at the top is next to a "black cat" scabiosa, one of my favorite cutting flowers. Now it's time to put bulbs in the ground and start trying to remember to light candles in the evening for that cozy autumn feel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


A Natural History of the Senses has me thinking about sense experiences in my own life, especially smell. How complex the evocations of smell. For me, the smell of peach lipsmacker lip gloss could instantly transport me back to 8th grade. When I got dressed in the morning, I would lay out the outfit and match it with a lipsmacker flavor for the day. Kind of like jewelry or make up for the girl who didn't wear much of either. Dr. Pepper went well with a jean skirt and sweater vest. Raspberry went great with my Mary Engelbreit "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea nor trees" T shirt. Peach always went with my favorite outfit that year...a long patterned crinkle skirt and a periwinkle T shirt. (You don't really see periwinkle as a clothing color anymore. Too bad.) I had a "pot of gloss" of this peach lipsmacker rather than a tube and for years after it could be found in my dresser drawer or with my unused make up. I would open it up and take a whiff and boom! there I was walking through the back field at my Junior High, in the morning before class started, laughing and being silly with my friends, crinkle skirt hem getting soaked by the dew. Those crinkle skirts are tricky- step on the hem a couple times and they tear, and the only way to fix it is with scotch tape. Re-applying scotch tape to my hem was part of getting ready for the day just like grabbing the pot of gloss.

Recently, I was given some lovely apricot baby oil that smells exactly the same as peach lipsmacker. So now, I think of 8th grade and feeling on top of the world when I pour it in my hands and rub it all over Lily after a bath. 10 years from now I may smell that sweet smell and I will remember being in 8th grade and feeling on top of the world AND rubbing my little squirmy baby. I hope I get a whiff of this smell every once in a while for the rest of my life so can have that bizarre memory blend again and again.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday and being the BIGGEST birthday girl ever I will throw out some thoughts about this day:

*I wish I could wear the shirt pictured right now.
*Lily slept from 11:40pm-5:20am. I'm pretty sure it was the mojito, but I'll think of it as her birthday present to me.
*I ate 2 celebratory brownies for breakfast.
*I love my birthday.

I think it is really interesting how people feel about their birthdays. Some people, like Gid, just smile and shrug and the day goes by. Others, like me, get little trills of excitement (that does read trills and not thrills, because the trills come out as excited little giggles) weeks leading up to the big day. My birthday is like a holiday. (No, I don't mean everyone should celebrate it.) But in the same way on a holiday you look back and remember all the past celebrations, on my birthday I look back and remember all the other birthdays of my life. Who was there, what I did, what I felt. I think of my grandma on my birthday and I remember my birthday as a little girl, and I think of Peter and I remember my birthday as an older girl. It's kind of a 24 hour touchstone for me. This is me, this is my birthday, this is who I love and have loved, this is what I like and have liked. It can have melancholy moments and blissed out ones. It's all good.

The birthday memory that hit me this morning was from 2000. Peter and I were first dating and that morning he had left a present for me on the porch- a book of Lisel Mueller's poems. I skipped school (of course I did, it was my birthday) and drove to San Gregorio Beach near Half Moon Bay. I climbed up a hill to a little spot on the edge and I read those poems and watched the ocean and smelled all those good smells. (I really must get a field guide so I can identify all those coastal plants that smell so herby and delicious.)

The girl I am now still loves her birthday and still wants all the candles. I don't know that 3 will ever cut it. I appreciate the sentiment: past, present and future, but it's a little half-ass to me.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Out of my womb, Out of my room

Many have heard my personal opinion on co-sleeping. I didn't want to do it. I was adamant that my baby would occupy her own little bed and I would share my bed only with my husband.

I even had a slogan for it (see post title). So it was interesting to say the least when we started that first night home together as our family of three, 2 available beds, one designed especially for baby, we all ended up in the big one.

Part of the reason was that she screamed all night, but looking back there was more there. The crib felt far away, she felt too new. Could something that fresh off the assembly line fend for itself in there? I ultimately must not have been sure, so there she was- all wrapped up, lying between us, the cat hovering on the corners. (I'm sure thinking, "That's my spot. Even if I only sleep there sometimes, you're getting your baby stink all over my spot.")

I remember looking at Peter feeling defeated. My whole bag was that I was NOT going to do this. I know I had said as her arrival came closer, I'll be flexible. She may not be ready for her crib right away, we'll see what she's like. I'm not so rigid. But I was disappointed.

Every night got a little better after that. But she wouldn't sleep in the crib. No siree. It was like she hated the pattern of the sheet, the placement of it in the room. The whole thing. She wouldn't have it. So we would place her on a blanket, in between us and I would wake up feeling miles away from Gid and squished. Small comfort: at least I could sleep on my stomach. Left arm always cold from pulling down the quilt so it didn't suffocate her. She had a way of schooching closer to me as she slept until my little strip of bed to lay on was so narrow I'd wake up and schooch her back.

When I would make the bed in the morning or change the sheets I felt sad about sharing it, I wanted it to be a place that was peaceful and restorative and for me and Peter only.

Then, a few nights ago, I put her back to sleep after a night feeding in her crib. She looked so peaceful and didn't protest. The next night we put her to bed there. She did great. She sprawled out and I thought maybe she was like me and in the end needed some space to stretch.

That night though was baffling to me. I couldn't sleep well, I wondered about her in there. Was she okay? Did she need me and I couldn't hear her call out? I listened with my head raised from the pillow. Nothing. She woke me up very effectively with a squawk a few hours later. But during that first night, I missed my sweet little bedfellow. She was so little and soft.

I know everybody has a different preference, and I still hold mine. Having quite a bit of knowledge about child development I know that co-sleeping is generally great for small babies. But I also know that a lot of things are great for small babies and sometimes it's okay not to do all of those things. Who can? So I'll cuddle her all day and let everybody say I hold her too much. And at night, we'll dream in our own beds. That's not to say we won't all four of us be found having family bed in the morning. Welcome aboard Lil. Anything to stay in bed longer...