Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We giggled as I strapped her into my Ergo baby carrier yesterday before nap time. I found this relic of Karis' infancy while sorting through her baby clothes the other day. I pulled it out to surprise her and show her how I carried her around when she was a baby. She loved the experience of sitting so close to me and has since asked to go back in it a few times. I should have known that this little girl--who is still very much a baby in many ways--would love to be held like one. And I should have known that this mommy--who knows her baby-ness is quickly fading--would enjoy carrying her like one.
I love food. I love to talk about it, eat it, watch people eat it, write about watching people eat it...you get the idea. Lately, I've been narrowing down what exactly it is that I like so much about food and the act of eating. One conclusion I have come to is that I love food stories. I love the intersection where food and people's lives collide. Recently, I've been enjoying a few food related books. Belinda Hulin's Roux Memories: A Cajun-Creole love Story With Recipes has taken me down the path of her childhood in New Orleans. It's filled with family photographs, and each recipe begins with a short story that explains the roots of the recipe in her family history. I've also enjoyed Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans. While the recipes don't seem very accessible to home cooks like myself, I love the stories about the farmers and chefs and their collaborations with each other. While I know I should expand my reading repertoire, books like these keep me heading back to my library's food section time after time.
Lately I've been enjoying the beautifully melancholy music of Rufus Wainwright. Karis, on the other hand, called it "scary boy music"and made a low, grunting noise to mimic his sound. I'm not swayed by her disapproval, and I even posted an article about my affection for his work over at Synconation yesterday.
Posted by Alina at 8:30 PM
Saturday, January 15, 2011
When we first moved into our home nearly two years ago, I found the "alley" papers in the drawer to the left of the kitchen sink. I had heard about the infamous alley from the previous owner and several surrounding neighbors. Located directly behind my house, concealed from view by a privacy fence, lies an unpaved alley, overgrown and under-managed by the city. Neighbors claim it's a safety hazard and the direct result of neglect by the city. I'm not sure what the city would say (or has said) in response. Either way, I've always associated the alley with legal papers and disputes and much ill-will.
What has caused division between parties and physical properties alike has recently acquired a new purpose for me. There is a stretch of 10 feet or so behind our shed where there is no privacy fence, only a chain link fence that I can see through to the wild alley beyond. The other day I was out in my yard and happened to walk by the shed. I glanced behind the shed and spotted a beautiful, overgrown alley with plants reaching up toward the sky and bathed in afternoon light. My neighbors are not going to like what came next.
Running inside to grab a large vase filled with water, some scissors and my camera, I made my way out back behind the shed and stood there for ten minutes collecting a vase full of shrimp plants, photographing their beautiful rust-colored blooms resembling the crustacean after which they are named. I felt a little naughty foraging through the orphaned alley, afraid Mema next door would see me and denounce me as a complete traitor.
Truth be told, I love that my urban neighborhood contains a little stretch of land that's been left (by whatever means) to run free. With rows of homes and gardens and lawns intentionally manicured to suit each individual homeowners' taste, I'm fond of the idea that this land is wild and rebellious and free. Of course, I get the irony that I couldn't help but touch and cut and tame some of that wild in order to bring it indoors to be admired on my windowsill and dining room table.
And what did Mema have to say when I showed them to her the next day? Sounding altogether unimpressed, with her voice low and flat, she said, "Shrimp plants." I wonder if she saw me.
Posted by Alina at 4:19 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
:: dances around the house day and night in a ballerina outfit much too tiny and revealing for her growing height. When I insist she wear pants (for warmth and decency), she insists "I like the cold." Her current nasty cough tells me otherwise.
:: carries a flashlight around the house with her all day long. Having recently discovered the joy of battery-operated beams of light, I often find her tucked away in a dark corner quietly experimenting with light and shadows.
:: dreams of her school days to come. She babbles on giddily about all the fun it will be and what she'll learn and how she'll be just like her cousin Evie. I'm a little sad and a lot excited for her to enter this new phase of life.
Posted by Alina at 10:13 PM
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I could eat my words from last year's resolution post. I knew within a few days of writing it that I had reached too high in some of my goals, particularly my goal of 52 Fridays, a plan to have people over for dinner every Friday for the whole year. Zero--that's exactly the number of Fridays that I hosted people in my home last year. It turns out that 2010 had other plans in store for me and my family. Lots of maturing and searching and working and repenting and forgiving and rejoicing. Lots and lots. But, as a result, I stand here with my feet planted on the edge of 2011 feeling more hopeful than I was last year. Not wishful or dreaming. But hopeful. Honest-to-goodness hopeful.
I have not thought much about resolutions this new year. I suppose I'm feeling a little gun shy this time around lest I miss the mark again so terribly. As Matt and I ate Chinese food last night to celebrate 9 years of marriage (Yes, NINE!!), I told him how much I'm realizing that life has a way of carving out a path that I never planned for. It's a process that's so frightening in it's unpredictability and yet unmistakably beautiful because the plan has been there all along.
My bags are packed, 2011. I'm barely ready for this.
Posted by Alina at 11:55 PM