Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE ONE WHERE THE GIRL GETS THROUGH THE WORK DAY AND MAKES IT HOME



I got five and a half hours of sleep last night, which is a whole two hours more than the night before, so we'll need to celebrate, by sharing our fantasies, shall we? These days, my fantasy is not to travel to some distant lands or have an extravagant adventure. My fantasy looks like this: my bed, with my sheets and pillows and blankets, in a room on the beach. The room has a roof for shade, but all four of its walls are glass, so you can see out, but it’s the kind of windows where people can’t see in. I don’t know if that exists in the real world or just in my fantasy, but that’s what it is. Also, the room has windows on either side, which can be opened to receive and expel the warm breeze, but again, no one can see inside. The sand is warm, the water is warm, and the tide is low. Everything smells like sun and somehow there is no sand in my bed. And in this fantasy, I sleep. For however long I want. That’s it. And also maybe there is a cup of water besides my bed so that I can drink it when I get thirsty, but the thing is I don’t ever have to go to the bathroom while I’m in that room. This is what I daydream about when I’m at work. 

That first picture up there are my lips coated in Revlon Moon Drops Cream Lipstick in Hot Coral. Coated is perhaps too strong of a word, let's go with smidged. And nothing about lipstick or the color hot coral hurts my feelings. I heard someone say that recently: I was chatting up the weather with an older gentleman at a sandwich shop, and he said, "a sunny day and no snow on the ground - that don't hurt my feelings none." and I have thought about him saying that constantly, since. I am also a little bit in love with navy blue colored nail polish. I know it looks black in these photos, but it's navy and it makes me feel polished even when I know for a fact that the back of my head is a layer of frizz fuzz.


Last night I had the first hour and a half to myself since in I can't even remember when, and I accidentally ended up spending that time watching a silly movie, which ended up being sort of soothing and relaxing, because sometimes that works? If you had asked me at any other time I would have told you my plans were to get to a bookstore as soon as I had a spare anything to gobble up all the stories in George Saunder's new book, "Tenth of December", and the plan is to still get myself over there to do that soon, but in the meanwhile I've read two of his stories in that book here and here, was utterly gripped by both of them, and the second one there made me cry. 
 

On the way home, I stopped by Croaker's Spot to pick up their cornbread because that is what one does when one wants really good cornbread which should really be called a corncake and what one does when their mom tells you she is making chili and asks, where is the best cornbread around these parts? Whilst picking up said cornbread I stood near this couple who really was too great for the lackluster words I have now left in my weary brain, so I will leave it at that. 

I hit traffic on the way home, and felt a little sorry for myself.  


But then I came home to my momma with my baby and really, there isn't a single thing to complain about here. Is there some reason that my parents were here during a month that was rough, for several reasons, and love on Sloane so hard? The answer here is, yes.

Plus, when I got home, I saw that we got package in the mail, which is always one of my favorite things, and this particular package was another hat that the lovely Laura had knit, and it's kind of amazing.


Does this not make you want a hat exactly like that, in big person size? Doesn't it?! But the fact that it's a little person hat just makes it that much better. Thank you Laura!



and with that, goodnight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A WEDNESDAY THAT RESOLVES TO LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE


The weather today is being SUCH a tease. I think the adult and mentally healthy thing to do here is to enjoy the 70 degree weather, instead of storing up resentment for when it gets immediately cold again. So coffee in one hand, kefir in the other, I'm armed and ready to be my positive, in-the-moment, self.

And for good measure: a mustached papa, lipsticked mama, and a baby flapping her arms with all of her might.

Monday, January 28, 2013

FIVE THINGS


Was it just my imagination, wishful thinking, hallucination, oorrr was it a little brighter than it usually is during my drive home?

It has been so busy over here. I can barely catch my breath, but I'm taking 10 minutes out of the madness to say:

1. I am so relieved January is ending soon. I don't feel that excited about February, but the end of January means one more winter month down. 
2. February, I would really appreciate it if you were less about grey skies, and more about exercise. 
3. Self, you really need to get back to exercising regularly. I SWEAR to you, you will feel better.
4. A spoonful of cayenne pepper in a batch of double chocolate chip cookies = game changer. 
5. I may or may not be (I am) obsessed with the store, Franklin Goose. It is fast becoming one of my favorite stores and I have to start doing things like leaving my wallet at home while I come to peruse so that I can keep myself in check.

And now, five things:

hands down, my favorite sweater right now. i wear it multiple days in a row, and it's the best.  

i am in love with the combination of these buttons with this gift box. 

this is who i get to hang out with in my bed a little too early on saturday mornings. also, i feel teeth!

sloane's first glimpse of snow. sloane doesn't seem too interested, rusty is ALL about it.  

savory pie from proper pie. check. 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

WHAT WE HAD FOR DINNER







Here is a delayed edition of what we had for dinner last week. My momma, the wonderful lady that she is, has been helping us out over here and many of these meals are her cooking up healthy Korean-style meals. 

Monday – rice porridge, seaweed soup, pan-fried fish
Tuesday – tofu soup with shrimp, mussels, and cabbage
Wednesday – chicken noodle soup, orange and fennel arugula salad, and fancy grilled cheese (pepper jack & strawberry jam, sharp cheddar & apple, mozzarella & tomato, sharp cheddar & ham; inspired by this)
Thursday – tofu steaks, avocado & cucumber salad
Friday – shrimp and pork fried rice



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WEEKDAY, DON'T BE A CREEP






January, you anvil!

I am hobbling my way through this week. Thank goodness for my mama. Maybe if you are having a particularly difficult week, you can give yourself a break and maybe it will look like this:

Why don’t we all listen to this song, while perusing this fantastic recent collection by Maison Scotch. Maybe that’ll get you relaxed enough to wander down to the kitchen and make two, just two, chocolate chip cookies to munch on while reading this great article on George Saunders. Maybe if you have the time, and the tub, you will take a bath while reading one of his short stories (check out this one), or if you are in a different kind of contemplative mood, you will read this article about faith, instead.  And if you have days when you feel like you would just like to get the hells off the internet, maybe a diary like this will replace the need to expound on twitter, and will also be a really fun thing to look back on.

And if it helps, when you are particularly tired, maybe you can fantasize about being in bed, and be thankful you get to have one, especially when its so cold outside. That's what I'm doing right now - fantasizing about my bed, being thankful for it, and finishing off a box of special k popcorn chips.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A WEEKEND IN SOMEWHAT OF A REVIEW






We had plans to go out of town this past weekend for a baby shower, hanging out with friends, meeting my parents in D.C., and other such things, but Sloane had been riddled with a runny nose, congestion and cough all last week and so we made a last minute decision to play it safe and keep it local. It turned out that I wasn’t feeling so hot in the bod, either, so we spent most of the weekend indoors, in bed, and good lord if that wasn’t just what we all needed.  Happy to report that baby seems to be doing much better on all fronts, and not ashamed to admit that after the weekend was over I still felt like I could use a few more days in my pajamas. Complaining about going back to work (on MLK day, no less!) is done and overdone, so let’s move on to talking about bakeries and pictures of my chub-cheeked baby, shall we?

We stepped out of our cave a couple of times. One of the times was to grab some pastries and bread at Sub Rosa, in Church Hill. This is one of three bakery/cafĂ© places that I know of that opened recently in that area – WPA bakery, Proper Pie, and Sub Rosa (anything else?) – and I am thrilled about it. I would have been over the moon if these places had opened while we lived there, but then maybe I would also have gotten incredibly rotund on all the pastries that I would be eating and then that would be something else to gripe about. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Church Hill became an area known for great local bakeries?!) We checked out WPA bakery a few weeks ago, and I expected sort of a similar vibe at Sub Rosa, but found it to be different; WPA bakery feels very much like a Richmond spot and Sub Rosa reminded me of a place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Richmond has its share of (ever-growing) artists, musicians, young families, etc. - who are all interested in supporting local ingredients, good food, and visually-pleasing spaces, so I’m hopeful that places like these will do well.

Sub Rosa has a great selection of things, including Lamplighter coffee, and attempts to use all local and organic ingredients for their goods. We tried several of their items and I think my favorite was the almond croissant (the chocolate was sold out) because the buttery-flakiness of the croissant was right on. My mom got the apple tart, and it virtually melted in our mouths. I wasn’t as excited about the quiche and the bread items we tried, but I’ll be willing to give it another go. I hear rave reviews about a chard and feta tart, so I’ll go back for that. Another thing of note was that the items were pricey – you are paying for the type of ingredients they use. I think the almond croissant was almost $5, but if you are looking for the perfect croissant, I wouldn’t be surprised if you come here and end up inhaling two of them.







Later on that night, we went out for an early dinner with my parents and the most notable thing is that while Sloane still gets passed around from lap to lap, she does things like sit in a high chair..! All by herself! And nibble on toys and such, and then drop them on the floor, like a big baby! It tickles me to the core a lot of times how she is so wide-eyed with wonder, wherever we go, even if it’s just to a new restaurant, and I have myself a grand ol' time imagining this world through her eyes.









<3>

Sunday, January 20, 2013

LOVELY MELANCHOLY


Claude Monet. Fishing Boats Leaving the Harbor, Le Havre 
1874 (160 Kb); Oil on canvas, 60 x 101 cm (23 5/8 x 39 3/4")

This painting and the song, "I'm Getting Ready" by Michael Kiwanuka captures how I felt today, in the best way possible. Sloane and i were feeling a bit under the weather and we listened to this song a few times in a row while staring at this painting.  



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A WINTER WEDDING

 we went to a beautiful wedding that last weekend of 2012. i haven't been to many winter weddings, but truly, if i were going to have a winter wedding, i'd want it to be like this one. we somehow felt cozy and warm and to be sure the lovely tablescape, colored glass, pies galore, beautiful bride and groom, and being surrounded by friends didn't hurt none.  shall i give you some peeks? most of the peeks are of the friends that we were seated next to at said wedding, and all the smiley faces is an apt description of what the whole thing felt like.



i got a picture with the bride!!! and there was also a handsome groom, but i must not be at that level of wrangle, yet.  

i need more of these faces
 your typical drink-in-hand-at-party photos

baby wranglers
the oh so fabulous clinches
behind-the-scenes extraordinaire, who also happens to be in tune with what is hip with the babies these days

photobooth


aaaaand goodnight. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

WORK WEEK, I SMITE THEE




It seems like I am on a run of downer posts, but you know what, sometimes you can only write the most honest things when you are feeling sort of glum. And it matters most that my voice is true. It is true that today I played a sort of pathetic game with myself, where I would close my eyes and try to most accurately guess the time. I don’t know why I did this, because when there is a need to play such a game, it’s discouraging at best, but that’s what happened today.  

It has been a mild winter, but it seems unavoidable, the lack of sun has finally caught up with me and I find myself a prisoner to these January-March months.  I don’t think like this all the time, because there are things to look forward to in these next few months, but something about not getting enough sunlight puts me in a dream-like haze where I visualize that I am behind the prison bars of winter-dom. This is not drama, it’s description! I know I’m not alone in this. I was looking forward to this past weekend to get some sun time, but as it happened, it was grey, gloomy and cloudy, and that and some other physical factors, helped ease me into this sort of glumness. And Monday, did you really have to be so grey and gloomy and glum? Did ya? 

After leaving work, then a round about of errands, I got my baby, came home, nursed, changed baby, broke a wine glass, stepped on a piece of glass, made Brussels sprout chips, played with baby, roasted lemons, fed baby avocado, made chicken with butter/stock/lemon/olive sauce, ate entire pan of Brussels sprouts chips while watching baby play, roasted some more Brussels sprouts - among other things. That picture up there is that of aforementioned chips. They are salty goodness. I may have overdone the salt, which may have led to overeating and I will do an extra ten pushups tonight. You see? It's not a downer post after all - I cooked instead of asking K. to pick something up, I picked up the pieces of the broken wine glass instead of pretending it wasn't there, and Sloane was wildly pleased with my rendition of 'Doh, a deer' - all terrific wins. No matter how defeatist my sleep-deprived bod, I choose this over anything else if it means I end my day practicing kisses with baby and getting cuddles from the sweetest urchin I know. Fortified with her smiles, I shall press on, and work-week, you will be mine.  



Sunday, January 13, 2013

FIVE THINGS


so the other weekend, when it was sunny and crisp on a saturday morning, my parents, sloane, ken, rusty and i, all went over to churchhill to check out WPA bakery and walk around to the parks in the neighborhood. it was peace-giving, sun in my eyes, fresh air in my lungs, love in my heart - that's how much i had needed a walk in the great outdoors. i took so many photos with my dslr, photos that made me happy to have captured - my dad happily pushing sloane in the stroller, my mom posing in front of pretty houses that we imagined she would move to, ken and rusty overlooking richmond, my parents walking side by side.  there was so much sunlight and i felt so fresh.

then, a few days ago, i went to my camera to retrieve them, and discovered that horrors of horrors, i had accidentally deleted all of them. i was and still am tortured about having lost those photos. i'm fighting that huge feeling of regret, which doesn't fade easy, and i'm resolved to recreate all that somehow. the possibility of that happening isn't great, but i'm a big girl, i'll pull up my big girl pants and get over it. 

and instead, here are five things that my iphone camera captured and kept from that weekend with my parents:
1. artichoke and feta roll + tasty coffee at WPA bakery
2. sloane and my mom at lamplighter
3. the baby during a costco run
4. fans watching k. play volleyball.
5. sloane having a good time with her grandpa.







Friday, January 11, 2013

SLOANE AT FIVE MONTHS



i apologize in advance for the amount of (rather large-sized) pictures that are to follow. 
i practiced restraint, really i did. 
but i'm a momma posting pictures of her happy baby, indulge me?


At five months, this baby is growing into her own. She has resolved to check out everything with her eyeballs, her hands, her mouth. She leans forwards, backwards, under, over and around you in order to investigate something that she catches a glimpse of, and she reaches out, hands outstretched, which then means she also has to feel it in her mouth. Her world is getting bigger with each thing she sees/feels/gnaws on, and it fills me with glee to watch the world introduce itself to her. ‘Hey world, Sloane is here and she’s coming for you.’


She is still inquisitive, curious, and attentive as ever. When there is conversation going on around her, she'll gnaw on her towel or recent favorite toy and will seem to be nodding along with you, 'yes, yes, go on, then what happened?' Sometimes, she is ultra serious, especially when she meets new people. And then her somber face is all cheeks and dark eyes.



In this spirit of exploration, she can’t wait to get moving, but she seems much more excited about trying to stand on her feet than crawling on her hands and knees. She props up her upper body like a cobra, and surveys the land to see what she can go after. She uses her hands to turn around in a circle and get a proper survey. If she designates a target, she will first attempt to scoot over to it, but will end up backing up, instead of forward (her motors don’t run forward yet), and to overcome this problem, she will attempt to roll her way over to it, which means she often ends up somewhere completely different, but she doesn’t seem to mind all that much.



She is really good at sitting up, sitting around, hanging out, and when she gets excited or hears a good beat, she rocks back and forth with glee.  It’s hard to find anything better than a little lump of a person rocking back and forth with joy watching you dance like a crazy person to Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’.


When you start singing to her, she will break into a big smile, and when she hears music, she will often pause to listen. Sometimes, she will try to sing along with you. These days I’ve been singing her different versions of ‘Amazing Grace’ as part of her bed time ritual, and she will more often than not try to ‘sing’ it along with me. I can’t wait to sing all sorts of songs with her.

She definitely understands who her mom and dad are now – and how glorious it is to see her bouncing up and down with joy when she sees me or Ken walk through the door.  She has also started reaching out for me with her arms, and it is my slice of brilliant. She also claws at faces- I'm not sure what she thinks is going on when she does that, but it can feel like being mauled by a baby tiger.

We are getting the hang of sleeping, and we are trying things like avocado, apples and carrots for the first time.  And by we, I mean, her. We sit in a baby chair at the table, and we are still fascinated by Rusty the dog - she can't wait to get her hands all up in his fur, I can see it in her eyes. We like books, fascinated by any sort of screen, and aren't we all super trooper bath-takers! (The last 'we' applies to the grown-ups too, especially K.)




6 months means we all get a little more worn out with all this pawing, exploring, giggling, we do, 
but we are constantly 
so amazed
that we can hardly believe it.