Sunday, January 31, 2010

A long way until May.

It's freezing and we've all taken turns with a stomach bug and we wanna go back to the zoo but it's too cold.

so instead we're smearing the house with saltines and taking napping shifts.

Putting our babies in weird positions.

Keeping warm.

And beautiful, if out of focus. Hard to keep still what with all the stir-craziness.

(K. not pictured because... no one has taken a picture of the poor man! Trust me, he's cute.)
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

officially, I'm pretty sure.


I am pretty sure I'm opening a grocery store in the first floor of our building. On May 1st.

It's something I have not been able to get out of my head in a year, we have a great space for it we're already paying for, and I'm not having a baby anytime soon, so I think I am going for it.

I've kind of been resisting the idea. Hey, we might move to New Zealand! Hey, a novel could sell! Hey, I could lose buckets of money!

But market demand and business plans aside (and oh yes, I have those), there's been a whole lot of things adding up, one by one, to push me in this direction, and I'll tell you that it is a frickin' RUSH to give in and go with it.

I read somewhere that the definition of an artist is someone who sees the world in a certain way, can't find their vision IN the world, and so they create it.

I see the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery as a big, airy, rough-around-the-edges store that sells local-when-I-can produce, fresh bread (not the fancy kind, but just plain bread and rolls, handmade fried pies, country eggs, Billy Ray's milk in the glass half-bottles, yogurt by the quart container, bulk spices, flour, sugar, maple syrup, local honey, craft/more esoteric beers, funky soda pop, seriously good chocolate, bulk candy, pasta, and rice by the bag. I see it as a place where kids hang out happily in a kids' area while parents shop and there's a few booths for anyone who wants to eat their fried pie or wedge of cheddar right away. I see it as a place where we do deliveries and special orders and don't charge you an arm and a leg just because we've got the best stuff in town. I see it as a place that seriously loves food and hustles to get the hard-to-find stuff: bison salami from Missouri, locally grown strawberries from the Amish.

Wish me luck. There's a lot of hurdles between now and May 1st.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blech, urg, Monday.

K's away on business in Florida. For three nights.

Caspian's good-as-gold sleeping habits are threatening to unravel. He is not sick or teething; I think it has to do with the learning-to-crawl thing, which he is desperately working on. This involves getting up on his knees with no idea to do once he's there, falling over, and thumping his head.

Annaliese misses her Daddy and keeps asking me where he is. She is also talking up a storm, and told me a story tonight about a boy named Reece in her nursery school, who apparently caused her to bump her head, and Miss Margaret (her teacher) was somehow involved. By far her most long-winded anecdote to date!

I am fine and getting ready to crawl into bed with some carrots, broccoli, Green Goddess dressing, a cup of herbal tea, and a book about Carravaggio, or that Italian painter guy. Because that's how I rock it when my sweetie's out of town.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An addendum

Easy way to entertain a baby while you get some planting done: sprinkle stale cereal around the baby and let the chickens out.
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Brother and Sister

Caspian's in the crib. Annaliese is in the big-girl bed. I wake up every morning to hear them giggling.

We went to the zoo yesterday and the whole way home, Annaliese leaned across the back seat to tickle Caspian, who giggled, chortled, snorted.

Serious fun.

(Zoo pics to come from my slacker husband! Yay!)
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So it's warm, and the kids are sleeping well, and I find myself with nothing to whine about.

Here is the album of Annaliese's birthday party. Doesn't quite capture the awesomeness of the event: Annaliese racing around with her buddies, having a ball, and thanking them for their presents and for coming to her party. Frickin' adorable.

Cross your fingers, Annaliese has been sleeping quite well in her big-girl bed. K. made a rail which seems to deter the getting-out-of-bed-over-and-over madness. I haven't put Caspian in the crib yet because I want her to bond to the new bed and lose any vestiges of attachment to the old one but a few more nights and we'll try that.

Last night he slept fro 6:30 pm to 5am without waking for the 10pm feeding. I didn't notice cos I was asleep myself. Awesome! Best night in over seven months! Annaliese didn't require anything all night either!

Of course, K and the kids are getting very snotty again so this may not last. But keep your fingers crossed.

Two feature articles due to two different publications Monday, some interviews tomorrow, a truck load of mature nandinas and azaleas that our neighbor gave me for free (he's a contractor and someone is re-landscaping around their new porch), and so I am busy, busy, busy.

But happy. And warm. Turns out a switch was frozen and after I semi-hysterically took the kids to K's office Fri afternoon and then made him take us out for pizza (he stopped thinking I was over-reacting when we came home to a 52 degree house), he called the heating guy who came over promptly and cheerfully and finally discovered the real problem. Yay!

Friday, January 08, 2010


I like to tell people that we get seasons in Mississippi. And we do: leaves fall, jackets are donned, there is a light frost or two, and once every winter (in the three years we've lived here), we wake to a very light dusting of snow that shuts down the schools and melts by midday.

It is 13 degrees but the weather man tells us it "feels like" -1 right now. The light dusting of snow is in its second day of existence, because it's not getting above freezing even at noon.

And we've made a discovery... our newly insulated house with the brand-spanking new electric heat system performs quite well until it dips below 20. Then it struggles. We've woken up to a 53 degree house for the past few mornings.

Sigh. The electric man has been out, and fixed something, which made no difference. K. spent a day putting up siding below our perched-on-pillars house, which SURELY does make a difference but not temperature-wise.

Maybe by next winter we'll get the trim finished and spend a week with a bunch of caulk, cos here's no doubt that this place is drafty around all the edges.

In the mean time, I'm typing in fingerless gloves, sitting on a heating pad, and Caspian's napping with the electric heater pulled close and under a mound of blankets with a hat on.

The cold spell's supposed to move on by Sunday, and then we'll be back to 45 during the day, 25 at night. Which, after all, is how it is supposed to be in Mississippi.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Annaliese, age 2!

Today is January 6th, the last day of Christmas, Epiphany, and the birthday of my firstborn.

Her (first!) birthday party is on Sunday, so we're holding the cupcakes and presents until then.

But she got some grandparent something somethings today, a balloon at school, and a whole lot of "Happy Birthdays!"

(Which she loves, and likes to sing to those around her. As in, we give her a Happy Birthday, and she gives us one back.)

Happy Birthday, big girl!

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Monday, January 04, 2010

The adreniline is dying down

Holidays are over, my baby is 7 months old, the new novel is about 1/3rd of the way done.... sigh. Now is the keep-plugging time, and what I'd really like to do is press Pause and take a long, long nap, wake up, stare at the sky, and then go on a tropical vacation with my sweetie.

We've been talking a lot about how crazy we are about our kids and how very tiring they are. I sure hope that when we actually get to the solo summer-camp/grandparents' house/sleepovers time of life in a few years, we still want to spend time together.

Went to see It's Complicated (by myself!!!) on Saturday and it is really superb. Since my parents pretty much are Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin (sorry, Mom), I can vouch for the movie's emotional authenticity. I highly recommend it, especially for anyone who is married.

The message I took away from it is Don't. Fuck.Up. because some mistakes cannot be unmade.

So unless you want to end up in a FABULOUS house dating STEVE MARTIN.... keep it steady with your sweetie so you can grow old together :)

Ah, Hollywood.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Garden (Beds)

Viewed from the porch. It is freezing, and we are stir-crazy. Luckily for us spring starts coming in February. So right now we're all chilling in the living room with a fire, Caspian in his Exersaucer, Annaliese everywhere, and the Big Bang theory playing (thanks John!)



The idea is to walk down the hill from the porch, past the orchard, and step through the gate into...

the beautiful, beautiful garden, with a center aisle and paths between the funnily-shaped beds (what can I say, we have a funnily-shaped lot).

I am planning to plant a small tree and strawberries in the hexagon one in the back. Tomatoes and melons and squashes and beans and sweet potatoes, with nasturtiums and sunflowers mixed in, in the others.

However, K's done his job in an afternoon... the double-digging and manure-hauling is all me, baby, and it is going to take a long, long, long time. Sigh. The tomatoes still feel very far away.
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Friday, January 01, 2010

A wee bit of bragging

One of the nice things about being a grown-up and owning a house is that I'm finding I very much like my own taste. That sounds silly but it's a big treat to get to do things my way and then get to see it my way every day!

We found these wall decal things that look like stencils but aren't ( and behold:

I totally love it! Coupled with K's new chairs hanging handily on hallway hooks, it makes me feel like we live in some cracked-out Shaker house.

I'm also trying to force some bulbs...

finally using a blown-glass wedding present bowl I've never found a use for.

But the big thing today was...

Our super-cool potager-style raised bed garden that K started laying out! Actually, he finished entirely... this pic was taken when Caspian had woken up from his nap but Annaliese was still down. He did the whole thing in an afternoon using what was left of our old scrap beams and it looks fantastic...more pics later.

We have plans to build a bamboo fence (cool-looking and we can get bamboo for free around here) and I'll be digging double-bed method and planting, planting, planting well into the spring.

I love projects like this. Lucky I have such a fab partner who both appreciates my style and executes so very well.
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