Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Upon Us

It's just that time of year. That wonderful crazy sometimes overwhelming time of year. An acting teacher I had in college said something once which I never forgot. He said, "You do the things that are important to you." Meaning there's really no such thing as I Don't Have Time or I Just Couldn't; there's only I Chose To Make Time for Something Else. So I won't say I haven't had time to blog, I'll just say I have not been making time for the computer. I have been making time for Luciana (who has her first tooth poking through! And she's celebrating by waking up every hour from 1-5am), for a little holiday shopping and cooking, for "Dexter" once a week, though never on Sunday nights and I haven't watched the season finale yet so don't tell me what happens, and for, gulp, getting ready to go back to work for a couple of months. I'm doing a play in January/February for which I'm really excited; I'll tell you all about it as well as my process in deciding I could do it, which was, I think, the hardest decision I've just about ever made.

But for now I want to wish you a truly beautiful holiday full of all the stuff a good holiday should be full of. A year ago we weren't even telling anyone other than family and closest friends about Luciana, who was a mysterious embryo--what a year it's been!

I also want to give you a super-easy and very delicious salad which you can bring to any and all holiday potlucks or family dinners. It's so delicious, in fact, and I have so much faith in you being able to tell that when you read it that there is no picture. I am obsessed with fennel, by the way, and this has only intensified my current addiction.

Fennel Salad
in theory 4 servings, but more like 2 in our house
lightly adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

2 fennel bulbs
2T lemon juice
grated zest of 1/4 lemon
1 t white wine or champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
1 t chopped fennel tops

any or all of these optional add-ins:
parmesan cheese curls
1 1/2 T chopped green olives
2T chopped Italian parsely
celery and/or radishes

Trim tops and root ends from fennel bulbs; save a few feathery leaves for garnish; pull off and get rid of any discolored or dried outer leaves.

Make dressing by stirring together lemon juice, zest, vinegar, salt and pepper then whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Use a mandoline or a very very very sharp knife to shave or thinly slice fennel crosswise. Toss with dressing, adjust seasoning, and garnish with the fennel tops.

Add any or all of those add-ins up there. I'm a big fan of the parmesan/parsley combo myself.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Sky and I went to a wedding of a dear friend last weekend. Luciana came with us to the ceremony as that part was at 2 in the afternoon, and she got to wear her first party dress, which was courtesy of a wonderful friend in the fashion world of New York.

It ended up being a really powerful experience for us--being at a wedding reminded us of...US. Of why we're together and what we believe in as a couple and how being in love is such a phenomenal thing. In some ways we're close than ever, but since Luciana has been born there have been certain areas that have gone on the back burner. Make that the burner in the neglected storage closet in the abandoned garage.

Since that day we've promised each other to connect for 5 minutes (minimum) in the morning and 5 minutes at night in a way that's just for us. Not talking about scheduling or even how much we love the baby. Just being us. So many people told us to make sure we keep the romance alive, and we never thought for a second we'd need to work at it. But here we are, low on sleep, high on obsession with our daughter, and both of us juggling a lot. It's easy to put off the daily maintenance of intimacy. Someone said to me, and at the time I thought "yeah yeah I know" but here I am living it: that intimacy needs maintenance and work just like an in-shape body needs maintenance and work, just like a beautiful garden needs maintenance and work, just like a concert pianist's scales need maintenance and work. It feels really good and really right to be giving our attention to us again. I know we'll only have a happier family for it.

us not long after we were engaged. I still have that puffy jacket...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What She Is.....

Somewhere in Luciana's first weeks of life I started talking to her about her Little Body and Big Soul. I think it first came out when I was comforting her---it struck me, and still strikes me daily--- how much feeling and spirit is in her currently 14-lb, 26-inch physical body. Every day it seemed we'd talk about this, and I thought it would make a really cute t-shirt. I also know I am amazingly incredibly inept when it comes to the visual arts: my stick figures don't pass the third grade level. While I can probably write in paint better than create images in paint, I accept my limitations, which I think is a strength, and I did want a shirt that looked like someone older than her made it. So knowing that I had a) a lack of talent in the paint department b)no fabric paint or plain onesie on hand c)no desire to make a trip to the craft store for said supplies, I went to land of all things delightful and handmade: Etsy, where I found Little Dewdrops. I felt when I looked at her other shirts that she'd get why I wanted one that said this for my daughter. I pitched her my design, she said Yes, and Luciana's first custom shirt was born. I also had one made for one of my favorite 3-yr-olds.

I think she knows I'm talking about her.