Sunday, August 31, 2008

summer soundtrack

A recent walk up the street involved lots of pointing and sounded like this:
Byebye door!
Byebye trash!
And each exclamation required an affirming response, or else it was repeated with increasing intensity until one was given. I have been making an effort to give these affirmations more vocabulary than simply repeating what he has just said. So my side of the conversation sounds like this:
A red door! It's closed!
Big garage!
Someone else's car! Where did they go today?
The trash can and the recycling can!
Two wheels! One two!
Nice soft green grass! They must water it a lot!
Byebye door, see you later! Oh, there's another one!

Today, delightful observations of what we see in the neighborhood... Someday, discussions about community, the environment, current events, and culture.

Friday, August 29, 2008

technical difficulties

Apologies for not being around much lately. Right after our trip, my computer problems were revealed to be multiple virus infections. My little laptop is not working properly even after getting it looked at. It may be awhile longer before we are up and running on the internet again.

Meanwhile, I'll be wilting in the heatwave (and buying a thermometer to track the temps inside our house), waiting for Sam's new haircut to grow out, putting in more hours on my househunting job, eating 5 homegrown tomatoes each day, sewing stuff for our Boston trip, and trying to understand my suddenly very verbal but not always comprehensible toddler. Do you know what "raish" means? I don't either, and it's making someone really upset. See you soon I hope!

Friday, August 22, 2008

goodbye pajaro, until next year

We're back from 5 days at Pajaro Dunes and a wonderfully relaxed visit with D's side of the family. Miles of uncrowded white sandy beach, gently crashing surf, otter sightings, deep-fried artichokes, big family dinners, olympics, cousin-bonding, barefeet, doggy licks, snickerdoodles, and a happy, sandy, beloved toddler.
Sam called the ocean "a-wa," his word for water. Do you think he enjoyed getting surprised by a wave?

This visit to Pajaro was Sam's second.(Click on photos to enlarge image)

Can't wait until next year!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

pickles and other garden bounty

You know it's harvest season when you stay up past midnight with a canning project. Last night we made some sweet dill pickle spears and some dilly beans, all with produce from our garden plot. A week ago we also canned some bread and butter pickles. Eighteen and a half pints of garden goodness! And there's more coming...hopefully tomatoes soon, and more pickles.

Three weeks ago or so was our first green bean harvest, and I hadn't been so excited to see garden bounty in quite awhile. I drove over to the garden after Sam went to bed (which is a thrill in itself, to be out and about past 7pm, seeing people walking and biking and enjoying a summer evening, I have been so out of that "nightlife" loop since Sam), and pushed aside the plants to see the long green beans hanging below...and I found myself smiling widely saying, "Yeah, baby!...Yeah, baby!" I never use that expression anymore, and that's probably a good thing, but man, I was a happy gardener.

Sam has actually been eating the narrow french green beans (we're also growing blue lake standard type), which is incredible because he's been turning up his nose at anything green lately. Such a surprise to have to hide his veggies after he ate them so freely in his babyhood, though I hear it's typical. But with these french green beans cooked to perfection, he just pops them right in his mouth.

I'll take a guess as to where my particular green bean pride comes from. In recent years I have not grown them, and even at my former job I grew scarlet runners instead. So my most powerful memories of green beans go all the way back to my 3rd and 4th seasons of farming, when I was just part of the crew on a 100 acre diverse organic farm back in Massachusetts and marvelled at my good fortune to have such an amazing job. This farm was big enough to have rows of veggies that could take over an hour for one person to pick or weed. Green bean picking is particularly tedious and was not a favorite job for many on the crew. It requires a lot of bending over, tugging at the beans with enough force to get them off (even better if you could get a whole handful at once) yet not so much that the weak-rooted plants pulled out of the ground, a good eye to discern the beans through the same-hued leaves without missing any, and some resistance to the midday heat and post-lunch fatigue since beans are not fragile enough to get picked in the cooler morning. We would all hop off the truck at the particular rows we were picking that day, check the clipboard to see how many bushels we needed, and then each of us would start at the end of one row and not look up until we were done. At least I didn't look up, because the way that I made this job fun for me was to try to finish my row before anyone else and have a fuller crate. This would mean that I was fast and thorough. And most of the time, I did win my little unspoken competition. Maybe this year, growing my own and seeing the bounty, brings back some of that happy pride.

I hope our tomato harvest will bring a similar sense of accomplishment. So far we have only picked less than 10, all from our New Girl plant (a substitute for Early Girl, which I could not find). I must admit that I am a bit disappointed that it is already halfway through August and most of our tomatoes are still green, but it looks like everybody in the community garden is experiencing the same wait, possibly due to the fog we had for a couple weeks recently. It's a particular type of impatience, this waiting for harvest...

We have had a lot of success (in addition to cukes and beans) with lettuce (earlier in the season), basil, parsley, zucchini, pattypan squash, and even a couple of green peppers. Pretty good for the weediest, buggiest, most theft-prone garden I have worked in. The proof is in the pickle jars.

Friday, August 8, 2008

grocery store giggles

Sam's favorite little friend is Sadie. They see each other at two weekly playgroups and occasionally at home. A few weeks ago we had a family picnic with our Monday playgroup, and Sam had fun pushing Sadie around in her stroller (photo by Carrie). It's been interesting watching them interact more and more as they get older. One day at playgroup, an older boy was repeatedly trying to grab a toy from Sam, and Sadie actually kept blocking the older kid, protecting Sam. She also says his name, "Sam," with the cutest little voice.

Yesterday we ran into Sadie and her mom Carrie at the grocery store. Sam and Sadie couldn't have been happier with the chance encounter. As we moms discussed fruit prices, the kids kept pointing at each other and laughing with glee.

Since then, Sam can't stop talking about it. This is the conversation we've had several times since yesterday afternoon:
Him- 'tore? 'tore? 'tore? 'tore?
Me- Store, yes, we went to the store.
Him- *nods* 'adie? 'adie? 'adie?
Me- Sadie, yes, we saw Sadie at the store.
Him- *nodding and laughing*
Him- 'tore? 'tore? 'tore?...

Sam, dear boy, may you always have friends who make you happy, and may you always have memories that make you laugh.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


After my rough days and desire for wine, I must mention the absolute angel that Sam was on Monday, the day of four-plus-two house visits over 3 hours, and Tuesday, the day of the conference room (again). Let me explain: Sam and I are househunting together. Of all the estimated 75 houses I have seen, Sam has seen most of them too. We are blessed with a realtor who is also a mother and a kind person, in addition to being a first-class realtor. She (K) greets Sam each time we meet, and she offers him her keys, her cellphone, her realtor-electronic-key, and she follows him through the properties keeping him safe while I take my time to see what I need to see.

The other day we went to see 4 houses, and then we went back to see 2 of them a second time with Daddy. Three out of four were vacant, so Sam could run free, K's keys in hand, opening and closing doors, exploring to his heart's content. Actually, he was wonderful. And then, when we finally stopped to have dinner at the local Whole Foods, Sam said "hi" to every passing person as we fed him yogurt and pasta salad, receiving many smiles and compliments, as Denis and I discussed our house choices and our possible future.

The next day, while we made our third (probably futile) offer on a house, in the conference room at Denis' office, Sam was again wonderful. Much credit goes to our realtor K, who provided him with keys, iphone, even a dollar bill rifled from her purse. As we signed and initialed that stack of now-familiar documents, Sam circled the room, pointing keys towards doorknobs and holding iphone to his ear, allowing us to do what we needed to do.

Thank you, sweet boy, for being my steady companion in this search for home. Your smile melts me, and I want nothing more than to give you one of these backyards to explore and many doors to open and close. We'll get there, I promise.