I was recently in Chicago for a few days. My friend, Emma, was there for a business conference with her baby, Samuel, who happens to be precisely one week older than Emerson. Emma and I attended college together, which included a three-month 'co-op' in LA. She was a nanny in the Pacific Palisades. I, despite everyone's best efforts, could not get a paying job. So I crashed on the futon-couch-thing at Emma's friend's apartment in Brentwood – a stone's throw from where Nicole Brown Simpson had only just been murdered (the police tape was still up). I ended up working for free doing script coverages for Oliver Stone's production company, and was even an extra in Nixon. I played a sleeping hippie on the steps of the 'Lincoln Memorial' who was oh so rudely awakened when Nixon and whoever James Woods played walked past me. Regardless of being in so so shiny Heidi Fleiss-y LA in my early twenties, the intrigue of being in such close vicinity to the most humongous murder scene since Manson days and the seemingly cool Hollywoody-ness of the Oliver Stone/Nixon stuff, I was miserable. By the end of that Summer, I vowed never to return to the vapid cesspool commonly referred to as Los Angeles.
Beginning with my last trimester of pregnancy to just a few months ago (almost a year now), I have had a really hard time finding my written voice. What is usually cathartic, (en)lightening, and fluid has been an uphill - two miles each way, in the snow, barefoot – battle. As a result, there has been a glaring dearth of content and, worse, I feel like I haven't given you, or me, what we want to find or come away with here.
Emerson Rose is almost ten months-old. Just like that. Crawling, laughing, 'talking', responding, acting, reacting, selecting, loving and eating. This kid loves to eat. She's amazing. Almost as amazing: Spring has finally arrived - sunshine, warmth, green, flowers, short sleeves. As she was born late last Summer and spent her first few months being teeny tiny, and fragile indoors, Emerson has not yet been able to be IN the air. And what better a time for her to be with all this exploring and adventuring she's getting into. She squeals with delight swinging on the swing, is fascinated with the sandbox (and it's apparently very delicious sand), and the grass (with it's equally palatable dandelions), and is 100% happy on any and all walks in the stroller. And, man alive, this girl is head over heels for baths and swimming. We're even inflating the baby pool this week!
Valentine's Day has some significance for almost everyone. I know I have experienced practically every variation of this day of Cupid throughout my life. I can still remember running home from elementary school with my arms overflowing with those precious little cards with illustrations like squirrels saying, “I'm pining for you!,” signed by each kid in my class. And, of course, the little candy hearts with the text... 'Be Mine'.
My dad always tried to step up on Valentine's Day. One year, I was about thirteen, he gave me a red rose and a postcard with an image of The Beatles that read; 'Scooterhead, Happy V Day from the Fab Four! Love, Big D.' Oh, Daaaad... As an adult, there have been traditional romantic dinners and getaways with loved ones, the anti-Valentine's Days with friends, vodka and Absolutely Fabulous marathons, and just as significant, a year (maybe more than one) single and snuggled up tightly with my dog, Besito, watching An Affair to Remember (ok, The Notebook), with a bottle of Bordeaux and a box of chocolates (a pupcake for Besito). Sobbing. (Well, it is THE most romantic movie EVER.)
Two weeks of 'cleansing' has come to a triumphant conclusion. It hardly felt like a cleanse. I was never hungry and I never had any insurmountable cravings. I truly was sated. In fact, the portions were often so plentiful I couldn't finish some meals – even skipped some scheduled afternoon snacks and desserts. Which, I believe, makes up for the bit of cheating on the wine consumption. I didn't drink tons, but maintained a glass or two each evening. I cut myself some slack on that, especially considering I swapped morning coffee for tea. And I love, need, my morning coffee. These days, with the baby and not much sleep, I feel that I need coffee to make coffee. But no, it has been tea. With almond milk and occasionally agave nectar. Meh.
It's a new year. Happy New Year. I've never been one to make resolutions. I don't like to have hard and fast rules for myself. And yet I seem to constantly make hard and fast rules for myself. But never with food or wine; the ones that usually end up on a lot of people's resolution list. I did do that cleanse once...
But this year is a little different. Between the move, the pregnancy, the having of the baby, and the life of one who has a baby, I have not exercised much at all. I bought a bike a few days before I found out I was pregnant and I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've ridden it in over a year. And now it's Winter again. And though I eat well – fresh, local, organic - I haven't practiced a lot of control with portions and cravings. I've craved a lot of red meat. I've craved a lot of cake.
Oh, and in the middle of all of this I turned forty.
While I am patently aware of the dearth of new content on F for Food, it nonetheless hit me hard to receive an e-mail last week with an offer to buy the blog. Someone clearly took notice of the lack of activity and exhibited interest in taking it over and 're-aliving' it, so to speak.
Well folks, F for Food isn't for sale. Even though I have not been able to find the time to put the proverbial pen to paper consistently for over a year, I really, really plan to. I think about it all the time. Not only did this blog keep me relatively sane, relatively grounded, during some very bumpy periods for half of a decade in LA, but it has also been huge part of my identity, my creative outlet, my escape, my happiness and, now, my new career.
Ever since Emerson was born I have felt my own insistence to get her to Roanoke to meet her, my, extended family. And then one night recently, my new friend, Stephanie, and I were talking and getting to know one another over some food and wine and words and I discovered she grew up in Roanoke. She spoke of writing a Roanoke food roundup sort of thing. And, like that, my brain went all Rube Goldberg. It was perfect. Emerson and I would drive to Roanoke for a beautiful Fall weekend; mother and daughter, on our first - just us - trip together. We would visit our whole family, everyone would ooh and ahh over her and I would meet up with Stephanie for wine and food and ten cent words about said wine and food. Like I said, perfect.
What could possibly go wrong?
It was hot. Very hot and very humid. In those dog days of summer at Dad's house, we would turn on the one air conditioner window unit we had downstairs and pretty much camp out down there. I can remember Wimbledon playing on the tiny TV that traveled around to whichever room my dad, barefoot wearing cut-off denim shorts and a perfectly worn in red Adidas t-shirt, was situated in. In the kitchen, also barefoot, with the back door open the sound of the cicadas and the smell of the 30% chance of afternoon thunderstorms through the screen door, I would be standing over the sink with a tomato sandwich in my hands and the magical mixture of salty mayonnaise and the seedy, juicy mess of the perfectly sweet and ripe tomato running down my face and wrists.