Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ruddick Menfolk

This shot (of Sam and his brother Josh) reminds me of the one I took of Sam and his Dad at the beach. Remember that one? Perhaps someday I'll have occasion to snap one of all three of them at once.



The gentlemen, front-ways.



And a few of Sam solo, because I think he's handsome.

Listening to a violin:



Here he's standing in the doorway of the Smith barn in Palmyra, looking out at the Sacred Grove. This particular way of standing is so Sam. Hip out, weight on one foot, head tipped. On one of our first dates, when I suspected I would love him, I watched him standing like that in the parking lot. Okay, I'll be honest. I was suspicious of it. I remember thinking, "Can I love a man who stands like that?" Yes, yes I can. Now it warms the heart. Do you have anything like that with people you adore? Specific human stamps that you're suspicious of at first, but end up embodying that person?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Babies, Babies, Everywhere

Here is Isadora, the first grandchild on Sam's side. We attended her lovely, moving, outdoor blessing over the weekend. She's exquisite.

Here she is in her heirloom blessing/baptism dress, sticking out her cute tongue.



And here she is listening to a violin:



With her pretty mama:



And here is Sam trying to have a conversation with her. I think this was right before he told her she had bad breath and made everyone at the table fall into stunned silence. His defense, "I didn't think she spoke English." Uhhhhh. We're still working on understanding babies and how to interact with them.



Here is another baby. My sister Kira's. I met Savannah when I was in Utah. We took a nap in a recliner, Savannah scrunched up on my chest, her breathing soft and sweet. As my friend Eden said, There is no better way to sleep. Anyway, here she is with my brother, Garret. (It's Garret's birthday today, yippee!)



Here is Savannah in her blessing dress with my mama. I wish I had better pictures, mostly because she has really gorgeous professional ones. But we have what we have.



And here she is, sleeping and pretty.



And another baby. This is my sister Meesha's. Brinlee's the name. I haven't met her, which is a crying shame. Here she is with her brother, Seth.



And as a ballerina.



Are they not wonderful? I wish they all lived next door.

News of All Sorts

I have so many pictures to post, I don't even know where to start. We're home from New York. It was a lovely trip (you'll see the pics), but we're so glad to be back with our kitties for a few days. We don't like driving that far, we've decided. And we like these cats. Several times a day we lament leaving them for a month while we're in Europe. If we could take them and not make them miserable, we would.

(Gratuitous picture of the kitties. The one on the right is the baby, left is the mama. He is enormous.)



(And one of Sam's kitty, Tadzio, T-Todd, etc. He's gorgeous, no? He's like a male cat model.)



Anyway, before I plaster pictures, here are a few random bits of information:

*The day before we left, my car stopped working. Wouldn't start. Apparently I have bought the precise make and year of a Toyota with a defective computer. All of the computers on this particular car go out sooner or later. There isn't a recall on the part. My warranty doesn't cover it. And the used part won't cut it for some complicated reason. Hello, $1000 repair. Niiiicce. The good news is, we weren't driving 80mph down I-90 when it stopped running, which has happened to many a panicked 2006 Corolla owner, apparently.

*My pants ripped in Jane's Diner, a trashy eatery outside of Binghamton, NY. I sat down with them intact, and stood up with a big split. No idea how this happened. New pants, not particularly tight. "Sam!" I squeaked, then realized that announcing the trouble was probably not a good idea. I slipped into the restroom, tied my jacket around my waist, then shimmied my way into jeans in the front seat of the car.

*Sam has a job interview! This is exciting. At least, I'm excited. It's not his ideal gig, so he's less enthused. But I think it'll be an excellent step on his way to fame and fortune. Only trouble is, all the interview times are while we're in Europe, which brings us to the next piece of news.

*I'm going to Paris alone. At least at first. I'll leave Tuesday, Sam will interview Wednesday, then fly out that night. Do I speak French? No, no I don't. Bonjour, that's what I've got. I'm frightened.

*Speaking of Paris, is the Louvre worth it? I realize this is a blasphemous question. But for those of you who have been there, is it worth the time/money? My understanding is that it's enormous, that you need days to go through it, that seeing the Mona Lisa is sort of a silly experience, etc. We're planning on the d'Orsay, but we're still contemplating the Louvre. Any thoughts?

*I was a bad vegan in NY. A very bad vegan, indeed. Well, I tried. But in some of these places there were just no options. For example, in Palmyra. Have you been to Palmyra? There were seriously like two places to eat and they were both terrible. I could have been vegan if I ate french fries and/or iceberg lettuce. And I failed to explain to the bed and breakfast owner how to feed me breakfast, so that didn't go too great either (blueberry pancakes, strawberry-stuffed french toast, etc. yummy, yes. but that kind of breakfast makes me so sick). I didn't eat meat because I've pretty much completely lost my interest in it. I'm trying to figure out what I'll do in Europe, because I don't want to feel yucky, but I want yogurt and gelato and French cheese and chocolate and pastries. All in moderation, of course. Righto. Sigh. I like being vegan, like how I feel when I eat whole, healthy foods. But I may suspend the operation for the time being. We'll see.

I think that's it for news, just when you thought I'd never shut up.

I leave you with a picture near our house. The Charles River in springtime. See how she sparkles.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Shall See

I have all these lovely pictures to post of babies and Utah and Boston and Syracuse, but they're all trapped in my camera. Someday I'll extract them and then you shall see.

In the meantime, I thought I would say that Sam and I are at a little Bed and Breakfast in Palmyra, NY. We're reading books. It's sunny out. We passed the Hill Cumorah on the way here. Tomorrow I'll go to the temple and we'll see the Sacred Grove. Then we'll head to NYC. Then we'll fly away to Paris.

Life is relaxing. Life is pretty. Life is good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

You simply must make these cookies. I mean, I guess you don't must. But they're uber-yum. Go here to 101 Cookbooks for the recipe. They're cousins of the "healthy" cookies I posted awhile back, but these little babies are even better. Just incredible, and simple, and, you know, kinda healthyish. I made them for Sam and me a few weeks ago and we polished them off in a frightfully short amount of time. Just tried them out on the parental units, and they approve.

Ingredients: grated carrots, oats, whole wheat flour, fresh ginger, baking powder, maple syrup, walnuts, and coconut oil. I added unsweetened coconut, and I was not sorry.

Jicama, More Sprouts, Purple Onions

I'm in Utah for a few days, and I'm no good at telling people I'm coming (especially because I thought for awhile I was going to Cali for the week to help with my sister's new baby.), so here I am.

Staying at my parents' house used to frustrate me, food-wise. They eat so dang healthy that it seemed like there was nothing to eat. I confess to making more dinner/lunch plans than strictly necessary just because potatoes and broccoli and a big green salad seemed like such a dud dinner. I was on vacation!

This time? Their healthy food IS the vacation. I'm in a swoon. It feels like I'm staying in one of these vegan resorts that are cropping up--where you stay there and they make you gourmet vegan meals. Every morning when I wake up there is a gorgeous grain staying warm in their rice cooker. I have it with some barley malt powder, my mom's mix of ground nuts and seeds, a splash of soy milk, and a few juicy clementines on the side. For lunch I have some of their homegrown sprouts and sprouted garbanzos on a whole wheat tortilla with beans and brown rice and lots of yummy costco salsa. Last night for dinner we had killer avocado sandwiches with grated beets, carrots, and jicama, more sprouts, purple onions, and little spicy crunchy sesame things on the side.

After nearly two months of trying to figure out this vegan whole foods thing, stressing about what to buy and eat, craving cookies and cheesy quesadillas, it's bliss to have the veggies already in the fridge and someone else thinking up simple, lovely meals.

Combine that with all the baby-holding I've done, the conversations with my siblings and their elegant funny children, the spring blossoms, the incredible view of the mountains from my parents' neighborhood, the greening valley stretching out below, and the run I'm about the take on the trail down the street, and I'm thinking I should have insisted on a longer trip.

Only glitch is that Sam had to teach this week, and nothing can be truly perfect unless he's around. I miss him like I'd miss my left foot, had I left that in Boston. Funny how when you leave, you realize--more than ever--that someone has become absolutely essential.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Scratch at the Door

No more teaching. Taught my last class Friday and aside from a bit of grading and a final to give on Wednesday, I'm home and I'm free. I went to a spin class this morning, and spin classes are so much more incognito than running. Even though there are other spinning souls all around, it feels like it's just me, the darkness, loud music, pouring sweat, and a bicycle that can't get run over by a car or land in a river. (I'm afraid of real bikes, which is understandable since I really did ride into a river once. Okay, okay, it was more like a stream. But still.) I also wrote today, which is nothing short of a miracle, considering how little I've done it this semester. It may be bad luck, but I can't resist sharing this bit here. It's about my wedding day and it made me happy to write it. Since we kept attendance to family, a lot of you weren't there. I hope you enjoy a peek at it. Warning: I do have two short paragraphs that take place at the hotel, but I assure you they are not scandalous. (Not really, anyway.)

Here goes:



It was 3 in the afternoon on the day I got married and I was bored. The ceremony wouldn’t start until 7 and I’d already done everything but the actual marrying. I spent a good chunk of time sitting backwards on an overstuffed chair in my parent’s living room, my head near the floor and my feet pointing at the ceiling. I could feel the blood puddle in my head. This helped pass the time.

Later, waiting for the ceremony to start, I sat right side up in a rocking chair and the skirt of my dress was up around my shoulders, it was that fluffy. My sister took a picture of my flip-flopped feet, of my serious face looking up out of a cloud of fabric.

Then it was quiet outside. It was just me and my nieces in the room. They were holding the back of my dress and I was holding a bouquet, trembling, near the door so I could answer it when Sam knocked.

But he didn’t knock. He scratched on the door like a cat, which is what he did when we were dating and he came to pick me up. I was laughing when I turned the knob, and I wish I could have taken a picture of his face when he saw me. He said later that the sight of me was “foot-warming” as in, he had cold feet until I opened the door.

And so he grabbed my hand. And so we walked to the bishop. And when it got to the part where he asked Sam if he was willing, Sam said, “Absolutely.”

When I tell myself the story of that day, I remember two details immediately: he scratched at the door, and he said absolutely. This is why I married Sam. In a way, those two details say it all.

Later that night, in our room at The Grand America, we ordered room service. At midnight, at a portable table in the middle of the sitting room, wearing a purple nightie and a complimentary robe, I ate French fries and a sandwich and felt royal.

One other memory of that hotel room: In the morning we showered and bathed at the same time. He showered; I took a bubble bath. Let me live to a hundred and I might forget “Absolutely,” but I won’t forget sitting in that tub, looking at his body through the glass wall of the shower, knowing he could see my body. When the glass fogged, he fingered out odd, indecipherable messages and I looked at him through the letters. I called him a strange man, then leaned back to wash out the conditioner, looked at the ceiling, feeling like this was the big time.