April! April was a nice month, a light month. The newborn baby phase is so heady, so emotionally intense, and while I’m a sucker for intense emotional feelings, I was ready for some levity. It helped that the winter weather cleared – the snow melted and the temperature increased, so much so that there were a few walks along the boardwalk, some afternoons sitting in the sand, a few outdoor meals, a patio drink or two. Clara cries whenever I put her sunhat on, but I’m forcing it on her because, well, sun. She even sometimes tolerates her sunglasses.
I like April because my birthday is in April, which usually means there are a few good meals. I ate lots of cheese with some friends and we were able to sit outside because the weather was so warm. I went to a Spanish tapas restaurant with Andrew and had things like thin slices of Iberico ham, razor clams, long chewy strands of wild onions, bread dipped in the best olive oil. I’ve been cooking from a cookbook I’m going to review, modern twists on Greek classics, so everything at home has been spiced with cinnamon, thyme, oregano. When I’ve had little energy to cook, Marcela Hazan’s tomato sauce has done the trick – a can of tomatoes, an onion, some butter.
We’re settling into a more summer routine of walks and outdoor dinners, and I like it.
My Bookslut column about Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. It is a lovely, cozy book that I highly recommend. It also briefly touches on my foray into Marie Kondo-ing our home, and how it didn’t quite work out.
An aside: It’s funny that I have this section here. “Writing, elsewhere” is more aspirational than realistic. While writing with a baby hasn’t been impossible, it is hard. Sometimes I’ll look wistfully at my laptop and count down the hours until Andrew gets home from work, but often when he does get home, I’m too tired to get anything done anyway. The day I got Fika in the mail, for instance, had been a tough one, all inexplicable baby meltdowns, no coffee in the house, and then this adorable book about coffee breaks that I wanted to read staring at me from across the room.
But, meltdowns pass, naptimes come, I find time to write or read. It helps to set little, manageable goals. Words on paper is often the only goal. Publishable writing is more daunting. The reason why this entry was only posted now, almost mid-May, is because I’ve been working on another round of edits of my novel and there hasn’t been much time for anything else. I’ve had my own adult versions of meltdowns about it, but it will get done. Things just take more time; it’s okay.
Clara has been teaching herself to roll over. It’s interesting seeing these skills develop gradually, how she works and works and sometimes gets frustrated and sometimes enjoys it. Sometimes she needs a push so that her muscles understand what they need to do. Sometimes she gets tired halfway through and rests her forehead on the ground and cries (poor baby!). And then every so often it all comes together fluidly, easily: she flips over, just like that. Her face when it works is so happy, and she is so proud of herself. There’s a metaphor in there about writing, right? About the work required, the practice, the muscle memory, the frustration, the crying, the happiness, the pride?
So, I’ll leave this section up because I would like to have more links to “writing elsewhere” in the future. I’ll get there, slowly, but eventually.