Our vegetable garden is growing, growing, growing. This past weekend I added a few cucumber and zucchini plants to the plot. So far the kale, chard, lettuce, and herbs (basil, parsley, oregano, mint) have given us the most to work with. But heads of cauliflower are emerging amidst big green leaves, a few barely red strawberries are making an appearance, and our tomato plants are taller than Stella now and green little tomatoes can be found in the mass of leaves. Most afternoons we head outside and to water, harvest greens for salad and whatever else I'm making for dinner (and raw kale is a nice addition to our morning breakfast smoothies), and pick a few peas to munch on while enjoying the sunshine...
And now for more book talk... We made a trip to the bookstore on Saturday to stock up on new books. I'm on a book bender at the moment. After finishing The Interestings last week, and the new Andrew Sean Greer (due out in June) and Kate Atkinson the week before, I needed another good read. I found it in Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, a book I picked up countless times in the store but always put down because the description on the back made the book unappealing to me. I'm glad I finally gave in, as it's a charming, entertaining book. It's a perfect summer read if you're looking for a book to take on vacation. Sutton is up next!
Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings [hat tip to Melissa for the recommendation] gets my vote for one of the best books of the year. Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is on my best books of 2013 list too. Yes, it's only May. I haven't been able to delve into anything as appealing since finishing The Interestings last week.
Last night I finished watching Birth Story, the documentary about midwife Ina May Gaskin (I mentioned her in my post on labor) and The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. I enjoyed the fascinating look back at how The Farm came into being, how Ina May found her calling as a midwife, and all of the footage (old and new) of women giving birth naturally and without medical intervention. I went to bed feeling inspired (yes, I can do this again) and empowered (my body has the amazing capacity to stretch and expand, to open, and to heal), which is exactly what I was hoping for...
From Steven Soderbergh's State of Cinema keynote at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival:
But before we talk about movies we should talk about art in general, if that's possible. Given all the incredible suffering in the world I wonder, what is art for, really? If the collected works of Shakespeare can't prevent genocide then really, what is it for? Shouldn't we be spending the time and resources alleviating suffering and helping other people instead of going to the movies and plays and art installations? When we did Ocean's Thirteen the casino set used $60,000 of electricity every week. How do you justify that? Do you justify that by saying, the people who could've had that electricity are going to watch the movie for two hours and be entertained - except they probably can't, because they don't have any electricity, because we used it. Then I think, what about all the resources spent on all the pieces of entertainment? What about the carbon footprint of getting me here? Then I think, why are you even thinking that way and worrying about how many miles per gallon my car gets, when we have NASCAR, and monster truck pulls on TV? So what I finally decided was, art is simply inevitable. It was on the wall of a cave in France 30,000 years ago, and it's because we are a species that's driven by narrative. Art is storytelling, and we need to tell stories to pass along ideas and information, and to try and make sense out of all this chaos. And sometimes when you get a really good artist and a compelling story, you can almost achieve that thing that's impossible which is entering the consciousness of another human being - literally seeing the world the way they see it. Then, if you have a really good piece of art and a really good artist, you are altered in some way, and so the experience is transformative and in the minute you're experiencing that piece of art, you're not alone. You're connected to the arts. So I feel like that can't be too bad.[via Kottke]
We're only two months away from our little family of three becoming a family of four. So we decided to go to Brooklyn for a mini babymoon. We left Stells in California with my awesome parents (where she had the time of her life eating ice cream, riding on the carousel and stream train at Tilden Park, going to story-time, taking the Ferry into San Francisco for lunch at Slanted Door, etc) so that we could enjoy each other, see our friends, stay out late, and just be us for the weekend. We visited with my sister and many friends. We ate and drank our way around Brooklyn (Talde, Seersucker, Lavender Lake, Cafe Pedlar, Reynards, Moim, Blue Bottle), we browsed through the stacks at McNally Jackson, walked around Smorgasburg, took the ferry from Williamsburg to DUMBO, played a few rounds of ping pong and pool at Brownstones Billiards, and relished just being with each other and the friends and family we don't get to see enough. Needless to say, my feet and back were pretty tired at the end of every day from hauling my very pregnant belly around, and we came home so excited to hug and kiss and cuddle our girl.
|Marisa Haskell Fauna Cuff trio. I wear mine everyday.|
|Rhubarb. I made this Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Nutmeg awhile back which got rave reviews. The Rhubarb Upside Down Cake (photo above by Todd Coleman) looks super tasty.|
|This white top. Perfect for summer, right?|
|Season 2 of Call the Midwife, streaming now on PBS.|
|This light-weight cotton maternity tank dress.|
|These gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. iPhone cases.|
|The very adorable woodland creature mask kits at Papersource. Seen here on Stella (the squirrel) and her friends Ari (the fox) and Calder (the reindeer).|
In the midst of my 28th week, the reality of this pregnancy is starting to set in. My belly is bigger, and the kicks and pushes from within are getting more pronounced and more regular. I'm in the process of "nesting," organizing drawers, preparing Stella's room for the arrival of our new girl. Just yesterday I unpacked a box of baby clothes and we marveled at the tiny sleepers.
At night before going to bed I skip whatever new book of fiction sits languishing on my bedside table and have been dipping into Ina May Gaskin's Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I'm less anxious this time around about giving birth. I know I can do it, and I know I can do it without drugs. I know my body is strong, that childbirth is a powerful and temporary state. I trust and hope that my body will heal faster this time around because it knows, it has done this before. But I'm still mentally preparing myself for the birth itself. I've been practicing breathing deeply while driving the car. I'm mentally reliving Stella's birth almost daily, reminding myself of each stage, thinking about how it felt to feel my body opening and changing, remembering the fear and the exhaustion but also the focus and the great store of energy I drew on to birth her.
Last night I read Ina May's chapter on Sphincter Law. What I didn't realize the first time around is that smiling and laughing allow a woman in childbirth to be more open, to open more. Laughing and smiling were just about the last things I felt like doing while in labor. But now I know. I've got this. Bring on the joy.