Eating in

Friday, July 14th, 2017 05:11 pm
chanaleh: (mandala)
One of the best things [livejournal.com profile] etrace regularly does for me is roast me a chicken (over a bed of vegetables) every Friday night for Shabbat dinner. He's refined his technique over the past 3 years until he has it pretty much perfected. Which means it's kind of a pain in the ass relative to the "throw it in a pan and turn on the oven" I used to do, but he does it because he loves me, and it is fantastic. And while I love everything we do Friday evening -- lighting candles with Aria, opening a bottle of wine to go with dinner -- my hands-down favorite moment of the whole week is sitting down and pulling the beautifully roasted skin off my piece. NOM.

Hilariously: A few weeks ago he made a roast beef on some other weeknight, using the same pan he roasts the chicken in. And when it was done and Aria saw it resting on the counter under a sheet of tinfoil, she said "Candle time! Candle time!" No, lovey, I know it looks a lot like a chicken, but it's Tuesday!

Shul friends D (the lawyer) and R (also a lawyer) passed along some toys to us last weekend that their youngest grandchildren had officially outgrown... one of them being a little wooden Shabbat set: pretend candles, wine cup, and bread board with two loaves of challah "slices". I thought, Aria will get a kick out of the first two, but it's too bad I never make challah! Maybe I should get in the habit, just so she can have the full experience. Anyway, but we'll try them out tonight and see how it goes.

Shabbat shalom, y'all.

Wonder of wonders

Thursday, July 6th, 2017 05:08 pm
chanaleh: EVERYTHING WILL BE AMAZING (amazing)
We didn't actually go see Wonder Woman last Sunday when we had the babysitter. The morning of, as we were getting ready, Etrace said "I don't think we're going to be able to enjoy a movie if we're listening every instant for the phone to ring," so we shifted smoothly over to Plan B and went on a lunch date in the courthouse square in Crown Point (barely 5 minutes from the babysitter's house).

There's a fancy steakhouse we'd been wanting to try, but Google said they didn't open til noon and we had arranged to drop Aria off around 11am. So we first tried to go shoe shopping (also closed Sundays, alas), then went for donuts and coffee at the local donuts-and-comics shop, like ya do. (Etrace: "Dessert first?" Me: "This is breakfast! Then we'll have lunch!" They were quite good donuts, especially when surrounded by Star Wars and Marvel paraphernalia. Would nom again.) Next, a nice grownup lunch where we actually got to chat about things other than our child in a leisurely fashion. And then we browsed the Antique Mall next door for another 20 minutes, until I got too antsy and we headed back to get her.

We got back there right around 2pm, and all of them (mom, kids, and Aria) were playing contentedly with blocks on the living room floor. Aria jumped up and ran to the door calling "Mama! Dada!" and then remarked, perfectly calmly, "You came back!" Amanda said Aria was perfectly fine the whole time and never got anxious in the slightest. Really good to know.

The next few weekends are pretty busy (nephew J's birthday and, oh yeah, we should try to hold a garage sale one of these Sundays), and then my mom will be here July 22-29. Maybe *she'll* be willing to watch Aria solo for a couple hours one afternoon/evening....

ETA: While I'm here, I should note that Tuesday was July 4, and after a quiet day at home, we went over to Etrace's cousins' house (also in Crown Point) for a small toddler-friendly cookout and fireworks. Aria was way more interested in the swingset, sand table, playhouse, and toy cars (the ride-in kind) than in the fireworks; maybe next year. Myself, I had never seen home fireworks that actually go *up in the air* and explode like real grownup fireworks, so I was impressed! I said to Etrace that we never had anything like that growing up, all we ever got were the little ground works like snakes and sparklers and smoke bombs and camellias; he said "That's because that's all that was legal in Indiana until 2006." That explains that! We bailed out at 9pm to take Aria home to bed, but driving home we could see other people's home fireworks displays all around us. It reminded us of arriving home from our roadtrip honeymoon 3 years ago on July 4, seeing fireworks all along the horizon for the final several miles as we drove north up I-65 at twilight. <3

Introducing Aria

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 06:00 pm
chanaleh: EVERYTHING WILL BE AMAZING (amazing)
(Oh, poor neglected LiveJournal. I still love you best, but that siren Facebook makes lazyposting so easy. I am backdating this by 3 weeks for ease of reference in future.)

Aria Grace was born Sunday, July 26 (Tisha B'Av observed) at 3:50 a.m., healthy and strong.

Photos )

Just for fun (and in time for Rosh Hashanah), we'll be sending out birth announcements the last week of August. If you've moved since you last received postal mail from me, please PM me with your current mailing address. :-)

One year

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 12:34 pm
chanaleh: [Erica and Aaron] (etrace)
I meant to acknowledge this (here and not just on Facebook) closer to the occasion, but... two Saturdays ago, Valentine's Day, was our first wedding anniversary.

Being as it was also a holiday weekend (clever of us to plan it that way), we drove up to New Buffalo, MI, for a two-night little getaway. Two consecutive steak dinners and an in-room two-person whirlpool. :-) Due to the snow, we didn't really go anywhere else... mostly stayed in our room, snuggled up watching TV and eating bonbons (literally). But that was perfect.

So we saw Chamber of Secrets and Serenity (#anniversarygeekaway)... and then the majority of the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary retrospective on Sunday afternoon. Which was actually perfect too, because I really did want to see it, but at home we don't do broadcast TV, and even if we did I would never have sat in front of it for four hours, but that's exactly what we got to do.

The thing was, as I said to [livejournal.com profile] etrace once we got there: it's kind of a big deal for me to reach the first anniversary and be able to know that I still feel overjoyed and contented and thrilled about everything. "Yeah, I actually wondered about that," he said. Longtime readers will know why it's a big emotional hurdle for me to get past. But... we are here, and life is still the same: wonderful. Our life.

(But I was still glad we hadn't saved any frozen wedding cake to choke down. That's one tradition that I am permanently over.)

So, here is to the next year, and the next and the next, with the best and truest partner I ever had or could hope for. The one whose face (and brain and heart and everything else) makes me smile. The one I can't wait to go home and have lunch with every day. Like right now. :-)
chanaleh: Snoopy in a Santa hat (xmas)
My husband is a music teacher. He was a music teacher when I first met him 20+ years ago. I've gone to see him perform in bands. More recently, I have performed with him in bands. I've seen videos of him playing in high school talent shows. He made me this recording for my birthday last year. We have in the house an entire room dedicated to housing what must be 20 musical instruments (piano, organ, accordion, numerous guitars and bass guitars, an upright bass, ukulele, mandolin, percussion...), where he receives students two or three days a week.

But somehow, it's discovering him in the music room one December evening after dinner, noodling around on the piano playing jazz Christmas carols, that really makes my heart go "Holy shit, I married a musician." :-)

<3
chanaleh: (crow's nest)
September 19 may be Talk Like a Pirate Day, but it is also, as [livejournal.com profile] etrace calls it, "Happy Erica Day!"

One year ago right now, I was getting off a plane in Chicago on the first day of Sukkot.

One year ago tonight, I walked through [livejournal.com profile] etrace's front door (possibly for the first time ever) and threw my arms around him (for the first time in almost 16 years).

One year ago tomorrow morning, he made me scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast. :-)

One year ago Saturday [er, I guess I mean Sunday, it was Saturday last year, but you get what I mean], I drove back over for what I thought was a quick half-hour possible booty call last goodbye, which turned instead into a three-hour heart-to-heart conversation that was the real beginning of knowing something powerful had happened. (Postscript: It also meant I was two hours late checking in to meet my dad for lunch... resulting in immense panic in two different cities and very nearly an actual phonecall to the police. Not the best way to inaugurate what would eventually become a new addition to the family! But by now Dad seems to have more or less forgiven us, though I bet my stepmother never will.)

Seven weeks later, we were ready to acknowledge our engagement to the rest of the world, but the real truth is, it kind of all happened on this same weekend.

***

Earlier this summer, on my first trip to the local mall that is a 15-minute walk from (now) our house, I encountered this sign in one of the teen-couture clothing stores:

Are you who you were a year ago?

I stood there and laughed, because I am so totally not their target audience for that sign, and yet it is so totally what I am experiencing. No, I am not who I was a year ago. I could not have predicted or even believed any of this a year ago.

It is so much more.
chanaleh: [Erica and Aaron] (etrace)
Heavens defend me from ever being one of those proudly-incompetent "LOL I let my husband handle that" women.

However... it is at times wonderfully strange and reassuring to find myself partnered with one of the few people in the world genuinely more smart and capable than I am.

This insight brought to you by the pizza I tried to make on the baking stone the other night, where a confluence of factors* meant I hadn't a prayer of sliding the thing off the peel onto the hot stone, in any condition. When I came and fetched the experienced pizza-peeler, he immediately came up with four or five different approaches to try... a couple of which I wouldn't have thought of at all, none of which I had thought of yet, and at least two of which were needed in combination to do the trick. No condescension, no panic. Just "okay, let's see what we can do with this."

A small example, but it made me feel well taken care of. :-)

* The previously frozen (homemade) dough was too wet and sticky; I stretched it out too thin; I hadn't put down enough cornmeal (especially around the edges) despite using twice as much as on the previous attempt; and I then put on too many heavy toppings (spinach, mushrooms, and turkey sausage -- I didn't regret that choice a bit).
chanaleh: [Erica and Aaron] (etrace)
... I attended, along with my mom, the wedding of a dear friend I'd known since grade school.

And sometime during the reception, my mom looked around the room, spotted a cute and geeky-looking guy with glasses and long dark wavy hair, nudged me and said, "He looks like your type, why don't you go dance with him?"

I said, "I'm not going to go introduce myself to some strange guy!"

She said, "Well, if you won't go talk to him, I will go talk to him for you!" (Mind you, this sounds to many people like classic Interfering Mom behavior, but mine is not normally like that; I can't think of another time when she actually suggested, let alone did, something like this.)

"Okay, feel free!" I said, and she promptly headed over and tapped him on the shoulder. Minutes later, we were dancing, and then sat down and talked for the rest of the evening.

The next day, I flew home to Boston. The next month, he came out to visit me there.

A lot of subsequent water went under that bridge, some of it painful... but the [livejournal.com profile] etrace-shaped hole in my heart never entirely closed up. And all these years later, it has resulted in more joy than I ever dreamed possible.

So thank you, Mom, for doing the crazy impulsive risky thing when I wouldn't.

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] etrace, for being the coolest, smartest, kindest, cutest, finest person I have ever known, then and now... and for becoming the person who could finally be wholly with me, now.

Thank you, universe, for bringing us together.

Settling in

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 01:30 pm
chanaleh: (breathe)
I thought I would have tons of time to write once I was here, and the answer is probably that I *do* have time to write, but I have not really felt the inclination.

I have instead spent a lot of time doing crosswords, reading Game of Thrones, watching Game of Thrones, drinking coffee, dicking around on Facebook, practicing/learning songs for performing with [livejournal.com profile] etrace's band, cooking breakfast and/or dinner, baking bread (mostly bread machine, but also some handmade focaccia that turned out OK), petting the dog(s) and cats -- and snuggling with my husband, generally marveling at the state of my life.

Yeats wrote, "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing."

I think this is a time not so much of growth as of... rooting in.

I've been overextended and undernourished for so long. There'll be time enough to Get Things Done later this year, when we start to work in earnest on growing the business and searching for an outside job for me. Right now, if I want to sit on the porch in my pajamas for two hours every morning, I totally can, and that's kind of the best thing in the world.

(Though I do think it would be good to pick up again the Artist's Way practice of "morning pages": writing three pages of drivel every morning without fail, in order to clear out the internal static and make room for actual creative work/focus.)

Some productive things I have successfully done... )

Also, sometime late last week we went "Hm, we seem to have invited 50 people over for lunch next Sunday, better start figuring out what we're doing for them," so there's been a flurry of list-making and menu-planning and inventorying and shopping.

Coming soon is the related realization "Hm, we seem to be about to leave on this five-week cross-country roadtrip, perhaps we should make sure we've tied up any loose ends, reach out with a rough idea of schedule to the people we hope to see, stuff like that."

Married life

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 07:40 am
chanaleh: EVERYTHING WILL BE AMAZING (amazing)
We've been married almost a month. Four weeks this Friday!

In that time, I've been rereading A Civil Campaign and then Pride and Prejudice, because it's been so delightful reading about other people's successful culmination of their improbable but eminently suitable matches. :-)

It had been some time since I read P&P (I thought about picking it up when [livejournal.com profile] theatreatfirst staged it two years ago, but apparently I never did). And nearing the end, I got to this quote from Mr. Bennett on learning that Elizabeth actually wished to marry Darcy:

"I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing *you* unable to respect your partner in life."


And reading that, I stood there (on the subway) and went, Oh. My God. That's it. That's me. That's exactly what happened to me the first time. Discredit and misery.

... And now, five and a half years later, I'm standing on this opposite shore where all the pieces have at last, miraculously, somehow come together into their right relation, a new wholeness.

(I came home and explained this to [livejournal.com profile] etrace, and he was like, "Wow, no pressure." ;-)

In short, everything would be pretty great right now were it not for my working 10-hour days (plus another 90+ minutes a day commuting). BUT... as of Friday, I will have only 1 week left (gah!) to the big website launch, 3 weeks left at my job (we actually found me a replacement yay!), and 5 weeks til we move.

I booked the U-Haul last night (10' truck) for Thursday, April 17. So the horizon really is in sight. (-- I mean, scheduling my own personal exodus during Passover... why not?)

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