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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Comfort Food.

Since Oliver's arrival, many people have given us food. Since we are definitely food lovers, this has been fabulous. When we got home from the hospital, Dad had gone to get some groceries--milk, eggs, bread, roast beef (since I was allowed to eat deli sandwiches again), bacon, Dr. Pepper, and other essentials. He's also brought Subway (Josh loves the Veggie Delite) during his visits, and more recently, he brought 215 on Main. I had penne pasta with tomato cream sauce, sausage, and shrimp. Of course, I also sampled the Parmesan and herb fries. Mmm.

Mom and Shane brought twice-baked potatoes; buttery, seasoned green beans; rotisserie chicken; and soft chocolate chip cookies (they brought other treats too--brie for me, spicy pimento cheese for Josh, and a case of baby wipes. The wipes may have been most exciting). I inhaled the supper they prepared. That chicken is amazing, and the green beans were the first vegetable I've really wanted since Oliver's arrival. I had a potato and chicken for breakfast and for dinner yesterday. Yep. Another time, they made pumpkin pancakes and bacon. And another time, they brought veggie pasta salad and crab salad.

Josh's grandfather and his wife brought a German chocolate cake. Mom and Shane's house church group sent a gift card to Wal-mart and two big bags of Trader Joe's groceries. We quickly devoured a huge loaf of cinnamon bread from the adjacent bakery. We've been munching our way through powdered donut O's, granola, plantain chips, and Pita crackers (love them!). We still have pumpkin bread mix, gingerbread mix, black bean soup, squash soup, and mini ravioli. One day, when I was famished from nursing, I stood in the kitchen and ate a generous handful of the almonds they sent.

On Thursday night, two of my coworkers sent me home with salad, garlic bread, white veggie lasagna, and peach cobbler. All the food-related kindness has been pretty grand.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hello, Autumn.

Our backyard is full of yellow leaves. Neighbors keep coming to the door, asking if we'll hire them to rake the yard. On my way to work, I see a beautiful amber tree on the next street. The long drive is red and orange. Even the lawns and fields are the color of pumpkin pie.

Yesterday, Josh bought more fleece, footed, one-piece outfits for Oliver so that he can stay cozy without constant swaddling. He wears zebra stripes, little elephants, and pumpkins. New chub has appeared on his cheeks, on his thighs, on his shoulders, and on the back of his neck. When we went to the pediatrician the week before last, Oliver was one ounce away from 7 pounds. Right now, he's lying on my lap, cooing and grinning at the ceiling fan Josh has decorated.

To work, I wear opaque tights under my dress pants. One day, I wore a black and silver scarf with a plum turtleneck. Josh dug my purple wool coat and my quilted olive velvet jacket out of a box under the bed. The temperature was 33 when I left for work on Friday.

My office is freezing since the AC is still on in the building, and the nearby, windowless classrooms tend to get stifling. I leave on my layers. Today, Josh bought me a tiny purple space heater for my desk. I'm excited about using it tomorrow, in part just because he picked it.

Josh burns candles throughout the day, so when I come home, the bedroom often smells of cinnamon or caramel. I need to make a trip to B&BW for more candles. A few minutes in the brightly-colored store, breathing in holiday scents, would probably be good for me anyway.

We keep saying we wish we had a fireplace. I'd drink some hot chocolate, but I'm paranoid about having anything hot around Oliver. When I'm home, I'm usually nursing him. This morning, Josh watched him so I could sleep until nearly nine, which was marvelous. I have read three books since Oliver was born, and I mostly read them while nursing. A Famous Broken Heart, one of Josh's favorites, was brief and beautiful. A spark glitters when one of us reads a book the other already loves. The Writing Circle was a book I bought at Waldenbooks because it looked fluffy. It was indulgent but not really fluff. I had to read some gorgeous, insightful, image-driven sentences aloud to Josh. The book is worthwhile just for those. And today, I just finished Outside the Ordinary World, a two-generation book that deals with the pull and aftermath of infidelity. I hope to start another book today. I'm so relieved that I can attach to a book. I thought I might be too ravaged or tired or overwhelmed to read. Josh and I have been enjoying the TV shows Up All Night and Once Upon a Time (though I think he watches the latter only to indulge me).

Though I'm loving autumn, I am already looking forward to hearing those three bell chimes at the beginning of Aaron Neville's Christmas CD. For me, those sounds have always signaled the beginning of Christmas. I have good memories of listening to the CD with my family as I grew up. Josh and I added James Taylor's Christmas CD to the canon. Taylor's voice is warm and cuddly in a different way. I'm looking at the Christmas issue of Real Simple, thinking about the stacks of unread magazines I have and may indulge in over Christmas break. I feel drawn to rich colors and sparkles. In no time, I'll be contemplating which calendar I'll pick for next year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How Are You?

This is a question people normally ask without listening for the answer, without expecting a real answer. Real answers are unsettling. But I've been asking Josh this question frequently since we got home - a slow, quiet asking with eye contact. I really am asking, but I'm actually asking dozens of questions.

Are you staying sane?
Do you love us?
Are you getting too hungry or sleepy?
Do you need to get out of this room or house for a while?
Are you keeping up with your medication?
Are you reading? doing something creative?
Do you feel calm?
Do you feel like yourself?
Am I being nice enough?
Am I doing enough?
Have you processed everything that happened?
Do you need to cry?
Are irritations staying manageable?
Do you like your life?
Do you want to be near me?
Are you amazed at him?
Can you believe you got here?
Do you feel neglected?
Are you lonely?
Are we doing this correctly?
Are we staying close enough?
Are you harboring any resentments?
Do you need to take ibuprofen?
Do you feel proud?
Are you happy?