Monday, July 25, 2011

Warmer Days

 It never fails to impress that, while we've had some excellent parties that involved careful planning and extensive preparation, some of our most magical dinners have happened spontaneously.  You can't plan on making the kids climb up into an apple tree to eat their dinner at sunset; these things need to happen naturally.

 Anna's back yard is a lovely place for an outdoor party.
 After dinner, the kids kept each other entertained on the swing while the grown ups finished their wine and the sun sank lower, and for a few hours life felt magical and safe and lovely.
As I type this, Matteas is walking around naked and crying because the gingerbread man tatttoo he wanted got ripped because he didn't know how to put it on and wouldn't let Jack help him, and Jack is being domineering and bossy about how Matteas should have let him help.  Also, it's raining which makes me extra pleased that we ate crab and drank wine in the back yard last night.  Carpe diem. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crab and Cancer

The theme continues.

Tomorrow my mother in-law gets the results of extensive tests to see if her cancer has spread; her oncologist doesn't sound terribly optimistic.  Again again I say to you, fuck fuck fuckety fuck. 

However, the spectre of potential bad news didn't keep us from having a mighty fine evening anyway, and we enjoyed cold wine, buttery crab, garlicky Ceasar and flank steak with chimichuri in the back yard.  It occurred to me that regardless of the test results, there wasn't anywhere else I'd rather have been.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cake and Cancer

 This morning, after a late a night necessitated by a fantastic Fourth of July party and some really, really good tequila, I came down the hallway to find that my bins of Christmas decorations had vomited their contents all over the living room.  Jack, always the early riser, had decided that Christmas would be much more fun if we celebrated it more often and hefted all the stuff he would need out of the downstairs closet.  I had gone to bed last night after doing a load of dishes and saving the rest of the mess(which was considerable) for the morning, after the tequila had worn off and the coffee had kicked in, so I was not immediately pleased to find that, in addition to our American flag decorations, there was now Christmas stuff EVERYWHERE.  My first impulse was to be grumpy, but I quickly realized I couldn't afford to get grumpy until I'd had some coffee and by that time Jack had explained his plan to me. 

He'd wanted to make Christmas for Matteas.  He made a fake tree out of some scrapbook paper, set up a circle of wooden train track around it, and wrapped a present for Matteas which turned out to be some of Jack's Easter egg hunt money in a shoe box.  Jack is a piece of work, but he is also the cutest.  He is also, as my cousin Kayleigh says, my ultimate "teacher bird."  Birds are a theme in Kayleigh's life, and teacher bird is the term she came up with for a person that comes into your life to teach you something that you need to learn.  Jack has taught me a lot of things, and lately he has really been emphasizing to me what a mixed bag life is. 

My sister told me she pulled up my blog to show a(very proper, non-profanity using) friend my beautiful cakes.  Instead of beautiful cake, what she found was "fuck fuck fuckety FUCK."  Ahem.

I would prefer my life to be neatly organized, but much of the time it isn't and I cause myself a lot of needless suffering by comparing my life as it is to my life as I think it should be.  I think my life should be fabulous parties followed by beautiful cakes, and no one would ever make a mess and definitely no one would ever get cancer.  As a young mother, my life often felt either/or: I was either under-slept(mostly this one) or well-rested; my house was either clean or(more often) it was messy.  I'm finding more and more that the either/or game is a hard way to live life, because either/or is not how life plays.  It's not either cake or cancer, it's cake AND cancer.  Life doesn't look at what you have going on and say "Oh, hang on: someone you care about has cancer so I'm going to go ahead and hit the Pause button while you deal with this gracefully.  Take all the time you need, nothing else will happen while you're having your moment."  So I apologize for the occasional profanity, but it's where I need to be right now.  I occasionally make beautiful cakes, and occasionally someone I love has cancer and there is not always a neat separation between the meat and the mess of my life.  And by "meat" I mean "the good part."  I sometimes have trouble being open to joy when I'm in the middle of suffering, but over and over again I feel myself being stretched to take it all in, not joy or suffering, but joy AND suffering, all of it at once and together.

Matteas is better at practicing this lesson than I am, as demonstrated by his ability to fully enjoy the pleasure of his ice cream cone while not being bothered by the one inch gash above his eyebrow.  You probably can't see it very well in that picture because it's all scabbed up now, no thanks to the special glue the lady at the clinic used instead of actual stitches. 

All that is to say in a disclaimer sort of way that if you come here looking for cake, you'll find some but there will most certainly be some fuckfuckfucketyFUCK along the way.  Because sometimes cake and cancer happen on the same day.