Monday, June 11, 2007

Cherries and Mountains

I know I mentioned I wanted to send my dad a baby announcement, but I haven't yet because I don't have his address. I think he does know about Eli though, because my sister said she told him. Which is fine with me, she knows that I'm not about secrets and I refuse to make her feel guilty for anything that comes out of her mouth - unlike my entire childhood where I had to think over every word I said before I said it and still got yelled at half the time anyway.

Moving on. I thought that I might email my dad but then! Then I heard through the grapevine that he is divorcing my evil evil stepmother. Ding dong (the witch is dead), we all thought. Or hoped. But meanwhile I also heard that she is divorcing him (not the other way around) and there is much drama unfolding and I decided not to get involved, not just yet. I do feel sad for my father. And I think of sending him an email with a Flickr link and how maybe he would look through all 562 pictures of Eli and he would see Eli's Grandfather (Mr. E's dad) and my sister in laws and my brother in laws and my friends and all these people who are my FAMILY now and how he wouldn't even know WHO THEY ARE and I found that thought unspeakably bizarre.

Moving on. When I was growing up, my mom always cooked in a trifecta of similarity. It must have been the way her mom cooked for her, and it's the way I cook now. Protein, vegetable, starch. At every meal, no matter what. My mom is an exotic chef, at times, and it's not like we got meatloaf and mashed potatoes every day (although sometimes we did, but this is a woman who once ate lamb brains from the skull of the lamb so you know, sometimes we had other crazy shit). And now I have no problem with the protein part and no problem with the vegetable since I love vegetables of every stripe but I can never come up with any damn sides or starches or carbs or whatever when it's time to figure out what to have for dinner. I try to find something filling and healthy and low fat and it's totally impossible. And also the fact is I am the original carbs girl. When I was in high school I ate graham crackers or saltines every single day for lunch. EVERY SINGLE DAY. And so if I had my way I would sit down to a meal of bread and butter or potatoes and butter or noodles and butter every damn day, but then that's not very healthy and so I search for interesting delicious healthy non buttered things to have with my grilled chicken and my salad and then I thought screw that and thus began the summer of Two Vegetables. That's this summer, btw.
It's mostly just an experiment so far and I often forget that we are doing it and sometimes I revert to cooking rice. But sometimes now we have steak AND mushrooms AND asparagus AND strawberries and no baked potatoes. Although I do notice that later on in the evening I tend to get hungry and have oatmeal but that's not the end of the world and overall, it's going well. So that's my food advice for the day. Can't decide what to have for dinner? Try making TWO vegetables. Revolutionary, I know.
The other thing on my mind right now is this. Mr. E's parents make it abundantly clear that they would love nothing more than to have regain our senses return "home" asap and by the way they'd like to teach their only grandchild how to fish in Michigan where they grew up fishing and know about these things and they are not particularly interested in our species of foreign and bizarre California fish. We do miss our family terribly but we also love the separation that comes when your family is farther away and we kind of like doing our own thing. And we love California and we love living in a blue state even if we live in a reddish city and I can't see myself raising children somewhere without an ocean and without mountains. And also? When I met Mr. E in the fine and glorious state of Michigan he kept "vegetables" in a cookie jar in his refrigerator. His sister came over for dinner and remarked that she didn't know that you could put things besides lettuce in a salad. When Mr. E's parents come to visit and go to our average grocery store they walk around the produce section like they just arrived from Russia, circa 1988. And Eli has already tasted his first cherry. He sees mountains on the way to Target. And just the other day I would have dipped his toes in the Pacific Ocean if I hadn't been having a personal crisis involving leaking breastmilk. Don't know what the answer is to that. I only know one can fish here, although perhaps not with ones grandfather. I guess in some ways that's what life is...the good and the bad, and you just make do and you choose what matters most and right now I's being here, together, eating cherries, checking out the mountains. Glad to have grandparents, glad to be going to visit them, but not sad we don't live in their backyard.


TB said...

I was just looking through your Flickr pictures. You guys are an adorable family.

That bit about your dad, I know exactly what you mean. I've been careful in sending any pictures to my dad/stepmom and sister that I don't send any of Jeff's parents holding Myles. I don't know why I care. I'm fairly sure I don't want Myles to have a relationship with my dad anyway, but I guess I just don't want to be cruel, you know?

jessica said...

I looked at the photos a bit ago. Had to find the photos of Mr. E's parents' visit (I last saw them 2 or 3 years ago, when Mr. E's grandmother Tiny was still alive). Having heard from Mr. E's father recently, I can tell you that they do love the little guy!

I can understand your feelings - even though I do not have kids - as I have never wanted to live in the same town as my parents nor my in-laws. You don't want to have to "come to Sunday dinner" or do other family obligations. However, sometimes it is nice (for support) to have family in the area. There are times when we have been too far away, during family crises or during surgeries, when one of us is the only one in the waiting room - and it would have been so nice to have family with us, too.

Some words about vegetables and also about healthy carbs: we are using whole wheat couscous and also whole wheat pasta. The pasta is partcularly filling, and is the kind that is recommended for complex carbs. And brown rice is good, too, and there is a Minute Rice version of it, to boot! We love veggies on the grill, btw.

PastaQueen said...

Heh, I had to go find my dad's address yesterday and had a moment where I wondered if I even had it. I did an e-mail search and it was in an old message. I hate it when Father's Day comes around because I have to go find a card that expresses the feeling of "While I'm not set on slashing your tires anymore and you're not really the best dad in the world, I will still probably cry when you die and do not expressly hate you anymore." It's a hard card to find.

Sarah said...

When Mr. E's parents come to visit and go to our average grocery store they walk around the produce section like they just arrived from Russia, circa 1988.

Yeah, that's my in-laws, too. John and I refer to his mother's cooking style as "the land of bland." I swear the woman has never heard of salt and pepper. Vegetables are steamed in the microwave. Olive oil-- what's that? But my MIL knows what LARD and MARGARINE are... Blecccchhhhhhh...

jessica said...

Just re-read your blog - and I think it is just Mr. E's sister's lack of exposure to outside experience, that accounted for her remarks about "other things than lettuce in a salad". I, too, was once very naive about food options, since I was raised in a meat-and-potatoes family (my dad would not eat pizza!). But exploring new foods was very exciting. My ex-mom-in-law always, always served 2 veggies at every meal, so one was usually one I could taste as familiar, and the other allowed me to be exposed to newer veggies. I will always thank that woman for that! (even tho' she has been dead for years).

For now, just ignore Mr. E's dad's comments about bringing you all back to the U.P. He's been trying to get my spouse and me to return to "God's country" for years. And guess what? We are returning to MN from TX in a few years. Yup - it's the draw of family, grandnephews, etc. I miss the changing seasons and especially - even after 20+ years - lilacs in the spring.

Chris H said...

I think where you live sound just fine, and I believe if you are happy there, stay there! You can always visit the in-laws and they can visit you.... that's how it works.... might not if you were on their back doorstep eh?