Saturday, February 27, 2010


When I arrived at my parent's house with the baby yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by a smiling dad who said he was just getting ready for TGIF. Soon, the coffee table was draped in a white table cloth, set with wine glasses stuffed with pretty napkins.

I've never been home for a TGIF before, a tradition that started sometime after I got married. My dad, now retired, spends part of the week researching recipes to test on my family, and sometimes I hear how lovely the tapas were or get to enjoy some really delicious leftovers if I visit on a Saturday.

My dad placed a fancy candlestick on the coffee table and positioned two poinsettias left over from Christmas. The he left for an hour while I spent time with Vecmamma and my baby. He came back with a bunch of daffodils he set in a vase.

Then he got my mother from the bus stop, and there were hellos and kisses and time to change into comfy clothes. Then my dad went into the kitchen, and though I stepped in to get some banana to feed the baby, I didn't stay long because it was clear he was concentrating. He was still there as my mother and I sat around the coffee table later, by candlelight -- he was preparing our mulled wine.

The tapas looked delicious, but I wondered if they would be enough -- cheese in special sauce, marinaded olives, tomatoes with mozzarella and pears. But this was just the first course, my parents explained. We shared, and then my dad disappeared into the kitchen to bring paninis with soft cheese and mushrooms. There was one left over if I wanted it, but one with hot potato salad was enough before dessert. I left to get the baby for bed and then came back to more extra-sweet wine and a fluffy custard torte.

Vecmamma was on the couch near us, eating too and feeding the dog as always. She even gave Zemmy some of her coffee in a bowl, but no one called for her to stop, as we sometimes do when we are willing to raise our voices. This time we rolled our eyes and laughed a bit and called the dog closer, and she came wagging and sniffing the baby's pajamas, and the baby smiled and played with a couch cushion, and everyone was smiling.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grocery shopping before a blizzard

Thanks to the woman who let me cut ahead just a little in the 40-minute-long line at the grocery store after my baby started to scream from weariness.

Thanks also to her and the cashier and other folks nearby for making small talk while efficiently handling groceries. They helped distract us both and reminded me that the world wasn't ending. I thought I was really calm despite her crying, but after a number of minutes of it, I think I was starting to lose it a bit, and I guess it showed on my face.

I was so happy to get to the front of the line, I took just a second after loading my groceries to hand another woman a coupon for the sour cream she had. She saved $1.10, and I saved just a little of my sanity. I was so happy to get out of the store, I didn't even check the receipt to make sure I got my free tortillas.

Thanks to my poor little baby, who found the line at the grocery store more distressing than the shot she got at the pediatrician today. Now she is napping, and it is doing us both good.

(I was going to take a picture, but the camera woke her, so here is one from last month instead.)