There was a moment on the ferry, after I had flopped down on a bench by the window, where everything fell into focus.
We had been traveling for weeks — Danny in Breckenridge for a family memorial service, then the three of us in New York City for nearly a week, then the gorgeous haven of a villa complex in the hills outside of Lucca, Italy — and had just completed a marathon of airplane flights. A shuttle from the villa to Pisa airport. Pisa to Paris. Paris to New York. New York to Seattle. Each one required a change of planes, long bus rides to a different terminal, endless lines at customs, and a mad dash to the next gate with no time to stop for food. Just as we collapsed into our beds at a hotel near the airport in Seattle after midnight, Lu woke up ready to play. It was 9:30 am Italian time. Time to dance the Shipoopi!
Can I write that I was tired? Does that explain the hobbled feeling in my knees, the emptiness in my stomach, the woozy feeling in my head? I was tired.
The next day, Lu woke up at 5:17 a.m., immediately singing 76 Trombones from The Music Man. The tiredness cut an arc behind my eyes, threatening to take off my head. But never mind. We had just returned from Italy and we had nowhere to go in particular.
Still, by the time we sat down on the ferry, I had almost forgotten where we were. I could barely see straight and there were still bags to lug up the ferry parking lot hill on the other side. I plopped down hard, looking out the window at the vast expanse of blue-grey water. It was particularly still that afternoon. In the distance — Vashon Island.
Lu’s hand touched the window lightly, as though she wanted to hold it all in her hand.
We were home.
The trips themselves were extraordinary. We have plenty of stories to share with you. And so much food.
But for now, I want to just share a few things that have been bouncing around in my head, words and images that fell into place looking out at that vast expanse of water.
On all the plane rides, as often as I could, I read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. I read and I shook with laughter and understanding and amazement at the vibrant way Cheryl Strayed is alive and shares her imperfect wisdom with whomever is listening. My god, this is the kind of advice everyone who wants to be awake should have at hand. Every day. She’s reminded me again that I want (to quote her) “…to write like a motherf—er.”) This book. Oh, this book.
I’m eager to tackle writing with a pen on paper again, in short sharp images, after reading this lovely piece from The New York Times about the essential gesture in writing.
Speaking of The New York Times, the venerable newspaper gave me 100 trillion things to think about with this piece about the bacteria that make up our microbiomes. Seriously, read this one. And then drink some kefir.
When we were in New York, Danny and Lu and I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Catherine Oddenino. Now I cannot wait to try her ice cream at Luca and Bosco.
On the plane ride home, in the two hours Lu napped, I should have fallen asleep as well. Instead, I sat up and watched Silver Linings Playbook. It’s a beautiful film, in all that intensity and the shattering fragile performances (Robert DeNiro, of course, but Jennifer Lawrence? Woman, you can act.) and I’ve been haunted by images from it since.
Our dear friends Debra and Rod from Smith Bites were in Italy with us. Somehow, even with the terribly spotty internet service there, they managed to put up this lovely post of photos from the trip. Oh, this week!
The lack of reliable internet this last week of my life is why I’m letting you know about an event for our book the evening before it happens. Hey, if any of you are free Tuesday evening, want to have dinner with us?
We’re having a potluck at the Chef Shop site in Seattle, a place to gather and eat. They’ll have wine for you too, so it’s only $5 to get in. Bring something gluten-free to eat (bonus smiles from us if you make something from our new cookbook !). Bring the kids and babies. Since I’m certain that most all of you will be otherwise occupied, this will be a small gathering of friends and like-minded people, with the chance to laugh and buy good olive oil too. It’s my favorite kind of gathering!
The potluck starts at 6:30 on Tuesday the 28th. We’d love to see you there.
Tomorrow, I start telling you stories.