holding it in our hands, lightly

Home on the ferry

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.




11 comments on “holding it in our hands, lightly

  1. Andrea

    Welcome home! Wish we could join you tonight, but we live in Atlanta. I know for sure that I would bring the millet fritters. I made them last night and I can’t wait to make them again. They were a huge hit!

  2. Jenn

    i very much want to do the italy trip. i hope it is happening again next year! enjoy your homecoming. 🙂

  3. Sue Tart

    Hi, and welcome home! I was wondering how the traveling was going, I look forward to reading your stories. My daughter Julie and I attended your first talk at the little cookbook shop in Fremont before your big trip. This last Sunday I visited her in Seattle and sat in her cute little retro 50’s kitchen and watched as she mixed up some of your flour mixes (the AP mix and the whole grain one.) We were both so excited! (She spent the prior weekend running all over Seattle, finding the flours at little shops with good prices and looking for teff in smaller increments than 25 lbs.) She has your new cookbook and now she can bake!! Thank you for all your hard work to help those of us who need to be Gluten free to be healthy. Hugs, Sue

    1. shauna

      Sue, this makes me so happy. Thank you so much! And it was wonderful to meet you at Book Larder.

  4. Elizabeth

    I’ve missed you, from afar. And isn’t Cheryl Strayed incredible? If you haven’t yet read Wild, I highly recommend it.

    Welcome back, I can’t wait to hear stories.

  5. Lori Bruner

    I have used amaranth flour before and loved making bread with it. I have been having trouble with yeast and try to stay away from it. I have also used almond flour before to make bread. I want to start making bread with amaranth again.

  6. Jennifer McKinney

    Funny–I’m sitting here sipping on my kombucha (nourishing my microbiome), I have had “Tiny Beautiful Things…” in my Amazon cart for a while now (must order now!), and “Silver Linings Playbook” will be delivered today via Netflix. Last night, dear son woke up at 3:45 and was up until the buttcrack of dawn and I too am tired with a throbbing headache! I so appreciate your words, your work, and your recommendations! I’ve been reading (thanks to your rec.) Kim Foster’s ebook, “Sharp Knives, Boiling Oil…”, which is so flipping hilarious! Thank you, Shauna!

  7. Debi Crawford

    This is my first time to your site. As soon as I saw the photo from the ferry, I thought OMG, it’s Vashon! I read a little more, and am happy to read a gluten free blog from my old island home. I look forward to catching up on your posts and trying some of your recipes.

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