Thursday, July 30, 2009

Love (My Husband) Thursday

Okay, so I promised not to gush about my husband so much.

I just can't help it.

Tomorrow, my husband is taking his entire weekend to ride his bike 192 miles in support of finding a cure for cancer.

I don't very often talk about the fact that I had cancer but I did. When I was 26, I battled cervical cancer, which left my fertility in question. I think I've successfully answered that question (two kids later) but the whole cancer thing? Really not that fun, as experiences go.

I don't talk about it much because there are so many people facing so much worse in the way of cancer and treatment. I don't actually think about myself in terms of being a cancer survivor, even though, obviously, I am one and, having successfully beaten the Giant Beast, my life is better than I ever could have imagined. (Yes, that is a personal best for the number of commas used in one sentence. Please hold your applause.)

Anyway, my husband rode the Ride for the Cure in Austin with my name pinned to his jersey. He never forgets, see, that had things turned out a little differently, not only would we not have these two amazing children, but I might not be his wife.

Cancer is doing horrible things, often to really good people and all TOO often, to people who won't get to talk about their happy endings. I'm so proud of my husband for his commitment to making a difference.

**If you are interested in learning more about the Pan Mass Challenge, below is a link to a very moving talk given at last years kickoff funding event for the PMC from Dr. Sam Blackman that provides an incredibly symbolic description of the magic that surrounds this event.

If you'd like to support Coop in this year's ride, he's riding with his friend BP and this is their team page:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Someone Has Too Much Time On Her Hands


I am SOOOOOOOOO tired. First there's the jet lag thing. Then there's the cat having a fur ball on my bed at 3:30 in the morning and then there's the entire clean-up effort that began at 5:30 after Jane discovered that the puppy had exploded all over my office during the night. (If you must visualize this, please just know that there is no way your imagination can come up with anything near as awful as the reality. Let us never speak of this again until we have the carpet in that room replaced.)

So, um, as I am wont to do in moments of extreme fatigue and/or stress, I seem to have sat firmly down in a pile of...silliness. Let us call this

Fun With Produce

and get on with things...

Our Lady of the Lake (of Cucumbers.)

I heart homegrown tomatoes.

Play Ball!


Nessy looking in a mirror?

Will Barb ever be serious?

Monday, July 27, 2009

There has Been a Coup

We're home.

It was the most fabulous vacation of my entire life and then coming home seemed extra sweet, until the pet sitter told us that our cat Edward was once again missing and hadn't been seen since Friday. Coop and I immediately went to the shelter by our house (which was slightly surreal because there were, literally, 400 cats living cage-free in a house and they all seem to, well, get along. They are almost all feral captures, so this was just amazing to us.) No Edward, though.

I'd like to say that Edward being gone didn't just suck the joy right out of me but, well...I can't. Isn't it ridiculous that we could have been on this life-changing trip and come home with our heads full of the history and beauty of Germany and France and then, whoosh--reality bit us hard in the form of one missing orange fluff-ball?

And then he strolled in about 4:00 in the morning, looking perfectly fit and happy and with a purr as big as Texas at seeing us again.

I hate that cat.

(Okay, so I lie, I lie, I lie.)

(But...well.. DARN HIM!)

So, here we all are now, slightly delayed, having a joyous homecoming.

I'll tell you much more about our trip, plus how the cucumbers have staged a coup and are taking over the entire garden (Can y'all say, "pickles?" Now can you tell me how to make them?) as soon as I've done some laundry and figured out where our puppy went. (There is this enormous black dog the size of our sofa roaming around here, though, and he's apparently figured out the stairs since if you turn your back for a second, you see him slinking guiltily back down them.)

Wait, wait, can I just gush for one second about my husband? I know that this probably gets old --because how much happiness can y'all read about without wanting to murder me?--but in addition to planning every last detail of our vacation--which included booking a rental car and hotels in foreign lands, buying a GPS with the right maps on it, driving us to where the Tour de France was happening without getting us stuck even once in traffic, meeting and charming my extended German family and in general pulling off the greatest vacation of my entire life?? He also managed to have to house cleaned before he left so that I would come home and not be all stressed out.

Either I did something very good in a former lifetime or he did something very, VERY bad... All hail Coop!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Universal Language of Lunch

Looky what my husband smuggled in from home.

Even 4,000 miles from home, on brown bread with something called "Sandwich Snack Creme" smeared on it, there is nothing finer than a tomato sandwich made from tomatoes grown in one's own garden.

I think it just might be the key to all international differences and misunderstandings.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hey, Did I mention We're On A Trip?

There's probably no way to do a day-by-day accounting of our trip to Germany so far. We left last Friday night and arrived Saturday morning.

There was some of this:

And some of this:

And a lot of THIS:

But mostly, there has been this:

And Coop just got here so the fun is only just beginning!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Y'all Feel That?

I know. I know. I owe you all a long blog post about how we came to take this trip to Germany but this is NOT that post because I am writing on my Dad's laptop, using the slowest Internet connection this side of the Eisenhower years.

My parents are here for the summer. My mom is native German (and all of her siblings are here and my cousins, etc.) and my stepfather is a European historian so they come almost every year. *I* haven't visited since 1985.

When we arrived yesterday, the joy of my parents at seeing us (and vice-versa) must have created ripples throughout the Cosmos. I wish I had words to describe it but it occurred to me that perhaps you felt it in some way --some unexpected bit of good fortune or flush of pleasure?

I am humbled once again by the sheer LUCK of my life. To be loved so much, to have arrived at this point in my life in such a great relationship with my parents and their incredible bond with my children... I don't know. How did I get so freaking lucky?

Coop will join us next week, so be on the lookout for random joy rushes to overtake you at odd moments. I'll write again as soon as I can find an Internet Cafe or connection that moves a bit faster than, say, building the Great Wall.

PS: The cucumbers made it just fine!! And I'm not writing this from prison! See? So lucky...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not Exactly Maui-Wowie

Just in case I am arrested for smuggling, I wanted y'all to know that my contraband is in the finest tradition and is...

...homegrown and organic.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Love MY LUNCH Thursday

It happened today.

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting.

We had such a wet spring that I didn't think today was ever going to get here.

I checked every single day, even when I had to put my galoshes on to do so.

It is not lost on me that this day won't come again for at least two weeks since the girls and I leave on our European trip tomorrow. (More about that when I'm officially done freaking the frak out.)

Meanwhile, shall I show you what took so long to get here? Are you sure?

Today was a banner day for the Cooper Garden. Not only did it produce THESE (our first of the season):

But also? Look what I had for lunch today!!!!

The girls and I have rediscovered our bread machine so that's fresh, homemade bread with mayonnaise slathered all the heck over it and the first tomato of the year from my very own, rockin'-this-world-and-the-next garden.

If I were any happier, I'd be twins.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Blush...

Today, the Women's Colony posted an old column that I wrote about my father. It means a lot to me to share the story of my dad--like maybe this way his memory stays alive and stronger in my heart. I still think about him every day, even though my mom has remarried and he's been gone twenty years now.

I always feel a little funny promoting my work but it would mean a lot to me if y'all would go visit this particular piece. Click here for Barb's So The Thing Is Father's Day Column. And thanks!


So, it's embarrassing how many half-written posts I have in the queue but sometimes things happen that sort of take precedent.

Yesterday, we went over to my friend Linda's house for barbecuing and swimming. You remember Linda as my friend and fellow knitter whose car I hit, right? The NICEST person. And married to Bob, who is also the NICEST person. If there were any justice in the world, they'd have won the lottery many times over. As it is, when *I* win, I plan on buying Bob a big ole sailboat.

There's a story behind that but it's not really my story to tell.

Anyway, Linda's daughter-in-law, Rebecca, is ALSO in my knitting group and she's just lovely. She always calls me on my Southern "I hope I didn't offend anyone/I hope I didn't talk too much/ I hope I didn't breathe in an obnoxious manner" shtick which makes me laugh really hard. Like, last night, she said, "Will you shut UP? I would have thought you'd have felt safe HERE." Which made me laugh and also? Get a little teary. You know that feeling when you just know that people "get" you and love you? That's the feeling I have with Rebecca, Linda and Bob. And I really do feel 'safe' with them. Safe enough to be myself and pull out my knitting while hanging out in my BATHING SUIT and SNEAKERS. Safe enough that I mentioned, of my own free will, that I had gone bra shopping and the bras I buy now are the size of condos in the Village. (Hey, look at me making a New York joke!) (Look at me talking about foundation wear in almost-public! Y'all, I am so being assimilated!)

(Well, okay, maybe I'm not COMPLETELY assimilated. When we were leaving, I hugged Bob and said, "You know, I was just thinking that it's a shame you can't pick your relatives because I'd pick you" or something to that effect. Apparently, this was both a bit much but also, in retrospect, maybe not such happy a thought for BOB. I mean, what if everyone he and Linda invite to dinner asks to be part of their family? I was trying to tell him that he's one of my all-time favorite people but instead, I sort of sounded like some deranged product of inbreeding. Or maybe he thought I was proposing, although that would be awkward seeing as how we both have spouses I like. I don't know. Maybe I could have just said, "Thank you so much!" and left it at that?)

At any rate, it was a lovely, lovely time and Linda and Bob, if you're reading this, thank you very much!