Thursday, January 15, 2015

Anywhere but here

Iceland, take me away.
I’ve been a ball of anxiety and haven’t been sleeping! I put the exclamation point there to make that announcement sound less doleful because who wants to read about how tense and tired someone else is? We’re all tense and tired. I’m just a little extra tense and tired right now. First thing in the morning I burst into tears because I knocked over a full cup of coffee and had to make more, poor me, and when I went upstairs to do so found that Owen had left his laundry in the middle of the kitchen. Owen is very lucky that he’d already departed for band practice.

Seriously, though, death, grief, burial, college applications, Disneyland, and, yesterday, public speaking. The first 14 days of January were rough. The other night at dinner I startled myself and everyone else at the table by saying that when Mark retires I want the two of us to move to India for a year. Really? I want this? Mark in India? Mark with all those cows? The next day I wrote Isabel a mystifying email saying that if she’d like to go to Iceland with me over the summer, we should discuss. 

Iceland? WTF. She has yet to respond. 

The eulogy I gave at my grandmother’s funeral yesterday went fine. I read a couple of anecdotes from the archives of the blog and I think it worked. Here’s what was really cool about this experience though: while looking through the archives, I found so many stories about my grandmother that I’d completely forgotten, days we spent together, verbatim dialogue, really sweet stuff. I never intended the Tipsy Baker as a family scrapbook, but among other things, that’s what it's turned out to be. I uncovered a trove of memories that would have been lost forever had I not been packing them away like a typing chipmunk, year after year. Not just memories of my grandmother, but of my mother, father, kids, Mark, our life, all of it. Maybe you’re wondering how I didn’t realize this before now. I’m wondering that too. I just didn’t. Now I do.

So that’s happy. 


-This is a very good, healthy, easy, green soup.

-The Ottolenghi macadamia-caramel cheesecake is baking as I write. Full report after tomorrow night, but it smells divine.

-The Ottolenghi marinated rack of lamb with cilantro and honey was intended as an expensive weekday dinner earlier this week, but on the night I was planning to serve it both my kids had theater obligations down at the high school and for various boring reasons I couldn’t postpone the lamb so I cooked it, didn’t bother with salad or vegetables, and Mark and I ate it standing at the counter. Then he went to see the theater production and I stayed home and finished the eulogy. It was a sorry and unceremonious way to serve a luxurious and delicious meat, but hey, the kids have lives of their own now and I have to deal. The recipe is nice because rather than pouring away the marinade you boil it for 15 minutes and use it as a sauce, an extremely punchy, flavorful sauce. This was another great recipe suggestion from the comments. Thank you commenters. I’m almost done with all your Ottolenghi suggestions and then. . . what? 

Interesting, don’t you think, that Plenty More didn’t turn up in the Piglet lineup? Maybe they decided that Ottolenghi's books have gotten enough Piglet play in past years. I couldn’t disagree. Perhaps I’ll explore some of the Piglet titles over the next few weeks. 


  1. I love how you say that you finally recognized the part of your log that is the most splendid: your stories about family, rich with feeling and love. Also, while you've had some jolting experiences recently, you still cook and eat. So life-affirming! All the best to you and your family.

  2. They should have asked you to be a Piglet judge. I wish I could give you a Pisco sour and a hug of solidarity. Things will get better.

  3. It would be a wonder if you didn't feel a ball of anxiety after all you've had to deal with lately. I love that India and Iceland just popped out of your brain. Stress causes some people to want to sleep forever. Stress wakes you up and takes you new places. thanks for taking us along.

  4. You're going through a very tense and tiring time, of course you're tense and tired. I'm relieved that your grandmother's funeral and eulogy gave you the opportunity to relive some family times ranging from deeply moving to flat-out hilarious. Of COURSE your blog is a family scrapbook! I always feel privileged that you have chosen to share with us.

  5. I haven't left any comments in the past few weeks because everything I wrote down sounded so mawkish I couldn't bear to hit publish. Sorry. But you have my sympathy during this time of great loss and change. How lucky for you and for us that you're a writer and all of this is creating some pretty rich grist for the mill.

  6. Like others above I've remained silent these last few weeks as well, mostly because no comment I wrote really did justice to what I wanted to say. I love the impulse for a change of scenery (Iceland, India) and it makes enormous sense to me after these last few weeks. And I continue to read with admiration for your honesty, respect for your sense of humor, and deep appreciation that you share your life and those you love with your readers. Wishing you a deep night's sleep soon.

  7. After my Mom died, I took a job in a green house/ flower market and bought a BMW Z-3 convertible . Why? Well, why not? It was about a year before I realized I just wanted to be in a fresh place with a snappy car. I don't regret it but I wished I had not spent so much money on a silly car. My husband said,,,,just do what you have to do to stay sane.

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