Another day where it feels like I’ve fit two days worth of experience into a 24 hour period. I got up before sunrise, showered, and headed to the airport (thanks for the ride, Andrew! Particularly on just five hours of sleep!). Through security, lousy breakfast taco, on the airplane, up, down, up, down, baggage claim, SEPTA, and home.
Scott was working from home so that he’d be there when I arrived. We walked over to Running Press’s offices to pick up two copies of my new book (more about that here), got lunch, and came home to catch up on some of the DVR-ed shows that Scott had saved for me.
I miss Raina, Andrew, and Emmett like a pain, but it’s also good to be home.
It was my last day in Austin. There was one last coffee at the Once Over, a boatload of tacos as an early lunch, a bit of a wander around the Herb Bar, and finally dinner with the lovely Kate Payne and her wife JoAnn.
When I got back to the Rose/Press house, Raina and Emmett were still up. I watched Em play with his magnatiles and then we headed to bed where I read a few books to the boy before he and Raina lay down.
I haven’t left quite yet and I already miss them.
Tonight, we had dinner at the home of some of Raina and Andrew’s friends. They live up in the Austin hills and so are in possession of a most glorious view of the city. I wasn’t really set up for trying to shoot the lights of the city, but I was quite happy with the way in which they look in this out of focus shot.
Yesterday, after breakfast with my sister and nephew, I picked up a rental car and drove three hours to Houston. I went to visit my dear friend Ingrid and her family. I’d not seen Ingrid since she got married nearly three years ago and she’s moved, changed her work situation, and had a baby in the intervening time.
We met at the Unitarian church in very early 2003 and became friends instantly. Truly, it was one of those rare instances where we went from being strangers to dear friends. There was no period of acquaintanceship or even much getting to know you. Just immediate friendship.
Even now, we can get together and pick back up as if no time at all had passed. I pulled up in front of her house and we started to talk and other than the hours while we were sleeping, the conversation never stopped. The little munchkin wearing the pink giraffe suit above is her sweet 18-month-old daughter Eliza.
Raina, Emmett, and I got up early this morning to go out for breakfast. We ate at a place that I’ve long heard about but never tried before and it was just as good as was foretold. I had zucchini migas and Raina had a spinach omelet so stuffed with greens that the eggs were positively green.
There was a long period of my life when I was always on the lookout for vintage waffle irons. It started when I was around nine years old and my dad’s 40 year old chrome model blew a connection and stopped heating on one side. He tried to replace it with a new model, but found all those made after 1970 to be entire inadequate to his needs. And so, it was a family effort to search out the old ones. It was never enough to have just one, either. Must like the British aristocracy, we needed to have both an heir and a spare.
When I moved out to Philadelphia, I continued the hunt and any time I found an old chrome bodied one for less than $10, it would come home with me. There was a time when I had four or five, but I’ve slimmed down the collection considerably since then.
One way that I divested myself of waffle irons was by shipping one to my sister a couple years back. This morning, we pulled it out and cooked up waffles for a crowd. Raina whipped up a gluten-free batter and I managed the iron. The first one was a complete disaster (as they so often are), but once the sacrifice to the waffle gods had been made, the rest came off gloriously brown and ready to receive syrup.
Truly, there’s nothing like a vintage waffle iron.
We did a lot today, but I didn’t manage to capture any of it with my big camera (I could tell you a long, boring story about how my purse is empty in the bottom of my suitcase because I carried a guitar onto the plane yesterday and so I’ve been walking around with just a phone and wallet, but I’ll spare you anything more than that). So moments before I climbed into bed, I snapped a picture of said bed.
The true picture that best represents today is this one that I shot with my phone, of being in the kitchen with my sister, making dinner. We cook together so naturally and it is such a pleasure.
Certainly it helps that we were raised in the same household and so learned to cook from the same person, but there’s something more than just that in play when we make a meal together. We share a rhythm, a culinary temperament, and a desire to balance flavor with virtue. It makes for darn good, fun food and I only wish we got to do it more often!
Today felt like two in one. I woke up a few minutes after 5 am, in order to shower and get myself to the airport for a flight to Austin, TX. After six hours of reading and doing a little work on an airplane (we stopped in Tampa on our way), Raina and Emmett met me at the airport.
Once I had retrieved my bag, Andrew drove around to pick us up with Trevor and Reese in the back of the minivan. (Trevor is an old camp friend of my sister’s who is in town for an Acro Yoga workshop. Reese is an old buddy of Andrew’s who came to see The Mother Hips perform). It’s quite the party at Casa Rose/Press this weekend!
When we were all tucked into the van, we had lunch at a Tex-Mex spot (that oddly, I’d eaten at once back in 2009 with some Philly people while in Austin for SXSWi) and then hit the Whole Foods mothership for groceries. After that, it was back to the ranch to play with Emmett, make dinner, and catch up. All told, I ended up being awake for nearly 20 hours straight.
It might be hard to tell, but the photo above documents the position Emmett worked his way into while sleeping. Because who doesn’t sleep best when their head is wedged underneath the arm of a foam armchair?
It might look like a regular old wooden spatula, but it’s actually a handmade spurtle (purchased at the PA Farm Show_. What’s a spurtle, you ask? It’s a traditional Scottish cooking tool. Pretty darn appropriate for this McClellan!
There aren’t many animals in my life these days. When I was kid, we always had pets. My parents adopted Freddie, a poodle-schnauzer mix, just before they got pregnant with me. After Freddie was hit by a car, we got Toasty, a sweet dog of unknown parentage. A black and white cat that accidentally ended up with the name Dinky joined the family when I was 13.
After Toasty died in 1995, we picked out Bonnie at the Troutdale animal shelter. She was a boarder collie/blue heeler mix and I still miss her. When I was in college, my parents picked up Uma, a massive calico, at a rest stop in Umatilla. Later, Raina started traveling for a living and her cat Woody moved in with my parents. These days, my parents have Little Pearl, a two-year-old cat they adopted a year ago when Woody’s absence became too much.
I am a pet person living in a building that doesn’t allow animals of any kind. Seeing all the sweet bunnies at the Farm Show reminded me how much I miss co-existing and caring for a little, furry creature.