1. My friend Brendan left today and I was remembering a moment that happened when he first arrived here a couple weeks ago. I was looking out for him and Leaf all day, imagining that they’d show up in the afternoon, and planning dinner for all of us together. But when they hadn’t shown up by dinnertime, I just stuck my headphones in and started cooking. Through a mist of music I heard my name called and suddenly my dearest friends were in the kitchen with me! There were hugs and squeals and then I kept on cooking, until Brendan asked, “Rae, is this a veg meal?”
“Yes,” I said, thinking, of course it is. Then Brendan leaned over and pulled a giant insect out of the pot. It was about an inch long and half an inch thick and had made a suicidal dive for my food. It would have made the meal decidedly non-veg, so Brendan saved the day!
2. The other night Isaac slept all the way through, which he isn’t prone to doing. There is nothing like waking up to his noises and realizing that it’s 5:30 in the morning and it’s the first time I’ve opened my eyes. I nursed him and he went back to sleep, then I got up to write. I felt so rested.
3. Buying ground cumin rather than ground cinnamon this morning was a story that began last night, when I went to the store to get pasta and promptly got drunk on the smell of freshly baked bread. Forgetting that my family doesn’t ever really eat bread with pasta, I just had to buy some french loaves. I skipped home with it and we sliced it up, but there was a huge plate of it, uneaten, after dinner. No problem, thought I, that’s why french toast was invented: for bread-smell drunk mothers who try to overload their families with starch. So this morning I made oven french toast, getting all the way to the last step, when I realized that I had no cinnamon. No problem, thought I, again, I’ll just pop off to the store and get some. But I wasn’t popping in a very poppy way, as I didn’t get as much sleep last night. Isaac only woke up once, but there was some eleven-year-old stumbling around, telling me he couldn’t sleep at 2:00 and then 3:00 and then 4:00 in the morning. I woke up tired, and I hobbled into the store, picked up the first spice jar with a “c” word and brown powder that I saw, and rushed home.
The good part is that I noticed it was cumin before I put it in the french toast. Another trip to the store and it was all sorted.
4. Leaf is still here for a few more days, and today we snuck out for lunch at a nearby restaurant. We bought some already prepared, VERY spicy food. (Isaac seems to be okay with it, these days.) I sweated and drank water and we talked and talked. What a gift this visit has been.
5. Another friend dropped in for a visit. We’re receiving friends like dearly needed rain, and it’s coming in buckets. This friend is the daughter of some very dear friends of Chinua and mine, and we talked today of the lovely circle that this visit completes. I stayed with her mom and helped her with the kids back when I was twenty-one and Dannah was nine. Chinua was on his first trip to Israel with Dannah’s dad. Now Dannah is here, visiting me and my kids, and she is twenty-one while my daughter is nine. We know where we’ll be sending Kenya when she turns twenty-one. Wherever Dannah is in the world, she’ll be getting a visit from Kenya. The weird thing is that it doesn’t feel very long ago. I was six months pregnant with Kai and reading Bird by Bird for the very first time. Reading Bird by Bird suggested to me that I might be able to write a novel. Ten years later, I published The Eve Tree. And that, I assume, means that Kenya will turn twenty-one in a week or so.