Yesterday was pretty darn good. First, after being forced to exercise, I realized that a crappy dinner the night before (cold pizza after Back to School night #2) and a minimal, on-the-run breakfast that morning just prior to said exercise, did not lay a good foundation for feeling strong and energetic during my work out. My trainer, in such a gentle and simple way, said, "You know, Em, I need you to take care of yourself while you're busy taking care of others." A dimmed light brightened in my harried mind, and I left the gym, picked up a protein-heavy shake and committed to eating a marvelous, good, substantial lunch.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I love when trusted others remind me of elemental truths. For pete's sakes, I hadn't even brushed my teeth before leaving the house yesterday.
Frantically slurping my shake, and feeling better with every gulp, I headed back to school as my friend, who also happens to be the school librarian, had very kindly invited me to attend an author presentation with the kids*. Kathi Appelt, a lilting, lovely Texan who's written a huge array of highly-regarded children's books, was taking the kids through her writing process. I sat by Jack, who crossed his legs as women often do -knee atop knee- which I always love to see because he is so cute and dear and his slender little legs nestle right into each other such that they look like one. He kept my arm draped over his shoulder for the whole hour which was also very dear, and I dare say I couldn't have enjoyed myself more.
Not least because I was listening to and learning from such an accomplished author. She took the children through a fairly brief but terrific discussion about what revision really means. To view anew, to see with fresh eyes. And how doing so can and often should take time. I suspect Jack about fell out when Kathi showed us her 24th revision for Watermelon Day and then said, "Well, another book took 30 revisions!" (That's kind of Jack's biggest nightmare right now.)
Writing is a discipline that takes time, effort over time and the willingness to cut one's own work. Revising is a life lesson really, whether its form takes shape on the page or in one's relationship with self and others.
(Kathi also loves swamps. A devoted Louisianan, I, too, adore swamps and all of their mystical, dark, muddy, life-sustaining beauty.)
Afterwards, I came home, cleaned myself up and made that substantial lunch to which I'd committed. It was great- an enormous roast turkey, chevre, kalamata olive hummus, tomato, lettuce, whole grain bread tower + the last piece of plum tart.
Last night, T had a work party that we wanted to attend. Not your generic staid work party, no. This was an outdoor crab feast with live music, barbecue and endless platters of freshly boiled crabs. I must have eaten a dozen, and my hands still smell today if anyone needs any proof. It's been a long time, too long, since I went at a mess of crabs like that. I'd forgotten how they nearly burn your fingers and lips with both steam and Old Bay (it'd be Tony Chacheres at home) and how delightful that is. It's great fun to pound a wooden mallet down on an upside-down crab body whose "key" you've pried open.
If you look closely in that picture above, you can see the rather phallic-looking "keys" on the crustaceans' underbellies.
As if that weren't enough, this cookie & ice cream food truck then drove up. People, let me just say this: If you encounter the Captain Cookie food truck whilst in or around DC, run, don't walk, to it and get yourself a big old ice cream sandwich. I chose a chocolate chip cookie for the top, vanilla ice cream for the middle and a nutella cookie for the bottom. Are you kidding? It was insanely good. Huge! Spectacular cookies! Sublime ice cream! They even have milk, should you simply want cookies, and they have vegan options for those of you out there.
I would love another right now!
*One of Kathi's books, in the Bubba and Beau sequence, talks about making gumbo and apparently, my boys were the only ones familiar with roux. This was the sole reason for my invitation which I thought was totally fabulous.