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May 2008

Daily Linkage Love

I updated my Daily Link portion of my blog. I should call it something else instead of Daily link. I don't change it on a basis anymore. Anyway... on to the links: The first one is to an online friend named Cindy Pon. I have been reading her blog for as long as I can remember blogs being around. She is going to be a publish author and she deserves it. I can not wait to get her books and put them on my shelves at the tea house.  Check out her blog and her paint and prose blog as well. She's a beautifully talented Chinese brush artist as well.

Next is a design blog that I have been drawing a lot of inspiration from. It's called Decor8. As I am in the midst of redecorating the tea house with a huge overhaul happening in August, I am looking fresh new ideas and only have time to do it between customers and using only the Internet.

Finally, I wanted to show you a photographer that has captivated me for the last few months with her portraits with her children. She goes by InkyBlack on Flickr. I am going to be starting a new photography project soon and now you know where I found my inspiration for this project.

What links have you guys been into lately? Do share...

I have been sitting here trying to figure out a title for this blog entry and nothing is coming to my mind. I have been pretty lax on my blogging lately. Yes, I have been busy but I have had time in the evenings to blog. I often log into Typepad and stair at the Compose New Post page and my fingers are stuck. The ideas I had to blog about during the day when I'm busy baking or serving tea are all lost to me.  No time to jot them down in my moleskine. Fingers often covered in scone dough or cookie batter so I can't type. And then sometime I blog block myself by thinking that what I have to say is uninteresting and who would be interested in what I have been up to?

I think I'm just too much in my head and just need to write down my thoughts so I can access them later in time.

 - Today, I walked down a freshly rain soaked cobblestone sidewalk on my way to the tea house carrying a bouquet of sunflowers, two freshly baked baguettes and today's Le Parisien.

 - I met two readers of my blog today. One person a lurker from San Francisco who has never commented on my blog who found my through another friend's blog who had linked about the tea house.   The other visitor a woman and her husband from Vancouver who has been reading my blogs for years and leaves the most wonderful comments some which have really helped me through some dark times in my life and brought smiles to replace the tears.  I was thrilled to meet her. Hugs were given. She knit and enjoyed my homemade carrot cake. Really lovely to put a face to the familiar name that often appears in my comments.

 - I baked cream scones today. Seriously, these are the best scones I've ever made. I also learned from a customer who happened to be from Australia about Devonshire Tea. I am going to rename my Thé Gourmand, Devonshire Tea instead. And perhaps I will adapt the Aussie way to pronounce scone as /skɒn/ like as in John. Just because it's so cute. But I will not be making Vegemite scones as the woman suggested I could. My taste buds have not yet gotten used to the unique taste of Vegemite.

 - I thought about how I am a mother. Last weekend was mother's day in France and to hear my husband wish my Bonne Fete de Mamans made me feel really good. This role of mother is the most natural role my life has taken to date.  Through all my fears and worries in the beginning I can easily say that I am really glad that I became a Maman when I did. It was the hardest period of my life. I had just lost my mother and knowing myself I had to challenge myself. Challenge myself to advance and live life. And I knew that my mother wouldn't want it any other way.

Just a few of my thought today... enough to blog about? Who knows. But I do want to remember these moments.

From memory...

Stirring cookie batter this morning got my mind jogging back to when I was a young girl and I'd watch my mom stir the batter. She'd always let me stir it until it got too hard for me to stir. It was always after the second cup of flour.  She'd hand me the  yellow bag of chocolate chips and let me pour while she stirred. I always looked forward to this step.   After all the cookies were on the baking sheets. She'd let us clean the batter from the bowl.

Stirring the cookie batter this morning I felt her presence next to me. I folded the batter over and over again and I looked at my hand and instead of seeing my hand I saw hers.  The cookie recipe I sell at the tea house is my mother's. When people ask for the recipe, I tell them it's my mother's recipe and that there is not a written recipe to share and that I make these cookies slightly differently everyday just going off my memory.

And her ever present guidance.

I am a selfish mom sometimes

Another Thursday with Max has come and gone. He's fast sleep in the next room. I am laying in bed getting subtle relief from the Advil I took for my migraine. Although I've had this migraine all day today, I didn't realize it was happening until after I put Max to bed. When I am with Max nothing else really matters. I miss phone calls. I forget to check the mail. I don't do the dishes. I am only with him.  Thursdays are the highlight of my week.

Today, Max had a quick visit to the doctors. Over the long weekend he had a fever for a few days but Julien and I just assumed he was teething. He had been drooling a lot over the weekend and his cheeks were red. Noting else seemed out of the ordinary so I didn't worry. But then on Monday a few spots showed up all over his body. Chicken pox? Maybe it was for real this time? But something about the way these bumps looked did not say chicken pox to me.  And the doctor confirmed that they were not but instead Max had the tail end of Roseola. The doctor reassured me there was nothing to worry about and that in a few days the spots would be completely gone.

After spending the afternoon riding trains, playing with friends, making a mess in a toy store and riding more trains we made it home. Dinner, bath and bed. I find myself trying to relaxing with a migraine.  I lay in bed right now thinking about today and remembered soemthing new Max did today. When I push the stroller I often talk to Max and explain to him things I see. Sometimes I sing silly songs I make up. Or we play a game where he repeats what I say.  If there is a moment when I haven't said anything, Max yells,  "Ma ma?!?" The last syllable of Ma ma raised as he saying,"are you there?" And I always respond, "Yes, Max... I am here." And our conversation starts again.

Another new thing he's started doing is when we're on the metro and I am sitting next to him he reaches over and grabs my hand and pulls it close to his face and cuddles it.  I tickle the soft baby skin of his neck and he smiles and rests his cheek against my palm. Warms my heart through and through....

We are waiting to hear if Max will have a place in the Creche this fall.  If he does get a spot then that  means he will be in day care full time and our Thursdays together will probably come to an end. I think I am secretly hoping that he won't get a spot but financially speaking it will be the best thing for our family. The nanny is expensive. I am still getting used to being a full time working mom.  I have moments when the guilt of being away from Max overwhelms me to the point that sometimes I come home from work and rush back to Max's room and scoop up his sleeping form and cuddle him in my arms.  Most nights I can refrain from doing that and just stand at the door and listen to him sleep. But sometimes it's just plus fort que moi...

I know this will get easier in time... I just need some more time.


Is this thing still on?

I haven't logged into Typepad in what it seems like ages to me. I honestly haven't had a down moment to myself to properly compose a blog post. I have had swarms of thoughts invading my mind lately. All of them coming to me when I lay down to go to bed. I lay there for a second and think, "should I get up and blog?", my eyes close and before I know it it's morning. 

My routine nowadays is as follows:

- Wake at 7am to "Ma ma ma ma MA!" or "Da da da da DA!"
- Say goodbye to Julien around 7h45.
- Breakfast for Max around 8h00 
- Play until 9h20
- Head to the park around 9h30 and let Max practice his walking skills until 10h00 and then off to Tata's.
- 10h05, I am off for my morning courses which include fresh flowers, newspapers and baguettes.
- I arrive at the tea house around 10h30am.
- Deliver from the my fruit and veggie guy around 10h45. I've started the day's cookies and am usually watching Grey's Anatomy or The Office.
- I have the veggies and fruit prepped by 11h00 and the cookies are nearly done. I usually have time to sit down and drink a coffee with the woman who owns the restaurant across the street. All the while, saying hello to my fellow shop owners who work on the Rue de la Butte aux Cailles. 
- Lunch crowd starts showing up around 12h15 and I'm pretty busy until about 14h00. 
- I eat lunch about 14h30.
- I usually bake another goodie in the afternoon (today it was orange-cranberry scones) or I call my suppliers and place orders for things that we need. 
- Tea time starts up around 16h30 and I'm usually quite busy until around 18h30. 
Weekdays we close at 19h00, Fridays and weekends we close at 20h00.
- I'm home from work about an hour after we close.  Max is sleeping. I usually bring home dinner for Julien and I. We sit and catch up on each other's day or watch one of our TV shows. I think about table cloths I want to sew after dinner but end up just hanging out with Julien listening to Max sleeping through the baby monitor. 
- I am usually in bed by 23h30 at the latest.

And it all starts again the next day....

Do you know your military time? I guess you will now. 

The new routine is settling in well. My feet have adjusted.  My appetite has as well. Getting accustomed to a late lunch has gotten me used to a very late dinner.  If we ever move to Spain, I'm ready for the late dinners they are known for.  I've completely stopped cooking at home. The house is mostly stocked with things Max eats and comté cheese. The latter is what Julien likes to eat after work.  The laundry gets done sometimes.  The apt seems a bit unlived in lately... consistant piles have made their appearances through out the apt. Max's things for Tata's in the hall way. My work clothes next to the bed. The mail for the tea house in the livingroom. Clean laundry to-be folded on the couch.  But so far, we're ok with the piles.

I don't really know what the point of this post was except to say Hi and that things are going alright. I find time to Twitter, I mean who doesn't? But Twitter isn't something I can look back in a year from now and read and remember. So, I am going to try to make an effort to write more often. Even if it is just a list or two... these are things I don't want to forget.

Something that I did forget to do is Max's 13 month newsletter.  So, I have been writing his 14th month newsletter in my head for the past few days because so much has happened! And his 14th month will coincide with my 31st year of existence.  Am I the only one here but does it seem like this year has just flown by already? 

Well, I'll leave you with the song that I have in my head right at this moment:

I'm off to close up shop....


Connection

The year was 1999. It was my last year in college. I had just returned from a year abroad in France and I felt like a complete fish out of water.  I felt so much older than everyone else and my class pace at the University of Kansas just seemed so slow compared to the year I had just spent in France.  On a whim, I applied for a job as a scholarship hall director on campus. I had returned from France without a place to live or a job.  I interviewed for the position which is normally only open to graduate students (I will still an under grad) and an hour after the interview I received an email from the department of housing with a job offer. I was in charge of 50 girls in a scholarship hall right on campus.  Choice living conditions for a student without a car. And I had a sweet apartment in the hall for free.  That year was a pretty amazing year. For the first time in 3 years I really enjoyed going to class.   Most seniors I knew that year were had a schedule crammed with last minute requirements to fill whereas I was able to take that obscure French class just for the fun of it.   And on top of it, I had a very enjoyable job of taking care of 50 women at the scholarship hall. During the first month I made a huge effort to get to know all my residents. Know their names. Their major and what they liked to eat. I was responsible for keeping the fridge and pantry filled as well. I spent time in the kitchen cooking with my residents and eating dinner every night at a different table. 

Nearly 10 years later, a few of my residents still stand out in my mind.  Many of the other's names have slipped my mind as I'm sure they have forgotten their SHD as well.  Ah, time... how you make us forget. But late last year I was contacted an old resident of mine.   At the time Laura was working as a design editor out in California.  I was thrilled to hear from her again.   Laura was one of the residents I clearly remembered.  She was a freshman the year I was an SHD.  From Texas and she had a little twang in her voice.  I remember her tall figure and her sheepish smile the very first time we met.  I remember going by her room and admiring her photos. She was studying photography. I even remember once she had an important date and was looking for something to wear. She came to my apt and asked if I had anything that would go with the cute black dress she was wearing.  I have to tell you that Laura is nearly 6 feet tall. And with me at just barely 5'7", I didnt' have much to offer her. But the moment has been ingrained in my mind as I can still smile remember her trying on my cardigans only for them to be too short on her.   After we found each other again we exchanged several emails and  caught ourselves up on what we had been up to. She married another scholhaller. Traveled and move to California.   The year we lived together I felt like a sort of sister to her.  Laura just recently became the editor at JPG Magazine.  When I first heard the news I can't tell you how thrilled and proud I was of Laura.  She recently blogged on JPG blog about a new theme called Favorite Hangouts where she mentioned my café talks about how JPG connects people.  It is so true because that's exactly how we found each other as well.  So, here's to keeping in touch even in the most unique ways.