Friday, November 2, 2012

Desperately seeking Ina

Coconut cupcakes.

Those were the words I planned to say to Ina Garten at her book-signing today at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Ill. Ten years ago, my then-roommate Emily came home from her friend's bridal shower and was raving about the coconut cupcakes that someone had made from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. We did our research, bought The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and discovered her new show on Food Network. A love affair began. Since Jeremy's parents have a house in East Hampton, NY, where Ina's show is based, I am not afraid to frequent (or stalk, call it what you want) many of Ina's favorite haunts, like The Seafood Shop and Loaves and Fishes. My sister Laura and I once stopped at the Bridgehampton Florist, hoping to see the owner Michael, a frequent guest on Ina's show.

And I have been known to slowly ride my mother-in-law's bicycle past Ina's tall hedges, in hopes that Ina might be out in the driveway and would wave me in for a drink in her garden.

One can dream.

Alas, due to the storms out east (my New York-dwelling in-laws are fine, by the way - sister-in-law is still without power but hoping it will be restored tomorrow), the book tour was understandably postponed. I did not do my research ahead of time, so Jossie and I were dismayed to see this sign this morning when we arrived at the bookstore.

I will probably not be able to make it to the rescheduled signing, so I will resume my quest to run into Ina next summer.

I had anticipated that we'd have some time on our hands regardless of the book-signing, so I had signed Jossie up for a trial Gymboree class. The instructor was enthusiastic and engaging. (When we first arrived, he tried making small talk with my 21-month-old about her Halloween costume. She just gave him her signature wilting stare but quickly warmed up.)  Jossie loves to dance and move and had the best time.

As we sat in a circle at the end, I brushed my lips against the back of her head and held her close.

It hit me then how little time I really get with my daughter one-on-one, with her being the youngest and me working full-time. She is good about fitting in and going with Jack's flow but it was nice to see her personality on her own. I love watching her with other kids - she quietly surveys her fellow students. One adorable little boy was tugging on a colorful fabric tunnel in class, and Jossie jumped in and started tugging the other side of the tunnel, gauging his reaction.

So the cancelled book-signing did not ruin our day. It was really nice to have this time with Jossie, my little love. I can only imagine what life will give this mother-daughter duo. Maybe someday she'll join me for that bike ride past Ina's house.

Happy Friday, loves.

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