It took me a few days to put into words how I feel about this lovely lady. A most poetic author, who never fails to capture my attention with her “dreamy” prose.
Dreamy. Marni’s word. Every time I hear it, read it, see it – I think of her. Long time acquaintances, now friends. I won’t give away the story as she’s written a bit about it below, but I can tell you, I never forgot her. You know, that one person you sort of knew, really liked, but never had the opportunity to be real friends? And then, years later I discovered her blog. Her love of the written word. Her talent I so admire.
Sometimes Marni lets me sneak peaks at what she’s writing, what she’s working on. And again, it’s always “dreamy”. A talented gal, Marni started a stationary company along with her blog called “noted“. There you’ll find her beautiful and exquisite line of stationary as well as poetic verse of life, love, family, humor and anything that strikes her fancy. I find myself constantly checking her blog just to read a new snippet of her writing. And of course, I have “noted” stationary (and a pencil!) in my office. She’s a published author, gracious and lovely with a quiet strength that exudes a zest for life and love and all that’s dreamy.
In honor of this most delicious post, Marni asked me to post a dish that one might take to a neighbor. A perfect pairing with her story. This Spiced Apricot Chicken with Coconut Rice is an enchanting meal for a neighbor, family or friends. Thank you Marni for guest posting!
Hi! My name is Marni and I am the creator of “noted.”, a stationery line as well as a blog where I note my favorite moments. Karista has been a friend both near… here in Mesa, Arizona, and far… social media and through blogging.
Her daughter Alex and my son Hayden were friends in kindergarten. Back then life was a blur of childhood activity. There seemed to be only short moments of pocketed conversation between school drop offs and pick-ups and the occasional play date or birthday party for catching up.
I remember Alex attending Hayden’s sixth birthday party at the park, and then, as if time fast forwarded leaving a bit of itself behind, there is Karista four years later, packed and ready to move to Washington. I can see her, standing at one end of my living room while I am at the other, she is looking up and over me, maybe admiring the newly faux finished walls (fad of the times), or maybe looking out the shuttered window behind me at our swimming pool, and then an emptiness fills me that we missed our moment to connect.
We could have been more than our children’s mothers to one another, we could have been close friends. That moment is stamped to my memory, a memorized profile pic that pops up whenever I think about her or she sends me a quick text, bringing me back to that day in my living room, and I notice our connection was there all along, waiting for us to realize it.
Sometimes it’s a parenting question or more often a note of confidence, stirring me on, keeping my words bubbling gently to the top, she knows I work best at a slow simmer. My dreamiest times happen there. Something warm on the stove that needs my calm attention giving my mind space to wander, eyes gazing out the window, drawing them to notice the tree that was bare for the past two years has gathered up the courage to leaf out!
I honestly didn’t think it would make it. It was a transplanted tree you see. We moved into our home two years ago this past December and immediately our next door neighbor came to my husband, outside unloading boxes in the garage, and asked if we would mind cutting down a backyard tree. His first introduction. He even had the business card in hand of the tree service and offered to pay himself! He wanted that washed out shade of green with needle like leaves that didn’t seem to serve any purpose but litter his pool, gone.
I didn’t really like the tree, knew it was temporary, but my territorial defenses surrounding our new space we had as yet to associate as home, rose at the request. How dare he ask us to cut down OUR tree.
After a few months, and experiencing his same pool grief, we agreed, paying for it ourselves while making it clear to him that we would be planting a new tree in that same approximate space. One that wasn’t so messy but a replacement tree none the less. He was silent. We went ahead and planted a tree that was young and spindly but tall enough to make a subtle statement. Once planted it seemed to fill the space perfectly, not too close to our shared block wall and with the hope of a future canopy of green! I was looking forward to having a shady green corner one day, romanticizing, imagining myself sipping lemonade while turning the dog-eared pages of a borrowed book. Soon the spare amount of leaves it had clinging to its few branches dropped. Mostly in our yard. Crunchy and dry, the tree went from green to brown in days.
All that next spring and summer it was bald, like our neighbor Eric. It seemed as soon as it was nestled snug in the newly dug hole it went dormant. Maybe in shock from the new soil, or too much fertilizer, or maybe Eric had won. My curtain of hope closed. Nothing would grow in that finicky spot which is why the previous owners had chosen such a nuisance of a tree. Eric would be happy. A private person, we would probably never know if he liked the outcome or not. He wasn’t unlikeable, just hard to read, a quiet neighbor…which I know from past experience can be the best neighbor.
So here we are two years later, I was pretty much ready to give the tree the boot this spring if it didn’t perk up and produce, but this quiet tree I nicknamed “Eric’s tree” is now full of leaves. Crazy happy leaves, bright green and lush as if it had been resting, quietly saving its energy just to surprise!
Eric died in a small plane crash along with two other pilots taking off from Telluride this past January. I miss seeing his silent face, occasionally catching his eye long enough to challenge him with a friendly wave. I am sad for his family. He never had much to say to me but “his” tree will grow to offer quiet shade in both our yards and its lovely ode to life makes me smile every day.
- A tablespoon or two of coconut oil
- 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 star anise
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup dried apricots (or a mixture of dried apricots, golden raisins or dried cherries)
- 1 cup white wine
- Fresh cilantro for garnish (if you don’t like cilantro substitute with fresh Italian parsley
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup basmati rice
- ¼ t salt