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09 October 2007

imagine it with us

the chef sleeps

When I was a kid, you could not have told me that I would marry a man with a tattoo.

In the 1970s, tattoos only appeared on the body parts of sailors and hoodlums, bikers and rapscallions. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront — he was the tattoo type. No way. Stay away.

But we have all grown up. I certainly have. And on the first night we spent together, seeing this tattoo on the Chef was the clinching moment. I already felt myself falling in love with him. But when I saw John Lennon on his arm, I surrendered. Here was my love.

He didn't know I took this, several months ago. He was sleeping sweetly after I rose to make us coffee. In the mornings, nothing makes me happier than turning toward him in our sleepy state and seeing his face for the first time that day. He always smiles when he sees mine. But lately I have been waking earlier than he does — too many ideas rumbling round in my mind — and so I kiss his forehead, climb over him in the bed, and go into the kitchen for a little time alone. Mostly because, when I come back, I see this.

How could I not want to be with a man who had Imagine tattooed on his arm?

Darfur protest in Rome III

Since we met, John and Yoko keep popping up in our lives. We meet other people with love stories intertwined with the Beatles. People who love Beatles' music speak the same language. Doors open. We embrace it.

At our wedding, we played entire swaths of Beatles' songs. "In My Life" played just before the music stopped, and we each walked down the stairs, one after the other with our parents at our sides, to marry each other in front of the people we love. I heard it, from my bedroom, and I knew it was real.

Halfway through the afternoon, Sharon stood up to the microphone and asked everyone to sing with us. "Imagine" came on next. Not everyone sang. Some did not know the words. Some people were a little embarrassed. But most of us raised our voices, and sang those words, up through the trees, toward the skies.

We will never forget that moment.

When we were in Rome, on our honeymoon, we heard that song again. It was a late Sunday morning, and we were walking through the Campo dei Fiori. For months, I had been reading about the farmers' market there, and we wanted to sample fresh succulence. Unfortunately, it was closed. Sunday.

Just as we were about to leave, we turned to see young men in white shirts, with giant red handprints on their chests. They were walking toward a tiny piazza, just off the Campo. We followed, intrigued by their signs.

We walked into a tiny clutch of people, standing in the heat, sweat running down their faces. African men — some of the same ones we had seen selling knock-off purses in front of the Pantheon the day before — were gathered to protest the inaction the world is taking in Darfur.

The Chef and I stayed, to look at the photographs on posterboards (and so did this little girl) attached to the side of a white van. We stood, taking photographs, and not talking, as a crowd of Italian men and women marched into the square, chanting words we did not comprehend, but we knew. We were moved to tears by the hands in the air, begging people to not look away.

"Imagine all the people, living in may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

As the low piano notes rumbled out of the loudspeakers, the Chef and I looked at each other, amazed. There we were, in Rome, surrounded by strangers who felt like family, hearing our song. We stood there, our feet solid on cobblestones, singing that song with a different group of people.

That moment — and the sense of spontaneous solidarity we felt with people there — is one of our most amazed memories of the honeymoon.

people perched on the edge of Imagine

On Saturday morning, we will be in Central Park together, for the first time. At 11:30, we will be standing near the Imagine sign. And we'd really like for you to join us.

We are on the edge of our seats, excited about the trip this weekend. We cannot wait to meet people at the Colin Leslie walk. We both flutter a little when we think of teaching the cooking class together at Whole Foods. (Sign up soon, if you want to go. Seats are going fast! And the price of admission includes a copy of the book.) But it's when we think about standing at Imagine that we are most humbled and silent.

After much consideration, we have decided to postpone the dinner at Sambuca on Sunday. Those folks are amazing, and we'll definitely be doing an event there soon. (This certainly isn't the only time the Chef and I will be in New York together.) But we decided that we didn't want to hold an event that overlaps (and possibly interferes) with the walk. We didn't want to overextend ourselves.

Besides, we really would like to see people in Central Park.

Consider this a happening (although we promise to not be in a bag). Think of this as the east-coast version of our wedding. Bring gluten-free food — let's have a potluck picnic. Spread the word to every Beatles fan you know who lives near New York. We can meet each other and laugh, and fill that part of the park with joyful gluten-free community.

And if you will, we would love it if you would sing with us.

Imagine it. A world where living gluten-free is easy. Where a little book about saying yes to gluten-free can sell, without a huge publicity machine. Where people live in peace.

It's easy if you try.

p.s. We wanted to post this today because October 9th is John Lennon's birthday. He would have been 67 today. Happy birthday, John, and thank you. (And Yoko, if somehow you read this? We love you too.)


At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Shauna, Thank you for memorializing John's birthday so beautifully -- I can't move through an October 9th without thanking the universe for his deep soul and genius and all the ways he has enriched my life. As have you and Danny! I wish I could be with the two of you in NYC. Send some good "Imagine" juju out there for me. Loads of love and light your way, Judy

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Katie Fries said...

I think one of the most amazing things about finding this blog of yours, which I was drawn to because of the gluten-free topic, is that you're also a Beatles fan.

We decorated our nursery in John Lennon's designs because we (I, mostly, my husband gamely goes along with it) want to raise our sons with a spirit of peace and love and creativity. I wanted it to be there from the very beginning.

Best of luck to you as you begin your tour and visit "Imagine" in Central Park. I have not yet been there, but I'm sure it's a moving experience.

My copy of your book arrived today. Kids are in bed, I'm about to dive in.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

My son, Jeffrey, is autistic, and he is part of a sign language group called Music in Motion. One of their centerpieces? Imagine.


Bon Voyage! We're with you in your tremendous spirit.


At 9:48 PM, Blogger Rachael Narins said...

The first time I saw Yoko Ono's Ceiling Painting (YES Painting), was at the Whitney. It was awe inspiring to me. Funny. A lot of her art has to do with looking up, and saying yes...I assume you can see why it makes me think of you now...

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Katelyn said...

Whyyyyy do your posts always make me weep like a little girl? (With joy, with joy, always.) You are the bearer of so much beauty!

At 11:26 PM, Blogger terry said...

how i wish i could be there!

i hope it's everything you want it to be.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger a kelly said...

I have been reading your blog for months...since I decided to try gluten free living. This after pain like i never felt before....I too feel like I have been reborn. It makes sense of my whole life, and the symptoms that I lived with for years. I write about how my life is transformed by words...and gluten is a word that has now totally transformed my life, now, finally for the better. Can't wait to read your book and thank you, thank you for all your work. You are an inspiration.

At 3:28 AM, Blogger Beth Nelsen said...

My dad and I danced to "In My Life" at my wedding. I cry thinking about it.

I won't be able to meet you in Central Park, but I'll be there in spirit, humming a tune as I work. Best wishes for beautiful weather!

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

I got my copy of your book today - sitting in a little Amazon box on my chair when I got into my office. Its now tempting me from across the room.

I am a bit regretful - I will be in New York City in 2 weeks.... not when you are there celebrating your book launch. Sigh.

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Davin said...

Have you seen Across the Universe? You should, it's pretty amazing, Julie Taymore is an amazing director.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought your book today from a small independent bookstore in salt lake city utah, called Sam Weller's.

I am bingeing on it right now.

Your site is new to me. Your love of food is new to me. Your approach to treatment is new to me. It is radically inspiring.

I have been struggling with an eating disorder and picked up gluten-free girl as an alternative to the endless workbooks recommended to restructure my relationship with food.

It just doesn't make me feel good. I love fresh bread. But get red in the face and shaky after eating carbs. Instantly, all I want to do is purge. I feel better when I'm restricting. But long periods without food makes my vision blurry, my blood sugar drops, and my boyfriend gets scared as I get quiet and withdrawn.

I don't often cook. But your blog is inspiration. Imagine the possibilities, the combinations, the romance.
...all I want to do is try something new. Fix something fresh for the guy I love (and myself of course).

Thank you.


At 5:52 PM, Blogger erika said...

Hello- I just wanted to ask you.. how you did your header on your blog? I have my own blog also..

and I want to do a pic for my header, too, but don't have any idea how.

Could you email me?


At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Beatles. My little boy's name is Jude, so he says, "hey" instead of "hi" because everyone greets him, "Hey Jude." I really hope I can meet you when you come to L.A. My family will be spending a couple weeks in L.A. in December.

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Oh--I wish I could come! (I live in New Haven, which isn't too far away.) But my friends & I have been planning an apple-picking gathering for this Saturday for a couple of weeks...

Hope you have a wonderful New York potluck and much fun with the book tour.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger heidi said...

This is not so much a comment on this particular post but an ambitious (and exciting) suggestion. You could do a bit of research (and whatever other preparation you deem appropriate) and pitch an new idea to a publisher. Gluten free eating, cooking and living seems to be much simpler (and tastier) in la bella Italia. You should travel there and document recipes, life and your entire experience in a book. As mentioned before - it's ambitious but a possibility. You've already been published and have a rather large following. You are now one of the gurus of gluten free. I think it would be a fantastic next step for you to take!

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Christina said...

hi! i am a lurker from portland oregon. my husband has just recently been diagnosed with celiac's and since i'm the one that does most (ok, all) of the cooking, shopping, etc. it has been a real learning experience for me. do you know where you are going to be doing your book tour in portland? i would really like to come!!! thanks!

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Rachael Narins said...

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I wrote that last comment, about Yoko Ono's Ceiling Painting (YES Painting), I had NO IDEA that was EXACTLY why you have that tattoo! (I just read it in your book!) Too funny.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger MsJess said...

I love hearing your stories about your wedding and honeymoon becuase they challenge me to really think about how I want to make my own events really special to me.

I know I am going to have to play "In my life" for my family becuase it's a song my parents have played over the years whenever our lives are about to change.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed more than a year ago and wish I had your book then.It took a year of learning to live gluten free, feeling sorry for myself, and being a general pain in the neck to everyone around me until I read your book last weekend. That book,even more than the 4 others I've read recently, has helped me turn my life around and I am eternally grateful to you. Your joie de vivre, love for food, beautiful words, and access to your blog has given me hope that, even at my age of 67, that YES!, I can do this too. I am going to start a support group in our area and help others with the same problem, thanks to you. I love that you are a Beattles fan, a fabulous cook, a warm and wonderful woman young enough to be my daughter, and your gift to those of us with this condition cannot be measured in words or deeds, but by what we CAN do as a result. I hope your trip to NYC went well -- we will be there in a couple of weeks attending a wedding and I even called ahead to the caterer to make sure there was food I could eat! A year ago I couldn't have done that. Life is good. Thanks so much.


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