Almost by reflex, the first thing I tend to do the moment I jump out of bed is go check on my plants. Even before I brush or bring in the newspaper and milk. Those are my first few moments of calm before the day hurls itself at me–before the rest of the family is up, the staff walks in, emails rush into my mailbox, and routine steals me away from myself. My little window garden never fails to cheer me up with a new bud here, a leaf there. Or just the way the sun’s rays fall on the bougainvillea. I love how my flowers brighten up the frame of my vision against the grey backdrop of the street below. Those are the moments when a new story idea strikes, a new flavor combination pops up in my head or when a sudden flash solves a particularly perplexing problem after weeks of trial.

A few weeks ago, I harvested my first home-grown tomato. Remember this post with pictures of when the plant had just started to flower? It was like childbirth. I exaggerate, yes. But when I snipped off the stem and held that baby tomato in my hands, I was reminded of Avanee’s birth. Look at it–sweet, round and cherubic–you can’t blame me!

And here are some of the chilies (the regular ones; not the cherry chilies I had mentioned in the last post–looks like I didn’t have the right seeds.)

And with that, I have another announcement to make. I am taking a (very) brief break from blogging. All for a good reason–I’ll be back with a surprise, I promise. Until then, be good and look through the archives!