Monday, November 30, 2009

Goodbye, Cinnamon

We said a very sad goodbye to our beloved cat tonight. Cinnamon had nearly fourteen years of happy, well loved life. Her companionship has been a constant for me as she has followed me around the house the entirety of her life. She showed surprising patience for Abbott and Cal as they entered her life as infants, and complete devotion to them as they grew.

We will miss you so, so much Cinnamon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a holiday cocktail



Over the weekend we made pomegranate mimosas. This cocktail is perfect for entertaining, as it can be prepared ahead of time (I recommend making at least 15 minutes in advance; the flavor improves with a little extra time to mix).

Pomegranate Mimosas

2 cups pomegranate juice, chilled
6 ounces elderflower liqueur
1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled

Mix the pomegranate juice and elderflower liqueur in a pitcher. Add the sparkling wine. Pour into Champagne flutes or wine glasses and serve.

Makes 8 cocktails

The festive red color and the pomegranate flavor make these perfect for the holiday season.

This recipe is from the Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations, a cookbook that benefits The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (via Melissa C. Morris).

Friday, November 27, 2009

celebrating


We had what was probably our best Thanksgiving ever; the day was relaxed from start to finish. I made what I pretty much always make, and I think all that practice is starting to pay off. A brined turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy (made by my mother in law - I don't like gravy and don't know how to make it), cornbread-sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle and green beans. For dessert, pumpkin pie and apple pie and cinnamon streusel ice cream. Everyone ate a lot of everything. There was play with hockey trading cards, stimulating conversation about travel, politics and aspects of life in China with our Chinese dinner guest. Such abundance: family and food and friends.

The surprise of the day was Cal losing his first tooth. We'd had no indication it was even loose. He bit into a piece of salami and out it came, creating a fair amount of emotional turmoil for him (and, admittedly, for me too - my 'baby' losing his first tooth). He decided to forgo putting it under his pillow - it made him too sad to think about having it taken away. And the thought of a tooth fairy sneaking into his room while he's sleeping was also just too much for him.

I hope your weekend is lovely! xoxo


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Grateful List

Today I'm honored to have my friend Shari as a guest blogger. I'm inspired each and every day by her photos and thoughts; if I only have time to look at one photostream on Flickr on a given day, it's always hers. Her photos are here; her blog is here.

Each day my grateful list expands. Last week I was thankful for the evergreens providing much needed color in the drabness of stick season, sunshine passing through cattail fluff, a phone call from my husband inviting me to an impromptu lunch, another day of wearing only a lightweight jacket, and the indoor farmer's market. I am grateful for life, for every little bit of its goodness, and I love how I never know what may be on my list tomorrow. Puddles, chocolate cake, a red fox dashing across the field? We are so lucky to be the recipient of so many days full of wonder and simple pleasures. I try so hard not to forget it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

this man


Today is Alexi's birthday. I'm so thankful to call this kind, dedicated, capable, smart, adventurous, fun, loving man my husband.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the winner is...

I've been loving the morning sun we've been having before the rain starts midday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

second grade market

Last week the second graders at our school held a market for parents and students, modeled after the Pike Place Market. Abbott has looked forward to being a second grader running the market since he first shopped at it in kindergarten. Produce and crafts (made by the second graders) are sold; buskers perform. The kids learn about economics and many other things in the process of preparing for and running a market. The proceeds will be given to the Pike Market Community (services include a medical clinic, senior center, foodbank, and preschool).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the cucumber

Every single day in his lunch, Abbott likes to take cucumber slices. A relative just sent me the information below about cucumbers (thanks Ed!); I had no idea it is such a powerhouse food.

"Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium,Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.."

(Unfortunately the source wasn't cited in the email, so I can't properly give credit.)

It's been a wet, windy week so far in Seattle. How are things in your part of the world?



Monday, November 16, 2009

the perfect social activity

Our weekend included bowling and more bowling. At a school sponsored Parents Night Out Saturday and at a birthday party yesterday, pictured above. I think it is perhaps the perfect social activity.

Friday, November 13, 2009

random thoughts


It's hard to believe the week has come and gone already! The past few days:

We all got haircuts. Trying to decide whether or not to grow mine out a bit...thoughts?

Cal got his first two wheeled scooter in his favorite color; he's had lots of fun whizzing around the neighborhood every day after school.

After living in Seattle for 17 years, I finally bought a warm, waterproof coat (I got the vintage white) and I LOVE it (thank you Joanna for the tip!).

I am so loving these clear, sunny, cold days.

Happy weekend to you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

on photography

There are times when I'd rather not have a camera with me. It can be cumbersome. I sometimes get tired of standing out as I take pictures in public places. And yet, these pictures I take of my everyday life create a record of my days. On the rare day when I don't take any pictures, I'm left with the feeling of that day having slipped away from me. And I often think about how these images I take in so many ways are also images of your everyday life too; whether you live where I do or halfway around the world. Whether you're able to meet a friend for coffee as I am in these images, or look forward to it or reminisce about it. So I guess you could say photography also makes me feel a greater connectedness. And I am so grateful for this record of my days, and for that connection I have with all of you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

three compliments and three suggestions

One night at bedtime six or so months ago, Abbott asked me for three compliments and three suggestions about the day. I was taken aback by the question, but did my best to give thoughtful feedback. At his school there is a strong emphasis on communication. As an example, at the end of dress rehearsals for school plays the audience is always asked for compliments and then suggestions. I was quite impressed with Abbott's desire for and comfort with personal feedback. Since that first night he's had the same request almost every night without fail. I usually ask him the same question in return. It's a really nice way to end the day with him.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Yesterday the boys played in our neighborhood World Cup (really), so now we're down to one sport (hockey), and very happy about that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

stormy days


The weather the past couple of days in Seattle has been epic. Barreling down rains, torrential hail, wind, apocalyptic thunder and lightning. A couple of nights ago it sounded as if the world was ending. Mercifully, my bout of flu seems to finally be ending; today is the first day I've been without fever in about a week.

As I was rifling through my sweaters this morning to find something to wear, I wondered if there is a good solution for 'pills' on sweaters. Do you know?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

connecting to a global tribe

I heard this re-broadcast while driving today; I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post - it made my day. Thank you for your continuing well-wishes - still fighting the flu....

Connecting to a Global Tribe

"I believe globalization is forcing our brains to evolve.

I’ve had the privilege to see a lot more of the world than anyone my age could reasonably hope to. A few years ago, on a backpacking trip, I made a video of myself dancing terribly in exotic locations. I put it on my web site. Some friends started passing it around, and soon millions of people had watched it. I was offered sponsorship to continue my accidental vocation, and since then I’ve made two more videos that include 70 countries on all seven continents. A lot of people wanted to dance along with me, so I started inviting them to join in everywhere I went, from Toronto to Tokyo to Timbuktu.

Here’s what I can report back: People want to feel connected to each other. They want to be heard and seen, and they’re curious to hear and see others from places far away. I share that impulse. It’s part of what drives me to travel. But it’s constantly at odds with another impulse, which is to reduce and contain my exposure to a world that’s way too big for me to comprehend.

My brain was designed to inhabit a fairly small social network of maybe a few dozen other primates—a tribe. Beyond that size, I start to get overwhelmed.

And yet here I am in a world of over six billion people, all of whom are now inextricably linked together. I don’t need to travel to influence lives on the other side of the globe. All I have to do is buy a cup of coffee or a tank of gas. My tribe has grown into a single, impossibly vast social network, whether I like it or not. The problem, I believe, isn’t that the world has changed, it’s that my primitive caveman brain hasn’t.

I am fantastic at seeing differences. Everybody is. I can quickly pick out those who look or behave differently, and unless I actively override the tendency, I will perceive them as a threat. That instinct may have once been useful for my tribe but when I travel, it’s a liability.

When I dance with people, I see them smile and laugh and act ridiculous. It makes those differences seem smaller. The world seems simpler, and my caveman brain finds that comforting.

I believe my children will have brains ever so slightly better suited to the vast complexity that surrounds us. They will be more curious, more eager to absorb and to connect.

And I believe when they look into eyes of strangers, what they will see before the differences are the things that are the same."

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Matt Harding - Seattle, Washington
As heard on NPR’s Weekend Edition, March 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

at home

There is a certain peacefulness that comes with an obligatory day at home doing nothing but lying around, sick. I was charmed by this little ladybug; saw this northern flicker fly away from my deck to this tree as I stepped outside for some air. And I watched a lot of leaves fall.

And then there are the things inside that I'm not sure I should notice? Like this Halloween candy found - sorted - under Cal's bed.

Thank you all for your well wishes yesterday and thank you especially Lyndsay for your suggestion to see my doctor about tamiflu. I got a prescription yesterday and am hoping I'll feel better soon.

This morning while Abbott practiced the piano Cal made me this get well card. If you look carefully at the shirt, you'll see I'm depicted as a rock star.

Still not used to seeing the sunset before dinner but the boys like it - to them it feels cozy.


I wish you all a happy Wednesday. xoxo

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

under the weather

I've been deep in the trenches of fighting the flu for the past 24 or so hours, with high temperatures and fevered hallucinations. It has worried Cal to the point of asking, "what's going to happen to us if you die?" I've discovered that children's Tylenol is really delicious (we're out of adult). And Ciao Bella coconut sorbet really does help with the fever. Anyway, I hope to be feeling better and have more to say tomorrow.

Please don't forget to vote!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November

Feels like the weekend just flew by. Trick or treating included great conversations with neighbors, and lots of counting and sorting of the loot afterward (and, unfortunately, general disinterest in selling it to us as I'd hoped). The neighbor's ginkgo just lost all its leaves; while trick or treating we admired the leaves in their koi pond. (If you look carefully, you'll see the reflection of a net from above. This is in place to protect the fish from eagles and heron (remember my recent photos of them?). Apparently when they first moved into the house they lost a few fish before realizing the need for protection.)

The sun was out all weekend. And that extra hour of sleep always comes at the right time, doesn't it? The year we got married, the time change happened the day after our wedding.

My sister and nephew ran the NYC marathon yesterday in 4 hours, 10 minutes. I am so proud of them! I wish I could have been there in person to cheer them on. I hope to run it with her someday - it's been eight years since I've run a marathon (if you do the math, Abbott is seven...I haven't ran in one since I got pregnant with him).

A new banner is up - click in to take a look if you're reading via email or a reader.

And today is the last day of El Dia de los Muertos. At the boys' school, where Spanish is taught, this holiday is celebrated. The older students cut out the papel picado (top photo below).

I hope your November is off to a good start.