Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I love this (instagram) picture. I sent it to a few relatives, and my father in law said it looks straight out of the fifties. Maybe that's why it's so endearing. Who was it who said, 'Nostalgia is the opium of the age'?

I've had a great dread of theme parks since becoming a parent. Somehow, we've managed nine and a half years of parenthood without one mention of Disneyland, maybe or maybe not due to the lack of media exposure in our household. We have had repeated requests to visit Legoland, however.

We decided to bite the bullet and go over the midwinter school break last week.

The park has a nice balance of rides, activities, and things to look at. It was surprisingly uncrowded, perhaps because we went on two weekdays, perhaps because it was their low season.

Not surprisingly, we spent the most time studying the Star Wars displays.

The apple fries with vanilla creme fraiche dipping sauce were amazing. Just like apple pie.

I loved the many depictions of places. Here is just a small sample of what there was to see.

Tomorrow, photos of our time in the desert. xo

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

hello out there

We got home late last night from a week in California. Have I mentioned it before? – I love California. I took these photos the afternoon we got off the plane in San Diego. Same ocean, same coast; farther south, warmer temperature. They didn’t waste time getting in it.

Many more pictures, many more thoughts to come. For now, all I can think of is the long, winding conversation I had with my seat mate on the return flight. A middle school librarian, mother of three adult sons. I know I’ll be thinking about her for some time to come. One of her sons told her recently that a predominant memory, a happy thread, throughout his childhood, is of being on the school bus on the way home, wondering what she was making for dinner.

So yeah. They’ll remember the trip, and as much of it will be about the time together in the hotel room and such incidentals, the daily glue that holds it all together, as it will be the particulars of what we saw or did.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

signing off

Earlier, out in the neighborhood with Cal. An elderly gentleman walked by as I stood up from taking these; we proceeded to discuss camelias and the weather. Talking to strangers is always energizing in some way.

We're heading to a warmer climate for the next week. The cats are crazy upset, as they always are at the sight of suitcases. Their concern is a bit over the top, as I think our housesitter, who is also our kid-sitter and practically a part of the family, loves them even more than we do.

See you soon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

just saying

Sometimes anticipation is half the joy of a thing, you know?

More about that tomorrow. xo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday night

There were no 7 or 8am hockey games or practices all weekend long, for the first time since the holidays. Instead, we slept. When I did get up, I made coffee and then read in bed with Abbott. Some time later, after Cal woke up, I worked a puzzle with him. Later still, I made pancakes, and all four of us sat and ate them together. We spent more time at home this weekend than we have since, I'm guessing, last summer. To the point that dinner tonight was a clean out the pantry affair. I thought maybe we'd go out, I guess; I don't know how else to account for the lack of planning. Or maybe I just didn't think about it at all, until that point in the afternoon when the light started to change and I realized, soon, we'd all be hungry.

A neighbor was here, most of the day, playing with the boys. They asked if he could stay for dinner. I felt sheepish about what we had to offer and started to say 'no', then backed up and told him what we were having, expecting he would say he had to go. He said, 'Those are my favorite foods.' So it was settled. And we ate and were satisfied.

Best wishes to you this evening and for the day to come.

Friday, February 17, 2012


at the Frye Art Museum

I awoke to the sound of foghorns, and gray skies bearing witness to February's presence. By late afternoon, the wind started to blow. Now, the fog is gone, and soon, so will be this winter.

The weekend is finally upon us - a long weekend! - and, for some of us, a week off to look forward to at the other end of it. I can't wait.

Finding Success in Numbers.

Whatever your plans, enjoy yourself.

Thanks for reading. xo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

beginning, middle, end

Some lucky mornings, we have waffles. And with them, berries of some sort, always. Outside summer, from far away, guilt-inducing places like Chile.

Valentine’s Day, Alexi made waffles, and we ate them with berries, syrup and whipped cream. And again the day after. And today. One last waffle with the last of the batter, this morning, until who knows when. The yeasted batter is a lot of work to put together. We sat on stools at our snack bar, Alexi and me, and ate, after getting the kids to school and a long run together. He’s on call this evening, so his work day started later than usual. A little out of the ordinary time to focus on each other.

As I made a vinaigrette this afternoon, I noticed, for the first time, my nearly empty bottle of red wine vinegar has this reminder by Robert Louis Stevenson on its label: ‘Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow.’ Quite so.

Over dinner, the discussion turned to what we long for, in the covetous sense. Naming and letting go. We remind ourselves, again and again, that some days there are waffles with berries, some days cereal. There is always something for breakfast. And we embrace it all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The first of this year's low tides pull us to the beach after school. We're eating later and later to accommodate staying outside until dark.

I'm discovering an emerging generosity in myself. I called a research lab, after hours (deliberately, perhaps), and left a message, after receiving a letter and several calls from them I missed or didn't pick up. I agreed to participate in a study of breast cancer survivors. Not big in terms of time and energy, but absolutely so in my willingness to open up that box and share the contents.

Changes are happening every day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14

I love it all. The sweets, the sentimentality, the parties and card exchanges at school.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

more than I hoped for

I baked a batch of muffins after school today, because Cal had a friend over, and I like his friend. As an example of this boy's likeability, when Abbott and Cal were arguing in the car on the way home from school he said, "It's hard having a little brother," much to Cal's surprise. I thought to myself, "Yes, it is," being an older sister myself. He then went on to detail some of the ways in which little brothers make life difficult.

I tried out a recipe I've been eyeing, from an favorite old cookbook. The surprise of the maple almond filling in the center is wonderful.

Maple Almond Muffins
slightly adapted from Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat flour - I prefer the resulting flavor to standard whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk (best with whole milk)
1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped or ground almonds
6 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, mix well, with a fork, the flours, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate, medium sized bowl, mix together the milk, oil, maple syrup, almond extract, and egg.

For the filling, stir together the maple syrup, almonds, 6 tablespoons pastry flour, cinnamon, and melted butter.

Combine dry flour mixture and wet egg mixture and stir just until moist.

Oil muffin tins - enough to hold 12 muffins.

Make three layers. Place 1 tablespoon muffin batter in the bottom of the tin. Top with 1 tablespoon almond mixture. Cover with 1 tablespoon muffin batter; spread over mixture to cover well.

Bake 20 minutes at 400F.

Yield: 12 muffins

Like most muffins, they're best the day you bake them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


(Abbott's in the yellow helmet, top photo.)

We drove to and from Canada for a hockey game yesterday and got home so late, Alexi had to transfer the sleeping boys from the car to their beds, up two flights of stairs. As he carried Abbott, they appeared to be about the same size.

Today we're making up for how busy yesterday was; sleeping in and taking it easy.

Alexi’s mom is in town. She’s volunteered to watch the boys tonight, so we're ending the weekend with a night out.

Best wishes.