Monday, April 30, 2012

these days




I sat on the beach and watched them play baseball with a piece of driftwood and a purple plastic bouncy ball we brought with us, and came close to tears. I don't know what they'd do without each other.

A week or so ago, they moved into separate rooms. I worried about a number of things. A loss of connection between them. Lessened understanding. Isolation. Yet it has been just what they need. At times there are closed doors. There is always a reconnection. This morning I found Cal wrapped only in a blanket, lying on the floor of Abbott's room, talking softly to him. I'm sure they'll always have each other.

The friends we had over last night are moving in two short months, all the way across the country, back to where they came from. Although we've known the move was inevitable since we met them nine and a half years ago, its approach is devastating. Their son is Abbott's oldest friend.

As I tucked Abbott in tonight I saw through the window the house of the neighbor they spent the afternoon with. I am so glad they have him. And all felt right with the world.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday night




My favorite way to end the weekend has always been with a good dinner party.



Have I mentioned before that Alexi does most all the carving type things around here? I assured him tonight that I didn't marry him for his knife skills, although they are a welcome bonus.



Wishing you all the best for the week ahead.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday



Today I finished listening to Steve Jobs’ biography; it made quite an impression on me. It took me back to elementary school, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and our school’s computer lab full of brand new Apple computers. I remember learning about computers and flowcharts. I didn’t have any way of understanding what a moment in history it was.

I was reminded of the Radio Shack TRS80 we had at home, and the dozens of hours of typing code with my sister and brother, trying to get a video game to work.

Maybe four years ago, while visiting our friend Henry at his cabin on Lopez Island, we sat on the beach, looking out at Alec Bay, and discussed the iphone. Alexi and I were contemplating getting them, but were unsure they merited the price tag. He described his iphone as his most prized possession.

My kids may read the same biography at some point in the future, but it won’t be the same read for them. They didn’t live in those moments of history in the same way, but enjoy the fruits of them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday



















I spent the day with Cal's first grade class at the Mercer Slough. The kids were greatly enthusiastic about all of it, most especially each and every slug we encountered while hiking around the slough. For the first time, I saw the respiratory opening of a slug, called a pneumostome. I discovered that skunk cabbage truly has a skunky smell. We brought a jar of pond water into a classroom, with the task of finding and identifying some of the wetland wonders. The kids were totally fascinated by what they found.

Tomorrow morning, Alexi and I will be helping the fourth graders dissect cow eyes. The learning around here never ends.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday



We're inching a little closer to summer each day. The light, the air, our energy. Loving it all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

the basic black dress of pasta salads




When I went to make this last weekend for a potluck, I was surprised I hadn't already written it up here. I make this all the time; it goes well with just about everything.

My friend Juni once told me she always brings a main dish to a potluck, because there are never enough. At the time, I didn't yet have children, and I couldn't see what would be so bad about having an all-dessert potluck, if that's all people brought. Now, I get it. I always bring something we can have for our meal, and sometimes also a dessert or something else. In those circumstances, Abbott, not always an adventurous eater, asks me what I made, and only puts that on his plate, plus a dessert.

Marcella Rosene calls this the "basic black dress" of pasta salads; it really is. Our friend Katie gave us her book as a wedding gift. It contains some of our other favorite recipes as well, among them Downtown Oatmeal Scones and her Beef Lasagne.

The House Pasta
adapted from Pasta & Co by Request by Marcella Rosene

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon dried basil and 1 tablespoon dried oregano OR dried or fresh herbs of your choice and to your taste
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pound dried pasta of your choice (if you're using fresh pasta, use up to 2 pounds)
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cream, herbs, Tabasco, salt, and garlic. Whisk in the lemon juice.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Rinse immediately under cold water and drain thoroughly.

Add the pasta to the olive oil mixture and toss until well coated. Add the Romano, and toss again. Top with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This will keep well, refrigerated, for at least two days.

Yield: 8 to 9 cups




Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday night.



The coffee pot is set up, ready to push the 'on' button in the morning. Dishwasher's unloaded.

We're all tired from our first long bike ride of the year, and will presumably sleep like logs. Previously, the boys could out-skate and out-ski me; now, they can out-bike me, too. So it goes.

The house was hot when we got home just an hour ago; I've got the deck doors next to my bedroom open and am enjoying the breeze and the sound of the breeze on the water. Somehow, the sound is more noticeable when it's dark.

Still thinking about what the pastor had to say this morning about how narcissism and loneliness have grown in our society in equal measure; the two go hand in hand. He challenged us to envision ourselves in the middle of a tic tac toe grid this week, and make sure we've met the people in the homes that correspond with the surrounding squares. Better yet, to know something that is important to each of them. I offer you the same challenge for your week.

Friday, April 20, 2012

have a beautiful weekend



I just got a postcard coupon in the mail from Eileen Fisher, one of my favorite places to shop. (I'm not being paid to say this; I don't accept sponsored posts.) I was introduced to the brand on my 30th birthday. I had lunch, then went shopping, with my friend Paris; she took me to their boutique downtown. I've been a regular customer ever since.

From the postcard:

You are about to...

See more knees.
Smell charcoal.
Lose your sunglasses.
Tread water.
Eat a peach.
Break out your bike.

So there you have it. Happy weekend, friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

hi



The view from Alexi's father's home on the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.

My boys are on spring break, and it's been a week of transient intensities in every possible way. I hope you're well. More in a few days. xo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday evening



Alexi grilled, and we ate outside for the first time (at home) this year. Yesterday, our neighbor grilled, and smoked ribs, and we sat on their deck and talked and ate and felt warm from noon until the sun went down.

The kids spent hours on the beach yesterday as the tide went out (be sure to have your sound on for the video):


Best wishes for your week.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday



As I grocery shopped this morning, I hummed along to Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians singing about philosophy as the talk on the cereal box, and thought about how much I’d enjoyed the previous song, too; then it hit me: I am now the target age for grocery store Musak. Ahem.

Cal got his first pair of lace-up shoes today. He can’t tie them on his own, yet, but proudly wore them on our evening walk. The same sambas I had at some point along the way. Some good things never change.

There is someone in the neighborhood who plants buckets full of daffodils and tulips every spring, then changes them out for daisies later in the summer. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see them. We don’t walk that direction the other months of the year, but never miss it for the flowers in warmer months.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

white coral bells




















Every year, this patch of wild Lilys of the Valley appears. They grow on a grassy slope in my neighborhood; I pass them every day on my morning run. Soon enough, the Seattle Parks & Recreation gardeners will come and make short work of them. I stare even more intently at them when I run by because of their fleeting, soon-to-be-mowed nature.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday



We're starting to see some nice spring days; warmer temperatures, and the low tides characteristic of this season.

I've updated the look of the blog - if you're reading via a reader or email, click in and take a look, if you'd like to see.

I hope your week has been a good one thus far.

Monday, April 9, 2012

recorded


This morning I spent some time absorbed in an old journal of mine. As I read those words, my thoughts, I felt a great tenderness toward that twenty-something year old self who was writing. I recognized myself, my voice, in the writing, even though I've forgotten most of the thoughts and moments recorded in those pages.

One entry from the late 1990s, in which I recounted a visit with a great aunt and uncle who are no longer living, gave me particular pause. "We discussed the Roosevelts. They thought he was a great president and that 'Hoover was happy just to let everybody starve.' (My great-uncle) Henry remembers Eleanor visiting his unit when he was overseas. He was stationed in Euphrata, Washington for his training.' " I find myself wishing I had written more; that I had asked more questions; that I could remember more. Time passes.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

a spring weekend


As I made breakfast this morning, I had a sense of utter and complete happiness wash over me. Alone in the kitchen, humming along to the radio. Measuring and whisking and mixing; heating and frying. A short while earlier, the moon, huge, luminous, awoke me on its descent.

Wishing you and yours a joyous spring weekend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

this afternoon