28 October 2011

anatomy of a birthday, 38th edition

5:00 am - Wakey wakey, courtesy of a toddler babbling loudly in next room (followed by a cozy bed attack). I tell myself, someday he'll bring me breakfast in bed, at a sane hour.

AM -

Tea and presents. A few sorely needed (ok, wanted) kitchen implements plus Ferran Adria's The Family Meal cookbook.

(WOW, I love this book: scrumptious food + stunning book design (check out the Amazon page views. My kind of stuff.). After seeing the No Reservations episode about the last days of El Bulli, my interest was seriously piqued. Like, before: eh, that place is probably amazing, but... really. Not on my radar. To now: wow, tell me more. Oh, and the book isn't about cooking as a family, it's about the (incredible) food they serve to the staff each night. Everyone should eat that well.)

Breakfast. Jacky requests a mid-meal reading of "A Birthday for Frances" but he really just wants us to sing the "Happy Chompo to me!" part. So we skip to that page, over and over.

Birthday Lowes run! Yeah, I never thought I'd type that either. Looking for materials for something very exciting coming up. Eeeeep!

Lunch - my once-a-year crab cake sandwich (not homemade). Oy, so GOOD, so RICH.

Texts, emails and cards to open. Including a super unexpected card from a wonderful lady I know only from her blog and emails. Seriously fun (thank you!).

PM -

A little work, but I don't mind, I actually like it. I think that says something. Compare it to last year, when I worked all day on stuff I don't remember and ate a cup of soup alone at my desk. I said to myself: next year, different.

Blogging: um, hello. You know it's a good birthday when you manage not to touch the computer until mid-afternoon. But then I might be the rare type of computer user who both likes to blog and read blogs, AND tries desperately to avoid the laptop.

Acupuncture. Yes.

Dinner chez nous (of course). Toby and I are trying our hand at Breton-style buckwheat crepes, like they used to serve at the dear, departed Ti Couz (bummed!). I might make some Green Goddess dressing for a salad. And, Toby has promised me some of THESE COOKIES. I cannot wait.

Finally, back to bed. Ahh.

23 October 2011

pizza | BLT! (ish)

BLT pizza

First off, I just updated the master dough recipe. Again! Toby made a tweak recently out of necessity: we only had this much tipo '00' flour, so he grabbed some whole wheat pastry flour to make up the difference. The result? More please. A smidge of whole wheat makes me feel a little better about the rest of the snowy white flour, but if I'm honest, the real reason I dig it is the texture: a delicately crispy exterior with a very tender, airy interior. It's seriously getting there, people.

So, check it out. And make some pizza. Your people will love you for it.

BLT pizza

OK, this week's pizza. Can I just say BLT? Uh huh. Well, pretty much. I didn't cook lettuce in the oven--I subbed basil instead, tucked under the cheese and julienned, sprinkled on top.

This is a pretty unapologetically Summery pizza, right in the middle of October. But then, it's our season right now for eating sweet Sungold tomatoes, basil... outside... with flip-flops and shorts... and limeade. You know, dinner tonight.

BLT pizza
hello, Fall light


BLT-ish Pizza!

basic pizza recipe + tomato sauce + basil leaves to cover (i.e., lots)
+ shredded mozzarella
+ halved sungold (or other small sweet) tomatoes
+ cooked bacon, chopped roughly
drizzle with olive oil, especially exposed dough. sprinkle with salt.
bake per recipe.
garnish with grated parmesan, julienned basil.
slice and devour.


And... because it think all his pizzas are adorable (he decorates them himself... the dump method), I give you Jacky's creation from tonight. Not a "plain cheese" man, his feature lots of ingredients. No matter how many I prep for him... there's always room for "one more?"

jacky's pizza

ps -- 300th post! What?

19 October 2011

the power of making

A little mid-week inspiration... (and, gosh I miss London.)

Power of Making from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.


18 October 2011

monday, monday

Some Mondays--our "Jacky & Mama play day," to fill as we wish--have a definite set of plans. We get out of the house early, lunch packed and a destination in mind. Some Mondays don't: we putter about in the garden and are surprised by lunch cravings.

Yesterday, we started out with a plan. Jacky loves Muir Woods... a long drive through the city, over the beautiful GG bridge, through the twisty Marin roads to The Big Trees. But, this time, is was not to be. Too late of a start... too many people... no place to park. Not a good day to visit the touristy (at times) woods.

So we pressed on. A pretty, meandering drive ended at a gorgeous beach. Muir Woods gave way to Muir Beach. And, so be it. We didn't have swimsuits, beach blankets or sand toys. But, we had a lunch, a towel found in the car... and lots of time for cuddles and beach-gazing. Little dude had a big weekend with his cousins and some time to be still and quiet was in order. For both of us.

sleepy beach baby


my beautiful boy

best beach outfit ever

12 October 2011

stuff I like

So I got a text from Nancy today... all appears to be well and the healing can begin. YES. Since she's probably now nested deep into the couch, watching Dance Moms or something equally therapeutic, let's leave these life and death issues for a moment.

I wanna tell you 'bout some STUFF. Stuff I like. Stuff on Etsy. Of course.

Know what the problem with selling on Etsy is? The ol' Paypal balance builds up a little (my family and I are OK with that part) but it's just OH SO easy to justify a "for moi" purchase now and then from said balance. (It's rare, trust me!) Click click. Me want. It's like when you work in an office and someone's constantly coming by with chocolate bars for sale. But, not crappy fundraiser chocolate (sorry)... really insane, crazy good chocolate. With artisanal, magical sea salt on top. Or something like that.

Here's a (very) short list of my current workplace temptations.

Theater Clouds by Elly MacKay.
Beautiful, dreamy, haunting images. Elly builds this magic out of illustrated paper and then photographs these scenes in her miniature "theater." You know when you see someone's work and you're like... Oh man. That looks so amazing and FUN to do. Wish I made that. Ya know? This is that for me, eventhough it's so different from what I know how to make. I don't normally pine for a day in someone's studio just to see how they do what they do, but I wish I could see Elly's magic in the making.

Minature Houses by The Haunted Hollow Tree.
Growing up, our house wasn't religious. Actually, our house was a bit of a mix: Jewish father and Lutheran mother... but they weren't observant, to be honest. Probably one generation removed from observance, in both cases. Religion was introduced to me as a "if you're interested, here's what some people believe... see what you think" type of thing. Casual. But! Putting out the Nativity Scene at Christmas was a cherished ritual of mine. Maybe it was the miniature scale, the ritual of carefully unwrapping it and the fussy arranging it demanded, whatever. I liked it. At this stage in my life, I'm gravitating more toward arranging these sweet, restrained dwellings in a winter village. Can't you see it?

2012 12-Month Calendar by Leah Duncan
OK, I already own this one. Gotta say, I just love Leah's work. I totally relate to her abstract/geometric work (like this calendar), but am in awe of her more figurative work: mystical llamas and bisons? Cool.

And finally... cashmere undies (by sartoria)! Oh yes I did.
Need I expound upon these little bits of genius? No, I think not. They speak for themselves. Yes, please.

11 October 2011

the amazing lady vs the dangerous gene

My dear friend Nancy. Nanny. The Goat.

Sigh. Where to begin? She's more than a friend, she's like a bright, shining light to me, her family and so many others. We met more than half our lives ago, on the steps of our college dorm, on check-in day (backstory), and we've been bonded so deeply every since. I love that lady.

Today she's recovering from having, as she puts it, her "junk" removed. She's funny like that. And she's brave: today, she intentionally entered menopause at the age of 38.

Why? Read this. And this. Cancer has terrorized both of our families too often. My feeling is: whatever it takes to stay healthy and around. Whatever it takes. Wouldn't everyone want a chance like this?

It's been emotional for her to close the door on the childbearing years--and everything that means to women, mothers or not--but she's taking that beast to the mat today.

Go, Nanny, go. Put on those sweats, climb onto the couch and watch something super trashy.

05 October 2011

a lemon-y reminder for you and me

I can't believe it, but... it's time. Time to carefully cut the peel off pounds and pounds of lemons and make embarrassingly large booze purchases. Yes, it's time to start your holiday limoncello batches. Yes, indeed.

Here's the deets, from last year's reminder post.

We're stopping by the in-laws this weekend for a few hours, so I plan on raiding their Meyer lemon tree. That is, if the neighborhood kids haven't beat me to it. Pretty sure they're not making holiday hooch, so stand aside children. Your parents will thank me.

Oh, also. If you join me in the limoncello venture this year, let me update you: last year, we went with mostly Everclear in our batch, which is just so much better. It makes a final product with absolutely no risk of freezing (limoncello should be stored in the freezer--the first year we made it, we used only vodka and it went slushy.). EC stays icy cold and totally pourable.

Yes, I know Everclear has a very tacky reputation, but just remember: the recipe calls for a good quantity of simple syrup, which cuts the alcohol content to a non-lethal level. And, you'll give the employees at BevMo something to ponder. Dayyaaaamm, that Mom likes to party. ;)

04 October 2011

balance and the beach

Um. Hi. Hello.

Normally, I'm not a believer in apologizing for a lack of posts. You know, it is what it is... and (I think) it's (to me) frankly a (slightly) boring read. (Yep, that was the most parenthetical sentence. Gosh, I hate offending.)

Oh, but sometimes... sometimes it just feels correct to acknowledge that things sometimes get a little crazy. A little off kilter. Even though it's technically "for fun," blogging sometimes gets included in my long list of commitments/have-to-do's/things left undone that I think about when trying to sleep. Sometimes it's a long, tiring list.

Well, suffice it to say, things have been a little nutty around here lately. Some of it, in a very good way. But, that very nice development has created other INTEREST, which leads to opportunities. Which leads this lady to too many Yes's sometimes. My goodness, I'm still learning how to say No.

Because, truth be told... my journey away from a desk job and that structure/lack of control is an exercise in saying No. I'm trying to say Yes to a different rhythm to life and working. One that places the peace of my household at the front of the line. Because, let me tell you: when Mama is stressed, everything really sucks for everyone.

So, I've been stressed and stretched. Kicking myself for letting my new work sitch so quickly catch up and resemble my old work sitch. Ugh.

But, hello. Here I am. I'm sitting here, catching up with my "want to do's," which include thinking and writing right now, and in a few minutes, tackling some reasonable tasks... because I'm practicing using the word No.

Oh, it's a process.

Because, when I say No, I can say Yes to balance, time and peaceful days.

Like this beautiful, misty day I've been meaning to show you for too long and almost shelved. You saw a sneak peak last time I clicked "publish"... and here's some more from our favorite spot down the coast. Must reserve time for more of this.

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