Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the siren song of seattle

seattle was trying to work her magic on me last week. in one day it went from looking like this...

to looking like this...crazy considering the week prior had been "snowmageddon."

this city has played such a crucial role in my life. i've visited every summer since i was five and seattle to me still means the warm smell of pine trees and bark. hot air balloons sailing across the sky above redmond and woodinville. the sun setting after nine pm every night (which was quite frustrating when i was little and bedtime was at eight.) the ballard locks. pike's place market. the science center and space needle. crossing the sound on a ferry and seeing whales off in the distance. i love the northwest. it's where i met my husband and eventually married. where i learned to snowboard. my favorite place on this earth is there (it's a secret!) so each time i go up, i'm almost happy when it rains. because i know the reality of the incessant dreary, bone-chilling days and i don't want to think, "what if..."

still, i try and go a few times every year. i will be posting some of my favorite restaurants and cafes soon!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

betty jean

i'm going to seattle this week to spend some time with my grandmother while my aunt is out of town. she is one of my favorite people in the world. i know a lot of her stories by heart, featuring characters such as ole man jackson and betty diamond. she wouldn't be caught dead without her lipstick. she taught me how to have a winning smile (put your tongue behind your teeth when you smile - try it!) when i worked at coach in new york, i always joked that she would make a great PR intern. she loves to talk on the phone and read gossip mags and she is always snacking/talking about her diet. exactly what the nineteen year old interns do. betty jean is truly one of a kind. she made me realize that old(er) people can't believe they have aged. she tells stories of the ladies at bingo and refers to them as 'old bags' - she isn't one of them. she seems genuinely shocked that the mirror reveals something other than her twenty year old self. i'm starting to see glimpses of this, usually when i'm looking at the urban outfitters catalog. i don't belong here. this doesn't mean i'm old, it just means that i'm graduating. i read a great personal history in the new yorker yesterday that summed up how old might feel.

"however alert we are, however much we think we know what will happen, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy. it is alien, and old people are a separate form of life. they have green skin, with two heads that sprout antennae. they can be pleasant, they can be annoying -- in the supermarket, these old ladies won't get out of my way -- but most important they are permanently other. when we turn eighty, we understand that we are extra terrestrial. if we forget for a moment that we are old, we are reminded when we try to stand up, or when we encounter someone young, who appears to observe green skin, extra heads, and protuberances." - donald hall

what a challenge to observe our elders as they were while they are. i want to try and be better at seeing them. and hopefully, when it's my turn, i will be seen as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


twenty twelve has been interesting so far. a death in the family. elodie almost hospitalized with pneumonia. it felt so good to go through the pictures of the three days leading up to the new year and mentally start over. palm springs was a blur of unexpected encounters with friends old and new. we swam from the time the sun came up until late in the afternoon. ate breakfast and lunch by the pool. sat by the fire and roasted marshmallows after dinner. listened to music over the speakers echo across the starry desert. roamed around joshua tree. definitely a trip for the books.

Monday, January 23, 2012

a month later

and just now getting around to looking at the photos.

we gave very little presents this holiday season. we spent a lot of time together. sat by the fire and drank hot cocoa. made loads of cookies. went to the bob baker marionette holiday show. stayed in our pajamas. watched all the rankin/bass specials. it will hopefully be the template for many more holidays to come. slow. simple. together. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

music for a new year

here is our new year's family playlist. we listened to it on our trip out to palm springs over the holiday. it's perfect background music for the garden, doing puzzles, making lunch. enjoy!

listen here (or right click to download)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

oh my geez

we are going to bali!! i'm happy that so many people i know and respect have traveled there to surf, do yoga and work as midwives. the word magical has come up every time this place is described. i'm a firm believer in stepping out of one's comfort zone and although i have a wee bit of anxiety thinking about the 22 hours of travel alone with elodie, i know it will be worth it. we've flown many places together but this is the furthest and most exotic. i know it's going to be wildly different than anything i've seen yet. so excited for the culture shock!

and if anyone has been to bali (or has travel tips for a long plane ride with a toddler) i'm all ears!


Friday, January 13, 2012

spinning cobwebs, spinning gold

so earlier in the week i was going through my old childhood books and came across roald dahl's the twits, the story of two horrible folks who were once beautiful and nice but grew uglier and nastier as the years passed. the idea of someone literally being transformed on the outside by their internal thoughts and actions fascinated me when i was a young girl.

once in a while i'll hear someone say something off the cuff about a mutual acquaintance or see a rude comment towards a friend on social media and i just can't help but think why? while we are busy thinking we can do something better, comparing ourselves to others, leaving negative comments, precious moments of our lives are ticking away.

there is a principle in yoga called ahimsa. it's broad meaning is that of non-violence towards any living creature. it's very easy to think 'well, i don't hurt cats so i must be doing pretty well' but then i think of the things i sometimes say or think about myself or others and it makes me cringe. every thought we have is woven into the fabric of our life, we can spin cobwebs or spin gold. our choice. roald dahl was on to something with his story from thirty years ago. and now, in the brave age of the internet, when people are free to have interactions with others without leaving their homes, it seems even more relevant. i envision an anonymous person behind the computer typing unconstructive things about people they don't even know and wonder what that person looks like inside. are they the same people who are unpleasant in everyday life? are they conscious of what is coming out of them? maybe they suffer from depression, in which case, help is necessary to come back from a joyless place. at any rate, it is hard not to imagine the lady from the twits typing the cruel words. life is too short to not put one peaceful thought in front of the other. if one can make an ugly habit, one can break it. i caught myself thinking some unpleasant things about myself today and refocused on the word ahimsa. if i practice this towards other, i must practice this towards myself. non-violence in thought and deed. one thought in front of the other.

"if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." - the twits

even though i don't always have good thoughts shooting out of my face like sunbeams, it's a worthwhile goal, no?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

sun bread

we are starting a new series of 'bake bread with me' classes. it is so fun to bake at home with elodie, but there is something really satisfying about being with a small group of babies and toddlers and seeing them marvel at making things together. one of my favorite baked goods we made from the last class was sun bread. there is a marvelous book that goes along with it that is perfect for those of you experiencing dreary weather (i just pretend it's cold outside!) elodie loves reading this book and we enjoyed making the simple recipe at the end of the book at home. hope you get a chance to make it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

creamy risotto-style brown rice with peas and asiago

one of my favorite past times is reading cookbooks and then dreaming about how i will change the recipes. i physically cannot follow a recipe from beginning to end without adapting at least one ingredient. who knows why. we've made this dish twice this week because elodie and michael both love it. it is beyond simple to make and pretty nutritious. i adapted it from a recipe in this cookbook which i highly recommend.

creamy risotto-style brown rice with peas and asiago 

sea salt 
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch scallions or rampls, trimmed and thinly sliced (one cup)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 1/4 cups cooked brown rice, preferably basmati, from one cup raw rice
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 ounces finely grated hard asiago cheese (1/2 cup), plus additional for serving
freshly ground black pepper

1. lightly steam peas; reserve the cooking water

2. in a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. add the scallions, garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until softened about two minutes.

3. stir in the rice, peas, butter, and 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking water and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat, until the water is almost absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. 

i also tried this recipe using 1 1/2 cups of veggie broth instead of reserved cooking water and no butter. it was still delicious!

the original recipe suggested using 9 cups of blanched greens such as arugula, tatsoi, or mustard greens. i'm not sure elodie would eat it so that's why we used peas instead. enjoy!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

listen to the mustn'ts

i found this old poem from shel silverstein.

"listen to the mustn'ts, child, listen to the don'ts.
listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
anything can happen, child, anything can be."

somehow feels very appropriate for this particular moment in time. also, i read shel silverstein from a very young age. how scary were some of his poem/illustrations? i'm not really sure when i'll introduce to elodie...

image here

Friday, January 6, 2012

love goes on and on

elodie and michael dance to this song several times a week. it's one of my favorite moments in the morning.  she likes to twirl, they giggle, and then at the end of the song their is the dip. she really likes that part. this is a picture of this morning's dance along to this song.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

deep in the desert

during our stay in palm springs, we escaped with a few friends out to joshua tree/pioneertown. stop one was the integratron in a small town called landers. the story behind this place is quite *trippy* but i'd been promised that taking a sound bath was the equivalent of a week's vacation to a tropical island. sign me up! by the end of it i had definitely sailed to a distant shore and back. it felt like a great massage or meditation. i left feeling so peaceful and grateful for life.

best of all was being in the quiet desert with family and close friends, taking a hike in the middle of nowhere and then heading to pappy & harriet's in pioneertown for really fantastic barbecue (lots of options for vegetarians too!) if you are ever remotely near palm springs, please try and visit joshua tree and pioneertown, it's one of our favorite destinations close to los angeles. your mind will thank you.

elodie saw a shop with a dreamcatcher in it and decidedly doesn't like them. every day she says 'i don't like dreamcatchers' - it's so interesting to see the things that they find disagreeable. she also doesn't like hearing crickets!