Monday, September 7, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Girl Time

This week the sisters/aunts/moms and daughters/nieces/cousins had some great girl bonding time. None of us have ever been very good at doing the girlie girl thing, but it was suggested by Aunt Sharon that we need not deprive our daughters of such pleasures, so we all went into the city, had a nummy lunch at La Boulange, bought a bunch of candy at The Candy Store, then had our toes and fingers done. Thanks Aunt Shen!

Down the line from left to right: Ember, Zoe, Haley, Ruth, Joanne, Sharon. Here's a fun game: try to match up the toes below with the girlie girl above. I'll post the answers tomorrow. :)

The answers from top to bottom: Zoe, Ember, Joanne, Sharon, Ruth, Haley

Summer Sigh...

We live in the most idyllic neighborhood. And while I won't tell you the actual street, it's even right there in the name. Down a couple blocks are tennis courts surrounded by big shady trees. A creek runs through the neighborhood and there are lots of pretty bridges to cross it while on the many walking trails. Near the tennis courts is a great big grassy green field perfect for playing fetch. There is a playground and community pool with the most amazing views of the rolling Marin hills.
The recreation department offers up so many great programs for the kids. I coerced the girls into taking tennis lessons each morning last week, and at the end they came out asking for another session. (I win!) They asked for swim lessons next week, so they'll have to wait until the week after for another round of tennis. What a lovely summer we are having.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zoe's Slug Movie

While we were busy around the house on Saturday, Zoe quietly took her digital camera and a tiny tripod and made a little movie using colored "blue-tack".

I give you: Zoe's Slug Movie:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Feast

Joanne made an amazing meal for Father's Day. I wasn't allowed to do anything, so instead I made hot sauces with the girls.

The Menu:

Grill-Roasted Spatchcocked Whole Chickens cooked over charcoal with hickory chips for smoke
Alabama white barbeque sauce
Twice-cooked New Potatoes ("Smooshed Potatoes" she calls them)
Fresh Corn on the Cob
Homemade Rhubarb Pie with Homemade Crust
Four Homemade Hot Sauces!

If you've never had roasted chicken on the grill with Alabama White Barbeque Sauce, you haven't yet lived. I like "regular" bbq sauce too, but white bbq sauce is something of its own.

"Smooshed" potatoes:

Fresh corn on the cob:

Homemade Rhubarb Pie:

But what's a feast without Hot Sauce? I spent an hour or so in the kitchen with the girls whipping up a batch or three of sauce with some peppers we'd bought earlier in the day at a local market. We bought some Fresno's (my new favorite sauce base) Habaneros and some Serranos.

Here's the feast with the sauces:

The girls made labels. That's my "Nazi-Face Melter" on the left, followed to the right by "Sour Hot Sauce", "Brain Rain" and "Happy Hot Sauce" and my unlabelled Habanero-Serrano-Cilantro-Lime sauce. Haley wanted to make a really sour hot sauce, so we made one:

"Sour Hot Sauce"
4 Fresno Peppers
Juice of three lemons

In case you can't tell, on the label that's a hot pepper holding hands with a lemon. They're friends in sauce.

Zoe wanted to make a sauce that was hotter and had fresh herbs in it. She called it "Brain Rain"

"Brain Rain"
3 Fresno Peppers
1 Serrano Pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp fresh parsley

And here's my concoction of the day,

Habanero-Serrano-Cilantro Sauce
7 Orange Habanero Peppers
4 Serrano Peppers
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 tbs fresh Cilantro
3/4 cup white vinegar
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Here's the lineup:

Hot Sauce was from last week when I did Fresnos, vinegar and salt. It was my first sauce, and wasn't very hot hence the "Happy" part.

Though I can say we were all happy as we gathered around the table on Sunday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

You know, it's just going well.

It occurred to me today that my life is going really well.

For me, it's difficult to allow myself that thought as it's usually followed by something like "NO!  You can't think that.  Don't jinx it!  Knock on wood!" or the like, but today as I was standing in the shower in the locker room at work after riding my bike to work for the fifth day running I hazarded that sentiment without fear.

The girls are thriving in school.  We're closer than ever with our family (save a few notable and unfortunate exceptions.)  We have our pets back in our home and they're adjusting and starting to behave like themselves again.  Our garden is growing.  My job is going well and work satisfaction is high.

This moment seems like a milestone because all of our "in transition" elements have finally come to rest.  Our shipment arrived so we have our stuff and our pets are back home.  Those were the last two cylinders to tumble into place.

Our New Zealand Adventure now seems like what it was, an incredible learning experience in every possible way without which I'd never be feeling the profound sense of peace that I'm feeling right now.  I'm grateful for having had that experience and for those support of those who made it possible.  But today I'm mainly just feeling good that life is going well.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Our landlord graciously agreed to let us dig up a grassy corner of our back yard that seemed perfectly suited for a vegetable garden.  Over the course of two weekends and a little more weekday work we dug up the grass, loosened the soil, amended it and planted a full vegetable garden to feed us during the Summer.

I was sore for four days after this.  I could barely walk the next day.

Haley and Zoe cared for a few of the denizens that were displaced by our farming.  These included a yellow spotted salamander and a skink of some kind.

We put the girls to work, and they were very helpful.

Here's the finished product.

Here's a sub-garden just for herbs.

Labelled herbs.

The full garden.

Labelled plantings.