Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where to start

Oh it has been so long ....and I freeze under the pressure of making a post. I thought this would be a fine place to start. Summer vacation is here, I've breezed through another Spring of activities without documentation. I felt okay with this under-the-radar existence until I logged on to this site and realized how much I love seeing the past appear in front of me, a record of what I do, the childrens' growth, our place in the world. So as far as I'm concerned, it's time to get-bloggn'.

I will make an attempt to catch up with photos of life with the Hammock Benders.

Think what I will do is go back and post photos which will jog my memory of stories-past. This is the most keep posted my dearest friends.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Desert Road Trip 2010

Living in SF these soon-to-be 15 years there is an isolation to the Bay Area that really bugs me, yes even with these 800,000 people I share a city with. Being a part of the megalopolis of the Eastern seaboard  for most of my life I always felt connected to friends and family via an automobile. In three hours I could drive and be somewhere in Virginia eating at the table of friends, five hours another state and on ward I could dream to go. Out here in SF, there is nothing/no one for 5-6 hours.  No one loves a road-trip more than me, I have subjected E+E to mini versions since there were infants during summer holidays as I hit Wake, Fredericksburg, Washington, DC, Philidelphia, Bucks County, NYC...Anyway, my friend Pat came to visit us late last summer and when I realized she drove here in two days from Southern Arizona, I had a destination, I felt freedom enter my psyche. Some time this winter it hit me that we were due for a road trip. I've really not seen the desert except for my cross-country adventure moving west but event that was at 85 miles an hour towing a car behind my U-Haul. The children quickly joined my plan with enthusiasm.

My trip-planning took many forms but ended up with a solid, ambitious but doable journey for team mama, Eva + Eli. We departed SFO (yes the airplane portion was a last-minute addition) on March 27th ,were in Venice Beach by 9:30 am, joining the Nadal/Zarrow clan for a family brunch at James Beach, followed by henna tattoos for the children, fun on the boardwalk, a dinner of Israeli food and bed in Calabasas. Sunday was a long day with a two hour drive to see the  poppies at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and back on the road through the San Bernadina Valley Mountain for hours of driving on I-10 until 5pm where I could not go any further. I was very sick from a new cold and within an hour of being on the 10, I was toast. My wing-man from his seat at his desk in SF, Art booked us in to a roadside hotel in Blythe, CA, the last stop before NOWHERE, where we enjoyed some time by the pool before bed. The next day was a long journey through the Arizona desert to 1.5 hours south of Tucson, a town called Aravaca, where my friend Pat lives. Three days living off-grid with Pat, rising to her newly crowing rooster Rue, collecting an egg from a timid layer, Mira, re-potting herbs and selling them at market, splashing amongst the cottonwood trees in Aravaca Creek, sleeping in our adorable trailer Rosie and sipping tea/coffee in Marigold (which hosted the heater!) and sneak-view at what it'd be like to work at a CSA (community supported agriculture.) Art joined us for some resort time in Arizona, dinner with Uncle John and Aunt Jane, a quick trip through Joshua Tree National Park and a luxurious 24 hours at the Ace Hotel  in Palm Springs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egg time

Last year I got the best book in the bargain bin at a local used book shop, The Egg Tree. E+E love the story and I love the illustrations. This year we got a bunch of Easter-themed books out the of the library and have fallen for The Birds Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story.  I picked up a Ukrainian egg kit a while back and brought it out today remembering we won't be here next week and this may be our last chance to decorate eggs. Before reading the directions I had Eli blow out an egg only to realize we'd decorate raw eggs but it was worth seeing a mini-Dizzy in action, don't you agree? He wanted nothing to do with the long involved process but Eva stuck right with it for almost three hours. I still need to get an image of the final egg but the process is almost as interesting.

Shu Shu's late birthday gift

I was inspired by this gift idea on inchmark and thought it perfect for the grandma who's entire house is covered with photos of her grandchildren. I thought about it months ago but of course by the time I got around to ordering the photos and sleeve, I'm was over a week late for the actual day, alas. Two days ago, I filled the sleeves with photos of the children from over the last year and had e+e make the numbers. The last minute, Eva wanted to fill in the five little squares. In 15 minutes she designed the quickest and most meticulous Easter images I've ever seen. The idea of this gift is to provide a count-down for Shu Shu's visit to us on April 11th, the thought being on March 29th Shu Shu will remove two numbers per day until she depart to see us in person. I'm going to two-day mail it tomorrow before we head on our road trip to Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Tucson and Palm Springs. Nothing like pressure to make me perform.

Pallea for eleven

Twice a month I do not have to answer the question, "what's for dinner tonight?" thanks to my new dinner co-op. For years now, Naomi and I have said why don't we double our recipes once a week and share. I look fondly back on those hazy daze we would eat at either our house or theirs once a week and the rule was that the guest did not touch a dish nor pick up a toy that our wild ones spread across the house. I remember sitting at their table in a stooper of sleep deprivation, not moving an inch for a couple of hours while being fed amazing pasta dishes, chicken paprika, chopped radish salads...but we never did follow-up on our plan to cook/share. I was on a walk with a new kindergarten parent in Eli's class that lives five blocks away and she mentioned wanting to start a food co-op with me and Naomi. What do you know, a few days later Nina shows up with an amazing green soup that we paired with a salad and some bread. It was so tasty, served with lemon and olive oil for the parents and heavy cream for the children. Last night I made paella from this month's Savour Magazine. As I was prepping the dinner I lamented the loss of dinner with the Goldner/Katzs since starting this co-op. Moments later Naomi called and gladly accepted our invitation to dine at our house instead of picking up the goods, it was a quick meal with friends. Over Spring break we'll have a pot luck with Nina/Chris/Ella, bringing a social element to our co-op and to meet my goal of HAVING MORE POT LUCKS in 2010. Last night I also pulled out my leftover raw beet salad doctored with feta and pinenuts and a yummy new cold lentil salad I made for two nights with left-over Japanese sweet potatoes, parsley, red peppers with a vinegrette...yummy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

has it really been that long?

I love my fans - all three of you. It was great hearing from all of you that you missed my blog this week. So here I am with promise to back-blog what I've been up to in my absence. I can partly blame this hiatus on two things #1 -Robert, my acupuncturist extraordinaire. He stripped me a bit of my hyper-state that I've lived with for most of my adult life and placed me in a new truly mellow state. The first few visits had me taking a break from a lot and done so with a nonchalance that I'm not used to. The first three days after an appointment all my obsessive behaviors are gone, I walk past the dirty kitchen riddled with dishes, napkins and crusty silverware, step over the socks and clothes strewn along the hallway, crawl in to my unmade bed at night, all this as happy as a clam. Usually this state of my house would haunt me, make me wonder if I can indeed fall asleep with such disarray and wake up crabby at the mere site of this unrest. Well I'm just as happy to report I'm even more balanced after two months of Robert, my house is back in order but done without a frenetic frenziness and I'm getting things done around here so you just wait and see what I've been up to!

#2 a new guilty pleasure. B.R.  (before Robert) I have been suffering insomnia off and on, more on than off, over the last 7 years, since my darling bebes entered my life. I never recovered from the sleep deprivation I suffered after two consecutive years of infants in the house and Eli not sleeping through the night until he was 4. Look back on my early entries and they were all about sleep.  A few months ago in the middle of the night I found a show on Netflix: Watch Instantly (since we do not have T.V. anymore) that could help me fall asleep because it was so bad, McLeods Daughters. After a few weeks of this sleep-inducing boredom, my heart-rate would no longer slow-down but on the contrary, speed-up when I would hear the theme music. All my evenings have been filled with watching these Australian jilleroos run their farm Drovers Run next door to their beefy male neighbors. I've been obsessed with these new friends of mine, sometime I catch myself and my thoughts have an Australian accent. I've only confessed this to a few people until now. At moments watching the show I'd think I'd want to shout my love for this show from a mountain-top, tell all my friends about the great discovery and then an episode would take a turn for the embarrassing and I could not dare confess the time I waste on this show. A few weeks ago I had an epiphany that put this in to perspective for me, I think it's the alternate life I'd like to live, no not in the Australian outback, but in Virginia, on a farm, with good friends. I love my life here in San Francisco, so many days I need to pinch myself to realize I'm not dreaming this good life in this beautiful city but at night I need to escape to the cows escaping the paddock, mucking the stalls, sitting around a farmhouse table with great girlfriends that I've known for a long time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pumpkin photo shoot

At the request of my college friends back East, Sydney + Kara, I got some photos of pumpkin + me, not in action but you'll get the gist. Today, I was riding down Valencia Street on the way to school, the first of the 5 miles, and I heard, " JAN!" and who did I see but my honey waiting for a friend outside of Big Mouth Burger, though I had to remind him we're having hamburgers tonight for dinner. Lucky meeting, as I'd just had a thought as the blue sky was drifting away behind the clouds that I had no rain gear for Eli who is already skeptical of our rides. Art gallantly offered his coat, sweet guy huh? I had him snap the first photo. Later when I got to school I naively offered for Eli to ride with Leon/Naomi thinking he'd not want to but he did, and yes my feelings were hurt. After some back and forth we decided he'd ride part-way to Duboce Street Cafe, we'd meet, have a steamed milk/biscotti treat and then I'd scoop up the little guy. I beat the car by a good 6 minutes probably on the parking curve. Anyway, while enjoying our treat, we thought it'd be fun in the future for Naomi meet me at 15th/Valencia for me to take both boys home on the bike path while she has a student, something to work up to. p.s. the sky was blue the entire ride home though it is storming right now! These photos bring a smile to my face just looking at them, they're a bit ridiculous but boy is it fun! I just had to include the final photo for contrast of my and Eli's face.