Tuesday, October 27, 2009

happy anniversary honey

10 years ago I walked down that green lawn, amongst friends to join Art for life. ah, what a day it was and what a 10 years it's been. we celebrated A+J style. On the eve of the big day we got a treat from Ed + Ro, babysitting from Ed and their reservation at Mission Street Food. Nicole was the guest chef.  we too a brisk walk to the mission to sit down to a fun, community spirited dinner. our menu included nachos with brussel sprouts, bacon, figs, blue and brie cheese, black cod with greens and pumpkin, moracan lamb shoulder, pumpkin soup with creme fresh, almond cake with corriander whipping cream. we forgot our special bottle of wine so we drank a bit too much of the Lillet we purchased, ouch the head followed the next day. It'd been while since we'd had an evening date, so glad we did.

the celebration continued the weekend during our get-away to Inverness Valley Inn with hiking at Abbots Cove with beautiful views, carcasses of seals, a wooden see saw.  we had an evening at the Inn at Inverness with dinner and a gas fireplace, so happy to gaze at Art + Eva + Eli.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

up to what

Ah the autumn has brought with it the seasonal flurry mixed with a dash of anxiety to get projects done but the annual spaciness that keeps me from accomplishing anything. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels most days. I need to be kind to myself for in this confussion I've spun up the to-do lists for Eli's birthday (two 1/2 weeks), Thanksgiving (four weeks), Eva's birthday (six weeks), and beginning Christmas plans. I've managed to whip-up a witches and gnome costume, carved our first two pumpkins, toasted seeds, made head-way on the pencil bags for Christmas, started a birthday banner, ordered teepee pattern for Eli's gift, wrapped anniversary gift, all while cooking healty meals and getting those children to school daily washed, fed and dressed. There I put it down and let it lift the funky cloud that has descended upon me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eva's visions

Eva is so lovely these days, happy to be a first grader, confident in her social life, engaged in her new learning and feet firmly on the ground. This morning she was telling me of her dreams that she was an animal. While putting breakfast on the table she was looking a bit spacey, sitting in front of her egg sandwich. "mama I see such beautiful things mama." I asked her when she sees these things, "all the time." Do you dream while in school?" I ask worried that this state was taking over her learning, "yes I do, all the time but I still listen and learn everything the teacher says." What a state to be in. she could not be happier with her inner life.

poetry + sewing

Last night I saw the most beautiful movie, Bright Star, about the three year romance between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Jane Campion took me on the visual journey of my life, I was gone at the opening scene of the needle going through the cloth, a close-up with fuzzy focus, hand working, I was giddy. The clothes, the poetry, everything was lovely and if this were not enough the melancholic subject sent me realing  - oooo my heart is racing as I write. Today Naomi and I carried through on a long-planned date, we met at my studio, I to sew and she to work on her school work. Midway through the morning I realized I was living my 19th century dream, sort of, replace the English, country home, for my loud urban studio virtually wrapped by the entrance ramp on to the bay bridge, and the linen ruff/colar in the making with a clunky gnome costume lacking in precision and not a tidy stitch to be found, but skip right to the romance as Naomi serinaded me with one of her recent prose poems, and some poignant works by a Venezuanlain poet and some fellow student works. My mind wondered often to a future summer of communal family living with the Katz-Goldner's in a country paradise, recreating this moment.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

from Memphis BBQ to Dahl

I love VA but my diet goes SOUTH while in the Old Dominion. This trip was not the exception: fried chicken, raised rolls, BBQ, crab cakes, an amazing bombe by my sister and the list goes on. Tonight my pallet and larder lead me to a quick meal as colorful as it was tasty. On the table was a magenta, raw beet salad, red tomatoes (from our garden) with mozzarella + shallot vinaigrette, and yellow dahl. I'd say this was a culturally mismatched meal but it was on hand and met all my dietary needs.

Recipe for raw beet salad adapted from Ro passed on to her by Nicole Lobue (see my website suggestions for a link to her site.)

Eva's face and fingers are a fine work of pink art right now in the bath, she can not even use a fork for this tasty salad

  • Take a beet, tonight mine was a standard red beet but I use the pink/white and the yellow variety mostly, grate the beet in to a bowl, squeeze an entire lemon, add a handful of Italian parsley and some salt.

Recipe for dahl adapted from many a fine pots of steaming goodness prepared by David! I'm waiting for Padma's (Neema's mom) recipe!!!! We discussed this on my last visit to Vancouver but if I do not have pen in hand or am actually watching the preparation, I'll never remember. Bring it down in November Neema.

  • I began with onion sauteed in oil, when starting to soften I add a 1/2 a cinnemon stick, and three shakes of Turmeric, and pinch of salt/pepper, saute for a few minutes longer, until you smell all the spices release their flavor. Add a cup or a cup and 1/2 of dried chana (split garbanzo beans), cover with water, simmer with lid slightly open. Check now and again to see if you need to add more water. I like mine when the beans are soft but keep their shape, you can cook them until they are like a restaurant, more of a mushy consistancy - we'll eat them anyway. This is a family standard, I can not wait to try a variation. Eli has known to eat multiple bowls of this beautiful yellow dish.

Monday, October 12, 2009

feeding my soul in Virginia

for Sydney + Sean + Jack + Cable + Quinn

Here is your clue....I was thinking of you while at Sherando Lake. Send photos and I'll post your hunt! I have a photo of me in the act I will post later. Have a glorious time camping. On Sunday you should return home via the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Pioneer Village had music and activities. I can give you a short-cut from the lake. 

if any one is lost, here is Sydney's comment on previous post:
Sydney said...
Jan, we're going on a camping trip to Sherando Lake next weekend, Oct. 17 & 18. Will you please leave me a hidden note somewhere there? And a clue where to find it? I'm not kidding; it would make me so happy to walk into the beautiful, old CCC shelter from 1936 and find a message from you. Ooo! Ooo! Take a picture of the hiding spot and let that be the clue!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

off to Virginia tomorrow

I'm procrastinating packing by up-dating the blog. I leave on a 7:30 am flight to DC then catch a flight to the Shenendoah 2.5 hours later. Me, alone on a plane, visiting my parents and family, how luxurious. I've packed video camera, film body, new digi point n shoot but not a lick of clothing yet. My sister and father both told me today that the leaves are turning, I am so excited. I don't expect the peak blaze of glory but any color will be send me in to a fit of joy. I'll take the parents out to Sherando Lake to see the colors. I won't write while away but will catch up with you next week. Happy Columbus Day weekend.

I wont' see the children tomorrow or for the next 4 days. I gave them the cutest little hedgehog stuffy tonight they were thrilled with their new woodland friends. I will also place a wooden Native Indian figure in their nature setup by their beds to surprise them. I'm not one to give my children toys and gifts out of season but I just had to spoil them as I leave for my journey. They're going to have fun with their Dadda this weekend.

UPDATE:  I did not pack any BLACK!  My suitcase is an autumnal explosion of yellow, brown and orange,well one safety grey outfit....ooooo fun, except, Eva is still up, too excited to sleep, listening to my goings-on.

another update: I have no sock, I finally found a pair of Art's that match, sorry honey, they're mine. I must go to Target in VA.

final update and note to self - DO NOT CUT BANGS AT 9:30 pm before trip!
last images taken from my camera below....

I quickly purchased a point and shoot today for my trip. I will have this for when I do not want to take my big camera that I hope to purchase soon, in to danger. I also fortunitiously got an email this afternoon reinviting me to shoot a new lingerie line coming out so this new camera is almost mine.

Monday, October 05, 2009

sad day

My first round of sad news came when I confirmed that my SLR Nikon D80 is broken. Yesterday I had my camera at church during world communion Sunday, as they children sang a lovely song, there was processing, children fidgeting for seats and when I was asked to "move over" while I had Eva on my lap, I promptly sat on my camera - lens up. I was hoping it was only the lens only but today when I my 85 mm lens did not work either, I got it. It is worth a try to get a quote on a repair, I've been a little sick to my stomach most of the day I know it is just a camera and I should not have such reaction over an object but it has been a real companion to me and my eyes to the world for two and half years. I'd saved my "coffee" money for 9 months to purchase the $1200 package, the zoom lens  froze in Philadelphia this past winter break and I was saving to buy a new one. I'm also sad not have it for my trip to see my Dad on Thursday, I wanted to document my time with my parents. I'll just fork over some $$ and take film + I may purchase a cheap Polaroid for the instant gratification I've come so used to.

The second sad news is that Gourmet is going out business. Art just sent this article to me. Before I had a chance to read it, he first lovingly held my hand when I emerged from my bathtub after reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, and broke the news. I've not been getting the magazine for long, so I can only imagine how hard-chore fans must be feeling, but I love this magazine. I got both this and Bon Appetite for a year and there was no comparison in the layout, the quality of images, the fabulous "Quick Recipe" section and the je ne sais quoi. The latter just is all spread out and I never find myself sitting down to devour an issue from cover-to-cover like Gourmet.  Ever month I can not wait to go down to the garage and see the plactic wrapped issue waiting for me. I'm alway excited when I made something recently that was featured this month, like when I made my Dutch Baby only to have it featured in the March issue and now in Molly's book. I would bring the book up to my room and wait until I had the time to scan and possibly read it from cover to cover in one sitting, first removing all the inserts that get in the way of me folding back each page. Alas, I'll just have to enjoy what I got and keep living like it's 2009 in my kitchen for the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

e + e in their world communion costumes

Eva decked out in my lovely shawl Neema brougt me back from India and an old skirt of mine. Eli interpreted his "people from around the world" as a cowboy from Cheyenne.

Dutch Baby

We love Ducth Babies in our house. I first woke up back in March wanting to recreate a breakfast made by a wife of an old work friend. She called it a German pancake. I made one that was thick and custardy, Eva turned up her nose but Eli ate 7 helping, albeit small slivers. I made several since from the April, Gourmet (highlighted as a dessert option.)  It was one of those pride moments when you realized you beat the trend. This recipe was a little too dry and thin for my taste. I finally found the right recipe in A Homemade Life. I used my cast iron pans, one 9 inch and the 11 inch, a consitancy for all the family. You will see that one of the pans is no longer seasoned after being scrubbed with an abrassive brush (it killed me, our housekeeper, yes I'm spoiled every other week, took 20 years of seaoning off.)

Friday, October 02, 2009

hello autumn?

This morning, October 2 was a had my mood turned upside-down. I was talking with Art this morning about how disconnected I feel from the autumn season. This has always been my favorite time of year and for the last 14 years California has me stumped, I can see the suttle changes of light and air and I follow along with the seasonal activities but I am programed for a big switch that is a clear break from summer. I was looking at the photos on soulemama blog of the leaves, apples and woolens after having an inside-intensive week, albeit my choosing, and and even crazier week in the car. I could rant on about the crazy drivers I encounterd but will only mention that in one day, less than two hours apart, I saw two people almost hit in cross walks right in front of me, one a pregnant lady. Anyway, I was weepy this morning and my sweet husband did his best to console me, mostly by reminding my I'd be in Virginia NEXT week, ooo I need to write an entry about this. I did what always lights a fire under my feet, I started cleaning the house, and beginning in the children's room.  I was inspired all of a sudden to make a nature table on top of their little drawer cabinet Santa gave them last year for their treasures. I used to have a big one over their book case but was tired of how it grew and thought this contained spaces would be perfect. I cleared off their random treasures on the top and did the Waldorf method of placing a seasonal colored cloth as the "stage" - Eli's orange and Eva's yellow. I picked apples from our tree, which made me feel better, and cut some leaves from felt. I scattered some small leaves but plan to gradually add more as the season progresses. Who need real leaves? I was inspired to make a make-shift tee pee from a dead branch from two Easters ago I've yet to remove from our deck. All of a sudden I was in a flurry making these mini tee pees. If I'd known how cute they'd turn out, I would have taken my time, instead I was radomly cutting crazy-shaped triangles from the cloth, quickly stitching the sides. Anyway, the children were both pleased with their seasonal space and I felt a calm come over me, the kitchen remained a mess but who cares, NOT ME.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

drying fabric

Because I do not know how to quilt (and am planning on doing so soon for The Project) I decided to make each of the children a pencil case from Last-minute Patchwork + Quilting. The concept is to take a 24 piece colored pencil set and match a hue of the color in the fabric to the pencil. I went to through all of my fabrics (remnants + two great pieces I got at the dump last week that are basically unfinished dresses) and had fun going to Discount Fabric to choose inexpensive others. There were a few  nice selections but no Heather Baily, Heather Ross, I like working with what I have. After my failed errand to Pea Pod Fabrics which is NEVER opened when the children are in school, I thought discount sounded GOOD. I was surprised when I go the cutting table and they would not cut below a 1/2 a yard. I quickly weeded out 4 fabrics and pretty much doubled my bill  (sorry Art) since I was used to another shop that will cut 1/8 a yard. Anyway, here they are drying, a beautiful site. I love that I now a a prism of color in my stash.

I've started cutting the strips and am not sure how well my selections are going to work together. This entire process is great practice for a quilt. It's more fun doing this on a budget, it'd be so much easier to go out and purchase the BEST fabrics. I was tempted but good sense got hold of me. Kind of funny, I've not even purchased the pencil sets yet, I need to do this before I finalize my design.