Thursday, February 26, 2009

the thespian?

There have been at least 5 occasions in the last month my daughter has asked me if she could become an actress. Right now. Dress up, memorizing lines, the whole shebang. I brushed it off the first couple of times, but today she asked really pointed questions like how do actresses get picked? How do they memorize their words? Who runs the whole show?
Then a very weird thing flashed in my mind. Becoming a show mom.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mexican for breakfast

I guess I am excited to get back to my blog. I have been on a roll the last few days. Being an introvert, blogging suites me. I am sitting here in my sister's living room watching M. eat breakfast. What is she eating? Well, she is eating Chilaquiles. I have found a kindred spirit in food world when my own daughter will eat mexican food (by request) for breakfast over waffles and chicken apple sausage. My sister made a big pan of Chilaquiles on Oscar night. It is one of our favorite dishes from one of our favorite restaurants in SF called Mamacitas. Coat tortillas chips with enchalada sauce mixed with sour cream, and top with green chiles and cheese. Bake and then serve hot. We have been eating these leftovers for two days. M. saw me eating a bowl yesterday and decided she wanted to taste them. Two bowls later she was licking her lips patting her full belly. Yeah, thats my kid. Of course this is the child that pounded her high chair when she was 11 months old demanding me squirt a big pile of mustard on a plate for her to eat. The same kid who would eat piles of sliced Hamachi at the sushi restaurant announcing she is a "big bear eating fish". I don't let her eat everything however. She did not drink cow milk until she was 3 yrs old. Now she walks around telling people "My mom lets me drink cow milk now, she says its ok." I wonder what she will want for lunch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chinese Chicken

My little girl loves travel, adventures and anything out of the ordinary. She also loves routines and regularity. One of her regulars is being in SF and going to the mall to eat chinese food and the visit the Hello Kitty store. This has been the special thing she does with her cool aunt. So now, when I even mention we are going to the city, she immediately starts talking about going to the mall to eat "chinese chicken". Yesterday was one of those days. Her favorite meal is not even chinese food, it is Thai Basil Chicken with rice from the Thai resaurant in the food court. After we get to the mall, we order her a plate and sit down. Aunt and I opt to share a turkey burger. So little M. is sitting there oohing and ahhing over her meal, and we are sort of staring at her because she being slightly dramatic about the whole thing. Now, thai basil chicken is sorta spicy. And, the portion is big even for an adult. I would say two cups of chicken, and a heaping cup of jasmine rice. If anyone tastes off her plate, she keeps tabs on you and if you are eating too much, she cuts you off. Aunt and I finish our burger and M. is still eating. She has consumed the whole pile of chicken. Her bottle of water is almost gone due to the spicy nature of her dish too. Then she starts on the rice, mixing it with the sauce still on the plate. How big is her stomach? I mean I don't know if I could eat all that she has eaten. Two cups of water, two cups of chicken, one huge cup of rice. I start to have feelings that I was pulling a bad mother move by letting her decide when she was full. Then she turns to me and asks if we can order another plate. "Um, I think you would be sick if you did that" I say. Aunt and I are looking at each other eyes opening wider and wider looking at the culinary feat the 4yr. old at the table has just pulled off. She finally agrees with us to let the food in her stomach settle and head off to the Hello Kitty Store to pick out some gum.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Friendly Skies

Flying on an airplane is always challenging. At least I think so. I start a mental checklist about a day ahead of time and it is mostly a kid checklist created to pass the time more easily sitting on our butts for however many hours we are destined for. I have a straw bag I stuff with the essentials; computer, dvd player, coloring books, kid sized suitcase filled with pens, small plastic animals, stickers and small notebooks. But, after all this preparing I have come to realize that all M. needs on a plane is food and drinks. One big snack and a glass of OJ can provide a good hour of entertainment. Yesterday, as we were sitting on the runway and the pilot starts telling us there are 35 planes in front of us for takeoff, I almost broke into a sweat. But, I am finding out my little girl seems to roll with the punches better than me, a trait I am thankful she picked up from her dad.
All in all, the trip was seamless. The only snafu was me going through security. I was picking up my things from the bins and notice a security guard standing about 3 feet from me. She sneezed, covering her mouth with her blue latex gloved hands. She then walks over to me, and puts her freshly sneezed hand on my computer, to comment on how cute my bag is. I pull it away from her as fast I can while cursing her under my breath. GET YOUR SNEEZY SNOTTY HANDS OFF MY STUFF is the only look I can send her and she backs away. I am so pissed I want to scream. I grab an anti-bacterial wet wipe out of my purse and start scrubbing away as my husband is repeatedly asking me what happened because it seems like I must have been tasered by my severe reaction. No honey, it was only snot. Just let me freak out and then I will recover.
But, I do want to do a shout out to the lovely flight attendant who not only gave D. a free glass of wine on the plane, but offered her own coat as a pillow for M's. head. That is service long, long past in the airline industry. Thank you flight attendant from Napa on our Delta flight. You rock.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New York

This weekend was a mixture of sadness, memories, family and stories. There are so many things I am amazed at. The more than kind gestures of family friends who took us in and fed us, laughed with us and told great stories. There are the parties and dinners family and friends put on for the relatives. There is the effort everyone made to get here from all parts of the country. There are the hugs and touches people gave to one another when we cried thinking of our love and how much we are going to miss Ralph Sr. There was the strength I saw in my family who bravely organized this while sorting through their own grief. Then there was the smiling faces of all of us coming together meeting and catching up. I was able to experience NY food for the first time too, and good thing I don't live here or I would be in trouble trying to resist everything. I feel continually lucky for the family I married into, and now I am sad to go home, feeling at a loss for words for how family can transform a person who had almost no family before, into the luckiest girl in the world.

Monday, February 16, 2009

thank you

I have a really hard time asking my friends to do things for me. Really hard. Maybe that is the Capricorn in me. Any way, as D. and I are going through many tough moments with the economy and actually needing things, my friends are coming to the rescue of us. Really coming to the rescue. I feel like in many ways this past month has contained a year worth of stress and upheavals. In that, I am being knocked off-kilter and that is very very disorienting for me and my fondness of normalcy and steadiness. Life has had a dream-like quality I have never experienced before and each day I wake up I truly do not know what we will be facing. Then the loss of Ralph Sr. catapulted us out into the planet's orbit. We are eventually coming back to earth though, and my heart has been humbled seeing all the people who are catching us as we fall. I truly truly know what community is and it is my nugget of gold while seeing the country falling apart. Thank you. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ralph Sr.

Our beloved Ralph Sr. died today. Suddenly and unexpectedly. M's Grandad. My father-in-law. I guess we all process our losses differently, but today I am going to try to tell you about all the things I loved about him and made him such a special person to our family. All the things I will really miss.
He was a steady, calm, patient man
He wore cashmere sweaters a lot and hugging him was the softest, coziest place
He was a master of "going with the flow"
He loved his family and accepted them unconditionally
Everyone wanted to hang out with him. He was just cool like that
His marriage was a model of success I will always aspire to
He kept everything uncomplicated and always seemed deeply at peace to me
He had healing hands
He was a fantastic host and always made people feel welcome
He loved lobster and crab legs and would sit at a table for as long as it took to finish them
He used to be a firefighter and I always thought that was so cool
He loved his wife deeply and would do anything for her
When he came to visit us, he loved to read newspaper and eat pastries
He always had a secret candy stash and would share it with me when I was visiting
He was never in a hurry and always on time
He gave me great big hugs and I got to kiss his very soft cheeks
He restored my faith in family

I love you so much Ralph.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

valentine's day

I remember very clearly being in first grade and going to the A&P grocery store and picking out a box of valentines for my classmates. The funny commercial looking valentines everyone gave out in class to each other. I can't even remember if people signed them. It was more like trading baseball cards than valentines. Fast forward to present. A mixture of expectations and the rejection of commercialism has forced mothers around this messed up nation to hand make valentines day cards. I can understand the wonderful efforts to make special cards for special friends. In fact, our first wave of valentines day cards were spearheaded my M. asking me to help her make cards for her special friends. But the expectation of hand made valentines day cards for her whole class (even those classmates she does not share days with) is getting me all fired up. So I spent an hour yesterday making stupid hand made valentines. M. did not make them. She does not have patience to sit and make 20 cards. What person under the age of 8 does? And I actually STRESSED over if they were up cute enough. That is annoying. And it seems there is sort of an unwritten rule that the valentines must be hand made, not the commercial hello kitty or barbie variety. M. got her valentines from school this afternoon, and after today they will be a forgotten memory. Trash I will throw out. Well, recycle. Sometimes, I want things to be easy, like buying already made valentines day cards. Sometimes I think the expectations mothers have to meet the "standard" is bullshit. Sometimes I just want to not try so hard and still be accepted. Because kids don't care about what friggin valentine they get, and either do I.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"bikini" bread and playdates

Tuesdays is the day we spend with our friend B. He is ten days younger than M. and they have been buddies since their births. Can't you just feel the love? And M's double chin in the photo above just makes me laugh. They were playing restaurant, and I was their customer. We ate sushi and bread. I get lots done when these two play together. Today I made zucchini bread. Easy and great to pack in lunches. You can just leave it on the counter and little hands will randomly swipe pieces to snack on. These two kept forgetting how to say zucchini and by the end of the day M. was asking for "Bikini bread". Gotta love the four year olds. Better than SNL.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Big News

I am going back to work. There, I said it. I am really really happy and depressed at the same time. And while my dreams of becoming a fabric designer are not fading, they are taking a back seat to the reality of my real viable talent; nutrition. I am starting my private practice again that will likely include lab testing, cooking classes, and public speaking. I do admit I get a giddy feeling in my belly thinking about a room full of people listening to me talk about glutathione pathways. Hopefully I will find an office space in the next weeks. I am imagining a little studio in downtown Nevada City with a kitchen so I can do private cooking lessons along with meeting with clients. I really hope to hook in the local pediatricians so I can offer nutritional counseling to parents with children who have nutritional needs. Finally, I get to put on normal clothes and wear lipgloss.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


One of my closest girlfriends has been asking me if I want to do a 10 month online course with her and a small group of friends called Awakening to Joy. It was started by the founder of Spirit Rock in San Francisco and it basically meditation course that teaches basic minfulness and finding happiness by staying in the moment. Along with regular meditating, you write in a journal, read the book, and watch the YouTube clips. Our group of four women is going to meet once a month to meditate together, and check in by sharing our progress with each other. There was an article about the program in Oprah magazine and the lady who wrote the story sounded just like me. Reading the article I noticed we had lots in common
Worrier? check
Negative outlook on life a lot? check
Need other people for motivation? check
Spiritual? check
Wants to enjoy the life in front of me? check
So I am on the happy train now. I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Foogo Thermos

Cannot live without this. Cannot. Part of my "I can't live without" list. You can get them at Target, and they are worth every penny. Here is why. See how wide the thermos mouth is? That makes it a breeze to clean. It is also stainless steel on the inside, which is the way to go. A perfect kid size thermos. I pack a lunch for M. and use it almost everyday. Here is a list of things I put in it for her lunch: (all warmed up that morning of school and almost always leftovers!)
stir fry veggies
steamed squash
sauteed zucchini
quinoa or rice with veggies
I just feel good inside knowing M. is eating a warm lunch. Sometimes she is not into it like last week when I tried to get away with pot roast leftovers, but 99% she goes with it. I am also a big supporter of zero waste lunch so this is right in line with that philosophy. For little kids they also sell an insulated sippy made of stainless steel that keeps beverages cold or warm. If you get one, tell me what you think!

Tapioca Starch

Remember me telling you about berry picking last summer? This week I broke out two bags of berries out of deep freeze and decided to make pie. I chose Logan berries and rasberries. Tart, musky and sweet. I have stopped using corn starch for binding pies and cobblers and instead use Tapioca starch. Corn starch just does not feel good in my body when I eat it, and tapioca starch binds beautifully. Very low allergens associated with tapioca so that is a bonus too. Whole Foods or your co-op will have tapioca starch. Here is my recipe for filling. You can of course buy frozen berries or use fresh berries. Just thaw out the berries before you make the filling. Blueberries are a really lush pie filling and mixing them with rhubarb with a little bit of cinnamon just makes my head dizzy with excitement. You can make you own crust, but here is a tip....Pillsbury pie crusts in the egg/dairy section next to the biscuits and cold cookie dough work really well. Very flaky and tender. If you are in a pinch they work great. I prefer them over hippie crusts. Also, let the pie rest on your counter for a couple of hours before serving to let it set. If possible even over night. Just cover with tin foil. This is a great way of bringing summer brightness into you kitchen in the dead of winter. Your family will be shocked that you have berry pie for them. Strawberries are in season right now, so buy some and mix it with frozen rasberries, or splurge and buy a couple pints of blueberries. Strawberry and blueberry pie is delish. Of course it is 65 and sunny here and we are desperate for rain, so I can't remember what winter feels like!

Pie filling
4 cups berries of your choosing
4 Tbls tapioca starch
1 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbls lemon juice

Stir pie filling together and pour into crust. Top with crust and pinch sides together. Cut a few slits on the top. Put pie on a cookie sheet, because it will bubble over and it sucks to get pie goo on your oven bottom. It will smoke up your kitchen too! If you buy ready made pie crust it will take you 10 minutes to make this recipe. It is really really good with Straus Organic Vanilla Icecream.


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