June 2010 Archives


In line at the grocery store with my six pack of Shiner Bock last night:

Guy in front of me in line:  Wow, Shiner Bock?  Are you from Texas?

Me: Yep.

Last night on the phone with my dad:

Call us when your plane lands tomorrow night, and we'll try to time it so that we're outside the baggage claim when you're ready to go

Ok, I can do that.

Yeah.  That way, you won't have to walk too far in the heat.  Houston is H O T right now.

It's ok - the sun will be well down by the time I get in.

Hahaha!  That doesn't matter.  Before the sun comes up in the morning?  Eighty degrees

So, looks like I probably can pack everything I need in a carry-on bag, then.  And I'd better get to that.  Have a lovely weekend, y'all!


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One of these days I will live close enough to the beach to walk there after supper and to hear the waves at night when it's quiet and I'm in bed and the window is open.  Until then, I feel so lucky to be able to throw some blankets and sunblock in a bag, pack up a few snacks, and drive to the ocean in less than an hour.  Closer to a half hour if there's no traffic.


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my stash, in the fridge

I live in the suburbs in Silicon Valley.  But before this was Silicon Valley, it was called Valley of the Heart's Delight and was solid orchards pretty much as far as you could see.  Well, I'm guessing.  It sounds good, right?  I know that when I moved here in 1981 there were still a bunch of orchards around and I even used to walk through one on my way to elementary school. 

Now there are just a very few teeny places left.  The ones I know of are boxed in by freeways but still beautiful, especially in the spring when they are all flowery and tender green.  About a mile from my house on a main busy road there is a huge old farmhouse.  I think in the five miles around here there are maybe two like it, and I'm sure that they were likely the only two homes around for a long time and that my street was once part of the orchard.  The house near mine sits back off the road behind a wrought iron fence and between the fence and the house are hundreds of antiques.  Old gas pumps, ancient farm equipment, old nickel Coca Cola vending machines, tin signs, fire hydrants.  Fruit trees, too, and a lovely garden with peppers and tomatoes and beans and squash.

So as it happens, SG's parents are good friends of the couple who live in the house and last fall they invited us to come over and pick some vegetables.  I'm not sure how old Mel and Gloria are, but he's got the best collection of antique motorcycles and cars I've ever seen, including a sweet luxury car that was owned by a president that I want to say was FDR but I'm not the most reliable person about stuff like that.  Could have been Truman.  Anyway, the other day SG's dad left some cherries on our front porch that he picked from Mel and Gloria's trees, and they are the very best cherries I have ever eaten.  And I am eating them all, hoping that the kids won't catch on because I'm really not super interested in sharing.  I'd like to think that these cherries are from trees that are really old - from back when Santa Clara County was all ranchers and farmers and green and flowers.  One of those, They just don't make em like that anymore things, you know?  I guess because SG and I watched East of Eden a little while back, I've been thinking of them as James Dean cherries.  Dude.  Now that I've written that down, it sounds kinda dumb, but who am I to deny SG something to tease me about?

So here is another happy thing: My favorite camera lens (favorite=cost more than the camera itself) started to malfunction awhile back.  The auto focus broke, and unless I had it on manual, when I went to take a photo I'd get a clickclickclickclick and constant movement and adjusting and never any focusing.  So I took it off and put the stock lens back on and switched between that and my 50mm.  Not that I'm against manual focusing, but I usually take photos of my kids and they move around a lot.  So, the lens I loved so much sat on top of my bookshelf in front of a framed photo of Billie Holliday, waiting for me to have some extra cash to justify taking it in to the shop. 

This is my favorite time of the year, I think, the time when the light at 7 p.m. is so pretty and warm and the little bugs buzzing around are lit up and the leaves on the trees are backlit and the whole world looks warm and golden.  It's my favorite time to take photos and so yesterday I put the lens back on my camera, just to see, and what do you know?  It's 100% back to autofocusing normal. 

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my bike makes me so freaking happy

Summer starts at 12:15 p.m. tomorrow when the school bell rings.  My baby is graduating from first grade, which is a little too much for me to even think about.  Nate is finished with elementary school.  Lex is getting ready for his last year of jr high and he's nearly fourteen, and that makes me nearly forty, and holy crap those old people were not kidding when they said that everything goes by so very quickly.  That whole "at least you have your health" is spot on as well, by the way.

SG is taking some time off in the morning to come see Nate graduate 5th grade.  Nate's wearing the suit that I got for Lex when he finished 5th grade a couple of years ago.  And I'll just be sure that my feet are firmly on the ground, because it feels lately like the earth is spinning so fast that I'll surely be thrown off.   
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SG bought me a cruiser bike and it's not even my birthday.  It has a bell and a basket and I am in big time mushy love with it.  I'm not the most, hmmm, coordinated? person I know, and I haven't done much bike riding in forever, so I will probably start out on bike paths and then later work my way up to riding on the actual street to go to Trader Joe's and load up my basket with soy milk and dry roasted unsalted almonds.  I can't wait to go ride alongside the beach, but I will have to since it'll be a few weeks before I can get over there. 

So Sophie turned nine this week, which is a little weird in that timewarp way that babies have of turning into tweens and doing things that make you consider asking the bakery to write something really and truly mean on their birthday cake instead of "Happy Birthday." 

I agreed to a slumber party, which is happening right this moment.  This will be my first and last one of these as a parent.  It's not that the kids are being awful, it's just that I am not nice enough to be enveloped in so much high pitched screaming and giggling for so many hours on end.  I thought I'd make some cakepops for the party, because my secret fantasy is to be a craft-slash-food-slash-photography blogger and so I thought I should try something in keeping with my dreams.  I know there are specific obstacles in my path, but why let lack of talent in all three of those areas hold me back?  You know?  I'd emailed my mom the cakepops and she was as smitten as I was and suggested that she come over and make them with me because maybe they'd be fun favors for my sister's wedding this fall.

Baking is not cooking.  Cooking you can zen and wing and get all sideways with the recipe and it doesn't matter too much.  Baking?  Is a scientific art, and when Bakerella tells you something like, "quarter-sized balls" and you make some and go, These are kind of bigger than a quarter, but oh well, then you end up with pathetic, but funny, results like this:

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Other fatal errors were mashing the sticks into the balls and flattening the tops, buying purple candy melts, and putting too much frosting in the chocolate cake.  Oh, and the chocolate cake was too moist.

Shortly after that photo was taken, more cakepops slid down their sticks.  Like the ball in Times Square on New Year's Eve if it had been designed by a drunk four year old with awful color sense.

This morning as I got ready for the party (that involved a lot of yogastyle breathing while I worked my butt off and the birthday girl did not so much.  I kept finding her watching tv in her underwear, and when she saw me, she'd screech, I'M JUST TAKING A BREAK!) I decided I'd give it another go.  So, this time - better cake mix (no pudding in the mix), lots less frosting added, melted swank chocolate chips and sprinkles instead of candy melts (that stuff is nasty) and little cherry-sized cake balls:

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Much better, right?  They're no match for most of the other cakepops out in the wild, but they made me happy. 

SG came to the party and brought all the ingredients to make carne asada tacos and then he cooked for us.  It was so good that after he left I made another taco and probably I will make one about two minutes after I get up in the morning.  Coffee and tacos: Breakfast of Champions.  Have a couple of cakepops and you are on your way to world domination, if that's your thing.

He also brought 8 pounds of pinata candy (there were 7 girls, including my two) and he did pinata duty.

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The pinata was so heavy that the little hook to hang it on the rope ripped right out after the first couple of swings.  SG tied it back up by a petal and did his best to stand clear and not get clobbered.  Soph is in her pajamas.  The girls didn't go to sleep until after midnight, and I am pretending that I don't hear a couple of them right now, but they were in their pjs by 6:30.

Ok.  I've got waffle duty in the morning.  And then maybe I will ride my bike to the park and take a nap.   

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