19 September 2010

today is a good day

A month into this adventure, and I have tried many new things. Business plans, new projects, and fresh batches of applesauce and tomato sauce make up my day. Fresh juices in the morning. New recipes from old books I adore at night. Reading, writing and arithmetic seem to find their way into September. Tsah has hit his groove of school 5 days a week, and Italy B and I are enjoying our girlie afternoons, while the gentlemen in our lives are hard at work. Today included a send off before dawn for Apis, who jetted to D.C for a week full of work, a walk in the mist to Golden Gate Park, the Academy of Sciences, taking in the weekly Lindy lessons, Blue bottle cap, and the library. Quiet time, quiet afternoon. Sunday Sunday. I love this town.

07 August 2010

7:taking the plunge

Today I booked myself a 3 day cleanse for next week. This has been on my list of things to try for years. so here we go checking things off my list...I am a little nervous and very excited. I have heard mixed reviews from others who have tried this. I am sure it will not be easy, I hope it will be worth it! What is on your list of things to try?

photo credit:

06 August 2010

6:A trinity of spice

Having made some version of guacamole almost everyday this week, I am tweaking my version of perfection. Well not there quite yet, I have found a most necessary mix of ingredients. Roast three serrano chilies at 425 until they pop. Chop off the tops and add to a mini cuisinart with a handful of sliced scallions. Add two rinsed bunches of cilantro and the juice of 4 limes. Mix until a smooth paste. Add to avocado and sliced cherry tomatoes for excellent guacamole. Smear on roasted or grilled meats or mix with yogurt for a veggie/naan dip. THIS IS SPICY....and that is so good!

p.s. this will store for a day or two. I marked it spicy so as not to surprise anyone.

05 August 2010

5: One minus eight plus three

I knew this day would come. I have been looking forward to it for years. It went off without a hitch. A day at the beach with my two oldest and best friends from childhood and the seven little ones we have collectively produced in the last five year. A surreal moment of memories and reality. Swims to the raft for the first time for the oldest two,  an hour at the grocery store for me sorting out what seven children could possible eat in one afternoon, dinner on the deck with all around one table taking in the view and chatty catch ups with friends that are truly family.

4: 4 years old in traffic

We headed south towards the old Washoe Indian summer camp. A beautiful meadow trail that backs into the Lake. Tsah and Aunt V. chased each others shadows while Italy B and I wandered among the pines. On the walk home, Tsah took his time conducting traffic with every car that passed with his whirly ball paddle. He generously shared his methods with me. A birthday morning worth remembering.

01 August 2010

2: Big John's Market

The first Saturday night in over a year with Apis and without to Sonoma with friends. A stop at Big John's helped everyone out. 

30 July 2010

Day one: Mini Park

Muriel Leff Park: A tidy tucked away jewel on 7th avenue in between Geary and Anza. A perfect place to sit and ponder or have a quiet conversation.

My own Julian Calendar

I thought 4000 miles of open road would help me find this site's purpose. But, it was this morning on a walk by myself that I figured out my challenge. Everyday, for the next 365 days, I will go to one place I have never been or do one thing I have never done. Many days will be simple finds or actions. My goal is that by this time next year, the body of my research will define what is extraordinary to me in the everyday.

Gray Skies, Black Falcon

This morning, as I walked through Golden Gate Park, Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights and the Castro, I realized how much I love this city bathed in gray. I overheard tourists complain, and saw locals pack up their bags for bluer weekend skies. A town that can be this beautiful with no sun shining is something special.

This is for the Serbians who asked for directions to the Japanese Tea Garden: Black Lamb, Grey Falcon. I have not read it in ten years, but would love to browse through it again!

And this is for Jeremy, my friend from Greenpeace on he corner of 16th and Market: World Repair Kids and PanCan.

28 July 2010

A mantra

One of my all time favorites: everybody wear sunscreen

Back at it

We are slipping back into our normal life. Tsah fell asleep at the dining table yesterday, so I am sure he has not entirely rebounded from our adventure. However with the endurance of all great men in capes, he accompanied me this morning on errands. It was fun to explore a different part of the city on the walk home from the Castro. A new cup of coffee and jungle gym  are fresh starts!

27 July 2010

An open note

The last 27 days were a kind of whirlwind I had never experienced. I am grateful to our friends and family for being incredible. For those of you who put us up (and put up with us!), thank you. By sharing your special corners of this beautiful country, you opened our eyes and hearts to what summer means from sea to shining sea. I was struck daily by the beauty of the back roads, the people connected to these places, and the feeling of what it means to be an American.  I would like to especially thank my sweet in-laws and adorable husband, for their confidence in me and their support throughout the trip. Maker is a fine road tripper should any one of you ever need a Thelma to your Louise! Most of all, I would like to thank our lovely children. You two make my heart melt. You were both troopers. You usually accepted my endless "we will be there in about twenty minutes," and you showed your true pioneer spirits. You both own a sense of adventure that no one can ever take from you. I wish you many safe and happy road trips with those you love. Signing off from the City by the Bay, MDE

another night and day

and we were back with Daddy. He flew into Salt Lake to help with the last legs home. We had a fantastic vegetarian dinner at Sage's Cafe. Early to bed, early to rise and we were at the Peppermill in Wendover by seven am. A long HOT day of driving later, we made it to Feather River! We did make one quick detour in Elko to see my mother's childhood home. We had a flash 24 hour visit with our lovely friends, and it was off to Reno to see Baba and Poppa. One last dinner and sunset away from home. We drove into our driveway mid-day on Monday. I could hardly believe it. We are so happy to be home, with memories to cherish in our treasure chest.

Ready for anything

The next morning we were on the road by 6:30....Italy had been inspired by the breakfast buffet at the last hotel, so decided if she woke up everyone up at 5:30, chances were good for first seating.  After breakfast, we took a slight detour out of town. I wanted to check out the Missouri River, and a piece of the Lewis and Clark trail. It was quiet and muted. I could almost feel the energy of explorers past and their sense of what they might find up river. A tiny piece of the world, untouched by time. I am glad we took a look. We went back to Pierre, and headed to the Black Hills. We had made it to Mount Rushmore by lunch.  This is a must see for us all. A timeless creation of history, natural beauty, and man. A quick trip to Crazy Horse and onto Northeast Wyoming...visually one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Armageddon = South Dakota Thunderstorms

The children and I headed out of MN in the morning, for a seven hour drive west to Pierre, SD. We had a picnic at a playground, took in the beautiful scenery and continued our game of counting american flags, hay bales, and horses. South Dakota took my breath away. I thought the landscape was stunning. As we rolled along, I saw some clouds ahead. I figured  a rainstorm was no big deal to a girl who has spent the last 12 years in San Francisco and Seattle.  I was wrong. The radio emergency broadcasts and the weather channel's three severe weather warnings in the area, got me a tad nervous. As lighting flashed across my windshield again and again, I was going through towns with no diners and no gas stations, I figured I needed a plan. When the radio called out highways and timeframes of the storm, I realized we were centered on it path, with no place to go. I pulled into a farmhouse and asked for advice. He suggested a town 11 miles west with a diner. A perfect solution, as this was the direct path of the storm, and I had 10 minutes until the storm directly hit. We got back on the road, and I realized that the other drivers were headed somewhere when 100 miles an hour was the standard speed of all on the when in rome.......we arrived at a diner in Hyde county in pouring rain and more lighting than I have seen in all my storms past put together. The place was packed with those coming in for shelter and the regulars. We ordered the fried chicken and biscuit dinner, chatted with the locals and waited it out. When we had paid our bill and peeked out the window, the sun was shining, the roads were sparkling and Italy B's first rainbow had appeared.


Our time in twin cities was full of summer fun. Boating on Lake Minnetonka, al fresco meals, lots of swimming, feeding chickens, and a visit to the impressive Mill City Museum. I LOVED the area. The northern Midwest is studded with all sizes of lakes and shoreline. People are out everywhere, enjoying every moment of heat and sunshine. After three days of fun and rest, we left Maker and C.C. to have a grown up visit and continued west. Literally into the eye of a storm!

23 July 2010

Serious Summer

We have been off line for several days. Wireless access has been limited. Truthfully, I have been enjoying it.  We crossed Lake Michigan via catamaran car ferry and sailed  into Wisconsin on a beautiful Saturday morning. We headed directly to Cafe Lulu, to get our land legs. We then headed on to Madison. We met up with Uncle T's brother and wife for brats and beer at the Essen Haus...where we witnessed some amazing conversation around us.   We turned in early for our mission to Minnesota. A day that began with a visit to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wi and ended with an welcome party in Long Lake, MN. More to come..the Mississippi River, storm chasing in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore and the cowboys of Wyoming.

16 July 2010

Sweet Water

We headed to the border on Wednesday morning. After convincing customs that I was, in fact, NOT selling our car on the grey market and hitchhiking back to the States with our children and my mother in law, we headed to Niagara Falls. It is a beautiful place to see. One you can check off your bucket list after five minutes, but well worth the effort to get there. We had lunch on Lake Ontario, spent the night on Lake Erie and headed to Lake Huron the next day.  I had promised beach time, so the children and I headed down to the water around 5pm. A huge storm headed in just as we took our first dips, so we fled the lighting on the water with the rest of the beach goers. We went back to the 19th century B&B to watch the storm from the front porch. This morning after a breakfast feast, we decided we were up to the "scenic route." Ten hours later we arrived at White Lake in Western Michigan. Boats are moored, families are dining, and the sun is setting. Another day down. 

13 July 2010

"There is a lot of different country"

That was his quote as we drove from town to town the last few days: Boston to Amherst to Williamstown to Sunderland to Bennington to Seneca Lakes. A lot of green, a lot of campuses, a couple of fantastic museums, one beach and a lot of help from yelp in the food department.  We have been very busy bees.  Of course, food and wine being what drives us along, we ate a delicious dinner at Blue Heron, had a staggering wait but good coffee and conversation at Wheatberry, and discovered the Hay Market Cafe.

The Eric Carle Museum began with story hour, two tired littles during the exhibit, a book signing, and a fantastic art studio that perked us all up. We spent a long time in their book store trying to choose a memory.

At the the Clark Art Institute on the Williams campus, he thought the impressionist paintings looked like earthquakes. He decided he did not like one of Picasso's series because he "does not like to look at naked people." He was twirled like a dancer every time he pointed out a Degas. He also chose one painting to draw in his sketchbook.  A highlight was when Maker (she chose this name), ran into an old friend from San Francisco who lives in Boston, when walking into the museum. They met up for a long dinner of catch up. The children and I had an early bite and played with rocks and sticks in the garden on the hotel.

We headed out early this am thanks to Italy B's 6:00 am rise and shine song. It was off to Vermont for coffee. We followed route 7 and 20 to Black Cat Cafe in Sharon Springs. We picked up an offering of sandwiches and cookies and were off again. We stopped at Bob and Joanne's roadside farm stand, where we got local gossip and directions to Glimmer Glass Lake for a picnic. At long last, we arrived in Seneca Falls. We found nourishment in the local brass band playing in the park across the street in the pouring rain. We danced and danced and arrived back at the hotel soaked and happy. Now we are cozy in our room ready for Day 4!

12 July 2010

Cape Cod Chapter 2

After Chatham, we headed to Osterville....possibly the loveliest town in America. We met with the K2 crew and slipped into more summer time fun. We swam , made lobster rolls, drank punch, checked out the local bar where biker meets country club, kayaked, boated in a rain storm, hung with Lucky, and chatted daily with four generations of the same incredible family. We ate steak dinners, and laughed about the past, present and future.  Now on to Boston for a red-eye arrival and adventures in Western Mass.  Ladies and Gentleman, start your engines. The road trip just kicked into fifth gear!!!! 

08 July 2010

Heading East to end up West is well worth it!

Yesterday, we had coffee and muffins on the Yale campus. Tsah was in awe of the buildings. He thought they all looked like churches. We carried on to the beautiful town of Chatham,  for a few days of cousins and good chats.  We watched future MLB players, who play all summer in the Cape Cod league, coach X on his ground dimples doubles (if you have ever met him, you know what I mean.). At the playground, we met children, who brought their children who are bringing their children to the same spot every year. We went to an amazing beach where the children frolicked all afternoon.Both of our children boogie boarded for the first time. Italy loved floating along on her own mini surfboard. Miss Ambrose spent the afternoon like a little fish in the inlet current. We are now home, freshly scrubbed from the sea, sitting down to a meal of grilled meats and shortcake with berries and cream.  Our stay at the "Peace and Quiet" brought much of the former and a pleasant demise of the latter. 

06 July 2010

Our temporary Man of the House

or vehicle, in our case

Father and son.

 Apis pulled tsah aside this afternoon to kindly discuss his responsibilities for the next couple of weeks. Afterwards, he took him out for a slice of pizza in Jamaica Queens. Our little four year old is the last man standing on this leg of the voyage. He has been tasked with helping mommy and looking out for his baby sister. He promptly got to work. He told me he was "getting situated" when we arrived at the hotel. I turned around to see him tidying his toys and his  "packpack." He then took Italy B. by the hand until we safely made it to our room. Now we are watching World Cup highlights and rooting for the Orange. Admittedly, a bandwagon move. SAFE JOURNEY HOME SWEET DADDY!
I am still figuring out formatting for this bear with me! We have had an amazing few days. A holiday I will never forget! Thank you to T & J for everything and to P & C for the never ending fun you add to every event.

Happy Birthday America!

A tour of Southampton, lunch at the beach club with an old friend and Fowler Beach for a bonfire clambake, complete with firecrackers and games. Tsah thought it was a "special treat" to wave the American flag. It is certainly is dear boy...

Our Hamptons 101 Day

I was greeted at 4:47 am EST by a beautiful garden sunrise, birds chirping and a bouncy, happy, chatty little girl...Italy B. decided to start her party early. I put her in the carrier and we wandered around the stables nearby. Later in the day, we all piled into our car (the third row is a BIG hit) and headed to the Shelter Island Ferry via Sag Harbor. We spent the afternoon at the amazing Sunset Beach Inn. We beached, read, and watched our littlest sleep on a huge daybed overlooking Peconic Bay. After a perfect lunch and our first pseudo celebrity sighting, we came home for swimming and rest before Apis and T cooked up a feast for twenty. We all ate on the porch with children running here and there. Another perfect summer evening!!

Away we go

What a twenty four hours. We flew out of San Francisco, landed at JFK, spent the night in Queens, got a ride to Teterboro, explored Washington Heights, lunched in Herricks and very happily arrived in Bridgehampton.

Our gracious hosts were there to greet us and we began our long weekend of adventure and fun! The house screams summer. It is covered in blue hydrangeas taller than me and a huge porcj where I am sure plenty of nothing will be happening. It is across the road from two Trees Stables, which has amazing polo fields and jumping courses. I am hoping there is some action to watch there over the weekend!

Miles travelled in the last twenty four hours (via air and road)=3060

16 June 2010

Q. a movie character I'd play..

A. Etheline Tenenbaum.

and you?

On the road again

Although I was raised in the third row of a station wagon, let's just note that road trips were not part of my childhood. We were more of an A to B family. If we had somewhere to go, we got there. And then I met my husband.

After 11 years of life with him, it is all about new directions. Sunday drives, walks to the ocean, and a trip to the market all elicit new paths, winding roads, or a neighborhood I have never seen or heard of. Now, he is entrusting me with our children (and his mother for 1500 miles) to get from Boston to San Francisco in July in one piece. This is an epic non A to B trip for me. My own expectations are to explore and enjoy it, not just focus on the end result and just maybe find that tiny little market in a nowhere town that sells the best peach pie in South Dakota.

15 June 2010


A gorgeous Tuesday morning is upon me in San Francisco. Early mornings are a treasured time. Everyone else here is still dreaming. When their slumber breaks, we all pile into one bed to start the day. We discuss plans for the day, dreams from last night and always, tsah would like to know details of the breakfast menu. Until then, I have a dark coffee, a view of the garden, and thoughts.

These morning minutes of silence are my meditation. A mind-clearing, focused period of me. And today, I have road tripping on the mind. We leave in two weeks, for our summer holiday. A late flight to New York, an overnight at a JFK airport hotel, a car service to Teterboro and finally on to Bridgehampton for a new kind of Fourth of July. And while that weekend may or may not be the high point of July, it is officially only the beginning.

25 days and 2500 miles of open road. God help us all.

12 April 2010

the aftermath

Mid-April hits me hard. It is not just the taxes and the pollen. The fabulous Easter celebration, followed by a week of bliss with just the littles, capped off by a weekend of family and friends. On Saturday afternoon, a storm blew in and our friends braved an outdoor picnic with rain threatening the entire afternoon. We laughed and watched the children run around causing havoc. We drank wine by the fire and walked down the lane. We ate cake, and planned dinners and holidays in the near future. Now, I am off the hook until December. But I am the littlest bit sad that the crescendo of spring festivities have ended. I suppose the gardens of Spring will just have to do.

01 April 2010

Greens and Beans

In an effort to use up what we had before we start yet another holiday weekend of feasting, (gotta love a family whose Good Friday fast includes homemade pesto and tiramisu) the following concoction was created today:

2 heads of Swiss Chard, stemmed, rinsed and cut in a chiffonade
1 shallot diced
1 can of black beans rinsed
4 Sun dried tomatoes chopped

Saute shallots in a bit of olive oil for about 1 minute.
Add Swiss Chard (in batches if needed)
Add beans, sun dried tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes until chard is cooked to your preference.
Plate and shave a very tiny bit of Pecorino Romano on top

To customize this dish to your family's  palate, add or subtract  any type of leafy green, raisins, sliced almonds, white beans, chick peas or capers. Use your imagination,your crisper drawer and your pantry shelf.

After two helping for each of the children, they split a grated apple (instant apple sauce) with a touch of peanut butter for dessert. We sat and chatted about the Easter Bunny and what treats he may deliver on Sunday morning.

A lovely Thursday lunch.

31 March 2010

Beet Salad

My first taste of perfect nectarine, grated carrot salad and fresh beets were experienced in a dining hall in Nice. I was 19 and embarking on a year abroad in Paris. They sent us to Cannes for two weeks in September for orientation, which worked for me. All I remember from that trip was how amazed I was every time I went to the dining hall. I had been to great beaches, I knew how to go out at night, but amazing food at school blew me away.

In the years since that breakthrough day, I have had beets many ways. Tonight our family sat down and enjoyed our favorite version of beet salad.

Tante Dagmar's Beet Salad
10-12 Roasted Beets, peeled and sliced or cubed
1 diced spring onions
Chopped parsley (to your preference)
Red wine vinegar (a few heavy dashes)
Olive oil (enough to glaze the beets)
Salt and Pepper (to your preference)
Mix and serve

Often, we add a sprinkling of feta. Tonight we shaved in fresh pecorino romano. It literally melted into the vinaigrette and added a delcious nuttiness. Apis and I settled on a pinot blanc or a bright, crisp rose as the perfect pairing.

As we ate, we reminisced on meals that included this underrated vegetable. We settled on one evening, spanning three generations on a terrace in the Southwest of France as our favorite.

Tonight, with my family close, my appetite satiated and my mind full of meals past, I happily cleaned my plate, I mean slate.

28 March 2010

A holiday of sorts

Today is the day our son was born..but it is not his birthday. He was born at the break of dawn on Palm Sunday. Every year I secretly celebrate this
morning. Today we are at the Point, lake blue with sunshine.

Family breakfast was prepared by Apis (my husbands chosen online moniker). Fried eggs with grilled asparagus, bell peppers and feta on toast. Hot coffee and conversation with the children while staring at the Lake. We are packing up for our meander home...complete with sledding picnic (green salad with steak and lentils) and snow hiking with the littles. I wish you'd never end!

23 March 2010

Truffled Eggs and Poached Pears to start a Tuesday.

For a three year old and a one year old? Yeah, right, you may be thinking. Give it a shot. Let them decide! The more you expose varied flavors and ingredients to your children, the more they will crave new things.
Truffled Scrambled Eggs: These are delicious on whole grain toast.
  1. Scramble 4- 6 eggs in a bowl
  2. Heat (medium) non stick or cast iron pan with a little olive oil or butter. Add eggs.
  3. Cook eggs for 2-3 minutes until desired consistency., stirring often.
  4. Add a smidgen of truffle salt and pepper
  5. Plate and enjoy!
Poached Pears: Serve with Plain Yogurt. The sugar in the pears will flavor the yogurt.
  1. Skin 2 pears (if desired) and cut into slices.
  2. Place pears in a bowl and add a bit of water (not to cover, but enough to help them cook.)
  3. Cook in Microwave for two minutes, to soften pears, and reduce water
  4. Mix with yogurt or let cool and serve.