Thursday, August 30, 2007

Filled to the Brim

We had a great day yesterday with our dear friends the Meyers'. It was so good to see them, and so grateful they made the trip from Santa Cruz to visit us in Alameda! I felt filled to the brim with love and contentment. Cory brought a beautiful basket of tomatoes from her garden, and the girls brought some sweet gifts for Annie and I. It was hot so we really just lounged, ate, the girls all played in the backyard in Annie's pool and with the hose. Annie and I made scones in the morning and set up a tea party in the living room to welcome them when they arrived. It was so exciting just knowing they were coming!

So, this morning Annie and I blanched all the tomatoes, then Annie happily squished all of them while I sauteed the garlic and olive oil.
(Now there are tomato seeds and red splashes everywhere! I just found a seed on my cheek and ear! ) The sauce is still simmering and smells very tasty.

Tonight we feast on friendship!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thrift Score

Annie tells complete strangers that we have a Chinese house.

Especially anyone who looks Asian.

She sees the Craftsman details of our house as Asian. I can see what she means with the columns and the dark wood panelling. I thought she would be satisfied when we made her bedroom a "Chinese" room, but she said "No Mom, the whole house!" So I was thrilled(!) to find these lovely prints with these handsome frames. They have some wear, but they are so striking flanking the entrance to the dining room that any imperfections are hardly noticed. The textured paper they are printed on, almost like a silkscreen process, makes me think they are samples of vintage wallpaper that someone framed a long time ago.

Nameless Blogging Authority

Certain Nameless Blogging Authorities have subtlety hinted at my infrequent posting, and commented that the focus of my posts being of a slightly narrow subject matter (a darling with long dark hair). OK. I don't need to be told twice. So, I'm broadening my focus and showing you a bit of what I'm up to around this new house. As you know, we've moved to the California Bay Area, where most of my family originated, an area near and dear to my heart, and close to Chinatown, a place I love, my Mother loved, LaLa Pat loves and their mother and my Grandmother did too. So, it's in our blood. Asian art, culture, philosophy and medicine. And, one of the things that drew me to this house is a long, 20ft tall stand of black bamboo bordering the whole back side of the property! So, the perfect theme for our dining room mural? A Chinese-style bamboo and bird motif. Just this morning I blocked in a color wash on one wall to sketch out my design. I'm not going to get too, too detailed with this mural, but more defined and more color than you see presently. For now I'm just "sketching" in the placement. I'll keep you updated.

Thanks for the nudge, Nameless Blogging Authority.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Found: Puffball

This is the first Puffball we've ever found, and it was right in our own backyard! It is an odd fungi with no stem at all, just some minute fibers anchoring it to the ground. It's the size of a small potato and felt firm and heavy like one too. For a minute we thought it might be a moldy lemon, and then Annie said "smell it" and it definitely smelled like a mushroom. Very musty and earthy. We got our most trusted mushroom books out (namely Everything The Rain Promises and More by David Arora) , sliced it and identified it as a Puffball. Puffballs are edible when fresh, and often confused with the poisonous amanita "egg", so just to be safe, we didn't saute it and have it for lunch. Annie had been doing a crazy dance in the backyard when she stepped on it nestled in the grass and she said "Ewww, what did I just step on? " I guess it was cold and wet on her bare feet. Once dried these odd mushrooms emit a dusty powder when thrown or stepped on, hence the name Puffball. American Indians used the Puffball for food, medicine, incense, and as a favorite "ball" game. Annie and I are drying it so that we can have a "game" at spreading the spores in the yard for future possibilities.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Why go through the door when you can come-and-go
through the window?

Annie has been hounding me to get a ladder and put it under the window so she can go into the yard that way, rather than go through the door and down the steps. I've been resisting because it's a good seven or eight feet down! I finally said "yes" today and did it. She's been having a ball all day going in-and-out, and in-and-out! She's showing much care and ability so I'm relaxing about it a bit. Am I nuts?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wedded Bliss

We just attended a wonderful wedding in Washington of Bill's cousin Steven. It was a beautiful affair with bright colors of orange, pink and magenta's. Annie and her cousins had a wonderful time running and playing and rolling down grassy hills in their best clothing. Oh well, so much for the white dress! It was great to see everyone from Bill's family, and to watch Uncle Pete and Aunt Ruth see their son get married to such a wonderful woman. Weddings always move me and this one was no different. I was lightly dewy eyed until I saw the bride dance with her father to Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately That I Love You. Without warning my throat tightened up and I burst into tears and had to walk away into the forested part of the landscaping. The cake I was eating just stuck like a clod of dirt in my throat. I couldn't believe I was having such a reaction! I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to have had a relationship with my own father as an adult and what it might have felt like to have danced with him to a song like that. I felt so, so overwhelmingly sad. This whole move has left me feeling so rootless. I am grieving and missing my mother terribly as well, and it's been five long years since she's died! I'm feeling sad and confused about my relationship with my brother and sister, and judging myself for not being enough, or more of something. Ugh! I knew I had to get to this place. I've met all of this change in my life with a lot of excitement and good spirit, and now I'm grieving all of the loss and change.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cooking With Annie

Annie loves to cook and she can make pancakes almost by herself! Here she is, and "us" in our matching aprons. So far, I really like the kitchen here and Annie is able to work really easily at the low counter. Unfortunatly, Jasper can easily "counter surf" and I've been putting him on the back porch while we're preparing food or eating it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sneak Peak

Today is two weeks since we've moved into this new house.
We've worked hard to get settled and to get it functional and (somewhat) enjoyable. I do like the house a lot, and there is something hard about it. I think I've figured it out though. It's the color. Basically there is black (the dark woodwork) and white. I'm finding that I'm unable to just live with the white of the walls, and as much as I'd like to relax and ignore it, I'm thinking a lot about color. So I'm painting the living room and dining room. I know the burnt pumpkin color is very bold... and yet I'm going forward. What do you think? The mustard color in the living room is very similar to the color I had in the May Avenue house and I know we like it and it works with most of our furniture and belongings.
I've also written a few surprise love notes on the walls to Annie for her to read before I paint them over. So, I'm down off of my ladder for these few moments to load these pictures and write this post, partly because LaLa is curious to see how it's coming along.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ikea Guilt

I really do love to buy used, to recycle and reuse items before I buy new. And, sometimes, I buy new. For example, we now live right near an Ikea. It's so tempting! The prices, the ease. Ugh! Now I'm not sure how earth-friendly it is to buy goods from Sweden, or what their commitment is to sustainability. I also know the adage "Buy the best, cry once" and buying from Ikea can mean a short lifespan, hence more landfill. Ikea seems to be a mecca for over-consuming. I mean the place is huge and the stuff is cheap!

I've had No Impact Man bookmarked for months and I respect his commitment, and his worries are my worries too. Mostly about consumerism and it's impact on the planet in general. I really want to be thoughtful about what we
really need. Then I saw this 100% cotton comforter cover and two pillow case set for $14.99 and I couldn't resist them for Annie's new room. And look at how darling she looks! Still, with all this moving and settling, I'm noticing how much "convenience" we've chosen recently and I really want to get rooted enough to have the energy and consciousness to make choices that are more in alignment with my values.

Thanks La La!

Wow! Annie and I are thrilled to get to visit, and enjoy the benefits of membership, to the new DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. Courtesy of LaLa Pat. Thank you so much La La! We spent the day today looking at the many exhibitions and the amazing sculpture garden. What a thrill to have such easy access to a museum of such greatness. Only 25 minutes away! Golden Gate Park for me is slightly magical, and is filled with so many memories of my own childhood and wonderful stories about my Mom, La La Pat and my Grandparents.