Archive for October, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Posted by laura on Oct 31 2008 | Fun, Tasty

It’s a rainy Halloween here so far – very gusty and moody, though, so it feels appropriate. Hopefully we won’t be soggy trick-or-treaters tonight!

Last night we had a fun Halloween-eve dinner with some great friends. It was a perfect night for lighting candles and roasting potatoes. So fun. For dessert, we made cupcakes:


We just made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and crumbled cookies on the top, but the piece de resistance… caramel earthworms. Honey made them and she even got into the little ridges to make them more realistic.

Of course I didn’t think to take a shot of them until the tail end of dinner in bad lighting, but you get the idea. They were deliciously disgusting. 

Hope everyone has fun tonight!!

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Can YOU Help Me??

Posted by laura on Oct 30 2008 | Uncategorized

HOTwheels was just PLAYing DORA the exPLORer while I CLEANed the KITchen! I SEEM to have LOST my MIND!

Can YOU help me FIND it?? EXCELLENTE!

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Posted by laura on Oct 30 2008 | Uncategorized

Even though the snowflake fairy outfit isn’t completely finished, the guys had fun playing around in their costumes yesterday afternoon. They wanted to surprise Tom when he rode home from work. I think Honey looks like she’s off to a masquerade – she loves clipping a little white bird to her headband. It was a beautiful afternoon.

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Posted by laura on Oct 29 2008 | Awesome, Making

Last month at the Alameda flea market I came up with a couple of finds. One of them was an old grocery store sign that I put up on our daughter’s bedroom door.


Now everybody knows which room is hers. Just in case you couldn’t tell from the bright pink bathrobe and curtains.

Honey came home the other day and said, “Good news, Mummie! Mr. Frierson would be delighted to come to dinner!”

Right! Fortunately I know who Mr. Frierson is. He’s one of the two terrific PE teachers at the elementary school. When I called him to confirm, I asked if he had any food preferences, and he told me, “Oh just ask your daughter – we went over that at school. She said we’d be having a soup with pasta and chicken… it sounded great to me.” Now if only I could get her to organize Thanksgiving, we’d be in business!

On a different tangent, as I was working on the snowflake fairy dress tonight (just have to hem it now!) I listened to some podcasts from The Moth. If you haven’t come across it yet, The Moth is a storytelling organization in New York. “True stories told onstage without notes” is what they say, and boy do the storytellers deliver. Some of the stories I’ve heard have knocked my socks off. 

One of my hands-down favorites that I heard tonight was a story told by Matthew McGough, titled ‘My First Day with the Yankees.’ I’m making a promise here; even my die-hard, Red Sox-devoted relatives would love this story. I didn’t find the track on their site, but it’s on iTunes. (Turns out he’s written a book, too.) If you’re ever working late on a project I’d recommend it highly. I feel like my kids – just one more story!!

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Soccer and squash

Posted by laura on Oct 28 2008 | Fun, Tasty

More soccer games this weekend. The Silver Bandits are in the tournament, so they had to play two games on Saturday. My daughter was appalled. Two games in one day? What, were they trying to kill them?!

Both games were close, and the teams well matched. They won the first and then tied the next in the final seconds of the game. Before their second game my daughter’s team experienced their first pre-game psych. The other team had a chant they took to with great vigor. I didn’t recognize it, but I can tell you it did make promises along the lines of ‘we will crush you to the ground.’ Very exciting and certainly new territory for the U9 games I’ve been attending. (Turns out that team took the chant a bit literally as they were all elbows and shoves, so I’m thinking they might need to rework some of the verbiage for a more sportsmanlike game.)

After the game, my daughter (I’m just going to call her Honey for now) was a little down. I said, “They were a tough team, weren’t they?” and she replied in a confidential tone, “Yes they were. And Mummie – before the game, they were saying some not very nice things about us, and we could hear them.” 

On Sunday our great friends came over to dinner. We made butternut squash soup and served it out of a pumpkin. I thought Honey was going to have a heart attack, she was so excited. We served the soup with pasta, chicken, roasted tiny cubes of zucchini and parsnip, and toasted pumpkin seeds. The idea was that you could put any or all of the fillings in the soup, or have the soup plain with the pasta on the side. I like meals you can tailor a bit to suit your appetite. Joan made a beautiful salad with pomegranate seeds and these fantastic little green pumpkin seeds. It was delicious. 

Now we’re only a couple days away from Halloween and am I finished with the snowflake fairy costume? I think you know the answer to that.

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Posted by laura on Oct 22 2008 | Uncategorized

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that it’s the morning of your son’s snack day at school. You’re making banana chocolate chip muffins, which may be one of the greatest snack day switcheroos in history as they contain ground flax and whole wheat flour, no eggs or butter, and only about 1 tbsp of finely chopped up chocolate, yet they taste like dessert. You’re doubling the recipe to meet your quota, and shortly after you slide the first tray into the oven, it suddenly hits you why the recipe didn’t make quite as many as you’d expected. You’ve doubled everything except the flour.

After some fierce internal swearing, you could conceivably retrieve the muffins from the oven where they’re barely warm and scoop them, one by one, back into the mixing bowl. All the while, you’d probably be praising silicone baking cups and cursing your irresponsible math skills.

I might be going out on a limb here, but if this were to ever happen to you, I’m going to guess that it’s going to be just fine. So don’t panic.

In other news, Hot Wheels just ate his third breakfast. We think he might be turning into a hobbit.

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One of Those People

Posted by laura on Oct 21 2008 | Uncategorized

There’s this couple here in town that we see out walking quite frequently. We probably pass lots of the same folks when we’re out and about, but these two are distinct. HE: favors grey nylon running shorts every single day of the year. SHE: opts for the layered, flowy skirt look with hiking boots. THEY: have curly hair and a similar gait. WE: see them everywhere we go. They walk all over the place, and it’s reached the point that if we notice one without the other, or the two of them driving in their little pickup, the whole order of the universe seems akilter.

A few days ago, another mother from the elementary school and I were waiting on our bikes for the light to change, and she was asking if we ever use our car, because apparently she sees me all over town on my bike. It hit me suddenly that I was turning into one of those people, those characters that flavor a community. (The trouble rises when the flavor isn’t different-yet-complementary, like sea salt on chocolate. Sometimes the flavor is an overabundance of dusty dried thyme. That’s a bit of a worry.)

I mentioned that there were some people in town that I see everywhere, like this one couple we see strolling about everywhere… “The walkers! I know them!!” she jumped in. She told me that one day she stopped at a local cafe and they were sitting in one of the booths and she felt so strange to be next to them. It’s as though we’ve assigned these two people a place in our worlds, and it involves walking. There’s no sitting down; that is all wrong. It’s just like when a kids see their teachers outside of school – they’re appalled.

My friend and I moved on to other local characters – she also knows the older Eastern European woman we see walking to Safeway. She’s always dressed in a knitted hat and layers of clothing and she sends out a distinct ‘don’t talk to me’ signal. It might be that she always looks cross, or it might be that she actually steps off the sidewalk and out into the street to avoid coming too close to anyone else. One day she actually said hello to me, although I’m sure I could hear her thinking afterwards, “Shoot! What did I say that for?! Maybe she didn’t hear me.” Well it seems that our cross elderly neighbor is some hotshot scientist – I definitely have to get to the bottom of that one.

There’s an interesting moment when the narrative we invent for people we see collides with actual knowledge of those people. For a while they can play along side by side until one overrides the other.

In the meantime I wonder, as I bike to get the kids in the afternoon, how many people pass me and think, “Oh there she goes again!”

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7.27 am

Posted by laura on Oct 21 2008 | Uncategorized

They have built a fort on one of their beds. They’re giggling hysterically and carrying on. 

I say, “I’m sorry guys, but it’s time to get dressed,” and I really mean it – it is time, but mainly I’m sorry to break up the hilarity.

“It’s ok! Daddy said two more minutes.”

“When did he say that?”


“A couple minutes ago.”

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Hunter’s Moon

Posted by laura on Oct 15 2008 | Uncategorized


Yesterday we got a call from our good friend Amy asking if we’d like to join them for a dinner picnic in the Marin Headlands to watch the full moon rise. (Sunset and moonrise were only 15 minutes apart last night, making it a particularly good night for viewing.) So we jumped at the chance!

At about six o’clock we got to Hawk Hill, which is a perfect lookout point not only for the bay and the bridge, but for the thousands of raptors that migrate over these hills each fall. I just learned that you see this many birds of prey here because they avoid flying over water (since it’s far more work without the thermals coming up from the land) so they all funnel down the Marin peninsula, making it a popular spot for amazing bird watching. The headlands are also home to a number of historic military fortifications, and to get to the top of the hill you walk through a couple of tunnels that used to hold some very big guns looking out over the water. It’s an odd juxtaposition of past and present vigilance.


We were all pretty awed by the gradation of glowing sunset to glittering night.



It was another moment I couldn’t believe that our kids will grow up thinking this is normal. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

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What a Weekend

Posted by laura on Oct 13 2008 | Uncategorized

It was one of those weekends that just reaffirms my love for fall. Bright and crisp and filled with fun. My daughter had Friday off so we ran errands that needed running and we planned for a dinner party that night. It was a luxurious day together. Adding to the fun, we have a guest at our house this week:


Her name is Sprout and she’s around 4-5 months old, extremely cute and extremely crazy. I’d forgotten just now nutty kittens are. I’d also forgotten how deeply sweet that purr can be – particularly when the kitten in question is curled on your lap. I’m thinking the Sirens learned their trade from cats, because that purr can make me forget all kinds of things that I’d be wiser to remember. 

The kids are having a wonderful time, and it’s pretty entertaining to watch, since I think this kitten might have met her match in a certain 4 year old. 

It’s Fleet Week here in SF, and on Saturday the boys went to watch the Blue Angels – my daughter and I wanted to join them but there was a good chance we wouldn’t make it back in time for the soccer game that afternoon. Too bad, since it’s always awesome to see the air show.


They had fun, though, and the soccer game was exciting. There was a grass fire along the ridge just south of Mt Tam that afternoon, and since the soccer games are played on a field next to one of the fire stations, it was exciting to watch the response. Trucks from two other Marin towns rolled in to wait on standby, and the firefighters were typically friendly and informative about what was happening. They mobilized several firebombers but ended up not needing them – but it was comforting to see the response, since it was windy this weekend and Mt Tam is primed for a big fire, with lots of underbrush and homes just ready to go. 

Now we’re all watching the news because Angel Island is on fire – check out the photos on SFGate. Yikes. 

On Sunday we had an amazing day with our friends – brunch, pumpkin patch and even dinner together! It was dreamy. One of my favorite parts of fall is the cooking, surprise surprise. I love making a Butternut Pomegranate Pasta that I first concocted years ago. You cube butternut squash, roast it for a little while and finish it off by caramelizing it with a little olive oil and brown sugar. Then toss with your favorite pasta shape, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and brown butter sage. I’m crazy about that crunchy sage on top. Back in the day I’d put in some toasted walnuts, but that was before Hot Wheels got all anaphylactic on us. Shame, because they are gooooood.

Then last night, as if the weekend couldn’t get any better, Tom spent some time fixing my laptop! He posted a photo of the surgery if you’re interested in the gory details. But now! The joy! It’s completely rehabilitated. Get this – I click on programs and they open right away. I forgot that was possible. Thank you TOM!


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