Archive for November, 2008


Posted by laura on Nov 16 2008 | Awesome, Fun

Saturday morning we finally checked out the recently re-opened Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. We’d heard it was absolutely amazing. What we hadn’t heard was that they actually built it in Teletubby land.


Ok seriously – this living roof is absolutely phenomenal. Approximately 1.7 million plants over a 2.5 acre roof provide wildlife habitats and insulation for the building. On their website, they claim that the academy is the greenest museum in the world, and there’s an impressive outline of all the “Green Building Features” in the newsroom section. 

Let’s just have a moment on the architecture, if we can. I say ‘if’ because the architecture is so mind boggling to me that (to pull out an old saw) I’m not sure I have enough time to make this brief.

The new museum was designed by Renzo Piano, and there’s a great review in the New York Times that’s worth checking out, and it includes a slide show which gives some beautiful shots where you can actually see the building. The day we went the museum was breathtakingly crowded, which made me slow to take in the shape of the place in all the noise and distraction and fear of losing one of the kids. I really thought we had a good chance of losing one of them. There were people everywhere.

There’s a lot to say about the museum, so I’ll just focus on one of the aspects I admired most. It seemed that different elements in the architecture were interacting with each other in a lifelike way. For example – the overall impression of the building as I entered was long, strong and rectangular. Inside this huge long box are two spheres, 90 feet tall, that are buildings within the building. One is the planetarium and the other houses a rain forest. When you go up to the roof, you can see the forms of these spheres pushing up into the roof, like they’re rising or lifting the blanket of plants overhead. There are some areas with a distinctly classical feel to them, but the pristine white rows of columns and arches are interrupted by the occasional tree bursting out between them. The floor in places seems carved away by a river, and stingrays glide underfoot.

These are just a few examples, but whole effect of the building is that it’s bursting and teeming with life. The museum doesn’t just contain and display science; it is science. It’s a breathing, growing, perspiring, saving, thinking building. The architecture and the exhibit design demonstrate it by pushing and pulling into each other, and I find myself asking questions, which I believe is what it is all about.

Have a look at the rain forest sphere:


You can see the people inside looking out.

Here are some shots from the aquarium:

The kids had a terrific time looking around at everyth-WATCH OUT, HONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



The past three days have been sunny, 75 degrees, warm and lovely. Here are two De Young museum shots – one from the roof of the Academy of Sciences and one from the tower of the De Young. Check out the crystal clear day.

It was a remarkable, fascinating visit. I’ll leave you with one more shot of the De Young, on our way out.

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Posted by laura on Nov 15 2008 | Fun, Tasty


Hot Wheels took in birthday treats for his preschool classmates on Friday. Check out the awesome cars Mum and Dad sent to him in his birthday package. He thought they were so cool he was dying to put them on the cupcakes. They’re such fabulous candies – stylish vintage form, beautiful matte colors, great packaging. We’re sold.

After school, the kids’ best friends came back to our house to play for the afternoon, and then we all had dinner at their house that evening.

These guys have known each other all their lives. We met their parents in Lamaze class before the girls were born. The girls are 10 days apart and the boys, by an amazing and fortunate coincidence, are 6 days apart. They’re really good set.



I have to admit this picture of the girls together just brings a lump to my throat.

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Happy Birthday, Hot Wheels!

Posted by laura on Nov 13 2008 | Fun, Tasty, Uncategorized


Is it possible that this dude is 5? (Let me amend that… this is him when he was a baby. He turned 5 today.)

He’s having an awesome birthday so far, filled with lego and vehicles and books and, you guessed it – a hot wheels ramp. He’d been hoping for one for such a long time. So today is a thoroughly good day.

On Tuesday, school was out for the holiday, and we went for a beautiful bike ride up at Samuel P. Taylor park with Joan and the girls. 

We had a great ride, complete with picnic lunch and sketching down by the river.



Honey took the shot of the hay. She was going bonkers over the horses on the hill.

It was a great day for food, too! See this nice pumpkin?


Look at all those beautiful seeds. Let’s say you had all those gorgeous seeds, plus the seeds from two other carving pumpkins and a squash. What would you do with such bounty? You’d toast them nicely in the oven, wouldn’t you? Until they were perfectly crunchy and salty and oh-so-good. Well I meant to do that, last week, but instead of toasting them to perfection, I burned the life out of them. After all that goopy scooping and picking and washing, we sat down to dinner right in the same room with all those seeds and I completely forgot them. Doh!

All wasn’t lost, though, because then I just cooked that sweet pumpkin with some butter and brown sugar until it was mushy. Then on Tuesday morning I used it to make Pumpkin Bread.


I followed this recipe from Epicurious, which was easy and so, so yummy. We had it that night with white bean soup. The ideal cozy end to a fall day.

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Go Bandits!

Posted by laura on Nov 10 2008 | Fun, Making, Tasty, Uncategorized

It might not have made the top of the news hour for all of you, but the Silver Bandits played their final games of the year on Saturday. They did really well, making it all the way to the championship game before coming in second in their most injury-prone game of the season. I know at least three girls hobbled off the field crying, and we lost count of the times we all cringed on the sidelines, saying, “That’s gotta hurt.” Honey ended up being one of the wounded after she tripped over a defender’s foot and then the same foot happened to kick her in the chest. Oops.

Sometimes getting hurt can be such a shock. She was astounded that it hurt so much and that she just couldn’t seem to catch her breath. I was talking to my friend Denise afterwards and she was telling me that she still remembers the first time she got the wind knocked out of her. She said she was playing with her brothers in the basement when it happened, and when she panicked, “I can’t breathe!” her brother just said, “Oh, you just got the wind knocked out of you.” She said, “The WHAT?!?!” with this tone of voice that said, “You knew about this? This happens to people?!?!” It’s absolutely appalling.

And what was Hot Wheels doing during all this drama and commotion? He was curled up in a blanket right alongside the field, fast asleep. People were walking and yelling all around him and he was completely conked out. 

The team was a bit disappointed to lose in the final game, but they had a terrific season. They treated each other with such kindness, too. Any time one of their players got hurt or was having trouble, her teammates would all check in to make sure she was ok. The coaches were a perfect blend of challenge and encouragement and the players all improved individually and as a unit. Plus there was a party on Saturday night at Denise’s house. What more could a team ask?

Well there had to be a thank you for the coaches, of course. A great excuse to make some nice big cookies.


The best part about this recipe is that although it seems to involve surprising amounts of ingredients, it’s really a double batch. So there was plenty left over to roll up and freeze for a rainy day.

At the end, we just put the cookies in bags with a note for each coach. Done.

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Election Day Snapshots

Posted by laura on Nov 06 2008 | Uncategorized


We walked out of our polling place at 8am, so you can see I was still a little blurry.


Hot Wheels, on the other hand, was bright and chipper.


We spent the evening at Amy and Andy’s, jumping from station to station, watching the returns and eating the tastiest butternut soup on the planet.


Amy was standing in the Cowgirl Creamery shop in the San Francisco Ferry Building on Tuesday afternoon when a man walked in and said to the woman at the counter, “I need some victory cheese.”


At the end of John McCain’s concession speech, Amy and Andy’s daughter came in and asked, “Why are you all clapping? They can’t hear you.” Amy replied, “Yes but we hope they can feel us.” 


Right after they announced Obama as the new president all the kids came running in – “What happened?! What happened?!”

“Obama’s the new president!” 

“So for real life we can have a piece of candy with breakfast tomorrow?”


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I Just Have to Say

Posted by laura on Nov 04 2008 | Awesome


I can’t believe it.

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Halloween Roundup

Posted by laura on Nov 04 2008 | Uncategorized

Well we were lucky here – the rain held off on Halloween night, so we had no drippy devils or soggy Skywalkers. It was a great evening. We have a nice custom of homemade pizza with our neighbors on Halloween night before trick or treating. Then all the kids started out together – Cruella de Vil, a dragonfly, a snowflake fairy and Spiderman. What a crew. 



Tom and I usually wear some sort of a costume as well, but the past couple of weeks have been so busy I was counting myself lucky to get the kids set up in time. That’s saying something, as the amount of time I invest in a costume never amounts to much. Except about 4 years ago when Halloween was just 2 weeks before Hot Wheels was born. I decided it would be a good joke to go as a mummy. Have you ever been a mummy? It sounds so easy. 

This year I had a flash of inspiration around a $3 pair of caramel colored boots I bought recently at a rummage sale. Nice boots. I’d planned to wear them on Monday with a black skirt and turtleneck and a caramel colored scarf. Then it hit me – save the outfit for Friday and I could be a black & tan! Thanks to Sarah Palin, it was a perfect year to go as a six-pack, and it got me thinking.

You could go as families: pull on a black coat and hat and be a porter, choose a slightly heavier friend to be a stout, wear flannel, a knit cap and boots and you’re a lager, grab a robe and thermometer and be an ale.

Or you could pick species: Red Stripe, Rolling Rock, Sam Adams… the options are many. It’s a perfect group costume and handy for the office since a good number of them can be pulled off without anyone knowing you’re in costume. I guess Sam Adams might be obvious, unless you work in the historical reenactment field.

On Saturday morning, the kids performed the sacred candy hierarchy ceremony.


It’s a bit of a bummer since Hot Wheels’ food allergies prevent him from eating any of the real A candies – no snickers, reese’s, m&ms, twix for him. But that didn’t prevent him from participating in the sorting. He gave all of those candies to his sister and she gave him her dum dums, starburst, dots and licorice. 

We did discover one candy he can eat that I definitely would put in with the A candy – peppermint patties. (The small ones – the big ones don’t have the right chocolate to mint ratio for me.) We bought a couple of bags for our candy bowl last week, and after we came back from the store, we had this discussion.

“Mummie, after my lunch, can I have one of those crabby patties?” 

“You mean a peppermint patty?”


“Sure – but why are you calling it a crabby patty?”

“Because I can’t say peppermint.        Wait a second! I can!!”

Later in the weekend, I took some photos around the house. We have a full-blown case of fall around here.

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