Archive for January, 2009

Greedy Wheels

Posted by laura on Jan 29 2009 | Bicycle

Last weekend I decided it was time for a little bike spa. Hot Wheels and I ride down to my dance class together twice a week, and in the mornings around the full moon the path is often completely flooded in places. It’s usually quite an adventure with some off-roading through the scrub grasses to catch the path again. That part is fun, but it leaves our bikes pretty muddy and gunky. So after some sloppy rides over the last couple weeks, it was time for a chain cleaning and general demudification. 

These pictures would be a lot more impressive if I’d had the presence of mind to take the ‘before’ shots. Anyway – we had some fun cleaning them up and fixing the lights and attaching the new basket to Hot Wheels’ bike. He was super excited about the whole project. Now I’m debating whether I should get the fenders for his bike or wait till he grows into a 20″ bike. Poor thing – it really shouldn’t be a question. I finally figured out his basic weekly (Monday – Friday) mileage, and it’s 18 miles. That’s just the school and dance class riding, so I suppose the guy has earned himself some fenders! 

You might think that all this cleaning would leave my bike chain feeling light and content. I certainly did. Perhaps it just made it hungry, though, because yesterday on my way to work, it took a bite out of my pant leg. Check it out:

How’s that for gratitude? Hmpf. And it was the left cuff – I’d pinned the right one, since that’s closest to the chain, but it still managed to get a chomp in there. My nice Anthropologie pants, too. Good thing they were on sale, because otherwise my bike would be in the doghouse.

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Aussie Aussie Aussie

Posted by laura on Jan 26 2009 | Tasty, Uncategorized

Happy Australia Day, everyone! Here are some Anzacs for you.

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Classic Hot Wheels

Posted by laura on Jan 25 2009 | Uncategorized

This afternoon, Tom and Hot Wheels were playing a favorite car racing game on the computer in our art room. Hot Wheels was so excited about the game that he plum fell off his chair and landed on his back. Tom immediately leaned over his stunned little body and asked, “Are you ok??!” to which Hot Wheels replied, “DON’T STOP RACING!!”

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What A Day!

Posted by laura on Jan 20 2009 | Awesome

I still can’t believe it happened. What a moment – what a day.

When Hot Wheels and I rolled up to ballet class this morning, we ditched our bikes outside the studio and saw a crowd gathered in the reception area. We walked in on a whole group of people hovering over the inaugural action on the reception desk computer. Aretha Franklin was singing (in that hat!) and a few people were dabbing their eyes. Everyone eventually dragged themselves into the studio – Joan was hoping to stream video during class but ended up unable to get a connection. Just as well – we would have had some crooked plies this morning as we strained to see the screen.

Usually days that feel like this one come after tragedies – the Kennedy assassination or 9-11, with people gathered around broadcasts, quiet. What a profound relief to have the focus be one of attention, history, excitement. Tonight I felt like our leftover dinner was just not up to the occasion, but at least we had champagne!

By the way, did anyone see the piece on how, in just six hours during the inaugural ceremonies, the staff at the White House and about a hundred workers move out the departing family and move in the new one? It’s insane. They completely strip and paint the oval office, move in all the furniture and clothes and toys of the incoming family and their goal is to have no moving boxes visible when the ceremonies are over. We moved into our house over 11 years ago, and I’m pretty sure there are some boxes we haven’t quite dealt with and painting we fully intended to do and pictures we were sure we’d hang straight away. Six hours? It’s just nuts. I guess the hundred workers would be helpful, though.

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This Just In

Posted by laura on Jan 19 2009 | Awesome

I’ve been coveting this for months – and finally brought it home. It’s not an enormous pie rack, although that would be AWESOME. It’s a new collapsible drying rack we can use inside when it’s raining.

For years we’ve had a three tier folding rack that works pretty well but only holds about half a wash. This beauty folds flat and can hold two full loads. Ahhh. Thank you IKEA!!

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Sick Days

Posted by laura on Jan 18 2009 | Tasty

Honey stayed home from school Friday with a bad throat and general achy sickness, and I realized that there are, actually, a few good things to say about sick days, particularly if you’re not hugely sick. You get a bonus day with your house and your mother all to yourself. If you’re lucky, you miss a spelling test. AND you get soup.

I was excited about this one because I had some homemade stock in the freezer that I needed to use up, and it ended up tasting just right. Can you possibly go wrong with soup that incorporates ravioli? I think not.

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Making Me Proud

Posted by laura on Jan 16 2009 | Awesome

Just after the lights are turned out at night, Hot Wheels (like many of us) always comes up with his meaning-of-life questions. Sometimes the questions are heavy, but mostly they revolve around cars and his obsession with racing games on the computer and iPhone. A couple of nights ago, Tom told me they had this exchange:

HW: “Daddy, how come booster power goes to 10?”

T: “Because that’s as high as it goes.”

HW: “Why doesn’t it go to 11?”

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Tide Pooling

Posted by laura on Jan 14 2009 | Awesome, Fun

Over the weekend, our friend Elise let us all know there was a negative tide (I guess thanks to the Wolf Moon) which makes for exceptional low tide pooling. Tom and the kids went on Saturday afternoon and had an amazing time prowling around the rocks for starfish and sea anemones. 

I missed out on that adventure, as I was cooking the beets. (That sure sounds thankless, but I loved those beets later on in the evening, even if they did take an inordinately long time to cook.) However, I got my chance at the shore on Sunday. We started the day out with a beautiful long hike with Sherri and Rik and the kids along the hills on the south side of town. Mill Valley is chock full of cool paths and steps that cut along the side of the mountain. Most are short cuts from one street to another, although that’s a bit of a misnomer as some are insanely steep and challenging, particularly when one of your hikers is 5. At least the views are breathtaking. (sorry. couldn’t resist.)

After the hike we hit the beach again for more tide pools and playing around in the sand. Joan and the girls joined us, as did our California goddaughter. Fabulous afternoon.

We made it there just about an hour before the light got sentimental.

That’s our gang, heading back towards the cars. The whole beach was packed with dogs and families and beachcombers when we arrived. One of the girls from across the street is 10, and as we walked back along the sand I said something about beachcombers, and she’d never heard the word before. She asked, “Are there any other kinds of combers?” Anyone?

It was one of those beautiful, lucky, elemental days, and at the end of it, we were all feeling like this:

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Saturday Night

Posted by laura on Jan 11 2009 | Fun, Tasty

One of my favorite Thanksgivings here in California started with a long bike ride with our great friends Lori and Michael and their son, who is a bit older than Hot Wheels. We feel like we’ve known them all our lives. That Thanksgiving, we decided to each try making a dish that we’d never made before. It ended up being remarkably delicious and fun. (It helps to try this idea with friends who wouldn’t care a bit if your recipe bombed or the soup turned blue. It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of bottles of good wine for backup.)

On Saturday, we all got together and tried it again.


Michael made this ridiculously delicious pumpkin and red onion dish with a cilantro/parsley pesto. Phenomenal. We had also roasted some potatoes and sweet potatoes, and the pesto was great on those, too.


I made roasted beets with cornbread croutons, citrus vinaigrette, goat cheese and bacon (Tom got the pretend kind), using a recipe from Bon Appetit. That came out well, once the beets were finally finished. They took forever. Fortunately I’d taken my own advice in the wine department.


Lori was batting cleanup with her first-ever bundt cake. It was a chocolate cake with dulce de leche sauce. I kid you not. It was a thing of beauty.

At the end of the evening, Lori thought the bundt was a little dry, but that criticism doesn’t quite resonate with my stomach, as I’ve just polished off two pieces this evening. Perhaps I should ask her to make it a bit more dry the next time?

Now that, Ellen, gets categorized under tasty!!

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We Got Trouble

Posted by laura on Jan 08 2009 | Uncategorized

With a capital T that rhymes with V and that stands for Vegemite. It’s all out. 

For one of us, that’s not exactly cause for despair. For the other three, it’s sad news indeed.


See what I mean?

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