Monday, August 31, 2009

Someone is four

facts about Ezra

His favorite pie is chocolate cake
Hot peppers and peaches helped him form in the womb
He is a leftie and has a beauty mark at the base of his left thumb like his leftie auntie Mamy.
He was born in Appalachian Ohio.
He often gets stuck in places that he can't get out of on his own. Like yesterday when we found him perched on his windowsill with tears in his eyes.
He has a serious sweet tooth which often gets him into mischief involving stolen cupcakes and empty mason jars that used to contain your neighbor's uncle's maple syrup from Vermont.
He likes little things and never slept with a stuffy but loves to fall asleep with small books.
He recently discovered that he adores babies and will grin and hold them with extreme tenderness.
He has brown eyes and we still haven't figured that out exactly, even the milkman has blue eyes.
He is very mechanical and has been known to dismantle the screen door, and anything else that is nailed or screwed down.
We love him to pieces.

Friday, August 28, 2009

a birthday painting

Matt really loves biking. Perhaps more than he loves me. I am only half joking. To honor him on his 33rd birthday I decided to paint him a silhouette of his beloved bike. I was inspired by the gorgeous shadow the sun made peaking through the shape of his bike one afternoon. I quickly grabbed my largest piece of masonite, a black sharpie, moved that board around on the sidewalk to get it just right and then I furiously traced, waited for the clouds to move and traced some more. What other silhouettes can I make? I am a bit excited about the prospects of more shadows. If only classes and teaching weren't just a week away.

Happy Birthday Matty. I love you. You do drive me nuts sometimes. But, I really love you.

I am a WINNER!!!!

Yes, I won a copy of Amy Karol's new book, autographed by her!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Noho Staycation

There are times when I indulge in a bit of Northampton bashing. I like the place but is is just so chock full of "cool" people, it can get annoying. And by "cool" I mean: hipster dad with sleeves and primitive bling in both ears wearing vegan shoes and carrying mohawked baby in $200 sling while he sips his soy latte and buys 7 hardcover books for his daughter in the independent bookstore. And by "cool" I mean baristas who spend way too much deciding what will make them look toughest and not enough time deciding how to be friendly. And by "cool" I mean, maybe I am a bit jealous that I am not as fancy as them, and also maybe I am a bit smug that I just throw clothes on in the morn, without a thought. Moving on...Amherst is way more lo-fi, and I like that about Amherst. And yet, Amherst does not have the Tunnel Bar or Paradiso Pizza or Herrels ice cream. And I gotta say, I sort of like walking down the street and seeing girls with closely cropped hair holding hands and kids with mohawks and spikes and other folks with dreads. Amherst just has a much smaller portion of that brand of diversity.

With the heat reaching 96+ today, and Matty and Hen. on their mini-break in the Finger Lakes, I decided to treat Ez. to a matinee. Amhersts' theatres were only offering G-Force, and in consideration of Ezra's personality, I thought it best if we left any movie about a renegade band of violent guinea pigs alone. Northampton, here we come. Our first stop? Local Burger. Only, it was way too hot for me to sample one of their locally grown beef burgers so I settled for some of their amazing fresh cut fries. Ez. ate half a hot dog. You know it is hot when I can't finish delicious food. Then we scooted over to the Pleasant street theater: Amherst Cinema's sister theater and Noho's independent cinema. Miyazaki's latest creation, Ponyo was playing at 2:30. It was excellent; beautiful, sweet and a little weird, of course. It may be one of his kid-friendliest flicks but parents will love i just as much. The mother is fabulous. Afterwards...How could we be in Noho on a hot day without eating some Herrels? I got the grapenut raison (if you have not had grapenut ice cream, shame on you, although that is hardly fair of me). Ezra got chocolate. And if you think for a moment that is a boring choice than you don't know Herrels (and yet, maybe I should have suggested the chocolate hostess cupcake). I couldn't even finish my cone, which is pathetic I know, especially since it costs as much as one of my textbooks. But Ez finished it. Then we walked back to the parking garage (which always gives you a FREE first hour) and came home. WOoohoo.

my brekky

Just as I was thinking that I was a great mom for making Ez. blueberry (homemade) kefir pancake*s, Letha knocks on my door with these steaming hot fried plantains. Have I mentioned that I love fried plantains? Apparently, I love them for breakfast too.

I have been watching Letha's kids for a few hours a day the past week and a half. Keel mostly does his own thing, he's 6. Kora is 9 months old and she is a sweet little thing. And I absolutely do not want any more kids. But, I love doing her hair. And, I love kissing her giggly cheeks. And I love handing her over to her folks when they are back....

*Ezra has just this morning decided that he does not like blueberry pancakes with soggy blueberries. This was not the pleasant breakfast discussion I was hoping for. Trying to convince him of the inevitability of blueberry sogginess when they are cooked in a pancake was futile. Finally he decided that he would have a pancake with blueberries on top. And now he is brandishing a butter knife.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Agitating the kefir

My sweet neighbor Anna (baby Peter's mom) just gave me some of her kefir grains...


1 quart milk
1 tbs kefir grains

fill jar with milk, add grains and cap loosely.

leave at room temp for up to 24 hours, agitating jar periodically. Milk will become bubbly, then coagulate and separate. Remix by shaking.

strain grains.

refrigerate or let kefir to continue to ferment if you want sour cream and whey.

store grains in fridge or freeze them if you can't keep up with the kefir.

Let me know if you want some grains....

My kefir info. comes from"Wild Fermentation"- Sandor Ellix Katz

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BLT = alternate remedy for meloncholia

Reasons for feeling blue

twisted ankle and fell into shrubbery today

feeling itchy from falling into shrubbery

too lazy/tired to take shower to ease itchiness

need another book to read

have paperwork to do

Ezra is refusing to get in water at swim lessons

sat in puddle at swim lessons today

Henry feels bad about not being very good at soccer which is not helped by all of the machismo boys who live in our hood

terrified of school

terrified that I won't be able to read as much fiction once I enter school


It is BLT season and these are our own tomatoes!!

P.S For those of you who do not eat bacon....use baked cheddar for a similar experience without the luscious dead pig. The health food deli I used to cook for called this a f(fake) blt. Slice cheddar, place it on parchment paper-lined pan, bake at 350 until dark orange in color, peel off paper asap. et voila. yum.

This kinda reminds me of a spread that Marianne would put together on True Blood....

art = remedy for melancholy

John D. Graham's "Two Sisters", (a detail).
Sisters, again unfinished. um... by me.
One of my Aunt Sheila's theorum paintings, recently given to me by Aunt Kath.

I did it again. I very quickly and in succession read two engrossing novels and sank into a bit of a depression. Please. Tell me. Does this happen to you? This time my partners in crime were the subject of the last post and Graceling- Kristin Cashore. Graceling is a Y.A fantasy novel. I am a bit of a latecomer to the fantasy genre. Molly was into them in school but back then I would never tread far from my beloved victorian novels. Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But, when it was over, I had trouble facing my real life and had to do some cleaning and painting to get back into reality.

While strolling through the MOMA, I spied a painting entitled "Two Sisters" by John D. (Ivan Dombroski) Graham. I was entirely smitten with the colors, and the subject matter. And I think I may, when I get a moment, use it as inspiration for a few more paintings.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The History of Love

This morning, while sipping my Uncle Kevin's cold brewed coffee, which really deserves it's own post, and munching on a chewy sesame seed bagel (a leftover from our weekend in the Berkshires, which was as usual, WONDERFUL), I finished this novel, with moist eyes.

While in NYC Laura lent me a book, On Love (see side bar) and Rebecca gave me a Norton book, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. (She has recently been promoted to PUBLICIST at Norton, congrats cousin Reb). I have been reading On Love and find it interesting for it's somewhat comical, philosophical ramblings on a love affair. But I found that I needed a break from it. I needed to read something with more of a narrative?

Today, if you can find it possible, go find a copy of A History of Love by NIcole Krauss. Krauss' writing is beautiful. The story is a bittersweet and intricate love story. And there are stories within the story. The title, A History of Love, is the title of a book written by one of the main characters.

Here is a passage I love (from the novel within the novel), and there are many:

"My heart is weak and unreliable. When I go it will be my heart. I try to burden it as little as possible. If something is going to have an impact, I direct it elsewhere. My gut for example, or my lungs, which might seize up for a moment but never yet failed to take another breath. When I pass a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, or I'm at the bus stop and some kids come up behind me and say Who smells shit?- small daily humiliations- these I take, generally speaking, in my liver. Other damages I take in other places. The pancreas I reserve for being struck by all that's been lost. It's true that there's so much and the organ is so small. But. You would be surprised by how much it can take, all I feel is a quick sharp pain and then it is over.
Sometimes I imagine my own autopsy. Disappointment in myself: right kidney. Disappointment of others in me: left kidney. Personal failures: kishkes. I don't meant to make it sound that I've made a science of it. It's not that well thought out. I take it where it comes. It's just that I notice certain patterns. When the clocks are turned back and the dark falls before I am ready, this, for reasons I can't explain, I feel in my wrists. And when I wake up and my fingers are stiff, almost certainly I was dreaming of my childhood. The field where we used to play. The field in which everything was discovered and everything was possible. (We ran so hard we thought we would spit blood: to me that is the sound of childhood, heavy breathing and shoes scraping the hard earth.) Stiffness of the fingers is the dream of childhood as it's been returned to me at the end of m life. I have to run them under the hot water, steam clouding the mirror, outside the rustle of pigeons. Yesterday I saw a man kicking a dog and I felt it behind my eyes. I don't know what to call this, a place before tears. The pain of forgetting: spine. The pain of remembering: spine. All of the times I have suddenly realized my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist: my knees, it takes half a tube of Ben-Gay and a big production just to bend them. To everything a season, to every time I've woken only to make the mistake of believing for a moment that someone was sleeping beside me: a hemorrhoid. Loneliness: there is no organ that can take it all."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

NYC- the expedited version, because I don't have time for the comprehensive version.

Matt and I had a great time visiting Mike and Laura in Brooklyn. We walked a thousand miles. We ate the second best pizza in NYC (Grimaldi's). We ate burgers and fries at the shake shack. We also had some yummy Cuban food on Smith street in Carrol Gardens. And of course we had a picnic in Central Park. Laura and Mike were great hosts. Thanks guys.

This exhibit by Wu Hung at the MOMA was excellent.

Magnolia bakery cupcakes.

Little did I know, the whole time we were looking in the lovely windows of Purl (which we were 8 minutes too late to enter), we were standing next to the cafe that is the home to my favorite cookbook. Next time!


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