Saturday, July 31, 2010


The Denver Post has a series of "blog" entries that republish old slide photographs. In this case, it's a series from 1939-1943 or so, many from Oklahoma, Maine, and Louisiana.

Above, an Oklahoma family has dinner in their dugout home. Notice the jars of pickles and preserves next to Mama, and the Karo syrup can on the table. Also, the milk is in that big jug next to Mama's elbow, and you can see how fatty it is from the film it leaves on the glass.

A colleague turned me on to these, and I've been absorbed in them ever since. Check it out.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Enough is Enough

We bought two more fans. Because seriously: it's hot.

The weather for the last 2 weeks has been a continuous tease. They forecast hot for today, sure. But in 3 or 4 days it'll break. Well, not 3 or 4 days from now...but 3 or 4 days from now. Or not. But next week. Or not.

It's been supremely frustrating. And since the humidity shot up to a whopping 29% 3 days ago (horrors!), it's been really unpleasant. We lay around panting like the dogs, remembering the delicious days of May when it was 65, sunny, and so nippy at night that we had our duvet on the bed. In May! I loved May.

August will be better. The weather patterns for this area are unlike anywhere else we've lived. July is the hottest month, with August the beginning of a slide into autumn. So while the average high in July is 92, the average high in August is only 90. And night temps dip, too.

Welcome, August. We're so happy to see you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Happy Childhood Requires Chocolate

Dear Iain,

Years from now, when you're feeling all angst-y, I want you to remember our photographic evidence. Because if you try to tell your therapist (of course you'll need a therapist) about your miserable childhood, I'm going to whip out this shot of your dessert last night: applesauce and chocolate mousse cake.

Your life is golden, dude. And not just because I'm letting you watch Kipper all morning. What? I have a cold.


The Mom

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our neighbor Linda brought us red currants. From her garden. ZOMG.

And guess what? Despite the fact that they are about 200% vitamin C (pucker up!), Iain ate about a million of them at dinner. Grilled cheese and red currants, supper of champions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What We Ate

Papa, look what book I'm reading!

Tonight we welcomed our neighbors (the ones with the spectacular yard across the street. As opposed to the spectacular yard next door or the spectacular yard next to that house, or...never mind.)

To drink, I made lime-ade. It's easy, see below.

After cheese, crackers and grapes, we had calamaretti (trans: noodles!) tossed with wild-caught jumbo shrimp and flat-leaf parsley. The sauce was olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and parmesan. Mrs. Neighbor brought a beautiful caprese salad to go with the pasta. And for dessert a tribute to the French way of doing things: a cake from a bakery.

I love the fact that in France people often just buy dessert. After all, what's the point of all those amazing bakeries and patisseries if you can't rely on the expertise of a pastry chef? So when KP took Mother and me to Gourmandise the other was clear what we had to do. And I did it. Because I'm brave like that.

Chocolate mousse cake. That's all I am going to say.

(makes one pitcher)

You need 3 limes, a cup of sugar, and maybe 1.5 or 2 bottles of sparkly water.

Put one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a sauce pan and add one cut up lime. Squeeze each piece into the water, then throw the carcass in, too. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves, then turn off the heat and let it all sit there getting limey. Yes, this is a lime simple syrup. Don't show off your culinary knowledge, smarty-pants.

When you're ready, put a mess of ice into your pitcher, then add a bottle of sparkly water. Pour in all the syrup, discarding the lime bits. Add more soda water until your pitcher is pretty full. Now cut up a lime in a decorative way and toss that in. Take another lime and squeeze all its juice into the pitcher. Stir. Enjoy. Yes, that's it.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today Grandma took Iain to the store and helped pick out 2 pairs of sneakers.

Iain kept reaching for multi-colored, sparkly sneakers and we would say, "No, honey. Those are for girls." Now, I'm not a freak for gender roles, but I just can't imagine sending Iain to school in tennis shoes with a patchwork of pink and purple ponies on them.

But you never know what little ears are hearing. Later, after we checked out, put a pair on Iain, and packed ourselves into the car for a trip to the pool, he proclaimed from the backseat: "These shoes for GIRLS!"

We had to explain that no, those were his shoes, not for girls, and perfectly fine for him.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Sorry for missing my post yesterday. We left for Pie-n-Beer day at K&M's, and when we got back I forced our resident computer scientist to work with Charles on my new Apple laptop. It's ridiculous how hard they make it to transfer your iPod from a PC to a new Mac. Ridiculous.

Anyway, thanks Rob! Thanks, as always, to Charles.

While we partied and celebrated the Utah pioneer experience (read all about it), Iain played with his bestie Chloe. I don't know what they did, but it left Iain HUNGRY. Check out his brekkie this morning (above). He at all of that. All of it. ALL. OF. IT.

He's going to be 7 feet tall, y'all. And it will be The Dodo's fault.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Extremely Dull, Uneventful Day

1. Up at 6:30am! Prepare for Iain's last day of camp. Hustle Iain and Mother into the car so we can get there in time. Check school-year paperwork with staff, confirm that having just done an immunization record a month ago we need not do it again now.

2. Work out while Iain plays in the toddler playground. While I'm on the elliptical, our acquaintance Kate sits down next to Mother on the recumbent bikes and they chat. This is our new life: you can't go anywhere without seeing someone you know, even though we've only lived here for 2 months.

3. Go up and do Shabbat with Iain. They light candles. They sing. They sip the wine. They do something called Shabbat Frog, where they leap up and say "Amen!" Hmmm...

4. Scurry out while Iain isn't looking, go home, shower, then turn right around and go back out. Get books ("Everyone Poops") for Iain at B&N, go to school and drop off yet another item in my classroom, then run up to 15th and 15th and find that the French Bistro isn't open for lunch. Eat at Mazza instead. Recognize lady at the next table as a JCC habitue, then see her later at the pool.

4.5. Go home, spend 45 minutes on the phone with a woman in LA who needs some advice. Switch the laundry, pack the pool bag, check email, welcome Rob, chat with neighbor-Linda.

5. Pick up Iain, go to pool. Play in fountain ad nauseam.

6. Drive toward home but instead of actually going home, stop in Sugarhouse and check out the Sugarhouse farmer's market. Small, but friendly!

7. Go to Whole Foods. Buy lotion.

8. Go home, shower again. Dress for dinner, cook Iain's supper, switch laundry, greet Chloe, head out to dinner.

9. Dinner with KP. Hilarity ensues.

10. Go to French pastry shop, buy confections (cherry tart! Tarte au citron! Chocolate mousse cake, meringue, baba au rhum plus a loaf of bread), stop at KP's house, get port, fly back up to our house for dessert.

11. Dessert, bawdy jokes, stories about friends, port, water, hug KP goodbye, fold laundry, feed dogs, make bed for Rob....

YAWN....Charles and Rob plan to be out the door at 7am tomorrow to climb. As for me, I plan to be unconscious.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hurry Up, Grandma!!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Updated Ice Cream List

  • Cinnamon ice cream*
  • Vietnamese coffee ice cream
  • Lemon ice cream
  • Hazelnut Mango ice cream (not from a recipe, but thrown together to use up some cream)
  • Lemon buttermilk sherbet
  • Banana blueberry sorbet
  • Cherry sorbet

Next? I dunno. I was kind of considering trying the Tin Roof recipe, since that's the sort of crazy, mix-in, swirled with fudge craziness I've never before attempted.

Or I could just settle down with the tub of Vietnamese coffee and luxuriate.

* Let's just take a moment to note that this ice cream is courtesy of Clare and her generous gift. Because, if you recall, the box came packed in nutmegs and cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. So what to do with those cinnamon sticks? Well DL's recipe calls for 10 4-inch sticks. The box came with? You know already, doncha? 10 sticks. They're 4 inches long. Clearly (CLEARLY!) I was meant to make this ice cream. And I did. Thanks, Clare. You're pretty fly for a person less than 6 months old.


It's so fun to learn about new places. And new insects. Especially when there are two local spiders that look nearly identical except that one is harmless and the other is extremely venomous. Yay!

We think this one (and I say "we think" after a period of intense study, comparison, insecticidal rage, and vacuuming) is a funnel web grass spider (harmless) not a hobo spider (yikes!).

In any event, it's dead.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunshine and Sand

Today was an outside kinda day. It's been 95 and hotter here, so today's balmy 89 seemed like a refreshing break. Iain celebrated by popping outside for a spot of play in the sandbox. Note the hat. It belongs to Charles.

In other news, we have reached full-on toddler mode: selfish and demanding at all times. Iain now knows about movies, ice cream, and chocolate. He wants all three, all the time. And NOW! So we spend a lot of time saying, "But were you a good boy? No. So no movie." "Mommy said you could have ice cream if you ate your supper. Did you eat your supper? No. So no ice cream." etc.

Dreams (For Ernie)

I have recurring dreams. They fall into the following categories:

  • I have to pee. I find a bathroom but it turns out to be transparent or have no walls or be a toilet in the middle of a classroom full of students or...or...or...I set off in search of another bathroom. Rinse, repeat. I wake having to pee.
  • I am naked. You know this dream.
  • I am trying to make a flight/train/bus and am running late. I cannot find something or someone, I cannot figure out my travel documents, I cannot confirm where to go, the location of the departure keeps changing, I discover too late that I am on the wrong vehicle or that my party is on a different vehicle.
  • I find myself stuck in a small space. Usually this is a space that was fine, but it suddenly contracts. Often I find that in order to get someplace (out of here, into the house, away from the baddie) I must wriggle through a space far too small and twisted.
  • I need to pack some items, but they do not fit into the luggage or box and every time I look away there is more to pack. This can include the messy version in which clothes and papers litter the room, or the furniture version in which there are items that cannot possibly fit, or the absent receptacle version in which I am missing some luggage and clearly need it to contain our crapola.
  • I am teaching. There is something wrong (I forgot my notes. The classroom is weirdly oriented or divided. The material is dull and I can't make it interesting. Students are leaving, talking, laughing...), and I realize that they all hate me and I suck.
I used to have flying dreams and sexy dreams and occasionally intense emotional dreams (including the memorable day when I was 16. I dreamt that my entire family was dead, woke to find the house empty, and reeled from room to room weeping until I woke up enough to realize that I was both bonkers and nekkid.). These days it's all anxiety.

According to the NYT, some people have formed dream discussion groups. They talk about the dreams and help one another answer questions. Sounds interesting to me...

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Official - We Moved

Today I got my new Utah driver's license.

Well....technically I got a piece of paper with my name on it and the State of Utah's assurance that I'm not a maniac behind the wheel. The real thing will come in 2-3 weeks.

But the funny part is this: I had to take a written test. It was open book. Charles took the same test 3 weeks ago when he went through this process, and he got a perfect score (hey, it's open book, right?). When I took the test I flubbed one question, earning a 96%.

And 12 years ago? When we moved to California from DC? We had to take a written test (not open book). Charles got a perfect score. I got one wrong.

So the more things change...

My Tiffin

So pretty! Of course, it'll be dinged up and covered in balsamic dressing soon enough. But for today it's lovely.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Didn't Do It. And You Can't Prove I Did.

Who, me? I'm just sitting here, being cute and stuff. I'm definitely not planning to take out every single toy in the house and arrange them all on the floor of my room.

I was framed. Framed!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ice Cream

I forgot to mention that I'm making Vietnamese coffee ice cream tonight. So far, that makes the haul:
  • Vietnamese coffee ice cream
  • Lemon ice cream
  • Hazelnut Mango ice cream (not from a recipe, but thrown together to use up some cream)
  • Lemon buttermilk sherbet
  • Banana blueberry sorbet
  • Cherry sorbet
All this from David L's:

I love this book.


Photo from Droolicious, a blog on Photo is a link.

I finally picked a lunchbox. It's the small one in the middle, two tiers with a little silver box for "dressing." Uh, no. I think that'll be for berries or peanut M&Ms, because Mommy wants a nice sealed lid for her dressing.

But in any case- Yay! I've been browsing bento boxes for months, trying to decide whether I would really be happy with a small box. Normally, I like to take a big salad for lunch (with things like cheese and crackers and a lot of fruit to go with it). Bento boxes just don't really accommodate that. Even the nifty little boxes made by laptop lunches aren't really suited to a whopping salad. They're perfect for my Frances lunches (a hard boiled egg and some grapes and a cream cheese and jam sandwich and a peanut butter and honey sandwich and come cheese cubes and carrots with ranch dressing and blueberries and a cookie "and some other things, I forget."), but not for salad.

All along, I considered a tiffin, but the ones on Amazon were huge (HUGE!) so that was a turnoff.

But tonight, on a rush trip to Whole Foods (to acquire fruit for tomorrow's brunch at KP's - I got strawberries and blackberries and golden kiwi), there were tiffins. Lovely, bottom-heavy tiffins. With a nice seal and no plastic and a handle and made of stainless steel so if I drop them it's no worries, mate.

Yay! Now that I have my lunchbox, I think I'm ready for school.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Exchange Rates

See that outfit? See it? Guess how much it cost. No, I know that's tacky. Do it anyway.

Try about $100. You're all, "Wha???" I know. But here's how that happened:

Last summer we flew to England to see our friends Bart and Tony celebrate their union and to participate in the extravaganza that was Miriam's nuptials. It was two weeks of ankle-twisting fun. Just ask Bart.

Anyway, in the airport on the way home, Iain decided that Terminal 5 was totally puke-worthy. So he horked on Mommy's shoulder and all over his outfit. He needed a new outfit. Amazingly Organized Parents did not have an emergency outfit. We were tired, ok?

Off went Daddy to find something in the shopping mecca that includes Harrod's and a record shop and a Hermes and god only knows what else. Perfume? Sure. Diamonds? Yes! Baby clothes? No.

Except at a souvenir shop, the absolute most touristy crap-ola shop. There, he found toddler-sized soccer uniforms: either Chelsea or Manchester United. Man U is a red team, and Charles is not a fan of red. So it was Chelsea. The outfit was something like 40 pounds, which at the exchange rate then was about $100. No joke. But Charles is a devoted dad (and probably couldn't imagine flying 7 hours with Puke Baby and his fumes) so he snapped that up.

It was huge on Iain, but did the job. And in the end it's turned out to be a not-so-bad purchase after all. Because, as you can see, the tyke is still wearing it a year later. And he could probably wear it for the rest of the summer. So on a per-day basis, that's only about 25 cents a day. A bargain!

In other news, Iain has learned to use a sprinkler.

It's been hot. In the 90s by the late afternoon (102 today!). So on Tuesday when we dined at KP's, she brought out her little yard sprinkler for him to play. And he liked it. Last night we tried again (yes, we ate at KP's twice in one week. And we're having brunch with her tomorrow and Sunday) and he liked it even more.

Of course, he pretends not to like it. He runs out of the water saying "no, no no!" and then declares, "I do not like IT!" Pause. Beat. "Do it again!" He even stood over the spray last night, experimenting with the water. Hold your hand this way - it moves in that direction. Move your hands and you can spray Daddy in the face!

Good times.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Popcorn Shrimp Recipe - Yum!

Note: this is available in HD if you click through to YouTube.


Iain's latest trick is "reading" books to us. He remembers almost all the words, and when alone or generally unobserved (like now, sitting behind me in the pack-n-play) he will rehearse them.


"Bobo good dog. He love picture taken. He love neighbor." "Bye-bye! Come again!" etc.

And in case I missed what he was doing, "I going read that book!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I have no idea what that means. But Bart and Tony used it to describe us last winter. We just couldn't shake a series of colds, sinus infections, and other ailments.

Well - we're back! No, not really. Mostly, we've been admirably well here. But today was an exception. I have a cold, Charles had a killer migraine, and only Iain was functional (he's got diaper rash, but I'm not sure that counts as lurgy. Boys?).

The plus side? The silver lining? The pot of gold at the end of our poo rainbow?

It's sunny and beautiful, with mountains in the distance and no humidity. Yay, Utah!

[EDIT: Lurgy = cooties. Or the common cold, depending on whom you believe. But I still don't think diaper rash qualifies.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Holy Turmeric, Batman! Yesterday Iain received an entirely unanticipated gift from Miss Clare. She sent him the 4-jar curry box from Penzey's.

So I made banana bread, of course.

What? You say. Be careful, dear, you're showing your ignorance.

Penzey's packs their gift boxes so that the glass jars won't wiggle. What do they use as packing? Styrofoam? Paper? Fairy kisses? NOPE!

They use cinnamon sticks, whole nutmegs, and dried Turkish bay leaves.

Is everything becoming clear now? No?

I did not have on hand all the ingredients I might need for curry (next stop: the store), but what was sitting in my fruit bowl? 3 half-rotten bananas. And what's in the fridge, leftover from making lemon-buttermilk sherbet? Buttermilk, obvy. And what's on the back of the enclosed recipe card sent by Penzey's? Grandma's recipe for banana bread. And where is Penzey's located? Wisconsin! Mid-westerners know baked goods, y'all.

So I used my new nutmegs to make banana bread (and banana bread muffins because mid-westerners bake in quantity, y'all). It's really quite good.


Does that mean...

YES! I baked something here (at 4500 feet) and it did not suck. YAY! I am no longer a total failure.

Thanks, Clare. You've restored my mojo. I'd stay to chat but I've got tandoori spice to rub into chicken breasts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Howdy, Stranger

Look what's growing through the fence! My neighbor (from whose garden this vine emerged) says it's a western berry similar to a black raspberry. I tried one (The black one above. It is no more.) and it tastes like a very mild blackberry. Or, if you've had one, an olallieberry.

There are only about 10 berries, but I plan to let this vine growgrowgrow, so the sky's the limit next year.

Did I mention that Linda's raspberries (growing all across our shared property line) are ripe? Oh, yes. And today I spotted what I believe may be red currants. Then there's her apricot tree. It's at least 30 feet tall, covered in hundreds of apricots. Apparently her doctor has forbidden Linda to eat apricots.

What a pickle. How can I help?


Apparently, Isla loveslovesloves the beach. Can't you tell?

And, hello!, check out those polka dots.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Have Seen My Future...

And it contains this.

Pretty Much the Whole Weekend

We go to the park. Iain plays, Iain walksveryfast on the grass, Iain exclaims over the mountains, the bugs, the birds, the other kids, etc.

I see his point about the mountains. Check out the range behind the park. They face west, so in the early evening the sun hits them in a particularly beautiful way.

Then we get him back into the BOB, walk through the neighborhood a bit, and head home for bath, storytime, and bed. It's a hard life, but someone has to live it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Busy Days

Last night, Iain enjoyed the singular attentions of a new babysitter while Charles and I helped KP celebrate her birthday. We provided 2/14ths of the party, of course, because many people wanted to join in the celebration of that event.

Anyway, sated with wine, song, and bawdy talk, we returned to rest up for today. Charles began with an early-morning hike in the mountains, while Iain tormented Mommy with 2-year-old personality traits (like screaming). Then we all hung out for a while watching Pingu:

In the afternoon, though, another social event called. It was Meg's first birthday, so off we went, gift in hand, to help her celebrate. Afterward, Iain pronounced it a "Good Party!" and no surprise: Meg's grandparents' house has a full-sized pirate ship in the backyard. With a steering wheel. And a fireman's pole. And a kid-sized tractor. And a backhoe (not kidding). And a jackhammer that makes noises. And swings. And a kiddie pool. And they had chocolate cake and ice cream and fruit kabobs.

Good Party!

We came back, ate dinner, went for a walk (cake, you know), and now Mom and Dad are going to watch some Last Exile.

Friday, July 09, 2010

This Here is IAIN's House, Y'all

You think this is your house? Please. See my art paper on the floor? See my crayons? Where are the chairs to my table? Oh...

Against the opposite wall. Where I put them. What?

Your bed? YOUR bed? This is my toy space, lady. If you think you own that bed, or this house, or anything, you better think again. I can, and will, put my stuff on every available surface. And you've got nothing to say about it. Now go fix me a turkey potpie, woman!*

Mommy? Hey, Mommy!!! I threw my truck down the stairs.

*John Bender, The Breakfast Club. Follow the link to quotes from the most influential movie of our youth.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Iain has, in the last few weeks, fully embraced his Terrible Twos. He screams. He throws things. He demands, then refuses, then screams. He's become mischievous in ways that make us hesitate to leave him alone with anything that can be broken (Exhibit A: Charles and I have performed "book surgery" twice in the last 24 hours)

He also likes jokes. The "Idea" joke is still high-larious.* The new joke, though, is auditory. It goes like this:
"Phhbbt!" [Iain makes Bronx cheer noise]
"Hey! Hear that? What's that noise?!"
"Dude: it was you, dude."
Hardy har har. Indeed.
But mostly, it's fits. Fits and fits. Throw the sippy cup, scream for it to be recovered. Scream in protest at bath time, then scream when bath time is over because you want to stay in the bath. Resist diaper removal, then demand a "NEW DIAPER!" and freak out if it can't be strapped on within 10 seconds while you writhe like a maddened serpent.

Who wants to babysit?!?!?

*"I got idea!" "Oh, yeah? What's your idea?" "IDEA!" Hardy har har.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mommy Has a New Toy

And it makes videos. Whee!

The book he is reading is Bobo and the New Neighbor.

This video brought to you by a totally unexpected gift from The Dad. Thanks, The Dad.

Dior at the Rodin

Ok, I think we can all agree that John Galliano is...unusual. But these dresses...OMG. XOMG.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

No, You're a Vuvuzela!

We're sad to see Uruguay go, since we have a personal connection to that country. Sorry, Benjamin!

But Iain would like you to know that he is now totally convinced that while he is definitely not a vuvuzela, you probably are. No, you! YOU ARE!! You!!

Also, check out his hat. It's Charles'. But it fits Iain. On the subject of the size of his head, I rest my case.


So I go to the SL Arts festival down at Library Square. There are hot, candied nuts. That's all I'm going to say about aroma.

Anyway, we're walking along and I'm counting the beats between episodes of "OMG!!! KP!!! Wherehaveyoubeen?ImissyoucollegeiswhateverOMGOMG!!" Be sure you imagine squealing when you read that dialogue.

We get to the steps of the City and County Building, and suddenly KP's all, "Oh, right. Did I mention there's going to be a flashmob? And I'm in it?"

Uh, no. No, I don't believe that was mentioned.

But hey. That's what my cell phone has a camera for, right? Check it out. About 100 kids, assorted parents, teachers and friends, all dancing for the crowd. It was fun, especially when the table broke.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Did I Mention the TV?

When we left Lexington, we left behind our TVs. They were old. Really, really old.

And because they were old, they were huge. Think flat screen. Now cast your mind back to before flat screens, when a large TV occupied about as much space as a medium-sized refrigerator. Yeah.

They worked just fine, so we never replaced them. But it seemed silly to haul them across the country when we wanted new ones anyway. So we gave them away. And when we got here, we bought the first of two new TVs:

The plan, though, was to have 2 sets. One upstairs, where we could watch movies in bed (useful when sick and cuddly in the winter), and one downstairs in the den.

But with all the money we were spending (on the furnace, on camp, on next year's daycare, at IKEA...) it seemed profligate to buy the second screen right away. So we waited.

And two weeks ago, Charles said, "I ordered the other TV." Oh, ok. I assumed it would be just like the one we already had.

Then, out for a walk, he happened to mention the price. Nearly double the first one. Huh. That's funny. Well, I thought, maybe it's nicer. Or maybe we got a deal on the first but not on the second.


It's twice as big.

Furniture for Small Spaces

The company website is here:

No prices posted, but these designs are awesome.

Fireworks in Sugarhouse Park

Saturday night (yes, Saturday, July 3), we went over to Sugarhouse Park to watch the fireworks. I should tell you that this was only a small slice of the park, and this was before it got really crowded. The Salt Lake Tribune estimates the crowd at 30,000.

Our little group (J and R, KP and Charles and Iain and yours truly) walked over with two quilts and a basket full of berries (with sour cream brown sugar dipping sauce. YUM!), some water and the BOB. All went well until the fireworks actually began. Mr. Moose did not enjoy them.

In fact, he considered it bizarre that we were not alarmed by what amounts to artillery going off over our heads. After a few minutes, Charles had to bundle him home. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

[Meanwhile, I've made roasted banana ice cream, lemon ice cream, banana-blueberry sorbet, lemon-buttermilk sherbet, and cherry sorbet. Next stop: chocolate ice cream for Iain.)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Where the Magic Will Happen

Above and below, my classroom. The hardwood floors are original (The building was once a middle school and I think it was built at the end of the 19th century or early in the 20th.), the huge windows, which face west, new. The ceilings are about 14 feet high.

Keep in mind that I only have to house 14 students at a time in here. We could play Marco Polo and never find one another. Also, in case you're wondering, yes that is a sink. I will be using my coffee maker.

Our spokesmodel today is KP, my future colleague and a woman responsible for, as Charles put it, "Getting Fiona to read fiction!" [insert disbelieving look]

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Pool Party! (Bring Your Hat)

Overheard, this morning during the Spain/Paraguay game:

C: You're a vuvuzela
I: No, I Iain!
C: No, you're a vuvuzela
I: No! I Iain!

Yesterday, we picked up Iain from camp (camp ends at 2:15 on Fridays) and whisked him downstairs to the big pool. This was our, and his, first visit. We really didn't know what to expect, because the last time we tried to expose him to aquaculture (last summer in Virginia), he freaked out.

But no. This time he practically flung himself into the water, despite shivering in the breeze. [take a moment to consider this: it was 95F yesterday, but with a dry breeze you felt truly COLD anytime you poked a body part out of the water. These are the oddities of life in this climate.]

He bobbed, he floated with Daddy's help, he wore his hat (!!) and a funny little swim diaper they require. He ate a snack (his lunch leftovers - jam sandwich, nutri-grain bar and cheese). He ogled the girl babies and the older boys behaving like maniacs. In short: he had a great time.

And then there was an "incident." No, we did not cause it. Someone did something bad in the pool. I think it was a throw-up incident, but the life guards were very cagey. In any case, the pool closed, we left, and Iain went home. Yay!

No one got a sunburn. The end.

Friday, July 02, 2010


We've been seeing this lovely, gnarled, creepy tree all over the neighborhood without ever knowing what it was. We want one. It would be very nice in our not-yet-begun Japanese backyard.

I spent about half an hour the other night Googling all kinds of terms. Blue pine, Japanese pine, twisted pine, salt lake city twisted pine landscape, etc. Nothing got me what I wanted.

Finally, tonight, we encountered someone in the yard of a house with such a tree, asked him, and learned that it's a weeping blue atlas cedar. Whee! The one above is huge, but we just want a little one. See a photo here.


Your sabbatical is ovah. Come back ASAP from Munich or the shorts get it.

The Moose Likes Trucks

Brekkie! And please note how I like to eat my cereal.

First, I drink the milk. Then I begin moving the cinnamon oatmeal squares (thanks for turning me on to that, Callie, you're the best) onto and off of my flatbed truck/train. Then I carefully select one oatmeal square at a time and eat it.

That last bit is important, because it helps me drive my parents crazy. See, I take about 4 hours with my Cereal Process. They keep coming in, saying, "Are you all done?" That's the moment! Eat one square and say, "No!NO!NO!!!"

Do not eat another square until they come back and ask again. If they start checking the clock and talking about being late, you're doing it right.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

We use at least 3 grocery stores. It started a long time ago and somehow we've just kept it up.

So it's:
  • Harmon's for produce and deli stuff, plus Dannon yogurt (they have part-fat vanilla, which apparently no one else in the world carries anymore)
  • Smith's for applesauce (Mott's!) and Breyer's Ice Cream
  • Whole Foods for chicken and organic dairy (not just milk, because organic milk is everywhere, but other organic dairy products, too).
I'm not complaining. (ha!) I'm explaining the reason why I so appreciate David Lebovitz's recipe for roasted banana ice cream. When I said to Iain, "Whew! It's hot. Maybe Mommy should break out the ice cream maker." and he said, "ICE CREAM!!!" I was feeling ambitious. I hadn't done my homework, and we had some - but not all - of the necessary ingredients.

I got out Lebovitz's excellent book, The Perfect Scoop, to see what to make, and there was roasted banana ice cream. Of all the recipes that appealed, it was the one for which I had all the ingredients.

Sorbet? Need vodka or kirsch. Vietnamese coffee ice cream? Need sweetened condensed milk. Lemon buttermilk ice cream? Need buttermilk and about 4 more lemons. But this one? Bingo.


  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Slice the bananas into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Toss with the brown sugar and butter pieces and put it into a baking dish. I used my 9x7 Pyrex brownie pan. Bake for 40 minutes or so, stirring once. Despite the fantastic aroma, do not try to rub this all over yourself. It's hot, and will burn you.
  • Scrape all the yummy bits into your blender (or, if you must, food processor). All of it. Do not try to lick that bowl - it's hot. Add the milk, blend (carefully!). Add everything else, blend.
  • Chill in the fridge until it's good and cold, then freeze in your ice cream maker. Then transfer to the freezer to harden.
Note that this is a Philadelphia-style ice cream: no eggs!! That's how we roll over here. Tomorrow, after I acquire some likkers from the state store, I'll be making cherry and blueberry sorbet. because, you know - Independence Day is coming and a girl needs red, white and blue dessert.

Bip Bipadotta Rocks

Love this bit. Check out the conformists trying to shut down our man Bip Bipadotta. He just keeps on popping up with his crazy hair and his snazzy attitude.

Why am I on this Bun-Seed Street kick? Oh, no reason. (stay tuned for photos)