Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meanwhile in France

ROYAL DE LUXE / EL XOLO from FKY on Vimeo.

Potty (Knock on Wood)

Iain has been using the potty - exclusively - for more than 2 weeks. He's been in underwear for a week, even at night. Today he announced, "I HAVE TO GO POTTY RIGHT NOW!" and tore off for the bathroom.

I might just expire from delirious joy.

Also, doesn't that gorilla statue look kinda...shifty?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Past, Meet Present

Beautiful and historic, if you're looking for it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

On the Menu Tonight...

Grilled flank steak with (homemade) chimichurri sauce, roasted asparagus, tomato and avocado salad, French bread. Freshly made lemon/limeade, New York cheesecake with home grown raspberries on the side.

So far: cleaned bathroom, cleaned kitchen, cleaned living room, tidied bedrooms.

Still to do: floors. God, I hate cleaning floors. Hate, hate, hate. Can't I go pick more raspberries? That was way more fun.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Zoo Pics and a Definition

Last year, we joined the zoo. As in: bought a family membership for a surprisingly reasonable annual fee. The membership included a discount on train tickets. Train? Train, you say? I bought tickets right away.

So, naturally, the train wasn't running that day. It wasn't running the next time we visited, either. The time after that, it was raining. So no train. Because of the rain. Or something.

In fact, every single time I visited last year, the train failed to function. Too hot. Too cold. Too sunny. Too cloudy. Whatever!

But last week, finally, at last, Iain and I rode the train.

Of course, for Iain this was not new. He rode the zoo train in Colorado. He rode this very zoo train with Daddy a couple of times last year. Only I missed out on the Huck Finn Village (shacks and mannequins standing around being Old Frontier-y) and the buffalo (we have buffalo!) (who knew?) (apparently, everyone who got to ride the train) (that is, NOT ME).

It's a pretty great train. For two dollars per person, you ride for five minutes or so, past the pond, around through the mountain goat enclosure, past the birds and the wild boar, near the bison (scraggly but kind of majestic), through a tunnel, across a bridge, past the faux mining camp (what's that got to do with Huck Finn??), and back to the station.

In other news, Iain has been channeling Funk and Wagnalls. This morning he demanded toast "with strawberry jam!" We told him there were two choices in jam: plum/raspberry or Four Berry. This exchange followed:
  • Iain: "I hate Four Berry!"
  • Me: "Iain, what does 'hate' mean?"
  • Iain, aka "Webster": "It means 'hate'"
  • Me: "Does 'hate' mean 'I want to eat it every single day?'"
  • Iain: "Yes."
So there you go.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Don't hold back, just push things forward from Ithaca Audio on Vimeo.

Wait for the "Apache" bridge. That one's for you, Professor Bowes.


I sent off my revised manuscript today. People keep asking me whether I feel excited or relieved. Neither. I feel anxious! Luckily, I have Iain to hold my hand.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Beautiful Day of Big Trucks (and Tigers)

On Saturday we visited the zoo. It was beautiful - sunny and about 85 degrees. We saw elephants, chickens, a gorilla, and a lot of giraffes.

But whatever for the animals. The zoo's not about animals, right? Right?

It's about construction. They're building a new enclosure for polar bears. And when I say "enclosure," think: small city. It will hold the bears, with multiple habitats (as in: a forested area with ponds, a rocky area with pools, and an underwater swim palace), otters, and sea lions. I assume the penguins may also move in, but that wasn't on the poster.

Naturally, such a big project requires a lot of heavy moving equipment. As a result, it was much, much more important to Iain than, say, the camels. He watched a forklift line up, skewer, and lift about twenty guard rails (or something). Riveting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Update: Raspberries

Our neighbor, Linda, is a master gardener. She also inherited an amazing property from her parents. She's lived in her house all her life, and thus has enjoyed things like her 40-foot apricot tree for...a lot of years.

When we moved in last year, she and I chatted about the raspberries growing on the line between our properties. "Should I cut them back?" she asked.'re kidding, right?

No. Do not cut them back. In fact, if you have any especially powerful fertilizers, pour them on. I have no objection to Unobtainium, Kryptonite, or any other magical stuff, either.

Last year we got a few handfuls of berries. I thought that was pretty great.

This year, having watched the canes hungrily for months, we're harvesting bowls of raspberries every few days. It's fantastic. I've planted new raspberry and blackberry plants along the border of my vegetable garden and I will probably put in more next spring. Because you simply cannot have too many berries.

But even now: wow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Timpanogos Cave

Yesterday, I joined Joel/Myrna and two of Myrna's daughters for a wee hike. And when I say wee, I mean 1.5 miles with 1096 feet of elevation gain. It was up, up, up to the mouth of the Timpanogos caves, along a switch-backy trail (paved) lined with falling rock and crying babies.

I hate to walk uphill. Love the views, love (spacious) caves, but hatehatehate to walk uphill. So that part, while beautiful, caused a lot of grump-bling (that'd be grumbling grumpily).

You have to have a reservation for the cave tour. They only take 20 people at a time through the caves, partly because the rooms aren't very big. So we made a reservation for 1pm, which meant we could start hiking at 11:30. It was 10:45. Lunch?

There are picnic benches across the road, and we unpacked what turned out to be the lunch of champions. Myrna brought: turkey sandwiches and black cherries. I (who didn't know she was bringing lunch) packed a turkey sandwich and black cherries. Great minds, right? Of course, she had one sandwich left over because I packed my own.

At 11:30 the ranger checked our ticket and warned us that wherever there's a red line on the pavement we must KEEP WALKING because of falling rock. She did not say, "The first quarter of a mile straight uphill is lined in red!!" Grr.

But hey! We saw a mountain goat! And I mean, we saw that thing. First he was way up on a rocky point. Then, as we rounded a switchback curve, he was forty feet away on another rock. he stared at Myrna. Stared. Then ambled closer. We walked on, only to look down and see him again. At this point, of course, his intentions became obvious. Myrna had a turkey sandwich in her backpack, and Mr. Goat wanted it. Also, some cherries would be nice.

We reached the top at 12:30. That's just enough time to sit down and cool off before entering the cave. Of course, the cave is about 50 degrees. So you cool off (we were sweat-e), then chill all that sweat in a clammy, cold, stone box. Good thing everyone had a jacket.

The cave tour takes an hour - and boasts amazing formations - then you're carefully picking your way back down that crazy hill. Maybe it makes me a bad person, but there's something deliciously smug about walking downhill while everyone else struggles past on the way up.

*All photos by Joel.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Llama Fest 2011

Note the blue mouth on Iain. Mmm....sno-cone...

Llama Fest. With Llamas. Yesterday.

Only 95 degrees!

(Photos by Joel and Myrna.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Snakes (and Chimichurri)

Item of the first: Today was reptile day at camp. Iain saw and possibly touched two snakes, a lizard and a turtle. In the car on the way home he informed me that snakes squirt milk out of their mouths, but it's not yummy because it's poise. As in "poisonous." Apparently, poise is yucky.

Item of the second: Tonight we celebrated the engagement of two friends. Their party called for a South American-themed dish. What to do? What to do? I consulted Foodgawker, typing in "Brazil," "Chile," "Uruguay," and of course "Argentina."

The last one worked. "Argentina" brought up chimichurri, and I recognized one photo. Use Real Butter.


We're done.

Gotta love a blog where things work. So I boiled a bag of little red potatoes (if we're being strictly honest I overcooked them slightly), blanched some skinny asparagus, and tossed the lot with home-made chimichurri. And when I say homemade, let me clarify that I grew the parsley and oregano myself. The chili flakes came from my parents. They got them from their former neighbor, who grew the chilis in his backyard.

Easy peasy. And after a taste I realized I could make a little menu card, too, so everyone knew what they were eating: Vegan. Spicy!

Tomorrow: chocolate pudding. Neither vegan nor spicy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not Exactly

This week Iain wants to know whether we have a "Bar-B-Cube." If so, what's it for? He says he'd like to try steak. I'll believe that when I see it.

In other news, he's obsessed with poop. This is good in the sense that he is now successfully using the potty. Most of the time. On the other hand, when I asked him whether he enjoyed his lunch and he replied, "No, it was full of poop!" followed by a toddler disquisition on the merits of poop for lunch...yick. Thanks anyway, little man.

So I guess things are normal. Learning and growing, y'all. Learning and growing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Watermelon Lemonade

Last week we purchased our first watermelon of the summer. Lest you mock, consider that summer really only began about 2 weeks ago.

Anyway, how are we going to dispose of ten pounds of watermelon? Uh...

  • Watermelon sorbet (thank you, David Lebovitz)
  • Watermelon popsicles (basically DL's recipe minus the cherry brandy*)
  • Watermelon cocktails (leftover popsicle goop plus cherry brandy!)
  • Watermelon lemonade
That last item originated in my daily browsing of Foodgawker. I've been marking drinks all year, waiting for the right season to experiment with yummy, cold treats. Since we lack air conditioning, and since it's now The Hot Season (when you think, "Oh, only 90! How nice."), it seemed like the right moment.

I altered the recipe to make a regular-sized pitcher (half a gallon? 1.5 Liters? Who knows.):

1 cup of freshly-squeezed lemon and lime juice (about 6 limes plus a lemon)
2 cups of watermelon puree, strained
1 cup of simple syrup
2 cups of water
Sparkling water to fill your pitcher

*Lebovitz calls for vodka in the sorbet, because alcohol helps sorbet stay scoopable. I don't keep vodka in the house, but I bought some kirsch a while ago. Clear, high-octane likker? Good enough!

NB: After I made all this stuff...I broke the blender jar. Oops. Amazon to the rescue, though, as usual. For a mere $35, another is on its way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bike Fun

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Things Iain Played with Today

Today Iain attended a birthday party for a friend. She's two. Her grandparents' backyard cannot be described. Truly. Kiddie pool? Check! Trampoline? Check! Playground area built like a pirate ship????? CHECK.

Also, ride-on toys to make a little boy cry. Observe:

Not quite the fire truck Iain rode, but close. You can buy one here (photo from there, too).

Similar to the one Iain rode. This one lacks the lights on top (Boo!), and it's black rather than blue. Still. Get it here (photo from there, too).

And all this in addition to the party. Ice cream, cake, a parade, singing, funny hats, easter eggs full of little prizes (maracas! Tiny dinosaurs! Fruit snacks!), and a goat. Yes, a goat. Pettable, of course.

In case you're keeping track, that makes two completely unforgettable toddler birthday parties this summer (so far). Next April we might have to do more than give Iain ice cream. Seems like we're letting down our side.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Thank you!

What a good week. Lots to be grateful for.

  • Iain's Nana and Grandad came to visit
  • Iain pooped in the potty twice!
  • Iain enjoyed the fireworks Monday instead of totally freaking out
  • Iain allowed the dental technician to clean his teeth. Granted, she had to bribe him with a yo-yo, a toothbrush, floss, a sticker, a donut-shaped chapstick holder, a sand timer, some toothpaste, floss sticks, a "No Cavities Club" bracelet, and a movie. Still.
  • The AP scores are in! They were pretty good, so I am feeling confident about the year.
  • It was 95 degrees for a week, but it's been in the mid-80s since Tuesday and set to stay thereabouts until next week.
  • The pear tree has not yet died. Nor the bamboo. They look sad, but are clinging to life.
  • I got two emails from old friends I love to hear from.
All in all...I'll take it!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Start 'Em Early

Bedtime last night. Iain demands a book. I say,

"How about I read to you from my David Halberstam book? We could read about McCarthy, or about the Beats, or about the Korean War!"


Iain: "How about Goodnight Moon?"


Monday, July 04, 2011

Patriotism Update: Pyrotechnics Edition

In case you wondered, 3.25 is the magical age for fireworks.

Last year: screaming. Charles had to walk home (3 blocks) with Iain because the terror, man. The Terror.

This year? Delight. He clapped, he exclaimed, he grinned and giggled. "They're coming right at us!" he said, and "Ooo! A big one!"

Of course, now that we're home (at 10:45pm) he denies the reality of bedtime. No bedtime! No! NO! NOOO!!!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sometimes You Gotta Chill

Thank you, REI. One child-sized foldable chair - $17! One bored toddler, seated and enjoying some "videeeeeeeoooooos!" while we pant in the heat.

Two amazed parents: is this our baby? Can't be!

Friday, July 01, 2011

How Time Do Fly

Remember this guy? Playing in the corn pit at Evans' Orchard outside of Lexington, enjoying a delicious apple fritter, sliding down a huge haystack with Nana...

And wearing his Chelsea soccer shirt. See that shirt? The photos are from early September, 2009. Yes, 2009.

Here's tonight:
Familiar outfit, no? I'm glad it lasted so long, since it cost nearly $100. Yes. Perhaps you recall that in the summer of 2009 we traveled to England for two weddings.

On the trip back, Iain decided that I'd enjoy my flight more with a nice helping of vomit on my shoulder. My clothing survived. His needed changing. Been to Heathrow? It's a big, crazy place. But somehow Charles located a sports shop and there found this outfit plus a couple of T-shirts for the bargain-basement, gotta-love-that-exchange-rate price of $100. What choice did we have?

But here we are, nearly 2 years later, and Iain still wears it. In fact, he even knows what it is. Tonight he told me that he is going to be a soccer player. And he's going to use a buzz-saw to "win the game!" Uh...not sure that's regulation play.