Thursday, January 29, 2009
Spoiler: My dad took a huge cartoon-like (but not funny) biff and broke his leg (really badly) on the third day (thank goodness not the first). He'll have surgery to get things pinned back together and plates added in about a week after the swelling goes down, and we expect to see him back on the slopes (I recommend at a slower speed, but he never listens to me about this) next year.
The silver lining? (I'm always looking for it.) I had anticipated this being a stressful and complicated day, but it pales in comparison to the complications of the past day and a half where I had to coordinate people and luggage—some on the mountain, some down at the hospital—to get the right people and their luggage going to the right place once we decided where that was. Many thanks to a great group of friends who were there to help at every turn, a fleet of radios that kept us all in contact throughout it all, wonderful ski patrol and mountain clinic staff, a rockin hospital, Southwest Airlines for flexibility, my sister for receiving my parents on the other end, and my brother-in-law for replacing my parents' blown hot water heater by the time they got home. Teamwork, you know.
I'll be back in the mix on Monday. In the meantime, have a good weekend!
Friday, January 23, 2009
This is our first destination ski trip as a family. Amazing the amount of stuff needed (this isn't all of it).
We're a little concerned that we have too much stuff.
Could we save by shipping the kid and her skis? Blogger pal Katie offered to receive gear we might want to ship. Do you think she would mind this package?
We fly home Wednesday night, do a quick turnaround on Thursday (wash the ski clothes, pack more food) and drive up to Tahoe that evening so Sophie can be on the slopes first thing Friday morning for her NASTC Kids Ski Camp. Did I mention I have a moms' (no dudes or kids allowed) ski trip the next weekend? I know.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Seafood Stew in puff pastrySecond Course
Duckhorn Vineyards, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
A Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck), served with Sour Cherry Chutney Molasses Sweet PotatoesThird Course (some people call this Dessert)
Goldeneye, 2005 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake and Sweet Cream Glacé
Korbel Natural “Special Inaugural Cuvée,” California Champagne
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I am crazy about most things green, so you can imagine what I thought of Michelle Obama's green gloves. Which matched her green shoes. So happy about that.
While I didn't think Aretha Franklin sounded on the top of her game (I can imagine Jennifer Hudson having sung this better), there is absolutely no doubt that she was working that hat. To wear a hat like that rather than having the hat wear you is something only she could have pulled off. She looked fabulous.
Sasha and I agree—a job well done. I think he hit the right notes in a message of both hope and caution. To me, this seemed like an address that reached out to and celebrated all Americans. I wonder though how it played to conservatives. If we can resist from a slugfest, I'd love to hear what people outside my liberal bubble thought. Are you hopeful? Do you feel we stand together or still apart?
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.My question is which comes first: the unclenched fist or the hand? A diplomatic game of rock, scissor, paper. Are we big enough to reach out a hand to a fist? Today I feel hopeful that we might be.
Monday, January 19, 2009
But let's agree on one thing: Most of the time I am a pretty organized person. I think it's important that everything have a place where it at least should go. In theory, you know.
Remember the cocktail napkins?
And check out my our craft supplies:
But the wheels came off the cart this afternoon while I was putting away the Christmas decorations. (We like to enjoy them. A lot. Which usually takes us well through January. OK, the truth: As long as we're getting in some skiing, we don't give a rip what our house looks like.)
The problem is that these items escaped my net:
Sophie calls this her "Jesus set," a gift from my mom. (We're devoted atheists but are down with most of the teachings of Jesus and don't mind exposing Sophie to the Christmas story in the historical sense.)
And remember these little devils, which graced my Thanksgiving table?
After an entire day of house cleaning (thank you, Dr. King), lacked the energy to open one of the boxes I had strategically fit back into the closet. This is going to have to do until next year.
Do you think Jesus would mind? I mean, he was born in a stable with animals. Or so they say.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
In the meantime, more canning. Pears won't be around forever, you know.
This recipe is sort of like making thick applesauce with brown sugar. The nutmeg gives it a rich flavor and makes the house smell really nice.
Do you have one of these food mills? Very useful things, and they make the most perfect mashed potatoes ever.
We'll be spreading this on cinnamon toast and pumpkin bread. And I can't wait to try it as a filling for my round pancakes. Husband will probably just eat it over the sink with a spoon.
CARAMEL PEAR BUTTER
1/4 cup apple juice
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
7 pounds ripe pears
3 cups packed
golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Combine apple juice and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice in a heavy large deep pot. Peel, core, and dice pears, one at a time, and add to juice mixture. Toss gently as you go to coat the pear so it doesn't brown.
Cook over medium heat until pears release enough juice for mixture to boil, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until pears are very tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
Remove pears from heat and run mixture through a food mill into a large bowl. Return mixture to pot and add remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until mixture thickens and is reduced to about 8 cups. Stir frequently to avoid scorching, about 1 hour.
Ladle pear butter into hot clean jars (I pour boiling water over them in the sink), leaving about 1/4 inch space at the top of jars. Cover with hot lids and apply screw bands. Process jars in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool completely. Store in a dark place for up to 1 year. Or eat immediately.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Oh, well. It's always good to plan ahead. Here is what's on her list:
She got a few of these fairies from Santa Claus, and I gave her cousin the carousel. Sophie would like a few more fairies and the carousel to add to her fairy Ferris wheel to make a fairy amusement park. Good enough.
She would also like this "-ology" book. We have a few of these books, and they are really fun. Lots of pop-ups and little compartments where you can lose yourself for hours. We always like books.
But she also would like . . . to get her ears pierced. NO! I shriek without giving it any consideration at all. But I'm willing to consider it. She will be nine. I had thought ten. She has her arguments marshaled.
Serena has pierced ears! I am not impressed. You, I point out, are not Serena.
And yes, I have pierced ears as well. But I wear thong underwear, walk around the house while brushing my teeth, and use bad words (not often at the same time). I am a grown-up and get to do all sorts of things that kids do not.
But, really. Am I completely out of step here? When is an appropriate age? Anyone?
Thanks for your help.
I'm over there on the left in the light blue, and the blur of pink my Dad is trying to catch up with is Sophie. I gave up trying to keep up with the Pink Rocket (Pink for short) last year. Time for Dad to get a clue.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Oh, she is an intermediate skier! She has had lessons!!!!Really? Two? Three? Why then, when her father was parked in the lodge bar, did I have to carry her skis down the hill while she slid on her butt after half an hour of tears and frustration (on my part as well)? I love skiing with kids, but I have completely absolved myself of teaching kids how to ski or generally putting up with any kid who cannot handle themselves on the mountain or at least keep their shit together if things do not go well.
While the rest of our group had a fabulous weekend skiing two days at Squaw (even if the snow was decidedly less than fabulous), my poor friend Matt spent the first day with his daughter's friend. I'm not sure what exactly her mother told him when approached with the idea of her coming on our ski trip, but it should have been this:
Oh, no—she can't really ski at all!! I mean, she's ok on the bunny slopes. Well, kinda. But she likes to watch tv in the ski cabin!! And she likes the lodge!!! And don't worry if she cries on the slope!! That's just what she does! Lessons? Oh, no. She wouldn't like lessons! Especially if everyone else is out there skiing!! OK! Bye!!!And that probably would have encouraged the desired effect of having her daughter disinvited. If not, perhaps the mom could have added this:
Well, she doesn't have a lot of experience being away from home without us! But if she wakes up and starts crying at about three in the morning, just call us on the phone!! We won't mind at all!!!Matt was a saint, claiming that this was his "cross to bear" and insisting that we not hang around them on the slopes to "share in the misery." The kid? She claimed later to have had a great time. Like I said, you've got to admire their little spirits. Or faulty memories.
Friday, January 9, 2009
And besides, it wasn't my fault that Forelle pears were on sale at my produce market for 59 cents a pound.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Come along, and I'll take you on a little tour.
My visit began with an offer for (free!) valet parking. I declined because I am fussy about letting other people ride my motor scooter. I'd rather just park it on the street myself.
Patients enter down a hall and through this round room that has soft lighting piped in sounds of moving water and chirping birds. This is, I assume, the room where you collect your shit before continuing in to deal with your shit. I don't have too much any more, but I do remember walking into the place that preceded this one on legs that I couldn't feel and a head that was swimming with fear. I guess this room would have been nice.
Once through this entrance, you are greeted by a smiling person and seated in an enthusiastically decorated lobby. I don't know what's up with the hats (to cover bald heads??); I know what's up with the pink, and although I generally deplore the pink commercialization, I appreciate the sentiment most of the time.
There are even decorations on the ceiling—I guess so you have something to look at if you pass out and wake up on your back.
There's an attractive room if you need to deposit your child (thank goodness I never had to take her along on any of these visits).
And at the check-in desk, they have thoughtfully removed all previous surly staff who when I had trouble giving my correct phone number because I was so overwhelmed would sigh, gaze off over my head, and tap their two-inch fingernails on their keyboards. There were several like this, and I always seemed to end up at their desks. Assholes.
Art is absolutely everywhere, some of it sort of interesting,
some of it sort of silly.
Something for everyone, I suppose.
And they are ever so organized. At check-in I was given a card with a nice photographic bamboo design. Once I changed, I was directed to . . . the bamboo waiting room! And when I was done and was to wait for news that they had enough images, I went right back to the bamboo room. No chance of getting lost. Here is the tastefully decorated and very comfortable bamboo room.
The bamboo room also featured this flat screen tv monitor that rotated pictures of various flowers and played relaxing "nature sounds." Can you just feel then tension dissolving? That's the idea, I guess.
But the absolute best part? THE ROBES! Not paper or faded cloth that opens in the back but REAL COTTON ROBES. Like you would have at a spa.
In fact the whole thing looks more like a spa than a medical facility. I'm sure this really works for some people; for me it sort of misses the point. I'm as comfortable in the MRI facility I visit once a year with it's beige walls, cold linoleum, bad gowns, and no art. The people are just as warm, compassionate, and professional as they are at the breast spa, and that's what makes the difference for me. But I realize that I've been desensitized to medical surroundings and apparatus in a way that some people haven't (and hopefully won't ever need to be), so maybe all the trappings serve a purpose that truly helps some people. In the meantime, I'm very excited about the zoomy new digital mammogram screeners and other equipment that the $13 million spent on this facility bought.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Newport Beach, CA (my parents live here)
Homewood, CA (the ski cabin we rent so often it feels like home)
Berkeley Tuolemne Camp (near Yosemite; we weren't able to go for our summer trip but pitched in at the Memorial Day work weekend to help get camp ready to open)
Ten-Mile Hotspring (near Wells, NV)
Grand Tetons (Jenny Lake)
Yellowstone (Slough Creek)
Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch, (sort of) near McLeod, MT
Comptche, CA (our good friends have a weekend house here)