Friday, December 29, 2006

feeling poignant

sweetly and speechlessly.
to the tune of Brett Dennen's "Nothing Lasts Forever."

photo: lights and the reflection of lights

Sunday, December 17, 2006


(title sung in 60's back-up choir falcetto)

it's Christmastime here at "the" 510.
Mackindaddy hung lights on the front porch (photo to come), and last night the two of them, he and Gyrlene, arrived home with a tree. the center room is filled with boxes in different stages of wrapped-ness (Gyrlene has little nieces, so we even have toys!), and now this tree. i haven't lived in a house with a real christmas tree since.. high school, i think. and it makes me feel grown-up, somehow. that now it's Our job to seek out the tree.
as of yet, it has a single ornament (that's when we decided it was time to get a tree ~ Gyrlene got an ornament as a gift from a co-worker), and fills the house with the smell of Tree.
Gyrlene and i (as i previously posted) love to listen to christmas music. we blast it every evening as we prepare dinner. my most recent iTunes music purchase: Motown Christmas. my favorite song from that is The Temptations' version of Rudolph. it cracks me up.

photos: Mackindaddy brings home The Tree,
the boys (Sealion in his handsome work-clothes) fix The Tree,
everybody very excited about The Tree,
the Mack and Gyrl posing with the minimalistically-decorated Tree,
how Gyrlene really feels about The Tree ~ she was moving so much i had to use flash in all the photos.. (she's so cute..)

"hey, Rudolph!"

Winter Abundance

although i do have a blog solely devoted to food, i can't help but spread the love around.

we are members of a CSA ~ Community Supported Agriculture, which means that every week we get a box of fresh-from-the-field (or orchard, etc.) produce just for us. it's like opening a gift every week, to see what delicious pretty goodies are in that wax-covered produce box. the boxes are deposited at a drop-off location for a group of us; in our case, it's in back of someone's house on 49th Street (with a little hot-dog dog who is very proud of his guard dog abilities and his powerful vocal chords. ;). the farm we receive these blessings from is called Full Belly Farm, in agriculture-rich Capay Valley.

the produce brings sunshine and bright color to our Wintertime kitchen. it's a fun challenge to use what Nature gives us every week, as opposed to just choosing whatever we feel like from the grocery. it forces us to eat with the seasons, and to use veggies that we might not otherwise choose to eat (lots of times for weeks in a row.. ;)

i have been particularly taken this week with the luscious colors and variety that is Winter.

this week i made a broth predominantly from leeks that i then used as the base of the soup that i called Winter Bounty soup; it was, indeed, bountiful, using all fresh ingredients except the tomato paste (although we still have tomatoes in our backyard! amazing!) it had: onions and garlic (of course), broccoli, carrots, fennel, kale, plus the stock that included sweet pototo, leek, turnip, green garlic, and onions and garlic.
another night i prepared this rich-colored roasted roots (and squash). so pretty. the target-looking disc with the rings is a beet called chioggia. it is bright pink-red(beet colored) and white striped when raw.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

welcome, Henry!

our extended family has grown by one gorgeous happy baby boy!!
a coupla of my favorite people, Cara and Chris, have introduced Henry Matthew to the Earth this time around.
blessings blessings blessings and kisses and love.
so happy!

and a song dedicated to Henry: "Day by Day" by Brett Dennen. sweet for sweet. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

gratitude in Wintertime

throughout the day, the gray has rained, drizzled, poured and given way to still, puddling cold.
the kitties rush in through their kittie door, exhilarated. soaked with the thrill of weather!

Wintertime has arrived in Sacramento.

the other night, we walked up the steps to the house as blustery wind threatened to carry the umbrella away, with the first downpour since.. april.
mackindaddy said, "here's winter!" with a hint of sarcasm.
and i said, "no! this is just a rainy night!" and he said, "hate to break it to ya, but ~ it's winter."

as you might recall, i am endeavoring to make peace with Winter Gray, and cold, this season. and it has arrived.
so in the spirit of gratitude, today i write you:

Things I Love About Wintertime.
now ~ this IS Sacramento. i don't really speak from experience of "real cold", as those Chicagoans pride themselves in knowing (or Massachusettonians get snowed-in from), i'm just talking about the not-sunny, wet and space-heater variety.

~~ hot tea. i loooooove hot tea. lots of different kinds. i love to curl up with my big Alice in Wonderland Cup (which could be called a bowl with a handle) and let the fragrant steam warm my face. i like to wrap my hands around the mug. and i like to take my Nalgene jug filled with hot tea anywhere i go, so that i can have hot tea, but also so that i can have that warm jug close by. :) warmie.
~~ Christmas lights. back in the day, i was proud of my anti-consumerist, anti-materialist angst about Christmastime and the accompanying mad purchasing frenzy. but i have been removed from that part of our culture for long enough now, watch a t.v., and visit a mall so rarely that i have been able to revisit and appreciate the "simpler" joys of the season. at this gray time of year when there are not that many flowers to smile at, and it gets dark so early, Christmas lights make me happy.
~~ spices. spices warm you from the inside out.
~~hot spiced cider. is my new favorite treat. Gyrlene, my new favorite housemate, and i have been simmering apple cider with mulling spices on chilly afternoons. the other day i had to go for a long run in the cold drizzle (i didn't have to, but i chose to. ;) and pretty much all through that jog, i was thinking about sipping that hot spiced cider when i got back.
~~ cozy. yup. i love having even more of an excuse to snuggle!! this is the cheesiest of all (i can see a coupla you rolling your eyes at this one) but it's the truth! pile on the warm, snuggly bodies, the blankets, the purring fur-puddles!
~~ this goes along with cozy (just like cozy goes with hot tea ~ go figure. !), but ~ soft textured clothes ~ velvet, soft (not scratchy!) sweaters, scarves, and seeing just how many different brightly-colored luxurious textures i can layer on my body in one outfit! soft warm cushy socks! nothing beats summertime around-the-house-wear for efficiency: a bikini top and skirt is all i need. but i love all the textures that just feeel sooo gooood in winter.
~~ down. this deserves a squiggly line all its own. down coats, vests, sleepingbags and comforters rock. i love how fluffy they are. and you just know that as soon as you're inside, cold is immediately non-existent. my life-time wishlist includes a down comforter.
~~ Christmas carols. it's true. and what's even more delightful than being able to have a roadtrip sing-along with mr. Sealion to Bing Crosby and the Rat Pack (complete with creative new lyrics and harmonizing!), is hearing Gyrlene belt it out to Mariah Carey's christmas album. i sware. it would make you smile, too. she sings in the shower, too. and i can't help but stop whatever i'm doing (i am usually in the kitchen when i can hear her in her shower) and just listen b/c it is so obvious that she enjoys it so damn much. makes my heart well up just thinking about it. :)
~~ i guess it must mean that i'm getting older, b/c this season as the leaves began to change, and the weather began to cool, intermittent with my feelings of panic about the sunshine going away, i felt a hint of.. relief. i am realizing that, as is true with Nature (which we are, of course, a part of), Wintertime is really a time of rest. summer carries this anxious *drive* with its long hours, vivid colors and ripening heat: do do do!!! go go go!! the sun is still up! there is more that can be done with this day!! Wintertime is a chance to rebuild, nurture, heal and restore all that was exhausted and over-used in the heat of Summertime.
[i have heard a theory that, with artificial lighting, people don't get that natural impetus to sleep long nights in the winter. it's like our bodies are in a year-round summer that has us craving even more of those high-sugar foods we have an excess of these days (b/c naturally, high-sugar foods (fruits) mainly happen in the summer ~ when we're needing their energy to do more work with more daylight). with our internal clocks chronically messed up, and craving and eating more than we need, we are depressed and overweight. there are so many theories, but this one, on its surface, makes sense to me.. ]
~~ soup.
borcht. soothing squash puree. .. carrot. . . black bean. i love soup. (i even emailed Alfalfa restaurant to ask for their Gold Coast Stew recipe. . they sent it to me! :-D)
~~ i love to snuggle under the puffy, fluffy, piled-on covers with a touch of a chill in the bedroom air surrounding me. i call the kitties in, and sooner or later they're purring warmly (~ or not. . thanks to the late night magic that the kittie-door has presented. . Kitty's favorite spot lately is hogging the pillow, or right on my chest, and Rodolfo sometimes goes for behind the knees). i like to stick an arm out and feel ~ just for an instant ~ how cold i would be if it weren't for how warm and snuggly the covers are!!
~~ Christmas ales. seems like every brewery has their own version of an intensely-flavored, high-alcohol brew that comes up through the back of my eyes, gives a pink to my cheeks and a kick to my step. i haven't had one that didn't make me happy yet. ;) Anchor's is my favorite so far this season.
~~ bread and cheese!!! thinking i was benefitting my health and happiness, i denied myself of these staple deliciousnesses (beer, too ~ believe it or not.. ) for a year. and, as you might expect, once i returned, i am passionate. Summertime is all about salads and fresh, crisp produce as raw as you can get it, but, to me ~ Wintertime foods like to be warm and soothy, and also hearty, substantial, and filling.
my favorite place to be right now is in the Ferry Building market on San Francisco's Embarcadero, at Cowgirl Creamery ~ sampling cheeses to go with warm crusty brown bread (from Acme next door!).

wow! what a list! what yummy food and drink! what warm, soothy feelings!
i can always take back these words, but this season i am realizing that: as much as i love summer ~ its warmth and sunshine and color, aspects of Wintertime living are ones i care not to do without.


Rodolfo snuggles up to the warm keyboard..
Gyrlene prepares some warmy yumness involving roasted squash.
outside the Ferry Building this saturday: mr. Sealion (playing with fire) and i, warm and spicy from the inside-out, with the sparkley bridge in the background.
Chris cozies with the fire.
mi Mami and me at cookie-bake time!! (a storied Wintertime favorite. :)
a post-jog brew (Anchor).

when they sing Jingle Bells in the car in A Christmas Story. i love the mom. she cracks me up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


please visit my "other" blog, food-a-file, to see what's new in the kitchen.

photo: me at my mama's, with my pretty new apron she made and embroidered. :)


today i'd like to send a special shout-out across the world to that astounding outrageous incredible:

she and her hubby, Bryan, are in the army band, stationed in Iraq.
she sings in a rock-n-roll band for the troops, and rides around in helicopters, real humvees, and such.
she carries a gun and wears army fatigues and pees in a portapotty. everyday.
and the most amazing thing is that she sends frequent witty, interesting letters to friends and family which are filled with sunshine and gratitude.


i don't think she'd mind if i shared her photoblog address:
there you can see her totally rockin' out with the band.

Hannah by candlelight in our backyard.
Bryan and Hannah at Our Favorite Breakfast Place: The Fox and Goose
(taken in july when the visited, very soon to be deployed.)