Tuesday, March 31, 2009


For the past several evenings I’ve snuggled myself beneath the covers in bed to read Under The Tuscan Sun, a wonderful and vibrant tale of a woman who buys a crumbling house in Italy and the daily life that develops in the midst of the dwelling’s rehab. I heard there was a movie of the same name starring Diane Lane but it doesn't seem to follow the book very well (no thank you, Hollywood). This is one of those well written tales that actually transports you to the countryside’s locale with its abundant fragrances, rivers of vino and mountains of local foods. These are my favorite sorts of books, ones where I can almost inhale the essences, hear the locals talking at a sidewalk cafĂ© and the descriptive mention of edibles actually makes my stomach growl in response. I have a tendency to carry with me the feeling of the story throughout the day and yearn for long, lazy lunches of seasonal dishes followed by a cozy siesta in a hammock, a bit of gardening and then dinner party preparations in anticipation a hungry crowd of friends. The Hubs and I had lunch at Enoteca today which was just about as close as I can get to Italy right now…and it was lovely. Some of my other foodie-oriented author favs include Peter Mayle, Julia Childs, Michael Ruhlman, Patricia Volk, Anthony Bourdain (of course), Amanda Hesser and Amy Sedaris (foodie?…not sure), to name a few. If you have recommendations of food memoirs, food travel and the like please let me know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Edible Garden

For the past five months or so I’ve been stalking my neighbor’s garden two doors down. Five months, you query? Yes, five months. This includes those winter months when, according to my yard, nothing grows. This seemingly lonely dude with a very frisky calico cat has one hell of a green thumb and I can see the digit from my kitchen window. I’m the neighbor standing on her tippy toes at the kitchen sink straining to see what he’s up to in that bountiful Eden of his while unknowingly scrubbing the color off the dinner plate in my soapy hands. A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by his stately fruits and veggies so I went to Home Depot and took great care in choosing my small collection of tomatoes, herbs and a Serrano pepper plant. I put them in massive pots on a ledge so the dog couldn’t annihilate them as soon I turned my back. I watered them and cheered for them and already things are looking pretty bad. Brown spots, yellow leaves and little growth plague my sprouts. The neighbor’s garden boxes, on the other hand, taunt me from afar with their deep green color and bushy appearance. Why does it have to be this way?

On a positive gardening note, the tot and I spent the morning at his school working on a gardening project. We built a compost area, a place for melons and a lovely little area for veggies to grow. 12 kiddos or so ran amok with plastic shovels, hoes and watering cans. Although at certain moments it was like herding cats, we got a lot accomplished and in a couple of months they will be eating goodies they have grown themselves. Alice Waters would be so proud. Yeay team!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Today I spent an hour working one of my all time favorite piano pieces from the movie Amelie. Let me pause here a moment to mention that I do not play the piano, cannot read music and cannot carry a tune but I am on a personal quest to learn this song even if it takes me the rest of my life. YouTube has a version that has been dumbed down enough for even the likes of me to follow. With the laptop perched on the piano and an earbud in my ear, I watched the solitary fingers of the phantom piano player over and over and over while listening to the notes and then I began play. While plunking along I can actually feel my brain sparking up in dark, quiet regions, probably the same regions built up like the Hulk in the brain of my musician husband. My fingers creep around on the keys like crabs on a hot, sandy beach. They are not nimble and elegant. They are clunky and awkward but the reward of actually playing a series of notes and creating this amazing melody on my own is such a thrill. I am, for now, hooked on this and will continue to torture those around me in my efforts to prevail.

I rearranged my son’s room while he was in school this afternoon. As a child I always loved coming home to a setting such as this when my mom, finally fed up to here and here and here with my clutter and chaos, took charge and somehow made me feel like we had actually moved to a completely different house. All of my toys would seem almost new again and, oooooh, look at my bed over therrrrreeeee! But W is kind of a control freak, like me. He likes his things just so. He warns us to not touch his monster trucks or disturb the circle of cars he has made the whole length of the couch. I tried to showcase his toys in a way he’d really appreciate the new arrangement (but for the love of jeebus why does just about every boy toy have to be 3” long?). I prayed that he wouldn’t totally spaz out and refuse to re-enter his domain. It was a possibility. It has happened before. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when he came into his room after school, gasped and said, “It’s great!” His lovely dimples were the ultimate proof.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Little White Lie

Okay, I admit it. The post before this one was a smoke screen, a weak attempt to convince myself that my relationship with Facebook was more akin to a giddy coffee date than a gluttonous multi-day orgy but orgy it was. I don’t actually linger there like a ne'er do well barfly but do check in possibly 20 times a day for a quick fix, a social bump, if you will. In my opinion, that’s over-commitment when there are other, more important activities to be done…like blogging (“Dear mom, I’m so sorry I made you look at that picture of those green cupcakes for so many days.”). So I’m solemnly swearing to fewer daily voyeuristic activities on Facebook and more engagement with the family, the pet, and the world around me in real time. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.

My SXSW exposure was minimal this year, a stark contrast to when I once worked for the man behind the giant curtain of the conference. I didn’t see or do much but it was really just enough. Tuesday night we embraced our friends from Spain as their energy and enthusiasm engulfed us at Vino Vino. We sang, danced and drank bubbly until after midnight. W thought it appropriate timing to come down with a cold/cough/allergy-type bug that kept us home the rest of the week so for once I got plenty of rest, was hangover free and the bank account remained intact. Plus the Hubs got mucho attention as he bounced from gig to gig to gig while working like a rock n roll hound dog. Laundry got done, meals were on the table and the coffee crutch was delivered bedside in the mornings. Saturday was a double dip as the band played two shows and the kiddo and I saddled up for a full day of rock n roll hoochie cooin’. It was great to be back in the fray. W is well versed in the art of backstage etiquette and took to it like a duckling to water. Here, now, is a photo essay of the day…

Doesn't get much cheesier than this...

On the hunt for the backstage catering like a baby shark...

"This is called a keg. You will appreciate this later in life."

Never too early to learn how to string a guitar.

W misses the entire first show. This was good for his attitude later tho'.

Backstage at the San Jose. Great evening!

"Hey, someone get that kid away from me. Scaaaaaaary."

* Dear Bloggerdotcom, why do you have to be such a turd site? I've been trying to upload pictures for like EVER and now you're not letting me upload any more at all. What gives? Do you need a lap dance? Yours, K