Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snip, snip

It was finally time. I have been wanting to get the girl's hair cut for a few months now. It's gorgeous hair, really, honey colored and thick with curls. But it is not always the easiest to brush through, and from her wails and whimpers you would think we were beating her, not braiding her.

So, off to Pigtails and Crewcuts we went. (Hi, Kendra!) Just me and my girl. Her dad was down with the haircut, but at the last minute got a little nostalgic and requested repeatedly that we not cut too much.


Finally seated in the black & white

Do I really have to wear that drape? I'm driving, here, lady!

Okay, so it's not so bad

Definitely time for a cut, right?

And then the fun really began. That girl sat there with her finger in her nose...

in both nostrils, in turn, for QUITE sometime. She thought it was hilarious. (Probably a good thing dad was not along for the ride.)

Cut is done, time for the do.

Ah, the trimmed-up basket weave. Lovely.

And this is all the was left behind. (= happy dad)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Big Day

Mistah's currently reading a book called Kingbird Highway* about a birder and his Big Year.

*you've got to admit, that's a great title.

Kenn Kaufman, in the 1970s, is trying to break the record for a Big Year in the United States, which means he has to spot (or, apparently, only hear) more than 600 birds. And there's another guy out there trying to break the same record at the same time, which must drive ol' Kenn crazy. It sure would me.

Birders, apparently, in order to have a Big Year, must have Big Days, when they log hundreds of birds in one day, to break that elusive record.

Obviously, all those hundred of birds in One Big Day aren't all newly-logged birds, but one has got to get out there and walk the entire coast of Texas every once in a while. Because the longer you've been doing it, the harder it is to log a new bird.

Mistah gave us this background at a party last week. He said that earlier that day he had wanted to get some exercise, so in the spirit of the Kingbird Highway and its Big Year and Big Day, he decided to take a Big Walk.

He logged seven birds.

Okay, okay, maybe it wasn't the Biggest Day in the history of the Universe, but if you know Mistah, you know that although it was a Big Walk, it probably wasn't a long walk . . .

And what a great concept -- you go out into the world for a walk, you get a little exercise, you get a little sun, your body makes a little Vitamin D, and you get to see some birdies.

I was in.

Mistah and I took a walk at Ocean Beach on Sunday. A Big Day? Oh it was Big.

Canada Geese*

*That's what they're called, you know. Mistah once wrote that in a newspaper story, and his editor changed it to Canadian Geese, which is vastly incorrect. So now we call them Canadian Goosies.

Regal birdies, those Canadian Geesies.

They were everywhere that day, flying about . . .

. . . if our goal was to have a Big Day of Canadian Goosie-Birds, well, Kenn Kaufman would have nothing on us.

I call this one, Up, Down, Out.

And this is my favorite.

Ocean Beach was, as usual, espectacular.

Our northern Goosie-Pals were not our only Feathered Friends on Sunday. Oh, no, this was our Big Day! We also saw duckies:

Can't you just hear them waddle?

. . . and this guy. Out in the water. The well-known Water Bird.

Ah, OB.

Well, that's not so bad. That's kind of a Big Day. Duckies and Goosies and Water Birdies. Plus Swannies and Sea Gulls. And the juvenile hawk we saw on our way to the beach. Oh, a Big, Big Day.

And then we went home . . .

. . . and in the very tippity-tops of our gigantic fir trees, saw House Finches.

Well, maybe House Finches. Maybe not. But there they were, back from their winter travels, sitting right in our trees.

Well, hellooooooo! Are you looking for your bride?

There she is!

Big Day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stop and relax

I sat down at my desk this morning, as per usual, and was about to go see what MY&E had in store for me today....another epic photo of Ellie? More of Uncle Merv's musings?

Then it dawned on me. I am responsible for the entertainment today.

Whoa is me, well, you. For I do NOT have three things. I have nothing. The downsizing of this office has been a bear. I have been hoisting boxes, coordinating contractors and furniture pickups, wheeling the  damn dolly around full of all manner of crap. I am tired. Weary.

I am truly exhausted when I get home.

Yes, it may look like all flowers and puppies, but I am gripping that beer with two hands, in bed, at 5 pm.
So when this popped up inbox today:

“The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.” ― Sydney J. Harris

I decided I'm going to take Mr. Harris' advice. I'm not going to attempt to come up with something witty and fun. I am going to relax. Well, at least as much as I can while moving myriad boxes from one side of the office to the other.

(Oh, and the title? That is what my toddler says to me a few times a day (although it sounds more like STOPandrelaz). Apparently her teachers say this to the kids at her school when they start to spin out. But, hey, it works for all of us, right?)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wait! I Have Three Things!

I did not go to Mexico on a spa day, unlike some people I know, so despite my non-winter-doldrums, I really have nothing to report.

No, wait! I have three things!

1. Dinner At Mumsie's. Prepared by Kelly.

I like to surround myself with Old Bags (sorry, Mumsie) in cardigans.

Well, helloooooo.

Thanks for the lasagna, Kel. In a word? Yum.

2. The Ledgie Loo.

This is foreshadowing. This loo is soon someday going to be rife with new Ledgie art. Just you wait.

And finally . . .

3. The Hygienic Art Show, Redux.

Dorothy asked us to pick up her art for her, since she couldn't get down to New London on the specific day . . .

"You want us to pick up your art piece, Dorothy? . . . 

. . . Why, yes, we'd be delighted."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

veggie porn

Picking up where your Uncle Merv left off in our story about the lovely day that Beth and I enjoyed at Rancho la Puerta, we find ourselves back at La Cocina Que Canta (the kitchen that sings), having just met the jubilant  Executive Chef  Denise Roa. She was warm and welcoming and proud. She spoke with reverence about the ranch, the kitchen, her sous chef, intern and assistant, and especially the garden. 

We began our visit with a short talk in the kitchen, where we learned about the history and set up of the cooking school while surreptitiously eying the various stations that were prepped for our eventual hands-on learning. 

Then Chef Roa moved to the rear of the butcher block to demonstrate a few techniques and knife skills that would be helpful for us later, and we could see her hands and board through the handy dandy mirrors that hung beneath the light fixture.

Cool, right?

Then we stepped outside to check out the garden. We started with a quick detour to visit the chickens who produce the eggies for beautiful brekkies and all manner of culinary delights. I took some photos of the chickens, but I don't know why. Chickens are really ugly.

The garden was not ugly.

Doesn't it make you want to break out into a patriotic ballad?
I could sing a song about this lettuce, too.

Some of the tender greens had little blankies to keep them warm on cold nights

We tasted lots of stuff and saw strange and unusual variations of familiar herbs and greens. Not to mention a funny cat named Lizard who appears to have sprouted a quite erect tail on Beth's leg.

I loved that garden. It was visually stunning and so obviously well tended.

I kept being struck by the urge to fill my frame with all the variations of green, but then I'd look up

And looking up offered an entirely differently study in space and perspective, it was glorious to be there with the food and the earth and the sky and the mountains and MYYYY COUNTRY TIIIIIIIS OF THEEEEEEE .... oh wait, this was not technically my country. 

Inch by inch, row by roooooow, gonna make my garden grooooow...
It was a pretty nice garden.

Eventually, we headed back inside to get our hands on the fruits (as it were) of that glorious land. We had been given personalized aprons, so we were obviously well qualified to operate this range.

It's the Vulcan's great gramma.

Beth and I made a righteous rajas con queso taco filling with mushrooms, roasted corn, roasted poblanos, onions, garlic, and probably some other stuff. we got to do every step of the work, removing corn from the cob and charring the peppers over an open flame.

Here's what it looked like before we added the queso fresco...and incidentally what it still looked like when we all sat down to eat and remembered that there was another step to our abandoned assignment.

It's not that we forgot, per se. It's just that there were so many other fun things to do

Like making tortillas! And making tamales!

And look at the reluctant chef giving a lesson on skewering marinated shrimp onto rosemary stalks

It was really fun and festive and cool, and yeah maybe they gave us wine right around the time we forgot about our rajas.

We watched the sous chef prepare her family recipe for frijoles while every inch of food, every utensil, every pan and bowl and surface was whisked away into oblivion and the surfaces were wiped clean and shiny and we were called to the table for our meal.

cue angel choir, accompanied by a mariachi band
We had all just met that day, but we had plenty of shared experiences to chat about.  I suggested that we go around the table and tell about what each of us made. Because I am, you know, me.

I know what you're thinking. You don't like flan. No one likes flan. It's  jiggly and confusing. This flan, however? I wanted to marry it and make a million flan babies. I  don't remember the flavor or technique or any of that nonsense, it's not like I'm going to make flan. But I do know that it was floating in a happy river of agave syrup.  And til death do us part.
I was sad when our lovely day came to an end.

Love my girl Beth, and all those other strangers.

Our ride back to the US was easy breezy, we were full and happy and a little buzzed and someone else was driving. And it's not like our helpful guide asked if Beth and I were on a mother-daughter outing or anything. Or that he thought I was the mother.

Adios, with besos from your Uncle Merv