Jul 31 2011

Phat Beets

We got some bad news recently—J&P Organics, the farmers we’ve been buying our CSA veggie box from, are pulling out of Oakland. I flailed around a little looking for other CSA choices, and settled on Phat Beets—mostly because J&P is one of the farmers they source produce from. I also liked what they say in their FAQ: “Phat Beets Produce and the Beet Box specifically support small minority farmers, and connect them to inner-city communities. This means that we seek to promote the work of farmers who have been historically marginalized, who haven’t used farm subsidy programs, or haven’t had access to local markets.”

We picked up our first “Beet Box” today—it had basil, red onions, sweet potatoes, radishes, kale, a big Purple Cherokee tomato, a watermelon, three green bell peppers, a big hunk of ginger, four peaches, two nectarines, and, yes, beets. It also had a little flyer identifying exactly which farms had contributed the various fruits and veggies: Firme Farms, Vang Family Farm, J&J Farms, and Morning Glory Organic. I was curious enough to look up the first farm, and found a nice little story about who they are. So, thumbs up to Phat Beets!

Tonight we’re eating black-eyed peas with bacon and beet greens, and a side of roasted and mashed sweet potatoes. Robin is dancing around saying “I love black-eyed peas!” It makes me super proud.

Jul 25 2011

Living Room Before-and-Afters

So, a year after moving in, we’ve finally got all the boxes unpacked, and my interior-decor vision is beginning to be realized. We got our wallpaper up in the front rooms, and I’m really really happy with the result. Here’s the “before” pic of the living room:

house 009

And here’s the after:

living room

Don’t worry, the shark does not bite. I still want to remove the fireplace screen and replace it with something more appropriate to the period of the house, but I’m basically just so happy to have that horrible plywood paneling gone. Here’s a close-up of the wallpaper—it’s a Morris print overlaid with metallic gold, from Bradbury & Bradbury. It looks great against the dark wood.

wallpaper close-up

We also have the tiny front room set up as a little reading nook:

reading room

This is a Voysey pattern wallpaper. I think it could be overwhelming in a larger room, but in a small space it’s lush and inviting. I want to put up a hanging plant over the big chair, to have something alive and natural playing off the print. I have been really happy to notice that the reading room is actually getting used a lot—Robin calls it his “thinking chair,” after Blue’s Clues, and Sam likes to sit there when he’s browsing the Internet on his Xoom. So that’s turned into a nice, usable little space.

Jul 18 2011


Sam and Robin and Pappy rode the Niles Canyon train yesterday, and Sam got a good photo:


We’ll be going back to Niles next month. We’re renting the caboose on the train for Robin’s birthday party—it’ll be the first of his birthdays that we’re really making a big deal about. He understands what a birthday is now and he’s keenly looking forward to his. I bought a bunch of cute train-themed invitations so I need to get those in the mail!

Jul 16 2011

Another Budding Prodigy

another budding prodigy

Jul 16 2011

Quick Snaps

Robin at the piano:


Davy with his blocks (a birthday gift from auntie Nina):


Jul 16 2011

Want a Piano?

It’s a nice Saturday morning here; we’ve got Pappy and Nonna visiting for the weekend, which the kids are thrilled about. They also brought us a piano! It’s been talked about for a while as “Sam’s piano,” as in, “So when are you guys going to take Sam’s piano?” So last night I asked him, hey, how did you get that piano, anyway? “Mom gave it to me,” he said.

“Well, where did she get it?”

“I dunno. She just asked me one day if I wanted a piano.”

Then we did an impromptu dramatic re-enactment of the scene. “Hey,” he said, “want a piano?”

“Yeah, sure,” I said.

“It’s yours.” So now it’s my piano; I guess that’s how it’s done. Anyway, I’m quite delighted to have a piano in the house, as I understand that if either of my children happen to be musical geniuses it will be important to start their lessons early. I am emphatically not a musical genius, so I’m going to look around for someone in the neighborhood who does piano lessons for kids. Also, after its journey across the Sierrras, we’ll need to get it tuned.

We’ve also been getting some projects done around the house. We have a fence for the backyard now, and completed a bunch of interior repairs that we weren’t able to get done when we first moved in; we repainted several rooms in the house, and the wallpaper hanger is coming by on Tuesday. I’ll put up some before-and-after pictures once the wallpaper is in place!

Also, I…have an agent? I guess? Andrew Zack of the Zack Company, the agent I’ve been communicating with, actually sent me a contract to sign. But at the same time I still need to revise the novel to his satisfaction before he’d be willing to shop it around to publishers. So it’s more like I provisionally have an agent, I think. I ought to be really excited but I can’t shake this bleak sense of doom about it—I think I’m just at the point where I’ve been working on this manuscript so long that I’ve come to loathe and despise it, and I’m now having trouble imagining that it could ever really be publishable. This is making it hard to sit down and work on the revisions, actually. I need to just make myself do it.

Update: The piano has changed hands again. “Hey Robin,” I said, as the guys were unloading it from its trailer, “want a piano?”

“Yes!” he cried.

“Okay,” I said, “here you go.” So now it’s Robin’s piano. I can see this being an endlessly amusing family joke, trading ownership of the piano amongst ourselves for years to come…

Jul 6 2011

Happy Birthday, Davy!

I’m still not completely recovered from the day’s earlier excitement, but I managed to pull it together long enough to make a birthday dinner for my baby. (We had garlic-rosemary roast chicken and potatoes, and strawberry-rhubarb pie.)


Yes, he’s a year old today! Go Davy! It’s your birthday!

Jul 6 2011






Jul 2 2011

Pool Party

We were invited to a pool party this weekend, and Robin, I must say, was stylin’.

pool party

He didn’t start out with all that gear on. Considering that he was only willing to stand on the first step leading down into the pool, we figured he could get away with a simple pair of floaties on his arms. However, as other people went in and out of the pool, Robin scavenged their cast-off gear and brought it to us, insisting that he “needed” it. Soon he was wearing the full ensemble that you see here—and he was perfectly happy with himself, too.