Feb 29 2012

Davy’s First Sentence

“Woo woo da-da!” Said while toddling over to where his father was lying in bed, and while clutching two toy engines to his chest.

So I’m pretty sure the correct translation is, “Daddy, I’m going to run these trains across your sleeping face now.”

Feb 22 2012

Nice Day, Scary Weather

It’s beautiful today in Oakland. It’s February and it’s blue-sky, t-shirt weather; things are blooming and buzzing and singing and there’s not a cloud in the sky. And frankly, I find it kind of terrifying.

We got tomatoes in our veggie box this week. Tomatoes! In February! Granted, they were “hoop house” (greenhouse) tomatoes, but still. This is supposed to be chilly, wet weather, the height of our rainy season. Instead we’ve had very little precipitation this winter, and it’s looking more and more certain that we’re headed into a drought. It’s nice now, but we’re going to pay later for all this sunshine.

Still, we did enjoy the tomatoes. I put them in a simple green salad that I learned to make from Sam’s mom: it’s like California summer in a bowl. Or, increasingly, like California February.

Nonna’s Fresh Salad

Take one head of green lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces. (I used romaine because we got some in our box, but the salad is even better with a more tender kind of lettuce, like curly red-leaf or butter lettuce.) Toss with one or two diced tomatoes, a diced avocado, and a generous handful of crumbled goat cheese.

For the dressing, use one part white balsamic vinegar and two parts good quality olive oil, whisked into a vinaigrette with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. I know this next sentence is going to make me sound like an unbearable hipster, but I’ve started using sea salt in my vinaigrettes and it really does make a difference—not the coarse-ground, chunky sea salt, but the kind that has a texture close to cornmeal. Or even fleur de sel if you like: this is the kind of simple, fresh dish where fancy salts have a chance to shine.

Feb 19 2012

A Story by Robin

Just this minute Robin came up and told me this story, pretty much word for word:

One time there was a little horse named Robin. He loved to run. “Neigh, neigh,” said the horse.

One day came a little dragon named Davy. “Rawr!” said the dragon. The horsey ran away.

One day came a tiger named Dad. “Rawr, rawr!” said the tiger. The horsey ran away.

One day came an owl. “Whoo whoo!” said the owl. The owl flew away.

That’s a great story.

“That is a great story,” I agreed: and, satisfied, he wandered away.

Feb 14 2012

Heart Day 2012

teacher's valentine

Robin and I made Valentines yesterday for his whole class—I cut out the paper hearts, he affixed the stickers, and I wrote LOVE FROM ROBIN on each one. For the last week at school the kids have been engaged in decorating shoeboxes as “mailboxes,” and today they’ll have a party where all the Valentines are delivered. Sadly, Robin has a cough and a sore throat and I don’t think I can in conscience send him to school. Maybe we’ll swing by around noon to drop off his cards.

It was particularly cute, because as soon as I explained the Valentine project to Robin, he said: “I want a special kitty Valentine for my friend Evie!” Evie—Genevieve—is an apple-cheeked, ringleted little girl at the school, and Robin is very much taken with her, mostly because she shares his interest in running around pretending to be a kitty-cat. It’s their special game and they play it frequently. He calls her his “sister kitty,” and she calls him her “brother kitty.”

“I need to go to school and see my sister kitty Evie,” Robin told me solemnly a few weeks ago. “Evie’s my best friend.” And the sentiment does seem to be shared: Evie will run up and give Robin a hug when he comes into the school, and I’m told that she asks about her “brother kitty” when he’s not there. Anyway, so I did draw a kitty-cat on the Valentine meant for Evie, and Robin was happy with that.

As for me, I got Sam an awesome pair of cufflinks, made from actual Key System tokens from 1945. They’re really very cool. I’ll try to get him to pose in them later!

Update: we did end up going to school for the last half-hour. Here’s Robin’s “mailbox”:



He really enjoyed looking at each Valentine and hearing who it was from.

Also, I wanted to give a shout-out to Dave and Terry on their 36th anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Nonna and Pappy!

Feb 13 2012

At the Zoo

We got to see Nanita and Marqueño over the weekend, so we bundled ourselves off to the zoo. I am not in this picture because I was the one taking it:


Robin was really into the elephants, the otters, and the parrots (although he was disappointed that they didn’t talk). Davy reacted most strongly to the tigers. He tried his hardest to fling himself into the tiger enclosure, shouting to them joyfully and reaching out, bucking against the people who were holding him. When we put him down, he tried to climb the fence. The rest of us thought Davy should not be thrown to the tigers, and so we cruelly strapped him into his stroller and wheeled him away. He never quite recovered from the betrayal.

Robin had a lot of fun in the kids’ section of the zoo, petting the goats and climbing on the statuary:


They have a really clever little installation near the giant tortoise habitat, which is just cast models of empty tortoise shells that the kids can climb through. Both Robin and Davy loved playing at being tortoises. Here’s Robin peering out from inside the shell:


And Sam got a good picture of one of the real tortoises, ambling along. They have a strange presence about them, gawky and yet weirdly majestic; I have no idea how old this one is, but because of the wrinkles and the slow, deliberate movements they all give the impression of great age, and immense wisdom. They’re probably dumb as stones, I dunno.


The night after our trip, I dreamed about tortoises that had the ability to float. They drifted up effortlessly into the sky, as if their shells were balloons. Only I was taking care of a baby tortoise that couldn’t quite float properly yet, so I tied a string around it before coaxing it to go up and join its herd. And then I just sat there, holding on to the string, watching my baby tortoise as it grazed with the others among the clouds. When I woke up I remembered the feeling of serenity and the striking image of the floating tortoises; it wasn’t until just now, typing up this post, that I realized the dream must’ve had to do with Robin in the shell. Of course that’s what every mother wants—to see their babies soar, but also to keep one end of that string. Embarrassingly literal, really! But it was still a nice dream.

Feb 2 2012



This isn’t really a garniture, I just like the word. Or at least, the specific trade meaning of “garniture” is a group of decorative objects made to be displayed together, and this isn’t that. I like the word because it sounds like a cross between “furniture” and “garnish” (it’s actually from the same French root as “garnish”). So it’s like furniture that’s only for garnish. And a garniture must be made of an odd number of pieces: three, or five, or seven is fine, but if you’ve got a pair of something they aren’t a garniture. They’re just a pair. Four of something is—I dunno, a gaggle? Six is just an unseemly profusion. Eight is an orgy. But three, or five, or seven, can be a garniture. The whole thing tickles me somehow.

In other news, my paperwhites are blooming, isn’t that nice?