Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, The Annus Mirabilis

A recap of a great year!

Amy visited SATX to record background vocals on Luke's record

tacos at the Friendly Spot

In February we met Clementine Frances!

Fifteen days old
[then a 6 week blur from which I thankfully remember very little -- did watch House of Cards and looked balefully at anyone who said, BREAST IS BEST!)

Luke's album release was March 23rd and his family flew in to surprise us (and meet C).

Great folks came to visit: the Clems, the Clarks, and our siblings and parents (several times)

I really enjoy the Elise's expression here

"I touch hair."

Clems creating first Alamo memory in order to remember later

PLACES -- We managed to take several fun trips this year with our little traveler (though not as farflung as 2012 - we went everywhere in 2012!)

Rancho Loma, Talpa, Texas (p.s. if you live in Texas you must spend a night here!)

Yellowstone National Park-Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Denver, Colorado

Roswell-Santa Fe-Taos-Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Chicago, Illinois

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014!


Probably one of my top five favorite photos of C.  She looks wise beyond her four weeks.

Monday, December 30, 2013

In Others' Words


Hold a baby to your ear

As you would a shell:

Sounds of centuries you hear

New centuries foretell.

Who can break a baby's code?

And which is the older --

The listener or his small load?

The held or the holder?
Clementine and her great-grandma Aggie, Wyoming, August 2013


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chicago 2013

Weekend recap, one fantastic, one plain awful, one fantastic.

First up is our weekend trip to Chicago - I had a conference at a downtown hotel and coincidentally Luke had a Movember gig with the Flavor Savers.  We had an uneventful flight Friday morning - C is a great traveler.  Once ensconced at the hotel, Luke left to rehearse and I did not see him again until 3 am on Sunday... leaving C and me in the hotel room until my parents and Elise arrived at dinnertime.  Unfortunately it was way too cold to go for a walk so she and I were cooped up all day.

Crawling around

Pulling everything off every surface

Taking unwelcome selfies

Looking at cold cold Michigan Avenue

Crawling into the undercarriage of the stroller, getting stuck, shrieking

Playing with Pringles can because Mommy forgot toys [which she would have ignored anyway]

At long last my family arrived and we had a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant.  That night -- BE JEALOUS, PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN - my parents kept C in their room so I could sleep.  And I did, the dark-cozy-uninterrupted hotel room sleep of a very tired person.  It was so good.  Off to the conference in the morning, which was fantastic and lasted until Monday afternoon.  I saw my friend Michelle, met pathologists from San Antonio and a bunch of other great folks.

Another marvelous holiday scheduling coincidence was Mike and Eric's holiday party on Saturday night.  After the conclusion of courses for the day, I raced upstairs, changed, and we drove out to Elgin.  Unfortunately, like the rest of this whirlwind weekend I don't have great photos.  So great to see them and their girls!  Another coincidence is that Eric did a rotation in my dad's office in medical school, so not many introductions were needed.

Picasa sometimes makes gifs all on its own, and I always like them.

My parents kept C again on Saturday so I again slept deeply, so deeply, until Luke arrived at the hotel.  He collected C in the morning for his turn at trapped-in-hotel-room-with-baby and my parents and Elise were off.  BUT THEN!!!  Pat and John arrived from Michigan!  For each having a full schedule we managed to spend time with a bunch of people.  Pat and John and I caught up during some conference downtime.  Then they drove back to Michigan and Luke and C were asleep by the conclusion of the conference keynote address and drinks afterward [this to say that I saw Luke for about 4 hours the entire weekend].  Monday afternoon C and I waited for hours and hours at the airport for our flight home - a very long day of travel.  Luke stayed in Chicago, played a show in Burlington, Wisconsin, and returned home Wednesday.

After that hectic weekend we were looking forward to relaxing together the next weekend.  Things took a turn when C started throwing up early Friday morning.  Luke kept her home from daycare and she seemed to be fine.  Weekend back on track.  After work on Friday I swung by Central Market for weekend-at-home supplies - ingredients for this soup, high quality cheese for deluxe grilled cheeses, orange sherbet (a prescient purchase as it turns out).  Friday night was relaxing.

The first sign of trouble was Luke's passing on the buttermilk waffles I made Saturday morning.  By 10 am he had thrown up once and by 2 had taken up permanent residence on the bathroom floor.  Cue soundtrack of grunting, groaning, muttering, and bargaining aloud with the gods of emesis for mercy.  It was very, very ugly.  By late afternoon his face was blotchy with broken blood vessels, he was spent, and the nausea showed no signs of letting up.  I called the Browns and they graciously took Luke to the ER where he was seen promptly, given anti-nausea medication, and a bag of IV fluids.  He felt much improved, still sore and worn out, and I picked him up.  We arrived home, I got out of the car, promptly sank to my knees, and crawled around vomiting in our driveway.  Luke's time to be sick was over, and it was my turn.  Fortunately, however, we now had his discharge Zofran on hand, and that was able to keep further vomiting at bay.  Saturday night passed, and our Sunday consisting of lying catatonic watching hours and hours of Sopranos episodes while eating orange sherbet (the only thing that tasted good) with C exiled to the pack and play.

By Monday I was completely restored and by mid-week Luke felt back to normal.  So THIS weekend we were really looking forward to relaxing, and it was grand.  I took a business trip to Oklahoma Thursday and Friday (Thursday night another blissful solo hotel room slumber session from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am ommmmmmm), Saturday C and I had brunch while Luke slept in, spent the evening at a fabulous holiday party at our new friends' house, and Sunday did a whole bunch of nothing -- C obliged me while napping in the stroller while I read the NYT at Central Market (yes, I go to the grocery store to hang out).  Plus some cooking.  There will probably be some Sopranos later.

quizzical brunch buddy at Twin Sisters

Noontime stroller nap

Happy holidays, everybody!


Four Things


Two cute things and two delicious things to tell you about.

No 1

I bought this dress for my conference in Chicago and it was/is perfect!!!  Comfortable and serious and grownup yet with fun box pleats - readers, if you are looking for an all-occasion dress (weddings, party at boss's house, somber events, bidness functions), get it!  I thought it struck the pretty-yet-boring perfection of La Middleton.  Made in the USA; Pendleton brand so it might retain some retail value for future consignment; good with boots, heels, or flats; guaranteed not to go out of style for several years; AND a little bit on sale now!
No 2   These booties are so comfortable - I purchased them in leopard print because animal print is a neutral, no? The heel is just right.  I feel like a badass when I wear them, even on days like today when I went to a party last night, fell asleep in party clothes, and am still wearing those same clothes after running errands this afternoon.  It's unfortunate that I have the casualness toward hygiene of a 7 year old, the sloppy is cute!  is carefree! attitude of a 19 year old, the responsibilities of a 33 year old, and the oh f%$ it disposition of a 75 year old.  Oh well, YOLO.
No 3 & No 4  Today I made two recipes I'd torn out of Cook's Country a while ago, muffin tin doughnuts - scrumdillyumptious - and skillet cheeseburger macaroni, the latter Luke deemed to be

Not just the greatest thing you have ever made, but the greatest thing you have ever done.

This is what I want all food to be, all the time.

And, it is.  I wouldn't make it to impress your foodie friends, but if you want your man or the men at your potluck/church function/holiday party to think you are a total babe, make this.  It's meaty, cheesy, oniony, pickly goodness.  I used grass fed beef to assuage some guilt.  I guess you could use ground turkey but once you start cooking with American 'cheese' it's better to let go of all pretense.  Let go of your pride; make room for the compliments.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

A recap of our Thanksgiving week for my records and your bemusement.

Last Sunday we drove to Austin so Luke could film a segment for BalconyTV Austin on the deck of Joe's Crab Shack overlooking the river.  C and I accompanied him, she had her first (liquid portion) of clam chowder and about 100 oyster crackers, and we hit up Gourdough's - wowza, what a doughnut.  I had the Mama's Cake but I think the Naughty & Nice - just cinnamon and sugar - was better.  It was a very cold, wet, and blustery day - the kind of day I have completely forgotten how to dress for.  What do you mean, no sandals?  Where are my gloves?  It's going to be hot later, right?

Monday-Wednesday.  BUSY at work.  On Tuesday I (well, the marvelous Erin at Twirl) cut my hair into a bob at the nape of my neck because I could not take ONE MORE DAY of pulling my hair back for the duty day.  Luke greeted my new coiffure with an "Oh... mom hair."  Which stung.  But I am a mom and I do have daily headaches from pulling it back and probably a little bit of traction alopecia in conjunction with my devastating postpartum telogen effluvium, so, farewell, hairs.  I will post a pic when I find one that captures my new look, sassy as all get out.

Thursday was Thanksgiving!  We packed up C and about 50 lbs of her stuff and went over to the Browns.  I was in charge of bringing a vegetable dish - I made brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze and dried cranberries (ok), radish and orange salad with sweet chili sauce (terrible), and mashed parsnips (HORRIBLE).  I've had parsnips before in restaurants -- they must have had plenty of butter/chicken stock/other things that taste good - because the dish I made was just parsnips with a bit of butter and it was inedible.  The last thing I brought to the Browns was beet ice cream... I usually make tasty dishes but they understandably have doubts. Luckily the rest of the food was heavenly and the company delightful as always.  We are so thankful for you, Rick and Doris!

Friday we decorated for Christmas. No way!  We don't have any storage and I don't like to buy anything that has to be stored.  Our home remains in a seasonless shade of bleak.  If my dad reads this he will send a little LL Bean tree on the double.  He finds our lack of festivity very troubling.

Friday we went shopping!  Extra-special no way.

Friday we stayed in our pajamas, all of us, until 2.  Then we cleaned up and went to Local Coffee and a nearby park so C could swing.  The swing is much too big for her but from what I could see of her face she was smiling.  These photos are on Luke's phone otherwise I would share.  Because it was back to a 70 degree SATX winter, we sat outside at the Friendly Spot sharing caramelized onion goat cheese dip, reading the New Yorker (I got through this article - really interesting) and news on the iPad while C sat, content and contemplative, in the stroller, until the sky grew overcast and the air a bit chilly, and we repaired to our home to try the second of two vegan chilis I have tried over the last two weeks.  Another strikeout, and this one was ATK!  Luke tried some while I ate a microwave macaroni and cheese I had maybe just maybe hid under a large bag of green beans in the outside chest freezer.  If anyone has a truly hearty, creamy vegetarian/vegan chili recipe, please share. It's getting demoralizing.

waiting in line at the Friendly Spot

The highlight of Friday with a preface that C has been learning how to wave over the last couple of weeks: we park in the driveway and Luke and I both hop out and open the rear door together.  There is Clementine, already waving from her carseat in slow motion at us.  IT WAS THE CUTEST.

Saturday C and I ran some errands, including a tuna melt lunch at Central Market, a run to the library (this is a good perusal but too much meat! yuck. -- looking forward to looking through this) and to Target. Luke went to Austin fairly early in the day.  C resisted two attempts at putting her to bed - including the second time with those very angry wails of outrage in which she takes a deep breath and then one mississippi two mississippi three mississippi four mississippi really lets loose.

I thought she was ready for bed after falling asleep in the bouncer, but I was wrong.  That was a mere catnap.

Sunday she and I let Luke sleep in and went to the farmers' market, Corner Bakery, and Trader Joe's.  I went into work for a little bit so I would be only 1 day behind instead of 2 tomorrow morning.  It's been busy.  The evening was spent planning SOMETHING VERY FUN - girlfriend trip to Palm Springs with babies and beaux in tow!  Just booked my first Airbnb house.  I've heard nothing but positive reviews about the site, the house looks great, and the landlord has already gotten back to me!  Hashtag caftans hashtag big sunglasses!

In the meantime I'm going to try to plan thoughtfully for our upcoming Chicago trip -- usually I pack too much, of the wrong things, end up wearing Luke's pajama shirt around, etc.  A little bit of a challenge as I have to pack business clothes for the conference I'm attending, warm clothes for the arctic blast that awaits us, something festive for the superfun holiday party in ze burbs with some of my favorite people, and oh yes things for C too.  I am woman, hear me unsuccessfully multitask.

That's it from here.  Clementine is 10 months today!

Her nose has been runny, she might have a little conjunctivitis, and her bottom teeth are juuuuust erupting.  She's not the happiest camper at the moment, but she's still the cutest.