Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Esther Perel's TED talk... something you should listen to right away.

May I recommend her book Mating in Captivity... great reading.

Perel's recent feature in the New York Times.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Likes & Finds

Tidbits from around the Interwebs...

This dishware is so pretty, particularly the pale pink, though only a white-frosted cupcake would look appealing on it.  Can you imagine beef stroganoff on a pink plate?  Blech.  And this is why I will only have white plates, always.

Some Etsy shops have caught my eye:  Triple 7 Recycled, Urban Mettle planters, Mag + Pie children's clothing

This infographics book is great!  Accompanying each infographic is a narrative by the designer about how/why he chose to present the information in that manner.

This gal is funny -- I just found her blog but I enjoy her Instagram more -- her pithiness and humor really shine in short captions.  So refreshing to see a woman being funny (because women aren't funny).  She's in St Louis and I don't know her but someone that I know almost certainly does, because that's how the Lou operates - degrees of separation on a subatomic scale.

Another great Instagram feed is Humans of New York.  It's uplifting, hilarious, poignant, sad... I look forward to it every day.  [I also like HONY's dog's feed, @susiethedoggie, who is one adorable, elderly Chihuahua...mix?  who also has great observations about life in the city.]

Finally, Steve Almond draws a line from our innate bloodlust, sublimated into the modern proxy of football (and other violent sports), at no cost to ourselves but very real damage to the athletes... worth a read.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Weekend in Houston

A couple of weeks ago I decided to attend a conference in Houston as Luke agreed, astonishingly, to another round of hotel room baby-watching while I went to lectures during the day.  So, to begin, a great big This American Wife thank you to The Best American Husband for encouraging not only our baby's brain development but my own.

On Friday we drove to Houston, stopping when we were starving for gas station Subway sandwiches along the way.  C did great as always and it was an uneventful trip.  After checking in and getting situated, we went to dinner at Underbelly, a locavore hot spot I had read about in Texas Monthly or some such.  Dinner was delicious, however, we agreed later we weren't completely floored... which speaks to how important it is to be very hungry when you eat... and why the tuna on wheat and Italian BMT on Italian herbs and cheese bread from a Love's rest stop somewhere on I-10 will stand out as the memorable meal of the weekend.

pit stop

Throughout Saturday I attended lectures and popped upstairs during the downtime to catch up with Luke and Clementine. That night Luke headed out to take in a little of H-town, including a Guy Forsyth concert at the Mucky Duck, getting lost in an underground tunnel in a parking garage, and getting propositioned for a Nepalese getaway next summer by a gas station attendant (you still got it, baby!)

Hotel room times:

C loves to empty shelves, baskets, suitcases, throwing the contents over her shoulder.

After the conclusion of the talks I wanted to attend, we spent a couple of hours at the Tot Spot of the Children's Museum of Houston, an area restricted to children 0-35 months.  We had a great time and I took 150 photos, 103 of which are below.

An added bonus to this weekend was a Monday off for MLK day.  C and I got out of the house early 'to let Daddy sleep' though this usually transpires as 'things Mommy likes to do that Daddy balks at' like having brunch and going to Target [to spend $100 on whoknowswhat].  We did get the oil changed during brunch by dropping the car off and strolling a block to Twin Sisters where we shared a banana and a pancake - multitasking!  Later I got out of the house again to visit my happy place, Central Market, getting ingredients for baked potato soup (slow cooking as I type) and creamy shells with peas and prosciutto (quite a good dinner).

Hope you had a relaxing long weekend!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First Steps

This weekend was great for hanging around the house.  I cooked a bunch - cherry cobbler, red wine braised short ribs, mashed potatoes (all from ATK's Slow Cooker Revolution - if you know me, read this blog even once, or have spoken to me in passing in a hallway, you know how much I viva la slow cooker revolucion), ultimate banana bread from the new Cook's Illustrated Baking Book (quite ultimate, dear friends, so good), black bean soup.  We finally finished the Sopranos, the watching of which had completely taken over our evenings [one...more...episode]  It is a relief and we look forward to resuming reading or playing music or whatever we did before we began watching three to four hours of television a night.

AND THEN!  On Sunday night Luke was playing with C in the living room/baby corral, I walked in with a bowl full of Costco superfood salad and sat on the couch, and she started walking!

A few minutes later I captured an encore.  So exciting!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Checked Out - January

A Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year

The Beginner's Photography Guide

Best American Infographics 2013

Photographing Your Children: A Handbook of Style and Instruction

Frommer's Easy Guide to Montreal and Quebec City

Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle's Plum Bistro


This month I'm learning about our new camera, planning our spring trip to Canada, and exploring vegan options. The vegan smoothie book looks delicious - C and I are headed to the grocery store this evening to stock up on frozen fruit, agave sweetener, and vanilla soy milk. This is my attempt to get my breakfast plan in order rather than the daily morning scrounge (handful of Nilla Wafers or Craisins, frozen waffle, 95 cent egg and cheese English muffin at work, banana that gets too bruised in transit that I refuse to eat it...). If the sweet ones work out I will advance to green smoothies, which, admittedly, sound revolting at the moment. Plant-based start to day, starting with cocoa-peanut butter-banana smoothie, we here come!

cover images via Goodreads and the

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clementine at 11 Months

Has no interest in: Her toys.

Is obsessed with: Our iPhones and the remote control.  In fact, here is a picture of her face when she spies one of those items-->


Also: Ripping newspapers and magazines into smaller and smaller shreds, and putting the smallest shreds in her mouth.  Big fan of print media.  She does this sitting next to the toys she barely looks at.

Words: Says "hi" fairly recognizably and in context.  Babbles a lot.

Can't get her to use: The sippy cup.

She will: cruise around the furniture easily and even stand unaided for a few seconds while clutching something precious (the remote control).  Walking cannot be far off!

Loves: To wave at herself in the mirror.

Teeth count: 2.  She was exhibiting all sorts of teething behavior last week - miserable, cranky, drooling - but those teeth have not erupted yet.

Has Started To: Dance!!!  It is so cute!  She moves her torso back and forth when music starts - I haven't been able to capture this because once she sees the phone, she lunges for it.

First birthday next month!  I am planning to have a small party and bake an (elaborate-for-me) cake.  Saw this in Rachael Ray years ago and think it might be just right.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


This will be my third new year's resolution-y post (2012 and 2013 here) and it's amusing to look back at them both because each year I've utterly failed.  Now, I have a great marriage and beautiful almost-toddler and manage to bring home a paycheck and spend time doing the things I like to do, but in terms of personal growth and/or discipline, I've clearly got room to grow.  Let's review.

Plans for 2013:

Long walks with Baby H/barre classes/Spinning: Rarely/once/nope.

Research projects: I have managed to organize some small projects that will hopefully bear fruit in the next few months.

Music: Finding out I was pregnant the very week I started piano lessons was not good for my concentration or focus.  I stopped lessons last December and never resumed.  Music education, halted.

Cooking/baking: Significant drop-off with arrival of baby. 

Needlework: Didn't happen.

Dismal, right?  This year I'm focusing on action points that probably for most people just fall under 'normal things adults do without grumbling' but I need help!


2014 Plans

Exercise: Clearly something needs to change here.  Girlfriend is getting along in years!  I purchased a 10 barre class groupon for $85 and that is getting redeemed!  And these hamstrings stretched out.  I am certain my desk job is contributing to aches and pains resulting from poor posture.  Also we've been talking about getting a rowing machine; I'm a fan of any cardio equipment that blows a gentle breeze on you.  I'd like to explore the newly completed Mission Reach of the Riverwalk, which we haven't walked yet.  And then do more of that, all the time, as a non-event.

Household: We're going to hire a biweekly cleaning service (yay!) and per my mom's advice I'm going to contact a professional organizer.  We don't have very much stuff but what we do have is all over the place.

I've Got a Nikon Camera, I Love To Take Photographs: Actually we bought an awesome Canon - my first DSLR - on NYE and I'm so excited to learn about photography and a bit of video.  If anyone has any books/blogs/tutorials to point me toward, I'd appreciate it. I want to really dig in and -->

Reading Books: More of that. Including Hyperbole and a Half, which is side-splitting (except where it's not) and half-read on the nightstand.  Read to C more.

Kitchen: Get in there.  Continue to plan less-meat, less-dairy menus.  Luke is now a dedicated almond milk drinker and does not eat cold cuts for lunch anymore.  We've adopted a semi-vegan before six diet and have fallen off the wagon in the past weeks (as the grocery planner and shopper, entirely my fault).  When we're back in line I'll write about this a little more because it's been interesting.

Wild Blue Yonder: Plan for post-AF life.

Blog: More.

Garb: As having a uniform works well for me by reducing to zero the amount of sartorial thought/effort during the week, I need to do something similar off-duty.  Now, my current state of dishabille does reflect zero thought/effort, but my spouse/the public/my self-esteem deserve better.  I'm thinking of fully committing to a wardrobe of caftans and flower crowns.  It's the only look that speaks to me right now.

Stop Thinking That a Gadget Will Change Things: Exhibit 1, rowing machine.  Other examples: my desire for a Vitamix, a better hair dryer, Belgian wafflemaker (I have TWO American wafflemakers!), Bugaboo stroller, et cetera.  Be content.

What are your big 2014 plans?