Monday, March 31, 2014


Sunday was Siclovia, a huge community fitness event in which a long segment of city street is cordoned off for cyclists, pedestrians, dancers, music, vendors. The projected attendance was 70,000! Like most of our fitness events we started with treats (chocolate and coconut creme doughnuts from Bakery Lorraine, some kind of Sriracha salad (for him) and sausage po'boy (for the hers) from The Monterey, deliciousssssss!)

It was a beautiful day -- about 80 degrees, so pleasant we were fooled and now have sunburns on our feet, hands, and necks. Luke is already rueful about this because he knows it means I will be even more SPF-zealous all summer long. (Are you wearing sunscreen? Do you need some sunscreen? Are C's feet covered??!!)

The bump is a nice shelf for holding toddlers.

Event organizer Andrew at the pachanga

Lynnwood King - such a rock star!

 How photogenic is this guy?

Dios de los Gatos t-shirt stand

Heading south on St Mary's Street:

Best hair of the day.

 Learning the robot:

Time for a funnel cake cupcake from WhipStitch Custom Cakes by a giant pig.

Vintage tandem bike

That evening Luke played the Block so we headed home in between events for a nap. I made rigatoni with meat sauce in the pressure cooker (review of the P.C. forthcoming) and when C awoke we drove out to catch the second set. And friends were there! Such a fun day.

Judy and C at the beanbag toss

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND: Luke played a gig in Austin on Friday so I had a quiet night getting groceries, roasting some Korean BBQ chicken for the week, and watching Before Sunrise (have never seen the trilogy). On Saturday we went to the Y, the farmers' market at Pearl where we ran into some friends and got to catch up, and the dreaded Babies R Us for a new stroller and car seat. Poor C has been stuck in the recumbent stroller and cranes her neck to look around... at last we bought an upright stroller and she seems to love looking around (finally, she would add). I made a late dinner of Asian-style boneless beef ribs in the pressure cooker and we watched Louis C.K. on SNL and listened to a bit of musical guest Sam Smith's album (an amazing voice but the recordings don't do it justice).

It was a grand weekend and with a trip to St Louis and Fiesta events around the corner, springtime in SATX is going to be so fun!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

To Bake


OF COURSE I follow the America's Test Kitchen Pinterest boards. The recipes aren't always linked and if they are, not permanently. I grabbed these screenshots and can't wait to bake up these beauties.

Margarita cheesecake. Just add pool party.

Chocolate snowball cake. This is nostalgic for me because 1) snowballs are something my grandfather and dad would buy at a gas station -- 2) and after so much study and planning and Sturm und Drang surrounding the MCAT, I forgot that the dormitory cafeteria would not be open for breakfast that early on a Saturday so, frantic, I gathered up my laundry quarters (are they still using those in dorm laundries? Or are the kids using Bitcoin or something?) and ate the only available food before the test - raspberry Zingers from the lobby vending machine.

Chocolate layer cake recipe here and below. Happy baking!

To print out this page, click the green box at the bottom left of the page.

Cake gif via // Remainder of images and recipes via

Friday, March 28, 2014

Parenting Zeitgeist

I'm sure it's only on my radar because I am a parent now, but there seems to be a lot of coverage of parenting styles, how having kids doesn't make you happier, actually diminishes your marriage, new books on these topics, etc in the media now. Reading mommy blogs (the wildly popular prototypes of Love Taza and Hey Natalie Jean -- which don't stop at celebrating motherhood but in my view actually fetishize it*) provides a counterpoint to this scholarly** activity.

*I wonder why I read these -- the writing is terrible, terrible and the content -- well, there is no content. Photography's good though.
**Is it scholarly or fear mongering and preying on the anxieties of people worried about Being Very Good Parents? Talk amongst yourselves.

Here are some Parenting Zeitgeist interviews and articles I've found thought-provoking recently. Click through when you have a minute or forty (I find my forty during my 'workouts').

I read Hannah Rosin's The Overprotected Kid article yesterday while slowly cycling stationarily -- is helicopter parenting leading to better, more well-adjusted kids? Does being a good parent mean spending a lot of time, all your time with your kids? The article focuses on new playgrounds in the UK that encourage risky play -- with fire! -- that is likely more in tune with healthy child development (which is probably more violent and Lord of the Flies than we care to admit or gasp! foster) than our sanitized, plastic primary color models here. Watch kids play at the one of these playgrounds here. It's terrifying.

The article references a bestseller I've heard about but have not read, All Joy and No Fun. Click to listen to the author Jennifer Senior's Fresh Air interview.  Read her 2010 article that spawned the book here ('All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting').


On the anti-helicopter parenting technique front: I checked out, didn't read, returned Baby Knows Best a couple of months ago because I spotted it on the New Books shelf -- didn't know Resources for Infant Educarers was a thing but it must be thing because later I ran across this Vanity Fair article about RIE in Hollywood. (That makes it a thing, no?)

And now a corollary, Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte's Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time [click for partial transcript and interview here] I was on board with her - I'm all for an egalitarian marriage too - until she mentioned that she and her husband had agreed to rules regarding chores to minimize conflict - seems reasonable. It's your turn to do this, mine to do this, we don't need to discuss it... And she provided the anecdote of TEXTING A PHOTO OF THE UNMADE BED TO HER HUSBAND AS A REMINDER THAT HE HAD NEGLECTED TO MAKE THE BED.

And then I wasn't on board on anymore because who likes a nag?! Who wants to be a behavior modification project for their spouse? I was reminded of why Esther Perel argues against perfectly egalitarian partnerships -- what could be more poisoning to eroticism, sexiness, playfulness than your spouse texting you a chore that you forgot?

What do you think, readers? Are unrealistic expectations for parent-parent, parent-child relationships causing serious problems for our generation vis a vis paroxysms of guilt, insecurity, inadequacy, and constant comparison? (Be careful around those mommy blogs! They can send you into a domestic shame spiral. See also: all of Facebook and Instagram) Is this all a narcissistic exercise in self-seriousness? Should we all just relax and do our best? Should we simply not care what anyone else thinks of our choices?*

*“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” - Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Others' Words

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

By Marge Piercy

listen here ; read in memorial for the loss of two Boston firefighters [ Here & Now ]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Tired girl with favorite new toy: empty yogurt container.

Clown nose from Nick Greer's show:

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Rodeo and So Much More

Had a fantastic (hashtag* childfree hashtag relaxing hashtag sexytimes) weekend in Houston courtesy of Luke's manager who gave us backstage access to the rodeo entertainment -- I've seen behind the curtain, folks, and there is a lot of booze and candy bars back there -- and my parents who drove from St Louis to watch the C-bear. And deliver new-to-us sofas from their house!

On the drive we listened to a fun podcast I discovered earlier that day - Pop Culture Happy Hour - and just caught up.

Friday night we saw the fabulously talented pianist and singer Nick Greer at the Corkscrew

Saturday: Brunch at the Empire Café then a movie in the theater for the first time in 14 months -- Grand Budapest Hotel. It left me pretty lukewarm... Wes Anderson's movies for me are like looking into a diorama or elaborate toy train set up and I marvel at the fanatical attention to detail and craft - imagine the tiny paintbrushes!!! and forget about the story being told.

Italian toast followed by...

A sundae with a face provided for scale

Rodeo times!

The view from backstage

Bumps in stripes


The bullriding took place at the opposite end of the arena

We were back in SATX by 12:30 on Sunday. My mom and I went out to Boerne for some kid's consignment shopping (bust) and then to La Cantera aka The Fancy Mall for lunch at my all-time favorite restaurant, a place I haven't been in ages, say it all together now, the Nordstrom Bistro. Oh how I love the Nordstrom Bistro. Then we shopped a bit, I resisted buying this and this with these onesies! but will probably, so cute. That evening I got a long-overdue pedicure (my feet had taken on an ungulate quality, now restored to presentability), a nice cap to already great weekend.

I wish I had more time with my parents but trips to STL are just around the corner!

*in praise of the hashtag as 'fledging art form'