Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's Making Me Happy

// Crustless pumpkin pie. In my book, pie crusts - for filled pies, fruit pies, cream pies - are fun to make* but superfluous. (Exception: ground Oreo crust for chocolate cream pie... but I will always make an exception for Oreos). But cherry pie, lemon meringue, pumpkin - who needs the crust? Less work, less time, fewer calories, less expensive. MORE PIE.

*Did you know the secret is VODKA

// Learning how to whisk properly. We attended America's Test Kitchen Live last night at SA's fabulous new performing arts center. The show, hosted by my guru Chris Kimball, was a mix of behind-the-scenes footage from the TV shows, blooper reels, reader questions/comments, and audience participation taste tests and demonstrations (of gluten, sous-vide cooking, whisking). Turns out my stirring-as-whisking technique is all wrong, you've got to whisk side to side.

// Reading Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl this week. Really enjoying it. A few sentences I liked so far:

At Quaker school I had been a vague irritant, the equivalent of a musical-theater kid, only I couldn't sing, just read the Barbra Streisand biography and ate prosciutto sandwiches, alone in my corner of the cafeteria, relishing solitude like a divorcee at a sidewalk cafe in Rome. 
From the chapter Fifteen Things I Learned from my Mother: Respect isn't something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It's something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated and focusing on your mission.

// Signing up for the Alamo 180 fitness challenge! This is the honeymoon period, the I'm-going-to-work-out- so-much-starting-on-Saturday-but-for-now-I'm-going-to-eat-these-peanut-M&Ms-for-breakfast. $249 for 6 classes (5 circuit training, 1 yoga) for 8 weeks with assessment at the initial, mid, and endpoints. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this when the program begins and my life revolves around getting to bed by 9:30 so I can be up by (gulp) 4:30 ante meridiem. (Or 5:30 when I'm not covering a clinical service).

// This face.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Seven Mile Cider

So there we were at the farmers' market, C looking like an evil elf

And J looking quizzical

When I said let's go for a walk on the Riverwalk and after we'd walked south for a bit, Let's walk to the Friendly Spot! I really want another cherry cider. It will be our exercise for the day. It will be fun.

We strolled through downtown to Southtown - it really is fun to live in a big city. We arrived at the Friendly Spot to snag the very last Original Sin, two tacos, and a grilled cheese.

'Would you like to give Josie a hug?' Part One.

'Would you like to give Josie a hug?' Part Two.

Luke cannot explain his hair here.

Back to Pearl we walked, about seven miles roundtrip. We came across a scene we've anticipated but never seen before: a man in the river! He was retrieving a bicycle - apparently there was a collision and 1-2 people and a B-cycle ended up in the river. Luke helped pull him out.

On Sunday we went to the art market at Blue Star, stopping at Halcyon for an iced coffee. The barista gave Clementine a cup of animal crackers, the eventual emptiness of which she is dubious about here:

Early dinner at Barbaro, my favorite SA pizza.


Landa gardens.

This sweet moment lasted about a millisecond before she dashed off.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Capsule Wardrobe

Some things really irk me far beyond their impact on my life - the way Ira Glass can't pronounce the letter L (you host a radio show, dude, invest in some speech therapy), Kristen Bell's face, confusion about when to use between versus among, blog posts about capsule wardrobes because as someone who wears a uniform 60% of my waking life and about 6 items the remaining 40%, I have nothing but derision for 'look at me! getting by with 33 items per season!'

Honey child, that's not even hard.

(Corollary: Luke and I were talking about how we've figured out at last how to dress the girls. To quote Luke, 'in stretchy things. Things that stretch. No buttons.' The same can be said for myself. I would never, ever buy anything I had to iron).

This fall I've developed a little capsule wardrobe of my own. I recall my sister saying that people only wear 10% of their clothes; I suppose most of us are capsule wardrobe wearers (same 5 pieces all the time) unknowingly or not. My eventual goal is a highly pared-down closet of a very few basic, high quality items. I don't want to think about my clothes everyday -- in essence, I want an off duty uniform because in the same way I don't want to think about dinner these days and massive Sunday meal prep is working great, I don't want to think about what I'm going to wear. Any hesitation means I'm going to wear my stretchy gray maternity t-shirt and either maternity jeans or leggings. I had a baby four months ago. Intervention time.

I put some thought into interchangeable items in a neutral palette plus an itsy bitsy bit of flair as I've been feeling completely invisible (to myself) for a while. Rejoin civilization, I said! Wear some lipstick. Wear some sequin leggings. GET DOWN WITH YOUR BAD SELF*. Like Clementine, what's working for me are things that stretch. And especially no pants! death to pants! but yes to leggings, a longish top, some booties, and a hat. No to heels because 1) the hubz doesn't like them 2) my feet begin to ache and throb in a Pavlovian manner even *looking* at heels.

*even though the only places you go are the grocery story and Target when you're really really lucky

Now for a pretty terrible collage.

YKX & Co bootie // Nordstrom hat, I bought this one // Sam Edelman booties // Lucy Paris sequin leggings // Caslon tunic (purchased in camel) // Stance socks for peekin' out // Armani sheer lipstick // Steve Madden moto boots

These items + pre-existing legging collection + leather jackets and vests I might rummage from the back of the closet + these beauties which I love (can you tell I've been deeply influenced by my military footwear? Once you go flat you don't go back) + as-yet-to-find buffalo plaid item = fall*.

*btw, it's still 85 degrees here

Stretchy + highly walkable + covers the tush. But really anything would be an improvement. Looks like my mom is adopting a similar look:

Anybody developing a workday or weekend uniform? Strategies? Ways to look less mom-ish? Will report back with the results of Operation Stop Looking Like a Before Photo on a Daytime TV Makeover Episode.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's Making Me Happy

// I just adore Mario Batali. He's promoting his new book and I love hearing all of his interviews.

// A baby who sleeps wherever:

// Walks around the neighborhood after dinner:  

// I read a book! And the first I've read on my new tablet - I like the e-reading experience. Finished Wild on my business trip and I'm excited to see the movie. Reese Witherspoon in New York: "I’ve never seen a film like Wild where the woman ends up with no man, no money, no family, no opportunity, but she still has a happy ending."

// Checking out books from the SA public library digital collection is a snap (actually a soundless tap) - because I liked Wild so much I downloaded another Cheryl Strayed book, a collection of advice columns titled Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. (I vaguely remember my sister Elise recommending both of these a couple of years ago, which doesn't surprise me because Elise has her finger on the pulse of things like this -- and she's blogging too, catch up with her here to be in the know).

I settled into bed with my tablet to read TBT for 15-30 minutes before lights out but before I knew it two hours had passed. TBT has precisely the sort of kick-in-the-gut brutal but compassionate honesty I've been looking for with my shallow forays into the self-improvement genre. (The foreword is great too -- I kept reading and thinking, wow, I really like this writer and with the last click I saw it was Steve Almond, a writer whose work I've enjoyed in the New York Times magazine).

These forays have been prompted by a new habit I've developed upon waking: running through a mental list of failures, disappointments, instances I've been foolish, situations I've been utterly unprepared for because of an intentional lack of preparation (I'll just wing it), cruel things I've said, embarrassments, shortcomings, squandered opportunities, a litany of would of should of could ofs that grows every morning (Oh! I forgot about that time I was so stupid). I heard Lena Dunham say recently there is nothing cruel someone could say to her that she hasn't said to herself, even more cruelly, in the past 30 minutes and that this relentless self-criticism and self-loathing is a means of protection: you can't be hurt by others if you've hurt yourself first.

This self-reflection could be healthy if it spurred growth or change. But it doesn't. I've been stewing in analysis paralysis. No growth. No change. The closet is unsorted. The journals are unread. No improved time management. Little tasks pushed off to another day. Always another day.

TBT exhorts me, compels me, commands me, do the work. Move on. But do the work to become the person you want to be.

What's making me happy this week - the tough love of Sugar. A great book that I don't know I would have been ready to read until now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10,000 Steps

Time for another weekend rundown! Friday evening I returned from an overnight trip to Oklahoma. On the Dallas-San Antonio leg I was seated next to the most charming Australian gentleman and we chatted a bit before takeoff. As he stood to deplane someone behind us said, "Mr [can't understand]??? We'd love to have a picture with you! Why are you in San Antonio?" He replied something about a tournament in New Braunfels... of course I was burning with curiosity and wanted to turn to him so badly and say SO YOU'RE FAMOUS! WHAT ARE YOU FAMOUS FOR?

As not even I could do that, I noticed that he was carrying a Wimbledon bag and had that weathered, ruddy sportsman look about him. At home, I googled 'famous Australian tennis players' and 'tournament New Braunfels' and confirmed that delightful gentleman was Rod Laver, not just a tennis player but four time Wimbledon champion and still the winningest tennis player of all time, in town for a tennis fantasy camp.

It was a highly anticipated weekend for me because Luke was home the entire time. We decided to get 10,000 steps each day and go to several of our favorite places.

First stop, the Salado Greenway. This paved trail is very close to home but we had not been in months. This is the time of year when the weather becomes fabulous and San Antonians emerge from their reverse hibernation.

A note: C took a tumble on Thursday and suffered quite an abrasion around her left eye.

A mile out, a mile back, then to the Cove (that wonderful sustainable locally-sourced eatery/beer garden/dog park/laundromat/music venue/playground/veggie garden) for lunch: squash, green beans, a fish taco, chicken sandwich, sweet potato hash, and panna cotta.

Gosie with the Flowsie Josie had a great weekend too.

Home for naps and and instead of being productive while the girls rested we watched WALL-E -- though I talk about this movie a lot Luke had never seen it. Have you? I think it's extraordinary and so moving.

Tour de Bars with Playgrounds continues with next stop Big'z Burger Joint with its fenced-in astroturf play yard.

And we were not done! To Pearl for a twilight Riverwalk stroll (finally reaching 10,000 steps) and Cured for dessert on the patio.

Collage of Noms:
Clockwise from top left: Grilled fish sammy with remoulade and cole slaw; bacon, egg, and cheese burger (it sounded so different when the bartender called it 'a bacon cheeseburger with an egg'); Original Sin cherry cider -- has actual cherry flavor (all from The Friendly Spot); sweet potato hash with egg (look at that orange yolk - no factory farms here!), grilled squash and spicy lemon green beans; chicken sandwich (all from the Cove); and hanging on on the bottom left, a Stella cider at Big'z Burger Joint.

On Sunday we tackled a different part of the Riverwalk, a stretch between downtown and Blue Star.

Explorers, exploring.

Along the way we met Ben, who talked to us for a while about a group of ducks that he feeds and follows along the river.

Heading south again, we made our way to the Friendly Spot, another bar with a playground.

Moments later:



The signage and sights of Southtown.

Thai iced coffee at Halcyon.

Naps, grocery shopping, laundry, one last hurrah at Brackenridge Park. 10,000 steps!

I don't have to tell you that DADA! had just come into view when I snapped this photo.

Cotton candy sunset.

Home for meal prep for the week (roasted veggies, baked pumpkin oatmeal, broiled pork tenderloin - this blog is not brought to you by the Pork Council of America but wouldn't it be great if it were?! Pork Council of America, can you hear me? Pork Council of America, can you see me?), laundry, packing the girls' bags for school.

The kind of weekend that buoys you through the week. Have a great one, everybody!