Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's Making Me Happy This Week

This series takes its name from the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment, but a better name would be what's making me happy/think harder/squeeze my kids/think before I talk/etc...

// Yesterday I saw one of my favorite Nordstrom salespeople and he told me "my news... I have Stage IV lung cancer." He is in treatment and working and feeling great. The last time I saw him was a couple of weeks ago when I was moping around the day after the election, feeling sorry for myself and the country and he told me then "everything's going to be fine. It really is." Now I know that he had the diagnosis of lung cancer a month before cheering up maudlin, oh-woe-is-me. His sanguinity is remarkable and if I could have just an ounce of it I'd be a much better person. (I would have throttled me.)

I hugged him three times. He smelled wonderful.

On a happier note...

// Dinner with friends tonight!

// Making a list of STL holiday destinations:

Brewery lights

Zoo lights

Garden Glow

Tilles Park Winter Wonderland

Nutcracker ballet (have our tickets already and have watched the Mariinsky production at least 75 times since last November).

Miracle Bar --- a pop up Christmas bar!!!

Candy Cane Lane in St. Louis Hills

🎄 Anything else we can't miss? 🎄

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rich Gets Married!

Earlier this month we left the girls in MO and flew to St. Petersburg for my friend Rich's wedding. I met Rich the first day of med school orientation and we sealed our friendship that day by eating chips and guacamole on his balcony overlooking Chippewa. An auspicious beginning.

Because we didn't have the kids and had no need to plan much, I didn't plan anything. We had an early flight into Tampa and our Airbnb wasn't available till three. I thought we would just bum around St Pete but Rich himself was at the baggage claim and invited us to join the family-friend hang out before the dinner - and drove us to his house. An auspicious beginning!

At Chez RichnJoey we caught up with his family, met his groom Joey, and made new friends over Italian beef on rolls. And some strange and delicious Korean bread filled with buttercream or maybe it was creamed butter? Clearly I need to explore this cuisine more.

I don't know why I don't have any pics from Friday's dinner at a biergarten. I caught up with Annette, another classmate and longtime hero of mine -- she went to med school at 42 when she had three kids. At the time (age 22, single, childless, my mom making a lot of my food) I thought what she was doing seemed hard but now I understand the force of her will and determination and hard work -- you are amazing, Annette! She manifested her dream of becoming a gynecologist. 👊

The next morning we went to the Dali museum after a most harrowing Uber ride from a woman who didn't understand phone navigation and veered into the opposite lane (no cars approaching) to drop us off. We scrambled out of the Uber posthaste to this view:

I had spotted a breakfast place at the small airport across the street from the Dali museum from the not-so-Uber and we walked there. Warplanes and egg sandwiches and a lovely breeze.

The Dali museum was FABULOUS. A fantastic collection with iPod narration and guided tours.

I wanted to get my hair done for the wedding but failed to make a appointment ahead of time. "Let's just see if anything's open..." I said, a long shot on a Saturday. BUT, an Aveda salon had walk-in availability (just like in Miami, I'm getting too comfortable with no-plans) and Luke and I both got our hair put up/cut.

Wedding time!

Wedding party in traditional Korean wear.

Joey and Rich face-fans were handed out for a photo.

Cocktail hour sunset. You can see the grooms walking off for photos in the second.

Rich looks so happy!

I wish I had the text of Clayton's best man speech because it was so eloquent, meaningful, thoughtful, poignant, and powerful.

I loved this wedding.

Clayton, Ricky, Annette.

Fantastic dancer  ⥤

Don't Stop Believin'

Outside for Chinese lantern lighting:

Off they go! Ricky and Clayton in the foreground... 💖

We got very hungry in the taxi on the way home and swung into McDonald's (it was VACATION, people)-- everyone else had the same idea and we were stuck in the drive-through for 30 minutes in the taxi. I had a quarter pounder with cheese - always a nostalgic meal for me because it was the meal that my mom and I would get on the way back to Knob Noster (it's a real place) after my ENT appointment (we're talking 1992 here) with Dr. Shapiro (not Japanese as my eleven year old self had anticipated). Anyway, my mom would pick me up at school, we'd drive to another town for this appointment, and get a quarter pounder with fries on the way back to school. It was nice. Proust you can keep your madeleines I'll have a Number 4 with cheese, please.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Sunday in Late Fall

Sunday funday...

Making microwave scrambled eggs while the cinnamon rolls baked. This is Josie's new smile-for-photos. Clemmie likes to (help) pop the cinnamon roll can, break the eggs ("no shells in dare, mommy"), and stir them with the "spoon with all the metal" (whisk).

Unrolling to eat.

My only weekend goal was the purchase of an artificial Christmas tree. First stop: Home Depot. Didn't like the trees but Luke bought some supplies for his new studio and Josie was enamored of the outdoor inflatables. O-waf!!! [Olaf!]

Second stop: Menards. Didn't like the trees but we bought some glow sticks and window clings. Josie played with these longer and more intently than I've seen her play with anything.

Saturday night's perusal of a new library book, Bread Illustrated, put me in the mood for a cooking project. I made pizza - made the dough, made the sauce, grated the cheese - on Sunday afternoon/evening while Luke took the girls for a bike ride. It turned out delicious! (I bought this little angled measuring cup a while ago but hadn't used it -- so great! Stocking stuffer idea).

Memory Yoga. (more memory yoga here)

Josie and the glow stick.

We ended up at Target for the tree (and stockings and tree skirt and three Frozen ornaments and miniature bottle brush trees) and I bought a coffee bean grinder to give making my old cold brew a second chance. I already have a French press and spend $10 a bottle on coffee concentrate at least twice a week! We've been travelling and working so much I've gotten out of the habit of cooking - in addition to being something I truly enjoy doing, it's so much healthier and less expensive to make your own food. I prepared the two flank steaks (foolproof!) I had in the freezer for the week. I caught sight of the ice cream maker in the hutch and thought about the vanilla beans in the pantry ... maybe not always healthier but making your own food is fun! Our menu this week is: scrambled eggs and bacon; baked potatoes with fixins; flank steak; green beans; leftover pizza (recipes from here,* which makes 3 pizzas); salad-from-a-bag; a bok choy stir fry kit; and probably Indian Friday!

*I learned to cook from this ATK binder series starting in 2011. Using them conjures up a lot of feelings about first being married, learning to crush garlic, making lasagna, long/involved/expensive trips to Central Market. So many good feelings.

NOT GOOD FEELINGS: ATK is now suing its founder Christopher Kimball over his new venture Milk Street Kitchen -- you can read all about it at  and here. Ugh --- I'm strangely distressed about this turn of events, like a divorce between two dearly loved friends. 

Sunday means Westworld. Luke likes it but I LOVE it and spend one hour watching the episode and one hour googling synopses and fan theories afterward.

Josie woke up and watched it with us. I'm trying to capture more of her talking on video.