Thursday, June 29, 2006

essentially summer desserts

Its that time again, the cherry guy is at work, our trees are full of rainiers, we are picking two or three pints of raspberries a day and soon we'll have gooseberries and currants. What to do with all this goodness?

I'm thinking the four c's for the summer - clafoutis, crisp, cobbler and crostata.

All yummy, all simple and all delicious the day of or the following day. I use several sources for the recipes including MTAFC, Chez Panisse Desserts and the Joy of Cooking.

The next few days I'll share with you these recipes. I'm thinking we'll be seeing a cherry crostata for the Fourth and maybe a blackberry crisp (okay, I'm cheating with last year's harvest) for sunday night.


Everything here is just dandy. I'm busy with work and so is TH. I am really trying to finish off what I can so that I don't have to think about anything work related for the next few days. I have a pile of books, lots of weeding and a need to get that princess plant in a new pot before Sunday!

Later taters.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

nothing like a good song

We went to see Arlo Guthrie tonight at the Zoo. The last few shows at the zoo have been mediocre at best with screaming children, poor sound quality and not very dynamic performers. Wow, Arlo and family were dynamic, witty and just fabulous. The kids were pretty well behaved and the sound quality was great. We had low expectations and we were overwhelmed.

He even did "this land is your land", which always make me smile.

I can't believe the quality of music I've heard this year, Keith Jarrett, the Junkies and Arlo and that I still have Calgary and Vancouver to hit makes me quite excited.

Work was hectic today. I have a major project undertaking that just isn't clicking and needs to be finished by Friday. I have many fires to tend and all I can think about is gardening this weekend and maybe visiting cousin Scruffy and aunt Pat in Mineral.

Are we still on cupcake?

Ernest is sitting his his bed and having his pre-bed snack of a carrot and me thinks its time to get organized for tomorrow.

later taters.


Monday, June 26, 2006

a long drink of water

Ernest in the bed, June 24th, 2006.

This weather sucks. It is hot, sunny and generally great for those without things to do and Viewridge pool memberships and bad for small mostly black basset hounds and the people that must check on them.

Today, Ernest went to work for about one hour (yes, I had pre-reserved his shady location), sucked on my ice cubes from my iced coffee and then decided that lock down chez nm was a better option.

He did okay, I think being stuck in lock down may help him increase that bladder control as well, which would be a positive thing.

Tomorrow should also be defective in the weather department, so other than a quick morning snuffle, its lock down for Ernest.

This past weekend we did a lot of things, mostly the mundane, but punctuated with a visit from Aunt Pat and cousin Scruffy, Ernest's first Pride March on the Hill, his first exposure to Dykes on Bikes (not impressed), a ferry ride to Vashon and visit with Amadeus, the great dane and his very charming people. He loved them.Ernest and the Dykes on Bikes.

Ernest meets cousin Scruffy.
Ernst (his german name) meets Amadeus.

It was busy around here.

Life here is okay, my work is getting sort of interesting again with lots of exciting things going on if you enjoy data management. I'm thinking I may take Monday off and have a four day weekend at home. Imagine that! So out of character for moi, but I might be able to do things as mundane as go to the dump and just read the paper.

We'll see what the rest of the week brings.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

more later

Once again I have managed to slice my finger open with my felcos,so I can't type. Everything is just fine, Ernest had a very busy basset weekend, we did do, it is too hot for me and TH is sweltering in Portland until Tuesday night.

I'll be back tomorrow with some pics and exciting things to say.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

new york new york

Jk said it best.

Check it out here.

I spent the morning at the paper sessions for VAF, while JK hung with the butterflies. I was happy to finally catch up with Uncle Bill who is teaching at CCA this year and walked around Columbia a bit. There is something about finally seeing Avery hall after using the avery architectural index all your life. Saw a nice wedding as well.

It was another morning of train screw ups, so we ended up over shooting the Columbia station and had to go back down on a local train.

I finally met someone who I had heard about, so that was nice.

Other than that, everything JK said was totally true and other than not getting my eyeliner, I'm pretty happy with most of my purchases.


happy summer

Okay, I have to admit that I really hate summer. I hate the fact it now is getting dark again. Everyone is happy summer is here, me, I can't wait for winter.

What really makes me sad is that I'm missing the longest days of the year in Seattle. When I drove back from Cabezon tonight at 7:45, it was getting dark. The sun was so amazingly huge and firey, but it just wasn't right.

I managed not to buy anything but three pairs of smalls at the outlet. I did enjoy trying on many cute pairs of Prada shoes, but after Saturday's shopping spree at Henri Bendel, I figured I would give it a rest.

Just how many pairs of black loafers and kitten heels does on girl need? No, Miss C, I have not counted yet!

Other than that, I have hit the Tj's in Redlands, coffee tea bean and leaf and now I'm back in my luxurious hotel room fully sated by a plasticized salad and a large bottle of water. I'm hooked on Dog, the bounty hunter and soon the king of cars will be on. I can't believe that I'm watching this drivel. Now you know why I don't have a tv.

I had an amazing day of testing, talking to the lead developer, learning some new stuff and still managing to be coherent during my 2 hour conference call this morning.

Tomorrow, more of the same, breaking the software and reporting bugs. I am going to drive west to see my parents for dinner. I can't wait.

My mom informed me that she just bought Ernest a new water dish for his southern visit.



Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Its a dry heat

Not that you all care, but I have either been without internet connection (wireless card is kaput) or really just busy. This week I'm in Redlands, California doing all sorts of fun stuff with software and trying hard to break it.

I learned a lot today and hopefully, they learned something from me.

Last week in New York City it was about 89 degrees and muggy, here its 90 degrees and dry. I can't say I like either, but I'll be home by the end of the week and it'll be nice and cool.

TH and Ernesto are muddling along. He was 2 lbs heavier and 44" longer than before.

Well, I just ate some of the best mexican (fourth time this week!) I have ever had right here in Colton, CA and once I check my mail etc. I'm going to head east to the outlets and see if I can beat any "bargain" I saw and did not buy in NYC.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

always ahead of the curve

OPI chocolate mousse, reef flip flops, talbots skirt, Bush School Graduation, Seattle, WA June 2006.

God, I had no idea.

I brought my cole haan very cute kitten heeled sandals to wear for a wine tasting and graduation this past weekend. Gosh, it was hot and everyone else was doing it. In fact, the graduates of this esteemed liberal bastion of secondary education were either shod in flip flops, high heeled shoes that were worthy of the prom or barefoot. I thought I was fine.

Well at least I had a nice pedicure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dog tired

Between E.dd's worrisome cough (turned out to be allergies), my mother's complicated travel plans, TH's worsening cold and all day of travelling, I'm tired, but not tired enough to haul my keester into bed.

I'm in New York City for the next five days attending the VAF meeting. I came straight from the airport to the opening session at CCNY and hung out waiting to register. I was happy to see some friendly faces in the crowd from Madison, Conn and U of W. I loved the opening session and learned alot about what we're going to see in both Manhattan and Queens. I did skip the reception in hopes of keeping to my fitness bootcamp goals of not overeating and hopped into a cab for my ride to midtown.

Checked into the GH New York, dropped off my laptop and bag and went to the Grand Central Oyster Bar for a nice dinner or smoked Maine day boat scallops on a bed of white asparagus with a leek and caviar vinagrette. I washed it down with an iced tea.

Why do I love it there? You can sit at the bar and eat alone and its okay. No one bothers you and you can eat a lovely meal while reading a book. As usual, TH and JK both suggested coming here for dinner and they were once again, right on!

I ran up to the Regency Club and scored a tiny brownie and some decent and fresh decaf for the evening. I should be in bed, but I am still awake. I am waiting for input from folks on a project and I am getting radio silence.


Tomorrow I have a full day of the Tenement museum, commercial vernacular, some self guided tours and hopefully some shopping.

I wish I could unpack, but my room is getting moved tomorrow, so I am once again, living from the rollaboard.

Oh, E.dd is driving TH crazy, I wish I could go home to relieve her, he's bored and very active, but most of all, he's so food centric, she can't take him anywhere without constantly taking crap out of his mouth. Its very frustrating for them both.

Come on Ernesto, behave.


all four paws

Ernest woke up this morning with something that sounds like kennel cough and that isn't good.

He's due for his next set of shots this week.

Let's hope he just has a bit of a cold or allergies.

TH will take him to the vet this morning.

His blog is up and running., NM says check it out.

Why all four paws? I used that phrase alot in graduate school, I either used all four paws to jump into a project or used all four paws to dig in and not start a project. In any case, all four paws is also what we use with Ernest to remind him that bassets need to keep all four paws down on the ground at all times to keep their backs healthy.

Well, its time to leave the Alaska Boardroom, pick up a dilettante mexican hot chocolate or a latte and schelp over to my gate for my flight to JFK.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I feel like I am grounded, a novice at flying and travelling, not quite sure which way is up or down today.

I have no idea why. Maybe because I haven't been anywhere on a plane in a month, maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I just want to stay home.

My brother just called me from the plane, he's on his way to Rio today to give a talk at a conference and then off to Istanbul for more of the same. I think he's been to Turkey three times so far this year.

I haven't packed for my trip to New York tomorrow. I am just hoping that I can transfer the files I need to my laptop, finish writing up a work flow process and go home in time to take E. dd to boot camp, visit my mom and my aunt and come home and pack.

I should make sure I have enough sudukos to make it through the week.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


Busy weekend, busy week, life is consumed by running outside with e.dd, running inside with dog, familial obligations and realizing that once again, I'll be gone for five days straight, followed by 20 hours at home and another four days away.


I feel sorry for TH, she's on full time E.dd duty and as adorable as he is, he's still a handful.


Monday, June 05, 2006

running on empty

I really hate that song, but that is what I feel like today.

I actually made it to the gym this morning, first time in a few days. I have decided that my gym time is a non-negotiable part of my life and E.P is just going to have to deal with that. It felt good to work out and get to work hungry and pumped for an exciting day of reviewing documentation and other nuggets of my thrill a minute existence.

The best part of course is going out and seeing E.P. once in a while and getting out in the sunlight.

Today I went and did the one year mammo thing. Last year this time, I was going in for a secondary screen, an ultrasound and maybe even a needle biopsy. It was not a happy time for me, TH was gone, Roya the cat had just died, Jacques was failing and I was running through a million scenarios in my head, none of them particularly positive. I was lucky enough to have P. go with me to my mammo and wait with me until I got the results. They were good and we celebrated by eating a nice lunch at Grand Central Bakery.

I have had follow ups that are all clear and today I was blessed with the results and having the same excellent mammography technician who I have seen the three times I have gone to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She is so calm, gentle, funny and informative. Today, she came back just to tell me that the doctor was busy with a procedure and that is why I hadn't gotten the all clear and that I shouldn't worry.

I celebrated by having a late lunch of lovely roasted asparagus salad replete with radishes, asparagus, mixed greens, gran padano cheese and hazelnuts at the same Grand Central Bakery on Eastlake.

I also volunteered a subject for a breast cancer study today. I gave blood, not one of my favorite activities and realized how lucky I was. Here am I today, healthy giving blood as a control with lots of gravely ill people around me. I hope that I can help the researchers get their answers sooner. One of my mom's best friends and ring leader in the mammiosas (the gentle band of global mommies that are available to me at any time) is currently fighting the good fight to beat her breast cancer. I pray for her everyday, she is the rock for my mom and the rest of the the mommies, who have known each other for the last 55 years.

Please do me a favor and check those boobs of yours and if you are at the age the yearly mammogram, do it, don't put it off. It hurts, but so does waxing and we're willing to that on a monthly basis.

If you won't do it for me, do it for Khaleh Mehri, k?


Sunday, June 04, 2006

can't fault a guy for trying

Weekend is over and Ernest puppy has learned to climb into my chair.

We just put a large obstacle in his way and he's still trying to get in from the side.

I'm so proud of him for making it onto the chair and pissed at him for getting big enough to do it.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

essential recipes

Ack, muggy day here. Made for cranky NMs running on no sleep and lack of enthusiasm for their appointed tasks.

However, we had an upright basset day, a good walk/snuffle and after having angst over muddy orange flats (sigh) and what to do have for dinner, I made chocolate chip cookies.

What does this have to do with recipes?

What are your essential recipes, the top 10 recipes that are your foundation for cooking/entertaining and living?

Here are mine

Baking: toll house cookies (from heart baby)
pate brisee
pound cake

Eating/life sustaining: Roast chicken
Meat loaf
Stewed meat/some sort of stew (chicken, beef)
pumpkin/squash root vegetable soup with a cream base
basics: chicken stock
: cream sauce
: red sauce
: some sort of green sauce/salsa verde/agliata/pesto

With these simple things you can make dinner for ever including leftovers.

I keep these recipes close to me, some are memorized, some are in a notebook that I carry with me when travelling to places that I may end up cooking. Its crammed with all sorts of recipes and things from cooking classes I took. I treasure the book and refer to it often.

I know we live in world where its easy to run to the store and get ready made food and sometimes its worth it. But you know that you will season the chicken to your taste and that it won't be so salty that you can't make a decent stock with the leftovers. I know you can run to the bakery and pick up some cookies, but honestly, they just won't taste homemade, they'll be pallid, greasy and often times taste like plastic.

With a stick of butter, a cup of oatmeal, brown sugar, lemon zest, flour, some cake spice, toasted walnuts and three bags of blackberries you picked last summer you can make many people happy in May. You can do the same with the hundreds of apples that you picked a vowed to make into sauce in October, but up the cinnamon, will ya?

Cooking takes time, patience and creativity, things that we're happy to apply to other things that occupy our time. Taking time to sit with the paper and read the headlines while dinner is in the oven, no matter how depressing the news may be,walking the dog while the chicken is in the oven or deadheading while the artichokes are burbling is a lost 30 minutes of our time that needs to be recaptured to keep us sane.

What are your essential recipes?