Saturday, March 13, 2004

Let's meet at the park. Five words that led to a good afternoon. Anne and I agreed on a time, 3:15, and a place, the duck pond. Tamsyn, our neighbor and friend, came by the house after school and, with her dad's permission, she joined us on our adventure. We didn't make it up to the top of the park, where there is a playground, but there was plenty to do for 6 active children. We made an easy hike up to the tower, and through some obstacle courses. "Chutes and ladders" is what Jacob call the fixed logs and steep sandstone gulleys. At the pond we had hoped to find Spring ducklings...not yet. We fed the ducks that were there, then watched the children construct bark, stick and leaf boats. Alex and Tamsyn credit the success of their boat to patient construction. Max was no less proud of his pond faring vessel.

Sometimes a good time just happens, especially without planning and fretting. We could have brough water bottles and bug spray, or organized a picnic. I hope we can meet at the park again, with as little effort and as much success.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Full Days

I've been wanting to write, but I can't seem to find the right subject. So, I will turn to my other interest: photos of stuff I like.

William's birthday came and went with all the low key discretion required of our shy 13 year old son.

But no matter how little fanfare you want, always leave room for some pie!

Geoff's January birthday was celebrated family style, and low key as well. We spent the night at Mom and Corm's under-construction home. Okay, for the sake of full disclosure: I was at a hotel, but for exceptional circumstances...otherwise I never miss a chance to camp in the rain and sleep on lava rocks.

My Mom came south for a visit. She spent time with Grandma and Becky and all, and she also stayed with Hans and Gretchen. And of course no visit to So Cal is complete without breakfast at The Diner.

We were there for Oscar Sunday, when all the staff come to work in their finest garb. For great food, and Dominic's big, bold, beautiful art, and laughter nothing beats a 101 breakfast.

It was a treat having my Mom here. We didn't play tourist too much, but we did have nice long talks, watched a few flicks, played with beads, and lingered over dinner with Napa wine and Bandon cranberries. The good stuff.

After taking my Mom to the airport the boys and I were drawn to the harbor where 2 cruise ships were in port. We walked along the Harbor and counted the art trees, then toured the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Haven't seen Master and Commander, but we did enjoy seeing the HMS Surprise from the movie. We also went on The Star of India and The Berkley.

Well, you are pretty much caught up with us. How about you? What's new?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I honestly have read more than "Poppleton" and that other book on my nightstand, "Jackalope," but not much more. Martha Stewart Living comes in the mail once a month (at least I think it will) and I read other magazines and assorted articles, plus many school related materials. I am in the mood to get caught up in a novel. I need to be so absorbed in my new book that I don't want to turn on the TV, or paint my nails. When I do find a book I like, "Poisonwood Bible" or "A Room With a View" for instance, I tend to become much too absorbed. Dishes, the dirty ones, accumulate, and children are left unfed. Good books draw me in and don't spit me back out until the last word. Even after I set the book down for the last time, I can still be drifting in that other world, lost in a new culture and dynamic. If the protagonist is picking peaches in a hot and fragrant orchard, then I will serve peach pie for dinner, and I will search my atlas for scenic highways that lead to quiet farms where orchards sit waiting for me. The aching sorrows, the colorful celebrating, the cold, the heat, the thoughts and emotions are carried away in every phrase and metaphor. I am in the mood for a new view and perspective, for the wide open plains, or the gait of a horse carrying a scout, for recipes and remedies, for tidy English gardens, or love and resolve.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Lemon Everything

Color, flavor, fragrance. Think lemon.

We were invited to take lemons from a neighbor's tree. He wanted us to take as many as possible, to come back and take more. He suggested we squeeze the fruit and freeze the juice for later use. He offered me an extra bag, and pointed out where were he could see dense clusters of heavy, yellow orbs. The tree was full, the ground was littered. I filled two canvas bags and walked back up the long road to the Tree House.

From Ruth's recipe I made lemon bars. The butter crust was faintly golden and crumbled delicately under touch. I filled the square pan with the lemon juice, egg and sugar mixture, which baked to a bright and bubbly yellow. Alex washed lemons in the sink and gathered them in a bowl. He took a sharp knife and sliced them open. The juice flowed with barely any encouragement and he added water and sugar, and mixed it all in the blue pitcher. I added lemon juice to chile, garlic, salt, and chicken, to grill for dinner. And in her home, Anne was washing lettuce and preparing a dressing with lemon.

Lemon Saturday. It was wonderful having my friend here. We talked about books and babies, movies and plans, places we've been and how we've been. It was wonderful that our boys played together; they kicked off their shoes and shared their thoughts. They laughed. Alex's lemonade was good; refreshing, and not too sweet. Anne's salad was refreshing too, and crisp and cool. The chicken came out flavorful and tender. Max, Adam, Alex, William, Jacob, Anne and I ate all the lemon bars.

Parts of the house were clean and some parts were not. We ate off paper plates, and I dropped one piece of chicken in the coals. Max got sad when the bigs boys wouldn't play with him, but he found a matchbox and sat at his table and made it in to an airplane with paper and tape. The kitchen counter was sticky with lemon juice. Anne brought good wine and we enjoyed all that the day gave.