Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bountiful Days

This is the time of year, you can't drive 
down the highway without seeing 
large open top transport trucks carrying
 huge vats of tomatoes, grapes and the like.
It's harvest time, and much of that 
is meant for commercial use-fine by me.
What I am intrigued with, is the smaller ,
local products we all see at our farmer's markets,
local stores and shared from friends kitchens.
Isn't it cool to listen and  talk with someone
 who has a passion for making products, 
artisanal, small batch,
high quality products to sell and share?
Don't you love the (sometimes funky) quaint
packaging and labels?
I sure do.
 Am I going to indulge in everything (or anything)
because it sounds exotic or ingredients rare? No.
But I do enjoy looking, smelling, tasting
items which have been developed
from hand me down or secret recipes
or those from experimentation of the senses.
After reading the latest edition of 
I decided I had to share 
the passion for artisanal products.

The takeaway though is,we do not need 
to go to Paris for chocolates, NYC for coffee
or Italy for honey, etc etc-
 but, we can be inspired
and remind ourselves this passion can be found
without looking much further than our 
own locales (and backyards of course).

Quote of The Day

Life is a party to which 
you're only invited once.
Julie Sneyd

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Than Words on a Page

I love a good read as much as the next person-
perhaps my choices, not always highest 
on the literary chain, ok.
But over the next several days
the literary festival called 'LITQUAKE'
will be taking place here in San Francisco.
If the words "literary festival" make you think of college professors in tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, Litquake is here to shake you up. This week over 550 wordsmiths are disconnecting their Mac power cords and coming out of solitude to captivate 11,000 lit fans with readings taking place all over the city. Highlights include the Night of the Living Well-Read cocktail party at 111 Minna; a guided tour around the Bay Area's beat heritage, courtesy of Will Durst, Ben Fong-Torres, and Phil Bronstein; the booze-fueled Lit Crawl; and the Barbary Coast Award Ceremony, in honor of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. To quote the poet's 2002 poem dedicated to the literary festival: "So we're having a quake/ We're going to have a literary quaking/It's announced in the smallest papers/free for the taking..." Joey Stevenson

       There are so many awesome events planned:

        from New Authors and publishing, fiction and 

            non fiction, narrative to  several

              'kidquakes' plus so much more.

             Totally cool right?

"Originally hatched at the Edinburgh Castle pub in 1999, Litstock debuted as a free one-day reading series in a fog-bound Golden Gate Park. Co-organizers and local writers Jane Ganahl and Jack Boulware quickly realized that booklovers wanted something more. Against the backdrop of a technology-crazed San Francisco, it was obvious that writers were still drawn to the city, and readers still craved and appreciated the written word. Litquake seeks to foster interest in literature for people of all ages, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city's music, film, and cultural festivals."
-Litquake Foundation
Whats not to like about this? I say anything that 
gets people invovled with the spoken word
is my book.

Quote of The Day

Do what you can, with what you
where you are.
 Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life on the edge... at the Ocean

"Spending a day at the ocean,
is like watching time with
endless possibilities"
I grew up in Southern California-
beach was what we did- even (or especially)
for those of us who did not 'live it'-
 except in our heart and soul.
Beach Boys, check.
Tatami flip flops, check, check.
When summer came around,  the plan was 
always to see how often you could get to-
how much time you could spend at the beach-
well-how tan could you get? 
When you're young, it's about
the vernacular and that meant
surf, sand, sun kissed noses and 
wanting to be a local (at the least).
Speed through a few (+) decades
 now, I call it the Ocean or the Coast.
Granted, the locale is different but
 the water IS the same. I know, it's me.
I still want to feel like a local-
whether it's MexicoCapri or Bodega
I still have this gravitational pull
to 'own it'. But that's ok.
There IS something real there-
life stripped down and I need, love it.
I think it is the ebb and flow,
the same but different... of every wave.
I think for the most part, we all feel it-
when we're there-the freeness,
the infinite. 
The tide is high.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What Goes Round Comes Round

Do you still listen to or collect vinyl records?
I just read a great article in the 
got me thinking...back.
Both my husband Ross and I have had a love
of vinyl....and (popular if not underground)
 music in general-
he a bit more of the acquiring nature.
I tend to be more 
of a radio person, but I collected my share.
In the olden (B&W) days, department stores
used to have 'music departments' and many even had 
'listening rooms' where you could go and 
listen/preview new records before buying.
My sister (holla Di) worked for Tower Records-
and I will say- Ross and I both pale in comparison
to her knowledge and passion.
Yes, we still have our records,
 (except those we've LOANED out) 
we will never give these up-
they have always had a special spot, 
a favorite was a closet in an apt in SF-
(walk in), with the stereo set up adjacent to LPs
head phones (always killer) at the ready... 
close the door, turn up the volume and...
 you are, well,  whoever want you want to be.
Our turn table may be  waiting for a new needle, but,
we have (ok,Ross) made good use of some favorite
records with the use of a USB turntable.
Turning your albums into CDs is
very convenient.... but not quite the same.
There is something cool, yet comforting
and nostalgic about thumbing through
 your own or (other's) used records.
The photos, artwork, verbiage...
Think about it, other than the
obvious (music) each jacket is like a 
snapshot to a memory in time.
You can pick up any of your favorite
albums, languish and easily be transported
to another time and place.
Whether it's a flea market
record store or maybe your own collection,
remember, age is only a state of mind.

Quote of The Day

If you want to test your memory,
try to recall what you were 
worrying about one year ago

Saturday, September 25, 2010

From Garden to Glass : Bloody Mary

via Sloshed
This time of year brings 
bushels of  fresh, luscious,
unctuous heirloom tomatoes.
We're all familiar with caprese salads,
margarita pizzas and the like.
How about taking it up a notch and making 
a meal in a glass?
I love a good bloody mary-
depending on the time of year,
well doctored V-8 will suffice,
but this time of year how can we not
 take advantage of all these gorgeous gifts?
The spices and seasonings are open ended...
fresh basil, cilantro, chiles?
The more garnishes, the better...
add a couple of endive spears, prawns...
and call it a salad.
I've done a little research...
and this recipe from Sloshed (hello)
does a tomato proud.
Whether it's brunch, lunch or dinner,
the time is right, don't you think?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Calendar Says it's Fall...

I love fall, in my heart, it is 
my favorite season.
There's just this little problem living in 
California (or most of the West) we really 
don't have a Fall- per se.
Cool blustery afternoons, sweaters, not quite.
What we have here is Indian Summer-
the sun is low and hot.
I've known real Summer would eventually end-
over the last six months-
 I've toiled in and watched
our garden grow, evolve and share 
more gifts than I really thought possible.
 The garden has been my 
home away from home and I have been 
very aware of shorter/longer/shorter days
temperature spans and so many of the challenges
which are companion to nature.
Due to a rather cool summer,
there have been signs that 
'change' was at hand-albeit, a bit early.
A few weeks ago we started noticing 
the leaves on the trees around town 
had a red tinge to them and our vegetable beds
and side yard (which are adjacent to our neighbors
five oak trees) were covered like a carpet
with leaves. Even still, I kept thinking,
'wait. no, fall...really?'
I used to be so excited that 'Fall' was coming- 
only to be disappointed by triple digit temps.
I never really embraced Indian Summer-
"too hot" for those layers of clothes
 waiting to be worn..
 But this year I will embrace 
it all, my neighbors leaves, warm days at the beach,
transitional menus, 
 the last of the tomatoes, peppers
and cucumbers, I will relish the colorful zinnias 
I grew from seed and continue to 
 bring in the 'harvest' hued
flowers I planned just for now.
I will not fly a flag heralding autumn leaves
but I will enjoy the sound they make on a 
crisp morning walk.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Love's Labor in the Garden

We've been very lucky...
 in the garden this year.
 In many ways, the bounty is 
just getting started- but, with the warmish/ hot days
 of August and September, the garden is 
now finally, in full swing. 
For a backyard gardener and her family,
it is such a treat- really, to toil and watch 
as the plants battle the elements 
(bugs, abnormally cool summer)
while we continue to pamper and prod them 
into sharing their gifts.
Gifts, yes, because when we prepare the soil,
plant or lay seed- you never know
what is in store.
When they start out, the plants 
are little fledglings that we baby and as the 
Spring / Summer progresses, 
their limbs become stronger,
the flowers are pollinated and suddenly,
what feels like overnight,
  there are budding little fruits.

Of course, before you know it,
things start to get a little wild and woolly,
but, that again is part of the fun.
 In reality, the growing and nurturing season is 
SO much longer than the picking 
season (at least that's what it feels like)
but the picking season is so rewarding!
Fresh herbs and baby sungold tomatoes
for the morning eggs? Sure.
Weekend night of homemade pizza with
fresh arugula? Check
Just picked, grilled zucchini? You bet.
Enough tomatoes for our favorite salads,
a few sauces and still some to oven dry.
Crisp cucumbers with ...everything.
New additions bring a
sense of surprise,
four different types of peppers,
cipollini onions
and artichokes!
Of course, I am already beginning to consider 
some choices  for the fall winter,
but. for now we will keep busy
laboring over and enjoying this
summer's bounty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Preppy Redux

From 'True Prep'
via Vanity Affair
The other afternoon, I found myself with free time,
lounging in the shade with a  warm breeze
 at my back.... 
ok maybe it wasn't vacation- 
more like sitting in the car (for 2hours) 
while waiting at the DMV-
but I digress.
So, there I was reading 
Vanity Fair (September-Lady GaGa) -with lot's of great articles
and found one that really tickled my fancy:
"The Official Preppy Reboot" an excerpt from
 the new book, 
an updated version of the prepster bible:
"The Official Preppey Handbook"
( from30 years ago-remember?)

  by Lisa BirnBach with Chip Kidd.
Just like the original, it is quite 
(for those of us NOT preppy) cheeky...
Especially, redux.
A few items caught my eye and 
my favorite I share here...

New Year's resolutions:
"Work on topspin"
"No drinking at lunch."
"Luggage Tags!"
"Have gravy boat re-engraved."
"Nose rings are never preppy,"
"Neither are tongue studs-"
and that goes for ankle bracelets."
"Bags and shoes need not match."
"High Heel rule: you must be able to run in
them-on cobble stones, on a dock, in 
case of  spontaneous foot race."
"Men: if you make the mistake of buying 
Tevas or leather sandals, please give them
 to Goodwill."
"Preppies don't perm their hair". 
" Sweatsuits are for sweating."
And of course...
 "The best fashion statement is no fashion statement."
There is a 'mixed tape' music suggestion:
included are some personal faves... 
"Rich Girl" ... Hall and Oates
"Brown Sugar"... Rolling Stones
"Love to Love You Baby" Donna Summer
"Black Coffee in Bed"... Squeeze
There are lot's of tips and  advice 
to be doled out, even in regards to
 Career Choices:
(or those to avoid)...
"Doctor-presumes caring about strangers."
"Computer Scientist-No."
"C.P.A.-Really no."
"Governor- possibility of sex scandal too great."
"Meteorologist- too science-y."
"Fact-checker. Facts, schmacts."
From the best places to have a summer home, to
the best way to be Preppy AND frugal... it's
kind of all here... if you want it.
Now, I can't say that I will buy the book
(even though on one hand, much is common sense) 
but I do highly recommend
taking a peek through the VF excerpt!