Margot Mondays – Easter edition

21 Apr Finished products.

We packed a lot of action into Easter weekend this year: Easter egg coloring, Easter crafts (Margot “made” an Easter bunny and egg at Storytime class and Margot’s nanny helped her make Easter bunny ears out of her footprints), Easter dinner, an egg hunt and food trucks at our apartment community, family pictures, an Easter basket, and Sunday Mass. Here’s a smattering of images:

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Margot’s first Easter basket.

She LOVED it.

She LOVED it.

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Bebe and eggs.

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The eggs.

Finished products.

Finished products.

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Hawaiian shaved ice – a free food truck for our apartment’s Easter celebration. I had a passionfruit, green tea, and lime shaved ice.

Daydreaming: Palm Springs

16 Apr

I love having something fun on my calendar to look forward to, whether it’s a trip, a wedding, or the arrival of a family member or friend. I get all three in the next couple of months with two visits to Palm Springs.

In May, Mike, Margot, Mike’s mom, Sharon, and I will spend the weekend there, with Sharon volunteering to watch the tot while we attend a wedding. We booked a hotel with a gorgeous pool and plan to maybe visit Joshua Tree National Park or the Living Desert zoo in nearby Palm Desert. Or maybe we’ll just lounge by the pool and window shop. I get to drink champagne either way. Oh, and cake!

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park.

We aren't staying at the Saguaro Hotel, but, boy, is it ever pretty.  Image found here.

We aren’t staying at the Saguaro Hotel, but, boy, is it ever pretty. Image found here.

Palm Springs modernism. Image found here.

Palm Springs modernism. Image found here.

In June I’m taking a “mom-cation*” and spending a weekend to myself to relax, sleep, read, sleep, eat, do nothing, and did I mention “sleep?” There’s also an exhibition called “Recline/Design: Art and the Aesthetics of Repose” at the Palm Springs Art Museum I’d like to check out. It’s apropos because, I mean, I plan to do a lot of “reposing” while there.

*I did not make that word up. Apparently it’s a thing.

This is where I'm staying. Yep.

This is where I’m staying. Yep.

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This, too.

And this.

And this.

My private villa has an outdoor soaking tub.

My private villa has an outdoor soaking tub.

What are you looking forward to this summer? Any fun plans to share?

Slip sliding away.

15 Apr Rocks.

You know, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away. – Paul Simon

I tried something new last weekend!

Remember how amazing the Winter Olympics were? Maybe it was because I was on maternity leave with little to do but care for a banshee, but I spent hours and hours and hours watching the Olympics in Sochi. Scratch that. I spent hours and hours and hours watching this:

This is Niklas Edin. He's skip (captain) of the Swedish men's curling team.

This is Niklas Edin. He’s skip (captain) of the Swedish men’s curling team.

I became a little obsessed with the Swedish men’s curling team.  I watched them knock out foe after foe, match after match, for hours on end.  Mike would call me from work and the conversations would go like this:

Yeah, the baby’s been crying. She won’t nap. I haven’t slept in days. Wait. Gotta go. Curling’s about to start up again.” CLICK. My inner monologue was more of the same: What is this sport? Why is this sport? Huh? 

And then I found out that there’s a curling facility here in Los Angeles where they’ll teach you to curl.

Challenge accepted!

I suckered my husband and some friends into going along, too, and off we went.

We had everyone over for some pre-ice empanadas, brownies, and salad. Seemed like the thing to do.

We had everyone over for some pre-ice empanadas, brownies, and salad. Seemed like the thing to do.

We arrive.

We arrive.

Rocks.

Rocks.

This is the most comfortable I'll feel the entire time.

This is the most comfortable I’ll feel the entire time.

Sweeping.

Sweeping.

And then our phones died.

Here’s what I learned about curling:

  • Phrases associated with the sport are all really cool sounding – “shot rock,” “burned stone,” “biter,” “hack,” and “hammer.”
  • Stones weigh 42 lbs. Do not pick them up.
  • Sliding across the ice with one hand on a stick and the other on a 42 lb rock, legs akimbo, looks effortless on television. It is not effortless in real life.
  • It’s a lot of fun.

If you’re in the L.A. area and want to learn, too, check out Hollywood Curling here.

Margot Mondays – picnic fun

14 Apr

Mike, Margot, and I have a standing picnic date once a week. They’ll arrive at noon with packed lunches and we’ll sit somewhere shady on campus for half an hour. Sometimes Margot naps through it, sometimes she doesn’t. Today she was bright eyed and really smiley for her mama, which was a real treat on an otherwise monotonous Monday.

It’s the best lunch I’ll have all week.

The best work lunch I'll have all week.

This sauce is so good, I’d pour it over my cereal.

8 Apr

The above quote is attributed to my husband. Because we made some food today, man. And it was GOOD.

Remember forever ago when we made Mike’s nana’s red sauce and then turned it into several meals? Gnocchi. Meatball subs. Lasagna. Pizza. It was economical and tasty all at the same time. Well, we’ve gone and done it again, this time with pork.

I found a recipe for carnitas the other day on Pinterest, which is rapidly becoming my go-to “cookbook” of choice. It called for five pounds of pork butt. We couldn’t find that at our store, so we went with 4 1/2 pounds of pork loin. The meat, nestled on a bed of onions, cooked for four hours in a marinade of beer, cumin, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, coffee grounds, and cilantro. The marinade didn’t really taste like much at first. I started to worry. And then something magical happened and it became only the best marinade ever.

The pork gets a bath.

The pork, already browned on all sides, begins its bath.

And the finished product.

And the finished product. You know it’s ready when it pulls apart like buttah.

The accompaniments, along with homemade guacamole.

The accompaniments.

Pork carnitas.

Pork carnitas.

The sauce was so, so very good.  Good enough to pour on cereal.

We have a lot of meat left, so our plan is to make pulled pork sandwiches tomorrow night, tortilla soup later this week, and maybe a nice breakfast hash if we have enough after that.

Stay tuned!

Margot Mondays – Is that a giraffe in your pocket…

7 Apr And the reason for the title of this post. Her great Aunt sent these adorable pink courdoroy suspenders, complete with a giraffe sewn into the pocket. 

Probably one of my favorites of hers, and a definite keeper.

…or are you just happy to see me?

Lately it feels like Margot’s babyhood is flying by.  This past weekend I spent some time going through her clothes, setting aside those she can no longer wear to make room for the six and nine month sizes she’s rapidly growing into. It’s bittersweet to fold up those “nb” and “0-3″ jammies and onesies. We were given the majority of them while I was still pregnant, long before we knew Margot was a she. It’s like folding up a chapter of your life and saying goodbye to it once and for all. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

And now I think about what I’m going to do with all those clothes. Should I donate them? What if Mike and I decide to have another baby? What if a friend of ours has a baby soon? Wouldn’t we enjoy passing them all along and watching another baby breathe new life into them?

And what of Margot’s memories? I plan to make a shadow box of items from when she was born – a newspaper from her birthday, the outfit we brought her home from the hospital in, her little ID bracelet, and her first cuddly toy. Should I keep some other things? Things she might be able to pass down to children of her own someday?

This is me in my "Grandma's Girl" dress. I used to dress my Cabbage Patch dolls in it.

This is me in my “Grandma’s Girl” dress. I used to dress my Cabbage Patch dolls in it. I wish Margot had this dress to wear and pass down.

The truth is that this kiddo probably has way more clothes than she ever had any business having. Our friends and family members were incredibly generous, and we tried as hard as we could to make sure she wore each and every outfit. Plus, you know, she’s a slobbery, messy baby. Like Cher and Lady Gaga, she’ll often have several wardrobe changes a day.

I think I’ve decided to keep the things that are really, really special and to donate the rest. There’s a community center for women and children in our neighborhood where we’ve donated items before. I’m sure they’ll be put to good use there.

And so here’s a little homage to some of my favorites:

The outfit Margot came home in. The hospital gave us the little hat with a bow.

The outfit Margot came home in. The hospital gave us the little hat with a bow. A definite keeper.

All too small. The white one and the striped one are keepers.

All too small. The white one and the striped one are keepers.

A traditional Egyptian outfit given to us by one of Mike's archaeology colleagues.  Keeper.

A traditional Egyptian outfit given to us by one of Mike’s archaeology colleagues.
Keeper.

Some organic jammies with ruffly bottoms.

Some organic jammies with ruffle bottoms.

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Margot’s Christmas dress (center), Valentine’s Day dress (top), and future Christmas dress (bottom). I can’t wait for her to wear the green velvet.

The good news is that, once we donate all her old clothes, we’ll be able to make room for all the wonderful new ones:

Swimsuit season is upon us!

Swimsuit season is upon us!

An Easter contender.

An Easter contender.

And another Easter contender.

And another Easter contender.

A gift from a very sweet friend.

A gift from a very sweet friend. Keeper.

And the reason for the title of this post. Her great Aunt sent these adorable pink courdoroy suspenders, complete with a giraffe sewn into the pocket.  Probably one of my favorites of hers, and a definite keeper.

And the reason for the title of this post. Her great Aunt sent these adorable pink corduroy suspenders, complete with a giraffe sewn into the pocket. Definite keeper.

 

Bookish things

4 Apr

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” – George R.R. Martin

I ride the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to and from work several times per week and I rather enjoy it. This morning I watched as a sixty-something woman sitting near me voraciously read, pages turning like pistol fire, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I imagined that she was reading it for the first time, and I thought about how much she’d enjoy getting to know that world.

If only my bus ride was as glamorous as this, right?

If only my bus ride was as glamorous as this, right?

I remembered sitting by the pool at a friend’s apartment in college, reading my first Harry Potter book. I was late to that particular party, but that hardly matters. Subsequent Harry Potter books were pre-ordered and purchased at midnight. I’d spend the next few days doing little else but reading them – on break during my shift as a waitress or sitting on the sofa of my apartment with Mike in Italy, sad that I couldn’t talk to him about it. When The Half-Blood Prince came out I vividly remember calling my friend, Green, and us both sobbing over an important death (I’m attempting to be spoiler-free but, really, is there anyone who hasn’t read these?). We were reading the book at the same time and we’d check in with one another every evening to discuss.

Boy, is there power in books.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I recently attended a book club held by my friend Kate, where we discussed The Goldfinch. There probably isn’t much I can add to the conversation on this book that hasn’t been said already, so I’ll just say that I was relieved to have finished that book.  I enjoyed it (well, parts of it), but I wasn’t sorry to see it go. Turns out there’s a limit to the amount of depressive introspection I can take.

I wanted a good palate-cleanser after that.  Enter The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion. It’s about a scientist with Asperger’s who decides one day that he’d like to get married. The opposite of grim and drug-addled philosophizing, it was exactly what I needed.

And now I’m off to the races with Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series. I’m a sucker for sci-fi (the quote by George R.R. Martin was chosen for a reason) and thus far I’m enjoying it.

Where to next?  Any suggestions? What are you reading these days? I’d love to hear all about it.

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