if its not yummy, then we better make it funny.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Summer. Really?

I get two summers this year. I keep interpretting spring as Autumn. My biological calander is doing a double take. I am happy to report that I am wrapping up a quarter at Evergreen and planning the next ome. The next contract which will start in January and end at the end of March is a challenging prospect. It involves writerly deeds, not just talking about them or reading about them. It involves publishing. Here we go.

I have been on an herbal detox diet. I take 40 capsles a day and have restricted my diet to fruits, vegetables (no Bananas and potatoes)plain yogurt, cold pressed oils and herbs, spices, and vinegars. I'm on day 7. I feel great. I do get grouchy in the morning if someone is cooking bacon, though.

I think that even more than the herbal aspects of the clense, the fact that I have made a plan to do this and even though the urge is stronge to eat things I have enjoyed for decades, I have control over myself. I think this is the bigger progress.

I still cook with relish (the feeling, not the ingredient)and my family gets to enjoy the foods by tasting them, I only get to smell and feel and create. Jordan says we have better meals when I am on this regime, which I find funny. One problem is I don't taste my breads. I just have to hope they are up to snuff.
I have been making a lot of progress on the bakery, or as we now call it: the baking studio. It turns out to be better to use it as a teaching facility instead of a "bakery". that is because of council restrictions. Financial comparison shows that the classes are a better business than selling 5 dollar loaves of bread, as well. I will still bake for my neighbors, especially the ones who come and get it at my house and trade me cool stuff for it. I am thinking about coordinating a culinary weekend retreat out here in Karekare.

Gem, the wonder dog is under fire (literally) from a neighbor who saw her 'worrying" sheep. I now worry, myself. She is very curious about other animals. Being part standard poodle and part lab, she loves to chase birds (including the same neighbor's chicken ($77 dollar vet bill, but bird did survive, whew) She was eagerly chasing the young cows a while back, but got kicked very near the eye and that showed her. She hasnt looked at them since. I just hope I can infuse the message about the sheep in her, myself. It would be heartbreaking to the kids, to us all to lose her. I have her in my presence all the time, now. She's smart, we'll see. I must resume my fiction now. Enough of real life for a while. May your smile be on duty.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

getting better

I am feeling the old skin peel away, finally. The new one is a little thicker, and a bit softer. Spring is here and the kids and I have been getting out on little mini hikes. I always want longer hikes, but they come with arguments from the shorter legged relations. So we go to the Lucas's (neighbors)and race around their field, or to Linda's (another neighbors)swing, if there arent any guests using it. Yesterday Lil and I went on a walk to the watering hole. I didn't want to go in, we had missed the sun in that spot and I was feeling wimpy. Lil would take none of it and insisted I help her on the virgin voyage of Desmond's new air mattress. She managed to let the thing go in the rushing stream that enters the pool and it quickly went out of reach. Since we had pleaded with Desmond to let us borrow it, we needed to be very careful and responsible with that birthday air mattress. I had to get completely wet to retrieve the thing. Then I insisted that Lil come in too, and she did. It was very brisk! It was when we made the whoodledor come in that things ran amok. She, has sharp claws, need I say more? Where is the patch kit...? I put it somewhere odd like in the pantry or in one of the 37 drawers we have on our little estate.
We didn't mind, really because she (the dog, Gem)put on such a ridiculous show after she got out, tearing back and forth. She is really a comedian, enjoying our howling hysterics and providing yet, more fuel, for the laughter engines, already at a good rpm. We walked home and enjoyed about nine types of weather on the way (about a weather type every 3 minutes for them that's counting.) That is the update from yesterday. I am supposed to be writing other stuff, so I'd better find the whip and crack it. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Springing ahead with thumping galumping grace

I just deleted a bunch of mush from this posting page. Start over.
I am in school full time again and I am making myself perform. On to that now. Watch this space for written works in progress.

Friday, October 01, 2010


I recently bought an android phone. It wasn't cheap, it does a lot. I can scan bar codes in stores, I can detect speed detectors, I can download David Sedaris's new book and listen to it, I can use the GPS for free anytime and I can even save my parking space (but how to 'unsave' it has me stumped).
I now have a real contract for my cell phone. Before that I was on the "denial-lite" plan of prepaid service. I always bought the cheapest phone and then added time onto it as I needed it. It was pretty expensive in the long run, I added 20 or 30 dollars in a months time and there were times when my minutes would run out that were very inconvenient. This is all smacking of rationalization, isn't it?

I have a little voice in my head that says "do not rely on such things! What about if it all crashes?" Will I still know how to find my car,orhave the capacity to actually ask with my mouth for product information? (will I be able to find a salesperson) What if I can't check my email from anywhere my busy schedule takes me? Am I spoiling myself? Am I investing in a faster vehicle to race the other 'rats'?"
Well, those are questions, I am guessing, others ask themselves as they indulge in technology. After the questions of whether we deserve the luxury of such a convenience, then the questions of how can I justify the expense come up.

Now for this I AM well prepared!
Here is my list of why it's ok to have an expensive phone. I could have spent the money on...
1. Years of hair dye. I don't dye my hair so I have saved a lot, so the phone is ok.
2. Minimal speeding tickets, lower insurance= budget for a phone.
3. the phone costs as much as a root canal and is so much easier to handle!
4. How much is connection vs isolation worth? It's a bargain, really.
5. I buy clothing and cars second hand, so I deserve to have a new and facile phone.
6. It's (cleverly)insured, so I can't loose or break it!
7. I may get that message for the perfect publishing connection or alert earlier, and thus, harvest the opportunities and launch myself as a writer.

I think that's enough for now.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

how does it go?

I am sitting here, husband gone to his world of science and validation. I love the space and I love him.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Downside Up

New Zealand. New Zeal.
auto mobile
Zip and Peal
Careening Caravan.
lego lands
Mermaid Flirtation
and boiled potatoes for dinner.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life Gardening

Grafting Hope

Grafting something is defined by Webster's online dictionary as:
“Cause to grow together parts from different plants.”
If plants can be grafted and skin is grafted, can other less tangible attributes be established through a sort of spiritual grafting? Can we hunt down what we need externally and plant a little bit of it onto our self and nurture it until it is part of us, alive and helping us further forward?
Some might argue that such a practice is unnatural and thus, should be avoided; One must find what one needs within themselves.
I am, however, considering it can be done.
If a sturdy stock can feed a new desirable branch and fruit, then who's to say we can't graft things we need into our lives, like hope, confidence,and forgiveness. These things can be hard to sprout from seed, particularly when there is a tangled crop of things already growing, competing for our attention and energy.
What a great tool to carry. Just think, if something stirs up envy like someone else's success, gift or attribute, don't get jealous-just take a little cutting! Perhaps write it down so you remember what it is you are growing, have a grafting ritual, if you think it will help- maybe even every day for a while. Good crops take attention.

Another definition is “To implant a portion of (living flesh or akin) in a lesion so as to form an organic union.” (Websters) I like this definition because it talks about putting something specifically on a wound or lesion. Each human has challenges of some sort or another, wounds are part of the show, here on earth. Just as the irritation of a foreign body in the oyster makes a pearl, so can the wound be a place to graft something intentional and beautiful.
So go forth and garden, make your life an interesting and fruitful orchard, there's plenty.
There is Plenty!

Waking up Chocolate funny

I am beginning to feel like writing again. I have had seasons within myself and now I am unzipping a door. I sit here in my dark dining room with the sounds of Gem (the big young terrier- labradoodle) gnawing on something and the wind wrangling the trees outside. Please leave some trees for tomorrow, breathy god. Karekare is so untamed. The sooner I get that in my head, and accept it, the better I am. It's not a tranquil place to spend the spring (or winter or fall) It is vigorous and persist ant. Rain splatters on the windows that face the west, maybe it's salty from the Tasman sea below our house. Maybe it is some sort of seasoning the earth wants me to have.
Let's keep her up with the wind and pelt her with salty rain until she's tender and seasoned. I'm getting there.
I just returned from a trip back to the United States. I sold my delicious car, a pearl shaped and colored Borgward Issabella and a few culinary tools to finance the trip. My mission was to see if San Juan Island still felt like home, to give my home there some much needed attention (it's been rented out for four years)and also, quite importantly, to introduce my children to their extended family. They have spent four years in New Zealand and although we are happy to have had a hand full of guests, including two sets of grandparents, they have been out of the loop on cousins and aunts and uncles. This became apparent when I had to explain the definition of Aunt and Uncle to them at 6 and 7 years old. The trip was a team building one and I found myself intermittently choked up with reverence for the little dears and wondering how to humanely sedate them. Desmond and Lillian have a bond that somehow gives them latitude to be painfully honest, refreshingly allied and fiercely opposed, (all in the space of five minutes, sometimes) I had to pull them apart (and remove claws) after Lillian called Desmond's sweater "girls" or when Desmond started sputtering with clenched fists, not liking the way Lillian was using the flat airport escalator as an exercise treadmill, staying stationary (come to think of it no one on the escalator liked that routine) The moods and charm moved like mercury and I got better at diversion rather than logical conflict resolution. One day, I was in the library using the computer. (An accident with my computer early in the trip had snuffed out my new lap top.) Lillian, playing in the chidren's section, became quite restless. I told her to go pick out some books to check out. I was trying to fully utilize my half hour slot of time online. All was well for a while until I started to hear an argument. I only heard the librarian, not Lil, she was quiet ans resolute that the 40 or so books she had picked out were all necessary and would certainly be acceptable to her mother. I ignored the conversation as long as I could. Lillian started shuttling her selection of books over to me in several lots. We sat next to a pretty tolerant woman, negotiating about the cache of books. The woman finally looked at me and advised me that some expert once told her it can be fruitless (and inadvisable) to reason with your child in some circumstances. Thank You. Reducing the books down to even 20 was a process too loud for my comfort in such a hushy space.

I had some renovations in mind for the house. It needed a new deck in the back and the bathroom needed to be revamped, Jordan (pleasingly) procured some funds and a volunteer to help with the project. Justin, Jordan's stepfather offered to come and help for two weeks. This was an exceptional opportunity for affordable progress and some family connection. I had never spent any time on my own with Justin and it seemed a little nervy at first, but in the end, it turned out to be a great visit (and very productive, too) Justin got put through the test by the kids. One day I had to go to the mainland to get some materials. Justin told me he thought he could get plenty of work done while he watched the kids. Hmmm, I wondered, what will they try and get away with under those circumstances? Lillian, with her bird dog nose for sugar, found her hidden collection of pinata candy as well as a big bag of gummy worms. And let the wild rumpus begin! Justin seemed a little shell shocked when he told me the story. I just patted him on the shoulder and said, "If that's the least of your worries, your doing just fine." I feared they had burst his bubble though. Justin was a wonderful Grandad and gave the kids a chance to do some 'important' jobs to help with the remodel. He was a damn fine father in law, as well. We had plenty of good conversations about our own challenges and delights.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reflection Essay: The Bread Route
Kate Stone

Creating a local bread service in Karekare, New Zealand has certainly been a colossal experience. With basic objectives being to trade locally and experiment with barter, the bread route has fulfilled it's aim. I made many decisions to get it set up, as well as business projections which varied, somewhat, from reality. There were unique physical challenges to operating a wood fired bakery. I learned a lot about structuring successful trades. I experienced benefits of enhanced community connection and personal health from the project. Finally, I have a few ideas to improve the bread route.

To establish the route I first had to put together a baking facility in an unused greenhouse on our residential property. I articulated a mission statement, promoted the bread and ideas about bartering, I had to expand and modify home baking recipes and techniques, balance supply demands with production capacity, source firewood and other raw materials, negotiate trades for the product, and keep track of the transactions.

In the planning stage I estimated I could produce between eighty and one hundred loaves a week with at least 75% of the transactions being barter deals. This estimate proved optimistic and was based on baking done in a conventional gas oven. In actuality, the wood fired oven takes about two hours to get up to bread baking temperature (and that's if the darn fire stays lit when you leave to do other tasks like mixing and shaping dough, chopping wood, feeding starters and rinsing sprouting grains.) The very first barter was a week of guest lodging and meals in exchange for a custom steam system for the new Fontana wood burning oven. It took some cash for the brass fittings but the vacationing plumber was a heck of a lot better than I am at dickering at the hardware store ( I took notes as Dmitri talked the bill down from nearly 200 dollars to just under 140) With the steam vent converted into a steam injection, it was time to get baking. I had one week to figure out the best way to use the new set up before my first bread class. There's nothing like a deadline to get things done. I set up the greenhouse by replacing missing glass panels, putting crushed gravel on the earth floor, installing two tall racks, trays, wood bins, a large wooden slab table,lots of proofing boards and a few kerosene lanterns. We couldn't get permission to wire the space with electricity, So I decided to name it Greenhouse Daylight Bakery.

When looking for bread route customers, I initially spent a lot of breath talking about bartering. The idea baffled many people (not knowing what they could trade). I eventually decided to work on getting the 'account' first and the bartering aspect later; let the bread do the talking, My bartering pitch was becoming increasingly apologetic (which was not very fun or effective). Eventually with a few trading customers locked in I decided to take more cash customers, since insisting on barter seemed to be limiting my new venture. Some people are naturals at barter and they actually light up at the mention of it. My neighbor Diane, for example, immediately offered to trade honey from the bees next door (coincidentally, obtained through a barter like collaboration with Olivia, the local beekeeper) and her partner offered wood cutting. With a wood fired baking operation, we were going to need help cutting all the wood. As I slowly found more locals to trade with my sense of hope for a barter based bread route returned. By the fourth week I had a growing list of cash customers and the baking route had momentum. People started calling for bread and when I promoted the bread to new customers, to my surprise, some of then had already heard of it. The situation of having bread with no place to go was no longer a problem. I started to add variety to the bread selection, expanding beyond sourdough to yeasted breads, mainly ciabatta and baguettes. Planning was essential considering the need for daylight, the temperament of sourdoughs and the three day germination of grains. In the beginning I had a couple of batches of bread done at bed time, not so good for distributing the fresh bread (although it was still fresher than the store bought alternative thirty minutes away.)

The whole operation proves to be good exercise. I find myself moving the wood a few times to split it and stock the wood bins. The best variety of firewood is Manuka or Puhutakawa which are sometimes called ironwood because they are so dense and burn like coal. There is no need for a visit to the gym if you lug a 20 quart mixer bowl full of dough all around the show, either. Some doughs are mixed and kneaded by hand, depending on size and viscosity. Then I load the loaves into baskets, change my dough encrusted clothes and zoom off to the school to distribute the bread. Sometimes, though, neighbors come to pick up the bread and oogle at the oven or the new pup.

About 75 percent of the new customers are paying cash with new trades being struck occasionally. I have to remember that there were two objectives to this sustainability study, bartering and local food production. Most trades have a self equalizing tendency. One local painter is very liberal with his valuable paintings while another neighbor decided he wanted to trade his sanding labor for plywood instead of bread after getting bread delivery for over a month, frustrating, but handled eventually by (uncomfortable) communication. In the worst case, one can simply stop trading if it doesn't 'flow' with a particular trader and communication doesn't solve the problem. Issues arise when people have different values in their minds for goods and services being traded. A thorough pre trade interview on the front end of things can bridge a value gap. In the case of the sanding trade, I should have discussed the market value of the bread with him initially, he didn't seem to value the bread at the same level as customers willing to pay between five and seven dollars a loaf. I expected there would be some trades that would 'get my goat' and I am surprised how few snags there have been. It is, after all, an experiment. I don't get to up in arms about things. Barter seems to have held in a more tolerant vein than straight cash purchases (something I have read in my research of bartering as well).

The social/community building aspect of the project has been a real bonus for me. I have a role here in Karekare that I didn't have before. Peoples hearts are warmed when they get a call from me when I think they might appreciate a particular bread or I check to see if they want a delivery. Bread has historical significance as something shared or broken together and people still do have a fondness for a handcrafted loaf of bread. When the loaves come out nicely, all lofty and full of luster, I feel just great.

Improvements I might make to the ongoing operation is to modify the steam system so the the water is channeled down the sides and not in the middle, thus increasing the capacity of the oven by making the center space available, now it has to be left empty. In a perfect world I'd get the bigger oven from Fontana and really ramp up the production. I could source the organic wheat berries directly from the growers and buy them in larger quantities. It would be good to get a wet grinder to mash the sprouted grains, since my food processor doesn't do the job that well and doing it in the mortar and pestle is... although meditative, very slow. I would confidently charge more per loaf. There must be a pre printed carbon copy receipt book out there that I could section off so I could give trade bread clients a running tab and keep all the details in one place for my accounting. New Zealand has such a smaller selection of office products, maybe I'll find one in the States that will suit the unique system, I suppose I could use the computer for this. In the future, I would make sure there were no brittle eucalyptus trees near the GLASS house where the lovely Italian oven is located! All in all, I'm very pleased with the project and now I even have a fine little cash/barter business, as well as a lot of practical learning under my belt.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cloud Nine... Again.

This photo is of our front yard, which I take a lot of photos of. It puts on a show every day. This cloud event happened this morning. I got Jordan out of bed to see it, he was a little groggy or maybe jaded and wandered quietly back to bed. But don't you agree, that is a lovely sky! Ever since I chose to name my catering business Cloud Nine, I have started photographing clouds, maybe for advertising... but until then, I marvel a lot. This is, as they say: Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.

Little demon Lil

Lil is a resolute gal. If she says she doesn't want to eat something or do something, she usually wont budge, a millimeter.
This endearing look is one we get a lot. I'm not complaining, she gives wonderful hugs and sweet eyes, too. This look is a classic Lillian, though.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Zealand, Ehhh?!

I am letting myself not like New Zealand. I know, it's not correct, I'm supposed to look at the things I like. I'm not supposed to bellyache or complain. Just smile along. Well. Maybe it's more interesting to get it out. Maybe the public appreciation of my homeland would be worthwhile. OK then,Here is my list

1) everything is expensive, even dried beans, DRIED BEANS ARE EXPENSIVE!
2) New Zealanders are in love with the grindstone. What else could there be??
3) "Innovation" and "Clever" are dirty words. Now we are getting into it!
4) Stores close at 5:30.
5) All decisions are made complacently and together. (other ideas shall be set aside.)
6) Change is treated with suspicion.

I now will repent for my vent.
Which god should I choose, nothing is ever easy.
Har rumph

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Autumn is welcome

I am usually surprised at how I think I am not ready fro the next season, but by the time it really sets in I welcome it. I have 'lost' two summers since we started the New Zealand adventure four years ago. I mean that we left one sunny hemisphere for a wintery one. I will have to pick up those seasons some day, but for now, fall with it's crickets chirping and earlier sunsets and the need for the cozy bedding again feels nice.

My baking class went well and had 10 students in all. We had pleasant weather and the group was about half men and half women. We used the wood fired oven and made doughs to bake the next day. Sourdough is such a personal artform. A lot of things work for a lot of different people. It was nice to have a spiffed up house and some nice refreshments. Many of the participants were from the Slow foods Waitakere group.

Here are some photos of the event.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sourdough class coming...

Sourdough bread class in Karekare, Sunday April 11
Kate Stone has been romancing yeasts and fashioning simple ingredients into bread for decades. Sometimes using sea water from her tiny Alaskan fishing boat, or, dressed in regulation uniform at culinary school. Daily production at her restaurant Katrina's perfected her baguettes. Working as a senior baker at Auckland based Wild Wheat rounded out her bread skills with a focus sourdough breads.
Kate will be sharing her bread skills and anecdotes in upcoming one day bread making class on Sunday April 11th. In conjunction with Slowfoods Waitekere, Kate will share how to make and use a sourdough starter, as well demonstrate and explore various sourdough and wild yeasted breads.

With attention to both crust (exterior) and crumb(interior) students will learn to engineer their own perfect loaf. Students need to bring a medium glass or plastic container to store their new starter, and a mind to keep a sense of humor in. Dress appropriately for cooking.

Classes will be three and a half hours ending with a splendid bread tasting and serving ideas for fresh and day old breads.
Cost of the course is 60.00. Barter offers are welcomed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Secret recipe revealed for limited time!!

OK Folks, this will be here until Tim tells me to take it down. This creme brulee has made tens of millions of dollars and Tim is a very good teacher. I just spent a ridicules chunk of time documenting this recipe for my boss and wanted to have the effort go farther. So I'm sharing it with my wide and faithful readership (also tens of millions) Consider it a math task to reduce the recipe, if you don't have 25 guests coming for dessert. I tried to call Tim three times to see if I could share it with the world at large but that rascal doesn't answer the phone. So I'm guessing he wont mind....

Tim Barrette's Creme Brulee
Makes about 52 food service sized portions or 26 regular dessert portions

4 split vanilla beans
3 litres (or quarts) fresh cream

Combine in stainless steel pot and heat until almost boiling.

Remove from heat, set aside to cool, a little.


Separate 24 egg yolks and two whole eggs. (Save whites for meringues or pavlova, or low cholesterol eggs or discard)

Beat yolks with barely two cups (scant) sugar.

Slowly add 1 or 2 cups of the hot cream into the yolks and stir briskly to avoid cooking the yolks!

Continue adding hot cream in small amounts until it half of the cream is added and then pour the rest in at once- no need to beat. Stir gently to avoid foam.

Pour through strainer, scrape vanilla beans and add to cream mix.

Pour into 50-55 catering sized ramekins (or 26 larger full dessert sized ramekins). Important to fill them as close to the top as possible in preparation for the torch to not make black marks on the ramekin, (marring presentation).

Place them in a hotel pans (2 inch pans)

Pour water 1 inch (2.5 cm) high on the outside of the cups (do this close to or in the oven).

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes in a 150 C (300 F) degree oven.

Take foil off and bake for another couple of minutes, uncovered.

They should be barely solid when you jiggle the pan, do not overcook (they puff up when they are overdone). Refrigerate uncovered until cold (then you can cover them, if need)

Important Serving time tips

Use white sugar if in hurry, otherwise brown.

Sift or spread the sugar to fully cover in a thin 2mm coating on the custards.

You can only do a few at a time, because the sugar can melt onto the cold custard before you get to it with the torch (and the liquid sugar won't caramelize). DO IN SMALL BATCHES of 4 or 5 at a time (or more if you are fast at it.)

Hold lit torch pointing up and turn the custard in the flame sideways to guide the carmelizing sugar, if necessary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

update smupdate

All Is Well, this is to give folks the latest on the baking scheme and the lifestyle happenings of the Alexander Ganty gang or do you like the sounds of Ganty Alexander gang better?? (Ganty is my given surname, being dusted off for use)
Turning from tangent just in the nick of time.
I have the beautiful oven, with the steam injection rigging that Dmitri has masterminded, and all. Now we have to find a reservoir for the thing. It would be nice if it was thick old glass, but Dima says it will be a section of larger pipe with a cap.
The reason I want steam in the oven is to penetrate the bread dough as it first arrives in the mightily hot oven. This makes the bread rise, or as we say in the baking world, "jump". It also makes it blister and come out shiny (people love shiny) and crackly between your choppers.

Life will soon have a wood gathering element in it, since the oven is wood fired. Thankfully, we have Manuka and Kanuka wood laying all around on the 15 acres here. Were just waiting to get the thumbs up from the landlord to put the thing in the house. Originally, we thought we'd put it in the garage/greenhouse but it's such a queen of a tool, it would be nice to have it inside. It fits right into the space where the current woodstove with wetback hot water heater is now. Moving it may take some baked bribes.

I am making a system for chores and I'll have to add a couple of wood jobs in the "FUN HAT" that you draw your chore out of, after you do (or refuse to do) your other chores. I'm cracking the whip, for certain. These guys haven't had chores much and my new cork tiles on the wall system is going to give us the room to do that. I'm irradiating drab paneling with cheap cork and lovely little copper nails.

I have been working a lot to justify the $3500 that the stove set us back. It's the Kumeu Valley Estate job where I perform wedding food feasts. It is good exercise and good wage and hellaciously long shifts. Sometimes I come home after 3 or 4 AM, having left at 11 AM. Then I can't go to bed without unwinding a little, sometimes I whip through the tiny mountain of dishes, other times, like when Dmirti is working the same shifts, we wake Jordan up and open a bottle of wine, other times, I call Nina who has just gotten off work a few timezones over. It does turn my internal clock sideways (maybe it is so I can keep in touch with Nina's world, where she reluctantly works at the donut shop all night 2 days a week. Nina, girl- go get the Mcminiman's job next door, fa gads sake! Please encourage Nina to go for it, (anyone who knows and loves her)

In fact give yourself a big long overdue hug and then grant yourself permission to Go For It -as well. It is the job, the rest, the anything, the person, the companions, the health, the accomplishments, the release, the get up and go, the persistence, the spontaneity. Any darned thing you think I WISH about.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

photos of late

When life gives you soft cherries, make cherry ice, mwa!
Plus! Lilli and her first published Dirt Cake...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 11, 2010

bread on my mind

I have finally done it, I am setting up shop in New Zealand. There is a bootleg bartering bakery in the birthing. I got a Fontana wood fired oven coming my way from Italy (via Dunedin) and last night I picked up a mixer a lovely brute of a fella- Robot coupe brand, pre bumped and scratched and priced right. Fingers crossed that Evergreens favorable feedback for the project will result in a contract within the month. This time my studies will be in alternative and sustainable business and finances. I will focus on bread, gelato and Friday sweets. Later there may be some pizza production, if the first stages of bread route are manageable. Jordan is home a lot right now, since his work has him writing. The kids are launched into the second week of school and are getting used to it. Desmond is reading so nicely and Lil is excellent at acting out reading. Nina is doing well juggling her studies and work and had them laughing in her improv theatre mid term exam. We just had a nice dinner party of about 20 people for J and my birthdays with some good southwestern food including picadillo and chili verde on rice and a tostada bar with summery toppings like fresh corn and prawn and nectarine and mango salsa and canned refried beans (at 4.59 per can!) we had a collection of desserts, too. The show stopper was the flourless chocolate cake with raspberries on top. My neighbor, Sue, brought a cozy little plum cake which I have been having for breakfast with cream the last couple of days.
The red wines were from France (meek and well behaved) and Spain (a bit louder and more willing to spin you around on the dance floor) The white whine was a Sicilian number very dry and crisp. Jordan made apple martinis which I didn't even try. It was a nice party with only grown ups and I managed to be prepared enough to not have to scamper around cooking and apologize for messes.

Life is pretty good.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Finally in Friday Harbor

It feels good to be here. I have had two walks already. Tonight we had a rolicking dinner with Nancy and some guests. After dinner we broke into song. First there were peace vigils and then sea shanties. Desmond and Nancy are chasing gems on her computer screen and Jordan is setting up the bed. We have a big bed and a big cushion on the floor.
Before Nancy's house, we left Nina's house where we all (that's 4 of us) shared a queen sized bed. We nurtured our old kitty Samoa and ate lots of (actually delicious) donuts. She'll be getting to know two campuses of PCC. I helped her to register. Well I hope it was help- she had only two registered classes and lots of wait list. I know it will be a big change for her and send her confidence for tomorrow.