Sunday, January 01, 2012

HELLO 2012

Goodbye 2011. It is my annual New Year's Post, which seems to be the only thing I post anymore. But let's see if we can change that.

Last year was the first and only year ever that I made a New Year's Resolution that I kept. I resolved to quit playing Farmville and I was successful - it was pretty easy to quit cold turkey, I only missed it for a few days.

This year I don't have a resolution as such, but I am remembering what my friend Liz told me years ago: "What you do on New Year's Day, you do for the rest of the year." So, on this New Year's Day, I write. I will endeavor to to write daily, something that I have always struggled with, and lately I found that it is easy not to write when I haven't recently written.

Today I write this blog. Tomorrow I write, though I know not what. I have stories to revise, one book to finish, another book to start, submissions to submit. I will endeavor to make daily writing a habit, because it is more productive to do something daily, and one gets better at something they do daily.

I think it is easier to resolve not to do something, than to resolve to do something, but with last year's success behind me, it is time to tackle the harder things. Right? Right.

The nice thing is that some of the writing will inevitably be blog posts. This is a good thing since I have so neglected this blog.

Recently, having been inspired by this photograph, I have been doing art cups. I find it a convenient and satisfying way to fulfill that urge to create visual art. The cool thing for me is that everyone I work with (all 4, including myself) get coffee at Repast in the Mount Baker neighborhood and she uses plain paper cups. I get to pull them out of the recycling and have a steady supply of "canvas". I am working on cup #8 today which is an homage to Charles Rennie MacIntosh - always a favorite. When I get back home I'll take some pictures of my art cups and post them.

So, as it is the end of one year and the beginning of a new year, I have been looking back a bit. Some highlights:

1) I got to go to Alaska for 3 weeks this year to visit my little* brother and my lovely sister-in-law Lana, and the girls, Sophia and Coco. It was wonderful to be able to spend all that time with them, to see Sophia dance at UA Anchorage, to go with Coco to her swim lessons. I learned very quickly to identify Moose poop, we spent time on the Kenai River and had twice daily visits from a family of Bald Eagles. I saw a glacier and fell in love with the amazing beauty of Alaska.

2) I got to be an aunt again when my dear friend Kellie had a baby girl named Mathilde Dmitryeva Liskin. She brings joy to our lives - It is so much fun to watch her grow to see her smile and personality develop. I am looking forward to many years of joy from that girl!

3) Speaking of new babies - My dear friends Stacy and Andrea gave birth to twin boys on December 19th! I have not yet met them since they live in Boston, but I am hoping that somehow I'll be able to get back east this year to see them.

4) I got a brief trip to L.A this September to help Kellie and Dmitry celebrate their marriage with their family. As a special treat, Melissa and I got to see a taping of the Craig Ferguson show - very fun! And I got to spend a few blissful days in the magical world of Ovid, which is always good for my soul.

5) Tim & Barbie had an impromptu visit to Seattle this summer, which made me sooo very happy. My older brother Jay visited in November, also making me sooo very happy! And, my peeps from Portland had their annual visit in December, making me sooo very happy! Do you see a trend here? If your New Year's Resolutions include making me sooo very happy, then a visit to Seattle is in your future!

6) My favorite uncle had some unexpected health problems, which thankfully have been resolved for the better, but it reminded me how much I love my family and how little I get to see them, even though it was kind of a bonus year for me and I got to see my aunt and uncle twice this year (They were visiting Seattle area, making me sooo very happy!). It would be nice to get to Lexington, KY and see all the family peeps who have found their way there - one trip and I could visit 3 family units - a bargain really. (bonus: I could do a bourbon tour.)

And, as last year, I continue to miss my Rochelle in ways and depths I had not thought possible. Does one ever get over the pain of such a loss? I fear not.

But it is time to look forward and my hopes are simple - to write daily, to love and keep in touch with those people so dear to me, to win the lotto so I can travel all over the world!

Happy New Year to all!

* Little brother? He's my younger brother, but well over six feet...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Hello 2011, Goodbye 2010. I am definitely ready to say goodbye to that year. It wasn't great for me. Nor was it horrible. I'm just ready to move on.

Only one New Year's Resolution for me this year. I figure it's better to make one resolution and actually do it, than to make 5 or 10 and do none. So this year's resolution is no more Farmville on Facebook. I'm done. It was too distracting. It bordered on obsession, and I kind of pride myself in not being obsessive. So that's done. I don't even have to think about resolutions anymore because I reached my goal 4 days ago when I deleted all FV activity from my FB account. On to the next thing.

The really good part of this past year was, as always, friends and family. The brightest spot was a trip to Laguna Beach, CA for my beautiful niece's wedding. My brother and I searched online for months for a beach house we could rent that would fit the whole family, have plenty of bathrooms and be big enough for entertaining. We found a great house and everyone merged there. For a whole week, we had friends and new family over for dinner or breakfast, or afternoon beers. We spent days on the beach and wandering around one of my favorite towns which has barely changed in 35 years.

The wedding, of course, was beautiful. And fun. Vanessa figured out how to combine elegance and beauty with laughter and a great party! And her man Pat is a real find. I am so happy for her. The family she married into is so nice, (as Jeff has said of others in the past, "far too nice for the likes of us.") I know she will find love and acceptance there.

A bonus to being in Laguna Beach is that my dear friend Tim Link lives there and I got to spend time with him and Barbie almost every day. One night we had a combined birthday celebration for my dad (80), my mom (78) and my nephew Ryan (23). The new In-laws were invited and some of the bridal party was in town so they came and of course Tim and Barbie. We made Szekely Goulash for dinner (major Hungarian comfort food) and every one got to know each other a bit. It turns out that one of Tim and Barbie's good friend's is also a good friend of Joe and Suzanne Carey. Small world.

That trip was also nice because I got to spend a lot of time with my brothers. I flew into San Jose where there was a 3-way meet-up (and a drop off) with Jay, Jeff and myself. It was amazingly smooth. Those kind of things have the potential to go sideways but Jeff was in Petaluma and he rented a car down to San Jose. Jay was out on a weekend camping trip and had to drop his friend Molly O'Neal of at the airport to meet her husband Tom in Colorado. Her flight was about 45 minutes after I got in so it was perfect. Jeff found Jay, then he found me while Jay was rearranging the camping gear in order to accommodate our suitcases and then we were on our way. Spent Sunday in Carmel Valley unpacking and repacking the car and got up early Monday morning for a road trip down to Laguna. Can I just say, road trip with the brothers are the best!

So, that was the highlight of the year. The rest was day to day stuff with good bits like Thanksgiving and finding out that 2 good friends are having babies, visits to and from my good friends in Portland...

I accomplished a few things - I made 2 quilts with my friend Kellie for the Canaday House - transitional housing for the homeless. I finished 4 scarves that I had been working on (and off) for almost 2.5 years, and finally sent them to Anchorage for Jeff, Lana, Sophie and Coco. I started an Etsy shop and have sold a few things.

I guess my prevailing and underlying mood this past year though has been one of sadness... I miss my friend Rochelle, more than I ever thought possible. We always knew she would be the first to go, but I didn't think it would be soon. She tried to prepare me for these things - she had lost her mom so early, she was realistic about life and death. I remember once saying - I don't know what I'd do if my Grandma ever died. - and she said - when, not if. Once, morbidly, I tried to imagine what life without Rochelle would be like. I didn't imagine this. I am lucky. I have many really close friends, but, for whatever reason, Rochelle was the one I could talk to about anything, tell anything, work things out with. I trusted her completely to understand me, never to judge, to always be able to point out another perspective.

On our road trip, my brothers and I stopped in L.A. to get some Guayaba Y Queso pastries from Toch and then we when over to Berda's to visit a bit. Berda was Rochelle's aunt and is like family to me also. She had invited me to come down the previous weekend because they were going to bury Roch's ashes. So here we were the following weekend, and we went to the spot in the yard where they were buried and the grief became so raw and new again.

Anyway, I guess 2010 is the year I started learning how to live without Rochelle. It's been hard.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I was born 53 years ago today. And, in contemplating how I may celebrate this birthday I was thinking about how much the world has changed in 53 years. So I did some research and found some interesting events (besides my entrance in the world) in 1957.

Sputnik was launched on October 4th - The space age officially began. Wow. That is big. Really big. We then orbited earth, walked on the moon, started the space shuttle program and we now have a space station. No travel to distant planets. No encounters with beings from other planets. Well, none that we know of. We do have Star Trek though, and that's a comfort and joy.

The “Little Rock Nine” integrated a Little Rock, Arkansas high school. Two years before, Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. Three years after, President Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act. But today I'm thinking about those nine high school kids who had the courage to go to school every day while mobs of angry, nasty, vicious white people yelled at them and called them names. Like walking a gauntlet every day. Eisenhower had to send troops to keep order and protect the kids. I wonder if I have ever had that kind of courage or fortitude. Or if I ever will.

On the theme of civil rights and breaking barriers, Althea Gibson won the Women’s singles competition at Wimbledon as well as the mixed doubles. She was the first black woman to join the tennis national tour and the first black woman to play in the LPGA.

  • Willem Kolff invented the temporary artificial heart

  • The Pacemaker was invented by Clarence W. Lillehie and Earl Bakk.

  • The first non-stop round-the-world flight - it took 45 hours, 19 minutes.

  • Around the World in 80 Days won Best Picture at The Academy Awards

  • West Side Story was playing to sold out audiences on Broadway

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, Nixon was Veep.

  • And the Iconic '57 Chevy Bel Air was introduced

I share my birthday - day and year - with Dan Castellaneta - better known as Homer Simpson. Good company I think. I also share this day with singer/songwriter Toni Childs, whom I happen to know because she was a friend of my former roommate (and alleged husband) Ovid Pope. I didn't know we have the same birthday until today…

In 1957 one of my favorite writers, James Agee, published A Death in the Family, which was also the first book of his I read. Noam Chomsky was still doing his linguistic thing and published Syntactic Structures. Jack Kerouac published On the Road, a book much hailed by many, but I have yet to develop the patience to get through it.

1957 was also the year we sadly lost Humphrey Bogart and Arturo Toscanini. Joe McCarthy died that year too, but I'm thinking no big loss, eh? Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

The cost of a first class stamp was 3 cents. The Population of the United States was 1.7 million,,,today it is 310 million. Life expectancy was 69.5 years - now it is 78.1 years. The US GDP was 461 billion. Now it's 14,260 billion - which is really in the trillions, right? The Federal debt was 272 billion - now it's 12,300 billion - which again, is really trillions…

Unemployment then: 4.1% Unemployment now: 9.6%

The Consumer Price Index measures changes through time in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households (according to Wikipedia). In 1957 it was 28.1. Today it is 214.5. I don't really know what that means, but I think we pay a lot more now for stuff than we did then - but then again, we make more too…when we're employed…which I'm not…much…

So, 2010… no hover cars, no jet pack travel, no going to mars for lunch, but still pretty cool. We have computers and internet. Internet… that is something the old Sci-fi writers never imagined, and it's one of the coolest things we have. I did the research for this without leaving my room and in about 5 minutes. I remember telling a story to someone recently about researching an artist and his work for an employer who thought he wanted to invest in a piece (note to all - art is not an investment - you buy it because you love it). I learned more than I wanted to know about the artist and his work (which I was not particularly in like with) yadda yadda yadda, and when I finished the story, I wondered how in the hell did I do the research - in my mind I did it on the internet - googled it and all, but this was back in 1986 - there was no internet! Hmmmm…

1957 - 2010 There were some great beginnings of things the years I was born. Maybe not all of it went the way we thought, but then what ever does? We have some cool stuff and we've made progress in areas once thought impossible - after all, we elected a black president - that's pretty damn awesome. But we also have global climate change - not cool; pollution, over-population and diminishing resources - not cool; wars being waged around the globe - 2 being started by my country - not cool.

However, I am a cynic with hope (which I think is a good internal balance) and I would like to tie this all up with my favorite new quote which I heard just the other day on NPR…

"The good news is that if everyone is part of the problem, then everyone can be part of the solution." ~ Enric Sala

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Sanguineous Tale

This morning I got up and took the #30 bus down the Adobe headquarters in Fremont because I had an appointment with the Blood-mobile there. I have donated blood at the Blood-mobile before, and I have also tried to donate at the brick and mortar Puget Sound Blood Center. The problem with the non-mobile donation center is that the people working there seem to be newbies, while the folks at the Blood-mobile are veterans. And, the problem with newbies is that they lack the experience - I was poked twice in one arm and once in the other, but they never hit the vein. The trip was in vain. No blood donated.

So, this morning, I went to the Blood-mobile. I happened to have the same gentleman who helped me last time and we were chatting a bit. He mentioned that he liked that I donate regularly and I said that I kind of feel obligated being an O-neg universal donor. "What?" says he, while showing me my official PSBC donation print out. And there it is in black and white: A-pos.

A-positive?!! How can that be? I've always been O-neg!

I felt disoriented, like I had stepped into someone else's body...

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. "

I started hyper-ventilating a bit. How could my blood have changed. Through the loud pounding in my ears I faintly heard his voice, "We see this a lot if your blood was typed in the military...lots of mistakes."

But I've never been in the military. Wait a minute... I was born when my Dad was in the Air Force. I had an operation when I was 2 at the military hospital in Tachikawa. Is this where we were told my blood type? Hmmm...

The pounding in my ears is fainter now and I hear him say clearly, "That's OK. We always need A-pos. We are always running low on A-pos."

OK. Reset the self image. The blood is A-pos. They always need A-pos. Everything is going to be alright. No need to panic.

No need to panic, but definitely a need for blood donations. Go to the Puget Sound Blood Center and make an appointment at a blood drive near you.

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Dear FaceBook -

Please stop improving your website. I know constant improvements can justify your place in the universe and provide jobs in a bad economy, but I think your place in the universe is sufficiently intact and needs no justification - just be. If you want to continue providing jobs, then perhaps instead of tweaking and re-tweaking an already viable site, why not set your sights on developing the next big thing?

Because here's the deal - your improvements do not enhance my use of the website. And isn't that the only reason, the Excalibur if you will, of web development? Enhancing user experience? It is. We all know it is. And so, you are treading close to the big FAIL.

In particular, I would like to mention that every time my mouse slides over your page, a pop-up appears - a box with a persons profile picture and buttons to click to add as a friend or to send a message. COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. We all know how to click on a persons name or picture should we desire to send them a message or add them as a friend. We, your users, are not idiots. These pop-ups, like all pop-ups in the entire world, are annoying. Really, you should know better. Shame on you. In addition to annoying, these particular pop-ups linger, blocking the content I wish to see. Double shame on you.

So to re-cap, you have:
  1. Annoyed me

  2. Underestimated my intelligence

  3. Blocked content

  4. Failed to optimize my user experience (UX)

  5. And, Annoyed me (worth mentioning again, I think)

Thank you for your website which has and continues to re-connect me with people - both those I want and those I don't. But, please stop with the annoyance.



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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


In these waning days of summer I had a flat of Nectarines ripening up. But as it can happen, they were all ripe at once and there was no way to eat them all before they went bad. Nectarines + Ripe at same time = Cobbler.

The first thing to do is peel them. The easy way to do this is to boil some water first - when it's boiling you drop in the fruit for a few seconds. After they cool off, the skin separates from the fruit and peels right off.

Cut the nectarines up...

Add the sugar and spice - cinnamon and my fave, cardamom...

Add some flour or cornstarch or quick tapioca and mix. My preferred addition is the tapioca, but I wasn't making this at home and had no tapioca, so I used flour.

Preheat your oven to 350 and put the fruit in to start cooking.

While the fruit is cooking, get your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl...

Whisk it together to completely blend...

Add your cut up butter - remember it must be cold...

Use your hands or a pastry cutter to mix it into a coarse meal...

Add 1/2 cup of boiling water and...

Mix until it just comes together.

Remove the partially cooked fruit from the oven...

Spoon the biscuit mix over the top - it doesn't have to be pretty. Cook for about another 1/2 hour.

Et viola! Cobbler!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010


One of the reasons I like warmer weather is because I can wear my favorite footwear: flip flops. Also known as thongs or, as we said when we were youngsters in Japan, zoris. By the way, zoris is not grammatically correct, it should be zori. It's the same singular or plural. Like deer and deer. But I digress into etymology - bad habit.

So flip flops. I switch to them as early in the season as I can, and I try to stretch the summer as long as I can. I am never eager to put away the flip flops. This summer in Seattle has been unusually warm with some bizarrely cold days thrown in intermittently. Tuesday was rainy and cold - I don't think it got above 54 or so. Everyone wondered if summer had gone. No. It's still here. But my flip flops are not.

I fell down today and one of my flip flops broke. The toe thing ripped out. No way to repair it. I got on the bus, one foot properly shod, the other bare. On the way home I stopped at a Walgreens to buy another pair of flip flops, but they were out. It may still be in summer in Seattle, but in Walgreens the seasonal stuff is for October and Halloween. I bought a pair of slippers. The size said large, but I have big Hungarian peasant feet, and I could barely get them on. Still, I didn't have to walk around the city bare foot.

There used to be a time when I could wear any old flip flop, but as I get older, it's harder. My feet, like everything else, need more support. Last year I discovered the Adidas flip flop with arch support. They are fabulous. I can wear them all day without any foot pain. Tomorrow I have to go on the hunt for another pair, but as I rode the bus home I was remembering other flip flops and flip flop failures.

Those of you who know me will not be surprised to find out that this isn’t the first time I've fallen and broken this particular type of footwear. A few years ago in Florida I was shopping at the Wal-Mart while waiting for my cousin to finish her appointment. We had one of those days with torrential rain for about an hour, then sunny skies. As I walked across the Wal-Mart parking lot to my cousin's car, I tripped and fell forward into a giant puddle. I was wet from head to toe, and I broke one of my flip flops. So, I got up and went back into the store and bought another pair.

This falling and breaking flip flops could be attributed to my general clumsiness, but I blame it on one leg being slightly shorter than the other. It's not really shorter, but ever since I had knee surgery 30 years ago, it doesn't bend all the way, nor does it straighten all the way - effectively making it shorter. I like this theory better than the idea that I lack a certain grace.

When I was traveling in India with my friend Kellie, I had my favorite flip flops with me. (Flip flops are really the only footwear needed in India.) They were easily about 20 years old, but they were the type that had the thicker rainbow sole, except instead of rainbow mine went from bright orange to yellow, natch. They also had the super comfy woven thong part in yellow. I loved them. So comfy, so dependable, like a old friend they were. One evening we were on the train going from Mumbai to Arangabad - first class sleeper, very nice - and I took off my flip flops and put them under my sleeping platform thingy. About a half hour before our stop, the steward came by and woke us up. I went to put on my flip flops but there was only one there. Turns out that all down the length of the train the partitions between sleeping cubicles do not go all the way to the floor. Sometime in the night one of my flip flops evidently went skittering around the train. I got down on my hands and knees and looked for it to no avail. I couldn't really go into the other cubicles and look because they were occupied. So I put the single shoe into my backpack and pulled out my sneakers. The next day I bought a pair of Indian flip flops.

Indian flip flops. Definitely made of an inferior grade of foam rubber. In the end I bought several pair throughout our travels because they wore out so quickly. But they only cost about 10 or 20 rupees which is less than 50 cents at most. A couple of weeks later, maybe when we were in Pushkar or Jailselmer, Kellie asked me why I was still carrying around the one flip flop. I don't know why. I didn't want to part with it. Then I realized that what I was hoping was that as we continued our travels, the other flip flop would catch up with us, or, reappear on another train. How absurd. I tossed it. Adios favorite flip flops. India is magical, but it's not that magical.

Keep your fingers crossed that I'll find some great zori tomorrow!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I have been on Facebook for several years now, and I really enjoy it. I like seeing regular picture updates of my nieces in Alaska, and keeping up with far away friends that I normally would talk to maybe once or twice a year. I feel much more connected to everyone. And I've been reconnected to so many people that I had lost track of.

That being said, recently I've had friend requests from people from my high school days. I've been out of high school for more than 35 years, so this is a little weird for me.

Now for some people the high school years are wonderful. Filled with great memories. For others, those years are the dark abyss. The time you prayed would pass as quickly as possible. End the misery. I fall into the latter category. Not everything was bad, but overall, it was the worst time of my life. A time I would never want to re-live.

So, recently, a two people from high school connected with me on Facebook, and I was happy to re-connect. Then someone else found me through one of the friends, and while I didn't really remember her, I recognized the name, and it didn't really evoke any nightmare memories, so I accepted the friend request. It helped that she was also a FarmVille player, and all of you who have that particular addiction, you know we always want new farming neighbors, right?

Well, it seems something of an mini-landslide of high school friend requests have started. (Near as I can tell, one of the "friends" is chairing the upcoming reunion.) I've managed to avoid these people for over 35 years, but now here they are, wanting to be my friend, when most of them didn't give a damn about me in high school. Some of them are fairly benign - I know who they are, though we were never really "friends". Others are people who made my high school life miserable.

I wonder if they know they made my life miserable? I wonder if they've changed?

On the subject of change I have two theories. The first is that we are essentially who we are and the essence of us does not change. The second is that we change as we grow and the people we were in high school are not necessarily the people we are now.

I know those theories are contradictory, but really, is anything in life cut and dry? I guess what I mean is that I think that people can change, but that most don't change.

On the subject of avoidance - I did not intentionally set out to avoid everyone from high school, I just got out of the neighborhood as quickly as possible. I moved to far away places, I traveled, I lost touch in the era of long distance phone bills and snail mail. But to be truthful, I did not miss many people - I was finally out of the misery inducing environment and doing what I wanted to do.

So here is the Facebook dilemma: To "friend" or not to "friend"?

I have been struggling with this for a few months, and I am now accepting "friends" from high school. For the time being I figure, why not, and I can always block them! But seriously, it is really strange. I am so disconnected from that part of my life - 4 years in 52 - less than 8% of my life and the percentage is getting smaller everyday. For some of these people, I guess the high school years may seem closer as some of them still live in the same town, or fairly close by. But for me, I cringe when I am in the old neighborhood, and living thousands of miles away, I don't get there often.

This coming October I will be in Laguna Beach, less than ten miles from my high school. I will be busy with my niece's wedding, and I really doubt that we will be anywhere near the old homestead, but thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies just a bit. The reunion is in November, but I will not be attending, I don't need to fly down two months in a row. Besides, it's on Thanksgiving weekend, and Thanksgiving is the only holiday I consider sacred. I will be in Seattle celebrating with friends I met later in life, but friends I will cherish until the end of my days.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Day in the Cafe

There are many reasons I like to work in the local coffee houses... getting out of the house, good coffee, good pastries, free wifi, interesting people.

Now that last one. Interesting people. That's a really good one. Sometimes the interesting people are people I know but haven't seen in a while and it is a serendipitous thing to run into them. Most times they are new people I meet, or surrepticiously listen in on, without introduction.

Sometimes there are crazies and that's always interesting too.

But usually it's normal interesting people. Once I met a guy who was in one of my classes at Seattle Central Community College. It was a class that was really 99% lab, so the chances of us meeting in class were slimmer than meeting in public.

One day I met a guy who tutors people in programming and I have his email and will be using his services when I take SQL, MySQL and PHP classes.

Today I sat next to two people who were translating a Chinese novel (it sounded like it might have been a murder mystery). They had the book, a stack of notes and a huge chinese dictionary. They argued over specific characters (Chinese writing characters that is) and the essence of their meaning as well as what they thought the author intended. They would come up with five or six ways to translate one sentence. Very interesting.

Now, at the next table, there is a web designer who is explaining to her customer, his new website, built on the Wordpress content management system (CMS), and as I listen, I realize I have a much better understanding than she does, of what can be done with the Wordpress platform. It makes me feel good, since I am so totally a beginner!

OK - back to work for me.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday in L.A.

Ovid picked me up at the airport and then we went to the Arenas' Barber Shop where DeeDee and Stevie Arenas were doing their hair thing. DeeDee cleaned up Ovid's attemps at cutting his own hair and we all got caught up - it's been 17 years since I've seen either of them, but time doesn't really matter, does it?

Then we stopped for gas and here's Ovid, just being Ovid...

Here's a shot of O's green suede shoes - he always had interesting shoes - I didn't check out his socks, but he is known (at least I know him to) buy ladies socks because they have better colors!

Ovid - up close and personal - there's a twinkle in his eye, even if you can't see it past the sunglasses.

After that we met up with Nathan Stein and Nikki (fromL.A. Guns) and caught the new Michael Moore movie. Pretty soon my awesome neice, Vanessa will be here, and then a good day will be even better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


While vacationing in Florida this summer, we celebrated a couple of birthdays. Those of you familiar with my blog may recall that our family has a special cake for celebrations - the HUNGARIAN RUM CAKE. In all our years of making this cake, I believe this might be the first time we've photographed it's progression... Here it is all put together in the spring form pan:

At this stage most of the work is done - the three cakes have been made and torn apart so that we can layer them with jam, chocolate custard, and simple syrup with Meyer's dark rum in it (dyed red and green of course - like the Hungarian flag!). After it's put together, we drizzle rum (Meyer's dark rum again) over it and put a flat surface on top and then weigh it down - usually with jugs of water, though my friend Tim recently made this cake and he used a rather large rock from the garden as a weight.

Now comes at least a week of drizzling at least once daily with rum and re-applying weight. The result is this:

The spring form pan has been removed and it has been inverted onto the cake plate. You can clearly see the layers and how much the cake has compacted. You can also see my mom, and our dear friend and fine cook, Louis Gualtieri, in the background. What you can't see is that Louis doesn't have his pants on!!!

Next comes the crumb coat. Normally I skip this step and make a simple powdered sugar glaze, but since my brother Jay, the pastry chef, is in town, he's doing the icing and he always does it right - because he's a damn professional!

Which is why he travels with his pastry bag and tips.

Of course, the chocolate that Mom has in the pantry isn't good enough for him to use to write the Happy B-Day message, so we are off in search of yards that have more blooms than ours - but first, we must take a break to make margaritas...

and play with our new toys...

OK - cousins are now trolling the neighborhood, looking for flowers to pilfer...

Et viola - the finished cake:

And the celebration:

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Thursday, September 10, 2009


One of my favorite things in a day is when I come upon the unexpected. Like these grapes.

I was racing around doing the last minute things I needed to do before I left on my 3 week vacation. One very important thing was to pick up perscription refills, so I was at the 45th Street Clinic in Wallingford doing just that. I found these grapes in their parking lot, hanging over a storage shed. It looked like they were growing from an adjacent backyard and had spread, unchecked.

The day was hot, but somehow, standing near these grapes the air felt lighter and cooler and I was compelled to slow down and find my camera and capture the unexpected.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


One of the nice things about being a public transportation girl is that I do a lot of walking and it's easy to stop and take pictures when you see something very cool. This amazing Lincoln Continental for instance:
I was walking down 15th Ave. in Interbay when I saw this beauty. Can you imagine the ride this would give? I think it would be more like gliding than driving. A road trip in a car like this wold be a luxury, except of course, I'd want it to be a convertible. But still... So, here are some detail shots - they don't make them like they used to...