Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Writer Am I Thinking About?

She wrote about food. I remember reading about how after breakfast she and her daughter would collect the coffee cups and enjoy drinking cold coffee left in the cups. She was very casual and funny and joyful about food and I believe she died relatively young. Does anyone have any idea who I'm talking about? Roger, you may have told me about her. Or Katy?

If you can help me figure it out, you will be rewarded with a bottle of limoncello.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meeting Sally

I finally get to meet the love of my life (creatively speaking, that is) and I forget to take a photo. Sally and I had planned to meet at FarmerBrown this morning. We ran into each other outside in the rain. She saw me first from across the street because she recognized my green jacket with fake fur. I had been on the lookout for her red hat, but even though it was raining she wasn't wearing it.

She's such a comfortable person to be with that I had the feeling I had known her for a long time. A bright, easy-going, matter-of-fact old pal. We talked about everything and nothing. But you're wondering what we had to eat. I started out with a spicy Bloody Mary (A+). Then moved on to pancakes with maple syrup, fried potatoes, bacon, fried chicken–with granola and yogurt on the side for good health. Halfway through the pancakes I switched to coffee, which was good. After the waitress came by 2 or 3 times to ask if we were still working on that, we threw in the towel and let her take our plates. Then I had a piece of chocolate cake and Sally had red velvet.

It was kind of dark in the restaurant, and when we were through working on our cake and walked outside, it was raining. I'm thinking the darkness and rain might be one reason I forgot the photo. Sally pointed me in the right direction to the parking garage, and we parted. Walking up the steps to my car–that's when it hit me that we hadn't taken a photo. I almost turned around and ran back, only I'm sure I would have run in the wrong direction. So I'm posting instead a picture from an old funny paper that Sally brought me. It pretty much sums up our experience.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Limoncello: Step Five

Today we transferred the limoncello into smaller bottles with rubber stoppers. (Are these not magnificent bottles? Tom found them at the farmers' market this morning–actually inside the Ferry Building at Sur la table.) Now the bottles will go into the freezer.

I had already put one of our mason jars in the freezer yesterday morning, along with 2 tiny glasses. After dinner last night we opened the freezer and tried it. It was like nothing I had ever experienced.

Lying there, she inhaled the perfumed scent of her body and clothes. Before coming to the Bendoro's house, she had never dreamed there could be such a refreshing scent. In her village, no matter where one went, there was only one odor, that of fish and the salty sea.

She recalled that her father had once rescued a man lost at sea. The people of the village had nursed the man to health. They had given him food and clothing and herbal medicines to speed his recuperation. What was his name? She couldn't remember now, but he had told her about flowers and how perfumes could be derived from them. But in her village on the coast she had never come across a flower that smelled so good.

That was from The Girl From the Coast, a book Lucille gave me Tuesday. I remembered that passage when we tried the limoncello–it's how I felt drinking the limoncello! I thought I had tasted and smelled every flavor until last night.

What I don't understand is, how could such a flavor (and color) come from the very outside part of the lemon peel? No lemon juice is used at all, only the peel.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Newest Writer

The following appeared on Mary Ann's blog this morning:

This delightful paragraph was in my yesterday's morning email from our blogmaid:

One of the things I gave RR for Valentine's Day was a little notebook with a kitty on the front -- from that Japanese store I went to with Linda. She put it under her pillow last night, along with a flashlight and pen, and told me that when I left the room she was going to write in it. She fell asleep before I left, so I moved the items over to her bedside shelf, but in the middle of the night (3 am) I heard sounds coming from the monitor, and I went in to check on her and she was sitting up in bed, writing in her notebook with the flashlight. It was beyond cute.

When I read Mary Ann's post, I emailed Kristin right away to ask what Ryan had written in the middle of the night.

Hi Linda!
Yes, you can steal those photos from Mary Ann, and here's one more that she didn't publish if you want it. RR wrote "Cat cat best animal in the world" in case you can't make it out. When she saw me photographing the page she said "Hey! That's secret!" Then she continued "You can send it to Mary Ann, but you can't post daily updates on Facebook!" 

Kristin explained: The kindergartners are encouraged to write the way words sound, and their anal retentive editor parents have to be OK with it. 

Even though it's secret, Ryan did give me permission to post what she wrote on my blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Four Nice Things

1. The day was sunny and clear.

2. I finished the first spread of the book I'm working on. It included a rabbit. Drawing rabbits doesn't come as naturally to me as drawing creatures like the one above, but the rabbit turned out surprisingly well. Ten times larger than life and very fat.

3. Lucille and I had planned a walk. I didn't get lost on the way to her house. We walked in Stern Grove. Afterwards I made her a Bloody Mary with gin and she loved it. She made oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and I had them along with my drink.

4. When I got home there were 4 boxes of Peeps in different colors displayed on my desk.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Limoncello: Step Four

In our case, the 11th day flew right by. So on the 14th day–today–we put 3 liters of water and 6 cups of sugar in a big pan and brought it to a boil. Soon as it boiled we removed it from the heat and let it cool. Then we put a strainer on top of the pan and strained the Everclear and lemon peel into the sugar water.

Now we'll store it some place cool for 3 days or more. Some people say 3 months, but no can do.

You're supposed to throw away the lemon peel, but when I tasted a piece I discovered that it was out of this world. The lemons we used were Meyer and the peels were so sweet that I couldn't bear to throw them away. I dipped them in sugar and then into some melted chocolate. They made great Chinese New Year tiger treats.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Closest Thing We'll Get to Snow


My dad has come back just for one night–to spend one more night with my mom. In the morning he's gone. Mom isn't here either. I go in to make the bed. I don't usually like flowery things at all, but in the dream I've bought a beautiful new set of sheets with flowers printed on them to put on the bed. It's a really complex pattern that I've never seen before. I'm about to pull back the sheet. Suddenly I wonder if they've made love, and if I'll be able to see any traces. I unwrap the new sheets, and it turns out it wasn't a set of sheets at all–just a top sheet. I'm a little disappointed.

I remembered this dream after reading Jean Gonick's post about missing her parents. Unlike her, I haven't entered the Village of Grief. And I realized when I was talking to Kristen at lunch that I was still speaking about Mom in the present tense.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surprise Package

Barbara, thank you for the 3-D Graffiti (above). But thanks for the cookies especially. Express mail fresh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Very Busy

Kristin had a dental appointment in San Francisco so she drove up from Half Moon Bay. We decided to have lunch. She wanted to get some Valentine presents for Ryan. I told her I knew the perfect place to get little treats, but that I was very busy and I wouldn't be able to take a long time.

So we walk into Kawaii Corner, this tiny hole-in-the-wall on Geary that is in reality a treasure chest. Charms, tattoos, stickers, keychains, tiny rubber cookies and pies and . . . you get the idea.

Kristin looks around and finds some great stuff. "Are you ready to go?" she asks.

"No, not yet. Are you?"

"Oh no. Take as long as you want."

Doesn't she know I'm very busy and can't take as long as I'd like? We look around some more. Kristin is ready to go, I can tell. But I haven't seen everything yet! My phone is unadorned, and I keep losing my house key because I don't have a key ring and isn't Chinese New Years coming up?

By the time we leave Kristin's bored and I've only started looking. There's barely time for lunch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

Bookmark This

Remember Jean Gonick of San Francisco Chronicle fame? She's back. And she's better than ever. (Or worser than ever, in her case.) Read her here right now and laugh yourself silly. And then cry and wring your hands because you know you'll never be able to write like that.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Our Sweet Bridge

from the Coastal Trail this evening.

Do You Need a Valentine Card?

Our friend Mari, the mad cookie baker, has taken some of her winning cookie designs and painted them on canvas. Then she's created cards from the paintings. Here's my favorite. You can order yours here, but don't delay, order today.

Below is the cookie that inspired the painting that inspired the card.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sun and Wind and Pretzels

I got out the sunscreen for the first time since November. We usually don't get out until after 5:00, and this afternoon the sun was still bright at 5:15. When we started out, the sky looked like this. By the time we turned around down by Pacheo, it was cold and rainy and the wind was against us. But we made it back, and now we'll have to drink some champagne whether we like it or not. And eat some chocolate-covered pretzels.


Hey, everybody! Janet Schulman wrote this book called 10 Trick-or-Treaters and I drew the pictures. I just found out that it has sold 89,374 copies!

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Imagine a novel in which a woman took in a stranger who was unable to walk or talk or even eat by himself. She fell completely in love with him at first sight, fed and clothed and washed him, gradually helped him to become competent and independent, spent more than half her income on him, nursed him through sickness, and thought about him more than about anything else. And after twenty years of this she helped him find a young wife and move far away. You couldn't bear the sappiness of it. But that, quite simply, is just about every mother's story. And it's also the story of every human community–every constellation of mothers and fathers and socially monogamous mates, every group of siblings and babysitters and [alloparents]. It's not so much that we care for children because we love them as that we love them because we care for them. . .

Alison Gopnik, The Philosophical Baby

"Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What you pay attention to thrives."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Limoncello: Step Three

Wash the lemons and then peel them. (Dee doesn't zest them; she says you need to make sure you don't include any of the white part, because that will make the limoncello bitter.)

Put the lemon peel in the alcohol for 11 days. See you in a week and a half!

Limoncello: Step Two

You'll need some pure alcohol. Dee's recipe calls for 190 proof Everclear. When you go to BevMo and ask for this, they'll act like you're a criminal: "We're not allowed to sell 190 proof in California!"

"Where can I get it then?"

"There are only 2 states in the country that allow it to be sold!"

Tom made it clear we weren't going out of state, so we settled for 151 proof. Still, the label warns Extremely Flammable Handle with Care so maybe it will work.

Monday, February 01, 2010