THIS WEEK’S ACTIVITIES
This last week has been pretty busy for us.Â We’ve eaten out a number of times and I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on some of the restaurants we’ve been to next week.Â Also our good friends Eileen and Jim came up from Arizona for a week or so.Â
We had a family lunch on Thursday with the kids, grandNathan and our friends.Â Every time we do something like this, it makes me so glad that we decided to rent an apartment near them.Â How great it is to get everyone together fairly easily!Â We all took turns holding Nathan who looked totally adorable in a blue outfit with a matching jacket and shoes.Â Â The food turned outÂ well and the company better.
This weekend we are in Healdsburg.Â Eileen and Jim’s daughter Alison had an art show at the Flying Goat just off the town square.Â So many people came!Â She isÂ a graphic artist and scientific illustrator. (www.lefthandlight.com)Â She worked for a while at Scientific American.Â During that time, we, along with her parents and friends, turned the magazine sideways and read the credits next to the staples first.Â She had some fine works and we were disappointed when the one we wanted had already been sold.Â
Tomorrow it’s back to the Bay Area.Â We need to do our shopping for our Passover seder which we are having on Tuesday.Â Yeah, I know, we should have done it last week.Â But just like when celebrating birthdays, Christmas or even Thanksgving, the most important thing is for the family to be together.Â To me that’s what a celebration is all about.
For everyone celebrating Easter today, Happy Easter!
CELEBRATION – JARDINIERE, SAN FRANCISCO
Â Because we are bad parents, we were not around when it was Sarah’s birthday at the end of last month.Â In an effort to atone, we took her out to dinner last night at Jardiniere in San Francisco.Â
Jardiniere, San Francisco
The Jardiniere is an upscale restaurant located near Davies Symphony Hall.Â Downstairs is some seating and a circular bar.Â The balcony seating overlooks the bar area.Â It is nicely furnished and has an intimate feel.
Here are the selections we chose last night:
SarahÂ had duck confitÂ on top of aÂ salad of marinated le puy lentils and heirloom oranges as aÂ first course.Â This was followed by a loin of cervena venison with black trumpet mushroomsÂ and a sauce au poivre withÂ glazed baby spring vegetables, smoked bacon and creamed nettles.Â I can only tell you that Sarah was way too stuffed for dessert.Â She made me promise not to review her meal since she is doing a review atÂ Braisin’ HussyÂ (entry date 4/10/06.)
John started with the braised Colorado lamb and shelling bean soup with Swiss chard and basil.Â He said it wasÂ very good with the lamb not dried out at all.Â He followed this dish withÂ red wine braised beef shortribs with horseradish potato purÃ©e and herb salad.Â I had this main course as well.Â The shortribs were cooked perfectly.Â They were moist and Â meltingly delicious.Â I thought the portion was way, way too big but John managed to finish his and mine too.Â Our biggest complaint was that the potato puree melted into the sauce.Â The potatoes were just too thin to stand up to the red wine sauce.Â They acted more as a sauce thickener.Â I was really looking forward to the horseradish mashed potato portion of this dish and I think the whole thing could have been improved by having rustic mashed potatoes instead of puree, more of the potatoesÂ and lessof the shortribs.
My first course was Maine diver scallops with sautÃ©ed mushrooms,smoked bacon, Italian parsley and toasted almonds.Â You know if you’ve read any of my reviews that getting the scallops right is a big thing we me.Â NoÂ overcooking!Â These were cooked perfectly.Â Yum!Â But the rest of the dish was really salty.Â I like things well seasoned so I would imagine that thisÂ amount of salt would be way over the top for most people.
Sarah – B+
Mary – Â B+Â Â
John – A-
WEDNESDAY’S CELEBRATION CONTINUED
Early Wednesday morning, Ryan gave birth to Nathan. It was a long and difficult labor that ended with a C-section. Both she and the baby are doing fine. You can tell how much she and Jon love their new baby. John and I have had a chance to hold and rock him and marvel over the perfect little person he is.
It’s made me think a lot about when I had our kids. Last night we got out the old pictures and oohed and aahed over how cute they were. But what a lot of work it is bringing them into the world! I’ve talked to many of my friends about their experiences having their first child and, wow, it is amazing that the world is populated. And that people have more than one child. It’s a good thing there is no compendium of first labor and delivery experiences as required reading for people contemplating the leap into parenthood. Most women will only go so far as telling an expectant mom that it is really hard work having your first baby. The classes you take warn you against “discomfort.” But until you do it, even if everyone told you the unvarnished truth, you wouldn’t believe it.
But I saw it in Ryan’s eyes yesterday as she held Nathan and I remember it well myself, the boundless love you feel for this little baby who has just emerged from you. Is all the pain and mess worth it? Look around. Look at all the people out here in the world. It definitely is.
With much happiness we welcome Nathan Clark into our family. Mom and Dad are really tired from a long labor but they are doing well. John and I have seen, held and rocked our new grandson. He is awesome. I’ll write some more tomorrow since it is late.
A new year. A new chance. A new chance in this new year to be and act and create what you want to be. If ever there were a time to wipe the slate clean this is it. To wipe the slate clean and break the old one into little pieces. To take those little pieces and make something new out of them. This is the day for doing it.
Although it was not the thought at the time, John and I jumped into the pool tonight (well, maybe sidled into the pool because it was really cold) for a dip; maybe an unconscious act of washing away the old year, the old ideas, the old prejudices, the old us.
As I look back and review what I’ve written over this past year I see lots of personal happiness but also lots of difficulty with the way the world seems to be going. I am hoping that in 2006 there will continue to be personal happiness but also a more positive path for America and the rest of the world. I encountered a lot of hostility from people who were so angry and so outraged over what they saw as injustice. I wish them peace in this new year.
A new generation of our family starts this year. Little Bruno (project name) should make his appearance in late February. We look forward to his coming with open arms. It is hard to imagine a new little being who could win our hearts like Jon and Sarah have but I’m told that a grandchild is beyond special. On the other hand, John and I are becoming the dinosaurs of our family. I don’t think we ever thought that we would eclipse the role that our own grandparents played. Kind of scary.
So love and hugs to all. Here’s to another happy, loving, thoughtful, purposeful year.
I love the holidays! I like the decorating. And the food. So far we have had only two cooking disasters. Both involved frying food for Hanukkah. Yes, Hanukkah. We are equal opportunity celebrators in our house. Why celebrate only one holiday when you can have two, or three if you count New Year’s?
On to the disasters. I got John a deep fryer as a Hanukkah gift (yes, I know it doesn’t start until Christmas night but I didn’t want it to get upstaged and we’ve always been a little lax about the proper day to celebrate things.) We planned on making fried calamari which is totally not kosher having no fins and scales but pretty yummy and carciofi alla Judea. Well, the artichokes came out oily on the inside and too crispy on the outside. I ended up marinating the rest that we had bought. The calamari was cooked perfectly but tasted terrible. Forget the calamari. If we need a calamari fix we can always go up to Mustard’s. So , yay, Mary, great gift (being sarcastic.) When Jonathan comes over tonight along with Ryan her mom, dad and sister, he will make latkes. Hopefully, this will turn out better.
Tonight is the big Christmas Eve do here. And by big I mean eight people, a record family gathering for us. We have an all hors d’oeuvres dinner. This is an old tradition in my house. Since my parents were all about cocktail hour and nibbles, we always did this for Christmas Eve. My sister, Phyllis, does it too. Except she’s having 50 people. In addition to the latkes, we’ll be having shrimp, croque monsieurs, pigs in blankets, crudites and dip, Sarah’s spicy bean dip with tortilla chips and potstickers, a real international smorgasbord. Also mulled apple cider, wine, beer and soft drinks. The tree will be decorated and we will sing holiday songs. A good time should be had by all.
Tomorrow is my blogversary. One year since Ryan gave me my blog for Christmas. During this past year I have really enjoyed writing my thoughts and I’ve really enjoyed hearing what other peoples’ thoughts are. I know I’ve pissed some people off and amused others. I’ve connected with old friends and hopefully made some new ones. Thank you for coming here and reading this stuff. It’s been a really good mental health exercise for me. A special thank you to Ryan who gave me this page and takes care of it for me.
At the expense of annoying some more people, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Marymom’s birthday, everywhere you go! Okay, maybe not everywhere YOU go but here in our household the cards are set up on the mantle with care in hopes that great presents (wrapped in not-Chrismas paper) soon will be there.
Having a December birthday is kind of sucky but I try to make the most of it. There are basic guidelines to follow — celebrate for at least a week, receive cards, and all presents must be wrapped in birthday paper. Things are going pretty well so far, I have a few cards already, a celebration with our friends, Karen and George, is set for tomorrow night and a family dinner is planned for Sunday. George has a birthday on December 9 and we have been celebrating “the birthdays” now for almost 30 years. How could we have gotten so old!
When I was born my mom wanted to name me Mary because she liked the name. It scored her really big points with my dad’s Catholic family because December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But I’ve never been keen on my name. I always wanted a nickname. There seem to be a lot of nicknames for boys that have no relation to their names like Bud, Lefty, Butch or Red. But very few for girls. And really, I’m a righty, not butch and have brown hair.
How old am I? Old enough to remember getting a TV for the first time, skating with skates that you put on your shoes and tightened with a skate key, and remembering “I like Ike” buttons. And although there have been strange saggy things happening to my outside, the inside of me still feels the same as it did a lot of years ago.
I think you’ve probably heard enough about all we are planning on eating. I’ll let you know the results in my next entry. For those of you who haven’t eaten yet, here’s a good site for folding napkins.
Happy Thanksgiving! Like the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, we should reach out to potential enemies, learn from our friends, and be thankful that we live here.
Today is Ryan’s birthday. She is our very special daughter-in-law. And this is an extra-special birthday. Why is Ryan getting the extra-special treatment? Lots of reasons. She makes Jon happy. And she is so accomplished in many ways. She is an Applications Software Developer at Stanford’s Highwire Press, a reviewer of horror movies at her site www.theyrecoming.com, an expert cake decorator and she gave me this blog. Let’s see what, else? Oh yeah, she’s going to be a mother!!!!!!!
Yes, Ryan and Jon are going to have a baby in February. I have hugged this tasty little morsel of news to myself for a few months. It seemed too exciting to write in a post. But on this day, Ryan’s birthday, they found out they are going to have a baby boy!!! WooWoo and BooBoo (silly grandparenting names John and I call ourselves in honor of Woodward and Bernstein) are just over the top. Having referred to the baby as Little Bruno or Brunella (which is what we called Jon before he was born) for these past few months, we are now ready to indulge in the real baby naming race. We ran Xerxes by them today. They didn’t seem impressed although calling him X-boy seemed a good nickname. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about it in the days to come.
So happy, happy birthday, Ryan. Thank you for making our family kinder, happier, more curly headed and bigger!
Love from your Marymom.