I know, it’s been a while. And it may be a while yet-I’m just not feeling the blog thing anymore. We’ll see…but, for now:
Add comment November 2nd, 2008
I know, it’s been a while. And it may be a while yet-I’m just not feeling the blog thing anymore. We’ll see…but, for now:
Add comment November 2nd, 2008
Today’s post is brought to you by Jet Lag, keeping me awake from 3-6 am for the next few days.
I decided that I probably shouldn’t let an entire month go by between posts, so here I am. I arrived in Germany yesterday for a couple of concerts with Absolute Ensemble. This is a group I have been a part of for over ten years now, but this is my first gig with them since 2006 when we went to Vienna and Sicily and I was pregnant with Ashok. This time around, we are in Bremen for the Bremen Musikfest, a festival we have attended for several years now. The concerts will be great, I’m sure, but the real fun is getting to hang out with all these folks that I haven’t seen in years.
I am here alone, which has been hard. I miss the family like crazy and I considered bringing Ashok, but decided in the end that the stress of the long journey, jet lag and hanging out with a foreign babysitter (that I would have to track down) while I work might not be more fun for him than hanging with his Pops for a week and a half. Thank goodness for Skype-we have been able to video chat twice already since I arrived, which has made a huge difference. Brian will definitely have his hands full, but he has already scored major points by purchasing a talking Elmo doll which Ashok was happy to show me during our chat a few hours ago.
Last night we had a wonderful dinner at a Syrian restaurant in town. Eating Middle Eastern food is really the way to go in Germany. There are so many immigrants from that part of the world here, and they are definitely the salvation when it comes to the German dining experience. I wish I had brought my camera to document all the delightful things that appeared on the table, but chances are I would have been far too engrossed in eating to remember to photograph anything. I had a wonderful lamb dish, served on a plate of hummus that was preceded by an assortment of six vegetarian appetizers in small plates including fresh falafel and stewed eggplant. I managed to make it through the meal without falling asleep in my hummus, an amazing feat considering I had only slept for about two and a half hours since arriving. After dinner, I hung on until midnight before crashing, only to wake up again at 2:30 am. If I continue to sleep in 2.5 hour increments, you can except a lot more blogging than usual.
I am hoping to get some good running in while I am here. Running at home has really sucked this summer, another reason I haven’t been posting much. Lucy isn’t the only one who has slowed down considerably these last few months-my times have been terrible and I have felt like absolute crap on about 90% of my runs. I’m hoping the cooler weather and change of scenery here will give the jumpstart I so desperately need. The beautiful Bürgerpark is right next to our hotel, so I don’t even need to worry about navigating city streets or negotiating car and bicycle traffic (the bikers here will run you down like a dog, seriously).
Now, however, I am counting down the minutes until I can enter into the greatest part of this trip-the German breakfast buffet. German food is definitely not my thing, as I mentioned, but they know how to do a very decent breakfast. I look forward to a heaping plate of smoked salmon, bread, cheese and unidentifiable meat products and surely some very strong coffee to get me through today’s rehearsal.
3 comments September 4th, 2008
Lucy has been having a bit of a rough time this summer. First a bladder infection, now it appears she has ringworm and requires medicated baths twice a week AND a medication that will likely make her barf that I can’t even track down yet. But most of all, she has been dragging. Lucy has been running with us for the last two or three years. In fact, if it wasn’t for Lucy I probably wouldn’t even be running at all. Bored with walking her and getting my arm pulled out of the socket at the same time, I wondered what it would be like to run with her and that was that. Since then, she has been our faithful companion on many runs. We were always very careful-never taking her out when it was too hot, and never going more than 4-5 miles.
Lately, however, we cut that back significantly. In April, we started noticing that after her initial crazy burst of energy for the first quarter mile or so, she would ease off quite a bit, and by the last half mile she’d be trailing 2 or 3 feet behind. Since that started, we have only been taking her out for 3 miles maximum and cut down the number of times a week we run with her. Still, she drags. Maybe it’s just the summer heat? Maybe she’s not a spring chicken anymore (she turned 4 this spring)? So, this week we decided to bench her for a little while. No running for Lucy until the middle of September and in the meantime I’m going to try and give her some glucosamine just in case it is her joints bothering her. She had an x-ray at the vet recently and nothing showed up, so hopefully that’s not the case.
For now we’re back to walking which, quite frankly, she’s perfectly happy with and since we’re scheduling it around our running days, Brian and I will get a little bit of mild cross training that we usually don’t get. Hopefully, her spirits will pick up soon and maybe we can go back to running someday. All I know is, I love that dog like crazy, so whatever makes her feel better, that’s what we’ll do.
Hiding from the vet at one of many recent visits.
Feel better, pups!
3 comments August 14th, 2008
Since we are going to be spending buckets of money on our house in the next few months (see category: Remodel Hell), we decide to pack Brian’s birthday (7/18), our 5th wedding anniversary (7/26) and my birthday (9/10-I’m going to be out of the country, so why not live it up now?) into one day of celebrating. No gifts, which makes life so much easier, just dinner and a movie.
I started this celebration off with a 5 mile run in the morning, which felt less like celebrating and more like drilling a hole in my head with a dull pencil. A truly miserable run, I’m hoping it was just the muggy weather.
After that, I assumed we would just hang out with Ashok until Brian’s mom arrived to babysit, but no, there was one more home improvement task to be tackled. We are planning to put a few large trees in pots out in the backyard, since we have nowhere to plant (swimming pool=concrete) but have been struggling to find the perrrrfect large pots to put them.
Immediately after we took him out he said, “again!” even though he appeared to be completely confused as to why he was in there to begin with. Anyway, that pot isn’t the one we bought but without providing too many boring details, we did finally settle on something.
Our real celebration began at 3:00 when we high-tailed it to a showing of The Dark Knight. I liked the movie, it was definitely entertaining and intense but I have to say, the amount of violence was a little over the top. It was particularly disturbing considering that the lady one row in front of us brought her young kids with her, they looked like they were about 10 and 7. Nice.
Then, the part I was really excited about: dinner at Osteria Mozza. We came here for my sister’s 40th and had an incredible meal, so I was thrilled to go back. This time around was no disappointment, we had an incredible meal and a fantastic server who recommended great wines. (If food talk bores you, you may want to stop reading here as I am about to give a grueling play by play of our whole meal, mostly so I can relive it and drool.)
Beverages: one thing I really enjoyed about their wine list was being able to order 250ml. servings of some of the wines, so we were able to try 3 different ones. My favorite was the Sangiovese we had last-of course I was drunk by then, so who really knows. Because I was a drunken idiot, I didn’t take note of any the names of the wines, so I can’t recount them here.
From the antipasti menu we had the Little Gem Lettuces with green beans, noci & pecorino. The noci were actually just walnuts, but they were probably the most perfect walnuts I have ever seen. And salty, which maked them even more perfect. Then we ordered a few small plates from the Mozzarella Bar. They were:
Bufala mozzarella with pesto, salsa romesco, tapenade & caperberry relish - a nice, big dollop of cheese with four spreads to choose from with crostini. I don’t know what a caperberry is but that relish was incredible.
Sheep’s milk ricotta, radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey & fried rosemary - probably my favorite part of the whole evening, the honey was unbelievably fresh and the combination of that with the spicy walnuts (more perfect walnuts!) was incredible.
Burrata with leeks vinaigrette & mustard breadcrumbs - Burrata is a super-soft mozzarella made with cream. The cheese was amazing, but the leeks were only ok. Probably our least favorite thing of the night.
We are both great lovers of cheese, as you can tell. But really, what’s not to like?
After that, I had the Maltagliati (a pappardelle type pasta) with wild boar ragu and Brian had the fresh gnocchi with tomato and basil. They were both fantastic, the gnocchi were of the melt-in-your-mouth variety. For dessert, we shared the Torta del Nonna with honey and pine nuts-more fresh honey and this time on cheescake!!- and a strawberry extravaganza that involved a berry sauce, crepes, gelato and sorbet, but honestly who knows? I was pretty much delirious by this point.
Today, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck (probably a truck carrying cheese). It was worth it, but I think I may just look at pictures of food for lunch today. Oh, who am I kidding? I need a sandwich.
1 comment July 28th, 2008
Our backyard is a challenge. The previous owners installed a pool, which considering we don’t have a/c right now is not something I’m going to complain about, is something that requires an awful lot of cement. They also built cinder block walls around the entire yard, another hard unattractive surface that is not so pleasant to look at. Before:
This week, we had landscapers who had done some work for us at our old house tear out the old plants in the large planter, plant some low-water plants with colorful flowers and a few vines that we hope will eventually cover the walls. Hopefully, this will soften up all the hard edges out there eventually. Grow, plants, grow! I’m trying out a pictobrowser for the first time, so let’s hope this works:
There are some before pictures in there at the end as well, I couldn’t figure out how to re-order them. Things still look pretty cement-y out there, but hopefully these plants will soften things up over time. Among the plant choices were some things we can eat! Lemongrass, passionfruit, blueberries and oregano. My vegetable garden is coming next-stay tuned.
3 comments July 19th, 2008
In order to jump-start my running again, I’ve signed up for the Nike Human Race on August 31st. The race is taking place in 25 cities all over the world and benefits your choice of 3 different charities. I chose to donate to the World Wildlife Fund because I love me some animals. I desperately need something to train for to get me motivated and a 10K 6 weeks from now is a reasonable goal. I’m trying to get Brian to do it with me, but he reminded me last night that Labor Day weekend last year was the hottest, most miserable weekend of the whole summer, over 100 degrees and humid. That couldn’t happen two years in a row, could it? Nah.
1 comment July 17th, 2008
No, not a baby, or another dog….
Brian’s car was on its last legs (wheels?) so we traded it in for something that sucks down a little less gas. Brian is totally in love, I think I’ve dropped to #3 on his list.
Speaking of gas, we’ve been trying to offset the cost of gas by walking as much as we can these days. It’s a tough thing to do in a city like L.A. where things are so spread out and public transportation isn’t terribly efficient. We took a nice 30 minute walk with Ashok in the stroller and Lucy pulling away on the leash to our favorite breakfast spot the other morning-I don’t feel nearly as guilty about inhaling sausage, eggs and cheese when I know I’m going to be walking a mile and a half home right afterwards. Tonight, we walked a slightly shorter distance with the same gang to a little Italian place, but the food pretty much sucked. Oh well, we tried.
I’m trying to get back into a regular running schedule this week. I’ve been in a pretty serious slump over the last few months and I need to shake myself out of it somehow. I also decided to do the One Hundred Push Ups program. I started last week, but don’t think I was doing my push-ups quite as well as I could, so I’m going to repeat week 1 this week and Brian’s going to start it as well. It will be much easier to stay on the schedule if we’re both doing it. We just have to stop laughing at each other while we’re doing them.
3 comments July 14th, 2008
This whole 4th of July on a Friday thing is a really fine idea, I recommend we do this every year. Having a couple of days to recover from the 4th is great-we still get a whole weekend of lazing about after yesterday’s festivities.
I have been on a bit of a cooking spree lately. This may have been spurred on by the fact that our remodel plans were finally approved by the city last week (it took 4 months!) which means we could finally start construction soon. This of course means we won’t have a kitchen for several months which may be why I’m cooking like a madwoman this week. Having time off definitely contributes to this habit as well, and I did just have a blissful week off from work after our week up at Sequoia. So, for the 4th I actually planned a menu. Pretty fancy, eh? For starters we had…
Caprese-on-a-stick: mozzarella ball, cherry tomato and basil on a toothpick, drizzled with olive oil and topped with a little fleur de sel.
Garlicky White Bean Dip and Pita Chips: I wasn’t so sure about this dip right after I made it, but after it sat in the fridge for a couple of hours and soaked up some of that garlic flavor and I added the fresh oregano, it was really, really tasty. At this point I started drinking and completely forgot to take any more pictures of food, but here was the rest of the menu:
Indian Grilled Chicken, my own recipe
These potatoes-so good!
Greek salad, courtesy of my mother-in-law, the Salad Queen
White chocolate chip Heath bar brownies, courtesy of my sister the Queen of all Baking
It was goooood. If only I had the time to cook like this the rest of the year.
Ashok’s cousin was over for dinner so they had all sorts of fun. Swimming…
Or, maybe just bubble.
Today, there was some more excitement around here, but I haven’t uploaded the appropriate pictures yet, so all three of you reading will have to wait for my next post. I promise it won’t be two weeks from now.
3 comments July 5th, 2008
Yes, it has been forever…and I really want to write a real post one of these days. But for now, I had to do this meme that I found on Courtney’s blog. Here;s what you do:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
1. Shalini Goel - Abhinaya Example - 1, 2. Biriyani - India. Chicken Rissoto, 3. Winter Rhapsody Concert: Davis High School Combined Bands 2005, 4. Verde no Aquarius, 5. brad mehldau, 6. Maker’s Mark Manhattan, 7. Fiji Banded Iguana, 8. Ice cream afterwards. Mmmm, chocolate and peanut butter!, 9. Winkin’ Kitten ;o), 10. Family Portrait, 11. i am excitable., 12. The R Man
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.
1 comment June 9th, 2008