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Posted on Feb 15, 2016 | 1 comment

A Sunday in the Life

A Sunday in the Life

Sundays have finally become the easy, unplanned family days you sorta hope for when you start having babies. It only took us seven years. We are free of the (double!) stroller and the diaper bag (suitcase filled with everything plus anvils). We have breakfast together and no one has to help anyone else eat. We each take care of our own bodily functions, too. Score! We leave the house in the morning – not too early, not too late. We have one scheduled activity, then we are free the rest of the day. Since we’re already out, we stay out, meandering where the whim (and concentrated negotiation) takes the four of us. This past Sunday, I decided to let the unusual moments knock on my door and I would take their pictures before letting them in. I didn’t seek them out. They came to me. As someone who’s used to taking charge and making things happen, standing back and letting things happen on their own is quite unfamiliar (and a bit...

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Posted on Oct 28, 2013 | 6 comments

Desert Dreaming in Anza-Borrego State Park

Desert Dreaming in Anza-Borrego State Park

When I was in my late twenties, in the prime of my fabulous single life, I lived with my grandmother. Oddly, it could not have been a better match. I would get all gussied up to head out with my girlfriends and she would size up my questionable outfit and say, simply, “Flirt with the boys.” (Whether she was merely a sweet, wise woman, or just desperate to marry me off, I’ll never know).   Soon enough, my fun-loving grandmother became one of my favorite girlfriends, herself. We would have drinks on the patio together, go out for nice dinners, enjoy season tickets to local theater, and have our morning coffee watching the news shows before I headed out to work each day. It’s one of the most cherished chapters of my life, as I have fondly described before. One of our favorite things to do together was travel. We visited family in England, Arizona, and my grandma’s hometown in Ohio where she showed me all the highlights of...

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Posted on Oct 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Essentials

Our upcoming road trip and vacay with the kids is a perfect excuse to buy all those things in bags and boxes that I normally sternly instruct myself to walk away from. Let the wild times roll! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Aug 24, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 4: Podcasts About Parenting

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 4: Podcasts About Parenting

If you’re just joining us, this is my fourth post in a series called My Favorite Podcasts. You may be interested in Podcasts About Food (Parts One and Two), and Podcasts About Language too! These are two of my favorite Podcasts About Parenting.     Plug them in while you’re doing your recommended 30-minutes of cardio a day and you’ll return centered and focused for the rest of the day.  Well, at least until your kids derail you. But you’ll feel so refreshed, you’ll be able to handle it.   1) Aha! Parenting This lady can always bring me back from the edge of the parenting cliff. Dr. Laura Markham calmly lets the air out of my brewing temper tantrum (why do everyone else’s kids take naps but mine doesn’t?? It’s not FAIR!!! Ahem.). I like her because she thinks my kids (all kids) are great and treats them like the human beings I know they are capable of being (as opposed to, say, wild monkeys, which they sometimes appear to...

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Posted on Jul 20, 2013 | 3 comments

10 Secrets to Dining Out With Babies and NOT Going Crazy!

10 Secrets to Dining Out With Babies and NOT Going Crazy!

The one question I’m asked most often about my kids beyond “do you want more?” is how I get them to be so good in restaurants. It’s true, I have small children, boys at that, who are a joy to dine with. I can fully embrace my accomplishment in this area (and theirs) because I suffer the depths of disastrous failure in other areas (e.g., the global ban on sleep, among other successful campaigns against my sanity). I appreciate what I’ve got. And, I understand the questioning. I keep asking others how they get their kids to magically nap at the designated hour, in the designated area, for the designated time, AND manage to repeat the process mere hours later for bedtime. I also query near strangers about matters such as cellulite removal and how to get your cat to stop peeing on everything. I don’t really expect to receive the magic key of information that unlocks my struggle, but I feel like there’s value in the search. If you...

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Posted on May 29, 2013 | 1 comment

Tabletop Grill

Tabletop Grill

Inspiration can strike you from the unlikeliest places. On a run a few days ago, we just happened to jog by a family grilling on an itty bitty (and totally cute, but don’t tell Cute Banker) little kettle grill. We looked at each other and were simultaneously struck: if we get one of these one of these mini cookers, we can take it anywhere. As we’ve been doing a lot of outdoor living lately, I felt this idea was particularly marvelous. Cute Banker loves to grill and I do NOT like to make and pack entire meals. This way, we both get our way: he grills, I just pack raw ingredients into a cooler and go. We can do it all on a tabletop, outdoors! We had planned to run early this morning and then stop for breakfast. Well, the run didn’t happen. (It just didn’t, okay??) The morning quickly slipped away. We declared our breakfast a “brunch” and suddenly we were a success again! High five. (Sorry I...

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Posted on May 14, 2013 | 1 comment

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 3: Podcasts About Language

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 3: Podcasts About Language

Last time, I told you about my favorite podcasts about food. Because what’s more important than food?? It may be the most important thing, but it’s not the only thing. I do spread my passions around. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Anyway! This time, I reveal my inner word nerd and share my favorite podcasts about language! I admit, I get excited about words. (You already know my pathological fascination with names). I can while away a good hour listening to the history of language while I’m out running, or just running errands. That is, if the kids aren’t testing my own language skills with questions like “WHY is this block big?” My first recollection of geeking out over a word was when I was about ten and my grandpa told me the refrigerator brand name Frigidaire was actually two words put together: frigid and air! To me, it was like a puzzle and the prize was knowing the secret behind the words. I was hooked then, and I...

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Posted on May 1, 2013 | 0 comments

Hash House A Go-Go

Hash House A Go-Go

Part of any good healthy lifestyle plan is balance. “All things in moderation, including moderation,” and all that. (Thank you, Julia Child). Besides, we got up at 5:30 this morning – yeah that’s right I said 5:30 – and went running. So, as it’s Cute Banker’s day off, we decided to have a mini date-day and balance out our run with a nicely un-moderate brunch. We dropped the bambinos at Grandma’s and popped into one of our favorite haunts, Hash House A Go-Go in Hillcrest, a colorful suburb of San Diego. This place is truly an adventure in dining. For one thing, the plates are fun-house enormous. They are staggeringly large in a most titillating way. The garnish isn’t a few leaves of minced rosemary, it’s an entire bush. One of the best things about this place is the creative cocktail menu. I had the Hangover Cure (ironic, no?). It was a swirl of fresh cucumber, mint, ginger, sparkling water, and, oh yeah, vodka. They give you an ambitiously wide straw...

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Posted on Apr 24, 2013 | 1 comment

It’s All Good – Avocado Toast

It’s All Good – Avocado Toast

Going on vacation is a wonderful thing. You eat and drink and take a delicious, restorative break from your responsibilities. You’re so refreshed that, somewhere on your long ride home, you get the idea that when you return you’re going to totally change your life from the inside out and start living clean. Clean eating, clean house, even an exercise program starting at 5:45 am! Your spouse escalates this mania and soon you’re both making lists with milestones and numbers and schedules. To aid you in your mad plans, you pick up a book that claims it’s possible to maximize both health and flavor in the same dishes. For me, there is no point to health if there is no flavor, so this little adventure might even be sustainable past a day and a half. I watched a series on PBS a few years ago called Spain: On the Road Again. It combined some of my favorite things: traveling, cooking outdoors, Mediterranean food, and chefs Mark Bittman and Mario Batali....

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Posted on Apr 7, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Podcasts About Food, Part 2 (The Main Course)

My Favorite Podcasts About Food, Part 2 (The Main Course)

As I mentioned yesterday, I love to cook and I love to eat. I get a lot of inspiration from podcasts, which are great to listen to when I go for a run to work off all that great stuff I just ate. These are my favorites. 1) The Splendid Table This podcast takes me there. Lynne Rossetto Kasper can set the scene in a way you feel you are in Tuscany, enjoying a bottle of Chianti with her and her friends. She is also a serious, well-respected food authority. She welcomes all kinds of experts to her show to discuss the broadest scope of food-related topics, down to the smallest, intriguing detail. From the politics of food, to what “extra virgin” really means, to how (and why) to sauté shallots, you will be enchanted by every word.  If you are a food nerd, that is (Hello!). Lest you start to wonder if Lynne is anything other than one of us, check out her episode featuring eloquent indie rapper Dessa talking about her eating habits on the road. Nothin’ but voyeuristic fun....

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Posted on Feb 23, 2013 | 1 comment

Winter Wonderland, Cali Style

Winter Wonderland, Cali Style

We don’t have snow, but we have sand!   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 21, 2013 | 0 comments

Winter Waves

Winter Waves

A morning outing with my crew involves a lot of strategic planning and outwitting of foreign intelligence. I group our activities within walking distance of each other to achieve minimal car seat wrangling, and plan the longest car ride at the end so they fall asleep on the way home.  An ideal itinerary hits several notes: one errand for me, one play activity for them, a mutual necessity like eating, and, finally, a win-win-win scenario: two sleeping children and one relieved mama. Altogether, these things need to be completed by noon. The pentagon would be glad to have me. As I have rekindled my dedication to getting those tiny darlings with big personalities and matching opinions out of the house, because life is just better that way, I took the kiddos to the pier. It was in the same general area as my chiropractor which fit nicely into both the “errand” and “mutual necessity” categories. Two for one! Hey, I told you I get excited about organization. And the...

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Posted on Jan 24, 2013 | 5 comments

Where Have I Been All My Life? Part 2

Where Have I Been All My Life? Part 2

In my one-week quest to rejoin the hipster world, if only briefly, I enjoyed another outing today (two in one week!).  This time, the backdrop was coffee. Not just coffee, but coffee culture. If I had time to indulge my most unessential passion, I would become a coffee connoisseur.  I was asked a question on a quiz once: What’s your favorite beverage? After a heroic battle with wine, coffee triumphed. I can’t imagine enjoying those quiet moments at dawn, when the possibilities of the entire day lay ahead, without a steaming mug of strong coffee warming my hands. As it rises up, the steam molds a hopeful smile onto my face and fortifies me as I emerge into full, enthusiastic consciousness.  Besides that, it tastes good! I, in my former life, listened to a coffee podcast to learn the tiniest intricacies of the bean, from farm to roaster to cup. It was, at once, absurdly specific and undeniably intriguing.  Did you know they have worldwide barista competitions? I mean,...

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Posted on Jan 23, 2013 | 1 comment

Where Have I Been All My Life? Part 1

Where Have I Been All My Life? Part 1

I don’t get out much.  Like, at all.  It’s been a while since I was in touch with what’s happening in the San Diego dining scene. When Cute Banker and I do get a rare meal to ourselves, we tend to fall back on old favorites, not being able to produce a single new idea for a place to go. We are in such a hurry to maximize babysitting time, we start madly driving before we can even pull up Urbanspoon.  We make our decisions mid-drive. Luckily, I have friends and family without small, demanding people living amongst their ankles.  They keep me oh-so-tenuously plugged in to the city’s social scene. I met two such friends for lunch yesterday.  We have known each other since we were six.  All through elementary school, they wouldn’t let all three of us occupy the same classroom, for fear we would never stop talking. We needed a place with great food, and an atmosphere where we could linger. When my friend Nesha suggested Tender...

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Posted on Jan 8, 2013 | 0 comments

Huell Howser: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Huell Howser: Nothing Gold Can Stay

Huell Howser died this week. Calfornia’s Gold is gone. I feel like I need someone to bring me hot tea while I watch tv under a blanket and try to recover. I never met Mr. Howser. I never saw him do his show. I hadn’t even gotten around to playing the drinking game that affectionately mocks his enthusiastic phrases: “Oh, wow!” “Literally!” “That’s amazin’!” The longer this sad, startling news settles in, the more I wonder why it elicits such a sympathetic reaction in someone not remotely connected to the man, other than a shared passion for the state of California. As a matter of fact, I started out mocking Howser, myself. I was in my twenties, living with my grandmother, licking my wounds after an ill-fated romance. Watching Huell Howser was a ritual. Every weeknight around five, with a cup of tea, or a glass of wine, there my grandma sat. Reading the paper, watching tv, and taking a moment before starting dinner. Evening. A solid, pleasant transition...

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Posted on Nov 1, 2012 | 0 comments

Indian Summer: Baby, It’s Hot Outside

Indian Summer: Baby, It’s Hot Outside

  I like heat.  I love the desert.  Where others see nothing but stark land, I see architectural beauty.  The curve of a giant saguaro. The steep grade of boulders leading to a palm oasis. The mountain silhouette darkening against a brilliant, fading sunset.   I love the vast flatness.  I like being able to see all around me.  I know what’s coming (and what’s not).  I breathe deeper in the creosote-scented air, watch hawks play on the thermals, listen to the birds and hear the ghost of an ancient drum.  I sense the unshakable, enduring life everywhere and feel the peace.   As much as I flirt with the idea of living in some fantastic, cultured urban locale like San Francisco or Boston, I don’t think I could ever permanently leave the southwest.  Dry heat, you are my comfort zone.   On the other hand, I do appreciate a change of season and, yes, we do have one, even in southern California.   This winter, I’m looking forward...

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