Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Only in New York, part 2

It's not that daisies don't grow in Southern California, it's just that they never grow quite as tall, full, strong and dominating as they do in New York (all right, they do it in other places, too--like in Colorado--but certainly not in my yard back home). Taken at Stone Barn Farms.

I promise, promise, promise I am not lying. This butterfly "played" with Meg for about 5 minutes. It buzzed her head, landed next to her, then landed on her cheek, then next to her again. It flew around her and tickled her and let her touch it--alot. It was the friendliest butterfly in the world and it happened on Central Park South at 5 pm amid throngs of people walking home from work, yet stopping to laugh and smile at the sweet little girl and her "pet" butterfly who truly centered his attention on Meg for several minutes. I have to admit, she was adorable, screaming and laughing and delighted with her little friend. She drew a small crowd and we are still baffled by this friendly little beastie. 

They say it's good luck to have a butterfly land on you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Architectural Inspiration in New Jersey!

If I was hiring someone to design a room for me, I would hand him or her this photograph. I love the  quirky color combination, I love the style, I love the detailing. This would inspire a fantastic dining room, in my dream house. This photograph is going to get filed in my "Dream House" photo album. . . 

I happen to be in New York this week with my husband and daughter, visiting our old home and old friends. Yes, I am still in love with New York. Yes, I miss it like crazy. But today as I entered the city for the first time in just over a year, and walked the familiar routes to the familiar and beloved places, it felt just like coming home. That's obvious, how can I put this? . . I wasn't sad to be there (I thought I would be, missing it so as I do). I was filled with the sights and smells and refreshed by the energy which I have missed terribly. But it wasn't painful, as I had expected, it was simply. . . nice. To be home. So this week I will be broadcasting to you from new York. Happily. 

I suppose I should mention that the above photo was taken in New Jersey (where we are staying with friends). Here are a few more inspirations from the Garden State:
Osteria Giotto in Montclair, NJ (21-23 Midland Ave. 973-746-0111). Simply the best Italian food--ever. When we lived in NY, we made sure to eat here at least once a month or so with our friends, Jeff and Holly (who are regulars, to say the least!). I plan to eat a few more meals here before I depart. . . 

(That's a drive-by photo!) Also in Montclair, a little place called Market. Small, cute, organic and fresh! And yummy.  Now, why don't have places such as these in CA? At least where I live in CA?  I am in love with these little sidewalk folding chairs. All the eateries along this little row in Montclair seem to have the same ones but all painted different colors, corresponding to their decor. 

So far we have pretty much just eaten our way through New Jersey and a small portion of Manhattan. . . it's good to be home. Tonight we made it home from the city just in time for a big summer thunderstorm. Now that is something we've really missed! There is nothing like a New York (New Jersey) thunderstorm. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where you'll find me on a summer evening

Call me prosaic, but a hammock just makes me happy. We don't have the space for a realio-trulio-strung-up-between-two-trees hammock in our yard now, so this week in San Diego (at the hammock store in Seaport Village), I pounced on this baby--a hammock chair! If you need me this summer, this is where I will be:
Now, this is a pretty hammock, it even looks pretty hanging out there by itself right now. For goodness sakes, it's white (I love white things) and it has tassels! I will be taking all of my coffee, meals and phone calls out here for the rest of the summer. 

Reality Check.

I suppose I'll be using my new hammock after dark because I'm currently competing with the "other" hammock lover in the family. Meg and I literally took turns, pre-school-style, for hammock time this evening. 

Here's wishing pleasant summer evenings to you all. Now if you'll excuse me, Meg is asleep and there's a comfy spot out back inviting me out for a glass of wine. 

San Diego, Unplugged

My husband was planning (another) 3 day business trip to San Diego and since Meg just finished up pre-school for the year, we decided to tag along! What a treat--his company paid the bills and Meg and I lounged, swam, walked and slept the days away! It was absolutely gorgeous in San Diego these past few days, and we stayed at the gorgeous Manchester Grand Hyatt, with sweeping views of Coronado Island and the Harbor.

I forgot my camera. I packed it, but it ended up left behind in the trunk of the car (discovered only in the last few hours of our trip). This is tragic news to a photographer visiting San Diego.

I think it's the best thing that happened to me these past three days. Without any bulk weighing me down I carried my little cross body "wallet only" bag,  I never annoyed my daughter by making her pose a zillion times every time she stared doing something fun, and instead of my mind looking for the next photograph, I concentrated on my Meg.

Before the invention of photography, one William Wordsword wrote about committing to memory the pleasing visual images of today, saving them up in his mind's eye so that when he was old and no longer able to partake in these experiences firsthand, he could pull them up in his minds eye and almost transport himself to that experience and emotion again.

This weekend, I will remember:

1. Walking along the boardwalk with Meg, exploring all of the public art along the way.
2. Making it all the way (she walked almost a mile!) to the pirate ship but then being frightened to go onboard to tour it!
3. Sitting at the water's edge and spotting crabs. The red ones were special.
4. Swimming for hours.
5. Playing Go Fish by the pool, laying on our respective lounge chairs facing each other and wrapped in towels.
6. Making s'mores at the hotel bonfire
7. How much Meg ate!
8. Watching Shrek on the hotel pool deck after dark
9. Meg setting up "house" with all her dolls and toys next to the huge window overlooking the harbor, then asking to skip the children's museum, she just wanted to "stay here all day."
10. Two absolutely perfect runs along the water.

I love photos, but Mr. Wordsworth had a point. I will be reliving these past 3 days in my mind's eye for years to come.

Monday, June 14, 2010


This week I started running long enough to carry a bottle of water with me.  I really don't like running with a bottle in my hand, so I put it off as long as I could, but it's kind of fun, too. It means my hard work is starting to pay off, that I'm getting better and stronger. I also have a little more "trail cred" with the other runners I pass along the way--I look a little more serious.

The running is going well, I suppose. I am a creature of habit though, so I'm worried about the upcoming change in schedule (Meg is almost done with pre-school for the year) and especially about all the traveling we have planned in the next few months. I've almost never been able to keep a up on my running routines when I travel.

However, I'm having fun! This is the best running I've done since Meg has been born. I'm  a little older this time and my body has delivered a child, so things are behaving differently. I have come up with some "running revelations". These are either new to me or I've only just realized them. . . 

1. I run best in the morning on a cup of coffee and a banana. 
2. I run best in perfectly comfortable light humidity at sea level (duh)
3. I do not run well in the hot, high altitude desert where my parents live. 
4. Deep squats really do help my knees feel better (bloody evil things, those squats)
5. Nothing will ever make my ankles feel better
6. But stretching is truly key to ankle and knee survival
7. Hills are best run at the end of a run, when my body has woken up.
8. White carbohydrates kill my tummy (goodbye pasta)
9. Speaking of my tummy, it will never, ever be flat.
10. But I will keep trying. (AB Ripper X!)

I'm not ready to sign up for any races, which I know is the next "milestone," and I don't really know what my goal is for my running. For now, I'm just enjoying the scenery, pleased with my freedom, proud of my gaining strength and happy to listen to my iPod playlist in solitude without someone begging for Twinkle Little Star between songs. 

A flat tummy at some point would be nice. Now that would be a milestone!