Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's cherry season!

The Littlest Pinks and I dashed up to Maggiore's in Brentwood after school Wednesday to pick our share of Corals. The three of us picked 17 pounds in 40 minutes. That left us time to pick strawberries at Chan's, too. And then rush back to our 'burb for the Math Olympiad End of Year party.

This is our second year picking cherries and it's a tradition I just love -- it's the soft launch of summer as far as I'm concerned.

I tried something new this year -- oven drying some. They are good and I am looking forward to baking some into my chocolate chip cookies this winter. Pitting those puppies by hand is messy! The crafter in me is going to try to dye some muslin with the juice.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Foodie Saturday

While Dave went car shopping, the littlest Pinks and I headed through the tunnel to eat with friends. Our first stop was a restaurant I'd long wanted to try: Homeroom.

Homeroom is on 40th St. in Oakland, not near any other restaurants or retailers. It specializes in Mac & Cheese and its owner is a well-known food blogger. I wish the menu featured a sampler. Fortunately we're good at sharing. I had The Exchange Student with artichokes, spinach and feta. My friend had Mac & The Goat, with chevre, scallions, breadcrumbs, mushrooms and olive oil. One of her kids had The Classic and the other had Vermont White Cheddar. My rebels had scones and orange juice.

The food was great but very rich. None of us came close to finishing our lunch. Or maybe it was that we were saving room for our next stop, Ici, the artisanal ice cream shop, on College Ave. in Berkeley. I just love the Elmwood district and because it was a cool day, the line wasn't long. The storefront is beautiful and girly, and the owner is a former Chez Panisse pastry chef, impeccably credentialed in my opinion. Apparently I have a thing for Chez Panisse alumnae; I frequent a Temescal Bakery and read David Lebovitz religiously. My friend bought ice cream cones to take home; they are hand made with a bit of chocolate inside the bottom. I love that! We shopped a bit; I'm always on the lookout for quirky things to put in the kids care packages for sleep away camp.

The Pinks wanted to take a dip in the pool after we returned to the sunny side of the tunnel but the sun did not bring the heat on this particular Memorial Day Weekend Saturday. It actually rained in the late afternoon. And so we snuggled on the sofa, under blankets, and watched Tim Burton's remake of Alice in Wonderland.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Impact

I heard that distinct screeching sound that car wheels make when brakes are thrust upon them with the full weight of the driver. And then I felt the impact and heard nothing.

I opened my eyes and saw my car's windshield covered in a pattern of spiderwebbing. I spit the safety glass out of my mouth. I wiped it from my face and chest. I looked up; the roof was pushed in to within an inch of my head. And then I looked to the right, where the front passenger seat should have been. It was gone, replaced by my car's right door and more broken glass.

To my left, in the fast lane, there was a strange absence of cars. I pried open my door and attempted to  retrieve my cell phone from my purse in the back seat. It took me several times to grasp it; that's how much I was shaking. That's when I noticed the truck, now perpendicular to me and upside down. The driver crawled out of the crushed cab. He was bleeding. The witnesses told me that the truck flew over one lane of traffic, turned upside down and slammed into me. I saw nothing.

I called Dave. No answer at home. No answer on his cell. Again. Again. Again. I called my brother. No answer at home. Or on his cell. Or on my SIL's cell. I left my brother a message: I'm fine. I've been in a car accident. I can't find Dave. Please track him down.

Dave called back. My eight calls to him had come while he was in the shower. He drove to San Jose to pick me up. First Responders showed up, police, fire men. AAA towed my car away. We picked up a rental car on our drive back north. I went to the Emergency Room. In the waiting room I rid my purse and briefcase of more glass. Except for a headache and the pains I envision similar to being checked in hockey, I'm fine.

There was an angel sitting on my shoulder Tuesday morning. That much I know.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An afternoon at the ballpark

The sky was blue. The sun was shining down on us, both literally and figuratively.

There, looking out on the field at the Giants game, a few tears rolled down my cheeks and onto my orange shirt as my brother received recognition for his philanthropic contributions to the Cancer Support Community.

Fourteen years ago my brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Ten years ago he married Kristen. (She's the cute blonde at the left.) Eight years ago their first child was born. Six years ago their second child was born. With us today at AT&T Park were his two longtime friends and post-college San Francisco apartment mates, the ones backpacking through Europe with him when he learned that something was wrong. Two days after Barry's surgery Jon and Brian drank beers and played cards with my brother on my parents' patio while he was recovering from surgery. And today they celebrated with us.

I wish my parents had been there with us today. No, they're not dead. They were in Chicago for their great nephew's Bar Mitzvah. I hope it was mindblowing because the party they missed in the city certainly was.

Genentech partners with CSC and sponsors this annual Strike Out Cancer event. They hosted us for lunch and a meet and greet with some players. Balls were signed. Barry, among others, received recognition, and we watched the Giants defeat the Oakland A's.

I am so proud of him. Thank you for being a survivor, B, and for helping others to survive.


P/S What is it about the schwag they give away at these things? You can see that it was Fedora Day. What makes a person dying to get their hands on the giveaways that go right into the trash when they get home? Genentech was also giving out messenger bags. At first I was mad I didn't get one and then, in the car on the way home, I was relieved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Peloton

Amgen Tour of California. Stage 3. Up Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. Within 1/4 mile of our house. Blue skies. Temps in the low 70s. SPF 50. Spectators biking up the mountain all morning. Many police. Much media. Homemade scones for breakfast. Colleagues over in the morning. Party at Jill & Wally's at noon. Ina Garten filet sandwiches with blue cheese. Sprinkles cupcakes. Out Appenwall back gate to watch race. And support cars. And spectators like ourselves. Back to work. Until 8:20p.

Photo credit: Sherman Chu

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I got to sleep in! And then I went riding with my Dad. I was having such a good time enjoying the scenery that I didn't notice low branches on the tree approaching. And before I knew it I was eating oak leaves and doing a back bend in the saddle. It was pretty funny.

We had my parents and brother and his family for dinner. Dave deep fried chickens (turkeys are not as easy to find in May as you'd think). And then he deep fried frozen french fries, thin-sliced potatoes to dip in the tzatziki I made, and for dessert, Twinkies, Oreos and ice cream. In case you were wondering, the Chocolate Mint Oreos were the unanimous favorite. I got lots of affection from the three girls who made me a mother, and also wished they'd lay off torturing each other for just one day.

And now my tender sitz bones and I are headed to bed. Next time I will wear my padded bike shorts under my jeans ...

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Breakfast

The Pinks had standardized testing last week. Their teachers strongly suggest that the kids get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.

It then occurred to me that every family in the neighborhood didn't need to make a full breakfast those mornings, just one of us did. And that's how I ended up with 21 people for waffles, bacon, strawberries and French Toast Tuesday morning.

And then we snuck a few non-bus-pass-holding kids onto the school bus. Thank you Sly, best bus driver ever!

P/S BTW, my feeling is that these tests reflect on the teachers as much, if not more, than the students. I tell my kids not to worry about their scores.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Clothing Allowance

Oy the controversy!

Let me start by saying that I had one. I don't remember if I liked or disliked it. Mom? Dad? But it seemed to teach me responsibility and I never left the house naked.

(I did, however, dress completely inappropriately for the Alaska winter. Bonus points to Mom and Dad for keeping their opinions to themselves.)

Here's the situation at Casa Pink right now. Eldest Daughter is 14. She has good taste, expensive taste, and I think the timing is right. I polled the cognoscenti before making any decisions. The feedback went something like this:
  • It' a horrible idea because we'd end up supplementing to cover her mistakes. These people are thinking of their child, not mine. Dave and I believe that mistakes create learning opportunities for both parent and child. Parenting creates a whole lot of learning opportunities, doesn't it?!
  • A 14-year-old would not be capable of getting the same deals as a savvy shopping parent and we'd waste a lot of money doing it this way.
  • Shopping is an activity these mothers and daughters enjoy and that they don't want to lose that experience. (I'm not sure what's worse -- the smell or the music in Abercrombie.)
  • They tried it and ended up buying their daughters clothes in addition to the allowance because special events kept coming up and their kids also lost / lent out clothing.
We are still going forward. This will teach Eldest Daughter when to invest in an item (classics or designer) and when to go with the Forever 21 version for the season (sequined tank tops). We've decided to give her a lump sum on the first of every month to cover school lunches (3 of 5 days/week), clothes and her regular allowance. We'll buy a coat and as many tennis shoes as she needs, and underpinnings. We'll cover her athletic wear. But everything else is up to her. 

I don't foresee this being a problem. She gets royalties from her books, has a paid job being a teacher's assistant at the synagogue and babysits. (If you need babysitting, call or leave a comment. She's happy to commit to summer, too. Perhaps you need help one morning a week to do errands without the kids in tow? She can also entertain your youngest child at swim meets while your eldest ones swim.)

I'll let you know how this goes.