Friday, February 27, 2009

We won!

A big hug and thank you to all of you who offered encouragement and kind words as I fretted over Thing 2's class auction project. I really put my heart and soul into it.

Today I achieved my goal: it brought in what I consider to be very nice amount ($1,950.00) for our elementary school and is the project that has brought in the highest amount of money this year.

I am happy its new owner will give it a special home.

My work here is done.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We (heart) cupcakes! Doesn't everyone?!

Sprinkles is a cupcake experience. We went to the only Northern California outpost, which is at the Stanford Shopping Center, near Neeracha's house. Cupcakes are made from Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, Belgian chocolate, real fruit and the like. The sprinkles come from France. They are made throughout the day, sort of like donuts, and they taste as good as they look. As a professional marketer, I do have to comment that the branding is just adorable. They achieved a high-end look of elegant sophistication, which is good since a cupcake will set you back $3.25 USD. As Neeracha predicted, the line was out the door when we arrived. Fortunately it moved quickly.

They come in many flavors and a different subset is made each day. On that day we were unimaginative and had all chocolate derivatives: chocolate coconut, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. Next time Neeracha and I will leave the kids at home and go for the lemon ginger, strawberry and peanut butter chip. (We can justify three or four cupcakes with two people.)

Now that I think about it, Neeracha et al got Eldest Daughter Sprinkles Cupcake Mix and the SF Chronicle Cupcake Cookbook for her birthday a few years back. I'm happy to report that we've tried about half the recipes in the book, with much success, and that I've convinced Eldest Daughter that it's really my book, not hers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day Cousinfest

The forecast called for rain in the Bay and heavy snow in the mountains. It was going to be an ugly drive. It was exactly the kind of weekend we'd always said we'd opt out of Tahoe for. Except. Except that my sister-in-law and her family were coming up from LA and we don't see nearly enough of them. Cousin love and all.

And because I can no longer handle the guilt of yanking the kids from school for family fun time, we left Friday at 2:30p. Remember the ugly drive I mentioned previously? It was pretty ugly. It took us nearly twice as long as usual to get to the mountains but at least we got there in one piece. DOT did a good job metering cars and surprisingly, we didn't see any accidents. I give my husband a lot of credit for remaining calm during some pretty scary road conditions.

SIL and her entourage arrived four hours later, after 11 hours in the car. By the time they got to the Sierras, even 4WDs were required to have chains on. We don't even own chains for our SUV; if the roads are that bad then that's a clear sign to me that we should not be on the road!

And so the nonstop party began. My brother and SIL from the Bay came up, too, so we switched off watching the little kids while a subset of us skied / boarded in the storm. Other cousins were also up from LA and staying across the street from us at Plumpjack. I was suitably irritated that they blew off meeting up with us. This particular cousin is a first cousin, not a sixth-cousin removed or some such, as is our Rabbi.

On Sunday it was snowing too hard for all but expert skiers to hit the slopes so we lazed around, played in the snow and went for a dip in the outdoor hot spa. At some point I made a scavenger hunt for the cousins and assorted neighbors. It kept them occupied for nearly two hours and included: a picture of them all in the big chair in The Village, a carrot with green stem attached, pennies of each year that they were born. The picture at the very bottom of this post is the little kids in search of a pine cone, which was on the list.

In all the years we've skied at Tahoe, we've only been snowed in once. I thought this weekend might be the second time but we did, in fact, drive home Monday night in a storm, along with too many other people. In case you think I'm exaggerating, more than 3 feet of snow fell over the weekend.

We're home the next three weeks. If you find yourself absolutely miserable over my lack of new Tahoe content, feel free to read my past posts. Also, Paige and Celia blogged on Tahoe this weekend so you can get more there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Snow Report

Snowing and blowing
Visibility zero
Mountain closed today

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A threesome

I recently had the opportunity to spend time up at Tahoe with my father, and with Thing 2.

We had an amazing trip on many levels, and for many reasons.

Thing 2 just adores my father. They are both active and adventurous. He is patient with her and teaches her things, like the Mendelson family snort. (My very smart husband is keeping quiet about his thoughts on her new skill.)

My father is an incredible man. I had an idyllic childhood and my parents have been married for 44 years now. Yet as the years pass I feel we have less and less to talk about. It's not that I don't want to talk to him, it's just that my life revolves around my kids, Dave and technobabble. And he's done with the childrearing and technobabble part of his life. His big activity these days is his horses and while I enjoy riding, it's hard for me to carve out three hours to do so with him.

So this Tahoe sojourn was really a treat. We both ski and Thing 2 skis well enough to ski with us. (Okay, she actually skis better than me now. Faster definitely. I had no idea how key the bright yellow outfit would be when I bought it. I rely on it to spot her when I finally catch up with her at the bottom of the runs.) Anyway, the two of them skied together much more than I skied with them. There was two feet of fresh snow, blue skies, no wind and temps in the 40s: ski perfection. We enjoyed breakfasts in, dinners out and laughs over silly things. My dad and I had six hours of talk time in the car, and he was a good sport when we detoured to one of our favorite girly stores en route home.

My father is very different when he's not with my mother, and Thing 2 is very different when she's not with her sisters. What a pleasure!

How lucky were we?!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Confessions of a paper junkie

Stationery has much in common with fabric. Yummy colors. Yummy textures. Fun to mix and match. Fun to shop for. Easy to amass because it's simple to store and organize.

I have long been a stationery junkie. From Florence I brought home many kinds of hand-made stationery, some stamped, some swirled. In Bangkok I bought jade-colored notecards made of mulberry with golden images of the Grand Palace embossed on them.

At work, many people use composition books for note taking. I have done this since hanging my own shingle ten years ago. But I buy my comp books by the dozen overseas so they look like no one else's. The ones from Italy have Florentine paper or maps on them; the ones from France have French landmarks and fleur de lys. In Tokyo I bought ones with Hello Kitty covers. They make me happy!

This past year I have begun to buy cards for Bar or Bat Mitzvah's. I can't find ones to my taste and I don't do ugly cards. And then I remembered Denise. Crafty, creative Denise.

I just love Denise. We met in the unlikeliest of places: in the hallway outside radiology at the John Muir Medical Center, where we were both antepartum patients. She had been hospitalized a long time before me, and we became fast friends in spite of the fact we were both plied heavily with meds to deter pre-term labor. After Things 1 and 2 were born and in the NICU, I'd visit with her and she'd convince her nurses to let her come into the NICU with me. Her son and our twin daughters became fast friends after birth, and we saw them from time to time until they moved to Arizona.

Denise makes beautiful cards and she solved my uglies problem!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I am present.

It's hard to live in the moment.

We all multi-task. We IM while on conference calls. We fold laundry while the supervising the kids in the bath. We talk on the phone while driving.

Recently I had the opportunity to do something that forced me to focus, to be really and truly giving my all to one task.

Ski racing.

For the 40 seconds it took me to complete the course, I was thinking of just that one thing: lean left and right to clear gates. It was awesome! I cannot wait to do it again. It was such a buzz, such a moment of pure simplicity, such an escape from my brain crammed full of to do lists.

In the interest of full disclosure, Thing 2 was four seconds faster than me and my dad was three. Also, it's a lot harder than it looks on Wii Ski.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's done!

With 17 hours to spare, the class auction project is finished. Phew!

Many people asked me why I took this on. Here's the skinny:

1. I enjoy quilting. There is something magical about the creative process, seeing fabric evolve into something meaningful, tweaking the elements until it's just right. (Here's a dirty little secret of mine: every one of the 30-something quilts I've made has one mistake it in. It just turns out that way. I never fix it because I consider it part of the charm. I actually thought this quilt might be the exception but then Thing 2 pointed my error out last night.)

2. I am competitive and hope that this brings in more money than any other class auction project this year. The thing is, the project itself is only part of the equation. It all depends whose child falls in love with it and if their parents have enough disposable income to procure it at any cost.

3. I've done class auction projects for my other two children's classes and so this makes things equal.

4. I want to contribute to our school's fiscal well-being.

And so it's done. I should sleep well tonight.