Sunday, December 31, 2006

christmas in anacortes, 2006

cap sante, anacortes

the boys

mom & paul's dead bird walk, guemes island, wa

christmas morning

andrew battles the cat

erik shows his hand

post dinner entertainment

city mice in the big woods

kindred spirits

northeast dinner in the pacific northwest, courtesy of paula

birthyear wine, drunk new years eve 2006

crazy felines, aka scout & miss pig

Friday, December 22, 2006

we're off to see the wizard...

Just over five hours now until Chris and I will have to say goodbye to Nova, lock up our door, and head on down to the subway station, at which point we will probably watch many a Lefferts Boulevard A-train pass us by while we wait for a Howard Beach A-train to whisk us away to jolly JFK. Not that I'm complaining, it's just that I'm pretty excited about Christmas this year and want to be out there in Anacortes already. All seven of us. Yes, that's right, poor mom & Paul are a mere 19 or so hours away from being inundated with east coast brats. Should be a thrilling, if slightly anxiety-producing, week.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

art installation, Project Row Houses, houston, texas

courtesy of the new york times

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've been stewing chickpeas this fall. There's something truly amazing about the notion that you can take a bag of something so completely inedible as dried beans, and so easily (if not quickly), turn it into something so utterly delicious. This is also a really, really cheap way to feed a crowd. This amount served three, with lots o' leftovers for lunch the next day.

1 lb. bag of dried chickpeas
lots of water
some salt, or a bouillion cube, or chicken or veggie broth
an onion
a few cloves of garlic
some dried herbs -- sage, herb de provence, oregano, whatever you've got around
a piece of cinnamon stick
one can diced tomatoes

Rinse chickpeas and pick over (there really can be little tiny stones in a bag of dried beans!). Soak them in water for as long as possible, at least a few hours if not overnight. You can also cover the chickpeas in water and bring to a boil, then let soak in that water till it cools.

Rinse and cover with fresh water (I used water along with some chicken broth) by a couple inches, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let 'em simmer. Peel and quarter the onion and toss that in. Peel and smash the garlic cloves and toss those in. Toss in the cinnamon stick, though if you're not big on cinnamon, fish it out after a little while. Simmer for a long time, depending on how tender you want them, but I'd say at least an hour and a half. Getting on towards the end of all this, throw in some herbs (whatever strikes your fancy, though I'm partial to chickpeas & sage myself) and maybe another bouillion cube, and some salt & pepper, and maybe a little cayenne, and the can of diced tomatoes, with their juice. Let simmer some more. They're done when you say they're done, and when the water has thickened a bit into a stew, and the onions and garlic are so boiled that they've practically melted into the cooking liquid, making a truly delicious broth.

I served this over rice, topped with chicken thighs browned in butter, then simmered in a small amount of white wine & chicken broth, sauteed garlic, and red pepper flakes. The remaining wine, of course, had to be drunk with the meal as well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

late night indulgences

I have a small, yet embarrassing, confession to make. Chris went back to school yesterday and Nate was off gallavanting about town, and despite having every intention of going to bed early so I would be all bright eyed and bushy tailed for work this morning, I failed miserably. TNT, that marvelous channel for Law & Order reruns and not much else, was showing Titanic last night. And it's not like I hadn't seen it before, this ridiculous, aggravating, and yet in moments strangely moving tearjerker of a movie, yet here I found myself raptly watching that great old ship go down until the wee hours of the morning. And paying the price today at work, let me tell you. It doesn't quite translate to the small screen-- though the acting may be a bit less whiny within the smaller structure of television, all those amazing rushing gushing torrential water scenes lose a lot of their power as well, of course. Small comfort, but at least there was no one around this time to berate me for giving away the end by mentioning that it's hard to watch a film in which you know many of the people are doomed before that movie ship even sets sail. I know it's been almost a century since she hit that iceberg and went down so hard, but still, had we so little sense of our collective history that at least some amongst us had forgotten her until Kate & Leonardo acted out their wee American drama of little-rich-girl-meets-down-and-out-artist on the ship of a thousand dreams?

A dear friend of mine was, many years ago, somewhat obsessed with the Titanic, to the point of joining a Titanic fan club of sorts, I can't remember exactly what it was. I think I teased her quite a bit about this at times, not quite getting her fascination. But there was a poem that she quoted, written by a man whose name I have forgotten, about man's essential faith in his own inventions, and the eternal and ongoing collapse of this faith. This friend of mine had a baby boy last week, an adorable, round little thing. I'm not sure when I will get to meet this child, being so far south in North Carolina that to me, sadly, he seems almost in another world. But I hope that this this boy child inherits his mother's childhood love of majesty and beauty and grace, her ability to get lost in a story who's ending is tragically already known, and yet question in disbelief and rage the inevitablity of that ending, and her compassion for those lost.

Friday, November 24, 2006

christchurch, nz

presidential highway, nz

moeraki boulders, east cost, south island, nz


nathan vs. duck (battle of wills over carrot cake)

beautiful tree, christchurch botanic gardens

nz's national symbol