Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey Bub, Where you goin' with that lunch bag in yo' hand?

My little man started his first week of school this past Wednesday.

Harlan has loved carrying a bag around for a while now, and for once he is carrying one that he actually needs: His new Cream Cram lunch bag!

I told you all that I would find a way in despite names that were deposited on waiting lists while the students were still in-utero!

Actually, it is because of this blog that Harlan made his debut at a tony pre-school this week. A wonderful woman here in Austin ("R") e-mailed me a while back to let me know where I could buy Violet Crumbles in town. We wrote back and forth a couple of times and she recently wrote after reading my post about not being able to get Harlan a spot in a reputable local pre-school. She told me about a wonderful school right in the neighborhood ( a huge relief now that I am spending way too much time in the car) that her son had gone to. "R" recommended that I call the school director and tell her that we knew each other. It worked.

The first day I left Harlan in loving hands I was elated; proud of my independent and social son who waved bye-bye to me non-chalantly as he ran off to play some other kids.

The second day was not so easy. The third day even less so as I had to drive away watching Harlan weep at the realization that I was not staying with him. I spent this morning feeling like a wretched mother, abandoning her first born. I know of course that everything Harlan is experiencing is normal and that he will quickly acclimate to his new fun-filled mornings at school, but you can't reason with me when today was the first time I had to walk away from my crying baby.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yellows Blues and Reds

Violette Crumble Double Corn Peach Muffins:

1 cup buttermilk, warmed
1/2 cup plus 1 tbl cornmeal
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbl zest from organic lemons (probably 2 lemons- non organic rinds are pretty bad so skip the lemon if you can't find organic)
2 eggs
splash of vanilla
3 ripe peaches, skinned and cut into chunks (blueberries also work great)

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Warm the buttermilk on low heat and add 1/2 cup cornmeal, mix & set aside.
3. Whisk remaining cornmeal with dry ingredients.
4. Cream softened butter, add sugar, then lemon zest, then vanilla, then eggs.
5. Add soaked cornmeal and buttermilk.
6. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended.
7. Add peaches.

Fill muffin trays (this makes about 12 muffins) and place in oven. Check after 18 minutes. Tops should be lightly golden brown.

A good thing to use the de-skinned lemon on is a nice Violette Crumble Quinoa Salad:

Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup quinoa
3 beets- I used three different types, but they all tasted the same
Chopped pecans
Dried cherries
2 scallions
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Boil, skin, and slice the beets. Marinate them in some lemon juice and olive oil for a couple of hours.
2. Prepare quinoa (follow box directions or boil 2 cups water with quinoa, turn heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes until all water is absorbed).
3. Chop up scallions, and throw it all together. Mix in more olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

Our bedrooms walls are my favorite Tiffany blue:
I bought these Anthropologie knobs for the closet doors. Too bad you can't really tell in this shot.

Harlan's crib is still beneath my favorite collages from One Good Bumblbee:

Not yellow red or blue but still new and very cute: Decole mushroom timer and magnetic picture holder, placed upon stove top:

Looking for some really beautiful music? I just bought this CD:

Perla Batalla sings in Spanish and her voice will send chills down your spine. I bought the CD after hearing her rendition of Cucurrucucu Paloma, one of my favorite songs ever.

Looking for a fantastic read with pictures that will also help fill you in on recent Iranian history?

Read Marjane Satrapi's Autobiographical graphic novels Persepolis 1 and 2. I just finished the sequel and must say that I enjoyed it even more than the first book. In the sequel Marjane leaves Iran to live in Austria during the 80's as a teen and boy did she have some good adventures.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Apologies for the lengthy hiatus, but the movers finally arrived and I have not had much free time ever since.

Of course the move in did not occur without major drama. The truckers finally phoned us to say that they were in Houston and would arrive the following morning. The next day (while Joe was at work, even though we had planned to move in to occur when he still had three weeks left of vacation) The driver called me to say he was downstairs and that his 18-wheeler would not be able to get into the apartment complex. He asked me to come downstairs.

I strapped Harlan onto my hip because otherwise he runs in the opposite direction of wherever we are going. We descended into the heat and humidity and walked all over the parking area while the driver pointed out problems with bringing his truck in. Either he would not be able to turn the truck around to go back out the entrance, or else the truck would hit electrical wires that covered the exit. Keep in mind that the driver had me walking all over the property to show me these pitfalls while Harlan and all 4500 pounds of him squirmed and squealed on my hip because he wanted to get down and run. OK, I said. No 18 wheeler. What next?

The driver told me he would have to go rent a U-haul and "find some guys" to help him move everything from the 18 wheeler on to the U-haul, and then up the steps into my apartment. I quickly called a friend of mine to find out where the local day laborers hang out. I told the driver and he thanked me because You can get those guys without paying them much.

I got in my car with Harlan and drove to the ATM to get money and then to the supermarket to get sandwiches, fruit salad, cokes and waters to give to the guys. There was no way I was going to contribute to exploiting some poor immigrants who were about to move all my crap twice in the heat.

Never mind that Moishe's guaranteed that our stuff would be delivered a month before it actually arrived and still expected me to pay for it. They had also promised me that their long distance truckers were theirs (they were not. They were contractors, which explains why their truck was not replaced when it broke down) and that the movers on the other end were also theirs (they were not. They were day laborers that I had to find for the truckers and had to pay so that they were not exploited by the truckers). Keep in mind that Moishe's is supposedly the moving company with the best reputation nationwide. Moishes's moving company. I threw that sentence in for google searchers to find this story. Long distance movers. There's another one for googlers.

So, the stuff is here, some is broken but most is not. Our queen sized mattress for some reason looks like a giant ass sat on it. We can not figure out what happened, but each side of the mattress is majorly indented and there is a thick, high, mound running vertically down the center of the thing. It's a bit unsettling.

Now for the fun part- unpacking all the goodies and decorating a whole new place. Little did I realize how much I disliked so many aspects of my last place. I must admit it's good to be home.

P.S. These photos are all of Harlan at his favorite new place on earth- the new Town Lake Park which has a giant area with a spiral in the center that shoots water and cool steam at various heights and intervals, and is surrounded by tiny pools for the toddlers to get down and splash around in. It's my new Ft. Greene Park. We go every afternoon after Harlan's nap and meet up with all the other neighborhood moms and their toddlers. I must admit, we ended up in a pretty awesome spot.

Tune in next time to hear about the $175 speeding ticket I got for going 29 in a school zone and to see the latest crafty decorating as well as my new Decole goodies and great places to get some of your own.