Archive for the ‘This and that’ Category

Our back yard buzzes with life. We are fortunate to live so very close to nature, that we hardly need any pictures on our walls. Our windows bring into our home greens and pinks, and during the Fall, it brings those magnificent hues of red and oranges.

We learned to stop. listen. look. cherish the moment.

A few days ago, the very early morning hour summoned a turkey vulture to our yard. It sat on the old basketball post. It sat, and sat. All of the sudden, it drooped it’s scat, and flew away. “Slam, dunk”, shouted my little one. He understands.

nature in our back yard

Little birdie, little birdie, Come and sing me your song/ sung by Pete Seeger

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YES I can

I have not been writing in my blog for quite sometime. I really want to share some nice moments, like our summer in Tuscany, etc. I will, but it’ll take time. Because…

The cold air has been gushing in, almost at once. I can’t postpone it no longer. This week it has to be done.  Revolutionize the closets: bring back those bulky winter clothes, and tuck the summer back into its corner, till next year. 3 kids, 3 wardrobes. one more for the parents. All by the end of this week, otherwise, we’ll all freeze to death. I also need to buy a new fire detector to replace the out-of-order one. And a charger to the computer. And buy a gift to a friend’s birthday party. And start thinking and preparing for Friday’s dinner with friends. We are social, after all. These are just random tasks that change every week.  I know every mom faces those tasks.

Then there’s the everyday, full-time job tasks of every week that don’t change: regular laundries, food shopping, cleaning, cooking.

And the specific jobs we received from our other boss – the school teachers:  projects, exams, homework. No, I don’t do and won’t do my kids’ homework for them. I talk about those projects that I was directly ordered by the teachers to do. You know, the ones about sitting together with our kids and collecting family memories and making a presentation. You know, the one where you receive a letter from school that starts with “Dear Parents…”. And as for exams and homework, I need to be on top of everything and remind, remind and remind, and even lend a helping hand when needed.

The automatic pilot that drives the kids around town to their sports activities, music, friends. That same pilot also stands with a virtual hammer to insist that the kids practice for their music lessons, and at times get into a vocal fight over it.

And the talking, knowing, inquiring the kids about their day in school, their friends. Listening to stories. Reacting.

And then there’s the every-once-in-a-while work to do. The “real” work, for our dear Boa.

Finally, for my own sanity and secluded bubble, there’s that English course I’m taking, where I have to produce 2 formal essays every week, based on research and backed by citations. Books, notebooks, pencils are scattered across the dining table.

I am not complaining. In fact I consider my self very lucky. I am only explaining what every mom already knows. The obvious.

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And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high..”  by DuBose Heyward.

So I gathered bits and pieces from here and there that I felt I needed to tell the world.

  • Starting with food. Here’s a real quick and tasty recipe of Pattypan summer squashes. I just got them at our local farmers market. They’re not only cute and add color to your dinner table, but also, ahammm, healthy (here). Most of all- they’re yummy !

Pattypan squashes fresh from the market

All there’s to do: Cut them into halves wide-wise. Also cut a thin flat slice at each end, so the half squashes could rest steadily in the baking dish (wide side facing up). Turn oven to 400 F or 200 C. Drizzle olive oil, bit of salt, crushed or chopped garlic and coarsely chopped rosemary on the yellow shining faces of the squashes.

pattypans go into the oven

That’s all folks. Cover with aluminum foil, put in oven for 30 minutes. Take off foil and let them pattypans get some oven tan till they’re golden(ish). Out of the oven and into your plate they go. With some nice green salad on the side. Ahh ha. Oh yeah- don’t over roast them, they don’t like to dry out.

  • more food: Yesterday, on our way to one of the last shows of HAIR in Broadway, a small window on 9th Ave. caught our eyes.  A pile of some fine-looking Bourekas just called us in. The owner, Gazala Halabi, was placing paper-thin rounds of dough on the taboon, which will later become Druze pitas.
tasty druz bourekas

Gazala makes pitas on the taboon

We had wonderful bourekas: one filled with sun dry tomatoes and goat cheese, and the other was with spinach and feta cheese. The kids had a Druze pita wrap (“laffa”) with salad and falafel. The plate was wiped clean off the lamb kabab that was there merely 20 minutes before.

We’ll be there again.  Gazala’s Place


Druze cuisine @ Gazala Place

  • Staying in the city: restaurants will now need to display the cleanliness rating of their facility according to new letter-grading rules. Now, when deciding upon your next dinner in the City, look on the restaurant’s window. Does it have an “A”, “B” or “C”? Under the new plan, a restaurant receiving an A grade will post it at the end of the inspection. If the grade is lower than an A, the restaurant will not have to post a grade until it has a chance to improve its sanitary conditions. The Health Department will return within a month to conduct a second inspection. The ultimate goal is to improve sanitary conditions and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
  • Going west: San Francisco is requiring stores to post cellphone radiation levels.  Those rates are the levels at which radio frequencies penetrate body tissue. whether or not there is a connection between cellphones (and their radiation) to cancer, it sure brings the question to the table again, to deserve a serious awareness.

Any thoughts to share?

Fun and healthy summer to us all   🙂

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preparing tea

Drew is preparing tea

what’s the most relaxing and serene way for four ladies to celebrate a 40+ birthday ?

It was original, it was beautiful, it was tasty, and it was ceremonial. It was a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

traditional seasonal meal

traditional seasonal meal

Drew Hanson demonstrated The Japanese Way of Tea. He’s a gardener and ceramicist and we had such a lovely time at his Boukakuan, a Japanese Tea House and Garden at his home, right here in NJ. All the elements were there: a gorgeous day, Japanese gold-fish in a pond, historic house at the background, neatly prepared Japanese meal and an informative hospitality.

zen composition

zen composition

Zen goldfish

Zen goldfish

Geta, my Japanese clogs

Geta, my Japanese clogs 🙂

I am considering of adding a photo of me in a Japanese Kimono, from Japan, from many years ago, as a bonus. Well, just considering…


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