Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mothra redux

Michelle Pettit found out what Mothra was. It was a Black Witch Moth, or, as the Mexicans call it, Mariposa de la Muerte.

Good thing I'm not that superstitious:

The Spanish name (butterfly of death) comes from a legend that if there is illness in the house and the moth flies in, someone dies. There are other fables surrounding this moth, which may be the largest species of moth in the world.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pukeius Maximus

Wyatt had his first bonafide carsick puke. Bits of hotdog from hours and hours before and all that. Blame me because I asked my dad to drive down to LA. My dad drives in way that makes the car surge and brake in fits and starts. All that to-ing and fro-ing are murder on the head and gut.

Back from a good visit with the Lew and Chow and Hansen (baby Owen is a gorgeous healthy happy Buddha baby) families. Exhausted, though.

The visit to Children's Hospital w/ the Gastroenterology Department was not superproductive, but we got the ball rolling. They nixed the idea of the 24 hour probe down Wyatt's nose and throat and will schedule a dye scan. Luckily, I can try to coordinate the test or the follow up with the Endocrinology Department visits.

It could be that the boy's stomach is not emptying quickly enough. That would explain the hot dogs. Wyatt can be on his Prevacid (a proton pump inhibitor) for up to a year without worry.

Looking forward to using the IPOD Nano we picked up at Costco for the long drives up and down the highway. I was thinking that I could handle four hours of static and Mexican music along the US395 corridor, but I cannot.

Late year for the toms

Judging from the anecdotal information, it's been a late year for tomatoes for nearly everyone.

I just started picking my first pastes and cherries this week. There will be some beefsteak sized tomatoes (Black Russian, Zapotec) in a week. Same with the Jaune Flammees, which at the size of a golfball, don't qualify as cherries in my book.

Because we'll be gone for most of September, my sundried operation will be scaled back, unless I can convince some girlfriends to have a go at it.

My poor plants got fried in the last windstorms we had. The tender tips just shriveled in the hairdryer that is Bishop in summer. Fruitset is random in the 100 degree days we've been having, too. It's always going to be something. Still, I have some gorgeous tomatoes to look forward to and I have a freezer full of locally smoked streaky bacon, so I can't complain.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mothra came home to die

Yesterday, Desiree and Jemima were sitting on the couches. Desiree looked up at the window sill and said "Oh, please tell me that's a carving." It wasn't. It was Mothra in all its batsized glory. Mothra in my house to die.

The slight flicker of its wings would send me screaming, which in turn set Desiree and Jemima off. Our kids, who were watching TV in the other room, came in to check out the ruckus and Mothra and wandered back to "Go Diego, GO" unimpressed.

I knew Matty was coming home from his Split Mountain trip in a few hours, so I decided to stay scared and to keep Mothra around for him to see. It's bizarre. I can be brave when I need to be, but chickenshit is my standard MO.

Needless to say, Matty was duly impressed by its size.

Mothra didn't die overnight. So Matty did me the honors and sent it outside this morning.
Here it is looking dead (it's not) with legs up and right side up in its full winged glory. NB: I've included a dime for scale.

I had a lot of togetherness with Wyatt over the weekend. He's in a clingy stage, where even when Daddy's been away for a few days, I am the rockstar, servant, and adult of the house. I had enough togetherness, though, and spent last night alone in the tent in the yard. I pitched it Saturday so that the boy and I could "camp out" as special treat while Matty was out climbing Split.

Being alone, reading the New Yorker, not getting up in the night to fetch water or a snack, not dealing with a moth the size of a baby's head, was bliss.

The boy and I have a roadtrip down to LA Thursday for an appointment at Children's Hospital to sort out Wyatt's GERD (bad acid reflux). There is a Lew family reunion Saturday. My dad and Judydog are driving us down. Lord help me. I don't have any Xanax.

Dear God, if you exist, please let me be the kind daughter I should be. Please help me and my dad not be such freaks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I may be middle aged and middle class, but I have a white trash heart

As evidenced by pulling Wyatt through the McDonald's drive-thru in the free, but now heavily stained, kiddie bike trailer somebody gave us a few years back.

Daddy's away for work (one hour meeting in the Bay Area, talk about wasting money. Silly thing is, this house he's working on is a LEED project. Oh, the hypocrisy!) . So, Mommy, in her infinite wisdom, decided to buy the boy a hash brown (15 grams of nasty fatty carbs) to get him to school without there being a showdown. Because screaming 3 year old boys almost always win those.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tyee Lake

Michelle Pettit called up and invited the boy and me to go for a wee hike and to get out of the heat and the smoke of the Valley. We chose the Tyee Lakes trail. Man, what was an easy hike two years ago, kicked my butt. Michelle was a star and carried Wyatt for a lot of the way.

The boy wasn't keen on hiking much that day. Said the mule poo in the trail was too jahjah (fake Cantonese slang for dirty). To be fair, he's not even 3 and a half yet, and he does give it a good try.

It was raining and cool when we got the trail head. We could see the dark storm clouds over by South Lake. Our hike was punctuated by thunderclaps in the distance. For a while, we could pretend we were in the Pacific Northwest or back East. The grasses and ferns were lush, the wildflowers were blooming, and Michelle even spotted four groups of mushrooms!

With the sinus/allergy thing, I hadn't been out to do a lick of exercise in donkey's years, so it was great to be out. Thanks Michelle!

Quote of the day: Upon hearing Michelle call him "Babbo," the boy says, "Don't call me Babbo. I'm Sucker Parasite." Oh, the years of therapy he'll need to undo all the nicknames.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We have a sack of Michel Cluizel couverture discs and two kinds of sea salt at the ready

So why the hell not make the chocolate chip recipe that is in this week's NYTimes' Top 10 articles?

Matty and Joel will come out of the backcountry bearing burritos (Inshallah) from the Big Pine Chevron.

I will be all domestic like and be bearing these.

Skandar's Apricot Tree - from the Hunza to our backyard

The tree, which we always refer to as "she", was started from a pit smuggled back by Skandar some twenty years ago, when he was a mountain guide spending most of his year in the Hunza Valley in Pakistan.

We found out about the provenance of the tree just after we bought this house. We'd just spent the better part of the last two years not working, but traveling around like vagabonds. We spent five weeks traveling along the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan, wending our way through the Hunza Valley to Kashgar, China, and back. We lived on dried apricots, which are a staple on the Highway.

The Hunzakut apricot tree in our backyard was kismet, and it was what facilitated our friendship with Skandar.

Every now and then, when Skandar needs to get back to basics, he has a visit with his tree.

In the winter, when I pop out of the sauna, I stand under the tree and look at the inky night sky through its sturdy latticework. It's a peaceful image to me.

Well, this year, the spring conditions were just right and presto, we are inundated with fruit. While the fruit are still on the dry side, they are starting to get the right combination of tart and sweet. We have been making trays of sun dried fruit everyday. Lucky us.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pipe dreams and old people realities

I really wanted a yurt. There is that instant cred you get when you have one. But, upon looking at the pictures and videos of hippies and war reenactors and Burning Man burners using their yurts, I realized that there was no way in hell I could crawl around on my stomach like that. The sidewalls are only 2.5 feet high. I am old broad getting older by the minute. Plus, the detachable floors were a liability in our backyard, where Black Widow spiders the size of Shelob and "water bugs" hold court.

So, we went for the square, American Kodiak Canvas, which is a
knock off of the more expensive Springbow. It's stands 6'6" tall. All hail a dwelling for this granddaughter of homo erectus. Plus, I reckon I can comfortably house one or two touring Kiwi musicians in it if we ever fill up all the beds in the house.

If the Bay of Pigs (lager, Clamato, lime juice, spices) is the cocktail of the trailer, the Gin and Tonic will be the cocktail of the tent. Can't you see us holding court like a bunch of colonists under the awning?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Meatfest 2008

Well, we still have a clean record. Nobody got a case of food poisoning.* The girls threw in a turkey for good measure. It was the juiciest turkey we've ever had. Matty and I cleared the freezer out of a few tri tips, a leg of lamb, a corned beef, some slabs of pork ribs, and a slab of chicken breasts. Fruit salad also featured heavily. Bless.

The Hoegaarden keg blew.

The crowd was a bit more sedate than usual. We still had a handful of casualties who ventured into the party sauna (sauna not on) and ended up spending the night (and this was considered sedate :))

Jean-Michel and Lucie were up for the weekend and plied us with drinks and lovely things from the bakery we don't normally frequent because it's always a zoo in there.

We are still battling our sinus infections and are a bit low energy. Matt has got a hot date with Joel and some peaks in the backcountry this weekend. I have a hot date with a three year old.

* I am not counting the staph food poisoning the five adults of the household at the time got two years ago. That infection had nothing to do with Meatfest. I am still sad about missing the Shins and Belle and Sebastian show at the Hollywood Bowl (and hanging out with Erin) because of it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stewing Tripe

I am Chinese, so what can I say? I love tripe. I am cooking it for the first time today. Yes, the house now smells a bit. Have gone for the Taiwanese version - stewed in stock, soy, rice wine, five spice, garlic, chili pod, and the like. Will serve it with some sesame oil and fresh cilantro.

Have eaten up the last of the Korean seasoned seaweed. Mmmm, seaweed sheets. I wish they weren't packaged so intensively.

Fruitset on my smaller tomato varieties has started. I have high hopes for Principe Borghese in the solar oven.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Goodbye, Konrad

Konrad is leaving for a season of work in Yosemite tonight. He may or may not return to Bishop. We've seen this happen to other young men and women before. They come, they get frustrated by the lack of work, the lack of would-be partners, they get bored, they leave. Only some come back.

I hope Konrad knows that he's always welcomed here.

Camping, old people w/ small children style


Posted by Picasa

Summer in the backyard and kitchen

Posted by Picasa