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20 posts from May 2009

Walking south


Chocolate fudge cake & Brandenburg

And now our string of familiar occasions is finished. Highlights of David's birthday yesterday included surprising him with a reprise of last year's chocolate fudge cake in the morning, and then surprising him again at lunchtime when one friend after another filed into Leo Bettini to wish him many happy returns. Now all that remains is to pack our bags for a weekend in Brandenburg on the Havel, where we'll idle by the Breitlingsee before wandering through the forest to a beloved friend's country wedding. Til Sunday!

Birthday peonies


Every morning I clear the blanket of peony petals from the dresser, and every evening there's a fresh layer.

Quail eggs

I eyed the pheasant eggs too but finally settled for the speckled neatness of these dozen quail eggs.

The sky on your birthday

S's first birthday is just a month away and I have begun thinking more and more about what I'll do to commemorate it. If rituals only acquire their weight through repetition, there's an urgency to beginning early.

I was lying in bed the other morning when I thought of the motto "The Sky on Your Birthday" and imagined an album with, oh, twenty pages or so, to be filled over the years with snapshots of just that. The conceit risks preciousness and pretentiousness but I can't say I've shaken the appeal of those banal photos, page after page.

Simultaneously, of course, I contemplate altogether more wholesome traditions of birthday crowns and birthday books documenting each year in lovely detail. What did your parents do while you were growing up that holds a particular charm now? And what do you dream of doing, and what do you do with your own children?

This, at any rate, is the sky yesterday, on my birthday, where I had a perfect mix of markets and wanders and giggles with S and David, and a long lovely evening with an old friend quite unexpectedly in town from Bonn. More on all that soon.

Anniversary cookies


Such ideas for excursions to the zoo, the Haus am Waldsee, a return to Leo Bettini, and in the end? An anniversary spent playing with our daughter, napping, listening to Music for Airports, some cookies, some rain (lots of rain).

To Katherine, before she asks: I almost followed the recipe this time. My only changes were using closer to a half-teaspoon of salt, grinding a mixture of oat, spelt, rye and barley flakes (since that's what I had) and leaving out the nuts. The dark chocolate I pulverized in the food processor, and I doubled the amount of demerara because I didn't want to wake David to ask where the soft brown sugar was. Oh, and I added a spoonful of molasses too.

Pepper adventures


Now a cantankerous baby, a mother who hasn't found a minute to breakfast, a wildly untidy apartment, a plateful of roasted peppers stubbornly refusing skinnage, a forlorn bunch of bananas discovered in a plastic bag on the floor -- now that can only be described as bad.

But a dear generous friend who spirits away the unhappy baby for two hours and returns her giggling, a mother who finally manages to put away all the laundry, some freshly-filled jars of muhammara and hot banana bread for tea -- now that can only be very good. Especially when dinner is on the balcony amidst sunshine and so many birds.

PS: Some Tuesday-night tinkering on the site design. Do comment or email if you have strong opinions!