Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Attention Santa: North Pool

A copy of Grayson's handwritten wish list (with some mommy notes for clarification), which he intends to hand deliver to the big man himself tonight at Westmont's Christmas Tree Lighting. Ah, the innocence of childhood. Sigh. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Poems

A couple of poems by my two favorite poets:

"Fall Leaves" by Grayson

Brown leaves,
Orange leaves,
Listen to that crunching sound.
Feel the fuzzy leaves.
Dry leaves,
Falling to the ground.

"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving from our home-away-from-home at the Ashland Springs Hotel with a stand-in family from the displaced members of the cast and crew of "Calvin Marshall." May all of your pumpkin pies be as good as ours was. Yuuummmm ....


A few shots from our day on the set of Gary and Anne's movie, and Grayson's big acting debut. What a long and interesting day it was, filled with memories and even a little bit of star power. Rob got pulled into the action for his 15-seconds of fame as coach of the "Pirates." Oh, and I totally want a craft services truck to park outside my house at meal times and offer my family their choice of delicious fillet mignon, seared ahi tuna or spinach raviolis. And while I'm making a wish list, a hair and make-up or wardrobe trailer would be nice as well. Grayson would be happy with the school bus stocked with snacks of every shape and sugar content, which is where he and the other little leaguers spent their time "shopping" between takes.

Lucie had 10-hours of playing in dirt mounds and eating snacks discovered under the bleachers, and couldn't have been any happier even if the temperatures had been above 34 degrees.

I do worry that all of the attention will go to Grayson's head, though. Even this morning, when there was a knock at our hotel door (housekeeping), Grayson's off-hand remark was "It's probably one of my fans." Maybe it's already too late.

More pictures from the previous day's filming at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside!

Grayson and Lucie's first ever snow day atop Mount Ashland! Grayson did belly flops in it, slid down it, tasted it, threw it and caught it on his eye lashes, all while grinning from ear-to-ear. Lucie, on the other hand, was absolutely terrified of it and froze solid, screaming "Off! Off! Off!" when the frightening white stuff stuck to her boots. Perhaps her non-stop outgoing disposition only functions at sea level? Or at temperatures above 20 degrees? Or maybe she was just worried that it would ruin her new pink boots?

It was a magical afternoon spent huddling together as a family unit, not another human in sight, on top of a mountain with fresh powdery white snow covering the landscape. The kids have never looked more huggable than bundled up in their thrift store snow clothes, hats and mittens with bright pink cheeks and eyes (and runny noses) aglow.

Tomorrow is Grayson's film acting premiere. Stay tuned for details coming to a theatre near you ...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Topless Dancers

Today, mosh pit in the kitchen. Next step, Spring Break Daytona Beach. Regardless, their joy makes me laugh every time.

I would've titled this post "Bring in da funk!" but we've decided not to say "funk" anymore after Grayson's school journal entry on dancing was brought to our attention at the parent-teacher conference. The teacher related her concern when she saw his drawing with the "funk" word misspelled as f-u-c-k surrounding two dancing stick figures labeled "mom" and "dad." Luckily, the drawing came with a story attached that explained the error and we all had a good laugh. But Rob and I, sitting in those tiny little chairs at the tiny little desks, remained horrified nonetheless.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Breakfast with Friends

For Dayna, my bestest friend from high school, who brought her husband and two amazing kids over for breakfast, served with mugs of really hot coffee and a table full of memories.

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted fresh bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the brioler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted break.

1 pound hickory smoked bacon, slices
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Cut bacon slices in half; combine brown sugar, bread crumbs and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge bacon in sugar mixture, shaking off excess. Twist each bacon slice, if desired. Place bacon in a single layer on a lightly greased baking rack in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake in a 425° oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Let bacon cool before serving.

Happy Veteran's Day

Just your typical balmy 78 degree November Veteran's Day in Santa Barbara ...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Like an orange on a toothpick

How embarrassing is it when the pediatrician has to come back for a second set of measurements, not believing his nurse's initial encounter with your kid's giant cranium?? Yep, if there was ever any doubt whether or not Lucie is a Wagner (as if the appetite wasn't enough), the numbers are in:

Height: 25%
Weight: 27%
Head Size: 75%

The visit concluded with a reprimand to mom for missing the last two check-ups (second child syndrome) and a four immunization overload.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Der Mom

I was travelling for work one night this week, and found the following sign taped to the front door when I got home. I only wish computers allowed me to do backwards Js and Ys for the full effect.

* * * * * * *

Der Mom
I hoP theet You hAD a vAre GooD tim. I Louv You. Mom.
NAYm: GrAYson
rot it: GrAYson. OL uv it. no HELP at alL.



Wut DuZ A CAW DO Win A Frmr melks it?
it screms. end.

if You neD ene Help at tol jist cum to GrAYson.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tricks and Treats

Grayson's Halloween costume arrived from Jedi headquarters (aka Grandma's house) last week with strict instructions for Jedi training (Grandma can work "eat your vegetables" into just about anything). Since then, dressing up has turned into serious business. All smiles disappear when the robe has been donned. I suggested that he try wearing it while doing his homework so that he could think "just like a Jedi." I was sharply corrected, "It isn't 'like' a Jedi, Mom. I AM a Jedi."

I was extra glad when Halloween morning arrived with yawns and stretches and (before even opening his eyes) this quip, "I've got three words for you, Mom: Trick. Or. Treat." The highlight of the holiday was definitely the light saber battle which took place between Obe Wagner Kenobee and Darth Mills Vader on the front lawn.

Lucie caught on to the trick or treat routine right away. There was no need to carry a sack from house to house; the candy never made it off the front porch. She popped them straight into her mouth, wrapper and all, and then took off waving her arms and screaming "More tick! Tank oo! More tick! Tank oo!" to the next house. One family sent a representative to hand out candy at the door while the rest finished up dinner at the table. Our hungry little lady bug used the candy mob as a distraction to bypass the door guard, gain entry and inspect the dinner offerings instead. If only she would've stuck with the sack, she might've gotten away with the pot roast. Next year we'll work on the car keys.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pumpkin Spice Cake

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, I suggest that you bake this cake recipe from my friend Shawna. It is guaranteed to warm up the house with the scent of pumpkin and spice, and cake always makes me more thankful.

1 box plain spice cake mix
1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup- 1 can pumpkin (depending on flavor preference)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 pan.
(2) Place cake mix, pudding mix, pumpkin, oil, water, eggs, cinnamon, and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low for 1 minute. Scrape down sides and beat for 2 more minutes. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with rubber spatula.
(3) Bake for 32-35 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed with fingertips or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Frost with either buttercream frosting and top with chopped nuts, or use prepared vanilla frosting with a tablespoon of maple syrup blended in.