Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Sweet Simcha

Yesterday was our sweet neighbor's Bat Mitzvah. They moved here from New York four years ago and so many of their east coast friends and family came out to join in the celebration. It's bittersweet for us, their California friends, because they are just relocating to Ohio. But the day was perfect and the party was a beautiful combination of east meets west.

Sherman Chu photographed the event and although I've known him a long time, I've never seen him at work before. He seemed to get every shot yet remained nearly invisible during the event itself. Look at how stunning these pictures are! Crazier yet is that Sherman got up this morning and ran the San Francisco Marathon. I guess that was easy compared to Ironman Lake Tahoe, which he completed last September and at which we cheered him on.

My favorite part of the day was just looking around and knowing that this room contained so much of their universe, their people. Mazel Tov sweet neighbor.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fondling the Flowers

An early morning run to the San Francisco Flower Market with Jill and one of the Pinks. The summer solstice is only three weeks past so the sun is up by the time we arrive. We are the only ones still wiping sleep from our eyes. The vendors have been there for hours and the florists are long gone.

I come home with ribbon, bamboo in many forms, vases, cellophane bags and five varieties of cut flowers I don't need but can't resist.

On Tuesday I bring orange tulips to my client to celebrate her recent promotion. She gets all goopy on me.

My purchases join the tablecloths, paper goods and bottled water in our dining room, for the next two months the B'Not Mitzvah staging area.

Friday, July 11, 2014


For the last five years I've been a fan of Orangette, Molly Wizenberg's food blog. Molly is a beautiful writer, posts great recipes and good stories, and has a new memoir out, too. (I just love her blog posts about her wedding.) A friend and I went to a the reading a few months ago. The book goes too much into her relationship with her husband in my opinion but I really enjoyed the description of how they came to open a wood-fired pizza restaurant in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

And so when we were in Seattle last month we Uber'd it to the north side of the city to check out Delancey. The pizza was great and, as promised, the husband was manning the oven. However, we didn't like either salad that we ordered. And unfortunately the wait on this Wednesday night was 90 minutes. Like the tourists we were, we waited. This wait may be the reason the duo opened an artisanal bar next door. One can nurse a lot of drinks in 90 minutes. The menu is short -- two or three salads, maybe eight pizzas, two or three deserts.

Overall, Molly and Brandon achieved what they set out to do - open a casual, neighborhood eatery. We, though, won't be going back, even when we get back to Seattle.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Just Don't Look Down

Today, July 5, the five of us went to Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park. There we zip lined, made our way across bridges suspended 40' above ground and overcame any fears we had of flying through the trees like monkeys. Thing 2 skipped the beginner course altogether and by the end of our two hours there had done all the intermediate and advanced courses. I stuck to the beginner one which, with eight separate challenges, wasn't all that easy!

Like bicycling around Seattle, this was a reach for me. Again, I'm glad I did it. And although I'm exhausted, I'm proud.

The Youngest Pinks and I had been there before and I've got to tell you, it was a lot more fun this time when it wasn't raining buckets. We're going to go again in a few weeks! Anyone up for joining us?

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's past my bedtime.

Thursday, June 26. It's a little after midnight. And on 360 days of the year I'm deep in sleep by now. But tonight I can't bring myself to go to bed. It's quiet, as quiet as it can be downtown in a city of 600,000 people. My view is of the Seattle commercial harbor, the ferry terminal and of the surrounding high rise buildings, some of which have people staring back at me.

I don't want to go to bed. I will miss this view. I will miss Seattle, where the daughter I'm not supposed to blog about and I have enjoyed this week. With us came a friend and her daughter, and during the day the daughters took a class at UW while we worked. In the late afternoons and evenings we played. This being the third week in June, it did not get dark until 10pm. This picture is of our pop up office here in Seattle, the very place I sit right now.

I really like it here. I wonder if Dave would like it. We've started talking about what to do once The Pinks are out of the house. Travel is the highest priority to us. Could we live here? It's obvious why so many Californians have migrated here. Mountains. Water. Great food. Biking. Hiking. Skiing. Environmentally conscious. A lower cost of living.

Our rental apartment is two blocks from Pike Place Market, the tourist hub of the city and location of all things edible. We're ten floors up with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. There's a pool and gym and library here, and a 24-hour concierge, which we've not used. The wifi speed is acceptable.

Yesterday my friend and I took a biking tour in the afternoon. My goal was just to survive. I'm not much of a biker. It seemed like a good way to see the city and get some exercise, too. Our tour took us 16 miles on streets, through city parks and on bike trails from downtown past the Seattle Center and Space Needle, and up along the Puget Sound to the Ballard Locks. There we saw a few pleasure craft go through the locks and a lot of commercial fishing boats docked for the summer, including a former Deadliest Catch one which is now a museum. The salmon finish the last leg of their migration here on a fish ladder (who knew?!).  These are the same locks my family went through on our 28' Bayliner nearly three decades ago when we moved from Alaska back to Lower 48. I texted my dad a picture of the locks and he, of nearly photographic memory, knew exactly where I was. The picture above is from an art installation at the locks. The Ballard neighborhood was where the Scandinavian people first settled in the Seattle area. Today it's quite trendy and we came back for dinner at Delancey, of Orangette fame, the next night.

We followed the Lake Washington ship canal across the Fremont Bridge into the Fremont neighborhood and stopped for a snack at the artisanal chocolatier Theo. It's a bummer that my bike had no basket or I would have done some serious damage there. From there we headed south back downtown and past the (only 600, no more no less our guide told us) houseboats and Amazonia, the part of the city that is home to and some biotech companies. We stopped again to watch the seaplanes land on Lake Union. I didn't fall off the bike and for that I am proud. It was a long ride and a scary one once we got back into the rush hour traffic! I find that as I get older I like to push myself out of my comfort zone.

On another night the four of us took the ferry 35 minutes across the sound to Bainbridge Island. The cute little town was a ten minute walk from the ferry terminal and we had dinner at a mediocre restaurant with a Chamber-of-Commerce view. And then ferried back, jealous of the people who commute to work this way. I could so live there.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What the teacher said.

In town last week I glimpsed the woman who taught one of my daughters kindergarten. Then I threw up a little bit in my mouth. During the last parent-teacher conference with her, she said something off-the-cuff about my daughter, hopefully in jest, maybe not. Years later those words have stayed with me and are no less bitter.

A friend recently confided that her son's teacher said something about her son that did not sit well with her, either. It was not a fact-based comment, it was an observation and not an especially kind one. Again, her intent may have been humor but it didn't come out as funny, especially in the context in which it was used. It bothered her enough to mention.

And finally, one of my children's teachers told me about something one of her son's elementary school teachers said about her now-adult-son. The teacher who spoke those ugly words two decades ago was wrong, very wrong about this child's potential. But those words have remained in her mind and have, fortunately, helped this woman become an exceptional educator.

Do the opinions or judgments of a teacher have more weight than those of our friends and family? Perhaps so, for the same reason people hire me as a consultant. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. But as a consultant I make recommendations for improved outcomes based on my past experience. Teachers don't remain in their students' lives long enough to know if those predictions will come true. Nor do they work with students long enough to influence the outcome, like parents do.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Are you Smitten?

We tried Smitten on Friday, the first day of summer vacation. Smitten is artisanal ice cream, until recently found only in the city. Each serving is made on demand using liquid nitrogen. It tasted fine but was nothing special. Berthillon is still my favorite. And locally, I really like the obscenity which is Fenton's.

Remind me to take time off work next June. And to not sign up for any volunteer activities. The weekend before school was out Thing 1 and I volunteered at both a Habitat for Humanity community opening and a Special Olympics fundraiser. The year-end academic and recreational activities of three children is a lot to juggle.

Speaking of three children, those of you with older children forgot to mention how fabulous it is when one of those children gets their driver's license. Many of the fears I had of my innocent child getting behind the wheel of a car were greatly reduced when I realized how helpful she could be, not only chauffeuring herself to and from her appointments but running our errands and picking up a sister on occasion!

Preparations continue for the B'Not Mitzvah. Thing 1 and I had coffee with the fabulous Harry Glazier yesterday. Harry is going to photograph the ceremony and festivities for us. I'm excited to work with emerging talent and look forward to his fresh point of view.

The invitations are still in various stages of assembly on the dining room table. The Hebrew intensive begins tomorrow. Panic is beginning to set in as the kids vocalize who they want to invite, based on who they were in or out with during the latter part of the school year. I hate this part. Even my father brought it up while we were riding his horses today.

Up next, introducing Thing 1 and Thing 2 to The Event Planner and meeting with The Balloon Lady.