What is wilson silverleaf? We're organitarians; it's best for our bodies and the planet. We cloth diapered Nina for the same reason. We drive a hybrid car & wish we could afford solar panels on our house. I'm a strong advocate for homebirth, full-time mom, & also a movie junkie. We don't have a tv though; we watch dvds on our computer. We love contradancing. I garden & knit; Larry's a puzzle lover & plays fantasy football.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

the ethicurean

I love The Ethicurean. I find out stuff there that scares me and gives me hope.

Today, for instance, there is link to an article about an economist who predicts that local food systems “are going to tear apart the centralized food system we have now.” Awesome. From your lips to the ears of the universe, buddy.

Also a link to a wonderful article about eggs, which talks about all the labels on eggs (hormone free, antibiotic free, omega enriched, etc) and what they mean. Most interesting to me is "vegetarian diet," which I have been wondering about for a while. First of all, chickens are omnivores. Second, if they are getting a solely vegetarian diet, that means they haven't been outside. If they had been outside they would have been eating insects and worms, which, last time I checked, aren't plants. So while it looks good in view of all the horror stories about animal products in animal food, what it actually means is that the chickens never went outside, even if they had "access" to it.

Friday, April 27, 2007


We got radicchio in our csa box this week, but no other salad ingredients, so I had to get a little creative.

I used a can of butter beans, a head of radicchio, some fresh farmer's cheese (you could use feta) chopped up, and a half a bottle of salad dressing (vinaigrette). Then I realized it needed a little green (just for color) and added some finely chopped spring onion top. It was delicious.

Oh, and the bowl is really big.

lizard ridge progress

Here are my next three panels; I think they will be the last for a while because I have exhausted the colors at the yarn shop here.

124; sorry the pic is blurry, but when I tried to take a pic in full sun the colors weren't true. And out of direct light without the flash (which I was afraid would wash it out again) it is a little blurry. But worth it, I think.

154; I was super skeptical about this one. I thought it would be too bright and garish but instead it is, as usual with this pattern, stunning.

156; it is amazing to me that as I knit and block each one I think it is my favorite.


I love this

Thursday, April 26, 2007


me: ok, I would like you to (insert unreasonable task like eat dinner or put shoes on) now
her: no way, and you can't make me unless you totally forsake all of your parenting principles and give me a good old smack
me: don't think I'm not tempted
her: or bribery, I seem to recall that you've resorted to that one a bit recently, Alfie Cohn would be so disappointed in you
me: well, he's not here, is he?
her: whatever. I'm not going to do what you want, oh hey, I've got a great idea! why don't I do it so slowly that I make you want to shove an ice pick in your eye?
me: you picked up on that one, did you?
her: I'm still not going to do what you want; what are you, my mother?
me: umm, yeah, I guess I am, which is why I'm glad this is an internal dialogue

A taste of home

I guess we weren't as home sick as we thought. While we were in Amsterdam we walked past Cafe Restaurant San Diego, a pizza place, at Nieuwe Hoogstraat 2A, without going in. I've never particularly connected San Diego and pizza, though; perhaps because of six years of living in Chicago with its pizza snobbery. If there is somewhere to get excellent pizza in San Diego, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

don't f**k with my chocolate or I'll hurt you

Here is the complete text of a San Francisco Chronicle article on a possible change in USDA rules that will allow companies to use vegetable oil and other questionable oil instead of cocoa butter in chocolate and still call it chocolate. NOT COOL.

Good chocolate's unctuous richness comes straight from the cocoa bean -- and that means cocoa and cocoa butter. Now the nation's food manufacturers are asking for federal permission to make chocolate with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter -- and still call it chocolate.

Gary Guittard, president and CEO of the Burlingame chocolate company that bears his family name, objects.

"If they want to do this, or create another category of chocolate, they should do that -- just don't call it chocolate," he said.

Chocolate bars are made from ground cocoa beans, which yield chocolate liquor -- a mix of cocoa and cocoa butter. Usually, extra cocoa butter is added, both to temper the flavor and add richness. Sugar and vanilla are allowed; milk solids are added to milk chocolate. (White chocolate must contain cocoa butter but not cocoa.)

A typical chocolate bar, Guittard says, is about one-fourth extra cocoa butter. Under the Grocery Manufacturers of America petition to the FDA, vegetable fat could replace the cocoa butter for about one-third of the cost, he says.

GMA spokesman Brian Kennedy said the proposed new law wouldn't force any chocolate makers to change their recipes. "They can still manufacture chocolate the way they want," Kennedy said.

The chocolate provision is one detail in a much broader GMA petition to change food manufacturing standards. The FDA has promised to respond to the GMA by April 25.

Guittard wants to stir up opposition before then, and has added a link for consumer comments to the FDA on its Web site, dontmesswithourchocolate.guittard.com.

This article appeared on page F - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Soccer Mom Vote

I blogged a little about our trip to Amsterdam over at The Soccer Mom Vote

pics from Amsterdam

Click here

friday, April 20: Amsterdam

Our last day in Amsterdam was museum day. We went to the Rijks Museum. Since they are doing a lot of construction the collection is significantly reduced, which, according to my cousin, means that they only have the good stuff out. It took about a half an hour to get in, but I was able to amuse Nina with walks around the beautiful garden and a reading of Madeline. I have never been a big fan of Rembrandt, so those weren't so exciting to me but there were some Vermeers, and I really like his paintings. It was fun to show Nina the paintings and find out what she thought of them. We talked about what was happening in the artwork and Nina had some definite opinions about which ones she liked and why.

Next was the Van Gogh Museum, which was great; Nina liked a lot of the paintings and so did we. We didn't make it all the way through because Nina decided she had enough. We had lunch at a wonderful sandwich cart, which was very filling and delicious. Pluse we had a hot waffle. It was fabulous, the waffles in the Netherlands have what seems like big chunks of sugar in them. It's good cold, but hot...YOWZA!

We got home late, late, late, and fell into bed exhausted.

Just a little note on Amsterdam: I have never seen so many dildos in my entire life, and penis shaped EVERYTHING (including bongs). But here is a pic of my favorite display. They're pretty, no?

The flower market was gorgeous...TULIPS!

I love this whimsical dinghy, if you want any kind of crap shaped like a wooden clog, Amsterdam is the place to go. Though I never saw anyone actually wearing them.

There are a lot of bikes with different child seats on them. But I never saw another with more kids on it than this one.

I really liked The Netherlands, maybe not Amsterdam, per se, but it seemed like a really wonderful place to live. So many silly things that should be legal are there. It is unbelievably bicycle friendly. There are special bicycle roads almost everywhere. I totally would not want to ride in Amsterdam; it seems like it might be as dangerous as driving in a car, and nobody wears helmets. It seems super safe everywhere else, though. I think I could really live here except for one thing: I never saw even a mention of organic food, though I didn't go into a proper grocery store. I have been spoiled by all the organic food here in England (even in convenience stores).

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thursday, April 19: Amsterdam

I started feeling that I needed to get out in the country, and doing it on a bicycle seemed to be a great way to do this. We decided to do the gooilust loop bicycle path. We took a train to Hilversum and rented bikes. It was incredibly pretty, though 24 miles on a bicycle after not getting on one for years might have been a bit much.

Nina had a great time and was very proud of her seat on the back of the bike. It was fun to be able to talk to her about everything we were seeing.

We stopped for a much fancier (read: more expensive) lunch than we would have chosen (if there had been anything else right on the trail) at De Goede Gooier, but it was wonderful and well worth it; the refueling gave us the energy to carry on.

When we got out of the restaurant and back onto the trail there were some kind of bovines grazing right there. We got a big kick out of it.

Nina fell asleep in the bicycle seat, it was too cute.

We were super tired when we got home, but we decided to go on a search for some of the Dutch pancakes we had heard so much about (well, the guidebook said they were not to be missed). We wandered around aimlessly and never found them, so we were so exhausted that we got some food from Wok to Walk and ate it, along with a pastry, in our room.

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wednesday, April 18: Amsterdam

We took a canal tour; all in all, it was nice and we learned a but, but it was slightly boring and Nina got antsy toward the end.

This is interesting; apparently, the stairwells and doorways in many of these Dutch buildings are so narrow that it's hard to get furniture in that way. So most of the gables have hooks. I probably wouldn't have noticed them if the canal tour hadn't mentioned it, after which I saw them everywhere.

For the afternoon we decided to take a train to Haarlem and walk around there. We had been told that the town square was very picturesque and the town gives a better idea of Dutch day to day life. I took pics of some Dutch windmills for ya:

When we got to Haarlem there was a carnival going on in the town square, so the quaintness was a bit masked by all the scary looking rides and screaming.

It was very picturesque still, though. This is a bikes only street and I was so charmed that I took a bunch of pictures. Most of these places were residential. I think when most people get around on bicycle there is more emphasis on making it all look pretty.

We also took in the Teylers Museum, which was wonderful and informative, especially after Larry found the audio guides.

When we got back to Amsterdam we spent a lot of time looking for an Indonesian Restaurant and finally found a really nice one, then went back to our hotel and collapsed.

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tuesday, april 17: amsterdam

We had to get up super early on tuesday morning to get on the plane and there were no direct trains from the airport because of a suspected bomb. So, by the time we got to our hotel (okay, it's a boat)* we were exhausted. So we went to the restaurant next door to have some dim sum and then went back to our hotel and took a nap.Though the canals are kinda icky, they are charming. Also, the sheer number of bicycles EVERYWHERE is amazing. Locked up, they are wonderful. But until we learned where we were supposed to walk and where the bicycles are supposed to be, it was both stressful and dangerous(for both pedestrians and cyclists).We walked around for a few hours, ending up at the Anne Frank House. We had heard that the lines can be terrible, so when we walked by and there wasn't one, we went in. It was interesting, though I couldn't drink it in as deeply as I wanted to because I was dealing with a toddler attention span. I have read the book many times and it meant a great deal to me. Anne Frank is totally an inspiration. My cousin says that they used to have all the original furniture and other effects in the museum and it was a lot more evocative. Today it is just a bunch of empty rooms; you have to really concentrate to make it feel real. Particularly with a toddler. It was much more holocause focused than Anne Frank. Her individuality is what makes the story so touching, so I wish they had left that. My cousin says that there was a big conflict between two directors, one who wanted to pack 'em in, and one who wanted to maintain the original setting. The pack 'em in one won, which is really too bad.

I had emailed my mom's cousin and arranged to have dinner with them. He and his partner (they are married, should I say husband? that feels right) decided that we should eat in, so we did, in their beautiful apartment not far from the city center and our hotel.
Nina totally fell in love with both of them and, I think, they really enjoyed her too. We got back to our hotel at about 11:00 pm UK time, and there was no melting down, so I think that's a good indication of what a good time Nina had.

*it appears to be a retired cruise ship, and though my cousin was skeptical, it was fine. Not fancy or roomy, but serviceable. I will admit it was a little cramped, but we all fit and the bed (I think it was latex) was super comfy and we didn't spend much time there anyway. We had a canal view and it was super close to everything (including the train station). Plus we got free breakfast and sometimes they had apples in the lobby.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

we're home!

I haven't had time to write about our adventures yet, but you can see the pics (some with captions) if you click on the pic below.

April 07 Amsterdam

Monday, April 16, 2007

we're off to wear wooden shoes

Probably not, but tomorrow we're going to Amsterdam for a few days so I won't be posting until we get home (Friday or Saturday).

busy weekend

We had some adventures this weekend; Nina and Larry went on the SS Great Britain on Saturday and on Sunday we went for a hike at Blaise Castle Estate.

For pics of the adventures, click below.

April 07

Saturday, April 14, 2007

abel & cole

We joined a nationwide CSA, abel & cole. This is the large mixed fruit and veg box; we get it delivered once a week. It's about 40$ per week, which is about twice what we pay at home, but we decided it was worth the splurge. Plus, we don't get artichokes & kiwis in our box at home, and we don't have the option to have it delivered.

Once you join, you can go on the website and go through their comprehensive list of possible fruit and veggies. With a simple click of a mouse you can indicate whether you'd like to get something whenever it's available, sometimes, or never. Also available to add to your weekly delivery are: cereal, bread, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, tea, coffee, beer, wine, and eco-friendly cleaning products. Though they prefer you to get a delivery every week, there is no commitment and you can cancel any time (lucky for us).

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Friday, April 13, 2007


Skiddamarink a dink a dink, skiddamarink a doo
I love you
I love you in the morning and in the afternoon
I love you in the evening and underneath the moon
Skiddamarink a dink a dink, skiddamarink a doo

Thursday, April 12, 2007

for Arwyn

They have a lemur enclosure where you can walk in and hang out with the lemurs without cages or walls between you.

And also a bat enclosure; this one has a baby tucked into her wings. I love bats.

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On Sunday we went to the zoo; it was a little crazy because it was easter, but not too bad and the weather was beautiful

There have baby meerkats

They are so cute!

And here's my meerkat family

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pics from the walk along the Avon

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We arrived at the Cross Guns a little early for lunch, so we hung out at the landing on the river with the swans and ducks.

Lunch was good; Nina and I shared some fish & chips and Larry had a plowman's lunch.

pics from Bradford on Avon

We went to Bradford on Avon on Saturday; it's a few minutes past Bath on the train.

This rickety looking building is a tea house; I just had to take a picture of it. Doesn't it look like something out of Harry Potter?

Our plan was to walk a loop along the canal towpath to Avoncliff and then back to Bradford on Avon by way of a footpath along the Avon.

This is an aqueduct where the canal goes over the Avon.

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