Category Archives: Perfect Moment

Tahoe Living

Before BlogHer, Darcy and I drove up with the twins to have a good ole fashioned Tahoe Vacation.

Lake Tahoe and I go…way back.

When I was a youngster, back when I had no fear, my dad and I would tear up the Intermediate runs at Heavenly. I was low to the ground and I would beg him to abandon the black diamond runs to try to race me.

Then we began to frequent Tahoe in the summer. Tahoe in the summer is glorious. The weather is nearly perfect each day, free from fog, unlike the Bay Area. The glorious Lake is such a vibrant, specific color that it is both a paint chip and an environmental cause. My auntie Marian used to drive me up to the Lake in her vintage 60s red Porsche. We would stop at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and drink strawberry Daiquiris. (Mine were Virgin.)

When I became college-aged, Tahoe meant something different. My friend would host a party for dozens at her family’s lakeside condo. She was a daredevil, and would drive her family’s vintage wood boat (a vestige of their most prosperous days) into the wake created by the biggest ferry on the North Shore. Once, she drove so hard into a wake that our friends on the pier thought we had sank into the deep. But, we hadn’t.

My college boyfriend was a Skier. A double-diamond running, kick-turning genuine Warren Miller wannabe. Since I had become a summer Tahoe person, my skiing skills were suspect, but I had high hopes. My boyfriend’s friend, a kind instructor, a future Navy Seal, decided to teach me how to ski properly, at top of Squaw Valley’s Mountain Run. He was a little inebriated at the time. In fact, he was wearing the box of a 6-pack on his head.

I was dead sober and very, very scared. I followed his instructions to turn up: and promptly turned straight upwards into a mogul field. Those expert skiers flying down the field were very sore with me. Many curse words were uttered in my direction. Finally, a ski patrolman located me and instructed me to take off my skis and walk down the field.

“Who told you to go this way?” he asked, annoyed and perplexed. I pointed at my friend. “The guy with the 6-pack box on his head?” the ski patrolman asked, with anger.


Since the twins have been born, Lake Tahoe has meant something different. Each summer, we try to visit.

Each year, I am invigorated by the crisp Mountain air, the tall Tahoe Pines, the electric blue Lake.

Tahoe is a part of my soul.

This year, I ran on pristine Alpine trails, I admired the classic style and signs of Kings Beach and I gloried in the knowledge that my children were playing in the meadows where my Mom and I had once built a snowman. My son was looking out from the pier where I once performed daredevil acts. My daughter was learning to swim in a pool where I once swam as if I were a fish.

What I lived in:

Are there places you love to glory in, where you can reclaim your past? Where are they?


Filed under Perfect Moment

Pedicures and S’mores

Sometimes, it can be fun to focus on the shallow. The silly. The superficial.

I haven’t done that in a while.

I saw the prettiest manicure on Pinterest a while ago. I wanted to try it, except with my lifestyle I knew this mint glitter combo would chip and become a mess within an hour.

So I decided to turn it darker and put it on my toes, which don’t get as beat up by wear and tear. I actually went out and got a pedicure (I KNOW!) and asked for a kelly green, punctuated by emerald green sparkles. OPI provided both.

And now, every time I look at my feet I smile. And feel a secret happiness born of non-intellectual rigor and pure old-fashioned self-love.

We also made S’mores tonight.

And I got a report that the moles I had removed were benign. Today, I am reminded how lucky I really am. I am so thankful.

Summer is here.


Filed under Discovering joy, Perfect Moment

Perfect Moment: Smoke Caught in the Glass

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

My daughter loves to dance.

On vacation, there was a talent show. Ten-year-olds sang songs from such varied sources as Disney’s Tarzan, LMFAO and The Sound of Music.

Suddenly, the MC called my daughter’s name, and my four-year-old little dynamo strode up those stairs onto the stage in front of 50+ vacationers. (Her twin brother, her guard-at-arms, was close on her heels, acting as her bodyguard.)

And she danced. To a tune and rhythm all her own. It was if an unspoilt tropical breeze blew in and took over my daughter’s spirit. But of course, there was no introduced element: it was her own uncynical, carefree soul in its most free form.

And I thought: how honored I was to see this smoke caught in a glass jar: a momentary, blissful joy captured in the wild, even if for just a millisecond of my time here. How privileged am I to have caught a glimpse of this fume in this comely pure shape.

I tried to recapture the moment, here. She is so fluid, so shifting, so molten. She is like how I once was, she is nothing like me. She is she.

Extra bonus: my incredibly terrible cinematography and ugly brass-filled bathroom! Fire extinguisher still on the counter? CHECK!


Filed under Perfect Moment

Perfect Moment: An Afternoon Outing, With a Friend

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

I have made a number of friends through blogging, but had not met any in person.  Until today.

Today, I was able to get Darcy to watch the twins while I met up with Bodega Bliss in a nearby town.  It was a beautiful day and we ate lunch outside.  Then we went to a local chocolate specialty store, then shopped at a chic consignment store.  Where I actually bought a dress and Bliss picked out the cutest daffodil yellow shoes for me.  And found a beautiful blouse for herself, and some kick-ass sandals.  She has more style in one finger than I do in my whole body.

We discussed her beautiful, inimitable style (she calls it “romantic pirate”) and mine (wannabe Coco Chanel with trench coats) and many, many other things much more important.

The afternoon underscored the wonderful world of blogging, the connections you can make with like-minded empathetic people who understand you.  And when you meet them, it’s like you’ve never NOT met them.


Filed under Discovering joy, Perfect Moment

Cooking the Classics: St. Patrick’s Day Revisited

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one.  Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

I made our traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner late this year.  There are some reasons for this which don’t particularly make me glad.

I married into a clan and they are very family-oriented.  I have traded in much to fit into this family: my religion, my holidays, my free time.  (Kidding! Sort of.)  Most of the time, for many reasons complicated and varied, I am just fine with that decision.  Happy, even.  I didn’t grow up with extended family around, and my own parents and brother have moved across the country and we see them rarely.  So, family.  Good to have around.

There are some times however when I begin to chafe at the obligations.

I begin cooking my St. Patrick’s Day meal by boiling a large, four pound cut of corned beef.  It simmers with peppercorns and bay leafs for at least three hours.

After we had kids, my big line in the sand was St. Patrick’s Day.  My mom did some genealogical research recently, and it turns out my family is not as Irish as we thought.  In fact, we’re mostly English.  Be that as it may, every year growing up I looked forward to the annual, special St. Patrick’s Day feast.  The food, it was not gourmet.  It was not fancy.  But it was made with love, it was homemade and it was delicious.

While the corned beef is boiling, I start making the Irish Soda Bread.  Just the Joy of Cooking recipe, nothing special.  I whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar together, then add the raisins and caraway seeds.  I had trouble finding those seeds at the grocery store.  Are they Irish?










I then whisk butter, egg and buttermilk together.  It all looks a bit granular.  Is that OK?










I mix the buttermilk batter with the dry ingredients, and it seems to be a sticky mess.










I pile it on a baking sheet and hope for the best.

It’s important to me that the kids experience at least one tradition that I had growing up.  So each year, I plan a St. Patty’s Day menu.  This year, the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I had two birthday dinners (one for a family member, one for a friend) and a pre-school religious festival that I helped plan and organize. St. Patrick’s Day got lost in the shuffle.

I have to double the baking time for the Irish Soda Bread.  I think our oven is really old?

I felt horribly guilty about this.  I decided to make the dinner on Sunday night, when Darcy was around to watch the kids.  Sunday night we have a standing date for a family dinner elsewhere.  We have already attended two family occasions this week, so we decided to invite the family over to our house for dinner instead.  I bought the ingredients.  I bought the lilies and Irish bells for the table.











I pick rosemary from our herb garden.  I wash it well.  I don’t want the “je ne sais quoi” of the meal to be radioactivity.








The family, not pleased.  Standing date claimed, the wish to have dinner at their own house cited.  Pressure was exerted.  Darcy held firm.

I roast the fancy small potatoes I got from Whole Foods with our local rosemary, garlic and olive oil.











I arrange the corned beef on a platter.









I boil the cabbage in the corned beef water.









I serve the soda bread, which looked and tasted like a giant scone.











And my perfect moment was the following:








My own home-cooked, hard won St Patty’s Day meal, served to my immediate family of four.  Served homemade, and with love.


Filed under Cooking the Classics, cooking?!?, Discovering joy, Perfect Moment, The Reluctant Cook

Perfect Moment: A Handshake in My Sleep

Perfect Moment Monday “is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.”

My kids have both been sick this week. Much sleep deprivation was had by all. Darcy let me sleep in on Saturday morning, which, bliss. At some point, my daughter climbed into our bed and fell asleep too. When I woke up, her little hand was tucked inside mine, as if we were making some sort of sleepy secret handshake. As if we were secretly agreeing to be in a club comprised of non-morning people. It was wonderful.

Please visit Lori to read more Perfect Moments.


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Filed under Discovering joy, Family, Perfect Moment

Perfect Moment: Discovering How Wonderful My SIL Is

Perfect Moment Monday “is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.”

My brother and his wife came for a visit as I mentioned last week. They don’t live nearby, and we only see them once a year, usually at a large family gathering, so I had not really spent any one-on-one time with her ever.

My brother and husband wanted to watch the football game on Monday night together, and my husband and I had decided that it would be OK to go to a restaurant during this special week. (We’re trying really hard not to eat out to save money 😦 ) So SIL and I left to go to a restaurant together, a real local institution. I was so excited to be able to hang out with her and get to know her better. (And eat a meal in a restaurant!)

I guess I was too excited, because as soon as we arrived at the restaurant’s parking lot I slammed my pinky in the car door. It hurt, badly, and I knew I would have to go to the ER. I also knew I wouldn’t be able to drive with one hand. SIL rose to the challenge valiantly and drove me to the ER (in a strange city and car), then waited with me for four hours while I was diagnosed, drugged, cut, irrigated and given two painful injections of antibiotics. She was so cool about the whole thing, and her calm presence was very reassuring.

She was also wonderful with the kids, and generally very helpful. (She cleaned the kitchen for us!) She and my brother are so cute together, they are really in love. My brother is a lucky man and realizing that the day they left was my perfect moment.


Filed under Perfect Moment