This 12-hour stomach bug both of the kids got this week meant that even though it was short lived and they got back on their feet very quickly, they were still required to stay home from school for a day. This was not a good week for them to get sick, with me scheduled for sinus surgery and all. But with the will of the Universe not in our control, and with my always low platelet count too low for surgery, and a sneaky bug that weaseled it's way into my children's bellies, perhaps it all turned out as it was destined. After my three-day hiatus from mamahood, I suppose I was due for some one-on-one time with my boys. And what a great time we had.

Nico and I had our picnic, and Mateo and I got our nature fix with a hike through Temescal Canyon. It is always such a joy to watch my kids transform when they're outside of their city confines. It's one of the few places I feel like I'm not hurrying them to the next thing. I let them take their time, and if it means watching Mateo beat a bush with a stick for 5 minutes, then I let him. I let him chose the trail, when to take a snack break, and when he's ready to go back to the car. This day there were lots of questions about trees and roots and bee stingers. Mateo was amazed that a bee could still sting you even if it was dead. "But how can he sting you Mama? Didn't the poison got up to heaven with him?" It was a great day. 







Nico's been making lots of "picnics" at home, which to him means simply spreading his blanket on the floor and lining up his cars on it. Every afternoon after school, he proclaims, "I'm making a picnic!" and will move it from room to room. So when he and I had a day to ourselves yesterday, I figured we'd treat ourselves to the real thing. With pizza, watermelon and salad at hand, we walked to the park and found a perfect half shade, half sun spot under a tree and ate and laughed and played. We were even able to act out his favorite book at the moment, The Billy Goat's Gruff, with Nico as the goats and Mama as the troll under the bridge. What a joy this little boy is. 





Using a lovely recipe from 3191 Miles Apart, Mateo and I embarked on a little afternoon baking. Mateo's not really fond of bananas in general, unless they are baked in a bread with maple syrup of course.

Maple Banana Bread 

11 ounces white whole wheat flour (or unbleached all purpose) 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
pinch of salt 
4 ounces butter, melted 
5 ounces maple syrup, room temperature 
2 eggs, room temperature 
3 bananas, mashed 
3 tablespoons milk 

For the topping I use turbinado raw sugar + slighty ground up rolled oats but you can do whatever you like. Try brown sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Experiment! 

Oven: 350ºF / 180ºC 
Grease loaf pan and parchment the bottom if you like (I don't) 

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Mix well butter and syrup. Beat in eggs one at a time and then mix in the mashed banana. Stir the milk into that mixture and add the whole thing to the dry ingredients. Don't over-mix, please. Pour into loaf pan and top with your sugar/oat topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes rotating in the middle of the bake-time. Check for a little cracking on top and the bread pulling away from the sides. Be careful not to over-bake or it will be dry. I have trained my nose to know when this bread is done and I bet you can as well … you just want to smell the bananas deeply. It's hard to explain but use your gut. 


For three whole days I was alone. Three. Whole. Days. The longest I've spent alone in 5 years. As I dropped off Matt and the boys at the airport to head to Atlanta for Matt's sister's wedding, it was hard to look at my children's faces as I pulled away, a mix of excitement for the plane ride and bewilderment that I was driving away without them. My aim, in their absence, was to somehow indulge myself without guilt. I had planned dinner with friends each night, one with an old friend in town from New York, who I always look forward to catching up with. Indeed there was lots of food happiness as evidenced above. There was a movie with my mom, a sunset walk on the beach, a new book to start, a massage, three mornings of sleep past dawn. It was blessing given the tough week that is ahead. By the third day I noticed myself returning to my solo, pre-married days when I would visit the newsstand in New York and return home with a 50-pound bag of magazines. This time there was Interview, New Yorker, Sunset, Gourmet, Harper's, Another Magazine. I even splurged on a French Vogue. 

The quiet that fell on my home was like a sigh at first, but as the days passed, it became too silent, even with music on. I couldn't help but feel a twinge of loneliness. With the focus of the moment turned only on me, it felt self-indulgent. But at the same I wanted to squeeze the juice out of everything because it would be many years before this would happen again. Such is the duality of motherhood. 

As I pulled up to the airport curb Sunday and saw my boys come into view, it was relief. Relief that they were all home safely and that the rhythm that has come to define the deepest essence of my life had returned. Now there was no more time for leafing through 15 magazines, there would be dinner to cook and a kitchen to clean. Now there were no walks on the beach, there would be baths to give, and pajamas to put on, and stories to read, and lullabies to sing. I've long made peace with the things I've had to let go of. Even in little enjoyable pauses like this one, I know there's no other reality that better suits me. Welcome home guys.






Here in Santa Monica you've got two chances to see some fireworks. We usually take the early option the weekend before to avoid the enormous crowds, and it's just as good anyway. Most of the fun comes in hanging out with our friends. The fireworks are more icing on top really. There was a layer of fog that rolled in off the beach after sunset that gave the fireworks a sort of jellyfish-like quality, which was cool for me, because for some reason I've always had a strange affinity for jellyfish. Don't ask me to explain because I certainly wouldn't want to meet one face to face. 


What every mother wants to walk in on. I can only hope this will still happen when they're 16. 









Some painting : some card making : some bowling : some beach biking : the Coolhaus ice cream truck : some catching up with Nana and Pops. I'd say we did alright making a special, celebratory weekend for our special "Dada". Although there's never really enough we can do to show how thankful we are for all he does every single day.


One thing I’m loving: creating “tower spaceships for the aliens who shoot out blood and gold through their eyes.” 

It was a busy but interesting weekend as usual around here. First I was lucky enough to see Brian Blade, one of my favorite artists, blaze with his band at the Catalina Jazz Club. It was a performance I won't soon forget.

There was the very creative exhibit at the National History Museum of Mateo's friend Hudson's school Blueberry, where the preschoolers took nature photographs and wrote some pretty deep poetry. It was a great example of how a simple activity can turn into one that affects the whole community. Taking photographs of nature soon turned into a campaign of children urging everyone to take better care of the Earth. And the best part is that the idea came from the children themselves, not prompted by the adults. 

And since we were already at the museum, why not see some bears?

And some butterflies…

they were very friendly butterflies.

There was the drum circle on Venice Beach, which on approach always looks like some wild, throbbing organism under the setting sky. 

It never fails to produce some very offbeat characters, whom Mateo is always fascinated by,

Or some very infectious rhythms.

And with the Laker's winning the championship, what more could you want?