I'm still there. I really am, and I don't care if it's all in my mind. It may be why it's taken me so long to post anything here because I've been in denial that I'm not still there. 

Kauai holds a special place in the heart of my family. We first went there over 8 years ago and five of those years we've returned. It's a place that, although there are many other places to go to and explore, always pulls you back. Yes, it's the tropical island vibe. Yes, it's the clean air, and the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, and the perfect beaches, and the swaying palm trees. All of that. But there's more to it. There's an energetic force, a palpable spirit that courses with life and…joy. I can't think of another way to describe it other than pure joy. You can't help but feel grateful for it's beauty and for the charge you get just by being there. 

It's a vacation where I actually come back more relaxed. Imagine that.

I have a few more photos to share, but thought I'd start here with the ocean. It was where we spent the vast majority of our days. Picking a beach on the map, packing up, heading there, and staying til the sun went down. Nothing could have been better.


While it may make me feel a little old, I still can't help but smile that my dear, kind, silly, Lego-loving boy has crossed the double-digit threshold. It can only go up, literally, from here. I'm afraid that by his next birthday he may be taller than me.



He wanted to celebrate in the way that's become comfortable for him: home-cooked meal (tomato soup and grilled cheese) and Momofuku Milk Bar's Birthday Cake with his family. A few days later there was an excursion to all-you-can-eat pizza and dessert, ride and arcade extravaganza with his friends. 



I'm not taking this time in my son's life for granted. I know that at some point, some point sooner rather than later, he will turn his attention away from the home he loves so much, from the sanctity of the room he shares with his brother where they can spend hours constructing and deconstructing Legos. I know soon he'll prefer to be out in the world, without us, creating his own identity, probably immersing himself in social media, asking to come home late to which I'll agree but will wait awake with baited breath until his return.

But I really do try not to think of that now. Right now, I am enjoying the constant mess of his room, the way his clothes are often jammed unfolded in his drawers, the stacks of comic books, the uniquely boy-ish smell his room gets when the door's been closed too long, how hungry he is all the time, how long and spindly his legs are, how he still likes to come up from behind me and surprise me with a hug. 

Here's to the first incredible decade, and onto the next, my dear heart. 

We're at the half-way mark through Summer 2014. Our summer started off just as it usually does with a few familiar rituals:


A list full of plans (and hopes).


Tucking into a good read.

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Sunset soccer.


Turning the couch into a bus (or an airplane, or a trash truck…)


A lemonade stand.


Father's Day 2014.


And enjoying a good meal in the neighborhood.

But some have been a little out of the ordinary:


Rocking out (and loving) on the bass with his rock band the Elements of Rock, just a few days after picking it up for the first time. 


Earning a first paycheck.


Fourth of July fireworks, New York style.


My sister's beautiful wedding.


Seeing my sisters from another mister in NYC–twice in one year.



A solo trip with just Nico and me. Long in planning, a joy in execution.


Finding this sky in the desert.

What will the second half bring?

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I just returned from North Carolina, where I spent an entire week away from my beloved family to take part in the Center For Documentary Studies' Summer Institute at Duke University. It was a life-changing experience, I dare say. 

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It was there that I, and a group of fellow filmmakers, were tasked with making mini documentaries highlighting East Durham, a low-income, predominantly African-American community that has been working to break free from its blighted reputation. We were given only seven days to conceive our stories, find our subjects, learn our equipment, shoot our subjects, then turn around a edit it all into a neat and tidy five minutes or less. It seemed impossible to me. This kind of thing can take weeks to do right. 

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And although there was not much sleep to be had, in fact, I think I got a total of 8 hours sleep the entire week, it got done. It was thrilling to work that quickly, often by the seat of my pants, just going by instinct, trusting my abilities. There was no time for second-guessing myself, and definitely no time for beating myself up for mistakes (and there were more than a few.) Things I would have normally freaked out about, I just learned to let them go. 

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And on top of learning to be gentler on myself in the creative process, I was gifted a perfect partner, a hardworking crew, and an amazing mentor who supported us the whole way. All people I was thrilled to get to know.

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At the end of the week all the films were screened for the community at the Full Frame Theater–home of the world-famous Full Frame Festival. Perhaps even more rewarding than making the project was sharing it with the subjects themselves. Seeing their reactions and how touched they were by how their stories were told, was something I won't soon forget.


Here's to the rewards of embracing risk, stretching outside the comfort zone, working to show life in all it's infinite complexity, and the result:






My boy was in heaven. If heaven was called Traveltown, then Jude had officially arrived. This boy of only 26 months in the world already knows that he loves trains. How is this possible? (And I don't think it's strictly by osmosis from his older brothers.) Even though I watched Mateo and Nico go through the same fascination, I can't help but wonder just what it is about wheels that so captivates the mind of a little boy? It's a mystery I know I'll never really understand. But I also know that knowing isn't really necessary and as long as I can provide the opportunity for them to relish in the splendor of locomotives, airplanes, racecars, tow trucks, buses, vans, UPS trucks and 18-wheeler semis, and watch them look as happy as Jude was on this day, then bring on the wheels I say. 









And what could he be watching, you ask? If you answered Wheels on the Bus, you'd be right…"round and round…all day long." !!!

We are (or I should say I am) still going strong on making grain bowls for dinner. I’m still convinced that a simple grain paired with vegetables and a flavorful sauce is a meal that covers the most important food bases all at once–healthy, filling and satisfying.

Again, I usually use whatever vegetables I happen to have in the fridge. This week we had cauliflower, broccoli, some yellow squash and yellow beets. I had a can of adzuki beans and mixed them in with some germinated brown rice. Black beans and quinoa could work well too.

For the sauce, I wanted to use miso. I have recently discovered how useful it is to deepen flavors. I’ve sometimes been mixing it in with some soft, unsalted butter and creating a sauce for sauteed vegetables and pasta (like roasted eggplant and linguini) that is insane. This sauce pairs it with orange and ginger. Tangy and a little sweet.





Orange miso dressing

{makes enough for 4 with a little left over.}

6 Tbsp. mellow white miso

4 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 cup fresh-squeezed OJ

2 tsp. maple syrup

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 Tsbp. tahini

1/2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger

A dash of water

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix. Pour over bowl.


I wanted to share a few more photos of our trip. As difficult, expensive, loud, dirty, cut-throat and overwhelming as New York can be, it is a city that still offers so much. And as glad as I was to come home to our warm, sunny, spot by the beach, I hope to continue to introduce nyc to my children, and that they too will know what it's like to call it their own. Someday. In the meantime, we had:


Central Park






 Doughnut Plant (!)



 The High Line



 Children's Museum of the Arts




 And Brooklyn, with it's indefatigable array of sweet little shops like Hiho Batik, where you could design your own batik creation. 




"Bye, bye New York!"



Mother's Day 2014 couldn't have been much better. There was an early morning service at Lake Shrine.


Followed by cards loaded with loving words and amusing portraits (they must wish I had straight hair.)


There was eggs benedict (minus the meat) with hollandaise sauce handmade by my husband. There was champagne.


I love that he chose Mums.

And there was also this little tidbit, so sweet, that Mateo and Nico participated in when we were at the Children's Museum of the Arts in New York. They both appear around :25, then again around 2:20 and 3:20.

And after a vegan Japanese dinner downtown with Nana, there was an impromptu talent show before bed with lots of dancing, jumping and lip-synching to One Republic and Pharrell. I felt loved….




This year Spring Break found us in New York for a short trip. Returning to NYC is always exciting for me–it was my home for many years and in some ways still feels like home (cue in Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind…) Maybe it's the streets and my memories that are all still familiar, maybe it's the creative energy that everyone just seems to embody, or the fact that, here, you can find anything and every experience imaginable. It's a place of absolute possibility. It's also the home to some of my most cherished friendships. Spending time with them was at the top of my list. Oh, and going to Momofuku Milkbar.



Nico and Mateo definitely had their own list of places they wanted to go: Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square–stuff they've seen in books. When we found out that the average wait to get to the top of the Empire State Building was 2 hours, we nixed that one. And we, the parents, decided we didn't necessarily need to go to the Statue of Liberty, we could take the (free) Staten Island Ferry and wave to her from the water instead.


We rode the subway, with a toddler…and a stroller. I think we encountered only one working elevator. Bless Matt and his back for hauling Jude up and down dozens of stairs. 



We also made it to the Natural History Museum, sight of a most favorite movie of theirs, Night at the Museum.



Home of the life-sized blue whale and a 1400-year-old giant Sequoia. 


More to come….  :)










Although it now seems like a while ago, as Typepad was down for almost a week (and therefore no blogging,) little Jude turned two a couple of weeks ago. We were at the beginning of our spring break and had made our first stop to Washington DC to see family. It was a most lovely Spring day. Sunny, breezy. It was probably the first coat-free day the city had had in months. Jude brought the warmth with him I do believe.

While I don't think he really understood what was going on for most of the day, he did understand that chocolate covered cake that was laid before him. And he did know how to blow out his two candles. And he certainly knew how to get that fork full of cake into his mouth–over and over again. Whether he knew why we were celebrting him was no matter. As we sang Happy Birthday to him, I could see in his eyes that he knew we were singing for him, loving him, and perhaps he could see in mine just how grateful I am to have such a beautiful little boy in my life.