Monday, August 31, 2009

Here is where it happens

Ms. Manhart's Room: A9

All buffed and shined and ready.

Some stuff on my walls:

Big paintings gifted to me by graduating seniors:

This one from Brianna, signed "the original outdoor lit class"
The quote says: "If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed." Leo Tolstoy

This one from Ashley, of my man e.e. cummings

And of course, this:

Skyler goes to Kindergarten

Skyler on Kindergarten: "I'm a little bit excited and a little bit scared."

a little bit excited:

a little bit scared:

She picked two sunflowers from our garden this morning for the teacher. Shameless?

Look at this nice sunny space.

She was so worried about not getting a job. Look what we found as soon as we walked in!

I assured her that is the COOLEST job anyone could ever get.

I hung around long enough to watch her on the playground for a while, hopscotching...

...and then I sensed she was ready, and kissed her goodbye.

There are so many things I could write here, but all of them will make me cry, so.
Have a great day, kid.

Last days of summer

We are all back to work, daycare, and kindergarten. Here are our last pictures of summer:


A birthday party:

for my two dear girls Suzanne and Meredith.

the American Folk Festival:

And this: On a very rainy day this weekend, I told the kids to get dressed for the rain. This is what they did.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You think?

My mom said my Red Sox post was over-the-top.

Was it the second or third time I cried during the game that made her think so?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday night under the lights, or, Emilie's dream come true

There is no way we could have had any more fun on our trip to Boston for the Sox game, even if the Yankees hadn't crushed us 20 to 11. It was just the most perfect, hot, humid, Americana, sweet smelling night at Fenway Park.

First of all, I was just excited to get there.

Second, it felt totally different in the park than I remembered, actually smaller and more intimate, and very emotional. And extremely electric.

I'm pretty sure it's embarrassing that we are both wearing red sox jerseys, but clearly I'm so far gone at this point that it didn't matter.

I totally started to get teary during the national anthem, but the pretty girl from Days of Our Lives flubbed the lines in a really embarrassing (but sort of funny) way.

The first pitch. Just so exciting!

It's one thing to watch a game on TV. It's another thing altogether to be there and hear the super-loud music, and to rise to our feet with all the other sweaty people when Ellsbury steals a base, and to smell the italian sausages, and hear all the funny Boston-accented guys taunting the Yankees.

As you can see above, our seats were up in the grandstand. It was pretty hot up there with all that yelling and dancing around, and Sam and I started plotting our move as the score got worse and worse and worse, and as the rich folks with amazing seats started to head for home. When it was 12 to 1, we made a break.

Down here, on the 3rd base line. Much better!

What's funny is that here we are with the bases loaded and Big Papi at bat and we were all quivering with excitement as if we had a freaking chance to still win. Imagine, we scored 11 runs and still lost by 9! What on earth?

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't care too much. After all, there's Mikey Lowell! He's my other favorite next to Jonathan Papelbon (I saw him! but he didn't pitch).

This close to Big Papi.

I definitely got weepy when we all sang Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline after the 7th.

We stayed to the bitter, bitter end, hanging on every pitch. The game could have gone on 4 more hours and I wouldn't have flinched.

On the way down to Boston, I listed for Sam all my hopes for the night:
1. No rain out (it was threatening, but not a drop)
2. The Sox win
3. There is a bench-clearing brawl.
4. Somebody gets thrown out of the game.
5. Papelbon pitches and saves.

I got 1 out of 5! Didn't care!

Sam got his wish. He spotted Heidi Watney, the hot Red Sox broadcaster from NESN whom he refers to as "that fresh little strawberry"

I got so excited trying to get a picture of her, that I spilled about $2 worth of my $5 lemonade and then got this great shot of only her legs. Nice legs, huh?

We finally left when the ushers told us we had to. We then walked a mile back to our hotel.
What I'm trying to tell you is that we the most terrific time ever.

Here's to next year!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Schoodic Lake: it doesn't suck

On the occasion of Suzanne's birthday, we spent the day at the perfect little Carver camp on Schoodic Lake, which is so far tucked behind miles and miles of blueberry barrens that Suzanne has to meet us on the dirt road to lead us in.

Several times throughout the day, I heard adults say: "If every kid could have a summer like this...."

Anna, Emerson, Ella, Maya, Reed and Skyler (and Brady not pictured)

Along with food, drink, and reverie,
there was kayaking:

(She actually looks like a Kindergartener, doesn't she?)

There was jumping:

And throwing: (he does a complete flip in the air and comes up laughing)

hours and hours of swimming: (the beautiful Carver girls)

Frog catching:

And of course, there was cake.

Happy Birthday, Suz!

Monday, August 17, 2009

a meal to remember

A few months ago, our friends April and Doug had us for dinner and described for us a recent meal they had experienced at a private dinner club in Bar Harbor. It needs a bit of explanation, so stay with me.

This guy, Frankie, is an Italian chef who started cooking dinners in his home for small groups of people, and then through word of mouth, his cooking created a high demand, and now he makes his living by booking multi-course dinners for groups of 6-12.

When we heard April and Doug describing his food, we knew we had to try it out, and booked a dinner for the last night Liesel was here. Because we were friends of April and Doug, and because they were joining us, we could get a reservation. He doesn't book a dinner unless he knows you or you are "highly recommended." More on that later.

Frankie and his wife grow all of their own vegetables, and these zucchini plants greeted us as we walked up his driveway.

As soon as we walked into this beautiful, warm space infused with roasted garlic, we knew we were in for a treat. Here is Frankie teaching us about the ingredients used in the first course.

He is part chef, part teacher, part historian, and part showman. He had a lot to say about this food and where it came from. He made it pretty clear from the get go that he was the star of the show, and not to ask questions. Sam didn't really take the hint, and provided us some very funny moments. More on that later.

First course included: Imported Italian olives, meats and cheeses, roasted red peppers and baked garlic served with homemade bread and estate bottled extra-virgin olive oil. Caprese salad with fresh mozarella, basil, and (NO JOKE) the best tomatoes I've ever, ever eaten. Stuffed zucchini, and applewood smoked salmon (that he proudly smokes himself). It was truly amazing.

Good gravy! I can still taste that salad if I look at this picture.

During the first course, Sam innocently asked Frankie if he smoked his own prosciutto.

Frank said: "That's not prosciutto. And you never, ever smoke proscuitto. You cure it."

Then Sam pointed to a huge jar on the counter filled with a golden liquid that had inches of an unidentified white substance at the bottom.

Sam said: "Is this olive oil with parmesan at the bottom?"
Frankie said: "No."

We moved over here for the remaining courses: Arugula and cherry tomato salad with beef tenderloin, Bucatini all' Amatriciana, "a famous Roman dish from the town of Amatrice; bucatini pasta made with oven-roasted tomatoes and guanciale," and roasted pork tenderloin with braised fennel and figs and port wine sauce. Unbelievable, every bite.

Sam asked about the olive oil and parmesan AGAIN half way through the dinner, and I started to kick him under the table. We had been told that Frankie didn't decide if a party of new folks would be invited back until the end of the dinner. I thought Sam was surely going to do us in.

Frankie told us again about prosciutto during the meal, and reminded us (Sam) that "it is never, ever, ever smoked, only cured." This was intense!

When Frankie came to clear the plates from the pasta course, I said that I hadn't eaten it all because I was saving room for the tenderloin course.

Frankie was not pleased: "No No! During each course, you only think about that course, not what is to come! A lot of love and work goes into every course!"

Sam, who had a clean plate, smiled. "That's what I'm talking about," he said to Sam when he took his plate. Sam was back in Frankie's good graces.

For 10 seconds.

Sam: "I've been fasting for a few days to get ready for this!" lied Sam

Frankie: "No, No! That's not what you should do! You don't fast! The more you eat, the more your stomach expands, and then you can eat more!"

At this point, we started to giggle at the seemingly impossible challenge of saying just the right thing to Frankie.

Good thing we didn't have to talk much. We just had to eat his perfect food. We oohed and aahed through the whole meal.

After dinner, Sam got his answer to the olive oil question. It wasn't olive oil, but home-made grain alcohol with inches of lemon zest at the bottom, from which he makes his own limoncello. He brought out shots for everyone at the table in frosted glasses. It was so cold and lemony and sweet. And strong! I drank half of it and gave the rest to Sam.

And dessert? Oh good lord. Vanilla panacotta with this ridiculous reduced port sauce that was so delicious. Sam had to round out the evening with one more question (!) about the port sauce, and we knew it wasn't a good question when Frankie started: "Like I told you earlier..."

We had some seriously good laughs about some of the things we could have said during dinner. Like, "this is just like what I had at the Olive Garden!" After dessert, we had a five minute argument over who was going to ask Frank for coffee while he was busy cleaning up.

Frank and all of his entertaining and passionate food lessons, plus the truly authentic, fresh, organic, genuinely good food made for an unforgettable evening. At the end of the night,
Frank said to us: "You are all invited to come back for dinner anytime."

YES! and PHEW!