The Month in Moments: February

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It's Monday morning and I've just downloaded the last month of photos from my phone onto my computer. I do this once a month and marvel at time and moments and how, without record of them, they might have floated up and away. I have a terrible memory. I am a hundred years old when I try to remember what happened yesterday, last week, a year ago... That may have something to do with the fact that I've recorded even the most mundane of moments so I haven't had to be reliant on memory... but sorting through the images of the last several weeks is a happy place for me. Spending the first of the month, regrouping, remembering and moving on...
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Spring is here even though it's still winter. I open the windows even though it's raining... the jasmine is too aromatic to lock outside, especially when it only lasts a couple of weeks. Soon enough the blooms will fall and I'll close the windows. For now... nah. 
Bo loves the smell of flowers. She smells every single flower, even the ones that do not smell. She closes her eyes and inhales every blossom. 
"Smell this," she says to me, holding up a leaf. "Smell the green. Smell the yellow and the pink." 
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To February's end being March's beginning. To mornings becoming afternoons becoming evenings. To the moments we hold onto and those we let go...
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...To joyfully drawing what we can between storms and welcoming a new canvas come morning.
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Don't get MAD. (No, seriously. Don't.)

This week on, I wrote about our little MAD magazine oops. (Oops!) 

Last Sunday, while Hal was picking up the week’s NYT and bagels, he plucked a little something for Archer as a surprise.
I was actually talking to my Mom about this today when she emailed me the following....

"I loved MAD magazine and still remember my favorite take-off which was of the Flying Nun, a show with Sally Fields where she played a flying nun in Belgium called Sister Betrille. The name of the spoof was Sister Brazil, the Flying Nut, and still, to this day, it cracks me up... I think the main problem is that TV was clean in those days...there wasn't any cable TV, so the spoofs were a little edgy, but mostly clean. My parents even loved MAD Magazine!!!!!  Now....way different!!!..."

I always equated MAD to Beavis and Butthead which I was OBSESSED with as a tween. I mean, my first JOB was dressing up like Butthead with my BFF (Beavis) and waving to people on El Camino Real outside the "Halloween tent."


Memories are a funny thing. We have different eyes at different ages. We judge from different comforts, relate based on experiences that have and haven’t happened yet. I’m sure I read and saw 7878798 things that I wouldn’t want my kids to read or see, and survived to… well… not remember any of it.

MAD magazine, do you read it? Do your kids? Is my mom right? Is MAD's content THAT much more advanced because content EVERYWHERE is that much more advanced? I mean, my parents watched Cheers and Seinfeld when I was a kid whereas we watch Broad City (my favorite favorite) and Girls, you know? 

Very different material to work with, satire wise. Very not for kids. 

So what's up? Have the times changed or did we just... grow up? You can read the post in its entirety, here. 

Also, here is a photo of Fable reading (not MAD magazine) to our dog, Zadie, who occasionally dresses like a lady...
...Have a great weekend, everyone!


#TBT Jump, Joy, Rainbows

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We had a double rainbow on Monday. It was right over the house and it was so epic, I got emotional. I had a full-on what does it mean moment as we were standing in the rain looking up. 
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They don't last long, of course, and Hal and I were scrambling to get our shoes on and help the kids find their shoes so that they could go outside to see it and then it was like, well, screw shoes... our socks will just have to get wet, I guess... 

So they did. And we got wet, too, and none of that mattered of course and we stood there in the wind with our awe until the double faded to single faded to grey. 
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I've been a bit scattered this week trying to come back to earth and landing, instead, somewhere in space, but the week is almost over and rainbows are a thing and it's been so beautiful here in Los Angeles with the rain and the sun and the skies... 

I didn't post any music this week, so, because it's throwback Thursday, I thought I'd post THIS "music video" we made a few months back that features my brother, David's song, Oh Heavenly, which completely rules. (My brother recorded this song many years ago, and then, a few months back, the girls got dressed up and we made a music video.)

Fable's hair was super long then and Revi's purse was full of blocks and SO heavy that I had to unpack it when she slept because I was afraid it would smother her in her sleep because she HAD TO SLEEP WITH IT ON HER ARM OR ELSE.

Oh! And the slow motion was totally Fable's idea because of the whole slo-mo setting on the phone camera. Technology is fun.

"1, 2, 3... ACTION!"


Eat Well: The Vegetarian's Guide to Cooking Meat

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, Mom!

P.S. This is the first post in a series of posts I've been meaning to publish for all you vegetarian parents who cook the occasional meat dish for your kids. In my case, "meat" means fish and poultry, because pork and beef are where I draw the line in terms of cooking. (Sorry, kids. When you're 18 you can experiment with beef.) 

Ethically raised chicken (see below) and fish, however, have been served more and more in my house as of late, and while I really only know one chicken recipe (Tamara taught me how to cook chicken last summer) my mom knows a million recipes because only recently (relatively speaking) has she become a vegetarian. 

Also, and perhaps this is for another post, it is hugely important to me that my kids understand what it is they are eating and where it comes from... how it got there, how it was killed, etc. 

I stopped eating meat at age 12 because I could not NOT think of where the meat came from when I ate it and what it meant to consume another body in order to sustain my own. It is important for my kids to at least acknowledge where there food has come from and to pay homage to the creature they are consuming. 

"Thank you, Chicken. Thank you, Fish."

Sorry this is so long. I'm done now. 

For now. 

Take it away, WWW! 


Last week, I had the joy of helping Hal with the kids while Rebecca was in Peru and then San Francisco. I am incredibly lucky to have the flexibility in my work schedule so that I can help when needed. And although it would be amazing to live in the same town as my grand kids, there is something special about going there to stay; it feels almost like a mini vacation when I spend a few days, or a week, with the family in their house. My purpose is clear, my mind is present, and my regular life seems a million miles away.

I’m going to sound like a grandma now—I can’t help the gushing—but all four kids were amazing all week and I couldn’t be prouder of team BARF. We cooked together—made pancakes and cornbread, shelled English peas, and made heart-shaped chicken. 
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Since the little ones are in preschool until 5, Archer, Fable and I had some really fun quality time together. We played Monopoly twice, (I was the big looser) Uno, Simon, and we built a really cool Lego building (Fable now has massive Lego skills like her brother.) And I was thrilled to be invited to Bo and Revi’s school on Wednesday to help make Chinese Lanterns for Chinese New Years. 
Of course I made some mistakes…forgot to take blankets to preschool one day, put the snack in the wrong spot in backpacks, left a bottle of my argan face oil open near the Sprout computer, which of course Bo decided to paint with (luckily no damage was done)…but all in all, it was an incredible week. 

I am in awe of how Rebecca and Hal manage to do everything without any help and both work full-time. I had big plans of going on outings while the kids were at school…hitting up the LACMA, the Getty Villa, taking long walks in the city and having lunches in sidewalk cafes.  But as it turned out, only once did I go to lunch (with one of my childhood friends) because by the time I finished answering my emails, cleaning, doing the wash, and getting things prepped for dinner, it was time to pick up the kids.  I remember these days so well…looking at the clock and realizing that it was already 2. Whew! Huge respect to all of you.

I know I don’t eat meat, but Rebecca’s kids eat chicken once a week, so while I was with them, I resurrected my favorite “kid chicken” recipe—a sure-fire favorite—and I want to share it with those of you who do eat meat.  I bought my chicken from Whole Foods, since they have The Five Step animal welfare rating. (I am very impressed with this rating system, and highly recommend watching this video.)

Whole foods also has already pounded breasts, but if you buy these there or anywhere else, make sure you pound them even more, to  about ¼ inch.

I have never known a child not to like this recipe. I made 5 huge breasts, and there wasn’t one drop left. The trick to this recipe is pounding the breasts as thin as possible (1/4 inch if you can). By pounding them, the tough protein fibers are broken down and the cooking time is short, ensuring the chicken to be both tender and juicy. Fable LOVED helping me make the chicken. She dredged the breasts with the flour and coated them with the breadcrumbs/Parmesan mixture. (She didn’t want to do the egg part because it was “icky.”)

Ina Garten’s Parmesan Chicken

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or already pounded breasts)
1 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
1 ¼ cups seasoned dry bread crumbs (Italian)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil (or a combo of olive oil and butter)

Pound the chicken breasts until they are ¼ inch thick.  You can use either a meat mallet or rolling pin.  (I put the breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a rolling pin.)

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, pour the egg and water mixture.  On a third plate, combine the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture, and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
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Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil (or combination of oil and butter) in a large frying pan on medium heat.  When nice and hot, add chicken, two breasts at a time, and cook for several minutes on a side, or until cooked through (I found it takes about 3 minutes on a side.)
Add more oil and cook the rest of the breasts. (Put the already cooked breasts in a warm (200 degree) oven until all breasts are cooked.)  Serve.

P.S. Ina Garten suggests serving the chicken with an oil and lemon dressed salad, but I served the chicken with pea tendrils and arugula dressed with, my obsession, lemon miso salad dressing. 


"It's just another moment in your life."

a favorite moment from this past weekend

I know it's just the Oscars and the Oscars NEVER seem to get it right (no offense, Hollywood, but you're kind of a douche), but Boyhood, to me, was so special and so completely unlike anything else that I really wanted it to win all the things. Director, specifically. Best Picture, too.

It felt so alive and groundbreaking, and I find Ellar Coltrane so special and Linklater so humble and un-hollywood-esque. 

Anyway, I really loved Boyhood and wanted to give it one last shout-out. 

Because SNUB CITY. 

By nominating Boyhoodthe academy gave itself the chance to recognize a movie that is not just good but revolutionary—a film that reconsiders, in surprising and rewarding ways, the medium’s relationship with time, with storytelling, and with its audience. It’s both a singular work—no one but Richard Linklater could have made it—and a universal one, reflecting the elemental formative experiences of nearly every viewer, even those who don’t, on the surface, have a lot in common with Mason or Samantha or Olivia or Mason Sr. It’s the crowning work of a crucial American filmmaker and a profound statement about the lives we live. 

For Boyhood fans, this is a must watch: 

Congratulations to everyone who worked on the film, specifically IFC who bankrolled Boyhood from the very beginning AS WELL as distributed it. Boyhood is as much about its behind-the-scenes magic as it is its on-screen impeccability. For those of you interested, this interview with Jonathan Sehring re: risk/reward a la funding Boyhood is wonderful

Lesson: Find someone willing to take a risk. Make them your partner. Go forth. 
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Cue: Hero by Family of the Year. 


Last year I watched a lot of movies and compiled a Top Favorite Films of 2013 post, which I am planning on doing once again this year as soon as I get to watching the rest of the 2014 lineup... if that ever happens.