A Happy Pooch Welcome!
In case you are unaware, click on the volume button in the lower right corner.
A Happy Pooch Welcome!
In case you are unaware, click on the volume button in the lower right corner.
Although not native to the Americas, we came upon a banana tree, bearing both blooms and bananas, growing at an abandoned ruin in Solstice Canyon, which is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The brilliant red high up in the treetops caught our attention and we were amazed to see the cluster of bananas along the stem of the inflorescence. The red bracts are not petals; new flowers emerging are the yellow curly blooms peaking between the opening bracts.
Did you know that bananas are technically speaking a berry? Botanists define a berry as a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit, where the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp and the seeds become embedded in the flesh of the ovary. One banana inflorescence produces 50 to 150 bananas! Blueberries and cranberries are also examples of a true berry.
The tomato graphic above illustrates the pericarp, the fleshy edible part surrounding the seeds. You will most likely not see any seeds in a commercially grown banana because they are cloned from a single cultivar, the ‘Cavendish,’ which also makes them highly susceptible to disease and a potential mass die-off.
Every morning while visiting Liv and Matt, Liv made deliciously healthy smoothies combining bananas, spinach, avocado, and whatever other fruit and veggie were on hand. That’s how we began our Solstice Canyon day hike and I was glad to have had the power-packed breakfast. As you can see, we encountered beautiful and enchanting wildlife along the trail.
California Sister Butterfly
A few more snapshots here – Read more
Liv sent this snapshot that Matt took over New Year’s. I designed the coat that she is wearing before she was born (!); and also designed a coordinating pencil slim skirt, too. The coat made appearances in a number of music videos, art films, and theatrical productions. I love that the ensemble has yet a new life and that she has fun wearing it out in the evening. I saved a few of the samples, just in case we were blessed with a daughter, and just in case she wanted to play dress-up. There’s a leopard version on my website, with Gail Huff (Brown) modeling here.
So looking forward to my upcoming trip to visit our darling daughter Liv and her fiance Matt at their new home in Santa Monica. Here’s a clip she sent, with instructions to bring all cameras!
It has been twenty years since I have made a wedding dress for friend or client. Despite that daunting fact, I am so very much looking forward to making my daughter’s. I loved creating them and have wonderful memories of each and every friend in each and every dress. Liv has many memories too as she was always there with me in my studio, enraptured with the fairy princess magic unfolding during fittings. From that very early age, she has been saying, “Mom, you are going to make my dress, too.”
Inspiration~ Liv loves this Givenchy tea-length gown designed for Audrey Hepburn for the movie Funny Face. The tulle and satin full skirt is perfect for dancing the night away!
UN Headquarters, NYC
Wednesday and Thursday were spent on a whirlwind trip to NYC for my husband Tom to meet with literary agents. Upon arriving Wednesday night, our daughter Liv took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant at Chelsea Market, Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, which specializes in pasta dishes. Every bite of every dish was out-of-this-world delish however, she and I both agreed that the Squid Ink Linguine, Broccoli Rabe, and Lobster entrée was extra-extraordinary. After dinner we explored the HighLine, which is only a short walk from the Market and is especially festive and fun at dusk.
The HighLine was bustling with young couples, old couples, families, friends meeting for dinner and drinks after work, and tourists, too. The gardens are exquisitely maintained and beautiful any time of year, day or night. How well the gardens are cared for is reflected in how very much they are enjoyed by visitors. The HighLine gardens are so appreciated that they even illuminate the flowers!
The following morning, Thursday, I walked around Tudor City Parks in the UN headquarter’s neighborhood and then took Liv to a charming French restaurant near the theatre where she works.
The trip was too brief but very successful though I have to warn our readers that if you are traveling by car to New York City, the construction traffic homeward in the northbound lanes was horrendous, on both Routes 15 and 95. It took us seven hours to get home!
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If you go to Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, you have to try their Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli, a wonderful sparkling red wine that is round and flavorful of fruit and berries, but not at all sweet. The color is an inky purple red and the wine is equally as rich tasting as its hue. Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli is not your grandfather’s Lambrusco.
Lambrusco Pruno Nero is definitely worth seeking out and makes a refreshing summer beverage. I’ll mention it to Kathleen at Savour Wine and Cheese and perhaps she’ll give it a try at the shop. We’ll let you know if she does.
Back in September I posted about a trip to visit my daughter in Brooklyn, and the extraordinary pizza place that she loves to go to, Roberta’s. Recently, the New York Times’s Sam Sifton wrote an article all about Roberta’s fabulous pizza titled “A Little Pizza Homework!!”
Whether you are a lover of thin crust or thick crust pizza, I urge you give this recipe a whirl. Even though we don’t have a fancy wood-fired oven, the Margherita pizza was out-of-this-world delicious. On a good night, Robertas makes 25oo pizzas, and it’s no wonder when Roberta’s pizza czar Anthony Falco, thinks of the dough as his “baby.”
Sam Sifton writes, “Watching Mr. Falco encourage a mound of dough to become a pizza is entrancing. He starts with his fingertips, spreading the dough out from its center, gently, on a well-floured surface.
“It’s a living thing,” he said of the dough. “It’s your baby. You don’t want to beat it up.” He pushed down gently around the pie’s perimeter, creating the edge. He picked up the dough and lightly passed it back and forth between his palms, rotating it each time, using gravity to help it stretch. The top remained the top. The bottom remained the bottom. At approximately 12 inches in diameter, Mr. Falco called it ready to go. He slid the round back and forth on the floured surface to make sure it didn’t stick. “That is certified for topping,” he said.”
My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a tiny bit melancholy because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.
Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine. My father-in-law, who is the most kind-hearted man I have ever met, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, too–and boy does he have many stories to share from a life richly led!
Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Getting ready for Christmas Eve celebration #2! Always a challenge to get loved ones to stand still long enough for a photo!
End Notes: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.
Here we are at Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The exterior looks very nondescript but what welcomes upon entering is a warm, vibrant interior.
We had a wonderful time walking everywhere and dining out. Liv always takes me to the most fun restaurants with fabulously yummy food, and they are never too pricey; the prices are comparable to our favorite Gloucester restaurants.
For our HarborWalk Gardens, I had wanted to to see what’s in bloom at the HighLine gardens during the late summer and early fall, as well as what was blooming at Piet Oudolf’s designs for the Battery Gardens of Remembrance and The Bosque.
At the HighLine, we paused for some length at the stunning grove of Japanese Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum trichotomum); whose one of several common names befits it’s great beauty–Harlequin Glorybower Tree. The stop-dead-in-your-tracks-deliciously-fragrant blossoms float atop a canopy of fluttering leaves. The blooms are similar looking to jasmine flowers, but are even more sweetly scented. A magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds, the tree blooms at a time of year when much of the rest of the garden is winding down. The glorious glorybower is on my wish list for next year and, as it is just barely hardy through zone 6, I’ll find a sheltered and protected spot in which to experiment.
A grove of Magnolia viginiana at the HighLine
Lunch at Passports is always a treat. Daughter Liv had the very filling and super yummy pulled pork sandwich. I had the wonderfully tasty and seafood-rich Adriatic stew. I only had my iPhone with me and didn’t get a great snapshot of our waitress Laila, but she was wonderful as well. Thanks Laila and Eric for the fabulous lunch!
How much do you pay for hamburger meat? For good quality, we pay more than $4.00 per pound. Do you know that the best quality, sweetest, most fresh-off-the-boat, and most tender tasty lobsters are only FOUR DOLLARS per pound at Captain Joe and Sons RIGHT NOW? What are you waiting for ?????????????????????????????????????????
Liv was at the MLB All Star Gala last night and shares these snapshots from her phone. She reports “…4,000 people on the Intrepid and adjacent pier…these are pix of the pier. It was so beautiful, very cool place for a party!!! The Roots played and there was even a full firework display on the Hudson.”
Thanks for sharing Liv and looks like so much fun. I love the Roots and imagine it must have been gorgeous on the Hudson at sunset!!
For Christmas Liv gave me an early edition of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I cried. The poems of Emily Dickinson play a beautiful role in my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities, but the sweetest poem found within the books’ pages is the poem written by Liv, when she was only twelve.
Emily Dickinson, published 1892
When Liv was twelve I hired her to transcribe the first draft of the manuscript for Oh Garden, which I had written in longhand, to our then new computer. I had not yet learned how to use the computer and she was quite proficient. The original manuscript included recipes and illustrations, but no poetry. She took her job of transcribing very seriously and one day, about halfway through the project, announced that I needed a poem for the book. She dashed upstairs to her bedroom, returning only half an hour later with her contribution, “My Mother’s Garden.” Her tender poem suggested to me that I include more poetry and it was a joyous experience searching for just the right poem to illuminate each chapter. The book grew to comprise many poems by Emily Dickinson, along with works by Federico García Lorca, John Keats, Amy Lowell, Chinese painter- poets, and even a funny and sweetly sarcastic poem by Dorothy Parker titled “One Perfect Rose.” When the time came, I showed my publisher, Mr. Godine, Liv’s poem. He was delighted to include “My Mother’s Garden” and it can be found on page 206.
Now I keep this cherished gift of Emily Dickinson poems by my bedside table and each time I reach to read it or simply when the cover catches my eye, I am reminded of her gentle, thoughtful love and of the most cherished gift of all, my daughter.
My Mother’s Garden
An exotic sunset-tinted rose
Intoxicating breath of a magnolia
The small windy brick path
Leading to a hidden paradise
Butterflies flutter their own petal-wings
Over the smiling face of a daisy
A hushed lullaby to the garden sings the stream
Honeysuckle vines twist their elegant tendril,
Grasping the delicate lattice
Gorgeous, vibrant hollyhocks stretch their faces
Towards the radiant sun
Drinking in the soft light
Soon the sweet mellow silence is broken
By a joyful cry of children,
Two, three, now four
Suddenly the garden is a place of singing and frolicking and dancing,
Youthful and inviting.
This blessed garden’s soul shines forth in each and every existence
From the flitting butterflies
To the smallest thriving plant
To the noisiest child that finds peaceful comfort,
In the gentle haven.
-Written by our Liv when she was twelve
@livviiiiii: Midday treat, cc: @kimsmithdesigns http://instagr.am/p/OmKDJrgAXj/
Snapshots from one of our favorite restaurants, the 7th Wave, Rockport, on Tuna Wharf. Disclaimer: Our son Alex Hauck is a chef there, nonetheless, we wouldn’t go if the food was anything but super delicious.
The atmosphere is so pleasant–relaxing, family friendly, and with lovely views all around. The wait staff is a great bunch of young college students and Elaine, the owner, always stops by to say hello. Pictured are just some of the yummy dishes from their eclectic seafood menu. We always ask what station Alex is working–sautee, grill, fry, etc. and place our orders based on what he is cooking that evening. The seafood is fried to perfection–the most beautiful golden orange brown-and simply out of this world.
Mussels Fra Diavolo–and yes, the broth truly is ‘Fra Diavolo,’ or Brother Devilishly Hot! The Chef says he uses both red hot chilies and habaneros.
I loved this Macy Gray song from the moment I first heard it. The lyrics are full of hope. I found the song to be perfect for creating a montage of my favorite clips, filmed in and around Gloucester over the course of the past month. The footage is from works-in-progress butterfly films, 2012 Greasy Pole shorts, and random footage from a family picnic. Is it too kooky–butterflies and Greasy Pole Walkers–you tell me because I see beauty in everyone and everything.
Filmed at Niles Beach, Pavilion Beach, Good Harbor Beach, Eastern Point, Brace Cove, Gloucester Harbor Walk, and Plum Street. Created for Good Morning Gloucester. Dedicated to Joey and his beautiful family and to our beloved Gloucester community.
Thank you Ciaramitaros for your help with my Monarch film!
Thank you to my darling daughter Liv; as Craig said, “a trifecta–beautiful, smart, and funny!”
Beauty in the World Sung by Macy Gray
2012 Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers
“Beauty in the World” is by American singer Macy Gray from her album The Sellout, which is Gray’s fifth album and first since her under-performing 2007 album Big. The Selllout is her return to musical form after almost conforming when her last album didn’t take off. “I thought after Big flopped maybe I should do what everyone else was doing,” she said. “Go out and hire the hottest producers, the best writers, get real skinny. But none of those people called me back.”
The song was inspired by hearing her daughter’s laughter on a down day. “I didn’t even know what she was laughing at. I thought ‘at least she’s happy.’ And I felt at least I hadn’t failed there, because my daughter’s happy.” -wiki