Dinner for One

One of the only good thing about my husband being out of town is that I find myself cooking really ... um ... non-Non-Scotsman-like meals. Tonight I found myself at Uwajimaya grabbing ingredient's for Mizuna, Wasabi & Tofu:

(Thank you, Bon Appetite, for the recipe)

I find I love piling roasted beets onto everything,

and pouring cool glasses of Lillet with a squeeze of lime.

and wanting to recreate everything ever made by Donna Hay:

What do you like to cook for dinner when it's just you?


I was in Venice, CA this weekend and happened to be staying on Abbott Kinney, right across the street from Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea:

My sun-glazed local girfriends and I stood in line behind throngs of sandaled So.Cal-types who all seem to be trying extremely hard to look glamorous in "casual wear" and perfectly nonchalant about their designer dogs. (It might have reminded me of a few hipster coffee bars here on Capitol Hill...but I'll save that for another time)

Besides the swanky crowd, I had no idea the bean & brew mecca I was entering.

Intelligentsia's concept features 5 different stations where 5 separate baristas personally attend to each customer, individually catering to their unique coffee whims, and “swiveling hydraulic pods” allow baristas to customize their workspace. Baristas here are like sommeliers, and they are meant to educate us as well as serve us. (Their most recent point of customer education was to eliminate the 20 oz drink from their menus, claiming quality over Starbucks-sized quantity.)

My barista was more patient than my grandma, tapping cones of freshly ground, single-origin beans with Japanese kettles, coffee syphoning drop by precious drop into my hands. Well worth the smooth caffe macchiato, although I still don't understand the $5 price tag.

These people mean business: I mean, for goodness sake, they have their own app ! showcasing the current coffee offerings with instructions and illustrations for preparing the coffee on multiple brewing devices (timers included, of course) :

This is coffee on the level of ... well ... I might say Stumptown

or Vivace

or Victrola.

Love them all.


Comfort (and Joy)


Comfort can be everywhere and yet hard to come by. Life involves long hours and tired feet these days, and I find myself breathing a deep sigh of relief when, after walking in my door, I ease into a comfortable pair of socks. Cozy socks have become a sort of north star.

Some of us (me) fear getting too comfortable. Indeed, it can be a dangerous place when it gets in the way of reality, of love, of hope. Sometimes it lead into the status-quo of materialism, all about self-indulgence, forgetful of the people outside who sit in the rain with no umbrella. In my comfort, I am afraid of forgetting my blessings, becoming numb and comatose, perhaps missing out on risk and passion.

However, I find that nothing does more for my sense of LIFE and exuberance than a few moments in indulgent R & R. It seems that more passion, more energy, and more heart come from those restorations than any sort of fear. Every person, regardless of wealth, needs rest.

So, what would my dream "comfort" look like (this is not in any way relational comfort, mind you. Purely material).

Comfort would feel like the plush pillowtop mattress on a California King bed at Shutters on the Beach:

And I would be completely cocooned in cashmere. Really soft cashmere.

It would smell like eucalyptus citrus scents at the 5 Star Nun Spa & Museum where the Non-Scotsman and I went in Assisi.

It would sound like Gymnopedie No. 1.
And at the end of this moment, the huge sigh you breathe feels so vibrant and content and full of joy.


Snow Days

Do you remember the childhood feeling of rolling out from under warm covers to find SNOW on the ground? Pure delight!

It was like pure, brilliant diamonds gathered in piles around the yard, spilling onto the windowpanes. I imagine my friend and bridal jewelry designer, Tyler A. Sholdt, would say they were FL diamonds, the rarest diamonds that receive the distinctive honor of being labeled as flawless (FL).
Snow days brought a break from school and a tumbling urge to play.

This morning, then, you can imagine how fast my heart raced when I woke up to that same white goodness. I heard it, rather than saw it, actually. I heard the cars screeching outside trying to avoid having to descend Denny across I-5. I heard people yelling in the alley as they slipped and careened downthe sidewalk. Ah, the city. Snow on Denny & Bellevue

does not always have the same quiet effect as snow in the Vermont hills.

However, the snow still provided the unexpected break from my morning agenda, and I found myself giddy at the thought of rolling over, burrowing into my covers, and reading a good book about my soul.

I scoured my bathtub to sparkle like the diamonds, stretched to the tempo of Erykah Badu, and made goodies for friends who will find out the gender of their baby today. A baby who will someday wake up to snow days and make snow angels.

I sat with the mug I got for Christmas that reads "Keep Calm and Carry On," and I knew it was possible.

Snow Days!