Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June 2013

I love summer, and it's been my favorite since childhood (not least because I have a summer birthday). It still feels like free play time with warm weather, so much good fruit, swimming, getting a tan, sun dresses, windows open in the house, eating outside, and weekend outings, even when I'm no longer in the school system where summer really is break time. However, my siblings are out of school, so I do get to spend more time with them.

Music: Willy Moon's new album ("Here's Willy Moon") is my summer soundtrack right now.

Movie: "When you're in the bows of a mango tree, it's like being in your mother's arms." So says one of the subjects of the documentary, "Fruit Hunters".  It's hard to describe how deeply that resonates with me, despite the fact that I don't think I've ever been in a mango tree. In a sentence, this film was about preserving the biodiversity of tropical fruits, but to me, it is a love letter to the tropics and amazing food. Frankly, the idea of there being fruits I can never taste is almost sadder than animals I'll never see, but thanks to those who call themselves fruit hunters, there is a fight to preserve all the rare species of fruit that have been slowly disappearing because of the culture of supermarkets. I'm adding "fruit hunter" to my list of dream jobs and I'm definitely adding trips to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida to my road-trip map for their mango festival (where perhaps I'll get to taste an ice cream mango!) and maybe meet some people from the Rare Fruit Council. Some of my favorite fruits not known well in the U.S. are mangosteens and water apples, and some that I'd like to try (fresh) are jackfruit, passion fruit, dragonfruit, and green mango on the tree (for the smell). Have you heard of any you're dying to try? You can watch the documentary on youtube in two parts, here and here.

Book: Gregory Maguire is known for his retelling of fairy tales, most famously the Wicked books (which I can't resist saying, once again, are so much better than the Broadway play). This month I read his novel "What The Dickens", an interpretation of the history of tooth fairies. It was not nearly as involved and nuanced as the Wicked series, but his writing remains engaging, and his storytelling imaginative. I always enjoy the depth he adds with creepy and dark elements, even if that is an over-popular theme in entertainment these days.

Best Bites: In our family, we cook for special occasions rather than go out. Father's Day yielded the best food this month - my sister Annelise made a yummy zucchini almond salad (looks similar to this recipe?) and my mom helped me make a red mole sauce, a favorite of Jonas's. It took us 2 days, but it turned out pretty yummy. We also ate some great food in LA this past weekend, but I'm going to save those reviews for my guide to LA post.

Best of the Web:
  • Summery pins: 1, 2
  • Incredible wedding moments; fitting, as we're in the thick of the 2013 wedding season. 
  • An exorbitantly expensive (Dolce & Gabbana) pair of beautiful summery shoes.
  • I heard an NPR interview with Jessica Buchanan and her husband about her experience being kidnapped by Somali pirates and her rescue by SEAL team six. I was so impressed by the attitude the couple had about their marriage during and after the ordeal, as well as their careful intent in saying they had no hard feelings toward Somalia as a country. They really inspired me as a couple, and I'd love to read Jessica's book someday.
June Events:
  • For Father's Day, I made Jonas breakfast in bed with the circus animal waffle maker that Ishmael so thoughtfully bought for his daddy. They were fancy black forest waffles, no less. Then we headed to Santa Barbara for a picnic with my family, and we ended up at Urgent Care after my brother Jonathan crashed his long board and needed 7 stitches in his leg. I made Jonas a special dinner, which included the mole sauce I mentioned above, later in the month.
  • We mini-vacationed in LA during an intense heat wave. We had planned to go to the Rose Bowl Food Truck Festival, but it was a little more expensive than we had anticipated, so we just walked around Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, Chinatown, and the Wat Thai Temple, interspersed with visits with friends (the Jones family, below!) and family. We had a great time, and it definitely fueled our desire to move to that area, which is our long-term family goal.

Ishmael's 7th Month: He now has 3 teeth on the bottom, and perhaps one coming through on the top, which makes it a little less sad that he quit nursing. Instead, he's eating LOADS of fruit, yams, and avacado, which he can now pick at very intentionally with individual fingers. We nonchalantly gave him his first tastes of ice cream and chocolate and he went absolutely bonkers for it, as I guess we should have known. It's really fun to watch, but will be a rare treat. He bangs on his chair and kicks his legs wildly when he wants more food, which we are trying to channel into better manners, but at least he's enthusiastic. If dessert is in the picture, he cranks up the thrashing and wimpering. Baths, showers, and pool time continue to be a favorite activity, and he's quite an accomplished crawler too, avoiding concrete on his knees by moving up on to his toes. New tricks in the last few days include sticking his tongue out and into his lower lip, waving aimlessly (?) kind of like royalty in a parade but with less structure (not the same as waving goodbye), and he's getting the hang of the high five. He went through a pretty clingy (to Mama) phase during the first part of the month, but now he's more into launching off me with his feet and banging on chairs and pots and pans, his new xylaphone, and the floor, etc. He was actually falling asleep on my chest this morning (remarkably snuggly), and he continues to screech when happy (ever louder, especially if you try and out-do him). He will have "humming" conversations with us (mom: "hm", Ishmael: "hm"... like 10 times back and forth), and he is very clearly imitating other sounds like the squeeking of our shower head.

Love list: Huge bougenvilla spilling over walls, tuberroses brought home by my husband!, agua frescas, watering our watermelons with Ishmael, fresh blackberries, watching Ishmael eat watermelon, blooming magnolias, skirts with pockets, fresh sheets, and night blooming jasmine.


  1. Passionfruit is one of my all time favourite flavours. We had a passionfruit vine growing up in Sydney and it is a classic "summer" taste to me. My Mum's summer fruit punch had fresh passionfruit and mint leaves to give it that perfect zing.

    1. Lucky!! That sounds amazing. I need to find a South-American hub in LA, because I think that's where passionfruit is native to.


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