Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Matt doesn't really cook.

Toast and hard-boiled-eggs aside, his bachelor-hood days weren't necessarily filled with trips to the produce department at Ralph's or casual contemplation in front of the fresh seafood counter.

But a couple of weeks ago, Filippa was running late and he -- with the aid of the telephone and a couple, I'm sure, improvisational moments -- prepared pizza dough from scratch. Measured the yeast, added the water and flour, let it proof. Added the remaining goodies, covered with saran wrap and let it rise.

Honestly, I thought that would be it.

And then I got the phone call.

"Matt made stir-fried chicken with sugar-snap peas and pineapple salsa," Filippa practically chirped.

He found a cookbook. Pounced on a recipe. And followed it, step-by-magical-step.

So ... what is it you're saying you can't do?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Analyze This

I'm in Munich, staring at fresh-from-the-oven rolls.

Pumpernickel touched by sesame seeds, sourdough speckled with green and black olives, poppy-seed everythings, and loaves upon loaves of every possible heavenly combination.

It's almost my turn.

Everything is clearly and neatly labeled, block-letter-cards adorning each miniature shelf, heralding every item released from the oven's inferno.

Then it hits me.

The labels are all wrong. I don't know what anything is called. And though my German was once perfectly gut, that was 12 years ago.

So I panic. Stall. Try to eavesdrop as other natives place their orders.

The smells are intoxicating. My head begins to spin. I don't know what to do.

And then I woke up. Here's how I see it: I'm either a) overly-obsessed with really great bread; b) insanely excited about the prospect of an amazing sandwich; or c) have an inexplicably secret and hidden fear involving ordering in a bakery.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday Night Luxuries

  • An addictively fabulous novel.
  • Two sleepy, snoozing dogs.
  • Back-yard sprinklers.
  • Orangina from the bottle.
  • Salted almonds, peanuts and cashews.
  • Italian parmesan, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and yummie olive oil.
  • Rose-scented candles.
  • Open windows.
  • Brand-new, super-cute, slightly funky black boots.
  • Light-blue glitter-pocket jeans.
  • Waiting for Altville.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


In addition to having a fabulous first name and a knack for inventions, Mr. Einstein was also sagely wise:

"There are only two ways to live your life -- one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."

Rocket-science knowledge isn't required to figure out which path is more appealing. Still, little-bitty reminders never hurt, even if your soul is magically drawn to things glamorously other-world-ly.
  • Mozzarella never fails to perfectly melt on pizza.
  • Sunshine usually finds a way to sneak itself in.
  • You made it.
  • Time has a way of stre-e-e-e-tching when you need it most.
  • Wishing upon a star evidently works.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Idiom-atically Yours

Straightforwardness rules the universe. Speaking in circles only brings confusion and -- clearly -- never aided anyone trying to concisely capture a crystaline thought.

So if you'd like to add just a sliver of allure and mystique to your brilliant modes of expression, try a sprinkle of Euro-Thought. You know, bizarr-o expressions that appeal precisely because they're not possible to literally translate.

"She slipped in on a banana peel."

"I was working against the windmills."

"We were stuck in the yogurt."

Translations? Oh, use your imagination. It's time you added some rhetorical spice to your already-poignant persona.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Meine Schwester

Funny how five freezingly-sunny days can turn perspective on its pretty little princess head. But mostly, it's clear that a cross-Atlantic flight to the land of beer and bratwurst is as magical as swaying stars and purple moon-beams.

She's 30 and blonde and brilliant. She's patient and kind and perfectly coordinated. She glitters and sparkles and never leaves a soul untouched.

Clara. My middle sister. Here's but a sliver of her wisdom, which hopefully will osmosis-ti-cally stick with me.
  • Persist. Never relent. Finish what you set out to do.
  • If you're thinking it, speak it. At least most of the time.
  • Always include.
  • Stay true.
  • Inquire. Figure out. And understand.
  • Believe.
  • Only do that which makes you feel like a princess.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Whatever Works

Depending on mood, moonlight and degree of magic, I might opt for honey-infused Earl Gray, a glass of favorite California Cabernet, or a teensy nugget of milk-chocolate covered Lubeck marzipan.

And while an early-morning run certainly does wonders for the soul, donning worn-in sneaks and pink-striped sweats isn't always an option.

But that's not really important.

Knowing how to bring sunlight to cloudy days, is.

"If you have your makeup, your cleanser, a razor and a gallon of water, everything will be OK," said Bonnie Irby, who despite Katrina, is trying to focus on life's little luxuries.


Think about that, next time you're pining for gold. Clearly, it's at your fingertips.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ticket-Less Travel

You don't really need a tropical island. And while cramming toiletries and pink bikinis in an overhead-compartment-friendly-bag is certainly compelling, it's much more luxurious to gingerly pack without worrying about airport security rummaging through your fancies.

Instead: vacation here. Now. Immediately. If you're confusingly impaired, select one of these pre-made itineraries. Magical moments guaranteed.
  1. Lazy, lovely pool-side weekend. Comfy lounges and pina coladas are definite pluses. But anything garnished with orange slices or cherries will do just fine.
  2. Cab it. Transform a regular middle-of-the-week-night into an immediate mini-get-away. Dine, drink and devour.
  3. Pour your favorite red. Make easy-as-pie lasagna. If you add enough oregano & garlic you might trick yourself into thinking you're in Italy.

Never let a day go by without fun. Even better: sprinkle your days with fakey-vacations. It's deliciously addictive.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lesson One

  • Everyone wants to tackle the quarterback.
  • Eleven players per side.
  • New England is looking for a three-peat.
  • The Raiders are a bunch of gangsters.
  • Something about 10 yards and 4 downs.

That's pretty much all I know about football. Ever since college, I've tried to understand the cultural fascination with this weird-o game. Ask any Swedish ex-pat, and you'll quickly realize that I'm not the only one who has trouble keeping their eye on the ball.

But this year, things will change.

I'm delightfully determined to master -- or at least gain a perfunctory understanding of -- this Fall obsession. I want to know who to root for. What plays are tricksters and which ones are foul. Which teams are the underdogs and what the sports-punsters will predict and postulate in the morning's paper.

I am ready for pig-skin-related maven-hood.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What Do You Recommend?

Brewpub. San Jose-ish. Party of 16.

"So yes, I have a question. Is the 'spice rubbed whole chicken' really an entire chicken?"


"Um, OK. So it's insanely large, then?"

"Oh, well no. See it's actually a cornish hen. But when we described it that way on the menu, nobody ordered it. So we changed it to chicken."


Perception, in all it's glory, seemingly runs the world. Labels -- for all their fabulous pro-categorization appeal -- don't really mean a whole lot.

So go ahead. Sprinkle your days with 'magic' and 'dreamsicles' and 'sunlit-thoughts'. Make up words. Add alluringly appealing adjectives to your every-day prose.

But please. If it's miniature and marvelous, don't change it into something extra-large and mundane. Be pro-flair. If not clear, it's at least intriguing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Say It

Remember the cliche that reverberates so well for anyone a little too addicted to work? The one that fittingly reminds us that once your hair turns gray and your birthday candles out-number 70, you'll look back and wish you'd spent more time with those you so adore?


So live it. Be it. Think it. Breathe it.

But most of all: whisper, shout, share and dream that which makes you -- so deliciously and fabulously -- you.

I promise, someone out there wants to hear.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Stay True

"We don't want to put any money down and we'd like the payments to stay below $400," said my sister and her ever-doting fiance.

As they sat in the spot we've all sat: window-esque office behind an-almost-sterile desk at a local dealership, the floor-guy "chatted" with his manager.

"OK," he finally, undoubtedly beamed. "Here's what we can do for you: $4,000 down and $601 a month."

Laughable? For sure. Ever-so-frequent of an occurrence? Pretty much.

Know what you want. And once you've deliberated, debated and decidedly made up your mind: waiver not.

Besides. Things -- even dreams of that new-car-smell -- have a delightful way of working themselves out.

Friday, September 02, 2005


In the first grade, I learned that saying "thanks for the day, everyone" before piling flower-ey notebooks and glittery pencils into handy-dandy rucksacks, provided lovely and fitting closure.

Third grade translated to even more universally applicable lessons: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I think I was the only girlie girl not invited to Amy's birthday-party. Evidently she figured fakey-Americans wouldn't understand the games.

That first bell is about to ring, again.

Those miniature nuggets of elementary wisdom are still fittingly appropriate today.

Are you living by yours?

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Samuel Thompson had a violin. Confined within the Superdome, surrounded by stench, chaos and profound sadness, he played.

Not sure what that was like.

But I'm hoping his notes somehow reached the shooters and looters and insanity-inspired actions taking place outside the arena.

Calling it a silver-lining seems much too sunlit. So instead let's pay tribute to the amazing resilience of the human spirit. To those that find the good amidst a down-pour. And especially the lucky few who experience -- if only for an instant -- a sliver of happy.