9/28/2008

Cobbler 3: Back to School? Special!

*columnblognewsletter

Back to School: Special!
Moms everywhere experience a curious reverse-whiplash when school starts and the house empties out. As the sudden silence settles over our “support staff” routines, feelings swing from relief at our regained freedom...to keen loneliness. Partners of teachers must feel the same way at the end summer break. So I get it double. I've filled the vaccum with the company of my computer, adding madly to my blog, Linkedin profile, and Facebook network; I've cleaned a few closets and thought a lot about food. What is it about fall? This time of year I dream about pumpkins and yams. I cook stinky cheese dinners with romantic ideas about harvest gatherings.

Baking Back the White House
I found a way to put food and politics together by volunteering for fundraising bakesales. (I am literally baking an apple pie as I write this.) I got so inspired I started my own campaign, as Obama’s fresh vision seems like a palate-cleansing sorbet after so many generous helpings of Bush's specialty: Deep Dish Doo-doo. Ready to vote? This page makes it easy to check your registration and/or vote absentee according to your own particular political tastes. Let your friends know.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
No wonder fall fell like it did; this summer was a whirlwind of travel. We set foot in LA and New York City, New Jersey and Maryland, Colorado and even the Republic of Disneyland. My career got a long-awaited boost with a staged reading of one act of the musical I started writing in 1998. As I rolled our suitcase full of tripods and tshirts through the crush of theater-goers and tourists in Times Square, I realized, I'm working here! It was a dream come true, an exciting challenge, and a glimpse of what might come next.

Click here for the whole story!

What's Next
Rewriting, submitting grant proposals, seeking fiscal sponsorship. Praying every day that the seeds I sow sprout. Planning, shopping, cooking (well, when I’m not at my computer), and enjoying the moment when the house fills up again at the end of the day.

What are you cooking up this fall? Pies? Soups? Finger- sandwiches? Leave a comment with your favorite harvest recipe... I may share it in a future Cobbler...!

Taste This (Best Latest Discoveries)
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Human Design
Palin for President

Entropical Paradise "Best o' Dave"
Juno, Alaska
How Much is Too Much?
Legacy of Fear

Cobbler Crumbs Bits from my web circus:
Sister Out-Law
Peace Bonds
High Score: 353,800!

The Last Bite
"It's just like Dad always used to say: 'Someday I hope you kids build a blog devoted to pastries and their notorious lack of direction."
—my little bro Joe

9/27/2008

The Original Wandering Pie

This is so coool!


found online at www.old-print.com

Middle of the School

Donald started middle school this year, at a VERY large school that draws students from the hills and the flats, with a student body as diverse and urban as Oakland. I've been worrying about it since he was in fourth grade. I mean, those eighth graders are HUGE! Fortunately, the school was "re-modernized" this summer, and looks more cheerful than institutional.

Donald showed up for his first day of school carrying a highlighted map, sporting a summer lice-driven haircut, and wearing a brand new, clean school uniform. His initiation began immediately, with "Stoney," a tough kid from the neighborhood, trying to steal his backpack for non-existent lunch money. Donald ran. Stoney sicked his pack on him. But when Donald turned around and asked, "Why are you chasing me," the leader shrugged. Donald asked, "Why don't you be on my side instead?" He shrugged again, and agreed.

It seems like things are finally starting to turn around for Oakland schools, and not just at Bret Harte. Remember all that fundraising we did for the Sequoia playground? It's finally been installed! (Thanks again for all your donations!) Horace Mann, where Dave teaches, has his computer lab up and running again after being in boxes for three years. He's got every kid in school learning independently once a week.

Donald is growing up. He's pulling a wheeled suitcase around with him every day (as if his vacation never ended). He's keeping track of homework for six classes on his own. He's making his own lunches now. He felt a little embarrassed at first that he was one of the few walking to school with his mom, but he knows that's what he needs right now. (He's not even shy about kissing me goodbye sometimes.) He also knows he's not ready for a school dance, even though a girl (!) asked him. But he's finally gotten out of the bathroom stall, when he changes for P.E.

On Back to School Night, he led us proudly from class to class. His teachers are professional, kind, businesslike, and they challenge him. We got to see where he spends his days — in freshly painted rooms with lovely new linoleum. In the gym, they were playing a slideshow of the first three weeks of classes. I played spot-my-babies, watching for the kids I've known since kindergarten. There was one, there was another, mugging with new friends, running in matching sweatsuits, enjoying their new independence. Simone's hair streaming out behind her as she speeds towards adolesence. Others sitting in circles on the gym floor; they all spent the first two weeks of school learning conflict management.

Setting the tone for the next three years with a class in social relationships? That's a sign of progress. And that may just explain why Donald eats lunch with Stoney now.

9/25/2008

A Stinky Cheese Celebration


Last night both the guys came home and wrinkled their noses: What's that SMELL? It was an oven full of stinky cheese and potatoes, but stinky cheese with a story!

I can't remember the book where I read about Raclette, but my mind is full of vivid images of peasants at the harvest campfire, roasting potatoes after a long day's work. Someone rolls in a huge wheel of cheese and lets it melt in the fire's glow. The hungry crowd scoops gooey cheese off the wheel with their potatoes, and once they're happy and full, they pull out their string orchestras and go waltzing off in the meadows among the cow pies.

Or something like that.

Raclette is a superbly stinky cheese that may have been the inspiration for the modern classic, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, in which a gingerbread-type humanoid runs away shouting "You can't catch me!" but no one is really that interested.

But let me attest to this fact: it tastes DELICIOUS!

Here's my recipe:

  • Slice 5 potatoes lengthwise, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake until tender in a 350 degree oven. Lay strips of raclette cheese and roasted red pepper over the top and turn off the oven. Wait for comments from housemates.

Serve with crisp green salad and leftover meat. Wish you had a Riesling to drink with it.

9/24/2008

Bake Back the White House

Having worked school bakesales for 8 years now, it felt "easy as pie" to pitch in for a bakesale that will help children in ALL American schools: an Obama fundraiser. (Here is a good education plan comparison; Obama stresses investment in schools, whereas McCain stresses parental choice.)

My bakesale bud (and Obama bud) Claudia and I worked the crowd at a street fair. "Get your fresh, hot, homemade hope!" "Cookies for change!" "I'll make sure Barack gets your dollar." "Here's your change... and you'll get more if he actually wins."

It's hard to actually sell cookies online, but if you'd like to contribute a few bucks to my own fundraising campaign for Obama, I'd most certainly send you a Wandering Pie!

But back to the bakesale: I made two pies from scratch with apples and rhubarb from my back yard. These two pies raised $30!

"We must fight back against the Democrats' outrageous fundraising machine!" —John McCain

My Sister Out-Law

We lost a relative in this war: my brother-in-law's wife has not spoken to us since it started. She threw herself into peace activism as a Code Pink organizer, and her commitment has kept her busy. We miss her, but we know she is out there fighting for our country.

It was an exciting moment for us when we got a glimpse of Aunt Nancy on TV. She "delivered a pink slip" to the Republican party during John McCain's address.


Watch this movie clip of her "removal" to the crowd's chants of "USA! USA!" Was this chant to intimidate her, as an opponent to Team USA? I would like to think, instead, that they were chanting to celebrate Thomas Jefferson's belief: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Elizabeth Hourican, the other activist who walked down the steps of the arena shouting "Women say no to war" was wearing a pink slip with the phrase "McCain = more war" printed on it. The two of them were given their tickets to the speech by Republicans who decided not to attend, based on their displeasure with McCain’s position on war, oil drilling and other issues.

Donald, who comes from a long line of war protestors (his maternal grandfather left Germany to dodge Hitler's draft), bragged on his infamous Auntie (Nancy Mancias) the next day.

Hire Nancy to speak at your next event!

9/23/2008

What I Did on Summer Vacation

353,800!

I used to take issue with all the guns in my son's world. But the first time I rode Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, he had to pry the laser weapon from my trembling hands after the ride... and I immediately had to go stand in line again. Here's the highlight from this summer's excursion to Disneyland...



Why do we go to Disneyland? Y? Because We Like It! (Read Dave's blog!)

9/17/2008

Virtual Staged Reading

Didn't get to New York? That's okay, because I brought the show home with me. It's about 45 minutes long. It's really rough. It's not as good as the REWRITE will be. :) And it's not REALLY like being there since it's only 2" wide. But that all being said... you can certainly get a good taste of "our glorious beginning!" (And only slightly embarassing!)



video


Don't have 45 minutes? Check out the quickie visuals and 2 songs on the SMBPR Blog.

Cobbler 2: "Let's Put On a Shoe!"

*columnblognewsletter

Ready for another slice of cobbler? Or, as some readers are calling it, my "pie-thing," "cobletter," "co-blabber?" Well get out your spoons and dig in.

I have some exciting news to share. It's exciting enough that I'm finally getting a chance to visit New York City this summer. (Thank you, Jenny!) But by coincidence, my composer (who now lives in Florida), will be there at the same time...creating a serendipitous opportunity for...a staged reading! Also known as a "park and bark," this is the first step in test-driving a new musical.

On August 4th, if you're in the Big Apple, I'd like to invite you to come see The Souls of her Feet, formerly known as act one of my musical, Shoes, a Mirror, and a Big, Pink Rose. (Think Cinderella meets Rocky Horror.)

Our manic preparations include casting (thank you Craigslist), finishing the music, building a website, and selling t-shirts to pay for the venue (Playwright's Horizons) and musicians.The Souls of Her FeetIf you'd like to be a "SMBPR Insider," join our musical mailing list (or ask me to add you) or our Facebook group, and check out our blog. We're "getting there in tiny steps," to quote Michael, the music-guy.

Meanwhile, agents are still looking at the proposal for the parenting book I'm planning to write with mom. We thought we'd have it sold by now, but I'm not stressing, due to my very zen-like theory that publishing time lies on a scale between geological time and last-week-of-pregnancy time.

The Home Front
Since I last wrote, much else has happened. I'll let Dave tell you about Donald:
graduating from 5th grade
worrying about middle school
dreading "The (Sex Ed) Movie"
• and meeting a talent scout

What's Next?
Disneyland! Some much-needed vacation. And praying the smoke will clear and the rain will come and the corn will survive  and the war will end and the soldiers will heal and nanosolar will save us all from global warming. Taste This
(Stuff I like, or am thinking about)
Health Care Plan everyone should watch this and send the link to your senators & reps
Citigrass Homegrown NYC Bluegrass
Hypermiling
The Anybodies

Entropical Paradise
The latest "Best of Dave" according to moi:
Well, Duh
Fencing
Above All, Dignity
Runaround

Cobbler Crumbs
Bits from my website:
Atomic Comic
EFT renamed

The Last Bite
"Nikes with an evening gown? Girl, just DON'T!"
—Harry P. Fenton,The Souls of Her Feet

9/01/2008

Back to School?

A small serving of stories from my life; guaranteed moist and fruity, with layers of luscious links for your browsing pleasure.

Back to School? Special!

Moms everywhere share a curious reverse-whiplash when school starts and the house empties out. As the sudden silence settles over our “support staff” routines, feelings swing from relief at our regained freedom...to keen loneliness. Partners of teachers must feel the same way at the end summer break. So I get it double. I've filled the vaccum with the company of my computer, adding madly to my blog, Linkedin profile, and Facebook network; I’ve cleaned a few closets and thought a lot about food. What is it about fall? This time of year I dream about pumpkins and yams. I cook stinky cheese dinners with romantic ideas about harvest gatherings. Read More...