• sisters on a mission.

  • Three sisters. One in Virginia. One in London. One in New York. None of whom wear shorts. Ever.

  • the mission?

    Taking delight.
    Learning Italian.
    Getting to Italy.
    Wearing shorts.
    In Italy.
    June 2011.

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3 extra minutes, garbage, bad smells, and……cakes

Week 8.  28 minutes.  No problem.  I’ve done 25.  What’s an extra 3?  Well, it’s an extra 3 at the end when you want to be doing the cool down, that’s what.

I did my first 28 minute run the other morning just a wee bit before 6:00 am.   Running in the city offers lots of interesting sights and smells.  Trash day is particularly interesting as everyone puts their stuff on the curb the night before.  Which the urban foxes LOVE.  They have a party that night.  So in the morning when I’m out for some fresh air, before the “dust bin collectors” come (what a funny name – I don’t think they are collecting dust), there are ripped open trash bags and half eaten food and other gross things all along my route.  Lovely.

For some reason on this morning I also seemed to be following the route of the 94 bus.  Didn’t seem to be any people on the buses, but I got the nice exhaust blast every time one went by.  Which was a lot.  I envy my sister’s field.

But, I often do get to see the milkman in his little van that says “Milk and More”.  I don’t know what the more is, but there he is picking up empty glass bottles and leaving full ones on people’s doorsteps.  And once I did see a man in a pretty dress.   I do love the mornings.

And finally, cakes.  In my house I have a bad, but true, reputation as a not-so-great cake baker.  But, I keep trying.  For my sons’ birthday last year, I excitedly asked them what kind of cake they would like me to make them.  And one replied, “Mom, can you just buy a cake because you haven’t had much luck in the past with cakes”.  Sad, but true. I ignored their protests and made this, and it was quite good.

Not bad.

And then just the other day for my husband’s birthday.  I made this! And it was not only edible, but delicious.

I believe I have redeemed myself.


beer pairings for the soul


Once a month my friends and I gather at a local pub for Beer Dinner. The dinners are three courses – appetizers, main and dessert – with two beer tastings for each course.  There are pop quizzes and prizes and someone from our table usually brings home the gold (tap handle, beer glass or t-shirt).

I’m not a huge beer drinker but I do love Beer Dinner if for no other reason than to marvel at how good beer can taste with cake if paired appropriately.   Last night we tried oak-aged tommyknocker.  It was strong and heavy and I thought no way am I going to be able to drink this.  But after a big bite of chocolate chai cake I was surprised by how satisfying the beer was after all.

The other great thing about beer dinner is that it’s an opportunity to trot out one or both of my two party tricks.  The first is folding a dollar bill into the shape of a collared shirt.   It’s really easy once you get the hang of it.   I never tell people my objective so it  builds the suspense as they watch to see what I’m doing.   And then voila!  I included one in the tip one night.  I wonder if our server unfolded it or kept it?  The only problem with this trick is that it gets old after you’ve seen it once or maybe twice.

The second, and more showy, trick is writing forward with one hand and backward with the other simultaneously to produce a mirror image of whatever anybody wants me to say.  If it’s early in the dinner I can do it in French or Italian. Later on there can and probably will be misspellings.   One of these days I need to do a video.  I taught myself how in high school but didn’t have much use for it after that.  So my friends and husband were shocked, SHOCKED, at my ambidextrous scrawl of “how now brown cow”.  Anyway, it’s my claim to fame.  Such as it is.