The nonchalantdad confession

I'm not going to pretend I'm perfect. The important thing is I try everyday to
be a good father. I suppose if there were some type of scale to measure such
things I'd rate somewhere in the upper half. But, everyone has that type of day
that begins as if someone has tied a large stone on your back - where not even
a good cup of tea or a large coffee can illuminate better possibilities.

In our home, it is inevitable that there is a rush to get our little guy to school on
time in the morning. Often, you are out the door before you've had any chance to
gather a thought. It's a victory of sorts just to be wearing trousers as you exit. On this particular morning it was quite the opposite - my head
was swimming with information, most of it mildly irritating or partially worrisome.
I shuffled my son out the door in front of me. He had his lunchbox in hand as well
as a few small toys he thought his classmates would enjoy seeing - especially the red PowerRanger figurine. He felt that this time he'd be able to persuade his teachers that it was acceptable. Somewhere during our 5 minute drive to school I'd persuade him otherwise - which was the usual.

After getting his seatbelt on I jumped into the drivers seat and started the engine
hurriedly. We had about 4 minutes to get to school. While reversing the car in the
driveway I also adjusted the rearview mirror and for an instant my son and I made eye contact. A moment later, breaking our silence, he spoke: "Daddy, why
are you mad?" I didn't think I was mad. I asked him in return, "Why do you think
I'm mad?" He pointed out to me that my brow made it look like I was angry. Not knowing the word brow as yet, he put it more succinctly: "Your eye hairs look pointy." I can assure you I was not angry. And I assured him of the same thing. Perhaps I was mentally foggy, or lost in thought, maybe even a little crazy - but
I was not angry. Not, at least, with him. My own self...well... that was another matter.

I had much on my mind, as many parents do. Being 5 years old I knew that his world had yet to become subtly complicated. Nonetheless, I wondered quickly what
he might say if I did confess to him what was on my mind that morning. Afterall, it couldn't hurt to see if he had even the smallest understanding - sometimes children can amaze you with their insights. And, what the heck, at 8:57 am on a
Monday morning, the possibility of a little free therapy might just do the trick.

So, over the next minute while he quietly sat behind me in the car holding his
red PowerRanger, I laid out all the garbage that was swimming through my mind.
One by one I listed the floating topics. I told him daddy was trying to remember
where he put his daily journal because he needed an important number to call, something that would definitely go a long way in helping to pay the mortgage for
that month. Consequently, this made me remember that I was supposed to have
called London before I left the house, which of course I did not do. Then there was
the issue of who was going to watch our small daughter, his little sister, this afternoon - I had forgotten to discuss this with my wife which made me realize I
had forgotten my cell phone at home, which of course I had neglected to plug in
last night anyhow - in order to recharge the batteries. The thought of batteries made me realize that
my car was due at the mechanics. I had made no alternative plans for replacement transport. No transport meant no chance of that meeting at 9:30 am. And no phone meant no way to warn the person I was meeting with that I would
not be showing up on time. And, insult to injury, I did not put on my wrist watch -
which meant it was perhaps laying on top of my daily journal, the one I couldn't find in the first place. Things weren't looking good for the start of my day and it
was only just dawning on me. Perhaps, I offered, this is why daddy's eye hairs
looked so damned pointy. It was now 8:58 am and I had finished my little diatribe. We were coming to the exit for his school and suddenly the car was quiet again. I
glanced in the rear view mirror to see that his head was down, as if in deep contemplation - he was staring at the red PowerRanger figurine.

It was another minute, I suppose, before he would level his clear insight on the
matter. By now we were pulling into his school entrance with only a minute or
less to spare. "Well son," I said, "do you have anything to say about what I just
confessed?" He looked up at me as we came to a stop and I could see in the mirror that his eyes were clear. He said in the most firm voice, holding up his red PowerRanger for me to see by way of visual example: "Daddy, I think I like the GREEN PowerRanger more than the RED PowerRanger."

And with that, he jumped out of his seat, came around the side of the car where
we kissed and then he disappeared into the school to his waiting teacher inside the door - who also looked as though her eye hairs were pointy too. I couldn't be sure of it though.


seaweed pate

I'm sorry for this goofy picture but...just get over it! this recipe for seaweed pate is super good for you and your kids will love it!

seaweed pate
one bag of dried hijiki - (1.75 oz bag)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vineagar (I use umeboshi vineagar)
2 tablespoons tahini
mustard to taste (about 1 spoon)
shoyu (for cooking hijiki and as seasoning)

soak hijiki for 20 minutes in clean water
toss out water (if you don't like the fishy taste rinse a couple of times but you may be washing off some good stuff, but there is lot's in there so it's ok)
add new water and cook with a bit of shoyu for 20 minutes
put into food processor and add above ingredients
buzz until mixed but be careful not to overmix and dry out (if it gets too dry just add more olive oil)
season to taste

this is so yummy on bread, or swedish hard bread (we eat siljans knackbrod). I'm telling you kids love it, especially younger kids that don't have the distinction yet of seaweed. it lasts for a few days in the fridge and it's great for pregnant women and also breast feeding moms because of the huge amount of calcium!

we also eat hijiki sauteed with carrots and Franny just stuffs it in her mouth!...she loves it!


the new architecture of minneapolis

this cantilever on the Guthrie Theater has a balcony that overlooks the Mississippi River and the St. Anthony falls...incredible!

Minneapolis is one of the only cities that subscribes to the 5% tax club (dating back to the 1960's), this means that fortune 500 corporations give 5% of their pre-tax profits to support the arts....now how about that for giving back! (and there are 18 fortune 500 companies based in Minneapolis!) You can see the results when visiting Minneapolis, they have finally completed five new AMAZING buildings starting with the Walker Arts Center (my favorite! below), then the Children's Theater, the Minneapolis Public Library, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and finally one of the most breathtaking of all the Guthrie Theatre (photos above...if theater is your thing you should live here!) across the street from the Guthrie is a wonderful, vegetarian restaurant called spoonriver, don't miss it either...it's all just stunning to see a city so committed to the arts!
above is the new walker art center and the famous Claes Oldenburg spoon sculpture, the next project for Minneapolis is an addition to the Walker Art Center sculpture garden
the new minneapolis public library designed by Ceasar Peili

organic...at the airport!!

while in minnesota - one of our favorite places for breakfast is french meadow bakery on lyndale avenue in minneapolis, the pancakes are the greatest! among other things...just terrific organic food and even a macro plate (or maybe it's called a vegan plate?) both of my kids love this dish. Across the street is the wedge co-op...oh, and word about the minnesota co-op's (for more click here) I COULDN'T BELIEVE how amazing they are, big, and filled with completely interesting fare that I have never seen, and well, I could go on all day, but I was TOTALLY jealous! upon our departure from the minneapolis international airport me and the kids had some time to spare so we went to get some food and low and behold there was a french meadows at the AIRPORT...organic at the airport! (and by the way I saw two McDonald's that had closed down while in minnesota! yay!)
bob's java hut was quite cute too, just across the street from french meadow...I loved the big open window!

jackson meadow

three years ago, when visiting my family in Minnesota I took a visit to Jackson Meadow...it's hard to explain how deeply I fell for this completely lovely project, the architecture (by david salmela), the land (by shane cohen) and even the kids that I saw playing on the common grounds, Jackson Meadow is simply put, the most well planned community I have ever seen. The wonderful ideas that were brought together to create this community, from it's land conservation, common septic and well, just simple things like un-attached garages (believe me this is unusual in Minnesota!), so that you get out of your car and maybe give your neighbor a 'hello'. I also think that if you live in a community this beautiful you have to have something deep in common with your neighbors. Visit the Jackson Meadow website and find out more and if you want to create a community like this, please tell us because we do too! I was in Minneapolis again this last weekend and I will be posting a bunch of wonderful things about this little gem in the north!


shake it!

This post is from my friend Karen:
When I first started feeding Ida solids I was a little concerned about how to make sure she got all the nutrients she needed. When you read all the things they (and we) are supposed to have it seems like an awful lot of eating and preparing for one day. Then I had the idea of a milkshake for her morning snack, or whenever it fit in, filled with natural nutritional supplements, and it makes my life so much easier with less pots and plates to wash and takes a minute to prepare. You can put in whatever you think your little one needs and likes. I use a base mix of milk and rice milk, usually add a banana, then flax seed oil, sea vegetable powder and wheat germ. I often add tahini for protein or yogurt if she's been lacking in that. There are so many variations and she has never turned it down! Don't forget to take care of yourself and make enough for you both.