Holiday Cookie Party!

I baked six different cookies and invited friends over to celebrate the season with some mulled cider and Bing Crosby tunes. Darryl, Matt, and James also baked cookies (peanutbutter-chocolate rice krispy squares, bacon-fat gingersnaps, and Mexican wedding cookies, respectively) which I sadly didn’t get photos of. Too busy gabbing with friends, old and new! It was a dry, clear evening despite being bookended by weeks of rain this year. Thank you, weather gods. Continue reading “Holiday Cookie Party!”

Darryl’s birthday up in Russian River

We spent the weekend in a lovely 4 bedroom home in Guerneville (called “Vista Serena”) just over the bridge from downtown. The gray skies didn’t dampen our festive mood: lots of home cooking, watching shows, playing Password and Cranium, the small town Parade of Lights, and plenty walking over and around the river. I baked three test batches of pecan shortbread, Linzer christmas cookies, and Parmesan cheese puffs to boot. Let’s just say it wasn’t a low-calorie weekend. But it’s always nice to get out of the city for a bit. Jax loved the change of scenery and all the extra walking around. Continue reading “Darryl’s birthday up in Russian River”

Pink Saturday 2014

Darryl hosted another of his annual Pink Saturday cocktail parties chez lui. Fun to see everyone (again) and catch up with Liza and Stacy, who I simply don’t see enough of! After the party, we braved the chaos to walk back to my place, take Jax for a walk, and see Stacy off on the J-Church train. She had to park way up at Church & 23rd. Yes, it was that crowded and crazy this year. Pink Saturday has become the new Castro Halloween, with all the attendant downsides, I’m afraid… Continue reading “Pink Saturday 2014”

Pixar with the Dunn Family

After a wonderful buffet brunch in the Berkeley Marina with Darryl, his brother Danny, wife Marie, son Aidan, nephew Zolt, cousin Jason, wife Marie, and daughter Maddie we all got a tour of Jason’s workplace: Pixar Studios. WOWZA. I would never get any work done there: all those social lounges, pool tables, sand volleyball courts, swimming pool, secret rooms, etc etc. Looks like a lot of fun though. Really cool to see all the production art on the walls. So glad to finally go inside the place where all that magic happens! Continue reading “Pixar with the Dunn Family”

More Winter 2014 Visitors!

I hosted a bunch of SF-bound travelers this winter under the auspices of couchsurfing.org and Darryl’s family visit. I saw so many lovely parts of the Bay Area under some gorgeous weather, despite the season (or perhaps because of it?). Plus, there was bread baking training from my baker buddy Ben to add to the mix. Luckily, all my visitors were happy to give my various loaves a fair try. Breadmaking, like hosting, is more art than science, I’ve discovered. With practice comes a kind of grace and ease that makes it all the better. Continue reading “More Winter 2014 Visitors!”

Stacy’s Birthday 2014

Yes, the years roll forward but it was great to celebrate one more with Stacy.  Darryl, Liza, and I drove over to Stacy’s really cool two-story studio-loft in the old Melrose neighborhood of Oakland. It’s the site of one of my old paper companies, Xpedx, ironically enough. Lots of people from all the many corners of Stacy’s life were there — and plenty of yummy snacks for all. No sign of scaredy-cat, Tinka, though! Continue reading “Stacy’s Birthday 2014”

Truckee R&R

Jax on a patch of Truckee snow

A four day escape to higher elevations with John and Darryl (and Jax). Went up to Mike Schement’s Truckee cabin to just unplug, unwind, and hot tub. And grill stuff. Truckee is so sleepy and quiet in the off season between the ski hordes and the true summer session. Sadly, the old French bistro/patisserie is gone from downtown. Continue reading “Truckee R&R”

Darryl’s brunch

The irony of Darryl’s brunch/party on the day of the Castro Street Fair: few, if any, of the guests had any interest in going to the street fair. We’ve all been there, done that. But the brunch was nice. Despite D’s request to “bring nothing”, most of the guests arrived with food in hand. And true to form: we gobbled it right up.  Continue reading “Darryl’s brunch”

Tea time

Darryl and Momma

Momma and DaddyKens swing by for some iced tea and lunch after the wedding of Joe Ursini, Jr. in Alameda. After some salads and family gossip, we were joined by Darryl, Matthew, and Lee for cucumber sandwiches, mint tea, and some amazing Cornflake-crusted Lemon Cream Cheese cookies made by Lee. Continue reading “Tea time”

4th of July

Matthew Sachs, shining star

Just a small gathering of good buddies for some burgers and sparklers. Jon also brought a fancy salad: watermelon, stilton cheese, tomatoes, and parsley. The sun was blazing and we ate on the deck, trying to actually steer clear of the heat for a change. The city exploded at night with the booms and cracks of a thousand pyromaniacs. We lit some sparklers, which for me had the effect of taking my mind away from the point of the Fourth. The freedom and independence which the holiday celebrates seems masked by all the fireworks. Or maybe it conjures up the warfare involved to secure that liberty?

Continue reading “4th of July”

Dickens Fair

Myself as a dandy with pipe, Dec 2009

What a surprise: to enjoy dressing up and pretending the Cow Palace was 1800s London. All silly good fun. We all promised to do it again down the road (though we still haven’t). Anthony went as a downtrodden fop. I’m a snoot with a pipe. John, a poor Dickensian lad. And Matt a dandy. Thank god we live in the era of the iPhone and all this is just pretend. Continue reading “Dickens Fair”