Monday, December 31, 2007

This Is Me, Waving Good-Bye to 2007

All's quiet here at Nesting Ground. My brother and M. left Saturday for Madison-Freaking-Wisconsin; the girls are ensconced in their playhouse; the SU is upstairs viewing some sort of sporting event and—thanks to the gift of a major grill apparatus from my parents—enjoying an adobo panini (adonini?). I'm stationed at my desk, trying in vain to de-clutter, but somehow only managing to bury myself deeper in the dross. What IS all this stuff?


Saturday was also the twins' (I recently discovered that the kids at school often refer to them as "twisters," a combo of "twins" and "sisters") birthday, and the SU took them to have their ears pierced. So, basically, they left the house as eight-year-olds and returned as teenagers. Disconcerting. Then, that night we had dinner at some friends', and I spent most of the evening holding their four-month-old baby boy and silently freaking out that we had raised three people who were once his very same size. Disconcerting.


I just proofed my work for the Winter 2008 issue of Achiote Seeds where I share beautiful space with Javier Huerta, Francisco Aragón (translating Geraldo Rivera), and Mónica de la Torre. I don't really remember where I was in my head when I wrote the pieces, or how I came to choose certain words or images. I remember early on sending a few to Oscar, who was so helpful. As usual, I'm not at all sure my writing deserves to sit alongside that of the others represented in this issue, but as a new year's gift to myself, I will try to believe that it does. Oh! And I forgot to tell Jean that I used a line from one of her poems. Jean? I used a line from one of your poems, and I thank you for it.


That's it, for this, the final day of 2007. Happy new year to my blogroll, other assorted readers and/or lurkers (who are you, oh loyal reader from Moulineaux, Haute-Normandie?), Delfinos, and you, and you, and you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've been feeling bad about leaving such a negative post up on the 'ol blog, especially since my malaise actually lifted a few days ago. By then, though, I'd left so many seasonal to-do's undone, that I was in quite the bind (imagine your Nesting Ground Mistress bound with ribbon, gagged with a wad of wrapping paper, pine needles scattered in her hair). But in a burst of energy fueled by Diet Pepsi (what? it was on SALE), fear, and warped determination, I have successfully caught up on everything from sending out those last few cards, to making my twice yearly pilgrimage to Pape Meat Co. to secure a prime rib roast (originally, I had wanted a crown roast of pork, but when I was in on Friday, they told me it was impossible. Then late last night, Mr. Pape himself called and triumphantly announced he would have it for me on Monday. "Oh Mr. Pape," said I. "I was in today and picked up prime rib." Ever jovial, he said, "Next time, then! Next time I promise!")

Happiness and/or approximations of happiness:

1) Tom Jones/Art of Noise cover of Prince's "Kiss." (Oh, shush now. You love it)

2) When reading collides. While reading a review of two physically gigantic books of essays/book reviews by Edmund Wilson, I discover that his essay, "The Wound and the Bow," refers to Sophocles's play about the nasty, festering wound on Philoctetes foot, and—can you believe it?—I just finished reading the play. I'm lying! I have NOT just read the play, but there is a section in Arnold Weinstein's A Scream Goes Through the House that discusses it, and I DID just read that. So, well, that counts a little.

3) The sound you heard in the move theatre during the pomegranate scene in "The Kite Runner" was my heart being ripped in two, strewn on the floor, and left for dead. Okay, this doesn't actually count as "happiness," but it does count as "being able to feel." And that's as good a definition of happiness as any other, I suppose.

4) Karito Kids for my girls! None of the nagging guilt produced by purchasing the increasingly creepy American Girls, and possibly—just possibly—some redeeming value. Now I'll just keeping my fingers crossed that 1) the dolls are not somehow laced with the date-rape drug or 2) manufactured using child labor or 3) chock full of lead. *Scream*

5) The Collected Stories by Grace Paley.

6) Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City. How many times must I tell you this before you go? So what if they refer to their appetizers as "shacketizers?" So what if they couldn't stop there and decided to call their shrimp cocktail a "shacktail?" Do not let these piddly details deter you.

7) Ichiban-kan for stocking stuffers!

8) Leftover beef chow fun from a deli on Clement St.

9) My brother is here at Nesting Ground (you may remember that he now resides in Madison-Freaking-Wisconsin)! He is wearing a pair of boots that are making me cross-eyed with jealousy. I'll take a picture later.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

L'enfer, c'est les autres

I am not one of those people who can write, or even blog, when being tormented by what feels like a neverending onslaught of extended family drama. In situations like this, I turn inward. I take comfort in my children and my husband, my parents, my brothers, my friends.

If you don't find me here it's because people—people who know better—are behaving badly. And, well, shame on them.

P.S. approximately 240 lumpia consumed at Thursday's party. New favorite thing? Deep fryer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nesting @ Nesting Ground

Am smack in the middle of a flurry of culinary activity and holiday-ing-ness of the domicile as we prep for a Thursday evening of cheer with 30 or so neighborhood and school folks. I didn't think we could have that many people, but last year my good friend K. did so with much success in a house of similar size. "You just need to be willing to give up some furniture," she said. And she was right: clear out the center of your living room, fill the space with stand-up cocktail tables, candlelight and voila! Instant cozy supper club. Ample room (fingers crossed) for spillover in the dining room, den, and the kitchen.

Look! The spousal unit has already made the mantle all festive-like. Just add fire:

Tree? Check! For the last two years we've gone to cut down our own at a tree farm in Half Moon Bay. Hard to imagine your Nesting Ground Mistress wielding a handsaw, I know. Go ahead, let the idea sink in. Anyways, we found this beauty after a short hike up the mountain:

Gratuitous shot of sexy new Room & Board sofa. Pushed to the side, like I said, to make way for supperclub cocktail tables, like I said:

Now I must return to my kitchen duties. Tonight is empanada night...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Golden Line

Not since Achilles defeated Hektor in the divine cheesiness that was Troy...

Not since Maximus felled Commodus in the spectacle of Gladiator...

Not since Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo struck down...well, the glory that was Rome...

Not since then has a clash between warriors achieved the greatness of the armored bears Iorek Byrnison and Iofur Raknison (called "Ragnar" in the film) in The Golden Compass:

Post-vanquishing, Ian McKellen (who voices Iorek) delivers his line with bellowing magnificence:

"Bears! WHO...IS...YOUR...KING?"

So, obviously I've stopped saying, "I am Beowulf. I will slay your mon-stah."

Friday, December 07, 2007

New Rule: Grammar Doesn't Matter on Friday

I elfed my children:

Filed under things that mothers can't keep themselves from doing.

Should you find yourself with any downtime this weekend, and you end up elfing yourself or your loved ones, you must —in the long-standing tradition of "I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours" (but, um, REVERSED)—leave the link in my comments.

Wow. That sentence wasn't even close to grammatical correctitude, but I've no time to waste because...

...tonight I am determined to see The Golden Compass. I only recently devoured the 3-book series, which I had no idea was a huge international phenomenon (head? In sand) with a dedicated cult following (much ballyhoo, for example, about the cinematic Mrs. Coulter being a blonde rather than dark-haired Nicole Kidman). I truly couldn't put the books down. I even read while standing in line at the grocery store. I think I kinda understand Harry Potter madness a little better now.

But first, some holiday shopping. Bundling up now to brave the weather and the frenzy...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How To Make The Spousal Unit Laugh at Random Moments

When you wake up, say "I am Beowulf. I will slay your mon-stah."
Right before dinner, say "I am Beowulf. I will slay your mon-stah."
While your mouth is full of suds and toothpaste, say, "I am Beowulf. I will slay your mon-stah."



Sasha's Bamboo Cupping Rainwater


Libay's Leaflens


Marianne's Kanlaon

Sunday, December 02, 2007


We have been to San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker for, oh, three years in a row now, and while I find it enjoyable, I felt the need—okay, the DESPERATE need—to lobby for a little change-up this year. That's how we ended up at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to watch the ODC/Dance production of The Velveteen Rabbit.

So while there is a lot to be said about the big deal, big-event, get-all-dressed-up, eat-at-a-fancy-place feeling engendered by The Nutcracker, I found the more casual, eat-at-the-MOMA-museum-cafe, and skip-across-the-street-to-enjoy- some-contemporary-dance feeling much more in line with the way I'm feeling this year. Bonus: two Filipino-American dancers in the cast, one of whom was nearly perfect as "the boy." He seemed, at times, to...float.

Afterwards I coerced my little family into taking in (however briefly) the Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination exhibit I've been wanting to see at MOMA.

Of course I had to purchase the fat exhibition book, and now I'm reading all about Cornell so that I can go back on my own and walk through the exhibit again before it leaves. I'm fascinated by the way assemblage and collage are like a container for an artist's personal fascinations/obsessions.

In the exhibition book's text, the writer talks about Cornell's 30-year love affair with riding the elevated trains that serviced Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and how the fleeting, dissolving landscape shaped his visual vocabulary. I loved all the "bird boxes" like the one above, of course. My favorite was untitled, but described as "Nesting Bird." In it, the bird holds a length of spooled thread in its beak, and it reminded me For some reason.

December, then, is off to a good start.