Archive for May 2008

Two on the Town

Ben and Tony are off on the annual kindergarten camping trip, so this weekend it’s just Eli and me, on our own, playing tourist in the city. This morning we made a long-promised trip to the Cable Car Museum. It’s open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and yet somehow the 6 1/2 mile drive across town seems like too much to traverse most days, in our short window between school drop off, nap, and school pick up.

But today we made the trip, driving across town to a part of San Francisco that feels like we’ve driven back in time: this is the San Francisco of picture books, of Fly High, Fly Low and Maybelle the Cable Car. It’s narrow one-way streets, steep hills, and small apartment buildings. You can hear the cable cars’ cables ringing underneath the sidewalk, even when there’s no car in view, and you can hear the bell clanging from several blocks away.

We explored the museum, where you can go below street level and watch the huge gears turning the cables, and then we took three (because Eli’s three) short rides on three different cable cars, sitting inside, outside, and then finally standing outside, hanging on to the pole. None of the conductors would take a fare from me, all of them complimented Eli on his stripey engineer’s hat. The last ride brought us right back to our car, and we got home in time for lunch and nap.

Image source.

Search Inside!

I think the only thing better than having a copy of your new book arrive in the mail is discovering that it’s available for on-line searching! I clicked around happily (there’s Jennifer’s essay! oh, here’s a page of Alissa’s! and here’s Libby’s! and Elrena’s! and Lisa’s!), getting reacquainted with old friends, compiling random stats (3 pages–that seems low, actually– with references to breastfeeding, 9 pages with references to naps, 71 pages referencing tenure) until I realized it was time to pick up Ben from school.

So click around and let me know what you think!

How to Celebrate Your Book’s Publication, Day One

Courtesy of Tony, without whom the book really wouldn’t exist anyway.

Mistaken Identity, or Who Cares Because My Book Just Arrived!!!

When I was in graduate school, I received a fan letter — a fan letter!– from a student who was a big fan of my textbook. I looked in the UC Berkeley directory and discovered that there was a mathematician on the faculty with the same name as me.

Recently, I considered using my full name as my URL, but a watercolor artist beat me to it. Too bad. I’ll have to use carolinegrant147 or carolinegrantwriter or some such.

Today, I received an advance copy of Mama, PhD. The cover letter was addressed to another author, about another book — and congratulations to him! — but no matter. The book is here, and it looks great; ask for it in your local bookstore–or order it on line–today!

End of the Road

This is how the backseat looked after we’d extracted the two sleeping boys from their boosters.

And here are some road trip notes:

$4/gallon gas does help keep holiday drivers off the road, so we managed 300 miles today in 5 hours (including a stop for morale-boosting ice cream).

The ice cream sandwiches in King City, California, are so big even Eli can’t finish one (believe me, he tried).

Speaking of ice cream, drumsticks are “a great example of fossil layers,” says Ben.

We passed truckloads of garlic and broccoli, fields of romaine and artichokes, oil rigs (both off-shore and on land) and wind farms.

Visiting family is terrific (especially when there are young cousins to play with and a new book –no, for a change I don’t mean mine! — to talk about), but it’s always good to be home.

Best. Cake. Ever.

I had to pause a little bit when my friend offered to make Eli’s birthday cake this year–after all, I do kind of like to bake cakes. But then I recovered myself and said, of course! Besides, she wasn’t offering to make just any cake.

Whoah,” said Eli.


Granola today

I’ve been making granola weekly for over two years now, ever since Trader Joe’s discontinued my favorite fruit & nut combo. I started with a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Feast, which I posted over on the old blog, and then I posted my adaptation here, but I keep changing it (continuing to cut down the sugar, and adding more seeds and grains) so it’s time once again for an update! Besides, Gail asked me so nicely.

6 c rolled oats and/or raw multigrain cereal flakes (Trader Joe’s carries a nice barley-oat-rye-wheat flake mix that I use)
2 c raw slivered almonds
1 c raw pumpkin seeds
1 c raw sesame seeds
1 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c ground flax meal
1/2 c wheat germ
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 scant c honey, rice syrup, maple syrup, or some combination thereof (I use half brown rice syrup and half honey)

Preheat oven to 320. Stir together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Add the oil and honey or syrup, and combine well. Pour into two large, lightly oiled baking pans (I use two metal roasting pans) and bake for 45 minutes, stirring two or three times along the way. Remove from the oven then cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

New at Literary Mama…

This week, check out Children’s Lit Book Group for recommendations of two excellent picture books — for older readers :

“Sometimes a child’s sense of wonder can refresh my own. While I can get annoyed with the constant echo of “did you know?” and the “Mom, look at this!” I try to remind myself that for Nick, at ten, there’s still a lot of the world that’s new and unknown, that he has a lot to learn, and that I should be grateful when he shares it, even if it’s not new to me.”

In Doing It Differently, a lovely tribute to her mother:

“When I read a book I think my mother would like, I sometimes find myself making a mental note to tell her about it. My mother was what she herself would call a real people person. Everyone she met confided in her. A man behind her in line at the grocery store would tell her of his son’s drinking problem. A young waitress would slip into her booth at a coffee shop and share her sadness about a recent miscarriage. She was a good listener and a terrible gossip. She loved human drama.”

And finally, read Violeta Garcia-Mendoza’s review of the new poetry collection by Julia Lisella, Terrain:

“Becoming a mother has awakened a profound hunger for narration in me. I seek the connection, the promise of life, and the epiphanies that reading about the experiences of others offer me. Now that I am tethered so intimately to another human life, I open more fully to the lives of others. I feel initiated into a network of witnesses — the women who know the terrain of motherhood.”

All of this, plus more poetry, short stories, essays and columns, every week at LiteraryMama.

And the winner is…

Grateful Gramma wins the Writing Motherhood paperback giveaway; thanks to all of you who entered. I’ll look for another book to give away next month!

Friday Night Updates

1. It’s still hot. That’s all I can say about that. My brain is melting.

2. Check out the little blogroll addition: my friend and former Literary Mama columnist Gail Konop Baker is blogging now at Cancer Is a Bitch (also the title of her beautiful soon-to-be-published memoir, which I was lucky enough to read in manuscript). If you feel like venting or talking about food, Gail’s your girl!

3. I’m so connected. If you scroll waaaaaaay down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see that I’m twittering now. I’m not entirely sure what this means, really, but all the cool chicks are doing it (well, really not remotely all of them–Gail’s not (yet!) but many of them.) So follow me, and let me know if you’re over there, too.