Tag Archives: New York

A Crying Baby and a Few Pies

27 Oct

Late last month I boarded a flight to Portland for the first leg of my journey to see my daughter, Alex, in New York. I sat in my assigned seat, greeted my seatmate and waited for takeoff.  A few minutes later, a young couple with a crying infant headed for their seats – one row in front of and across the aisle from me. Moments later the baby’s cries became more frantic.  At that point, the mother handed the baby to the dad, and he sat there holding his screaming baby. The “mom” in me thought that by waving at the baby I could distract him for a moment, and maybe his cries would abate.  Instead, the baby’s Dad saw me waving and handed the baby over to me.

screaming baby

I was stunned!  The baby was screaming so immediately I tried bouncing him on my knees. Then I decided this situation called for serious measures and stood up and began rocking him from back and forth. The first flight attendant said that this was okay to do and that he’d let me know when we were ready for takeoff, so I continued to rock and talk quietly to the child.  In a matter of minutes, his cries became less frantic, and soon he stopped crying altogether. Then I noticed that the baby’s head was beginning to lean on my chest and before long he was sound asleep.  At that moment, the second flight attendant told me that I needed to sit down, so I handed the baby back to his parents. When I did that, the flight attendant looked at me in disbelief and said, “He’s not yours?”

No, he wasn’t mine, but I was happy to help because (let’s be honest) many of us have had that same experience. We’re stressed out for so many reasons (for example, packing and getting ready for a trip, rushing to the airport, etc) and of course, our baby picks up on that stress. Instead of being an annoyed passenger thinking “Oh no, a crying baby” I wanted to do something if I could and, fortunately, it worked out. The baby slept for the rest of the flight, Mom and Dad seemed more relaxed, and I got to soothe (and hold) a new baby.  Win-win-win!  What a way to start my trip!

high five

The reason for my visit to New York was so that I could help celebrate Alexandra’s, 27th birthday.  We did so by attending The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (cost: free!), The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (cost: free!), and the musical The Book of Mormon (SRO tix only $27!).  We also took long walks, dined around town, and simply spent time together. It was such a good visit and I know that I am a very lucky mama!



While there I baked three apple pies… one for my brother-in-law, Mike, one for our friend Tom’s birthday, and one for my daughter’s amazing friend, Royce.

me and roycePie for Tom Minor

Royce with me and his Apple Pie and an Apple Pie for Tom.

Sullivan Street Bakeryimagine

Enjoying scrumptious bread at Sullivan Street Bakery and visiting Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon memorial site.

Once back home, I baked another Apple Pie for one of our favorite singer/songwriters, the amazing Martin Sexton, who opened Jefferson Public Radio’s One World Performance Series. Then, a few days later, I baked yet another Apple Pie for a woman who donated to a charity that I help with. It was such fun to surprise her with a pie to thank her for her gift. Finally, a Bacon and Roasted Pepper quiche found its way to a dear friend who is going through chemo. It’s something nourishing that she can eat when she feels like eating and will also hold for a few days when she is not able to do so.

quiche for JoAnn

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and part of the reason for my delay was that there were so many stories in the news that have felt especially devastating. Some days I’ve found it hard to read the paper or listen to the radio because the stories break my heart. At times like this, I wish I could do something magical and change the world for the better. Until then, I will continue to give away pies… and maybe, every so often, I’ll rock a crying baby.

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”  David Mamet

Autumn Arrives… and there are pies (and other treats) in the forecast!

23 Sep

Today in Ashland we awoke to gray skies and much cooler weather.  How did that happen?  Just a few days ago the temperature reached 95 and right now the thermometer is barely hitting 65!  Welcome to Fall everyone!

That last month of summer quickly slipped by me.  Perhaps I was busy but it went by so fast!  One minute we were camping and then it was back to school again (not for my kids but still) and the leaves are now changing.  Now before I get off on a rant (I know, you’re all thinking, “whew”) let me just share a few of the baked goodies that I managed to squeeze into the last few weeks.


One day, Emile and I were on our morning walk when I saw my friend going to her car.  I called out “Hi… How are you?” She responded, “Not good.  My dog is hemorrhaging.  I need to bring him to the vet.”  I was stunned into silence and don’t even know if I managed to wave goodbye.  As we continued our walk, Emile turned to me and said, “There’s a pie in her future isn’t there?”  He knows me so well!  This gluten-free cheesecake/pear tart (which was later topped with toasted almonds – sorry, no photo of that) was brought to that woman to let her know that I understood the pain of losing a beloved pet.


Then there were the quiches… with crimini mushrooms and peppers that I roasted (and what a wonderful scent they left in my kitchen!).  One of these was brought to a friend with an ailing partner.  My heart aches for them both.  The other quiche was for our new interim pastor (aka Mary Poppins) on the day that she arrived in the valley.  It was my hope that by bringing her something homemade she would feel welcomed into our community.


These chocolate cupcakes were my contribution to my friend Marie’s birthday party.  We laughed trying to decide if they were my version of Ding Dong’s or Ho Ho’s.  All I know is that they are simply delicious and deliciously simple to make!  I make my favorite cupcakes, fill them with a squirt of whipped cream, and coat them in chocolate (melted with a bit of coconut oil) and then top with more whipped cream.  Yum!

Here is a photo of them midway through the process… I use a paring knife to cut a slit in the top of each cupcake and then a pastry bag to fill the centers with the whipped cream.  It’s really easy!  By the time you coat them with chocolate and top them with cream, the inside cream becomes a hidden delightful surprise!


Last week I picked many bowls of delicious grapes at my friend Stella’s house and because I don’t own a food dryer, tried my hand at making raisins in my oven.  It took about a day at 175 degrees… and it worked!  They are the best raisins I’ve ever had (except maybe for the muscat raisins we used to get at the market in south San Francisco).  I probably picked 15 pounds of grapes… and they cooked down to about 3 pounds of raisins…. but they are soooooo good!


Another treat that I made was for my neighbors, Ellen and Owen.  They came home after a very long “vacation” to visit their granddaughter (and her parents of course!)  As sweets are out of the question for Owen, I decided to make bagels to remind him of his time in New York.  I used this recipe by John D. Lee because it makes bagel making fast (just about 90 minutes) and very easy!  These bagels are incredibly tasty;  I know because I devoured one minutes after it came out of the oven.  Do try this recipe… you won’t be disappointed!


Finally, last Saturday I created a platter of gluten-free sweets (coconut almond macaroons, raspberry-topped brownies, and peanut butter cookies) for supporters of the Ashland Schools Foundation.  They were treated to a beautiful event at Bel Fiore Winery and though I am sorry I couldn not attend, I was very happy to contribute.


That’s about all I have to share right now.  Next time I write I hope to share tales of my visit to see my daughter, Alexandra, for her birthday.  She’s been working at Warby Parker since the spring and I am anxious to see New York through her eyes.  Til then, I wish you all sweet dreams!

A Quick Trip to the East Coast

25 Sep

The Old North Church in Boston

Last Tuesday I flew to meet my husband, Emile, in Boston where he was to attend a conference for the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).  Wednesday, while he spent the day attending the conference, I took a walking tour of Boston.  Once I left the Hyatt in Cambridge, I walked over the Harvard Bridge towards Boston.  It was then that I saw Fenway Park and wanted to get a closer look.  The stadium was closed (no game) but I was able to get an inside view of it via a little tavern called “Bleacher Bar“.  Wow.  I think every ball park could do with a place like this!

Fenway Park

After that, I decided I needed to see the Old North Church.  You remember that this was the church where the signal was given to warn the patriots that the British were approaching (One if by land, two if by sea).  As I tend to be geographically challenged, I approached a couple and asked, “Am I heading in the direction of the Old North Church?” to which one of them replied, “I’m not familiar with that church.”  What did he just say?  Anyway, I found that I was indeed heading north, and kept on walking.

Tombstone of Paul Revere

After a nice long walk (and asking directions of a few more people) I found my way to the Old Granary cemetery where Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and the victims of the Boston Massacre are buried.   On Paul Revere’s headstone, people have left small stones and coins (maybe because he was a silversmith?) and it is said that out of respect for him, even those who could use the change do not disturb it.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but I can tell you that I felt that I was in a very sacred place – and I can’t say that I feel that way often.  And then, less than a mile away, I finally made it to the Old North Church.  Imagine, all that history concentrated in such a small area!

Later, on my way back through town I came upon the Museum of African-American History, but even though it was only 3:30 it was closed! (the magazine article I’d read about this place listed the hours as 10-4).   I’d been especially looking forward to seeing the exhibit entitled “The Color of Baseball in Boston” which tells the little-known stories of players of color and the teams that they played on.   I’m sorry I missed this exhibit and hope I’ll have a chance to see it on my next trip to Boston.

After my long walk back to our hotel, I met up with Emile and his fellow food coop managers and we took a tour of Boston on Segways with a company called (remarkably) Boston by Segway.  It was a little bit scary (for me) at first, but within a few minutes, we were all zipping around town.  It was AWESOME!  Without a doubt, this is a really great way to tour the city.

The next few days are a bit of a blur!  Thursday we drove to the western tip of Massachusetts….

had an amazing lunch…

And spent a night with our friends Susan and John.

Emile and Susan

Friday we headed back east towards New York where we had lunch with our niece, Grace, in the town of New Paltz and then went on to a homecoming dinner at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.  Whew!

Saturday morning, we drove back to Boston to board separate planes.  Emile is now back at home in Ashland, and I am visiting my sister, Janice, on Staten Island.  My days have been much less hectic here, but we do fit in a 4.5 mile walk along the boardwalk each day.   I’ve seen a few friends… but mostly, am happy just to spend time with Janice.

With my friend Laura!

With my sister Janice on the Boardwalk

But what would all these words be about, if I didn’t throw a pie in the mix?  Who could resist making apple pies with the abundance of apples in every store and farm stand?  Not me… and so, I baked two.  One for my brother-in-law to take to work to share with his buddies… and one for an old friend who is dealing with some health issues right now.

I’m tremendously  grateful for the chance to take such a fun-filled trip… and truly grateful for the dear friends and family that we have.  This short vacation has reminded me of just how very blessed we are.

MacIntosh Apple Pie

Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has  many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 578 other followers