The Fountain of Youth Is Full of Oysters

So much going on here in the last month that between the friend and family visits, snowfalls begging to be played in, power surges knocking out our router, teeth emerging (milo), teeth cracking (me) and pumpkin scones calling softly for me to drop all other endeavours to make yet another batch, I just haven't quite sat down to this blog to share for a while. Which was exactly the reason I started this project in the first place, to remind myself to slow down once in a while.

But the end of the day has descended quietly now. Outside, temperatures have dropped drastically, silencing the night sounds that normally drift through the balcony door. Inside, the only noises are muffled - you have to listen carefully - pages turning in a book and occasionally, a small body shifting positions in his bed. It invites contemplation. And so I push aside for a few moments the chores, work deadlines and assorted logistical gremlins grumbling at my doorstep to just enjoy.

Especially enjoyable was playing a little hooky with my friend Mrill who came to visit us from our other home, Madison, WI. It was a long, luxuriant few days of walking, talking, thinking and eating. Did I mention the eating? From duck sausage and roasted butternut squash, to homemade cappuccinos, to homemade toffees to afternoon wine and chocolate tastings (you know, as a reward for all that walking).

A morning of running straight uphill and a day spent talking about science and culture culminated in a feast of the kind Montreal is made for. Mrill and I dusted off the chic urban wear and had a ladies' night out at Le Club Chasse et Peche a red-hot popular restaurant in Old Montreal (thank you, Jake!). The kind of restaurant that refers to their pastry chef as a poetic pastry diva, and deservedly so. Sipping the perfect Manhattan, I basked in the feeling of just being a girl out for a night on the town. For a fleeting moment there was no beautiful baby to distract me, I could focus fully on the sensual fandango happening in my mouth: fresh oysters and the salty crunch of trout roe heightened by sharp sweetness of champagne mousse bubbling on my tongue! The photo below can't do this appetizer justice. It was as beautiful to behold as it was to consume. I found myself wondering whether I had discovered the fountain of youth in the bottom of a shot glass...

photo credit goes mostly to Mrill, with some help from Jake and I...



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Travel bug

Spontaneous picnic, somewhere off the interstate in New Hampshire, about five miles after Milo woke up and started to yelp to be let out of his seat.

We've been hit by a little wanderlust lately and have taken some wonderful road trips to upstate New York and, more recently, Boston and Cambridge. Which also means we've been logging in some serious hours in the car with a squirmy nine-month-old. I've always loved road trips though admittedly these last couple have had a different rhythm. We've had to give ourselves plenty of time to get where we're going. This has had all kinds of great unexpected benefits like impromptu picnics and tickle sessions. And the boy travelled like a champ. He actually slept away most of the five-hour trip to and from Boston.
My favorite part of the road trip? Getting to see the famous glass flowers up close at the Harvard Natural History Museum. This collection is composed of over 2500 hand-made models of actual flowers and plants made entirely from glass by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, a father-son glassmaking team from Germany. The detail is astounding - a cactus had thousands of tiny glass hairs mimicking its thorns!
Apparently, the Blaschkas weren't kept busy enough building the Harvard models, because they created a series of marine invertebrates as well. What's really amazing to contemplate is that, although these specimens date back to the late 1800s to mid 1900s, no one has since been able to replicate the Blaschkas craftsmanship.