The Short Sweet Sweet Life of Smokestack Beef

On December 15, 2012 we went to pick out a sweet sweet kitten.

On the way home we figured out his name: Smokestack Beef. But we decided to call him Smokey. We would have to wait until he got older to bring him home.

On January 21, 2013 he came home. This is him on the bed at night. He was snuggling because he was such a snuggler.

He liked to sleep in the checker box while we were playing chess or checkers.

He loved to look down when we went downstairs for breakfast.

He was always watching us.

On the way to Vermont for the summer, he peed in his cat carrier. So we had to give him a bath. And we never gave him another bath.

He dried out nicely and enjoyed his summer in Vermont.

He was getting big but he loved to hop up into this chair. He had a nice summer in Vermont with us.

We came back to New York and he was peeing on the couch a lot so we had to put him in the office where we are writing this story. Sorry but we didn’t get so many pictures.

Then he started getting sick. On October 18 we had a playdate with our friends and we noticed Smokey wasn’t walking right. The next day he had a cold and went to the vet. A few days later, we found out he was going to die. He had FIP. And then we came up with this great idea of an early birthday party before he died. (His birthday was November 16, he would have been one.)

This is his birthday cake.

We all made him cards and these are the cards. Even our babysitter Margo made one.

We all said goodbye to him. This is the day he went to the vet to be euthanized. And that is the end of the story of the sweet sweet life of Smokestack Beef.

We love you sweet sweet Smokestack Beef even though you are not here.

RIP Smokestack “Smokey” Beef
November 16, 2012 – October 25, 2013

– Written by Ollie, typed by Mommy

I’m reading Middlemarch and there…

I’m reading Middlemarch and there are too many good passages to just dog ear in my book. So I begin posting them here with this bit on Mr Casaubon’s soul:

“Mr Casaubon had never had a strong bodily frame, and his soul was sensitive without being enthusiastic: it was too languid to thrill out of self-consciousness into passionate delight; it went on fluttering in the swampy ground where it was hatched, thinking of its wings and never flying.” p 266

14 years?!

So today is’s 14th birthday. I can’t even wrap my head around keeping (and not keeping up) a site for that long. The good news about this announcement is that I’m back to blogging over at So you don’t have to follow on Tumblr, and maybe you’ll even get this update via RSS, or carrier pigeon, or whatever works these days.

No promises about tons more updates, but that dream still lives. I’ve been cooking great food, sewing cute clothes, and have many triumphs to share. Really.

Fourteen years ago I never imagined I’d still be running this site, even if it’s only a few updates every blue moon. So happy birthday teenage Let’s pretend you’ve gotten your braces off and are feeling awesome today!

The family in France

Big kid travelers arrived in Paris.

We are on our first family vacation outside the US in two and a half years. It’s amazing what a difference that amount of time makes for kids. Look at these pros getting off the TGV from Geneva at the Gare de Lyon in Paris! They rolled their own suitcases and wore their backpacks. So capable!

I’d imagined blogging more on this trip but evenings have been spent reviewing websites and planning for the next day’s adventures. And clutching my aching stomach that is full of over ten kinds of cheeses. Warning: never travel to France with Ollie, who may love cheese more than all the Frenchmen combined.

So far we’ve had three different kinds of St Marcellin, Bleu de Gex, St Félicien, Pélardon, two different Rocamadour, pavé du Tarn, an Ossau-Iraty, and a mysterious slice from the fromagerie at the Maubert-Mutualité open air market. And that’s only the cheese we’ve bought in three days, and doesn’t include the cheeses served to us by friends we visited in the Jura before coming to Paris!

Pélardon. Just one of more than 10 cheeses we've eaten in last two days. Ooof!

We’ve also had sheep’s milk yogurt (yum!) and an awesome beef bouguignon. I have the recipe from the restaurant and will be attempting to improve my NYC version. We have walked the streets, played in several playgrounds, enjoyed the sights. The kids have been practicing their mercis and bon jours and will not speak French when put on the spot, but casually will when I least expect it. I suppose that make sense.

Today will be our first true touristing day. We’re off to the Eiffel Tower and then hoping for a long leisurely stroll back to our rented apartment in the Marais. And maybe a cheese stop along the way!