Sunday, July 11, 2010

hoop love!

Not too long ago, I saw this video on Boho's blog.

I'm in awe.

And yesterday a new friend taught me to hula with her homemade hoop. I was instantly hooked! I went to a couple of stores, but the cheap, flimsy hoops that I found were very sad. I couldn't get them to do what they're supposed to do... and for the first time ever, I blamed the hoop instead of my body.

So, I looked online and found DIY instructions. One trip to Lowe's, where I'm glad I hemmed and hawed instead of overspending, and then a trip to Mendard's, where I found just what I needed for about half as much money. It was easy and fun and very satisfying to make my own hoops, and I'm tellin' ya- these hoops are magic. Everyone's a natural.

Monday, May 17, 2010

transitioning (again?)

It almost seems silly to say that I'm going through another transition~ it's sort of what I do. But I think this one is different...

Well, I DO.

It came out of that special brand of clarity that comes out of crisis, and I think there's something to it. Without getting too involved, I'll just say that a relationship came to a close and the current source of my salary was never meant to last forever. (And time really does pass quickly.) Once again, I had to decide: What Next?

I did some hemming. I did some hawing. I cried. I grumped. I created scenarios (including some really ridiculous ones) inside my head. And it all crystallized into these two Big Questions:

Where do I really want to live?
What do I really want to do?

There's a lot that I can't control. That's a lesson I've learned a thousand times over. But what I can do is listen as kindly as possible when my heart speaks up.

I don't want to move away. And the thing I've loved the very most is being a postpartum doula. That's what I want~ to stay here where I'm so at home, and to be a postpartum doula all the time.

I decided to tell someone.

It seems that I told the right person, because all of a sudden everything starting falling into my lap. I wanted to be more involved in the birth/doula/new family scene and three days later I was offered a teaching spot with an awesome local organization. I wanted to go to a DONA postpartum doula certification workshop, but the closest one was in Chicago, so I e-mailed the teacher and asked if she'd like to come here. She responded half an hour later, saying "Sure!" I didn't have to talk anyone into anything. And that's just how it's been going.

It's been like magic.

So here I am, surrounded by opportunity and hosting a hearty colony of bronchitis bugs. Maybe one day life will stop surprising me so completely, but it sure hasn't happened yet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

more fun with rocks

The baby I've been taking care of is now 15 months old. (That whole thing about how quickly they grow up is cliche for good reason.) I've tried to stay connected with the girls I was with for the previous five years, and had a lunch date with the older one last weekend... but we weren't hungry.

I had brought along two painted rocks and a paint pen, so we sat outside in the sunshine and I explained how I had painted a bunch of rocks and that I had hidden one in a tree at the park. I suggested that we write on the rocks I'd brought and then hide them for people to find... She thought for a few seconds and said, "But what if they take them?" She seemed a bit perplexed when I said that that would be perfect. :)

Her idea for the purple rock was CAT. After a bit of carefully played discussion, we ended up with the cat's pajamas theme. With the creative juices flowing, her first suggestion for the yellow rock was much more elaborate... "How about you smell like a tomato?" And then, "what about you smell like a zucchini?" Oh, she's funny. (She really is an extraordinarily funny kid.) Then she suggested you smell sweet, which is how we ended up with the final product above. We placed the yellow rock on a shelf in the children's section at Borders, but I could tell she was having a hard time parting with the purple rock, so I offered her the option of taking it home. She graciously accepted.

A few weeks ago, I went to check on the Play! rock, and it was still there! It has been rained on and snowed on, so the paint is wonderfully peely and cracked. I hope that someone has seen it and just chose to leave it for other people to find.

*The same day that I went to check on the rock, we were walking around the park and saw a little Yorkie running around. She stopped and appeared to be getting ready to tinkle, but instead she lifted her hind legs off the ground.

We looked at her, looked at each other in disbelief, looked back at her, and LAUGHED. She just gave us this what?? kind of look and trotted off. We'd bring it up and giggle for the rest of the day. I just wish I'd had my camera ready.

Friday, December 11, 2009

guerilla art fairy, that's me

I like to make stuff. I especially like to not make the *same* stuff all the time. One thing I'd been wanting to do for a while was to paint rocks, so I finally did.

I went to May's Greenhouse and picked out some nicely-shaped landscaping stones and brought them home and, well... they sat around for a while. (I'm really good at collecting supplies, but there is often a gap between the acquisition and the creating.)

The first day that I did anything with the rocks, Matt called just after I started in. He asked what I'd done so far that day, and was perhaps a bit less than impressed when I told him that I'd painted half a rock blue. "I could paint half a rock blue," he said.

Several rocks were painted (with a coat of gesso first, which makes the colors turn out better) and words were added with a paint pen (I HEART PAINT PENS) and suddenly I had a big jumble of inspiring, brightly-colored reminder stones. Silly me, though, things were so busy that I failed to take a photo of them all together. In any case, a few sold at the Holiday Market, two are in "my" bedroom at Matt's house, one is in my studio at Matt's, two are destined to be stocking stuffers, and one...

One was placed in a place, and has hopefully been found by now.

We went back to May's a few days ago and I gathered another armful of cold, smoothish, roundish stones. They've all had a coat of gesso, and one coat of color on one side, and I hope to commit some random acts of art on Sunday. Keep an eye out as you walk around town~ there may be little treasures here and there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Southern Indiana is rather lovely.

(I started writing this entry long ago, and am finally revisiting, revising, and posting it! Tah-dah!)

A few weeks ago, Matt and I took a little trip down to New Harmony~ I had been there twice before and wanted to show him around, but there were some fabulous surprises in store for both of us... New Harmony is lovely, but we also found two other spot just a little farther South that made us EXTRA-SPECIAL happy.

Matt had discovered a place called Twin Swamps a couple of years ago~ he just happened to stumble across an article written by a grad student, and was intrigued. It seems that the Northernmost stand of Bald Cypress trees is there. We found it, but it's in a spot that you'd miss if you weren't specifically looking for it. We walked along the trail, some of which is covered by a walkway because the ground is marshy (which is why the cypress trees are able to grow there) and it was magical~ we were the only ones there.

We were just far enough to the South that there were all sorts of things growing that can't grow here, and I was mesmerized by all the little treasures I was finding. Some of them were completely new to me, and others were just different versions of familiar doodads. (I'm easily amused.)

After exploring Twin Swamps, we stopped at Hovey Lake. We had passed it on our way and decided that it was imperative that we investigate. And OMG, as they say. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Ever.

The trees at Twin Swamps were gorgeous, and it was really cool to be able to see the trunks and root formations up close. But there are many more in Hovey Lake, standing out in the water, and it's just WOW.

It was colder than average during our visit, so we were lucky enough to have the lake to ourselves, too. There are lots of water birds there, and I think we'll go back in the spring for a canoe adventure...

Well, I have more to share, but the baby is up from his nap and I don't want to set this post aside for another three weeks, so I'll just publish as is. Consider a visit to these spots!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It's been so long since I've posted that someone finally gave me a little nudge. (Thanks!) Momentarily, I should be sleeping, but here's a place-holder to remind us both of my intentions:

This past weekend, my sweetie and I had a little Southern Indiana getaway, and let me assure you, it was lovely~ more to come. (Really!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

some things must be said

The other day, I popped in to a popular blog that I read sometimes, and found that the most recent post had to do with "sleep training", which is essentially leaving a baby to cry itself to sleep.

I've heard all of the arguments for it, all of the justifications and rationalizations. I understand that sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on parents and that it can make you desperate and willing to try just about anything. I hear you.


I cannot wrap my brain or my heart around the idea that parents who won't let their babies cry and scream alone in a crib until they finally give up and fall asleep are somehow weaker. How can the capacity to listen from the next room while your baby screams for you be considered a sign of strength?

The blogger I mentioned wrote that her baby stood in his crib, shaking the bars and screaming, for an hour and a half. And someone commented that she herself wasn't strong enough to do this with her own baby...

It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart for the babies, but also for the parents who are made to feel that if they were better or stronger, they would just let their babies cry. There are a number of books written by "experts" that promote this idea, and it makes me more than a little bit angry.

I'll leave it at that. I'm not trying to spark a debate~ I just want to support those mamas and papas who can't bring themselves to follow popular opinion in this arena. You are not weak for snuggling your babies to sleep.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

and now it's july

How I wish I could share photos and video clips of the baby here~ when I'm the mama, I will... it's just hard to be patient about it sometimes. I have the nanny version of "always a bridesmaid."

Anyhow, what I can and will share today is this sweet old summertime picture of me and my childhood friend Wendy, and my first dog, Minnie. Homemade grape juice popsicles. Claymont. What a magical place that was~ I'll have to write more about it some time soon.

I'm happy and busy and distracted and sleepy and twitterpated. Grateful for a very fun weekend, looking forward to ever more fun and spontaneity, dreaming up little getaways and parties and surprises and adventures...

And now I hear Mr. Sleepyhead waking up and making funny noises. Happy July, dearies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

what? it's the middle of what? june? THE MIDDLE OF JUNE?

Not that this is news to anyone who knows me, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist/procrastinator. This here blog (this poor, neglected blog) is proof. I wait around for the muse, for something worthy of a post, but then a month has gone by... Sometimes pie is a good enough reason to post, but other days it all just strikes me as too mundane. Or too scandalous (or simply Not Mine to Share) for a public audience.


I'm in the midst of domestic upheaval over here. Changing around my entire apartment to make it work for me. Negotiating a romance, or not. Loving my job, but noticing that on many days it leaves me with relatively little to say, aside from the tedious gushing about how much I adore the baby.

But! Last week something magical and rare did happen.

I was hanging out with That Baby I Love So Much, and happened to glance up at the bay window just as a vaguely bird-shaped something landed on a branch about four feet away. I hopped up as slowly as one can hop, intrigued, but not wanting to scare the Thing away. And it was an OWL. A very small and very cute OWL, at four in the afternoon. And it only gets better: there was a whole family of them. Eastern Screech Owls. Mama, Papa, and four babies, and they stayed all day, and the day after that.

Taking photos in low light, without a flash, and with a baby attached to my body, always makes me wish for a better camera. But here they are~

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Helloooooooo, chocolate pie!

I just made this pie.

You should pretty much make one, too.

It's obscenely rich and chocolately, and (believe it or not) I've already had my fill just from licking the mixing spoon and the inside of the blender. (How's that for a visual?)

It takes about five minutes, if you don't count those few painful minutes of waiting for some water to boil and some chocolate to melt. (And if you're feeling fancy, which I was not, you could make your own crust.)

So, here's the scoop:

All you need is a blender or food processor, a double boiler (makeshift is fine), a graham cracker crust, a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, some vanilla and maple syrup, and the magical secret ingredient...

That's right. It's chocolate tofu pie.

While the water in the double boiler heats up, smoosh the tofu around in a blenderish gadget. A food processor works better, but a blender is fine~ you'll just have to help out a bit more with a spoon. Add about a teaspoon of vanilla and about two tablespoons of maple syrup and give it another whirl. Melt the chocolate chips, add the melted chocolate to the tofu, and mix it all up until you can't stand it any more.

Pour the mixture into the crust and LICK THE SPOON.

I've made it with espresso chocolate chips, which was pretty good, but I don't recommend using milk chocolate. Semi-sweet is perfect. Almond extract is a nice addition, as is shredded coconut... And the tofu MUST be the firm SILKEN kind. Otherwise, the texture will detract from the flavor.

It needs at least a couple of hours in the fridge, and then you can top it with fruit and whipped cream or ice cream or whatever sounds most delicious.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

new fun things hooray

The art fair season is officially under way, and I'm having fun with some new additions to my booth... mostly these! --->

I've only made a few, but as soon as my next order of glass tiles arrives, I'll be playing in the studio and making more of these pendants, using various images from my photographs.


They're fun to make~ very gratifying. And I really enjoy the process of playing around with different images. Some photos I'd planned on using turned out to look pretty dumb, and others surprised me in a very happy kind of way.

(A few are up in my Etsy shop! And I can make custom ones with kid pictures, pet pictures, etc. Snazzy!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

another springy favorite

Here's another favorite, which I found in The Pooh Bedside Reader, but which is actually from The House at Pooh Corner:

Noise, by Pooh

Oh, the butterflies are flying,
Now the winter days are dying,
And the primroses are trying
To be seen.

And the turtle-doves are cooing,
And the woods are up and doing,
For the violets are blue-ing
In the green.

Oh, the honey-bees are gumming
On their little wings, and humming
That the summer, which is coming
Will be fun.

And the cows are almost cooing,
And the turtle-doves are mooing,
Which is why a Pooh is poohing
In the sun.

For the spring is really springing;
You can see a skylark singing,
And the blue-bells, which are ringing,
Can be heard.

And the cuckoo isn't cooing,
But he's cucking and he's ooing,
And a Pooh is simply poohing
Like a bird.


I wonder if e.e. cummings and A.A. Milne read each other's work...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

ode to spring

I've been holding out until April to share this poem~ one of my favorite poems, by one of my favorite poets.

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april(yes,april;my darling)it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we're alive,dear:it's(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing,the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

-e.e. cummings

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let the games begin!

As of right this minute, I'm officially jumping into the art fair season with both feet! So far, I have seven art fairs in the next seven months. Hot diggity.

First up, Luna Festival~ this one is a women's art and business fair and will be held on Sunday, April 26th from 11am-4pm in the Showers Building.

And then, A Fair of the Arts! Whitney and I have been accepted for ALL SIX SHOWS. We are thrilled. We just started putting our work out there last year, and we did three FotA shows last season. This time around, I think we both kind of expected to be offered the same number of dates, but we're in every single show. Did I mention the part about us being thrilled? Because we ARE.

A Fair of the Arts takes place alongside the Farmer's Market in Showers Plaza, on the second Saturday of the month, from May through October. (Hooray for local food and local art!)

We'll be doing things a little bit differently, but will still be sharing a booth~ she makes amazing jewelry; I sell my greeting cards and prints of my photography, as well as a few other goodies. And there's a lot to do to get ready in the next few weeks!

Please stop in and say howdy! It's going to be super fantastic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

bird stalker

There's a pair of pileated woodpeckers preparing to nest in the wooded area outside the house where I work. I watch for them whenever we pass by the bay window, pretending that we're standing there to greet the ficus, talking to the baby, "Good morning, friend plant! Hello, great outdoors!" I tell him about all of the edible fungus growing on the trees, all of the critters soaring or scampering by, all of the things we'll do together when he gets bigger... But all the while, I'm hoping for a pileated sighting.

Today was my Lucky Day. I saw both of them, and this one stayed for quite a while, working very diligently on what I assume will be their nesting cavity. The baby was patient while I took three thousand pictures. I put him in the sling and went outside to get a better view, and I'm pretty happy to have managed a couple of reasonably clear shots. We were pretty far away, and I had a wiggling person attached to my torso, so I can't complain.

These birds are interesting, and rather comical, to watch~ and it felt like an honor. I don't care if that sounds cheesy. We rarely see them, and it's usually a glimpse of red and then they vanish. They're huge, but not terribly confident when it comes to a human audience, so this was a treat~

Sunday, March 15, 2009

oh, spring

So nice to see you again, groovy green growing season.

I think that maybe spring is a better time for resolutions than January 1st. Time to stretch up tall and come out of hibernation. Time to turn our faces to the sun and wiggle our toes in the dirt.

I'm resolving (again, sure, but that's ok) to do more of what's good for me. Not as much of what's easy and comfortable, though there are times when that's inescapably attractive. But I'm shown consistently that certain things, lovely nourishing things that I desperately hide from and have to push myself to do, make my life exponentially better.

Motion and creation. Stepping outside the circle.

When I write, when I play with art supplies, when I move this body that I live in, when I leave home even though it feels like such hard work, good things happen. When I don't, I'm thinking that I should. And this takes more energy than the doing. Avoidance is exhausting. Stretching lets the light in~

Saturday, February 14, 2009

grand finale

This past week was the last regular week that I'll spend with 'my girls'.

The older one is six (we'll call her B, for big sister), and the younger one (L, for little sister) turned three on Thursday. I've spent approximately 5,000 hours with this family. It's mind-boggling if I think about it too much, so I'm just letting myself be happy about the big picture of where I am right now, and brainstorming fun ways to spend the precious two-hour mini-chunks of time I'll be spending with them in the near future.

Wednesday was the last full day that I spent with them, and it was a really good day.

In the morning, B was telling me about this kind of green worm that gets into all of the green foods you eat, and then you eat it without knowing. She was getting more and more animated as she talked about how creepy these worms are and how she didn't want to eat them. Then she went to find the book she'd seen them in, and when we finally found the picture, she was in full drama queen mode.

And I can't blame her: it was a bright green, highly-magnified tapeworm. It looked like a creature from a sci-fi movie, and anything but edible. So we talked about tapeworms for a long time. She asks pretty amazing questions and I tend to be determined to give her the answers she's looking for. We discussed all kinds of things, but I didn't have all the answers. These days, you can find pretty much anything online, but it's too easy to skip all opportunity for human interaction, so I suggested that we call a reference librarian. L is much more social than her sister, and liked the idea, so I dialed and told the librarian that I was handing her over to a three-year-old.

Imagine how much it would make your day if a little bitty voice called and said, "Um, do tapeworms wive in Indiana?"

They talked for a couple of minutes, and when I took the phone back, the librarian relayed the conversation. Tapeworms do live in Indiana, but you don't have to worry about it if you don't eat uncooked meat. She asked if L her mom cooks hamburger before L eats it. Her answer? "No." This cracked us up, and I said, "Well, that's probably because we don't eat hamburgers!" In any case, the girls were very happy to know that they weren't in danger of tapeworm infestation.

With that out of the way, we moved on to Valentine production. We were all sitting at the table with paper and markers and scissors and glue and things were relatively calm. When I heard the dryer buzz, I excused myself and went to rotate the laundry. And when I returned, I saw this:

The girls had scooted their chairs together and B had- with the ONE permanent marker out of the whole bunch- filled in L's lips, eye lids, finger nails, and toe nails, and was starting in on her own manicure and pedicure. She'd also drawn on a bracelet and necklace, but those were luckily done with washable markers.

Preschool Goth.

Sometimes it's nearly impossible to keep a straight face when you most need to. This was one of those times. I just stood there in shock for a minute. Then I had to take pictures, of course. (I wish I could show you the whole deal, but these aren't my children and I don't think their mom would be thrilled if I posted her kids' faces all over the internets. But if you know me in real life and would like to see the photos, let me know. They're hysterical.)

I have to say that I'm pretty impressed that I kept as much of my cool as I did. Once they were both in the tub, I reminded them that there are actual face paints that would be much better for this type of thing... (It mostly came off, but not easily!)

What a way to mark the end of an era! I'll love them forever.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

foody weekend

I've been reading Animal Vegetable Miracle, and it's making me freak out sometimes. There's so much information in that book. Really good stuff, but I'm having to reign myself in and consider what I can realistically do, and what will have to wait. I'm realizing, though, that there's more that I can do than I'd seriously considered.

You know what?

This is going to require its own post in the near future.

For now, I'll just tell you that I made bread this weekend. My gorgeous, hilarious, generous friend Lisa gave me the recipe and the bread flour and the yeast. It was DELICIOUS. Crusty and yeasty and bready. And the hardest part? The math of when to start it so that I'd be home when it finished the first rise and was ready to go into the oven. It had to rise for eighteen hours, then be fiddled with a bit, then another two hours of rising, and then it gets baked in a huge covered pot. And then... then you wish you'd made a double batch. (Which I will next time.)

After I started the bread, I was inspired to bring down my juicer from its lofty hideaway. I had carrots and apples and spinach languishing in the fridge, and I hope that the yumminess of the juice they yielded will remind me to lug out the juicer more often. (Spinach, however, may be better added in the blender after juicing the carrots and apples.)

I also made cheese this weekend, but the pictures aren't pretty. The recipe didn't specify whether the milk had to have a certain fat content, but I should have known. Whole milk would have unquestionably made better-tasting cheese than 1%, but the 1% was on sale and I was pretending to be healthy. Low-fat and organic. The road to bland, rubbery cheese is paved with good intentions.

(I'd also suggest ignoring that you have a microwave, if you do indeed have one. I think it'll come out better with the non-microwave instructions.)

I have so much more to share, but it's suddenly almost ten, and I must turn in... Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

creative epiphany

Ok, this may not sound like epiphany material, but to me it was.

Well, let me start by explaining something you may or may not already know about me:

I have to make stuff. I have to. Some people need to garden or run or cook or whatever, but for me, doing creative projects has always been one of the necessities in life. I'm one of those master of none folks. I like to try things and play and I'm not terribly interested in following patterns and instructions that require math and precision and expertise.

The problem, though, is that I tend to believe that I want to try everything, and even though I don't want to follow rules, there's a part of me that wants to Do Things Correctly. It can be boggling and prohibitive.

The other day, though, I realized that just because I want to try everything doesn't mean that I have to love everything. And more importantly, if I don't love something that I expected to love... I don't have to do it ever again!

This was a marvelous realization. And if I acquire supplies for something that I decide to never do again, someone else will be happy to take those supplies off my hands. Which means (bonus realization) that I don't have to worry so much about being wasteful!

This, along with the wonderful book, Wreck This Journal, by Keri Smith, has freed up some creative energy that had been kind of unfortunately stuck for some time.

Some of the many things I do love: photography, writing, crocheting, playing with raw wool (including dying it, as seen above, and carding it and needle-felting), drawing sketchily, unconventional watercoloring, paper-making, soap-making, baking alone, cooking with friends, sewing badly, mosaics, mixed media collage/painting, container gardening...

A few things it turns out I do not love: rolling felted wool beads, following knitting or crocheting patterns, trying to paint things that look real, being yelled at while baking cookies.

Now I'm really looking forward to finding out what else I do and don't want to do some more of!

(Starting tomorrow. It's past my bedtime.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

light and shadow

The sweetness that I wrote about recently came quickly and unceremoniously to a halt. All that beauty? A bit smooshed and smudged at the moment. I'm standing knee-deep in sad and mad and confused, trying to keep some healthy perspective. You know how things that you really wanted, things that are shiny and new, can become so quickly mundane? As much as I try not to take my good fortune for granted, the blessings of physical comfort and security can't quite compensate for a bruised heart. It sucks, but it's true.

For some reason, I hesitate to say these things... but I find that telling (and hearing) what is actually true is the best way to go. And today, literally snowed in and stuck with myself, I'm also remembering that the more I can soften towards myself, the softer I feel about everyone and everything else.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

open heart

The things that re-opened my heart today: the new baby, who's bravely smiling and cooing his way through his first cold; the beautiful hawk that sat outside my mechanic's shop and stayed long enough to pose for some great photos; and good friends who love me out loud and hold my heart on good days and bad.

Monday, January 12, 2009

all this beauty*

I'm in awe of my own life right now. It's a very sweet, very unfamiliar, very tenuous thing.

In the past two days, I've had two important conversations~ one with my best friend and one with my mama. The big theme right now is that I've been asking, whether silently or out loud, for what I actually need and want, and things have fallen into place. I suddenly have a life that I want, that I feel like I've created on purpose.

And the truth is, it's not sudden at all. It's been in the making for a long, long time.

My life hasn't been especially nice. There are amazing people in it, and I've had some wonderful experiences, but it's been punctuated by truly horrific things. I try not to think about it all at once, partly because it's too much, but also because I don't want to be weak or to seem like I'm feeling sorry for myself. I want my life to be good, and I want to be one of the good parts of other people's lives. I've been so afraid of burdening anyone, that I almost never let anyone too far in to the scary, ugly stuff. I sat alone with all of that for years.

But now...

There's a shift happening, one that's so wonderful and so terrifying, with so much momentum that my fear can't hold it back any longer.

And the question is: how do I let it be real? How do I give myself over to the truth that's right in front of me? The truth, the reality that I have what I've asked for... and that yes, it's ok. I'm worthy of it. How do I let it wash over my heart when I know that it could all fall away just as quickly?

Every time I've stumbled back to myself, something extraordinarily painful has happened and I've been sent spinning into the dark. And so now... it seems to be my challenge, and my honor, to step steadily and joyfully into the center of all this beauty, and to let it be my world for as long as it will...

(Lyrics from The Weepies' song, All This Beauty, keep running through my mind today~ All this beauty; you might have to close your eyes, and slowly open wide...)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

finding my footing as the year comes to a close

The title sums it up. That's where I am, in a really good way. Things got pretty whirlwindy for a bit, with moving and the election and the new job. All very good stuff, but I sort of got... lazy? Comfortable? Not having to worry about money or whether the neighbors will be keeping me awake all night, etc. makes things a bit softer around the edges, which is lovely, but now I'm backpedaling, trying to find the new balance point...

I'm absolutely in love with the new baby. I've been sick for a week, so I haven't seen him in a while, but he's perfect. I haven't been quite so smitten with a baby other than my brother and my nephew.

Today is my nephew's fourth birthday! That's him below, last year. He's magic. I miss him so much, but it's fun to talk to him on the phone. On Halloween, I sent a sugar skull and when I was talking to my sister on the phone, he hopped on the line to say, "I wanted to ask you: what is the day of the dead?" I explained, he was satisfied, and that was that. What a munchkin.

I seem to have been adopted by a stray kitty. She comes and goes, but she always shows up again, hungry and thirsty, meowing and honeydoubling, before too long. I've named her Nina von Kugel. Kugel is the German word for ball, and she likes to curl herself up into a ball, like a pillbug.

Other hopeful things are on the horizon, as well. Now I just have to get totally 100% unsick so that I can go out there and play...

Happy, happy 2009 to all!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

a very important day!

Because it's Gareth's birthday!

Let us sing to him.

Happy birthday to yoooooooouuuuuu! Happy birthday tooooooooooooo yooooouuuuu! Happy biiiiirthdaaayyy dear Geeeeeezer! Happy birthday to yooooouuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Hooray! So happy that you exist!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

overheard at naptime

The little chickadee had a hard time going to sleep today. She's a little confused about what it means to be a Big Girl... she's two and a half and just finished potty training, and this is what I heard coming from her room when she was supposed to be sleeping:

(Be sure to imagine a very sleepy, whiny voice when you read the following statements.)

"But it's better to pway at naptime. I can't sweep because I'm a teeeeenager and I don't take naps."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

it's official

I really live here now! I had people over for dinner and we actually sat at a table while we ate. That wasn't an option in my old apartment, and this change makes me very happy.

We all know that the imminent arrival of company is one of the surest ways to get the homestead in order, and that's what it took for me to finish moving in. I wanted to finish, but it just wasn't too pressing until this weekend, which is half of why I invited people over. Or a third of why.

One third motivation; one third that I CAN now; one third Thank You Dinner for the folks that helped me move. It's a good thing I only had three significant helpers, because we were packed in like sardines. My table isn't quite meant for dining, and two of the chairs had to be wiped down and brought in from the patio. Swanky.

We had odd-shaped, tri-color pasta with the best pesto in the world, yummy salad with herbs and my unmeasured, never-exactly-the-same-as-last-time balsamic vinaigrette, and these tomatoes, sort of. I'm a little bit bad about following recipes sometimes, but I don't know that that was the problem here. They were ok, but they didn't turn out as amazingly as I was expecting them to.

For dessert, we had this fondue, which was so good that I now have a sugar headache. We dipped graham crackers, marshmallows, apples, and bananas into it. By golly, the bananas were the best.

And as you can see, I have been using my crock pot a good bit since I kicked things off last week with that soup. I got the soup recipe from the same blog, and I was right! It totally needed more fish sauce. And I probably should have heeded her advice and added some coconut extract, but I was cheap.

The last thing I made this week was apple butter! Oh fer YUM. I want to eat it with a spoon. Again, the crock pot was used, and the recipe came from the Crock Pot Goddess. I'm learning to listen to her wisdom, and I did indeed use less sugar, and it's still extremely sweet. I used apples from my mama's tree, and I think I still have enough for another batch. You want some? I'm serious. You can have some.

The last news before I konk out is this: I have been offered the new nanny position. I am thrilled. Not thrilled about the reality of what this means for my current family- we'll have a gentle, gradual transition over a two-month period, but it will be sad to leave- but I'm thrilled about having a full-time position, thrilled to know that I can afford my life.

Now I must sleep off all of that chocolateymarshmallowey delight. I'ma have a hangover tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

open letter

Dear NaBloPoMo,

I quit.

Sincerely, Anna

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the baby and the bathwater

I found my framed copy of this photo in an old box tonight. It's one of my favorites, and one that my nephew will be mortified by in about ten years.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

boxes of love

One of the many lovely things about moving into a larger place is that I'm unpacking things I haven't seen in almost three years. I've been such a mush today, heartily greeting all kinds of little friends as I unwrap them. Some of the best ever ever ever are these:
Handmade for me by my parents decades ago. The bunny is made up of felted wool patchwork and has pink satin-lined pocket ears and a heart on its butt. See?

This is Nemo. Do you know him? These days children think that Nemo is a clown fish, but really he's this guy right here. He's a kid who has wild adventures in his dreams and falls out of bed every night. True to form, my mama gave him a heart pocket.
The babushka puppet probably had an actual name, but I'm sorry to say that I didn't appreciate her then as much as I do now, and I don't remember what she's really called.

My papa (I call my dad 'Papa') made the little bear. It's modeled from a Steiff bear, I'm sure, but it has a metal rod inside that lets you control the head through the tail. It's the YesNoBear, but we always just called it the NoBear, because it's easier to make it shake its head than nod. We'd ask it questions and have very brief conversations together.

The next Extra Super Love-full item is this:
My little brother (who was born when I was 17 and my mom was 46) dictated this message for the tag on his Christmas gift to me several years ago. Inside the box was a little raku pinch pot that he made at school, along with one of his beloved D&D minis.

Can you imagine the swooning when I found this today? Thank you for all your loving joy towards me...?! It's too much! He is too much! (He's 15 now, and the overwhelming LOVE just kills me every time I see him. Cutest boy in town, and still the sweetest.)

And here are some little fellows who are just so charming that I was forced to include them. After those years spent in a box, they deserve a little public adoration.
I wonder what I'll find tomorrow...


I wrote a very lovey post. It took me a while to get the pictures and text lined up correctly. And now instead of Warm and Fuzzy I am feeling Very Unloving towards blogger. It is being excruciatingly dumb.

ETA: only moments later... I was magically able to post the post!

So the moral of the story, boys and girls, is that you will get what you want if you pout and complain!

Friday, November 7, 2008

photo log

Wednesday morning, everything glowed. I was glowing, the sun was glowing, the trees were glowing. The whole world was lighter and brighter.

We celebrated by making pumpkin muffins.While the muffins cooled, the girls gave me a fabulous hair do.
And then we made clothespin dolls.
Today was nice, too. I used my crockpot for the first time.
And then I went to the first craft night of the season at my lovely friend Martha's house. I have missed her So Very Much. Look at what she's doing to her old corduroy couch:Isn't it fantastic? She's had this couch for ever, and decided that the best thing to do was to love it up with patchwork. I sat on it. And I'd show you what I was working on while I sat there, but I can't. Because it's a gift for a person who looks at this blog. I'll show you once it's been gifted and we can oooh and aaahhhhhh.

I came home and my apartment (the new one that I'm starting to fall in love with) smelled a little bit good. Not as good as I'd dreamed, but sort of yummy and Thai. Sadly, the much-anticipated soup was rather bland. Needs more fish sauce probably.

And now I'm really going to bed!

(Hey, does this count as my post for day seven? Even though it's really not? Surely it could...)