Tuesday, May 27, 2008

rag doll day

the last couple of days have been a bit swampy. by that i mean, we've done very little but loll about in our humid house not feeling so swell. tashi has had a stomach bug since sunday. i kept her home today for safe keeping. she seemed fine by the end of the day but now i'm feeling on the edge of something. this bug has been taking down just about everyone in her classroom, parents included.

something i did accomplish today is finally completing a dress for tashi's little rag doll. would you believe that tashi got this little rag doll kit for christmas. oh but not the most recent christmas. yea, the second most recent christmas. i thought it would be something tashi could make, but she didn't feel very good about the idea. so i finally sewed up the doll, oh, maybe last summer? but the dress. oh the dress. i saw that the dress was to gather at the waist and thought that an impossible task. i gave up on the idea immediately and tashi dressed the poor thing in groovy girl clothes for a year.

well tomorrow tashi's class is having a "colonial trip" to ashlawn highland, home of former president, james monroe (sculpted above). the kids are going to wear simple colonial style clothes, eat simple colonial style food, play colonial games and do colonial crafts. tashi asked today if she could bring along her rag doll, in its proper dress, because after all, it looks kinda colonial. i shuddered at the thought of somehow making the skirt of the dress "gather". i picked up the directions and read the mysterious lines about making a basting stitch and pulling the string. and so i did it. omg, this is what i had been avoiding for over a year???? it was nothing but the simplest of stitches, the pull of a string, and like magic, the fabric gathers. can i just say, duh? oh, and the apron. it's my first ever. had to gather that too.

so now tashi is set with colonial doll for a colonial trip. and i've had one more sewing mystery demystified. not such a swampy day after all.

(tashi requested that we leave the doll's face blank)

dan and i are going to be chaperones on the colonial trip, along with some other parents. there will be camping in tents on the ashlawn grounds. this will be our first camp out of the season! yea, with 16 fourth graders. and peacocks. there are some big peacocks at ashlawn highland.

it was mating season when tashi and i went last summer.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

am i quirky?

i've been tagged by patrice of making peace. the object is to list six of my quirks. i added another part to it, asking my husband what he finds quirky about me. so here are the results of both:

dan's version, mostly direct quotes

1. you like junky things instead of new shiny stuff. you like rusty nails and things.
2. you prioritize documenting an event over participating in it
3. you have an inexplicable lack of interest in pizza
4. you'll cry at the drop of a hat when watching movies
5. you have an insatiable desire for backrubs
6. you obsess over choices, whether it is a grocery item, dvd to rent or outfit to wear when going somewhere special

my version

1. i like purr therapy. when i have cramps, a stomach ache or a back ache, i love my cats to sit on the troubled area and purr.
2. leaving the house without wearing earrings is like, what for some women, would be like leaving the house without wearing make up
3. i love having my hair played with, but don't like it when someone taps me on the head or, if wearing a bun, when someone (tashi) comes and wiggles it
4. i'm phobic about driving on highways. i'm fine once on them, but i will lose a whole night of sleep anticipating a road trip.
5. i'm not a huge fan of ice cream
6. i love outrageous clothes -- vintage or otherwise -- but don't like bringing attention to myself. so even if i own some some wild outfits, i rarely work up the nerve to wear them in public.

here are the rules:

* Link the person who tagged you
* Mention the rules in your blog
* Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours
* Tag a new set of six following bloggers by linking them

and i added this:

* have a partner, friend or child tell you six of your quirks as well, and list them.

and here are six bloggers i tag. play only if you feel like it!

mommy moshpit
another passport stamp
fatuous observations
north node astrology

and as a bonus, i tag my daughter

picture fun by picnik

domestic bliss

so far it has been a fine weekend. enough indoor, outdoor, family and alone time for a perfect balance. it started off with a friday dinner on the deck (brats, homefries, salad, guacamole, chips). it is hard to believe that we have not yet had a meal on the deck this season, but we finally launched ourselves outwards, and enjoyed eating amongst leaf song and squirrel chatter.

emma bean joined us as well. tashi has had emma bean since she was four. we found her in a thrift store, after reading this very lovely story.

on saturday morning i arose and walked to the farmer's market. once again, i am trying to incorporate regular walks into my week. its immediate affects on my mental and physical well being are extremely positive. there are many interesting things to gaze upon while walking to the farmer's market, not the least of which is the mosaic on 5th street.

flowers spilling from gardens. . .

and tires tied to a fence. . .

the crowded farmer's market is a welcome site. i just wish it was located under cover, because in the blazing heat of high summer it can sometimes be intolerable.

but i love the mint ice tea, the organic greens, the juicy english cucumbers and bright red tomatoes, the colorful aisles of seasonal produce, the occasional fresh donut, and currently, strawberries. oh delightful strawberries.

in the middle of the day tashi had a baseball game.

and in the late afternoon i finally cleared my little plot-in-the-works. i raked the thick piles of leaves off, the cardboard had disintegrated, the grass was gone and i was left with a nice strip of soil in which to plant my future cottage garden. sheet mulching works!

surely i should have cleared this off much earlier in the season. seedlings should have been started and planted by now. but i've been battling with a rather irritating case of low-energy. it wasn't until yesterday that i finally got to work. i will probably turn and break up the soil some more, add some compost, purchase some flowering plants from the store that are well on their way, nestle them in, and see how it goes. i'm pretty much winging it, as i tend to do. any advice would be appreciated! my goal is to have thick strip of tall mixed flowers: foxglove, echinacea, shasta daisies, fennel, snap dragons, etc. a lovely colorful border to our yard.

for dinner, i came upon a quick and easy recipe from real simple magazine: baked rice and chicken. you basically mix in a big bowl: rice, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, orange juice, onions, parsley (we had no parsley so i used swiss chard), cumin, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. pour into a baking dish. nestle in some chicken breasts (i had some organic chicken strips, which worked out fine). and bake for 35 minutes. easy and very delicious. i don't think the photo does it justice, but you get the idea.

after dinner we watched the emma thompson version of sense and sensibility with tashi. i enjoyed that film when i first saw it, and it was my introduction to the lovely kate winslet. but i think i prefer the recent masterpiece theater version. i'm still reading the book by the way. it's a book i read before bed, meaning, i fall asleep about two paragraphs in and never get anywhere with it.

talk about falling asleep, you probably have done just that with this post. do have a good day. or a good nap.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

wordsy thursday

sorry for the lack in posts. it's been a busy, sleepy week.

on full moon monday i assisted as doula in an amazing natural childbirth. it was such an honor to be there to witness the strength of the laboring mama as she sounded, danced, breathed and floated through her contractions and then pushed with pure womanly power until her beautiful wee child slid into the world. i have never before had a job that promotes such feelings of awe, joy and deep respect. i feel so fortunate and rewarded each time i fill the special role of doula in the childbearing process and i thank the goddess for leading me to this work.

i didn't get home until 5:30am the next day, so tuesday is a bit of a blur.

last night dan and i watched sideways for the first time. it made me want to incorporate the word quaffable into my vocabulary.

yesterday and today i spent the mornings watching tashi's class play, the death of baldur, a norse tale. so lovely, set in a grove at the back of the school yard. a few committed parents cleared it of tall weeds, poison ivy and debris. the kids sang and danced and projected poetic lines. quite entertaining indeed. tashi played the goddess freya. here she is with dan, who is giving her a high five.

thanks to tifanie for leading me to this site where you can round the edges of your photos and do other fun things. this particular blogger template adds the thin border to the photos, which i like for sharp angles, but interferes with the rounded affect.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

suitcase poem XV

ripples radiate from sunk moment
she snatches tumbled lens each shower
a quivering instance breaks levy
what hadn’t now scours what had

old snaps undo luminous garment
sudden locket confirms theory
burnt edges of sepia episode
crumble in bejeweled clutch

a powder tin too late
cracked up bolted chamber
a backward glance too old
she ponders rearview mist

Friday, May 16, 2008

thrift thursday (a day late)

yesterday i stopped by the spca thrift store which definitely is in the lead for kitschy finds. it is fun but a little sad to see the cats when you first enter the store. they are in cages, but a happy thought is that they are set free to roam the store at closing time.

i scored four vintage atomic snowflake bowls. i'm a sucker for the 50's atomic patterns.

and these cute cups. i like how they stack.

a whole bunch of wrapping paper for a buck, this being the nicest of the lot.

and a needlepoint kit, 100% linen placemats & napkins.

there were four of these in the store, unopened. the little black & gold sticker makes me think they are vintage, but perhaps that is a faulty premise. i think kits like these are a little funny, but why not!

update: i googled Lansburgh's, the name of the store on the price tag of the needlwork kit, and it is a long defunct family owned department store that was in washington, dc. so the kit is indeed an oldie.

suitcase poem XIV

tucked inside tapestry
taken by giddy transgressions
strange slapdashery

surprised witness
offers sober assistance
uncorks silent vapor

to study composure
a settled intelligence
dignity of gingerly

perfumed fanfare
blends simplicity with exotic preference
removes plumes and precious stones

Thursday, May 15, 2008

angel brew

last night i went to magical molly's house and -- is if a transit reading wasn't enough -- she gave me a couple of angelica stalks from her herbal garden. angelica was my first email name. it was a card i picked randomly from the herbal tarot leading to many years of angelica@cyborganic.com. here are the stalks next to the broom dan and i jumped over at our wedding.

molly also gave me a recipe for a cordial, which tashi and i set up tonight. tashi helped to cut the stalks and was very happy about it indeed. she has been playing endlessly with onion grass in the yard, so i think enjoyed a new plant to tinker with.

look at this funky vein we found in one of the stalks.

so tashi and i half filled a too large jar with stalks and then poured the brandy in. it will sit for a month before we decant it. angelica is particularly good for digestion. i could have used some tonight, after eating lentils for dinner.

herbal friends in the audience, does it matter that the jar is not full? will the oxygen in the jar cause some sort of wrong reaction? does it look like there is too much brandy? i didn't really follow the measurements in the recipe, which called for 10oz angelica stalk and 20oz brandy. i just winged it, like an angel!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

may be

while dan was in another country with my camera, i was not able to post a photo of this marvelous shroom tray i found for a buck at the thrift store. i think it's marvelous anyway!

also while dan was away, our lawn grew knee high. our mower is way too heavy for me to haul out of our root cellar. not only that but, it intimidates me. so our lawn grew and grew, and once dan returned, it rained and rained so the lawn was too wet to mow. finally last night it seemed dry enough, so he mowed it down. the front lawn anyway. we kinda like it long with all the wildflowers and plantain, so we left the back lawn as is. it's more like a back meadow.

tashi loved having a long lawn and she was carving out little spaces in it. she also created this cute grass hut for the fairies.

and quite the delicious looking feast.

i made sure to gather up some of the plantain before it was mowed down. i should have made salve, but instead i made plantain ice cubes. first i made an infusion by soaking the chopped up leaves in hot water for 24 hours. then i strained the liquid. then i froze it in ice cube trays. plantain ice cubes are particularly soothing when rubbed on poison ivy. first there is the cold, which numbs the itch. and then there is the soothing plantain, good for the skin. it also cools the sun burn, or any rash. alternately, you can drop some plantain ice cubes into water or tea; it will cool your drink and infuse it with minerals. does anyone know about nature's band aid? got a mosquito bite? pick a plantain leaf, chew it a bit, and then place the masticated blob on your itchy. aaaaa, so soothing. plantain is good green friend. salve is probably best. but when you don't have time to make salve, plantain ice cubes are pretty cool.

two kinds of common plantain

the other day was mayfair at tashi's school. i was a tarot card/animal oracle reader and it was really fun. child after child was finding a familiar in the animal oracle. the earth dragon came up over and over again. all those earthy waldorf kids! and i did a few miraculous three card tarot readings for adults. it was very inspiring and i'm thinking about going into business (i once was in business doing tarot readings, but a busy life took me elsewhere for a while).

tashi's class did the maypole dance. it was really great! take a looksee!

happy may to you all. may your life make a pretty weave.

Monday, May 12, 2008

suitcase poem XIII

thrum in loft
bells command attention
she returns stern glance
sharp judgment slices passage
inner sanctum holds pliable matter
to spear a wavering possibility
pound shape from vapor
severity rises in vaulted chamber
brings warmth to stone walls

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

suitcase poem XII

cool attraction
scent of moist soil
where sipping espresso
leaf song

language of bark
clip clop on cobbles
conversation alights on ledge
shaking twigs from tresses

vast upper bower
candlelight against white wall
stories caught in folds of curtain
sealed landscape

byway for delivery
what footprints
an intended exchange
eyes lock across aisle

Monday, May 05, 2008

pow! goes the ivy

when dan arrives home from work, tashi exclaims "pow!" as soon as he walks through the door. he yells back, "you got me!"

this has become tradition.

pow being a play on pa, you see.

so when i was trying to think of some way i could surprise dan on his return from india, i decided to make him a pow garland. it is a challenge, coming up with something handmade for a man, especially when you have not yet dared sew or knit clothing or bags. so the pow garland will have to do. it is actually very satisfying making your own cloth garland. oh the possibilities. the instructions are in amanda soule's, the creative family.

today, after the first poison ivy tracks of the season appeared on my inner arm, i went out there like a savage and lobbed a fraction of the beasties down. there are knee high stands of poison ivy along the edges of our yard. i felt like poison ivy dust motes were flying all around me and entering my orifices. now i am afraid my throat will close and i will die in my sleep. or i will wake up blind.