Sunday, January 31, 2010

sweet snow

we were hit with another snow storm this past weekend. it seems that people were better prepared this time around, and it helped that the storm didn't coincide with friday rush hour. it certainly wasn't as severe as the last, but 10+ inches is no small matter for this area. i'm grateful that our electricity didn't fail.

so we spent our weekend housebound, with forays outside for sledding and shoveling.

i stayed inside with tristan, who has a cold. he appreciated the glinting white blanket from one side of the sliding glass doors.

snow seems to bring out the sweet tooth. another loaf of monkey bread was prepared and consumed with a variety of warm beverages.

today tashi and her friend rachel came inside from an afternoon of sledding and were greeted with warm pumpkin muffins.

and then there was the snow cream, which i first read about in this cozy blog.

tashi and i agreed that it was the best vanilla ice cream we'd ever had.

and so it was a good weekend of warm fires, seasonal play, delicious food and music, sweet music. . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010

thing thursday: the music in my life

tashi, not quite two, at the berkeley marina

when tashi was tristan's age i used to take her to a music circle. we would sing songs, move around, experiment with a variety of musical instruments. we used to walk to the playground daily, visit the baby gym, attend mother/baby yoga classes and take regular hikes in the berkeley hills.

tashi on a beach off of highway 1 in california

we would visit the beach where we could listen to the crash of the waves and feel the sand trickle between our fingers. we attended la leche league meetings and met with moms' groups. we drove up and down the coast and into the sierras.

tashi and i in the sierras on january 1, 2000

tristan's babyhood has been a bit more solitary and sedentary. home alone together, we sit about and explore toys and books, we go on the same walk when the weather permits, we move from room to room, find distractions so i can accomplish my work. we pick up tashi from school and often stop at the grocery store on the way home.

when spring arrives, we'll sit on the porch swing, dig in the dirt, take hikes in the blue ridge. and as spring progresses, my little boy will start to run away from me, rather than toward me.

today as we explored our music basket that contains things tashi played with as a wee bairn, and this week as i gazed upon the many photos of a baby tashi that my mother has uploaded to flickr, i found myself reflecting on the difference between now and then. one experience is not better than the other. both have had qualities magical and precious. and each child has brought me a joy beyond any description.

but when i look at these pictures of tashi, i am reminded of how quickly the time goes, how soon it really is that the babe transforms into the individual striving for independence. it is a great adventure, the greatest really.

an almost one year old tashi

these moments of reflection are so very important. i am reminded of the value of the now. however insignificant, the now becomes the crystal i will pull from my pocket in the future, and gaze into remembering what really has made my life worth while.

work wednesday




Monday, January 25, 2010

homemade monday and etc.

it was a fine weekend of hanging out with the family, eating quinoa chili, watching u.s. ice skating championships (meryl davis and charlie white are a magical act) and playing a game or two or three.

as the temperatures reached a spring like warmth, we decided to scrub down tashi's 11 year old tough traveler and take tristan for hike. this baby carrier has been to the himalayas and back and has weathered many a rugged trail in northern california. tristan was psyched to be outside in the big kid backpack.

and we also were grateful for the mild weather.

and finally, i squeezed in a little sewing time to make yet another blanket. i've had the owl fabric for a while and was undecided on whether to back it with a remnant of this super-soft fleecy green (to match minimal amounts of green in the little leaves). but i decided to do it.

i think it turned out pretty well and will probably add it to tristan's birthday stash, to be revealed to him in just two short months.

i really can't believe how quickly the time slips by. . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

self portrait: tuesday

it was wonderful to take a walk with tristan today. it was mild & sunny, a welcome change to the freezing temperatures we have had around here recently. it was also very blustery!

Monday, January 18, 2010

mmmmmmonkey bread!

it turned out! i placed the rising dough closer to the preheating oven and that seemed to have helped. i wasn't convinced that it had risen as much as it should when i decided to bake it, but the end result was moist & tasty! pure bliss, really.

i pretty much followed the martha recipe exactly, except that i used butter instead of shortening and i halved the amount of powdered sugar frosting. we were eager to try it, so i poured the frosting on while the bread was still pretty warm, affecting aesthetic but not flavor.

i'm pretty sure we'll be baking this again. and again!

homemade monday: a little bit of this & that

my life has been such lately that both content and time are lacking.

mean while, make sure to keep up with my remarkable brother-in-law's exotic adventures (sometimes not for the faint of heart) as he takes on the position of program manager at a community radio station in dharamsala, india.

i was hoping to do a lot more sewing this long weekend, but tristan's naps have not been entirely agreeable. also, i discovered that the sound of the sewing machine makes him wail. thus i can't churn away while he sits contentedly close by, amused by fine objects.

following the directions in handmade home, i came up with this little sweater hat:

i used a shrunken navy blue wool cardigan that my mother sent me for the purpose of repurposing. she also sent me some old buttons, including the duck, which i attached to a piece of red wool felt. i used the infant toddler/template, but the hat turned out too small for my bruiser. i'm fine with that, as there are currently a few special newborns in my community.

another tiny experiment was sewing this patch over a giant hole on a favorite pair of tashi's corduroys. the applique is from an old shirt of tashi's. the sewing is rather sloppy, because, i discovered, it is rather challenging to machine sew four sides of a large patch when working within a narrow pant leg.

as i type this, we are waiting. and waiting. for the monkey bread to rise. it's our first time making it, and as is often the case, i am being challenged by yeast. i have it near the warm oven currently, and that seems to be helping.

we decided to make the rolling of the dough balls into an early imbolc ritual, thinking about that which we hope to manifest in the coming year. hopefully it will turn out nicely, and not rock hard! stay tuned for results!

and if you like old photos, check out my mother's flickr site, particularly the old black and white images of ancestry and her childhood in cyprus. there are so very many amazing sets to check out. she has been working incredibly hard at scanning all of her old photos and archiving them on flickr.

(that's me)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

insomnia soliloquy

it was already very late and just as i was drifting into sleep, i heard one of our cats crying in distress. i pulled myself out of bed to see what was the matter. apparently it was nothing, as she stopped as soon as i saw her. she proceeded to follow me up the stairs and jump into bed with me, purring and pacing on top of my legs.

then my nose started to bleed.

then the baby woke up wanting to nurse.

the cat had settled and so had the baby, but i was filled with that jittery insomnia feeling. so here i am, drinking tea, blogging to ease my mind, and trying not to stress over the fact that in less than four hours the alarm goes off and i have to prepare for the work day in which baby comes into the office with me.

i have been rather neglectful of the blog, of most creative endeavors, of house work, reading and exercise.

handmade is on my mind. the next thing i want to make is a hat from an old sweater. a few hats, perhaps. and i want to make some more baby trousers from old shirts. and perhaps another lap quilt, for tristan's first birthday. yes, he will be one in just two and a half months. ** sigh **

and have i mentioned, the boy has teeth. do you see three of them in the photo below?

tristan is also exploring the the capability of his hands to pull, poke and pinch. he thinks my face is a great excavation site.

hopefully soon there will be a little more creativity radiating from ye old blog. but currently, i think the winter blues have set in.

right now the problem at hand is my sleeplessness. i will crawl under the covers and dream of dreams.

Friday, January 08, 2010

free form friday, in which i eat too much caramel corn

today tashi's class celebrated her birthday. i was asked to prepare a snack and received a very enthusiastic response from tashi when i suggested caramel corn. it was my first time making the stuff. the first batch was created with this recipe. the second batch i made using dan's family cookbook. the main differences between the two are that one recipe calls for vanilla while the other doesn't, one recipe calls for baking soda while the other calls for cream of tartar, and one recipe has some water added in while the other doesn't. both were delicious and even better mixed together.

the problem now is that i can't stop eating the stuff. and tristan is envious.

may your weekend be sweet!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

thing thursday

thing #1. this elf pulling a cabbage cart that i found at the thrift store. i can't resist a good elf.

thing #2. a charming rooster dish, also thrifted. i love the colors.

thing #3 and thing #4. these paintings. they are by my departed uncle, lonia efthyvoulou. he made beautiful paintings of the countryside, coastline and architecture of cyprus. he gave me a few small paintings one summer when we visited cyprus a few years ago, and i finally put them into some floating frames, to at least protect them and get them on the wall. one of these days i'll have them properly framed, but for now, i think this works nicely.

and another painting by lonia would make thing #5. i sure do miss the sea, especially at this time of year.

thing #6 is a nine month old baby who is crossing all sorts of developmental thresholds. we've decided that he can most definitely say, "cat!" he also says "dada" and "mama" and the many variations there in. last night he was talking in his sleep and he very clearly said, "dad!" but when distressed, it's "mum!" that he wants. "dada" also seems to mean "cool," or "right on." and i'm pretty sure "dat" means "that." on other fronts, he cut five teeth in a week. he's been handling it quite well, considering. and recently he has started leafing through his board books, rather than bringing them straight to his mouth.

that's our boy! taking after his sister, of course.

work wednesday

it's back to the routine. . .


the enduring mounds of icy, dirty, snow continue to make travel slightly tricky


he doesn't do a lot of this while in my workplace, but a little is better than none at all


reboot. it's not like the work ends when i leave my office.