Saturday, January 31, 2009


today i took a look around me and saw a handful of great things that had come our way over the holidays. swell gifts, scattered about our home. i realized i hadn't really indulged in a show & tell. feeling in the mood to photograph objects, what with all the great light pouring in, i thought i'd share a few items in my immediate vicinity.

all this started whilst i was enjoying one of these mint malted milk balls from my mother-in-law. she had given some to tashi at halloween, and i clearly fell in love with them. so she gifted me with a bag full at christmas. i have been savoring them. but today i had at least four!!!

another great gift from nanna, this one for tashi, though we all get the benefit of enjoying it, a birdhouse in which she woodburned her own design. isn't it precious? we are waiting for drier days before we put it outside.

bananagrams is a game i have mentioned once or twice, another present for tashi from her aunt laurie. dan and i are addicted to it and seem to play a few rounds of it every night. it is like scrabble, but without the confines.

my mom gave me this nice book by annie liebovits in which she reflects on her career as a photographer. there are some great shots in it, including some classic rock star photos.

like this of one of my favorite rock divas, patti smith.

so much thoughtfulness from our families. and that is just a tiny taste of their generosities. thank you.

Friday, January 30, 2009

killing time with tea

two posts in one day might indicate that i'm killing time. tashi has an unexpected sleep over (after hanging out with her friend for the day), which means dan and i get to have an unexpected date. since i'm downtown already, it's hard to resist the option of seeing a film in an actual cinema, something i haven't done in ages. it looks like slumdog millionaire wins.

but dan is presently at a lecture, so i'm killing time drinking "femme tea" at twisted branch, before possibly indulging in some sort of dinner. i thought i would take this opportunity with photo booth to show you the lovely necklace my friend laura made for me. unfortunately photo booth doesn't do it justice.

it is the necklace with four little green leaves and a funky little centerpiece, in copper browns and lime greens. i am wearing a second necklace, just a strand of beads that are an uncanny match in color. thank you laura, for the handmade love.

and so i will sign off now, and take in the twisted branch atmosphere, a softly lit lair of leafy teas, fruity hookahs and vegetarian delights.

pop music

i feel particularly cumbersome in my pregnancy today. i'm sort of amazed that i have three months ahead of me. sometimes, i really feel as if i'm going to pop! i was telling dan about this sensation, and then got this song stuck in my head. now it's your turn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

morning peace

tashi and i are having an excessively lazy day, still in our pj's as noon approaches, enjoying the sun pouring through the windows. we started off our day with oven pancakes and smoothies and have a few ideas for the afternoon: a walk along the creek, a craft project and perhaps some entertainment that just arrived from netflix.

tashi has been writing a book about the weirdimals, a variety of animals that mostly her dad has made up (billy the buffalo, the little red elephant, eric the bear, and many others), though i have added in one isabella dolphin. in the above photo she is obsessively writing on top of her breakfast dish.

she also gave me an early valentine!

above is my sweet childhood bear, wrapped in the new blanket i made for tashi. she has asked me repeatedly what i named the bear, but i can't for the life of me remember. really, i don't think it ever had a name. i didn't make a point of naming all my stuffed animals like she does, and really only remember one name, felos -- which means friend in greek -- the frog. i used to take him to swim meets and he eventually disintegrated from all the chlorine.

not only has she has given my childhood bear a new life, she has named him bruno.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

peacenik blankie

what started out as a two hour delay has now turned into another snow day. there is no school tomorrow and friday due to parent-teacher conferences. so tashi is having a surprise one day school week. nutty.

she will have to come to work with me today though.

in the mean time, i took advantage of the supposed delay this morning and finished her blanket. perhaps i will do another one and make it two or three times bigger. in the mean time, this is her doll blanket or shawl or -- if she chooses -- she can wrap her baby brother in it, a little girlie though it is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

slush day

today was a snow day, or slush day i prefer to say. i had an appointment this morning, and after much indecisiveness, decided to dare the wintry mix. the first mile from my home was the worst, and the rest was just slush. again, the frenzy of closings brings a giggle to the part of me that lived through many a winter in bradford, pa, buffalo, ny, and ann arbor, mi.

but alas, what's not to love about a slush day?

there is the bit of snow that we've been yearning for:

snowballs hurled against windows and wee snow men built on the deck rail:

hot chocolate and catching up on magazines:

a cozy fire:

and finally, some sewing. tashi started working on a girl companion for her stuffed monster, fuzzawumble. i pulled out bend the rules, and started another baby blanket:

this blanket is for tashi, as she has wanted one since i started making them. i didn't sew when she was a baby, so i suppose this might fill an empty spot for her. i'll show you when it's done, but suffice it to say, i forgot how to sew a little. believe it or not, i didn't sew all summer or autumn, what with the heat, and the move, the nerve wracking first and second trimesters, and the holiday road trip. . . alas, it is about time.

the next blanket will be for baby boy, who is filling me up so much, i feel as if i might pop! wouldn't that be unfortunate!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

inaugural reflections

even though i have been expressing some concerns over obama's cabinet choices, and his stance on gaza and afghanistan, not much could cast a shadow over the ushering in of a new administration after eight dark years under the shrub. i can't imagine what the day would have been like had the man taking oath been mccain, accompanied by his trophy vice-president, palin.

the overriding feeling was one of relief. there were so many great moments: aretha, the delightful rendition of simple gifts, obama's knowing smile when the chief justice flubbed the words of the oath, and revrend lowery's benediction, to name a few.

i enjoyed obama's somber speech, which certainly paid tribute to the historical significance of being the first african american to become president, and which only mentioned the word terror once. i think he did a great job of poking bush in the eye, over and over again. while i wish he would have included buddhism and paganism in his list of religions, i appreciated that he mentioned without judgment non-believers in the same breath as christians, muslims, hindus and jews.

we had a festive inaugural dinner with friends. chili, cornbread, salad, followed by brownies and an amazing lemon bundt cake.

my hope remains, as does my caution. we shall see how things unfold, and at least rest knowing that perhaps government will be more transparent and less corrupt. praise be to our first african american president. this event cannot erase the chapters of racism writ in the book of america's history, but it does signify a huge step toward healing, a turning point to be sure.

Monday, January 19, 2009


we are having a peaceful, quiet MLK day, waiting and hoping for snow, which is seeming less and less likely. tashi and dan are outside raking leaves at this time, as i am enjoying light spill and stillness in our living room.

yesterday dan and i took a walk and had quite the session communing with some nearby farm animals. two horses, three goats and a llama all trotted over to greet us by a fence. i immediatly developed a special connection with one of the horses, a gorgeous lady with rust, black and a wee bit of white coloring. she came right over and nuzzled against me, the first time i'd ever experienced such affection from a horse. she touched my belly with her snout, and we were quite certain she was aware of the baby within me. and then we noticed she was missing an eye. her left socket was empty. this made her all the more mysterious and psychic. i can't wait to visit her again.

this mirthful little fellow stood apart from the others and seemed to be quietly laughing the whole time.

we also saw several vultures roosting in a tree and taking turns flying off in a variety of directions. they were massive and with incredible coloring in their wings. as we were gazing at the vultures, a falcon whizzed past us. oh how i love it here!

and then a subtle but incredible sunset.

life is good, and i am 26 weeks pregant!

Friday, January 16, 2009

an indoor kind of day

we're experiencing a cold snap here in virginia, with the temp expected to drop to 4 degrees tonight. in the three plus years that i've lived here, i don't think it's ever been quite this cold. unfortunately there is no snow to soften the chill, but there is a raging fire in our little wood burning stove.

today was a day of more sorting through tashi's old things. there are a few items i can't part with, and hope to pass on to tashi someday, should she plan to have children (well, even if she doesn't). i washed a load of these things, and turned everything pink by including a bright red garment in the bunch. i thought everything had been washed so often that there was no more bleeding to be had. ah well.

and then i shrunk my sling. i used a new native sling with tashi, made of nice organic cotton. apparently i always air dried it.

i did have a small success amongst it all, and that was in baking the amish friendship bread. i was given some starter and a recipe by a co-worker. the starter sits around for ten days in a ziploc bag, and each day you moosh it a little. somewhere in the middle of it all you add more flour, sugar and milk. it ferments and bubbles and makes a stink. and then on day ten you add some ingredients, pull out four cups for starters to pass to friends, add more ingredients to what's left, and proceed to bake the bread.

it's very tasty. and very sweet. with a wee bit of sour in there from the starter. i ate entirely too much of it. and will certainly be a repeat offender.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

sorting instict

large chunks of the last few days have been spent sorting through tashi's old clothes. i have big blue bins full of her clothes from newborn through second grade. i decided to dive in, and start pulling out all the gender neutral items. there was high gender neutral success until about 12 months. after that, serious girlie time.

so i'm setting things aside for a few local friends that have wee girls, and i am washing and washing and washing because the stuff smells musty. some of the items lived in a california storage cell for a year, then a damp ann arbor basement, then an equally damp charlottesville root cellar, and now our garage. but there are no signs of mold or mildew, and it seems that smell washes away with each load.

there is some nostalgia of course, weeding through so many precious garments that have adorned tashi through the years. i have a bag of things i just can't part with. and i'm probably only half way through the bins. there are a few toys hidden between layers of clothing. what a joy to imagine my own child's small hands at this again.

funny to think that i once dressed tashi in a king's suit.

and i am falling apart over this striped mousie suit. i'm so glad it's a keeper.

perhaps this is why i'm not drinking enough water?

i just can't keep that loki away from my glass, and each time, have to dump it out and start over with a new glass. toxoplasmosis anyone? didn't think so. . .

Thursday, January 08, 2009

morning tour

it is a lovely sunny breezy day, after an extended period of grey rain. tashi arose this morning with glassy eyes and a sore throat, so after getting dressed, she tore her socks off and crawled back into bed. she is bored, and through that boredom, reading voraciously and creating incredibly detailed drawings.

for lack of anything interesting to share, how about some snippets from around the house.

this is tashi's new bean bag chair and rug. the rug is from pottery barn kids, via ebay.

yia yia gave this fairy mobile to tashi a few years ago. it's always needed a window to hang in. in the other window is a moon, star, fairy sun catcher tashi's aunt barb gave her. unfortunately (or fortunately?) every window in this house has blinds. they are blinds that sit between two glass panes (or a screen and a pane, depending on the season), so they can't be lifted, just opened and closed. when they are wide open, they don't impede the view that much, but i always feel their presence, separating us from the great wilderness beyond. if i owned this house, i would probably get rid of the blinds, at least in some of the windows.

i don't think i've ever shared this lovely dolphin wall hanging tashi's aunt laurie made for her last christmas. tashi's old room was tiny and had slanty ceilings, so there was very little wall space for display. but now, the wall hanging has found a home. isn't it awesome?

this is a shelving unit in our foyer. there is actually a small desk there, which needs the perfect chair. it is a zone that begs to be cluttered. there is a glass display shelf, where many small and/or precious items have found a spot, like the shell of a horseshoe crab, a real horseshoe that we found in our old yard, odd small books, a few vintage tea cups, and many fragile items tashi has made over the years.

i turned the shelf below the glass display into our seasonal spot.

and another shelf, full of stuff. since i'm currently going through a sea green phase, i am attempting to make this a spot for blues & greens. sometimes i call this foyer zone the hall of tashi, because so many of her school photos have found a place here (there are more on a neighboring shelf).

this is a little fawn tashi found in her advent box on christmas eve.

and this, my glider chair i snapped up from freecycle a year or two ago. what a relief! this will probably be a favorite nursing spot, below a painting of tashi being nursed, gifted to me by the very talented laura paulini.

and the cats? loki is lounging next to tashi. and luna, she's hanging out on the top bunk, next to my old teddy bear.

and thus ends our small morning tour. have a warm day!