Tuesday, September 29, 2009

signs of the season

perhaps the first sign would be the blues i've been experiencing lately. as much as i love autumn, the growing darkness is not just external.

on our walk the other day, signs of the season were bountiful. walks in nature are a great way to let the light in, even if overcast.

i thought i'd share some photos. . .

self portrait: tuesday

this is old photo was taken on the rivanna trail one day in late autumn. a foreshadowing of leafless trees & days still warm enough to wear short sleeves.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

saturday round up: in which we rock

Mistle thrush, mistle thrush
Lay me down in the underbrush
My naked feet grow weary with the dusk

i purchased the crane wife by the decemberists a couple of years ago and after a listen, shelved it for quite some time. recently, knowing they were coming to charlottesville, i thought i'd give them a second chance and pulled the cd out again. i played it constantly in the car for a few days until i found myself blown away by several of the songs.

i moved on to their recent hazards of love and was immediately smitten. how can you not love a group that leads you to look up things like taiga and offa's wall and corncrake. even though the rake's song is absolutely horrifying, i do so love the big drums! even better are the voices of the ghostly children that come back to haunt the rake, and the dissonant strings that accompany them. there is the romantic lyricism, the occasional heavy metal guitar work, and the full on girrrl power coming from shara worden. and, to top it off, it's a rock opera!

dan and i agreed that attending the show at the charlottesville pavilion would be a nice way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and the kind of concert we could probably bring the kids too. and it was. fabulous.

it was great to see a stage full of odd instruments, three remarkable women in addition to the men, and to hear a sound that was in turns quiet and tumultuous. the hazards of love was pulled off in its entirety with perfection, and the second set included several great selections from previous albums and a rad cover of heart's crazy on you. colin meloy shared a pretty new song about winter in the encore, and ended it all with a sons and daughters from the crane wife, where he invited several people from the audience to join him on the stage. the show closed with the entire audience singing the line, hear all the bombs fade away.

it was good fun, for all. even tristan watched the stage with amazement, though we stayed far back on the grassy slope to protect his wee ears. tashi and her pal rachel seemed to enjoy lounging around under the concert lights, and pointing out freakish members of the audience that were having their share of fun.

the next day there was cake, to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

and today, it's tristan's six month birthday.

big landmarks, accompanied by big fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

work wednesday



(tristan wasn't very happy hanging out on his lambswool while i clacked away at the computer. until i took all his clothes off. he's one content nuddie!)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

self portrait: tuesday

morning on the porch swing with tristan, sipping coffee.

and then choking on it as i scoot to take my place before the self timer snaps the photo.

we both survived.

homemade monday: beginning a little stitching

i've been wanting to dress up some things (a onesie for tristan, a t-shirt for tashi) with some embroidery. after a consultation with dan, we decided on the tiki dude for tristan. so last night i ironed on a design from my sublime embroidery kit and began stitching.

after the homemade brownies and a spot of chai!

suitcase poem XXII

that which drapes from. aloft only. rising up to stay. sway of notion. cobbled trace makes path. strong beam anchors intention. fortified stance. reverberations build stem. flesh and phylum. bridge between odds. undoing brings about beginning. course.

Friday, September 18, 2009

free form friday: in which i welcome the fall

aaaautumn. it is whispering its way through the forest and into our home.

i feel it slipping through unsealed windows. i see it in the leaves beginning to change. i feel it like a cold hand, a warm shawl, murmurs from the grave, alchemical shifts in the fire.

it is a time of harvest stew, mugs of hearty drink and fresh baked delights.

my late august birthday is a personal shift in season. our wedding anniversary falls around equinox. it is time to face the years' renewal and to remind oneself of commitments.

there are so many things i love about autumn. it is sensory in such a different way than other seasons. spring is aural, summer is flesh. but autumn is wrapped up in the threads of memory, the urge to follow one's quest, the necessity of survival. it heightens the urge to work with yarn & fabric, pen & papyrus, a large pile of unread texts. and so i toast a steaming mug to autumn, pull my hat over my ears and hold my babies close. because the lasting warmth is that which we find in each other.

thing thursday: thrift

aside from a couple of great baby garments, my thrifting adventures brought in these odd items.

a stack of melamine plates. great for camping, me thinks.

i've been wanting a vinyl table cloth to use on occasion on our outdoor table or when we're having a rainy camping weekend (like last time). but i was hoping to find a unique one, or at least one that has a vintage quality. when i came across this i thought it pretty much fit the bill. and who could resist a table cover with a design of sewing notions! not me i guess. . .

but the plates and the table cloth together? i don't think so!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

self portrait: tuesday

it was almost 10am and i hadn't eaten a thing yet. there were two peaches beginning to round the bend toward inedibility. chai was calling. so what could be better for breakfast than a slice (or two) of ginger peach cake with my chai? tristan snuggled in the sling comfortably while i put it all together. he was asleep when it was time to slide the cake into the oven. when a warm slice was on a plate next to my full mug of chai, he was awake. i had to apologize several times to him as i consumed cake and he scrutinized it with extreme interest.

lately, when tristan is having a peaceful moment of snuggles, he sucks his thumb, and presses his opposite hand to the back of his head. such sweet tiny fleeting gestures of babyhood.

Monday, September 14, 2009

homemade monday: the five month mobile

i thought i would make this baby mobile for tristan in my last weeks of pregnancy. but then he arrived five weeks early. so instead of making a mobile in five weeks, i made it in five months.

it's not that it was particularly difficult or even time consuming. though sewing cloth yo-yo's does take some focus. at least for me it does.

i would sometimes sew five in a day. and then not touch it for five days. i would sometimes sew three in a day. and then not touch it for three weeks. i would sometimes sew just one. and then not touch it for a month. so at that pace, you can imagine why it took me as long as it did to sew 48 yo-yo's.

but on saturday i finished the final yo-yo. and on sunday morning i assembled the whole thing.

though not captured on camera, tristan has gazed at it with unprecedented pleasure. and tashi seems to think it's pretty cool too. there is nothing more rewarding.

the project is in the book, sweet booties. now to move onto the next thing. will it be the soft rattle? or the soft blocks? or the quilted bib? or. . .

suitcase poem XXI

trying to push off resisting object. smothered by mumblings. calculations that are unequal to heart's pace. swatting at constant. opening clenched palm and watching several crescent moons fade. one glowing embrace pads brittle day. sitting moments force exfoliation. sway breaks stiff insistence. peeling back preconceptions to discover authentic grain. hot syllables fill ear. kicking away gathered uncertainties. primary focus sings.

Friday, September 11, 2009

work wednesday (a little late)

:: before::

(well, what i see as i enter my office: a piece tashi made when she was in 2nd grade)



(we hung out at rachel's house until her mom came home from work)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

self portrait: tuesday

not that i think this a particularly good portrait. but i took it yesterday on a really nice labor day hike near white oak canyon, in the shenandoah national park. the earrings i am wearing were given to me by a college friend many years ago. i decided to wear them yesterday, and today, for the first time in at least 15 years, i heard from the friend who gave them to me!

it was a lovely hike, though, due to a late start, we didn't get as far as any of the waterfalls. but the trees spoke to us, and the big rocks mumbled. the flowers nodded at us, and the fungus babbled. and at the very end of our hike, a friendly doe approached us, and then followed us down the trail for a while. tashi snapped lots of photos with the small digital camera (yet to be uploaded) and tristan was blissed out the entire time. it was a great dose of chlorophyll for all.

here are some not self portraits from our day:

tristan's favorite position

and tashi's

checking out a leaf caught in a web

flora and fauna

the doe saw us off at the end of our hike

homemade monday (on tuesday): cilantro chutney

sunday evening we had an india night. liz, ted & rachel came over to feast and watch lagaan, a bollywood film with beautiful song and dance displays, and a little more substance than your typical four hour bollywood love story.

i made biryani, which i was told by someone in-the-know, really has no rules. i also made zucchini dal, a standard in our house. our friends brought fresh samosas from the store, and paratha, which we heated up on the iron skillet. on the side there was yogurt, and the all popular, coriander chutney.

coriander chutney is easy to make, and delicious. you can eat it with just about anything -- scrambled eggs, steak, tofu thai curry, and of course, indian food. the recipe i use comes from a great little cookbook i bought for like twenty five cents when we were in india, the ayurvedic cookbook, by amadea morningstar and urmila desai.

fresh coriander chutney

1 bunch (1/4 pound) fresh coriander leaves & stems (also known as cilantro)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated coconut
2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger root
1 teaspoon honey or barley malt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

blend lemon juice, water and coriander until coriander is chopped. add remaining ingredients and blend until it is like a paste. can be stored in covered container in refrigerator for about a week.

indian clothing may intensify the flavor, but not required.

suitcase poem XX

which door leads to second chances. chasm of what may be. that which you thought not possible. within book. below structure. around bend. inside forest. flash of doubt followed by surprise. starlight dissolves to pain. bright idea folded up neatly, slipped into box. lifting one's heavy limbs from burnt out mattress. one foot follows another across thin ledge. whisps of old settle in piles. plunge into ashes.

Friday, September 04, 2009

free form friday: baby swings

it is friday morning and the baby is sleeping, after a two hour wakeful period in the middle of the night.

we have been spoiled by two months of ten hour sleeping-through-the-night stretches! we were shocked and amazed the first few nights he slept for ten hours straight, all by his own choice (we don't do cry it out or sleep training). i was even a little remorseful: what, my baby doesn't want to nurse in the middle of the night??? but ultimately the abundance of sleep has done us all a wealth of good (that is, when dan and i actually choose to go to bed before midnight).

i'm hoping this middle of the night wakeful period -- which he has undertaken two nights in a row -- is just a phase. i actually love middle of the night nursings, if sleep quickly follows! but wakefulness for a couple of hours just * hurts * ! even if it involves tristan's smile that makes us all melty, and his beautiful little breathy voice that fills the room with super-cute!

there is much to navigate ahead. teething (we think he's been teething for months now, what with all the drool and hand chewing). solid foods (he is extremely interested, and, we sense, perhaps a little jealous when we sit down to eat). sitting up. crawling. pulling up. toddling. his little personality is becoming more and more defined, yet each day i still find myself asking, who are you, little treasure?

in the mean time, tashi is a sixth grader. my mind is completely blown by that concept. i am so in love with my daughter, who has a heart as deep as the most ancient wells on earth. i hope that our friendship will hold strong through the rocky adolescent years. i hope those years are not so rocky for her. and i hope she knows that i may not always have the answer, but i will always listen.

this year is a big year for us all.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

thing thursday

just a couple of things from the thrift store visit yesterday.

can you believe that i actually thought twice about purchasing this owl trivet? i can't. i'm so glad i gave in to the impulse.

and a splendid stripey romper for my boy. i love it when i find a piece of baby clothing that costs ten percent of its outrageous retail price (around $60! just to get pooped and spat on!).

homemade monday, on thursday

i had nothing to show for homemade monday this week, nor last week for that matter. but last night i made a ginger peach cake, so i thought that might qualify, a few days after the fact.

one day i was at whole foods and i picked up a ginger peach pound cake on sale in the bakery. the love affair commenced. moist, sweet, peachy (but not too), gingery and just right with a morning cup of (insert your preferred beverage here).

so i googled it, and though i didn't find a recipe for that specific whole foods variety, i found a very close proximity at this nice blog, my little kitchen.

after the offspring were in bed and i woke from my late evening nap slouched over on the couch, i baked a ginger peach cake, and ate a slice too. just perfect.

for breakfast too.

even if you don't like peaches (like tashi and dan don't!!!!), you will like this. the peaches lend moisture and sweetness and a peachy hue, but there is nothing fuzzy or slimy about the texture. personally, i love peaches. and this cake is a great bridge between my peach love and my family's peach aversion!