Thursday, October 28, 2010

why the heck not?

Up early, I treat myself today:
a full episode of Project Runway.
Yes, reality show + eggs +toast + tea.
Haute couture complements breakfast perfectly.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

an amoire of one's own

I've been deskless since we've moved. My old ugly one got absorbed into Dyami's office, and my only place to pay bills and store papers was on our kitchen counter. I didn't realize how much it was bothering me until I had an inspiration: take over an awkward, largish corner in our bedroom, buy an amoire desk instead of an open one, and possibly move my sewing stuff there too, so I might be able to do a project without setting up in the middle of dinner.

A few weeks and a craig's list ad later, I have my desk. And instead of being ugly, and white, and exposed, it's cool, and black, and can be shut. Today, Lucy was opening and closing the doors, and I said (nicely), "Lucy, this is going to be my private space. Please leave the doors shut."
She looked up at me, nodded, and shut the doors.

Imagine! A private space! It's revolutionary!

I think my writing is going to get a whole lot cooler. Just be prepared.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

at least she's honest

Lucy's friend, to Julia: "You're just the cutest little baby in the whole wide world, aren't you?"
Me, to myself: See? I'm not the only one that thinks that!
Lucy, to her friend: "Well, all babies are cute."

Monday, October 25, 2010

my miracle salve

I was kind of in a funk this morning. I had a not-so-great interaction with someone, and it left me feeling woeful. I was a distracted, weepy mommy for a while, and when Julia took a nap, I let Lucy watch a TV show, and I laid down with a cloth over my face. Darkness felt good, even though I wasn't particularly sleepy.

Then I thought: how can I make this day get better?

So I called a friend and went over to her house. Our kids played, we talked (about my woefulness, some, but also about other stuff). We just talked and talked, and before I knew it, it was time to head home. And funnily enough, by then, it was a good day.

Man, sometimes, the only miracle salve I need is a good friend.

rain rain, come again

I live in the great drought-opressed Southwest. I do not expect rain at this time of year. More, I expect fires.
But I like rain. And this has been the rainiest fall here I can remember. I love the peaceful, tea-in-the-cup, rain percussing on roof Monday morning here.
I also appreciate knowing there's no conflagration brewing 40 miles away.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Kettle Chips sale: two for one.
Assorted flavors, including Loaded Baked Potato.
Are four biggish bags really enough?

Not had enough? Go over to Making Things Up for more six-word fun.


Lucy joined our church's children's choir a few weeks ago. Leading to the improv performance going on as I type. She's seated in front of our music stand with a collection of library books on sea life and lyric sheets for the upcoming Christmas concert. Her mashup:
"Prince of, prince of Peace,
Glory (clap!) I love sha-arks."

Not sure if great whites were in Isaiah's mind when he wrote his prophecies, but hey, artistic license, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a new favorite

I grew up with my mom's go-to appetizer, smoked salmon spread. It's easy to whip together, and tastes great, if you like smoked salmon. It's sort of a poor man's lox.
Dyami's not a huge fan, unfortunately, so I haven't made it too much.
But lately, I got a hankering. So I made some. And on a whim, let Lucy smell it.
"Do you want some?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. And proceeded to eat it. By the bowlful.

On another whim, I gave some to Julia, expecting her to throw it on the floor, like everything else. Instead, she scraped the salmon off of the cracker, and shoved it in her mouth. After about ten crackers, she was a smoky mess.

Me, I'm pleased. Apparently my smoked-salmon genes have prevailed.
Dyami: not so pleased. Because even I'll admit Julia's new kisses are just the tiniest bit fishy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

grace the bear

A few years ago, I got a book on Japanese-style stuffed animals called by Aranzi Aronzo. I made a few for Christmas gifts. Then Lucy got hold of the book.
"I want this one, Mama," she said, pointing to a very cute, but (I thought) less than exciting) bear. (There were Cats! and Monkeys! and Bad Guys! and an absolutely adorable Terrier!)
But bear it was.
Bear wasn't too hard to make, and I was pleased to make it for Lucy, and eagerly anticipated the reveal on Christmas.
The big day came. Lucy opened it, looked at Bear, smiled, and then set her down to rip open the next package. Then she didn't touch her again for at least a month.
And during the next few months, the bear languished in the bottom of an overlarge pile of stuffed animals.


A few months ago, Lucy dug her out, and dubbed her "Grace the Bear." Then she started intermittantly requesting animals to sleep with. Sometimes it was Grace the Bear, sometimes other animals. Then it was usually Grace the Bear.
Now it always is.

This past weekend, on a trip away from home, it came time to tuck Lucy in. Lights were off, and I was leaving the room, when Lucy sat up in her bed.
"Where's Grace the Bear?"
My stomach knotted. GTB had not been on my packing list.

I broke the news.
Lucy moaned. "Grace the bear! I miss you!" Her voice had a mournful note in it I've never heard before. It broke my heart.

Thankfully, she's attached, but not too attached. After a few minutes of me substituting for GTB, I left the room, and she slept peacefully (well, mostly).

But I have to say: if giving your child gifts is pleasurable, making them, and then having them treasure them is infinitely more so.

Grace the bear, we love you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I guess you can get bigger

I've moaned a lot lately about how Julia is getting too big. But over the last few days, she has reached my new favorite milestone: giving kisses. When the mood strikes her, she leans forward and gives kiss after kiss after kiss. It is especially fun when Dyami, Lucy and I form a tight circle and give kisses to Julia and one another. This was how we all started the day today.

I guess there's some bright side here.

cute, sorta

Dear Baby,

You're so cute, you can do almost anything and still be cute. Pooping, farting, drooling, having a runny nose: all adorable!

So the other night on our trip, when you woke at 2 am in your pack n play, and then wouldn't go back to sleep for a long, long time because you kept seeing your sister asleep (then not so asleep) next to you, and squealing because it was just so exciting to have her right there, that was cute, too.

Just barely.

Love, Mama

Friday, October 15, 2010


Baby head on my shoulder, cooing.
Daughter's face alight, describing a story.
Children are so alive and afire.

Get short with us at Making Things Up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Every day, Lucy amazes me. She seems to have come into some kind of new confidence in herself, in her ability to find things out. "I'm going to 'vestigate," she'll say, and grab a notebook and draw pictures of nature, her sister, mermaids, princesses. Right now, she is hard at work on an art show she's going to stage when we next visit her cousins. We do simple crosswords, and she knits her forehead in concentration as I show her how the straight lines and half-circles make P, B, R, K. The letters have legs, and arms, and heads, and they are all dancing for her right now.

I love his confidence I see in her, this artistry, this desire to devour the world and figure it out. And also the joy that she rushes up with in the morning, to see her sister, and give her kisses.

Today someone at our church asked if she were in preschool there. "No," I said. "We have her at home right now."
"They have scholarships," she said, kindly. And I know that preschool could be lovely, too, that there she would run and discover as well.
But I love that I'm here to see this all unfolding. Right now, you couldn't pay me to miss all of this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

no wonder I'm tense

In my dream last night, I had accidentally bought a cobra. I meant to buy a boa constrictor*. Whoops!

It got loose in our house, and since I'd made the mistake, I was the one who had to go find it and put it in a container (I should have recognized that I was dreaming at this point; no one in their right mind would send me to deal competently with a fanged viper. I am afraid of bumblebees, people). Part of the nightmare was figuring out which container. Just as in real life, it is impossible to find Tupperware lids when you need them.

Then I wandered the house, trying to find the cobra without coming across it unexpectedly. At one point, I watched it take down a very large rattlesnake (kind of like East meets West, with the East winning, hands-down). Another fun highlight was when Julia started to come into the quarantined area of the house, pushing open unlatched doors at the wrong moment (always, at the wrong moment, whether I'm swishing out a poopy diaper or capturing a cobra).

Then a baby woke me. And my first thought upon waking: Man, am I tense. My second thought? Well, no wonder. I was trying to capture a %$^ing cobra in a lidless Tupperware container.

That is all.

*When I told Dyami this dream, I said, "I wouldn't be so scared of a boa constrictor". And he pointed out that a boa might still be problematic with a one-year-old around. Still though, no fangs.

Monday, October 11, 2010


There's a whole interweb kerfuffle right now over the comments of Todd Henderson, U of Chicago professor, whose household income exceeds $250k. He argues that after expenses (taxes mortgage, childcare, student loan repayments), he has little discretionary income left. He says he's not "superrich", and thus shouldn't be asked to pay more in taxes under Obama's plan.

He's getting flamed by a lot of people, but even liberal voices have made his point. However, I wanted to weigh in:

Mr. Henderson, you are superrich. I understand how frustrating it must be that your income is not more flexible than it is. I don't doubt that it can be hard to make the choices you do. But that you have choices is itself a luxury. You have the choice to pay back $250k in student loans. You have the choice to search out day care, a cleaning service. You have the choice for both parents to work, to afford cable. You can make the mortgage on your house in an expensive place. I'm guessing you have the choice to get your kids in decent schools, pay health care.

For most of the world, you're wealthy beyond imagination.

My question is: how has our expectation in the US gotten so skewed that being "wealthy" means that you don't have to make choices with your wealth? When has wealthy become being able to afford anything?

Sorry, Mr. Henderson. I'm not unsympathetic. What month do I not look at our budget and think: but only if we had X more dollars here? Limits can suck. And paying taxes sucks. I'm not convinced that $250 k is truly a fair designation for "super-rich", but please don't complain about your lack of discretionary income. So much of our lifestyle is discretionary--it's just an attitude adjustment to see it as such.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

commuting to fantasyland

These worlds within worlds inside Lucy:
ballet studio, disney vacation, surprise party
artist's lair, runaway hidey-hole, store,
all meant to be populated continually,
by us, to her exact specifications:
I'd like to be fecund, excited,
participate each time, inhabit those worlds,
but my magic is often fitful.
Why is being childlike so hard?

Come on over to Making Things Up and add in your six words.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We were at Disneyland for a few days, and it was lovely. It was our first time with Lucy (and Julia, though she didn't care about it too much). We rode Small World twice, met Mickey, Minnie, Belle, and Alice, and got a lollipop that was half the size of Lucy's face.
However, some things did not go exactly as planned:
  • We didn't tell Lucy ahead of time, to surprise her! And then when she found out we were going, she was excited for all of three minutes before she got very worried about the projects she was leaving behind, the scary big rides, and said that she wanted to go to Legoland instead. She warmed up after we arrived, but it was not exactly the reaction we were hoping for. Note: next time, tell the child ahead of time, so she has time to wrap her head around the experience.
  • I booked in early October, to avoid crowds! And we ran smack dab into huge crowds for the annual Halloween festivities.
  • I booked in early fall to get nice, sunny, cool weather! And it was raining! Crowds + rain = not ideal.
  • I booked us at Disneyland hotel so as to have a place to nap Julia (and sleep, of course). And then realized when we got there that check-in time was 3 pm: well after nap time. And check out time the next day was 10 am. Well before nap time. Hello, walking the fussy, sleepy baby in the stroller until she passes out.
  • Julia woke a bit more than we wanted, and woke up her sister in the process, but that wasn't too much a surprise. More a surprise: the two 4 AM cell phone calls, fifteen minutes apart. (Voice mails the next morning: beeps. I hate those beeping calls. What's with them anyway? And why did they beep at us at 4 AM?). I do not usually have my phone in the bedroom with me, but since we were in a hotel, it was conveniently close enough to wake Dyami and I up again! (thankfully, not the girls).
Such is the magic of the Disney experience* that none of the above mattered too much. We walked about sixteen miles, we had two tired children, and two exhausted adults, and two very helpful grandparents.
And one mama, grateful to be home.

*Cynic that I am, I think they put some sort of "happy dust" in the air to make everyone cheerful. Opiates, perhaps?

Friday, October 1, 2010


I love a good, loud thunderstorm.
My two girls? Not so much.
So: kept the windows closed yesterday,
and missed that wild, wet wind.
For the record: responsibility's no fun.