Saturday, January 29, 2011

psst-a giveaway!

my friend nicole makes super cute garlands for her etsy shop
oh yes, i know, i rave about them all the time. 
well, just in time for valentine's day she is doing a giveaway for one of these sweet garlands! 

have a wonderful weekend!

(do you have any good etsy shop recommendations? always looking for some new ones!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

for gisela

i've had this thought running through my head all week:

i have this one life.

on wednesday i went to the memorial service for gisela, my friend sandy's mom. sandy is a dear friend; i have known her since i was 17 years old and a freshman in college. sandy's parents lived about 15 minutes from my parents, and she had a car and i didn't, so many of my first memories of sandy are the rides home from college on long weekends or vacations. we'd get to her house and i'd go inside, wait to get picked up by my mom or dad, and chat with her mom. it seems so surreal that those drives, those hundreds of college experiences, those brief conversations with her mom, are already half a lifetime away. 

i sat in the back of the service, holding ruby, who has recently discovered some of the capabilities of her tongue - especially when it comes to making sound. she is quite smitten with making raspberries. loudly. often. maybe even constantly. in this quiet space for grief and remembering, the distinctive sounds of a baby playing were magnified and impossible to contain. 

at first i was embarrassed and tried to shoosh her, but i realized how much her unrestrained baby sounds were holy and a gift as we collectively remembered the fullness of a woman's life. people who knew gisela best shared stories of her life - stories that i'd never heard, stories that formed a patchwork quilt of moments spanning decades.

perhaps because as i held a wriggling, noisy baby, i represented almost an exact midpoint between gisela's 69 years and ruby's 8 months, the brevity of life seemed to be a physical weight in my arms. i've been thinking a lot this month about the coming year, about who i am as a mother and artist, about how to raise children while also maintaining my identity as a maker and painter. i've been evaluating how to love and live well, how to serve others, how to have integrity in the ways i fill my days.

i don't have any easy answers for myself. i do know that we do have this one life. we have these sacred days, and they go so quickly. it hasn't been a guilt trip for me, it has been more of a gift to savor the moments of even the most frustrating day, and to appreciate the season of life that i'm in. it is so easy, especially with all of the mind-numbing ways to entertain or fill our time, to just trudge through a year. all of a sudden another year has passed without much intention or meaning. and then another year, and another. we have the capacity for so much more than just existing and surviving. (although don't get me wrong- sometimes we are in seasons of life where all we can do is just make it through today.)

we have this one life.
how will we use it? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

get your craft on

so, a few months ago i threatened to throw a craftapalooza of sorts, inspired by lena corwin's book printing by hand. (here is her similarly inspiring blog)

mid-december i did just that.

i've wanted to do something like this for ages, but we never had the space OR a diningroom table to work at. as soon as matt's amazing diningroom table was done (which was in the works for a long time - a post on it will follow soon, because it is surely worth at least one post,) we finally had a large enough space!

i loaded up on moleskin journals, paper, envelopes, ink, and other supplies. matt whipped up a fierce (delicious & yet incredibly strong) punch concoction & homemade bread, and i made soups and yummy desserts. (you have to have some edible sustenance when you are making things, you know?)

and then, the making/eating/talking extravaganza began:

i'd made samples of what you could print using stamps that i'd made, and pre-made rubber stamps.

i made these stamps by tracing and then cutting out images (some i got from lena corwin's book and some i just made up) from sheets of self-adhesive foam (i got a pack of it at michaels.) then i peeled off the backing and stuck the shapes onto clear acrylic stamp backers that i also got at michaels. we used brayers and acrylic paint instead of ink pads to work with these stamps.

teaching the technique & trying out the stamps on scratch paper.

craft central.
renetta & rebecca working away on projects.

shauna working on a journal, using a stamp i got on etsy.

i'd seen a diy on design mom for making personalized mugs using porcelaine pens (also at michaels). after striking out at the local thrift stores (apparently plain old white mugs do not exist there,) i found a bunch of inexpensive white mugs at ikea! perfect. (sidenote: this is a great and easy project, although the pens run out of ink very quickly and are better for older kids or adults. the paint was easy or a toddler to use- with my hands on supervision. later, using porcelaine paint, m made a bunch of beautiful abstractly painted mugs for family members and friends for christmas.)

i also baked christmas cookies that people could decorate and take home to share or give away!

some of the handiwork:
 a travel journel that jennifer made

some original stationary

projects drying

some people preferred to chat in the kitchen
(smart-they were close to the food)

meanwhile jennifer rocked multi-tasking by holding flora and making projects

art school gossip corner

danelle & kendra frosting cookies

it was such a great afternoon of talking, working, eating, meeting new friends...

and snuggling!
(shocking that ruby is snuggling)

so satisfying to make something with your own two hands, and then share it with someone else.
such a great time together. you should come next time! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

some days

the story of my life:
two small humans either undoing any of the doing that i've just attempted
(i.e. cleaning disaster zone of a girls' room)
or physically attached to me at all times.

(p.s. i finally got that room clean, but it was no small miracle.) 

Monday, January 24, 2011

boom boom boom

another reason i don't write kiddo #1's entire name on here: posting embarrassing video clips that she would kill me for making public when she is 13 years old.

this is m's favorite song to dance to..."i want boom boom pow" is a common sentence around these parts. (it is not an edited version of the song, so if you don't want to hear the potty words, just play it on mute. meanwhile, m is wearing about as much clothing as fergie does out in public.)

just one of the countless reasons that i think cochlear implants are amazing. crazy that my deaf daughter has these dance moves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

i hear that

i basically spent all day in bed yesterday, sick. last night matt said he had never seen me so committed to sleeping when i was sick, since usually i get out of my sickbed far  sooner than i should (which i think is partly a result of being self-employed with no sick days for so many years.) 

so, since friday means no school for m, we are having a lazy morning here at home. ruby is napping, i'm drinking coffee, listening to music, and m is using my leg as a horsey and talking to her imaginary friends. (by the way, don't think it is all roses and unicorns- m has also been doing her fair share of not listening and taking some time-outs)
a few minutes ago, in between songs playing, m turned to me and said,

"i hear birds outside. i don't see them, but i can hear them singing." she was right - they weren't very loud, but the birds were a chorus outside. then she ran over to our front window, peering to find the birds she had heard, "i am going to look and see if i find them. oh, i see one out there but i hear a lot of singing, mommy."

crazy that she hears sounds sometimes more quickly than i do. maybe she is so tuned in and trained  to listening that she hears the sounds i take for granted.

regardless, it is a daily miracle. somehow through her deafness i hear more than i ever did in a lifetime.

have a wonderful friday- and don't forget to slow down and listen to the birds singing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

sick & tired

no really. today i am sick. and tired.

my friend nicole posted this on her blog & i love it.
so sweet.
i love the little girl's hand on her daddy's arm.
i love the original song too-
but this version is so exuberant.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

for the love of january 14th!

my sweet husband had a stack of thoughtful gifts for me that started on january 1st.
i got to open one a day (and sometimes two!)
he knows i love unwrapping things, 
even teeny somethings, and my birthday.

we started out the day susannah-style. i took my time, and sat on the couch awhile drinking coffee and reading blogs. then we headed to tartine bakery for some amazingness. yum. 

the food and coffee was so good, but with a toddler and a baby, i was feeling very unwieldy getting in and out of the bakery (a small, crowded spot with little room between tables) and felt like our little family was getting lots of assorted looks of annoyance. oh well. one of those moments that just is what it is. between our clumsy arrival and departure and our squirmy, opinionated children, it was not a restful breakfast time, but, again, it sure was delicious.

we headed over to sfmoma to look at art.
more space, but same squirmy, opinionated children, so we made our visit brief.

on the way home, m stopped and assisted by her daddy, bought me a flower. 
she sacrificially got me a pink one, even though purple is her favorite.
not so sacrificially she held onto that flower with both hands and sort of forgot that she was supposed to give it to me. when i tried to remind her, she went into hysterics, so we knew it was naptime all around.
maybe that's one way i know i'm getting old- a nap is a highlight of my birthday.

fast forward- i had multiple fun visitors swing by with birthday love & fun birthday mail to open!
for instance, brother aaron & sis-in-law sarah stopped by!
and then my two dear friends, amy & nancy, came by for dinner.
i had requested that matt make a meal for the three of us so we could just sit, eat and relax.
no boys. no babies or kids.
and so matt made us an amazing meal.

starting with this delicious cocktail: the ginger smash.
as pretty as it was yummy!

we happily drank our ginger smashes & talked & giggled. 
nancy says i never put pictures of myself on here, so here you go. 
i think it pretty much sums up the evening.
appetizer: homemade (seriously, matt is no joke in the kitchen) bread topped with two of my faves- 
goat cheese and caramelized onions. 
so freaking good.
next up- roasted mushroom soup with homemade croutons of amazingness.
blood orange, grapefruit and avocado (straight from nancy's mom's avocado plantation she hides in her backyard) salad? yep. that's you, being all beautiful and delicious.
bubbly after the smash.
cause i love bubbly.
waiting on our next course and happy as can be.
take away the bubbly, the sparkling water, the matching candles, and the old, and you pretty have the same scene you would've witnessed when the three of us lived together back in our post-college youth.
sitting. talking about the profound and celebrity trash all in one conversation.
it was exactly what i wanted for my birthday.
matt cooked the entire meal AND shared some of his good wine with us.
(i felt very spoiled)
made from scratch ricotta gnocchi and pesto.
pillows of perfection, i'm not kidding you.
bay area kids, have you ever been to the restaurant a-16? you can channel their food via their cookbook, if you are ever so inclined. our friend steve rocked their meatball recipe at a bookclub a couple of years ago, and i could have eaten them for days. thanks to steve (for the cookbook) and luke and jennifer (for the meat grinder), matt was able to make them for my birthday dinner. 

so good. when i say so good, i don't think you quite understand. i mean so good that when amy wanted to take a couple home to her husband, i let her take a couple. as in two. i kept the rest (an entire pan full) for leftovers for me, and didn't even offer any to nancy. i feel like i finally understand that part in the wedding singer where crazy old lady pays for her piano lessons with meatballs. this must be her recipe.
don't get me wrong, i am a pretty awesome wife in my own way (most days,)
but husband and his dinner of champions makes me swoon. 
finally, birthday cake!
yum, yum, sweet adeline's!
matt had made everything else from scratch, 
so he finally got a break from the kitchen 
& got to enjoy this part without baking it.
are you jealous?

happy birthday to me.
one year older, and hopefully wiser.
one reason that i love my birthday is because it is a marked moment in which i can be grateful for the people in my life who have shaped me, gifted me with their friendship, and known me. it is a day that i can celebrate and think about the last year and anticipate the newness of another year stretching out ahead of me. it is a day for me to say thank you to my own mom for giving me life. it is an opportunity to be with people i love. and obviously, a day to eat well. oh, and open presents!

Friday, January 14, 2011

birth day

me, in all my naked baby glory, mid 1975. 

if you've been around these parts for a while, you know that i love my birthday.
i thanked my mom last year for 35 and then for 34 rocked one of my favorite photos and oh, 

it's been a full year, and so hard to believe that a year ago there was no baby ruby snuggling in my arms. this morning i got one of the very best presents possible, 
one that seems completely normal now 
but that i never could have imagined when m was first diagnosed deaf:
as i sit on the couch blogging and drinking coffee,
m has been dancing around the house to the black eyed peas (on repeat) in a velvet and plaid dress,
(which apparently has become the dress she wears to celebrate birthdays, since she has worn it 3 times in the last week.)
she was asking to do something and matt said that i got to pick because it was my birthday, 
so i get to pick everything we do all day long.
he asked if she wanted to sing happy birthday to me. 
m sidled up to me and started to sing, first a little quietly but slowly gaining volume, "happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to mommy."
as she sang,
i was getting teary thinking about how a year ago on my birthday she couldn't sing this song to me, 
and how two years ago i couldn't even picture what it would look like for her to dance to music, 
much less sing a song to me, 
since she couldn't even hear anything. 
at all.
she closed out her song the way they do at her school, with...
"how old are you?" 
i asked her to guess how old she thought i was. 
she squinched up her face in thought and said, "two?"
well, close enough.
and then she leaned over and gave me a hug and said, "happy birthday, mommy."

it is a happy birthday.
so much i am grateful for,
including you.
thank you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


by the way,

guess popular opinion was right after all!

all big girl all the time

some days are just hard.
and it's ok to cry
like a baby.
when i lived with my fun roommates in the era post-college and pre-marriage, we always talked about being big girl.

big girl as in grown up home decor (somehow a votive holder i bought was big girl), grown up conversations (the ones you don't want to have but that you need to), grown up schedules (like having a regular grown up job and going to sleep at a reasonable hour and waking up early for aforementioned grown up job), grown up relationships (which led us to get new roommates, also known as husbands.)

big girl was full of possibility. it embraced the season that was post-college and big girl meant super cute and super fun. or something like that.

but at some point in our mid-twenties and stretching into our mid-thirties, big girl also meant grown up problems in our lives and our friends lives. like losing a parent, or a job, or a friend, or getting divorced, or not getting into a grad school, or having a miscarriage, or not being able to have kids, or getting cancer, or not getting a really amazing job or fellowship, or having a child with special needs. somewhere along the way big girl became synonymous with hard.

i feel like i've had a lot of big girl conversations lately, where life isn't going exactly the way someone hoped or expected. it's the nature of being human and of living in a world that is imperfect, and i suppose that as we grow older we experience it more and more often. sometimes these circumstances make us better, more whole and empathetic people, and sometimes rough circumstances just make us more weary and impatient with a world that doesn't look the way we want it to. lately as i see so many of those who are dear to me having to work through really hard stuff, i am over big girl problems and ready to go back to the days where a cute candleholder signified adulthood. the days when big girl meant the world was stretched out with opportunities and potential.

the last few weeks i've had (shocking) a very old u2 song stuck in my head (i always figure out a way to work u2 in, don't i!) the lyrics are about coming home or finding rest. i can't get it out of my head, so i'll close with a snippet:
And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning to a light that's in the distance.
And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, 'desire' time...
Dislocated, suffocated
The land grows weary of it's own...
And your heart beats so slow
Through the rain and fallen snow
Across the fields of mourning to a light that's in the distance.
Oh, don't sorrow, no don't weep
For tonight at last I am coming home.

here's to rest for the weary, and patience in the meantime.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


i guess i wasn't back after all.

not sure why, just feels like i'm not sure where to start lately.

i come to write a post, and then erase it, or walk away, or save it as a draft.

and post nothing. well, you've probably noticed that.

it isn't as if i am putting pressure on myself to blog. i like blogging.
it isn't as if i have nothing to say...ask matt, i have plenty to say and then some.
it isn't as if i don't have any time. maybe not loads of it, but enough to visit this space more often than i have been.

so, who knows when i will get in the swing of things. i'd like to say today is the day, but i made that bold declaration last week and then nothing.

maybe i'll do an interview with myself. maybe i'll squeeze in 30 posts in the next 20 days. maybe i'll recap december. we'll see.

meanwhile, my two girls are upstairs nap boycotting and giving each other the giggles. ridiculous.

snuggling up

of my favorite people.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

(happy new year)

...a bit late perhaps, but i haven't even written resolutions yet, so i figure wishes for a happy new year are still appropriate. i have missed this space.

first of all, my hands are freezing. i know that i life in warm and cozy california, but i am so freaking cold right now. (sidenote: the other day i had reached my limit of near infinite patience with little m and i said something like, "this room is so freaking messy!" she looked at me and repeated, "freaking? i do not know what 'freaking' means." how is it that i want to ship my daughter to mongolia one minute and then gobble up her cuteness the next? but i digress.)

second of all, hi.

i'm back.