Monday, April 30, 2012


it's matt's birthday today.

i've been trying to arrange a fun experiential birthday present for him, 
which so far i am striking out on, 
but the process has been fun,
at least i have fun stories for him about my attempts.

we celebrate birthday week around here, of course,
so it is fun to sprinkle birthday festivities throughout the week.

happiest of days to my husband...
lover of 
justice, beauty, goodness, hope, grace,
a good cocktail & a good glass of wine, 
discovering new food,
peets english breakfast tea with copious amounts of sugar and whole milk, 
gritty movies, 
our sometimes gritty city (oakland), 
food from the dive-iest and the nicest restaurants (yes, both),
building relationships between different worlds of people,
running in the redwoods,
really complicated recipes,
a well-painted wall with no holidays,
mid-century modern furniture,
hanging out with people,
using something until it is completely worn out,
yellow legal pads and old school composition books,
resting on sunday,
front-yard gardens,
walking the neighborhood as a family,
the wire,
multiple course meals around our long table,
reading by the fireplace,
the new york times on a sunday afternoon,
long conversations,
studying with a good cappuccino at his side,
no dishes to wash,
a quality charcuterie plate,
punk rock & hip-hop,
the new yorker,
two little girls who have cracked open his whole world 
+ me.

(lucky are we)

happy birthday to my best friend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


thinking about how funny these two little people are, and about how they rock my world.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

i hate cancer

i have so many blog posts in my mind, but today i can't stop thinking about my friend.

my friend who is smart, funny, witty & beautiful,
who is my age,
whose husband is an amazing artist,
who has great taste,
who is writing a novel,
who was a lawyer,
whose laugh is real & strong,
who has been fighting cancer.
fighting really hard and doing all of the things she is supposed to, 
and eating the right things and doing all of the treatments.
and then
in december,
even had a part of her liver removed,
in the hopes that the tumors would stop.

but last week i got an emailed from her that the tumors are back, and have spread. 
and they spread quickly.
so she is back on oral chemo and lots of other drugs,
and hoping that this medicine and these drugs and her own body will fight off this awful sickness that is stealing her days.

matt & i drove to dinner at their house on sunday night,
and on the way my heart felt like it was cracking open.
i couldn't stop crying.
since i got her email i have been so so sad.
and if i am grieving like this,
how is she feeling about gearing up to face this again?

because even if her body becomes healthy and whole again
she is spending all of this time, energy, and life on fighting cancer.

i have been thinking of all of these people in my life who have had cancer
and it just makes me angry, sad, weary. 
i live my life following in the way of jesus.
 (even if you don't believe in jesus, 
you probably know the stories where he heals people, right? 
because there are a lot of them.
the longer i live, and the more people in my life that are sick or whose bodies are failing them somehow, i don't know what to do with these stories of miraculous healing.)
because, really? 
i'm looking for healing now and wonder if it will come.
i don't really even know how to pray for my friend right now.
all i want for her is life without tumors and drugs.
and many, many years with her husband, because they just fit together.

so on sunday night 
we sat around the table 
and ate and laughed and told stories and talked about summer plans and the election 
and italy and france and portland
had a wonderful time with these friends.
then we hugged goodbye and drove home,
over the bridge,
back to oakland,
and in the darkness
my face was wet with tears
and matt whispered,
"lord, have mercy."

Friday, April 20, 2012

anatomy of a good day

in completely non-chronological order, since these photos did not so much load correctly:

hang time in the sunshine with a dear, usually across the state, friend
husband making the drive with me to m's school
(this view is looking out on the bay as we cross the san mateo bridge)
running on the beach with our kids plus two kind-of-like-our kids
holding hands with my sweet ruby girl under a canopy of redwood trees
sitting on this lovely beach in a lovely cove
the joy of small ones at morning music at school
the comedy of trying to capture photographic memories with children
my ruby is a little snuggler-
giving almost 1 year old luke hugs
with teensy flowers (picked and gifted to me by little m) behind my ear, 
a moment with my husband
my little family
sand beneath my toes
the sound of waves, polka-dotted bathing suit & this little girl
incredible beauty of a tree in bloom
(i love spring)
yummy breakfast & discovering a new-to-me spot
sharing the morning with another dear friend
a cappuccino,
even if the day is too warm for a hot drink

life is not always as lovely & picture perfect,
but grateful for the days that are just right.

Monday, April 16, 2012

this weekend- the good, the bad, and the ugly

this weekend we had a little fourth birthday party for m.
it was really poor planning, 
since matt was out of town for friday and saturday.
somehow i thought i could manage corralling two small children 
and making a party happen.
matt and i are usually a good team when it comes to parties,
so i was missing him.

luckily this party was smaller than the ones we usually throw, and i had a lot of help-
(my mom took the girls for part of the day on friday 
and then yesterday before the party i had helpers come early to help me out)

the good:
so just maybe i come up with visions for how things should look at a party 
(former roommates and husband are not allowed to comment on how true this is) ;
when m told me she wanted gold & pink, i embraced it! 
(since the alternative was princesses, which i was not as excited about, 
i was happy to make pink & gold happen. 
plus i showed her a pretty glittery cake on pinterest and she loved it, 
so i got out of making a cake covered with "princess faces and dressees" 
like she initially requested.)

a sneak peek at the decorations:

i glitter sprayed these pink globes we had and strung them up in our livingroom
and made bunting out of pink and gold glitter paper i got at the craft store
 to string throughout the downstairs.
then i made a pretty pink cake for m...
baked cake layers in the freezer
i sort of loved how it turned out!
i made hearts out of the extra bunting paper & 
sprinkled the top with pale pink sanding sugar over the white buttercream frosting.
and then inside it was pretty pink ombre!
the kids decorated party hats

the bad:

i told matt yesterday that our children are vessels of destruction to our clean house.
me, trying to get ready for party?
them, destroying every area of the house that they can,
the ugly:
as usual, ruby takes tumbles here and there.
she took a nasty fall on saturday, landing on her forehead really hard.
i took this picture about 30 seconds after she fell,
her bump got a lot bigger and yuckier looking real fast.
note the vertical scar in the center of her forehead- that's from another tumble.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

for my girl

four years ago, around 4 pm, our little m was born. 
oh, for the love, i'm glad i'm not in labor right now.
people, i thought i was going to die.
but then, i didn't (although i'm not kidding it hurt so freaking bad) 
and instead this beautiful baby was born.

(if you feel like strolling down memory lane, i wrote a little bit about her birth here and the part about awarding myself a no-drugs medal here.)

today we celebrated four(!) wonderful years of this little/big girl's life.
we went to the monterey bay aquarium, and all day long she would announce to strangers, 
"today is my birthday. i am the birthday girl today, and this is my sister ruby."
 tonight, as she's snuggled into bed, the rain streams down our windows and the thunder rolls loud and often, i think about this little person, and how being a mom has changed me, bettered me, humbled me. 

some days i just want to package up everything about her-
the silly songs she makes up,
the imaginary stories and characters she creates,
the conversations she has with me,
the way she plays with ruby,
the drawings she makes-
so that when she's all grown up she can experience what a wonderful, inventive little person she was the way i get to every single day.

i think all the time
about how much my own mom loved being a mom;
and i imagine the thousands of moments she shared with me
when i was a child,
and how much we must have laughed together.
it makes me love my mom even more,
and it makes me treasure being mom even more,
because for all of the exhaustion and craziness, motherhood is really magical.

most of the time i don't know what i'm doing,
most of the time i'm making a mess of being a parent,
but i do know this:

i love this girl.
even in her very worst moments
even in my ugliest parenting moments,
(ahem, there are plenty of both)
i love every inch of her.

she's so much like me,
and at the same time, so much her very own self, forging her way in the world.

i feel so very blessed every day to learn who she is and who she is becoming,
and i hope i live a very long time to know her as long as possible.

i always think that one of my very best days was april 12th, 2008, when she was born.
but really,
 all the days since have been even better.

{and for your viewing pleasure, and because this is real life,
from today -
a typical attempt at a picture with my girls:
a. monrovia posing but blurry
b. me talking them into posing
c. ruby with a plastic knife in her mouth, ignoring the camera}

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

mish-mash post, yep- that's how i roll

item #1: yesterday was national siblings day!

i started to post last night, 
but sleepiness forced me to head to bed instead.
better late than never, right?

i am the oldest of four kids; 
we are all two years apart.
me, then jonathan, rebecca & aaron.
through the many seasons of siblinghood,
despite the different paths we have each walked,
(isn't it kind of funny how you are all a part of the same family but your memories and experiences 
within that same family are totally different and unique? 
once i heard a family experience described as one big pizza 
but you each get a different slice.)

i am so grateful for all three of my siblings.

my friend nancy always says, "the ruff children are lovers." 
she's right; for better or worse, 
all four of us put our hearts into whatever little world we are in.

i love my siblings
without each of them
i would be much less interesting and much more selfish.
in other words
they've made me, me.
i can't imagine life without them.
so happy sibling day to
my brother johnny 

sisterbear rebecca
and my brother aaron, who i usually call b 
(maybe because i've had multiple siblings it is hard for me to imagine raising just two kids. and yet, most of the time i think we are probably done with kiddos. i can't quite reconcile it in my mind and heart. don't get me wrong, we have plenty of sibling drama and fighting in our family history, but still, the good outweighs the hard. there's a whole lot of crazy, but it's also a whole lot of fun.)

item #2: tomorrow is little m's birthday.
FOUR years old.
as in, i can't believe she's going to be 4 and i'm kind of freaking out.

i've been thinking about life before our girls;
i stumbled onto this picture of matt & i i biking in italy when i was preggers with m!
oh, the freedom to galavant about foreign countries.
but, wow, we have laughed a lot with these kids around.

(by the way, this picture makes me want to go back to italy.)

and ruby will be two next month! TWO!
no more babies in my house, waaah, waaah. 
i'm so sad.

item #3: also, this weekend it was my dear, but too far away, friend daphne's birthday.
(and guess what, yes, she is mid-word in this photo but how cute is her jacket and 
also she is usually mid-word when she's with me, or mid-listen to my mid-word)
she's such a good friend -
so thoughtful,
always willing to schlep across the country to visit,
 who speaks wisdom into my life all the time,
who is a mean baker,
can talk about the meaning of life and grey's anatomy in one conversation,
who loves her little family to pieces,
who multi-tasks better than anyone i know,
and who never has a dirty dish in her sink.
oh, and she's really, really funny.
so happiest of birthday seasons to my dear daph.

item #4: freaking hunger games. i resisted for so, so long. 
and then, why not read it while the movie is in the theatre.
suddenly my bedtime was 2:30 in the morning.
but i finished it less than 24 hours after picking it up.
and thanks to my neighbor, the next two volumes are sitting next to me.
i'll be channeling my 20 year old self and staying up all night for a few nights this next week.
(who am i kidding? i do that anyway)

true story

(just a reminder)

*a pencil sketch for some potential new card projects with papyrus

Saturday, April 7, 2012


hope you have a lovely saturday!

we've had a lazy morning at home in pj's eating waffles and strawberries; 
next off to a friend's house for a little playdate!

as usual matt and i have lots of plans for home improvement and beautification projects,
but i kind of doubt they'll happen.


Friday, April 6, 2012

good friday

this is in stark contrast to the spirit of last night's post, 
but today marks good friday, 
the day that followers of jesus mark christ's crucifixion on the cross.

i don't often post about my faith practice
on my blog,
maybe because a lot of religious language has baggage attached or can be trite or cheesy, 
or because i hope people know who i am and 
what i practice through my actions more than through my words. 
in any case,
today i am thinking about 
how i believe that
jesus on the cross
did something radical that still matters.

 i recognize today - 
although it is dark and heavy.

because to fully taste the sweetness of resurrection sunday 
you have to know the bitterness of good friday.

it doesn't take someone from the christian faith tradition to
know that this world is broken and messed up-
sickness, poverty, jealousy, loss, death, estrangement, abuse, addiction.
we have all seen or experienced this break in goodness that is our world.

to me,
good friday is a picture of all of that brokenness in one place.
easter comes as the hope that i can live in- 
that despite 
cancer and racism and classism and depression and suicide and unemployment and war, 

i hope for another story that is bigger and more beautiful, 
another story that eventually consumes and changes that brokenness into something whole.
some days i believe,
some days i doubt.

but i still hope for a world
that looks more like easter than good friday,
that is good and not hard,
that is just and not wrong.
 and i try to live my life believing that jesus came down into our crap, was treated like crap, 
and knows firsthand the crap we are surrounded by, 
but came to change the crap.
from the series stations of the cross by sarah gorss

i love this old johnny cash version of the spiritual 
"were you there when they crucified my lord"

Thursday, April 5, 2012


one week from today
this girl
my firstborn daughter
will turn 4!

(can't believe she's getting so big)
i love being her mom.

points of joy

grateful this morning for
spring flowers blooming

cozy pajama bottoms

clean laundry (even if i still have to fold it all)

my daughters' joint imaginary play: setting up a picnic, having speech therapy, playing school, pretend bakery or ice cream shop or restaurant- as i watch and overhear them interact, laugh & talk it makes me some special category of super-happy-to-be-their-mom

sunshine streaming through my windows

the brilliant combination of chocolate & peanut butter

ruby's chubby thighs & squishy arms

thinking about & making art

my daughters' new room arrangement (orchestrated by me, thank you very much)

working with a great people in our district to help m mainstream

rest at the end of a long day

small arms flung around my neck in a snuggle moments after big screams and tantrums

chalk drawing on our driveway

great water pressure in our shower

my girls sleeping til at least 7 am two days in a row!


a few moments to blog

today's breakfast: cafe fanny granola + strawberries + yogurt + the cup of coffee matt made for me

good friday & easter- the epitome of good & hard (but in the other order- starting with the hard leading to the good)

our little chickens (they are already getting so big! wait, did i even post our cute chicks on here? oh! we have 9 chicks (3 are for my mom, but we are brooding them for her)! and a coop thanks to my friend nicole! they are super cute.)

day 1:
already getting so big!
their home for now as they stay warm and grow feathers:

last but not least, 
this hilarious video about hipsters.
(there's no potty mouth in the video, just in the title)
i am so not a hipster, but am guilty of a couple of these
(ahem, instagram, blogging about working conditions in china, taking pictures of my feet)
this may be funnier to my living near or in oakland pals, since this is pretty dead on, but still- for your viewing pleasure: