Friday, December 23, 2011

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

Molly just introduced me to a really fun blog.

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
 Where Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness.

Dashing, through the snow. 

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype portrait of a young man]
via Live Auctioneers, Be-hold

I love that a blog like this exists. My sisters and I just spent the last 10 minutes sipping tea and ogling over hot dead dudes. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cookies/Cookys- Read this if you think you could use a good case of the guffaws

My dad wrote this in an email recently. I believe it was his version of a holiday greeting card. It cracked me up. P.S Pops, I am making you some molasses cookies over break. xoxo 

The fact of the matter is, that I am indifferent to the color or
shapes of cookies, even Christmas cookies. Round, square, in the shape
of a fat man or reindeer, blue green, red with sprinkles; it's all the
same to me--so long as they taste good.  So when Debi was making a
batch of Christmas cookies I was suddenly overcome by the nostalgia of
Mom's molasses cookies.  Big ones, soft and cakey, that you eat with a
cauldron of cold, whole milk.  That you can dunk, or to avoid the
ineveitable decomposition of the cookie when it is saturated, and the
disconcerting particulate suspension in the milk, which no one is
particularly fond of, you can do what I do.  Disgustingly, take a
large bite of the cooky and then fill any void spaces left over in
your mouth with milk.  To do this right you need a bib, but I never
wear one.

Well there was no recipe for molasses cookies in the family cookbook
that we put together so I went on the internet.  Some of the recipes
there used a lot of spices such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon and
allspice, but I did not remember mom's cookies being particularly
spicy, I just remembered the taste of the molasses.  So I decreased
the amounts of spices and eliminated cloves.  Some of the recipes
called for a large proportion of refined sugar as compared to the
molasses, but as I indicated before, what I remembered from Mom's
cookies was the flavor of the molasses, so I upped the proportion of
black strap molasses and pretty much eliminated the refined sugar.  I
synthesized several recipes for the egg, milk and flour components,
and because the memory of molasses cookies was so strong I decided to
double the recipe.

Then it came to mixing the ingredients together, and the truth is, I
probably could have followed the directions a little better with
regard to the sequence of adding ingredients, etc.  Looking back, it
is clear to me now that mixing half a cubic yard of sakrete in a
wheelbarrow would have taken about the same amount of effort, and
would have yielded similar results.  This is where I began to get some
premonitions of the eventual outcome.

Debi remarked that she had not seen molasses cooky dough that stiff,
and she questioned the nature of the copious white nodules in the
batter.  I explained that they were organic, and could be eaten.

The only thing about cookies, other than taste, that I am not
indifferent too is size, so I decided to make them big.  I retreived a
wide mouth glass from the cup board and used that to cut out the
cookies from the rolled-out dough.  Interestingly, as stiff as the
mixed dough was, I was able to use a standard rolling pin to roll it
out and did not have to trouble myself with renting some sort of a
roller from Uhall.

Then I baked them, I used the maximum temperature and the maximum time
from the assorted recipes on the internet for the first batch, and in
successive batches doubled the time, then added to that.  I finally
resorted to finishing them off using the convection utility on the
oven which converts it to sort of a blast furnace.

I was disappointed, the cookies are lousy.  They have the specific
gravity of a lead sinker, but slightly better texture.  On the upside
they do not dissolve when you dunk them milk, in fact, I am not sure
they would dissolve in nitric acid.  They are round and about the size
of a clay pigeon.  They could be used as such, except I doubt if they
would break apart unless they were hit dead center with a deer slug.

I jotted down the recipe that I was propounding from my imagination
and the internet sources, I am considering approaching Corning glass
with it, I think that many of the ceramic properties of the cookies
have industrial or military applications.

Then I thought of the other thing.  When I think of cookies, really
contemplate them, I come to realize that they are the villians of the
cullinary world.  What do cookies contribute to nutrition---nothing.
In fact too much sugar has been linked to all sorts of health
problems.  The other thing about cookies is that they are addictive,
they are like rabbits, one cooky begets another, and another, and
another, etc.  For example, starting with the resolve to just eat one,
the next thing that you know is that you have gone through a quart of
milk and a couple of sleeves of Oreo's.

Not with these cookies, beginning with the first bite, there is in
fact a diminishing desire to take another bite.  Finish the first
cookie (some alzheimers patients and unusually desparate people would
do that) and the the idea of having another cooky, any cooky is
repugnant.  Better yet the after taste remains with you for the rest
of the day.

If you visit us over the holidays you can have as many as you want.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A job?

               This is not how I spent my morning.

Today I had my second job interview.

I was a bit of a nervous wreck. I know this about myself, so the night before I took a diphenhydramine and went to bed at 9, so that I wouldn't be nervous and sleep deprived. I left for the interview at 7:45, giving myself an hour and 15 minutes to make a 50 minute drive, knowing that I would likely get lost in, I did. But only for a short while. The drive was nerve wracking because I hate fast paced urban driving. And I hate driving in new places. Really I am more of a horse and buggy type. So anyway. I got there. And proceeded to have what I thought was a pretty shitty interview. Sure, I shined a few times. But there were at least two instances in which I was fumbling over words and thinking to myself, "This sucks. Am I making sense. Do I sound like an idiot." Not a good sign right?

But I had already realized that if I was not offered the job I wouldn't beat myself up about it because I don't need the freaking commute or the challenge of teaching low-income kids who are minorities with special needs in the neediest school district in the state. I don't mean to sound heartless. I am also excited about teaching these kids. And they deserve passionate, caring, devoted teachers like me who so want to be the best teacher that they give themselves ulcers. But I am terrified. And intimidated. And would rather be doing it as a single person with no kids of her own and a less complicated personal life.

Then they told me they wanted to hire me. One of the interviewers actually said, "We want to hire you." And she said, "I think this went very well." A few times. I am pretty sure she was trying to convince herself. I am pretty sure they didn't get a lot of applicants. But I need the job. And it pays better than the district I live in. I don't quite have the job yet though. I have to be observed teaching a lesson. Unless I bomb that, I suppose I have a job. She said she wants me to start work before the 9th of January. And I am sure a month in, I will stop vibrating and putting the lettuce in the freezer like I did today.

This afternoon I bought two books that promise to help me become a better (white) teacher of minority kids.

Black Ants and Buddhists- Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades


Beyond heroes and Holidays- A practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dating- A Tragicomedy, Le Fin

Dating is crazy. Almost as crazy as a woman in a bikini trying to be a clock.

Dating for me was/is an alien experience. I never really dated before I got married. Anyone I went out with was someone I had already known. No online dating. No let's hang out first in daylight so I can make sure you are not a complete psycho. I tend to attract some pretty wackadoodle people in my non-dating life already, I have no desire to push my luck. So, beginning to date felt like being plunked down into another country without a lonely planet guide, without a compass, without even traveler's checks. Do those even exist any more? I guess they do? And if we take the confusion and pain and well, confusion that is the natural outcome of a separation, even a very amicable and loving one like mine, if we could take that confused pain out of the equation, dating is still very confusing.

The Game
There is the whole game thing. To play or not to play. Some friends/siblings/cousins will counsel you to not call the person even if you are DYING to. Some will say to wait, three, no four days to call. Some will say keep emails to a maximum of 5 lines. Some will say do not be too eager. I have always loved cats but if I were a cat or a dog. I'd be a dog. I am eager. And I have trouble not showing my feelings. Trouble?? I am nearly incapable of it, unless it has to do with kids and professionalism, in which case I can hold my own. So, I don't play games. Even if I decided to wait to call or email or whatever, I would forget an hour later and oops, I have communicated. My cousin says that is a common downfall of women when it comes to dating. She claims that men, and women, want to chase. It is biological, she says. And I get that. But I suck at the letting myself be chased thing. So I don't let myself be chased. But then I worry the whole  damn time that I should have.

So here is my story.

I dated this guy for several months. Was he ever my boyfriend? I don't think so. Did I want him to be? Yes. Could I talk to him about my frustrations with this? Hardly. At least not in any direct, articulate and meaningful kind of way. Because I felt like I was being neurotic or crazy or both. Because I was scared of being rejected. Because I did not know what I was doing, though people have been doing it for centuries. I wanted, in the wise words of Joni Mitchell, To knit him a sweater, write him a love letter and make him feel better. Or at least I thought I did. In the end, and after several months, the last few of which I was starting to feel slightly disappointed by him on a regular basis (not a good sign...duh), he dumped me. For an ex-girlfriend. Who he had been in love with for a year and a half. Who he was still in love with. And he did it in an email. And he did it the day after Thanksgiving, after declining to come to dinner at my house last minute.

So, for a few days I was really raw. And then we talked. And so many things made sense. And I realized it really was for the best. I have learned a few things. I should trust my gut more. I should not be afraid to put myself out there and be more vulnerable, maybe it would have ended things sooner with him. I still feel grateful to him. Aside from being the worst dumper, he was really sweet and he helped me get through a really tough time.

And there you have it. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Civil Wars

I am addicted to this song and this band right now. Big shout out to cousin Bobby for the introduction! Apparently they opened for Adele. That would be one amazing and depressing show. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Don't scowl at my cowl

Last year I made a cowl that was a bit too restrained, it wasn’t cowly enough. This year, armed with a chunky wool blend in a lovely peacock-teal shade and my size 11 needles, I set out to fulfill my need for a cozy (easy to make) neckwarmer. It was a success, even my fashionable NYC sister (who would declare she is not fashionable) wants one. I am making her one right now.

Mermaid Cowl- Super easy

I cast on 29 stitches (you need to use a multiple of 6 stitches plus 5 to do the chevron pattern)

1st row (right side) K5,[ p1, k5] to end
2nd row K1, [p3, k3] to last 4 stitches, p3, k1
3rd row P2, [k1, p2] to end
4th row P1, [k3, p3] to last 4 stitches, k3, p1
5th K2, [p1, k5] to last 3 stitches, p1, k2
6th row Purl to end

Repeat these 6 rows until it is the length you desire. Bind off and use a crochet hook to stitch up the seam. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dating, a tragicomedy- Part deux

In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le tambourin, 1887

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890

The Date...

     Before the date, like any educated, rational woman who has two kids, and a job to think about, I spent gobs of time considering what to wear. I settled on my lucky jeans, as in they give me luck, not the brand. I also opted to wear a wacky sleeveless shirt with a tropical print that could look cute on a grandma but seems to work on me in a not-too- ironic way, topped off with a plain navy cardi. On my feet I planned to wear my lucky shoes- red dansko maryjanes. Only they happened to be broken (have since been mended by peddler) and Kim informed me that one does not wear broken shoes on a first date, nor a second date even. Instead, I wore my lovely leather boots handed down by Laura L.
     I was so nervous I hardly slept all week. I left my apartment a half hour early. I parked a few blocks away from the cafe and tried not to vomit or shit my pants in a bookstore not far from the meeting place. To console myself, I cowered in the poetry section. But I couldn't find Li Young Lee (Thanks, TIna) and that was what I had wanted to read so anyway... I went to the cafe a bit early because I wanted to avoid standing in line with an almost complete stranger who may or may not offer to buy me coffee and then we would have to have that convo. Not that I am against a man buying me coffee, but I could only imagine how awkward I could make that. Plus I was worried that then he would have to watch me think about which muffin I should buy, though I didn't want one but felt like I should eat one since I could barely eat that morning and didn't want to pass out in front of him. And I didn't want him to think I care about calories or anything though as you will soon read my coffee took care of that .And then he would witness me fumbling with change and trying to pay. Yes, I thought about all of these things. Am I Elaine?
     So I am sitting in a black metal chair in the sunshine with my enormous muffin and my iced coffee, that I accidentally put so much cream in I may as well have ordered and ice cream sundae. I see him from  halfway down the block and awkwardly stand up and he says my name and I say yes. I walk halfway there and put out my hand and say "nice to meet you", WAY PREMATURELY.  Awkward. I mean, ten beats after my greeting, he has reached my hand. Meanwhile, my hand has been outstretched, waiting. We eventually sat down and had a nice time. I ended up not eating the enormous muffin. I could not stomach it. So it ended up in my purse. After all the worries about first impressions I put a muffin in my bag in front of him and that was totally fine. It reminded me of the time in a restaurant with Laura and Mike when as we walked through the bar to leave, I fumbled with my bag and  a big crusty hunk of bread flew out and rolled down the carpet. I ignored it and walked on, my face beat red, as the bar patrons contemplated why homeless women seem to fit in and smell so much better these days. Clearly, I have not learned. 

We talked for nearly two hours. And then I started thinking about how I would feel bad if he got up and was the first one who said he had to go. So I avoided that by saying I needed to check the time yada yada yada... And I asked him if he wanted to walk me to the parking garage. He said sure. 

       It was fun. 
       He was handsome and seemed really smart and interesting. He was older but I didn't care. 
       He said he hoped our paths crossed again? What? Does that mean he doesn't want to set up a date but if we randomly see each other in the street it might be pleasant? It is quite possible that he could tell I was crazy and so the fact that I did my best to be tres jolie won't matter much.      
     Later, in the parking garage I completely forgot how to use the parking card payment system though I have done it a zillion times. So I pretended that I needed help and the lady behind me told me what to do...  
      Then I couldn't find my card when it was time to go (1 minute later) and so the (annoyed) car behind me had to back up so I could pull over and find it under my purse.  
     On my way home, to top off the wackiness, I went to Wholepaycheck and bought some random food items in a daze. 

To Be Continued...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dating, a tragicomedy- Chapter One

Sorry lovely flapper,  you can vote, and you can get a divorce, but it is going to be miserable.

 13 months ago, M. moved out. It was gradual but it was tough. We knew we wanted to work together and be adults about it. Sane sensitive adults, that is. And I think we have both agreed that while there is inevitable trauma in divorce, if parents behave and the kids don't see their parents hating on each other, the kids will be just fine. That is what we have heard and are banking on anyway

   Several months after M. moved out, and by moved out I mean he slept somewhere else but still cooked dinner, got his kids on the bus and was around almost as much as before, he and I were still sad. Yes, sad is the word. Sad is the right word if you mean crying yourself to sleep a few times a week, wiping tears in the bathroom at work, choking while getting the mail, sobbing in between night classes at the local university, while sitting in your dark car, listening to the Cure over your dinner of a thermos of lukewarm soup. Sad is the right word if sad means telling all your girlfriends that any day now you were going to chop off your locks take a vow of celibacy, and become a Buddhist nun.
Well, eventually even the best of girlfriends and sisters need to say buck up.

 In my case it went something like like this...

   Laura G.- "Your eyes are puffy. You look wan. Did I just say wan? And yet, despite your wanness you are quite a catch. Have I told you how lovely your cheekbones are today? You should try online dating."
   Me- As I pass Laura the Sauvignon and the bowl of raw cookie dough." Hell no, I don't want another man, I want a dog. And you have amazing hair. How do you do it?"
   Laura G.- "Snap out of it Kell, you can't have a dog in your apt. You can come over to my place, we'll sip some white wine and we'll put cute pictures of you up and come up with a profile and it will be fun!"

   Me- [horrified look]

                     For some reason I must illustrate this horrified look as a librarian. How cute is my mani?

   Laura G.- "You don't actually have to date anyone. But it will make you feel good about yourself to remember how cute you are."
   Me- [horrified look]

A few weeks later I did create a profile. I deleted it the next day. Then one night, as I folded laundry in front of hbo, I created one again. A simple one with a tasteful picture of myself. I closed my lap top, went back to the living room to fold laundry. A half hour later I tiptoed back to my bedroom, opened up my laptop and scurried back to the fat chair in the living room to check on my profile. To my horror, someone, A MAN, was trying to instant message me, at that very moment. I literally snapped it shut, ran back to my room,  tossed my laptop on my bed, closed the door, and resumed folding laundry. I felt violated. And not just a little bit neurotic.
The next day I erased that profile as well.

Eventually I created another one, and slogged through poorly written messages from men my age to 30 years older than me, looking for love, or well, sometimes other things too, but mostly love. It felt like a depressing cycle of rejection. To be honest, I was doing most of the rejecting but it still did not feel good. I was about to quit the online dating thing, again.

Then, a curious thing happened. I got a message. From an overeducated man. I tend to go for that type, maybe I should stop, but I'll discuss that later. The comment was silly. We had something in common. Something dorky in common. And he made a joke of it.  He was cute in a nerdy way. With dark glasses and curly hair.  We wrote back and forth for awhile and eventually he asked me to go for coffee.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the hostess

I have been planning a friend's baby shower. I am happy to do it. I love my friend. I can't even remember if she asked me to do it or I offered. She probably asked me which embarrasses me somewhat, I should have offered first. Here's the thing, I have never felt like the hostess with the mostest.  All the details of planning an affair for a large group of people stress me out. Remember, I am someone who gets antsy if I am not 5 minutes early for an event, a quirk that I am trying to work on. And I don't love being the center of attention. Though in this case, I won't be, I am not the one having the baby.

So my answer to these woes is to keep it really simple, which is a good mantra anyway, right? The invitations are correct, I quadruple checked them, the second time they went out. The pavilion in the park has been reserved. Food, drink and tableware has been taken care of. But, shouldn't there be something else?  I will not make a grown women eat a melange of melted candy bar out of a freaking diaper. Nor will I make women play baby name bingo. And this is not going to be the spiritual blessingway event either, my friend has another friend planning that event for her, (an organic farmer from Ithaca no less).

I am not one for ironic or cutesy decorations and neither, I think,  is my friend. Decorations will be flowers, in jars. Probably mason jars. But decoration ideas abound on the interweb. Check these out.

Is this a reference to the stork or is this telling us that now that we are having babies we will become old maids. UGLY. And not just a tiny bit terrifying. 
no comment.
This is a diaper cake. non edible. Made of diaper paraphernilia. I am sure the women/woman who made it did it with love. And I feel like a party pooper. But, come on. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

an itty bitty sultry summer ditty- 2 Ways

Sea of Love
I am going to try to get back to blogging more regularly. I have had little time and too many distractions. One of the things I am trying to do is get off this uke plateau. Tricky. Especially since my favorite partner in uke playing has moved to Easthampton. But we have plans to practice every week and she is getting super good at banjo and we may even get a gig at a cafe. Here is a song that I just got the chords to this morning. IN this recording I am trying really hard to sound relaxed even though I m totally high on a cup of joe.
Easy chords. Simple song. Thanks, Cat Power. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Trouble- Cat Stevens

MY NEW TENOR UKE!!!!! A huge thanks to Sharon and my mama!!!

Note that right before singing I say, "fudge ripple" instead of le "f" bomb. Dork.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This, a beach, a cocktail. All I need.

A little bit o' bossa nova...lowers the blood pressure, I find.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Talk

For months, and I mean months, M. and I have procrastinated about having The Talk. Mostly due to fear. Fear of the hurt it would cause us. Fear of the hurt it would cause our kids, who of course had some sense of what was going on. But it finally came to a point where not telling them might cause more damage than  telling them.

They have known that  for months now daddy doesn't sleep at home. But in the beginning M. was coming home so early in the am and leaving so late at night, it was barely noticeable. But since M. and I have become more comfortable with the seperation it has become more definitive. The boundaries are slowly becoming clearer. The kids had to be told.

So, after a couple hours of post-school soccer, with the sun shining and the birds chirping outside. Sitting around our ikea dinner table with my nana Kitty's china laden with whole wheat tortilla wraps (avocado, pepper, red onion, tomato, carrot ribbon and cream cheese wraps)  and fruit salad (mango, banana and strawberry), I dove right in.

"Hey, guys, you've noticed how dad is staying at Uncle Johnny's right?", they nod, munching away, "Well, it's because daddy and I want some space from each other. We still love each other", M. joins the table and adds a few thoughts. And it goes on. We say "we will always love each other and we will always be a family."Ez giggles. We ask why. He says, "because I already knew that of course." A few minutes later, after more rambling from us. Ez asks to be excused. So he can play. We ask him to tell us first how he feels. "Wierd. I dunno." he says. Henry says he wishes we could all live together.

It is not your fault.
We will always be a family.
Every family is different.
We love each other.
We love you.
Daddy misses sleeping in the same house with you. It makes him a little sad. But he is not terribly sad      (this especially for Henry, our worrier)
We are doing this so we won't fight and be very unhappy.
It is not your fault.
You can always call daddy.
We will still do family things together.
This summer you can camp at Uncle Johnny's with daddy.
You can talk to us anytime about this.
We love you.

Now I am part relieved. Part waiting for the fallout.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Favorite Ukelele Links...

Another pretty uke. Custom Resonator with Koa body, Rope Binding and Ivoroid Headstock Overlay....from James Clem

I have a way to go I admit, but the great thing about learning to play the easiest instrument in the world is that internet lessons abound. As do, chords, charts etc...
Here are a few of my favorite spots to snag a new song or a new strumming method...

Pineapple Pete has some good lessons from basic to advanced and beyond.

Ukelele Songs. com

Chordie has guitar chords but you can use those to play uke.

Richard G.s songbook  has tons of uke tunes

Aaron Keim's Lessons on youtube are great. This is the clawhammer which I am working on but you can move to the other lessons from here...

There are tons of sites online that feature guitar chords and you can use those to play uke. The chord placement is different unless you play baritone uke. But you can use the notes...

Ga Ga

Is it so terribly wrong to think that I would become a master at the uke if I had an Oscar Schmidt Bell shaped Tenor ukelele? The bell shape was apparently very popular in the 1920s. Sorry you can't see her lovely neck. Isn't she purty?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Day! Sun! Song!

Oh Susannah!

Taking a break from a lit. review.

Decided to record a song. This sounds better when Kim and I do it together. But I have yet to record us singing together. Soon. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

it is going to be fun

to have freckles on my face.
to be looking forward to camping. barbecues. sand in toes.
to be done with papers. FOREVER.
and to watch this romantic comedy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Finger Picking W.I.P

2 finger style
I am working on some other finger picking too but not ready to show it.
my coordination is improving somewhat.....

But I think I look like a zombie in this film. or maybe subconciously i am trying to look like a is raining. I am tired...I may be getting a cold. 

Junkie Song- Be Good Tanyas

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This sounds right to me...

I have a simple philosophy: Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. Scratch where it itches. 

-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Friday, March 25, 2011

A list of some things to do when you are trying not to be depressed.

1. Get a physical. For real. Having a doctor tell you that you do not have cancer and in fact you are perfectly healthy can bring your mood up for awhile. That is unless you find out you are sick. But then at least you figured that out and can get proactive.

2. Learn something new. I bought a ukelele and in a few weeks am going to be playing and singing with my friend at her art opening. We are trying to come up with a name for our duo. Let me know if you have any ideas...Next: banjo and lessons.

3. Eat healthy and get moving. Shove vegetables and healthy grains into your system. This will counteract all of the chocolate and coffee. Dance or do something active. that one is obvious and not always easy but it truly helps.

4. Get spiritual.  There is nothing like the wisdom of Buddha, Thich Nhat Han,  Pema Chodron or the Toltecs to get you to see where you should send your energy.  Burning candles, yoga and baths can be rejuvinating.

5. Be gentle with yourself. Listen to the negative things you say to yourself, such as, "I will always be alone." or  "Something must be wrong with me.", "I have failed my children. I suck."or the absolute worst, "LOOK AT MY THIGHS, HOLY COW", etc... When you say those things you are just sending more negative energy to yourself. It is a form of punishment. Is it fair to punish yourself over and over for the same thing? NO.

6. Help someone else. Donate to a good cause. Spend some time with an elderly person who is lonely. Tutor someone. Babysit for a a friend who needs a night out with her husband. It will put things in perspective in a good way. Okay except for that last one. 

7. Wallow and then move on. Wallow and then move on. Repeat. Allow yourself time to cry. Have an ice pack ready in the morning so you can open your eyes. And then do something useful, like feeding your kids breakfast. Later, have a good cry again. and then do the dishes. Reward yourself with that accomplishment by having another good cry. And then get back to the real world again and kick  that lit. review in the arse.

8. Listen to something that makes you oh so happy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

from lemons comes curd

As I was inspecting Henry's winter coat for signs indicating immediate laundering turning his pockets inside out and throwing away tissues, a broken nerf bullet and a crumpled clue from a birthday treasure hunt, it occurred to me that avoiding this blog because my life has been so difficult might be a bit silly. It is true that on some days I am too busy to write or think about the blog; papers, preschool, my own children demand so much of my time. But I have also been avoiding it because Matty moved out in October. And it is a topic so painful and personal. Then I realized that most people who read this blog know about it. And while I am not about to turn my blog into The  Diary of a Woebegone Woman, I can use it to write about what is helping us through this painful time.

Marriage is complicated. Matt and I still love each other and we intend to work through this together and come out  happier individuals in the end, whether we are Together or Not. Which is why we have been doing this slowly. Which is why our kids do not even know. And why we are trying to be good friends to each other. But I don't always see things this clearly. Sometimes it all seems just sad and confusing. We have spent nearly half our lives together. Who am I without Matt?

As you can probably tell, today is a good day. Possibly because the sun is shining and I have the day off tomorrow. Possibly because I slept less fitfully last night. Possibly because I burned so much sage and lit so many candles while I took a bath at 2 in the afternoon that I am experiencing a chemical high that one only experiences after breathing in sage and candles and listening to a favorite bluegrass pandora station so loud that the neighbors think you are having a spiritual hoedown.

So I am trying to be gentle with myself and Matt. Not selfish or indulgent. But gentle. Which means forgiving and kind.  And maybe it means buying sage smudge sticks in bulk.

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan with Love

And grateful that Kaori and her family are safe. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Henry was sick this week. He missed a day and a half of school. And we enjoyed extra cuddle time. One afternoon, we laid in bed together chatting and listening to Adele's new album and I couldn't resist showing him this super cool video.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I love this painting

By Chelsea James
In fact, I love all of her paintings and wish I could buy one or even a print. Someday. The mistiness of this one, and the fact that it is an aerial view of a rural landscape that is abstracted if you just glance at it without a thought, really attracts me.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

St Baldricks

A college acquaintance of mine is shaving her head to raise money to support research for childhood cancers. I am so impressed. She has beautiful, long blond hair.

 She was a good friend of Rosie's. Here is a link to her fundraising page if you care to donate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crowns and Beauty...

My cousin recently won the title of Miss Boston which will allow her to compete for Miss Massachusetts. I am not a fan of pageants really but I am a fan of my cousin and I think it is cute and quirky that she notes the following about herself- "I have fostered and rehabilitated almost 50 animals in the past three years ranging from bottle-baby kittens, to opossums, to baby rabbits. I can also pull a 40-foot rig, drive a tractor, and make delicious frosting."
She has for years been involved in animal rescue and humane education in college and through her non profit organization Shelter Me and I suppose this title will help her organization gain recognition andhelp her to make an even bigger difference. Ezra just thinks it's great that Aunt Sara is a real princess now. 

My dad  sent the following email around to family members about the beauty gene in our family... it gave me a chuckle...  

Dear Cousins,

When one shoots at a target, and if one is good, the bullet strikes on the paper are close together.  But nearly always, if enough shots are fired, there is bullet strike that removed from the main group.  These aberrational shots are called fliers, for one reason or another, known only to god, they are off target.  Coming from a family that on the one side included Julie Newmar and uncle Bob, whose 20 foot high portrait in a Marine Corps recruiting poster graced Grand Central Station, and on the other side included my beautiful Aunt Delores, and her wonderfully, bilaterally, symmetrical siblings,  I have always considered myself a flier, aesthetically at least, and was worried that my appearance on the scene foreshadowed a decline in the aesthetic qualities of our genome.  Not to worry, your relative and mine, Sara Carlisle is the new Miss Boston, as our genome continues into the next century as beautiful as ever.  Except there will be a flier now and then.

P.S My dad is actually quite cute. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

My First Born

Henry just turned 9. I am in awe of Henry. His kindness warmth and sensitivity. His creativity and zest for life. I can't believe how lucky I am to have been blessed with him. From the depths of my heart.

For his birthday dinner he requested: sushi, miso soup and dumplings. And cake. He wanted to know all of the kinds of cake that exist. I told him we did not have time for that kind of research but after a few choices he chose the cake I made for Molly's last birthday- Paula Deen's 3 layer coconut cake with my own adaptation- lemon curd. And because it turned out sort of seuss-like, read lopsided/ugly, I covered it with vanilla buttercream and sandwitched lemon curd between the layers.  And we had a MAD dance party in our living room with Laurie and Noni and even Papa and dad dancing....

And all weekend he, his bro and his bff noni played peacefully and joyfully. And laurie and I drank coffee and wine and ate lots of food in between.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

My humble Doris tribute aka "Lookie here it's a different strumming method"...

Happy Late Valentines Day!!

So I have been practicing a number of Doris Day songs including "Black Hills of Dakota", apropos because I have been watching the hbo series (from a few years back) Deadwood, a gritty Western taking place in the Black Hills.

Nothing can ever be perfect, you'll have to excuse the noise. And also I have a rocking tic when I play.  I don't know how to get rid of either of those things...But  I wanted to share my progress. I still want to look at the notes constantly. But that's ok since my usual audience is two boys who are sword fighting during my concerts (except for when Ezra makes requests (Rufus Wainright's version of Halleluja and Long Black Veil)

Sinead sings an amazing cover of this but I can't find it on youtube with just her singing...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Art Costa's Habits of mind...

  1. Persisting – Do stick to it.
  2. Communicating with clarity and precision – Be clear.
  3. Managing impulsivity – Take your time.
  4. Gathering data through all senses – Use your natural pathways.
  5. Listening with understanding and empathy – Understand others.
  6. Creating, imagining, innovating – Try a different way.                                                                                     
  7. Thinking flexibly – Look at it another way.
  8. Responding with wonderment and awe – have fun figuring it out.
  9. Thinking about your thinking (metacognition) – Know your knowing.
  10. Taking responsible risks – Venture out.
  11. Striving for accuracy and precision – Find the best possible solution.
  12. Finding humour – Laugh a little.
  13. Questioning and problem posing – How do you know.
  14. Thinking interdependently – Learning with others.
  15. Applying past knowledge to new situations – Use what you learn.
  16. Remaining open to continuous learning – Learn from experiences. 
  17. Image from The Way Things Work, David Macauley,1988

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ernst Heackel

 I recently discovered Ernst Heackel's amazing scientific drawings. I 
have long been a fan of botanical/scientific drawings but hadn't heard of Heackel. Now I have to get my hands on his book, Art Forms in Nature. Yikes. All of the above images are from that book, I believe. I ran into his name while working on a science lesson plan for one of my classes. He is the author of the term," Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny. Which informed much of our beliefs about evolution but not in the literal sense that he intended it. Basically it's modern iteration is that many developments take place during ontogeny (a species' development) that repeat or parallel it's species evolutionary development 
( phylogeny). Okay I am no scientist. That is my wild stab at understanding this... Anyway, his artwork is gorgeous. 


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