Sunday, August 29, 2010


Now I know what's been eating my sweet potato leaves!

But they're so cute, I can't bring myself to do anything about it. The kids and I fell totally in love with them - out in the rain and wet, happily munching away on a delicious treat.

Daily Bliss: gorgeous, slow rain
Wake-up Playlist: The Black Keys, Psychotic Girl


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Birthday Cake!

My nephew, who was very confused by the offering of sugary icing goodness:

This Day

I will breathe. I will breathe on purpose so that I remember to do it.
I will put one foot in front of the other.
That will keep me going.

I will put some things out of my mind so that I can do the things I have to do.

I will silently conduct two pages of rhythms -
maybe I will do that in front of the mirror, maybe not.

I will play Debussy with more passion than I've ever allowed myself to express.

I will celebrate one year of having a little nephew.
That is the biggest thing of all.
One year of life for a little one that started out on shaky ground and is now strong and smart and amazing.

I think this will be a good day.
I hope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am nearly drowning in my schedule this week.
I will update soon.
Oh - don't's not bad stuff, I just don't have the brain power left today to write something intelligent, so instead, I give you a photo.

My painter friend has started up a local art magazine and is holding a contest - all entries must be created around the idea of Chuck Taylors. The rules are very loosely defined. I had lots of ideas and ran out of time and this is what I came up with, two hours before the deadline. Last night.
Of course.
That's just how I roll, yo.
So, I can't decide if I think it's cool or it it's just weird and I don't have a title, but I got nothin' else for you today either. I wanted to send him something at any rate, just to support what he's doing, because I think it's awesome.

Ta-ta for now!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It was a dark and stormy day.
She knew she should have been at the piano, analyzing Debussy's Reverie. If she didn't start on it soon, she'd never be ready for her impending recital class.
But a lull in the storms and the promise of more rain lured her to the front porch of her beloved, tiny cottage. Procrastination in the form of quiet introspection was always her greatest talent.

Daily Bliss: Finishing my first week's English assignment
Wake-up Playlist: The Beach Boys, Don't Worry Baby

Monday, August 23, 2010


It was dark when we left the house this morning.

I do apologize that the photo is dark and noisy. It is what it is.
We left super-early so that everyone could get to school on time.
Including me.

We all made it and everything got done today.
And that is enough.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ending the Summer

I certainly didn't have the summer I'd hoped to have, but I've decided that I'm okay with that. We didn't have any blackout nights and couldn't find any firewood, so we didn't have a bunch of fires in the back yard, nor did we pull out our telescope. Not even once.
But you know what? Emma and I made French pastries and a fairy house and Andrew went to robotics camp and we got up early to watch a meteor shower and played tons of video games. We cooked together and played Monopoly too.
It was a good summer.
I'm having a hard time forcing my brain and body to comply with the scheduling challenges that are ahead. I need to do a little organizing in order for this to all work smoothly and I just don't want to. I have a new little toy camera that takes special film and I want to take pictures with it. I want to sew a couple of skirts. I want to go to the beach and write.
But I have to do paperwork. I have to call insurance companies about claims from that car accident I had last year. I have to make a written schedule to make sure that none of our activities overlap and we leave the house in the morning with all the right equipment, books and instruments for the things that will happen that afternoon.

I have to be a grown up.

Yesterday, I took the kids over to my mom's to go swimming. We spent a long while watching a fat caterpillar munching on the marigold leaves. He wiggled up and down the branches, moving from one juicy morsel to the next. We rescued a baby lizard from the pool. He was so tiny that he was trapped on top of the surface tension of the water! We watched him and another lizard hunting ants and chewing up their lunches, licking their lizard-y mouths and jumping around. Andrew did a few handstands under the water and Emma floated around and I even got in the pool with them.

Today, Chris left for a business trip. He'll be gone a lot over the next few months and I'm sure to be very lonely. But for now, I'm kinda looking forward to a few evenings of time for myself. I don't know if I can force myself to do all the grown-up things I need to do when I have some delicious me-time waiting. Opportunity only knocks once, they say. Who am I to shut it out?

Alas, Monday is reckoning day and I must find a way to be ready.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Something

I had one last little item planned that I had to whip out before my self-imposed, arthritis-care knitting slow-down.
Some friends of ours are having a little baby girl and I had to knit something for her. I haven't yet had a little girl come into my life since learning to knit and I always look at all of the sweet little cardigans and sigh, dreaming of the day when I will knit some ruffles and pleats or a tiny bit of lace.
So, naturally, I had to seize the opportunity.
This is the Baby Kina pattern knitted up in Sirdar Snuggly DK yarn.
Also naturally, I couldn't leave well enough alone and just knit a sweater, so I whipped up a little skirt to match.
Also, since I whipped up a little skirt and knitted a sweater, I had to make a little rosette accessory.

Not knowing whether her parents would prefer the rosette on a headband or a onesie, I left it as-is and we can attach it to something later.
I really love the buttons. They might be my favorite part of the whole thing.

This is not to say that I will never again knit a baby sweater. Hardly! I just will have to plan ahead and not try to knit one up in three days' time. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best Day

Yesterday was such a good day that I am only just now able to write about it.
Just kidding.
I actually just got too busy to write about it.
But it was a really great day.
I had planned to take the kids to the beach one last time before the end of summer, but it didn't work out. As a consolation prize, we woke up early, stayed in our pajamas and played Star Wars Monopoly. Anybody who's ever played any kind of Monopoly knows that it is an endless game, so that means hours of pajama time. We made a trek out for sodas and Cheez-its and came back home for more Monopoly.
I lost my shirt before anybody else, but let the kids play on while I checked in on my registration status for classes and checked out what books I was going to need. I made phone calls that I'd been putting off and got a lot of things checked off my list.
That's a great feeling.
We watched Wallace & Gromit while we ate lunch and made newspaper seed pots for starting our fall garden tomatoes. They were so easy - just a couple folds and tucks over the rim of a glass. We used one staple in each pot, just for a little additional stability.

I sat on the back porch as an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and filled the cups with dirt, then Emma helped me tuck the seeds into each cup.

I haven't done a fall season garden yet, but I'm ready to give it a go. I still haven't had a lot of garden success, but I'm giving tomatoes two more chances. There will be plenty of them planted this fall and if it still doesn't work for me, I'll try once more in the spring.
And then I think I'll be done with tomatoes.

At any rate, once the tomatoes were planted, the kids wanted to make a treat, so we put a chocolate cobbler together. The kids did all the work while I read the recipe.

The rest of this week is going to be pretty busy, but I feel so good that we were able to squeeze one more family-fun day in before school starts up.

Daily Bliss: new classrooms at work and a fantastic new student
Wake-up Playlist: The Black Keys, "She's Long Gone"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Thing

So, there is one thing that I have not yet officially announced, and it's not necessarily a good thing.
I have arthritis.
Yeah, I know. It sucks.
But it's only in my wrist.
But it's my right wrist.
And yes it hurts, but the ice therapy I'm doing almost hurts worse.

This fate has befallen me as I am about to enter school full-time again to study piano and that sort makes me uncomfortable.

It isn't like I won't be able to play anymore, but I may not be able to do what I'd hoped to do with my skills.
Also, I think I will have to cut way back on the knitting.

My mother also has inflammatory disease(s) and hers are systemic - all over her body. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that makes me nervous. Of course, I know we aren't supposed to worry about the future, but sometimes a girl can't help it.

To that end, I have been contemplating some changes.

I don't know what they all will be yet, but I know that I won't be knitting a bunch of Christmas presents this year. And also?
Also, I will have to start taking care of myself. I mean, you know, like exercising and stuff.
I hate sweating.

So, one week from now, school begins.
Chris will be out of town.
I will be exercising.
I will be not knitting(much).
I will be playing the piano a lot-lot-lot.
And I will be re-focusing on photography a bit.
I thought about dropping the blog thing, but I think I'd miss you all too much.

I think it's time for me to narrow my focus on a couple of things and really, actually try to do them well instead of busying myself with myriad things that look impressive but don't require a mastery of skill to look impressive.

I don't know.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I am a sunset kind of girl. I love the colors, the ever-changing light, the metaphor and the melancholy that a sunset can bring.
It becomes painfully obvious how much I love sunsets when I look at all the sunset photos I have taken. I will trouble you now with an entire post of sunset photos. Some are unremarkable, some are beautiful, but they all were taken over the course of two evenings at the same beach.

There are a few more photos that I want to take time with, to edit and make them into something really nice. I will post them as they are finished, but it will likely be a while.

I think it's safe to say that I am done with the Silent Summer. I have struggled to find my words lately and maybe I just need to start writing again. Maybe they will come back to me. I can't promise that I will have anything to say. I worry that all I will write are to-do lists and already-done lists. My storytelling mojo is still running low, but maybe I just need to practice it back up.
We are winding down this summer and school looms ahead, not just for the kids, but for me as well. Chris will be traveling a lot this fall and I'm not sure how this is all going to work but I know that changes are on the horizon for our family. My mind is resisting the changes and the stretching that it knows are in the near future. I am not focusing well and wrestling with the desire to keep things easy and to do only what I want to do, not what I need to do. That has never been a fight that I've fought well, but I need to try again. I am hounded lately by the knowledge that I can't do all of it. I can't do everything I want to do. Some wants will have to give sway to some needs.


My Emma. Photos of my lovely Emma.

We made necklaces out of shells that we found on the beach. Emma's was...astounding. She kept adding to it. The longer we stayed on the shore, the more ornate her necklace became.

And now I offer proof that I was there. I don't usually wind up with photos of myself anywhere. I am far more comfortable behind the camera. Thanks, Alli, for taking these pictures of me and my girl. Emma saw them and said, "Mama! I look like I belong there!"


Our weekend seemed to be bursting with little critters that crossed our paths. Not all of them could be captured by my camera, namely the little kitchen mousie that was snacking around the place, but here are two that we loved:

This raccoon furtively skittered onto the beach once the sun had gone down and munched on little bits that he found in the sand.

This baby tortoise stole our hearts, though. He was making a perilous trek across the parking lot. We picked him up to move him past the danger (of course, only in the direction he was already moving). I took so many photos of him and just couldn't pick a favorite! Here are just some of them:


Soothing. Incomprehensibly powerful. I love water. I'm drawn to it and I prefer to have the most water possible out in front of me. I like that it's bigger than me and that I can't conquer it - can't do anything about it. So, I can rest when that's all that I can see.

What Does It Mean?

I found these cryptic lines and bubbles to be something like crop circles - mysterious in both origin and meaning.


I dedicate this post to my friend Mary, because I am a wicked girl and I know how much she despises sand.

But it gets even better. Some of us don't mind the sand at all.

In fact, some of us rather wallow around in it, saving our sandy-hinie regrets until after all the fun has been had.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I know I have mentioned that Emma and I were on an Artists' Retreat, but I have neglected to really say much about it. For the benefit of my newer friends and readers, let me 'splain.
My daughter is definitely a creative girl. And, well, so am I. I want to teach her how to be creative in a healthy way - to take care of herself, take time to look for inspiration, to seek adventure and find her place in this world that isn't always so friendly to our sort of girls. I also want her to have a community of creative women around her as she grows - people who understand and value the way she thinks and works. One activity I've devised that fits the bill is an Artists' Retreat. The past couple of years, we have gone to visit my friend Allison, who lives near the beach just a bit south of us. She is a writer and a poet and a Great Understander of People.
She's one of us.
So we go and stay with her for a few days. We eat interesting food that we find wherever we happen to be, we write and paint and draw and go to the beach a lot.
It's a few days of fun - connecting and creating.
We made a few really fun stops during our stay this year. An especially quirky one was the New University Pyramid Village. It's just a spot that Alli has always wanted to check out, so we did.
It's community with homes in pyramid-ish shapes and giant statues of composer heads.
I'm not even kidding.

We laughed and laughed, but we also felt super uncomfortable. I won't link to the website because it's pretty creepy, even if you could understand the poor English. It's some kind of new-age-ish European community. But still. Really funny stuff.
People crack me up.

On another day, we visited Koreshan State Park, which, now that I think of it, is pretty creepy in its origin too. But I love old buildings and crumbling structures and history, so I really enjoyed walking around.

But it was super-hot. We had just about given up and decided to seek out some air conditioning when we spied a pirate.
A real, honest-to-goodness Captain Jack Sparrow pirate.
Like any good free-spirited girl would do, we decided to follow him around a bit. I mean, the story is a bit more complicated than that, but Allison wrote a delicious poem about it that captures the whole event in far better and far more romantic terms than I could dare hope to write. Read it. You won't be sorry.

This pirate was so convincing that we spent the rest of the day giggling and wondering if he had been actually the real Captain Jack Sparrow. Upon close inspection of the photos, it has been determined that he was not. Sigh.

But that doesn't really matter, does it? We met a pirate. He told us we made his day. End of story.
The only reason there is no photo of me with the pirate is that I was pretty sure I couldn't PhotoShop out the lake of sweat that had welled up in my clavicle. I am a very vain girl, it seems.

(yawn) More tomorrow. I have spent this entire day playing with photos and I am ready to do something that doesn't involve a computer.