Archive for October, 2008

Yousef Abdel-Hafez

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Dear Yousef,

I am looking forward to our lives unraveling together. It will be my pleasure to see your personality grow from your content little heart. I can’t wait to see how smart you will be, how agile, how you will say things and present yourself to the world, but right now I just want to tell you how much I love you.

Welcome + Auntie Alis

No words can describe the weight of a newborn head in your hand.  It is the truest of all sensations, the basis of all meaning.

Proud mother leveraging technology to spread her joy. And how fabulous does she look!

Thanks for the Popcorn Dad!

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Transition evenings are always a little hard. However, tonight Seth came armed with his own shuffled child ice breaker – a bag of hand picked popping corn and a big grin! Apparently Seth and Dad went to the Ardenwood Farm Harvest Festival on Saturday. According to Seth the popcorn was from the pumpkin patch and he told us all we had to do was put it in the microwave and it would pop!

Mattie Googled microwaving popcorn and found a recipe we adapted. Here’s what we did:

  1. Coated the corn in Olive Oil.
  2. Put it in a brown bag and stapled it shut with 2 staples.
  3. Put the bag in the microwave.
  4. Pressed the button labeled “Popcorn”.
  5. Pressed the Start button.

Pretty soon it started popping. Seth was riveted. I too felt rater amazed by the out come. I like the way you can still see the husk in tacked. Seth told me to eat the corn that was still stuck to the husk because it tasted better. Perhaps this was so, but most importantly the popping of corn set a festive tone for the evening ~ here’s to Autumn!

Art Breaks

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

On Thursday I broke Ryder’s favorite bowl. It was the last dish to wash, and I was making a mental note to be careful because I was tired and did not want to break the bowl. That said it slipped out of my hand and crashed in the sink. I was astonished and freaked. After one loud swear I burst out in hysterical sobs (sometimes being a female is ridiculous). Ryder calmed me down, and assured me that he was far more concerned about my well being than the broken bowl.

I think the part that stung the most was that I can remember a time in my life when crockery was more important than my feelings. It’s hard to recover a belief in yourself when it’s been ground into you that everyone and everything else is more important than you. Being a mom you are always on the edge trying so hard to make it all work. We go for so long formatting our lives to cater to others. It’s a bit of a false reality that we live in, and apparently easy to shatter.

On a less dramatic note this paves the way for some well deserved nesting. Perhaps a new set of bowls?

Brent Johnson Pottery

Harvest Moon

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Some posts need no explanation, the pictures speak for themselves. Aydin’s gesture says it all. This day was all about looking at colorful round things that grew under one huge blue sky. Pumpkins grown at the edge of the Pacific can’t help but be expansive, it’s in their nature.

I spent $27 on a wagon full of heirloom pumpkins. I can’t wait to sample the different varieties; I have a lot of pumpkin enchilada nights planned this winter! I was told to expect the fabulous brussel sprouts beforehand, but I didn’t expect to be blown away by their geometry when still attached to a stem. Seth spent a great deal of time carefully pealing the leaves off a stray. He told me he was going to make soup. However, the leaves were later extricated from my pocket and fed to the resident chickens.

The corn proved to be equally interesting. Seth kept shucking ears and tossing them. Eventually he ran over with one and said, “look I found someone it their home”.

We cooked up the squash and brussel sprouts and got started on some “pumpkin ketchup”. Presumably this recipe will evolve tomorrow. All in all it was a fine day to admire mother earth and her bounty ~ blessings.


Friday, October 10th, 2008

This table lived in the dark kitchen of my great aunt Genevieve’s house. For eons it was buried under layers of Jack in the Box wrappers, cat food cans and folded litter bags. At some point in it’s history it had functioned as a kitchen table.  However, in my great aunt’s era it’s former glory was masked by a decidedly undomestic pall. I remember how the mint green paint used to peek out from under the garish colors, and the ever present odor of layered kitty fur and unmentionables. This table hinted at a taste for “county chic” that I just can’t shake. Long before Shabby Chic was on our “to get” lists at Target I yearned for “distressed” furniture. I longed for everyday wear and tear, signs that someone had kneaded bread and boiled laundry near by.

Well I got the bread kneading out of my system in college, and frankly I think that the modern washer and dryer are the greatest inventions ever, so where does “distressed” furniture find a place in my contemporary life? It has a place in my heart, I long for it. Ever since I could remember I wanted this table in my domestic space. I dragged it around with me in my mind. When I lived in a little cabin there was simply no room. When I moved to the farm house there was time to consider. I mean honestly how could I be fiddling around with refinishing a table that was shedding lead paint while I had a toddler in tow? The table languished in the back of my mind, reminding me of all the other things buried in my heart that for one excuse or another might never see the light of day.

It was actually Jim who liberated the farm table. I had agonized about how to get the paint off, and I need a respirator, and it would be a big ordeal… When I showed it to him he said, “Oh that’s easy, all you need to do is wrap it in duct tape and the paint will come right off and stick to the tape”. He was right, one insight set the table free.

It only took 20 minutes to wrap the table. The removal of the tape and sealing of the paint took another 40.

One of the interesting things I noticed was that the table had been painted over many times. Each time it was painted no one had bothered to clean the dirt and grime off. So either my ancestors were terrible housekeepers, or like me they accepted life as it was and simply painted over when they needed to move on. It is much easier to have a distressed table then have a distressed life. I find it empowering to have an object on which I can offload scary things, sad things, anxious things and all the other dismantling feelings I have collected along the way.  The table is at home and looks great completely exposed. I want that naked confidence, but right now that seems better left to the table.  Instead I will sit back and enjoy it’s domestic bliss, sorting through the mail and belaboring the occasional flower arrangement.

Fairy Flea Market

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Yesterday I picked Seth up from school at the Saratoga library parking lot. I suggested that we stop by Yamagami’s on the way home to get some cauliflower and cabbage to augment our seed sprouts. Seth gently reminded me that we are actually out of fairy stones, “we left them at the white house and we need to get a pile for grandpa’s house”. How could I say no? We headed down the expressway and threaded our way through the mall parking lot maze. Michael’s is our local “craft mega store”. I am pretty picky about engaging in consumer activities, and Michaels is on the top of my *Avoid Like the Plague* list. Seth was a very serious shopper, and we managed to make it out without too many other requests for stuff. Afterwards he wanted to sit and enjoy the afternoon on the bench outside. So we spent a lovely 15 minutes fingering “silk” flowers and hefting plastic pumpkins in the outdoor bins. He seemed to be enjoying himself, just meandering about and people watching. I like watching him appreciate what is there. He has no other stylistic expectations or judgments.

My First Jam Pot

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Seth was the cooking boy today. Our task was to bring bagels and jam. I wanted to bring home made jam. Aimee suggested that I make jam. So we did. I cut up 12 plums, added a little water, two handfuls of raspberries and a sliced apple from last week’s field trip. With moral support from Mattie I made jam from scratch. It was really easy. Seth arrived just in time to add the two mounds of sugar and help with the stirring. He was really helpful. He ate the extra raspberries and plum I had planned on showing the kids at cooking time. He was patient and ran to the sink when ever the jam bubble shrapnel singed him.

At one point I turned to Seth and told him that I was 36 and this was the first time in my life I had ever made jam. Seth told me he is three and this was his first time too, and that he is turning four in “Decemboa” – In case I forgot. It felt like such a candid moment. I am honestly not sure why I had gone my entire life and never made jam. Particularly considering that I love home made jam!

The jam was a big hit. Everyone helped themselves, and there was much licking of bagels. This particular cooking assignment was very “Mountain School” in that it involved color, a specific flavor and goopey texture. The kids spooned it out of little bowls that we set along the table. This worked well because they got to interact with the food and get a sense for how it felt to apply the jam. I’m not sure how many kids prepare their peanut butter and jelly on a regular basis. However, after this assignment I may suggest more participation from Seth so he does not miss out yet another food learning opportunity.

Lilly won the prize for the goopeyest bagel. I am constantly doing double takes with Lilly. I always notice her out of the corner of my eye engrossed with something, playing a sweet game or having a conversation with one bug or another. I like her introspection and parallel universe approach to communication. It does not seem to bother her when no one else is engaged in her world, she just carries on without the rest of us.

The Last Day of Summer

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Yesterday seemed like the last day of summer.  We went on your class field trip to the hot and dusty Taylor Apple Ranch.

Of course the apple trees surrounded by Redwoods and blue sky was just a bit to nostalgic for me.  Seeing as we just moved out of a place equally as dreamy I felt little rips of sadness here and there.  I think it is too much for me to process what is actually happening in my life so I stick to the surface where the colors are bright and the kids are entertaining.

Fortunately the Taylor Ranch has many fairy circles perfect for outdoor birthdays and stump exploration.  Our class has many boys and the energy is really palpable.  Charlie is one of the lead characters.  His little boy instincts are infectious.  If you stop him in mid rampage he will look at you like a dear in the headlights (no comprehende) and simply carry on without missing a stride.  He get’s so absorbed in play it is a joy to everyone, clearly Seth in this case.

Always time to look up and meditate on that great space where tree meets sky.

Row Row Row your Log gently down the Stream!

Content to eat apples in the trunk after a long afternoon.  Mountain School leaves us feeling so “good tired” we keep comming back for more.