Monday, January 28, 2013

You know it's special when ...

the possessed

"I'm going to save these for when I get married and have a son. Even if he's a girl."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The blogger's daughter ...

Lauren Malone of Muggyman has nominated me for a Liebster Award, which seems to be a somewhat obscure internet pat on the back for being a favorite, small-time blogger. You pay forward the favor by patting the backs of your own favorite emerging bloggers.

The gist is to answer 11 questions put to you and then list 11 facts about yourself. And of course, you tag five people you admire and pose 11 questions to them.

So now ... without further ado ... here are my answers to the lovely Lauren's questions:

1. What is your favorite season?
It used to be autumn. I still love the colors of fall, especially in the hours before sunset on those rare days when the sky is a deep blue and the trees against it seem to be lit from within. But now, since having kids, my love of winter has overtaken its precursor. Cold air and a fresh blanket of snow outside; a wood stove burning hot inside, waiting for us to return from skiing, sledding or sculpting snow people.

2. What do you love most about being a mom?
That it brought me closer to my mother. 

3. Who is your #1 celebrity crush?
Morgan Freeman. I once attended an art gala where he was a guest. It was a small party, maybe 75 people altogether, but I was so afraid to accidentally bump into him that I just stayed as far away as possible. I envisioned an entire scene in which I was just saying nonsensical, embarrassing things like: "You were the best part of The Electric Company," or "Do you ever just hang out with Rita Moreno?"

4. What is your first memory?
It can't be true, but since I was a child I thought I remembered being a newborn in the hospital. I remembered venetian blinds half-way open and a crow on the ledge outside the window. I told my mother about it when I was 12. She said it wasn't possible, but that the nursery did have blinds half-way open.

5. Who is your idol?
My dad. My mom, too. It's hard to put the why of it into words -- but I bet you can understand without me spelling it out. 

6. What inspires you to write/blog?
I usually say my kids inspire me to write, and I suppose that's true in a way. The writing I do here has definitely taken shape amid the premise that it would be theirs to read and get to know the me who was getting to know them. But the thing is I write. That's what I do. It doesn't matter if anyone reads it or if it just gets lost in the ethosphere; I have to write it down.

7. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Coffee. Coffee would be my favorite breakfast cereal flavor if they made such a thing.

8. What is your favorite method of relaxation?
Canada geese. It used to be yoga ... but that was before kids and trying to juggle teacher conferences, play dates, dance class, 4-H, soccer, gymnastics and soon (gulp) Little League. Now I just listen for the honking of the Canada geese as they flyover head on their migration paths. For some reason their calls always take my tension away.

9. Where would you live if you could chose anywhere in the world?
New Zealand. Or Vancouver. Or Seattle. Or San Francisco. ... Oh who am I kidding? Anywhere seems better when you're on vacation. Once you have to figure out how to do the day-to-day life stuff, though, it doesn't really matter where you live, does it? How a person lives, not where, is the crux of it all.

10. Early riser or night owl?
Night owl, dammit. Wish I were an early bird.

11. What is your favorite book?
Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things." 

Eleven Facts About Me
* I was born on a Saturday, 40 minutes before Mother's Day.
* I prefer celebrating Mother's Day than my birthday.
* I stopped being a vegetarian on a flight to California. It was airplane chicken that turned me.
* Halloween is my favorite holiday.
* I can wiggle my ears and whistle with my fingers ... though I haven't tried these feats simultaneously.
* I can recite the entire 20-minute Alice's Restaurant massacre movement (though not with four-part harmony).
* I twice walked past former president George Bush (41) in a small Maine video store and didn't recognize him. 
* The things I do obsessively tend to balance out the stuff I do "half-assed" (or that's what I tell myself).
* I see nothing wrong with "re-gifting."
* I rarely ever take down the Christmas tree before February.
* I'm trying to smile more. I need to try harder.

So here's the part where I tag people:

I'm calling out some old favorites and hoping to reconnect.

Stefanie of Mommymatic fame ...  
Kitten Pie ...  
My Daily Struggle ...  
Fairly Odd Mother ...  
All about the X ... 

Here are my questions:

1. Who was your favorite teacher?
2. If you could have one day to do over which would it be?
3. I'm springing for drinks, what will you have?
4. What do you miss most about the salad days?
5. Dog or cat?
6. What was your favorite subject in school?
7. What are you reading now?
8. Who is your favorite president of all time?
9. Did you have a family nickname as a kid?
10. What's your favorite restaurant?
11. When you grew up, did you get to be what you wanted?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Doll face ...


I'm not sure what possessed me, but I decided today that I had to make a Waldorf-style doll.

I Googled some basic directions and I got started.

Now, I'm not for certain, but my instinct tells me that the people most likely to make their own dolls will use organic materials such as wool, cotton and yarn.

I used an old sock, an old nylon stocking, some new 100% polyester knit in the color of "nude," and stuffing from the cheapest pillow I could find at the Odd Job. (I think I paid a total of $11.27 for supplies.)

First thing I did was take a couple of handfuls of pillow fluff and shape it into a ball. I stuck the ball inside of the (toddler sized) sock and tied off the sock near the stuffing. I added more stuffing and made a second lump (for the neck).

I tied a piece of string around the center of the head (eyebrows) and another string crossing the first (from forehead to chin) to give the face shape.

It kinda looked like this:


That bump a little off center and to the right is supposed to be a nose.

I covered the head with the toe and ankle parts of a white stocking (from Ittybit's old dance gear) and tied it again near the neck area.

Out of the knit fabric, I made a one-seamed tube sock-like thing and fit it over the head.

I folded some more of the knit material and cut out these basic shapes along the folded edges:


I know what you are thinking ... You can't believe I went to art school can you?


After I had sewn the pieces, leaving the wider of the short ends open, I stuffed them with filler and set them aside.

I made a little pillow sack (about 2" square) and filled it with rice to weight the bottom. I filled the body pillow with stuffing and set in the rice. Next, I hollowed out a little of the filler material and inserted the head and neck. I sewed them closed.

Of course, then I had to seam-rip the thing back open because I had put the head at a cockeyed angle. You might want to check it before you sew.

This is the general idea:


Once the head was secured to the body, I folded over the ends of the limb parts and sewed them to the torso with embroidery thread and a large embroidery needle. (I sewed both arms and legs at the same time by passing the needle through the body.)

When I was done, the whole thing kinda looked like this:


The hair was pretty fun.

I wrapped a CD case with two layers of yarn and put a piece of Scotch tape along the top (front and back) and then cut the bottom.

I sandwiched the strands between a piece of tissue paper and made three passes down the center with  sewing machine.

I pinned the wig to the center of the head and sewed it on with similar colored embroidery floss.

I made another wig and sewed it on as if it were hair parted on the side.

This is what it looked like when I tied the second wig to the first:


Honestly ...

I'm having a bit of trouble believing this is the first rag doll I've ever made.


Of course now there's the matter of a face ...

... and some clothes.

Blank. Stare.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fallen angels


A snow day ... an unscheduled liberty.

Sleep late. Lounge around.

Stay in your bed clothes and watch teevee until your eyes bulge.

No place to go. No place to be.

My plans are always fluid. When they go down the drain I hardly notice.

There is no trap.

Play dates. Lunch mates. No one wants to stay late ...

I bake cookies. Tiny molasses mounds I dust with sugar and flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass.

After six minutes in a 350-degree oven, the morsels will be celebrated by guests and critiqued by residents.

As they do.


Send them out into the cold. Send them out with a faded shovel and a diminutive nub of carrot. Build them a pile and tell them to carve a man from the snow.

They make mice of my men.

Delighted with their work, they lay in the yard and flap about, clotting up the snow with angels.

Crazy people.

I think I am done ... my duties over ... when they start jumping up and down, chanting "Sled.Ding.Sled.Ding.Sled.Ding."

We tumble into the car and drive off with our sleds. ... The ones that aren't a total disappointment.

When we arrive at our destination we find the hill hasn't been marred. We are the first to sail down its hidden incline.

We have to forge tracks ... like worms in wood.

Wriggling. Scooting. Dragging ourselves through the snow, inch by inch.

The next run is faster. Another, faster still.

Time flies, too. And hour passes in only a few runs.

We fly down the hill. We tumble at the end. She stands on her saucer. He belly flops onto his. My hair gets caked in an icy slush. I think its a good thing my legs feel slightly numb. It keeps me from feeling my age.

Down the hill ... up the hill. Shaking off snow. Down the hill ... up the hill. That's how this goes.

And then it gets slower. At the end of the run, they lay in the field looking up at the sky. Not moving.

Eventually, they roll onto one side and push them selves up. They drag their sleds up the hill as slow as their excited legs will carry them. And wait for a time at the top.

Savoring this moment.

It all goes by so fast.

Monday, January 14, 2013



Even my kids thought I posed for Crate & Barrel.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Much to be thankful for

Emergency crew arrives for Thank-You note strain. #manythankstogive

T'was not the norovirus

Nor influenza that brought me to this lowly place

T'was the thank-you notes

And the procrastination that hangs this hang-dog face

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Nothing to sneeze at

Tussle and togs. #dogpark

Poor, almond-stealing, pencil-eating, couch-crowding beast.

She's been cooped up in the houseful of sick for all of the holidays.

It's gotten so stressful that she now barks at us when we sneeze.

And her bark is not dog for "god bless."

It sounds more like "Hey, watch where you aim that thing!"

But then normal temperatures returned (for humans and for winter), as did the regular school day.

So after a week of doing nothing much in the warmth of the house, it felt good to get out in the cold of the world.

Even for just an hour.

I'd planned another outing at the dog park today, but then the school nurse called.

Stomach bug.

A car wash and two loads of laundry later I do believe that even the dog agrees: gut bugs are nothing to sneeze at.