Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Sometimes, getting bad news that isn't the worst news brings into sharp focus how blessed we really are.

It's been a year of near misses for us and ours. Josh's mom, Dash's beloved Gamma, found she had stage one breast cancer and got a double mastectomy. Just yesterday we learned she was cancer-free and would not have to endure chemo.

My mother, Dash's adored Baba, had knee replacement surgery that eventually resulted in a blood infection so severe that she was hospitalized multiple times until the doctors were able to figure out what was wrong with her. While she was undergoing test after test they found lesions on her spine. I just got the call moments ago that it's mild arthritis rather than cancer. The tears of relief won't stop coming.

Even I had a little scare with some skin cancer that was caught early and removed quickly.

So you see, a bunch of bad news that was actually good news because everything could have been so much worse.

I don't forget to be thankful in my everyday life. I honestly don't. Our struggles to have Dash have left a permanent well of gratitude in my heart. And I recognize how rare and beautiful it is to have a partner who you adore and makes you laugh. How unlikely it is to have a life full of friends and family and teachers who love your child as if he were theirs. How incredible it is to live in a house that you love in a place where you feel safe. I really, honestly remember to be grateful every day for the blessings that are rained down on our heads. But some days, when you are bracing for bad news that doesn't come, the gratitude moves your feet so you feel like dancing. That's how we all feel right now. And, serendipitously, we get to say it out loud on Thursday--on the very day that's carved out for the sole purpose of gratitude. Now truly, what could be more lovely than that?

I hope, hope, hope, that you get to be grateful (but in a much less dramatic way than we) for all the blessings that rain down on your heads, too.

Just Click This


Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Thanks

More of what will be on the table the Thursday after next:

I printed these favor boxes from Martha here. They're a bit of a pain in the ass to assemble, but once you're rolling they go fairly quickly. I filled them with fall-colored Hershey's Kisses.

I was inspired to tart up these plain old cloth napkins by MollyCoddle. I just cut one apple and one pear in half, spread on fabric paint with a foam brush & stamped to my heart's content (we're having 10 for dinner, so I did five of each). I let them dry for a few hours and then ironed them to set the paint.

I love them more than a normal amount.

Friday, November 09, 2007


This is my first year hosting Thanksgiving for the entire family and I am vibrating with the pleasure of planning the menu and decorations and new traditions I want to introduce.

So far we've got this:

"thanks" garlands in French, Italian & Russian strung up in doorways and over valances
give thanks

phonetic translation of thanks in Hebrew, spelled out with Martha's alphabet flashcards

corn husk couple

cat painting by Baba (for which I am truly thankful)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

No, Mama

We are trying to make Dash into the kind of person we would want to hang out with. This, obviously, involves an introduction to the Beatles. He loves "Yellow Submarine" so much that he starts demanding "again" before we're even halfway through. Tonight, after our 50th audience, I couldn't hold it in and started--quietly, ever so quietly--whispering along. Dash turned around to see what insanity was developing in such close proximity to him, placed one teensy finger to my lips and said, "no, Mama."

Well then.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I wasn't even going to comment on this newest wave of infection sweeping through the Engel residence. I mean, yes, we get it: it's near Winter and kids get sick. But c'mon now.

First I get the call on Friday afternoon from daycare that he's doing the seal bark and wheezing. They think it's Croup. (Which, the fuck? Croup? Is it 1812? I thought Croup was eradicated with consumption and the vapors?) Except by the time we get to urgent care the cough has evolved into a more mucous-y hack and a bright red rash has cropped up on his cheeks. Also: fever. So, not Croup but Fifth disease. Cool, we can deal with Fifth disease. Just a little baby Tylenol for the fever and lots of love and slices of apples from Mama.

Cut to Monday morning when he wakes up with a subtle pink sheen under his left eye. I honestly thought I had caused it when I wiped a bit of sleep from his lashes (all you mystery buffs will recognize that as foreshadowing). By 1pm the gloop was so thick he could hardly see out of that eye. By the time we left urgent care (second time in five days, folks!) and got his eye drop prescription filled, the pinkeye had migrated into the second eye.

Meanwhile, the original infirmity rages on! His cough is so loose I keep thinking he's going to choke on his own phlegm! His nose is so crusty with boogers that he has to take breaks from drinking his milk in order to breathe.

OK, it's out of my system now. I promise to let all future Winter 2007 ailments pass without comment.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Noah's Ark

Although sometimes I get sad that we don't have a creek running through our backyard or that Dash's walk to school won't be through the woods, there are some things about living in a big city that just plain rock. Take, for example, our recent visit to the Skirball Center's Noah's Ark exhibit.

the calm before the storm (the zebra's rump was a painted swamp cooler and its mane was made of piano keys)

is it braggy to mention that he knew this was a camel?

the rain begins

quick! load the animals onto the ark (two by two!)

the Ark and its inhabitants: rope elephant, macaroni porcupine & violin case crocodile

someone has to clean up after all of those beasts

time for a drum circle break

though Dash mainly wanted to eat pretzels

even Baba got her groove

Dash decided he would collect all of the red noisemakers, which was a good plan in theory

just like in the story, it ended with a rainbow and lunch at the Getty down the road

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Brace Yourself

Halloween Parade