Sunday, September 28, 2008


Boo ya! I should make my to-do lists public more often. I'd like to present item number 2 on my list. I made a quilt! Well, actually I mainly assembled the quilt after purchasing the quilt top. But I made the backing and I filled it with organic cotton batting. And after Josh spent 20 minutes trying to explain to my mentally-challenged ass how to sew three layers so that the middle stays in the middle, I made this!

Here's the back. I actually did make that part. From scratch.

Dash hates it. Whatevs, I love it enough for both of us.

Fanny and Tilly

Josh's parents recently got a pair of new puppies and we brought Dash over for a visit. We told him a few days earlier that we were going to see some puppies and he was So. Effing. Excited! But then we got there and he started to shriek like a little girl every time they came near him. It was actually a little embarrassing.

This is who he was so terrified of:

Afterwards he took us for a ride in Grandpa's MG.

Which is pretty surprising, considering later when he tried to put his shoes on this happened:

When I pointed his error out to him he refused to switch them, so that's how we went to the grocery store.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A List

The smart & always-inspiring Amy at doobleh-vey (along with new-to-me but also inspiring Joslyn of Simple Lovely) has issued a challenge that I find enchanting. It's to make a list of small, meaningful things that we hope to achieve in whatever time period we want. Here's my list for the next 12 months.

1. Finish Keri Smith's 100 things
2. Make a quilt for Dash
3. Make Mark Bittman's No Knead Bread
4. Shop local next summer
5. Celebrate Winter Solstice in a meaningful way this year
6. Walk more
7. Take myself to the movies in the middle of the day
8. Reach out to my neighbors (I have a plan for this that involves "no pressure boo bags")
9. Walk away from a mess
10. Take Dash to the snow
11. Grow tomatoes. And squash. And peas.
12. Go camping
13. Stop at every lemonade stand I see. This will require keeping cash in the car. If you knew me you would know this is a challenge.
14. Go to the park more often
15. Get a real basketball hoop for Dash & Josh
16. Attend the local production of the Nutcracker
17. Watch Lance Armstrong ride through the streets of my neighborhood
18. Find a really, really great bra and buy 20 of them
19. Finish having my tattoo removed
20. Count my blessings every day
21. Elect a new president (I guess that's not small, but my part in it will be)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Me & Dutch

This is my new favorite picture of us. When I'm ready to put him out on the curb with the recycling I should look at this and remember that there were and will be better times.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Fall

I think the fall & winter are hard on me. Even though the holidays are my reason for living, and I love nothing more than a crock-potted stew or butternut squash soup, I get a little itchy right around now.

I'm fairly certain it's because around this time four years ago things got really fucking scary for me. I was in the middle of infertility testing and treatment and it was slowing starting to dawn on me that I probably wasn't going to make a baby by knocking boots with my husband (not even with the help of Clomid. Not even with the help of injections). I remember having to wake up at 6 on Thanksgiving morning in 2004 and drive into Westwood to have my follicles measured. I shared the dark waiting room with a family composed of a hugely pregnant woman, her husband and their adorable one-year-old. I was alone and scared and humiliated and fairly certain that my doctor had no idea who I was or what was wrong with me. It was a difficult winter.

The following fall found me hugely pregnant from IVF and in the middle of selling our old house and buying a new one. Aside from the terror of impending motherhood, I was so incredibly anxious that our old house wouldn't sell and that we'd have to make two mortgage payments. And that even if the house did sell we wouldn't be able to afford our new mortgage. And neither Josh nor I had spent more than a couple of afternoons in the new city where we were moving and knew no one. And then we'd have to pack. And then we'd have to unpack. And then I'd have to give birth. I was scared shitless.

And then I gave birth and the postpartum kicked in and lasted a good year and a half. And then Josh changed jobs and the new one didn't take and so there was some unemployment and financial uncertainty.

So, you know, things have tended to get pretty shitty around this time of year for the past few years. And now I'm scared about the Financial Crisis of Doom. And I'm crabby about that Palin woman. And it's making me mean and kind of horrible to be around.

But I have made a decision that this! This! Is the year I turn it around.

She motivated me. Stunned me into a new, hopefully better version of myself. It's time to start counting blessings and savoring gifts. It's time for kindness and (more importantly) a cease to unkindness. As Beanpaste said: it's time for Up With People.

So here is my first kindness to the universe (hopefully the upcoming ones will be a mite more substantial). In honor of this blog's second anniversary and, more importantly, Talk Like a Pirate Day:

Q: What is the greatest pirate college rock band?

Q: How do pirates know that they are pirates?
A: They think, therefore they ARRRR!!!!!

Q: What's really a pirate's favorite letter?
A: P! Because it's an R, but it's missing a leg!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where He Lays His Head

Dash's room is the darkest in the house. Although there's a big window, very little natural light filters in. That, combined with the fact that the previous owners had painted it brown, made it seem more like a dungeon than a welcoming place for Dash to call his own.

Because when we bought this house I was 85 months pregnant and thought we'd be moving Dash into the lovely blue room with the window seat & garden view (which unfortunately shares a wall with the living room and therefore makes it too loud and not private enough for a growing boy), I had originally chosen "vintage cowboy" as his bedroom's theme. (If I can offer no other advice to women who are planning on growing their families, let me offer this: don't create a nursery centered on a theme. They (and you) will outgrow it in fewer than three years & then you'll be good and fucked.)

Anyway, this weekend we finally got around to brightening things up & de-cowboy-fying the joint. Here are some before & afters:

Before. The bed skirt and coverlet (on the wall) were custom and cost a small fortune. The rug was not custom but also cost a small fortune. The "artwork" was scrapbook paper featuring vintage cowboy images. The curtain is a bandanna-patterned twin sheet hung up with curtain clips.
After. The walls are swiss coffee (essentially white). We switched out the curtain & sheet for the Dwell for Target Circles pattern. (When I went to the Target website for paint color ideas I noticed that the wall color in the staged room was exactly the color we already had on his walls which was less than helpful.)
The big picture on the right is this:
It's a WPA poster repro from here.

Here's Josh showing off his battle scars.

Dash has started to spill out of his book case in the living room, so we bought another for his room to house the overflow. The suitcases were $6.99, $5.99 & $4.99 at Ross.

The easel has a chalboard on the reverse side and cost, I think, like $20 at Ikea. That's Clark hanging on the horsie hooks.

The dresser was Josh's Grandma's.

The little hanging shelf houses a horseshoe stamped with Dash's name, two wooden cars that Josh & his dad carved when Josh was a boy, a bird whistle that when filled with water sounds EXACTLY like a birdie tweeting, an alphabet sampler and Dash's little toy guitar that he calls a banjo.

This is what hangs over Dash's changing table. They're Martha Stewart Crafts alphabet cards.

I ordered this vintage quilt top from Etsy, but I haven't made the quilt from it yet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Newest Engel

He was a gift from Aunty and Dash named him Guerrero.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Newport Beach FTW

I wanted to give summer a proper send off and so I booked us a weekend in Newport Beach. It all seemed so promising when I made the arrangements. The drive would be easy (just and hour and a half away), the hotel was on the beach (so we could just park the car and not get back in it until it was time to head back home), and the weather was perfect.

Well. The hotel was a dump (ants in the bathroom and in the bed, an air conditioner that poured streams of water into a towel-lined trash can that housekeeping had thoughtfully placed underneath, chipped toilet seat, a two-inch gap between the front door & the floor, and a bewilderingly ignorant assortment of front desk staff that couldn't conjure a single recommendation for a breakfast place) and Dash was an unrelenting horror (he had me in literal tears twice in two days). We finally threw in the towel and left a day early. Pulling into our driveway that night was the very best part of the trip.

We did manage to snap a few pictures that make it look like we had an awesome time (there were actually moments of genuine fun in all the suffering, but they were short and rare)

We had a few hours to kill between our arrival and check in, so we threw Dash into his trunks & headed to the beach.

Building sand castles

Josh finally gave up trying to stay dry & just jumped in in his street clothes. He is a good sport.

Dash loved every minute in the water, even though the waves were big and scary.

I sat on the blanket and plucked seashells from the sand around me. Dash threw them all away, decreed them, "yucky."

The next day we took the ferry to Balboa Island. It's like a little make-believe village where everyone has a wee strip of private beach and no house costs less than two million dollars.

Private beach

House I would trade my pinky for.

Dash & I have this game where I blow up my (considerable) cheeks and Dash smushes them together so that the air coming back out sounds like farts. I'm pretty sure the people sitting behind us were THRILLED.

As we were walking back to the ferry we saw a small fire station. Dash was entranced and kinda knocked on the door in his enthusiasm. What he didn't count on was the real life fireman inside who opened the door and invited us in to check out the trucks. Dash was scared half to death but Josh was suddenly five again and enthusiastic enough for the both of them.

He perked up when he got the hat, though.