Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

Here are some random photos from Christmas day and the cookies we made.

And also some of Anna, Skylar and Piper.

Can I just say how much I LOVE having Christina living nearby? When we were in college, we used to fantasize about all of us (me, Christina and Jen) forming an intentional community with our future spouses and children. Our kids would be raised as siblings, we'd share a huge organic garden and all of us would gather for Sunday evening meals. And then we all went in different directions: I moved to Oregon, Jen to California and Christina to San Juan Island. She seemed to be living closest to our dream, but then Jen and I each got married and had children and put down roots elsewhere. Christina, always the FREE SPIRIT (to the degree that capital letters are required!), lived the WILD, adventurous life. We'd talk on the phone, me nursing my daughter while Christina regaled me with stories about weekend rock climbing trips to Joshua Tree, meeting movie stars and living off the land in a one-room cabin without plumbing. I shared stories about Anna's sleeping habits and first words. We joked that we were living vicariously through each other. Then she met a man and moved to Los Angeles, of all places. And then SHE had children. I ended up moving from Oregon to a town adjacent to the town in which her dad lived, though, so she'd come to visit once a year and that was better than nothing. And then, THEN, she told me that she and her husband had decided to move here. They were tired of paying $2400rent for a 1200 sq. ft. house in a part of LA where it was common to hear gun-shots. They didn't want to raise their girls there. And so this summer, they did it: they bought a house in N. Idaho. She's still too far away (15 miles) for me; I'd like them to be next door. But she assures me they'll work on that, too. In the mean time, she and the girls (her husband, also named David, travels a lot to work on films) come over regularly and our girls LOVE each other. Her daughters come to me if they need a mommy and she's not available, and they climb up into David's lap to read to them while Christina and I enjoy a glass of wine.
I finally have an extended family here. Life is good.

Here's Piper in the pajama shirt I made for her. I think she likes it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


"a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience."

This was my first Christmas with David. David is Jewish, although as a small child his family did put up a tree and there were presents. However, when he was 6 the course of his life was changed forever (or, as he puts it, "the shit hit the fan".) After that, there was no more Christmas tree and there certainly was no Santa; there could be no more allusions of any sort of fantasy. As an adult, he and his previous wife didn't celebrate Christmas or exchange gifts either.

Now, if you know me, you know that I LOVE Christmas. I love the tree, I love the lights, I love the decorations, and I love finding or making really special presents for the people in my life. And, well, I like it when they reciprocate. David let it be known early on that he absolutely, positively DID NOT WANT ANYTHING FOR CHRISTMAS because there is nothing he needs or wants. At some point in the past few weeks it became clear that I shouldn't be expecting anything under the tree, either. Not only is he Jewish, he is very anti-consumerism. He was irritated by all the obnoxious advertising on tv and in the newspaper, he wasn't too sure about the large dead tree in our living room, and he definately could do without the Charlie Brown Christmas music I insisted on playing constantly. Now, lest you begin to think he's a total scrooge, let it be known that this man has the biggest, most generous, loving heart of anyone I've ever known. This summer he insisted I let him buy me a new bike. I struggled with what to get: a mountain bike that I could actually exercise on, or the totally impractical yet unbelievably adorable cruiser I'd fallen in love with. I got the mountain bike. And then a month later, he surprised me with the cruiser because he said I just belonged on that bike. He LOVES to give to the people he loves, just not when it's "expected" or mandated by some holiday based on a religion in which neither of us believe.'s CHRISTMAS. I enjoyed Christmas more this year than I have in YEARS, because I am happier than I have ever been in my life. My contentment has allowed my creativity to explode, and in the months leading up to Christmas, I spent hours and hours crafting and sewing Christmas presents. I actually enjoyed going out into the world and shopping for wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and ornaments. I hummed Christmas music. I BAKED 4 DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES TO DELIVER TO THE NEIGHBORS. I had Christmas spirit oozing out of my pores this year for crying out loud!! And to be honest, it bothered me that David wasn't as into it as I was. How could he not be? And then to add insult to injury, he wasn't even going to get me a present?? After all, if he loved me, how could he not buy me something to prove it at Christmas?

Now here's the crazy thing about this relationship: when something is bothering one of us, we TALK about it. I know, weird, huh? So we were laying in bed one night discussing that it hurt my feelings a bit that he didn't want to exchange Christmas presents. As always, he carefully and considerately explained his point of view (that we shouldn't buy presents for someone just because it's expected; that it is in fact much more fun to do it when it's not expected.) As I lay next to the man I love, listening to him so eloquently explain his feelings (because it is very important to him that we always communicate and that there are no misunderstandings), I had an epiphany: in the past (my first marriage and other relationships) I treated Christmas as an opportunity for my partner to prove to me that he valued and understood me, preferably in the form of a large, nice, expensive box (or six) under the tree. But here's the thing: unlike ANY of my past relationships, David makes sure that I know, every single day, that I am loved and valued. He tells me every day that I am the love of his life. He tells both Anna and I that we are the best things that ever happened to him. He tells us both how happy he is that we are part of his life. He calls us his "two sun-shines" and is so generous with his heart and his affection (not to even mention that he has made HIS home OUR home). He listens to me and he actually ACTS on the things that matter to me (like keeping the kitchen clean) because he wants me to be happy. And I realized - fully understood for the first time - that I don't need "things" to know that I am valued.

All I need is LOVE.

And I've got that.

Friday, December 21, 2007

two more of my favorite things

I can't imagine my life without either of them.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

warm woolen noses and raindrops on kittens

because my creative well hath run dry, today's post will be about a few of my favorite (very sweet) things:

from knitting iris, how gorgeous is this corner of her home?

I'm totally stealing this idea for next year.

from bella dia, this gorgeous handmade little felt house:

and also:

I just LOVE her sense of whimsy and sweet little details. I mean, those tiny flowers! The puff of smoke! Ack!!

This picture makes my ovaries explode:

from Pioneer Woman.

This picture:

and the stories about Charlie on The Daily Coyote.

This smiling CORGI puppy:

and last but not least, (because what would Christmas be without a little consumerism??) I can not stop thinking about this sweater:

How frickin' sweet is that?? Damn you, Anthropologie.

Monday, December 17, 2007

do you see what I see?

Bug made this for me as a surprise; she locked herself in the room with a bag of pipecleaners and then installed it on the wall of my little sewing room. She knows that I'm a bird-nerd; is this cute or what? I love that you can give her a box of popsicle sticks or a bunchof pipecleaners and she can literally entertain herself for hours.

I love that kid.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Uncle Ra Ra sent this to me a few days ago and I can't stop thinking about it. Talk about crazy. I'd totally try this....but over some nice, SOFT sand-dunes. How 'bout you? Would you try it?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

and you probably don't want to know

There's a "meme" going around amongst bloggers where you're supposed to share 8 things people may not know about you. What is a "meme"? Hell if I know.

So. Here we go. In no particular order:

8. I once spent several hours in jail in Lewiston Idaho. I was a young, STUPID college student and got caught driving on a suspended license. I was in a little cell, sitting on a filthy mattress, afraid to touch anything. They didn't even have any good magazines. I cried and cried. My boyfriend at the time (Dan) had to come bail me out and brought our friend Drew. They thought it was the funniest thing in the whole world. I did not. But I can laugh about it now....sort of.

7. If I could have any talent in the world, I would be able to sing like Patsy Cline, Allison Krause or Neko Case. Country music is just so much fun to sing.

6. My family knows this about me (because they suffer from the same affliction), but few things make me laugh harder than seeing someone get hurt. Not, you know, bleeding or anything, but if you bonk your head on a tree branch or fall down a set of stairs and I will seriously pee my pants laughing. I almost pee my pants just THINKING about it. Shortly after I wrote this, I bonked MY head on the slanted ceiling in Anna's room and she fell down laughing. Oh god, it's hereditary.

5. I can eat the same thing for dinner (or lunch) for literally weeks (and sometimes months) on end. Once when we lived in Oregon, I ate gorgonzola pasta with walnuts and spinach every. single. night. for dinner for 3 1/2 months. In college I lived almost entirely on poptarts. Right now, I'm on week 5 of tuna sandwiches every day for lunch.

4. I can not stomach the sight of blood. Once, on a field trip to a veterinarian's office, we were watching a cat get spayed and as soon as the doctor made the incision, I barfed. Seriously, what kind of field trip was that?? If Anna's watching "Animal Rescue" on Animal Planet, I can not even be in the same room.

3. Speaking of school, our fourth grade teacher made each of us stand up next to our desks, raise our arms and she would come around to smell our armpits to see if we had "body odor". She also asked each of us if we'd had a "bowel movement" yet that day. How weird and CREEPY is that?? Fourth grade, people.

2. I get seriously pissy if our kitchen is dirty (David loves this about me) and yet I can go months (if not years) without cleaning my car. I think I still have cheerios in the back seat from when Anna was little. It's embarrassing.

1. I wear only black underwear. I don't know why, but I just can not wear patterned or colored underwear. It feels cheap and tacky to me. (yeah, I know, I'm weird.) Also: no thongs, ever. I tried it one time because a friend insisted that once I did I'd never wear anything else and I had to go home from work in the middle of the day because I was having such a "bad underwear day" that I couldn't concentrate on anything other than that little string. eeewwwwwwww.....

Now, for those of you with blogs, I hope you'll share 8 things we may not know about you. Be sure and let me know if you do because (bonus! #9!) I am very, very nosy. Also, you can share some in the comments, MOM. : )

Monday, December 10, 2007

my, what a big proboscis you have!

The best birthday present ever

My sweetie made me a chocolate cake. Not from a box. A REAL (unbelievably moist and delicious) chocolate cake from scratch. :

(He LOVES to have his picture taken. This is the only one I got where his mouth wasn't open in a threat of bodily harm.)

Anyway, this is the first chocolate cake I've had for my birthday since moving out of my mom's house. I lived with a chef for 13 years and not once did he make me a chocolate cake for my birthday. hhmmpphh.

It's been several days of birthday fun: David took me out for a wonderful Italian dinner, we decorated our tree while listening to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with the fire going, and tonight my dear friend Christina is coming over to celebrate with me and we're having a sleep-over! Yahoo!!

This time last year, I had NO idea what the hell I was doing with my life. Eric and I were in the midst of divorce procedings (two years after having decided to divorce), I was living alone in a house we could NOT sell while he and Anna lived 30 miles away due to having enrolled her in school in a town we thought we were all moving to. I refused to make her change schools mid-year which meant she lived with him over there and I only saw her on weekends. I can't tell you how hard that was. I had been dating here and there but just didn't have my heart in it. The night of my birthday, I'd gone out to dinner with a friend, and we lamented the miserable dating scene here. (She's gay and I swear it was better for her than for me!). So the day after my birthday, I decided to take my profile off (eegads, yes, I admit it, that is where I met the love of my life.) So on December 11th, I got online to take my profile down and there was an email from David. He lived in Alaska but was moving to the town I live in. He loved everything about my profile (and MAN was I specific about who I am and what I was looking for); he said he couldn't have written a profile himself that better described the woman he was looking for. He included a photo that looked like he was wearing a camouflage hat. I'd been contacted by far too many N. Idaho rednecks. "delete" finger was twitching...but dang...those eyes...those LIPS! And his profile was so smart and funny and real and interesting. I could tell that he was a GROWN UP! He was unlike anyone I'd ever met. So I wrote back. We emailed approximately 48 times that day. Then he called and we talked approximately 20 hours on the phone over the next day or so. And then, two days after our initial e-mail, he called to tell me that he was flying down for the weekend, from Anchorage, to meet me. If this was what we both thought it was, we needed to find out. I had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he was he man for me. And now, after spending a year together, I've never been more certain of anything in my life.

Happy Anniversary, love. You are the best birthday present I ever got.

Friday, December 7, 2007

learning curve

A week or so ago, one of my favorite bloggers showed some mouth-watering photos of Aebleskivers. (I know, I know, last week I hit you with Scherenschnitte, now it's Aebleskivers. Hey, I was born on the wrong continent.) Anyway, Aebleshkivers are DARLING little spherical pancakes. And Amber made them look so lovely. And since pancakes are one of the 3 things Anna will eat, I simply had to rush over to and buy an Aebleshkiver pan! So I tore open the box from amazon and immediately whipped up a batch, carefully following directions I'd downloaded from the internet. I thought I'd blow Anna's mind with some for dinner! Fun! New! Pancakes! Topped with raspberry sauce and some powdered sugar! Best mommy on the planet!

Someone (be sure and look at her pictures before looking at mine) forgot to mention the learning curve:

I'm afraid that now Anna has Post-Tramatic-Pancake syndrome.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

my little drama queen

Yesterday, during a playdate, Anna hurt her ankle on a trampoline; she twisted it or someone landed on it...I never got the same story twice. When I came to pick her up, she was limping around (although she "forgot" every now and then) and worked it all evening. I don't doubt that it hurt, but there was no bruising or swelling at all. Nonetheless, she requested a "cast", because she was pretty sure she "broke it a little bit."

This morning, as she was getting ready for school, I made the mistake of mentioning that I wasn't going to work today, because Auntie Lala is in town and I get to spend the whole day with my sister! Of course Anna asked to miss school so that she could also spend the day with Auntie Lala. She tried begging, she tried crying, she suddenly developed a stomach ache, not to mention that she quite possibly has a BROKEN ANKLE and I was hurting her feelings by not taking her maladies seriously. I explained to her that I almost NEVER get to spend the day with just Lala (who lives in another state) and that it was important to me to have some time alone with my sister and that she'll see Lala tonight. And that short of the sudden onset of projectile-vomiting, she was GOING TO SCHOOL. She realized that her efforts were futile, so she put on a brave face and brightly said

"Mommy, I'm going to tell Ms. Cebriak that I hurt my ankle REALLY REALLY BAD but I can't go to the nurse and I can't go home because you're spending the day with your sister."

help. We are going to be in so much trouble when she's a teenager.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

makes my blood boil

This morning on NPR, they were interviewing voters in Iowa, asking them about what issues were important to them in the upcoming presidential election. I tuned in just as a woman was saying that Universal Health care is her number one concern. She is a breast-cancer survivor, and, despite having insurance, the residents of her small town held a fund-raiser to help defray the amount she still has to pay. She said without that help, she, as a single mother, never would have been able to pay her debt and would have had to file bankruptcy. She also said that her insurance company made her feel like they'd have preferred it if she'd died; it would have cost them less.

The next person they interviewed said that she (proud to be a Republican) does not want the government to be involved in her health care, nor does she want her tax dollars to go toward helping others. As she said "I work hard and make a very good living. I don't see why I should have to pay for somebody else's kid to eat breakfast at school."

What the hell has this country come to when we don't think a child, who would otherwise go hungry all day because his family is poor, deserves to start his day with a warm, nutritious meal?

How can a person be so selfish and afraid that their tax dollars might go toward helping others who are less fortunate? That whole "I work for it, it's MINE, and if you need a helping hand, well, too damn bad" attitude makes me CRAZY!!! And yet, as David pointed out when I told him about this "If they were CEOs of a company that they ran into the ground, they wouldn't hesitate to ask the government to bail them out."

That woman's statement is going to stay with me for a very long time. I just hope she never has the misfortune to be diagnosed with cancer or ends up at a homeless shelter. If she does, you can bet your ass she'll be thankful that MY tax dollars are providing her with a roof over her head and a warm meal. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

As the bumper sticker says: "Better a bleeding heart than no heart."

Monday, December 3, 2007

holy craft!

It was a very productive weekend in my little sweatshop. I completed one heat-therapy bag (filled with rice and some essential oil). It's for Anna's teacher for Christmas; note the fabric with numbers! Teacher, numbers, get it? ahem...

And also FIVE pair of pajama sets for some special little girls: Skylar, Piper, Grace and Anna. This whole idea started when I found some incredibly soft flannel covered in unicorns. Grace LOVES unicorns, so I thought "Hey, I'll make some pajamas for her for Christmas." Then I decided to do some for Anna, and then for Piper and Skylar, in celebration of the fact that we're neighbors now. (Not to mention that they moved from LA, where you don't really get to do the flannel thing....). So I stocked up on flannel and plain long-sleeved t-shirts and went to town. But of all the patterns I bought, only the unicorn one had a direction. Did I pay attention to that fact when cutting out the pattern? No, I did not. Upside-down unicorns. Luckily I had JUST enough to cut out another set....unfortunately I attempted to do so while on the phone with my mom and managed to &%#$ that one up too. GGRRRRRRR. So I went to JoAnn's, praying to jeebus that they still had the unicorn flannel. Do you think they did? OF COURSE NOT. I did find some rainbow flannel, and really, what goes together like unicorns and rainbows, huh? So the idea that started this entire project ended up severely compromised; Grace has rainbow bottoms and two unicorns on her shirt. Oh well. They all turned out very cute. I love the print on Piper's: it's light blue with little lambs dangling from balloons amongst the clouds.

On one of the pair for Anna I did a horse applique.

Time to draw, cut out and apply horse applique: 5 minutes. Time to hand-stitch that cute little detail outlining the horse: an hour and a half...and the loss of my eye sight.