Tuesday, August 27, 2013


i know i say this often but it's true every time - THIS right now is my favorite stage. 
maybe it's just that it gets better and better...
but even that is little comfort for how heartbroken i am about this present time being a temporary one. 
i feel nostalgic about all the moments that i am living, as i am living them, knowing that they will pass by too soon and my eyeballs are thirsty as they watch her little body clamoring up the stairs, looking back at me with joy and reaching out for me when she needs the help.   

Monday, August 26, 2013


i am a fan of this delicate and simple line of handcrafted jewelry by giantLION's founder Caroline Whittington.  i think the square ring and the double point ring up there are my favorites. 

Friday, August 23, 2013


Already I miss these few hours that we spent last weekend of visiting with Eden and Laura altogether in a clan, which included two newborns and two toddlers. What great fun to see all these littles together. It was a whirlwind of conversation snippets, baby cuddling, toddler chasing, picnicking in the backyard, nursing, laughing and being entertained by endless rounds of 'Doh a deer' courtesy of miss Simone, bookended by joyous drumming.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This morning before we got into the car, I walked outside with Sloane wrapped up tight in my arms and we surveyed the dewy green trees and listened to the birds chatter their good mornings and how do you dos.  The air smelt like new and the mist sparkled in the ar. I squeezed her tighter and tears pooled at the sides of my eyes. It was one of those mornings when the thought of being away from her felt like a kick in the gut.

I cannot get enough of her these days. She is now almost one year and one month and all sorts of things are happening developmentally – it can keep me captivated just to watch her go about her business - heavy cheeks, dark eyes, determined legs, pursed lips breaking out into Ohhh and Ahhhhs and spontaneous laughter, small and busy fingers finding their way to every sort of thing. 

She understands so much more now, her word usage though is still limited to “ball” and “papa” because she is most a fan of the “ba” sound. But she talks in her own way, not anything we can understand but it’s like she is practicing the cadence of speech. She babbles, eyes bright and eyebrows raised as if to say, “Right?” You see?” And we say, “Yes, yes, oh my,” and “Isn’t that wonderful!”

She watches what we do so carefully now. I’ve seen her wipe the floor and table with a paper towel, try to put on socks and shoes and slippers, fake a laugh, pretend to talk on the phone, open and close bottles, put pieces of toilet paper into the toilet, take something off of a shelf, walk away and then come back to put it right back where she found it and step away to admire her work, attempt to use a fork and spoon on a plate, dance, wave bye and hello, blow kisses, kiss her wonderwoman and batgirl figurine, lean in for kisses while making a ‘mmmm’ noise, drink out of a cup, hum, shout, turn on the iphone and ipad, gently pat a baby and not so gently pat rusty…and on and on…all things that she picked up from watching us. What a thrill to have this tiny human as our mirror…and so intimidating, too. 

It is particularly interesting watching her navigating the world of right and wrong. She can discern from my voice when I am stern and serious and lately I’ve noticed that when I see her reaching for something that she shouldn’t and I call out a sudden warning, she jumps a little and obeys, but more often than not, quickly grabs the thing and hands it to me, as if to say, “Oh I was just getting this for YOU, not me.” This has evolved in the past couple of days to this: when she hears me say “No”, she quickly grabs it and then immediately puts it back and then claps, essentially giving herself a round of applause. It’s hysterical.  I think she is trying to figure out how to deal with restrictions. She will also erupt into frustrated and desperate cries if we take away something new that I’m sure she feels like she MUST investigate thoroughly and immediately, but she is quickly consoled and we hand her something else with an explanation of what we’re doing. I am doing so much explaining these days...and praying.

She is learning something everyday, and SO AM I.

You see those photos up there with her in the crown? She put it on like that, tilted to the side, and all of a sudden became a ham when I whipped my camera phone out. The photos are blurry but blurry is real life in recent days.

I have no concrete way to end this post, I just wanted to jot down these few thoughts and observations before they were whisked away by another fading and dawning of a day. It is of value to treasure small moments; add them all up and there it is, my life.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Don't worry, there will nary be a photo of a spider anywhere on this post, even though that's what the majority of these words might be about. Instead, here is a photo of a lovely nightcap that happened the other night: white pike whiskey from Brooklyn c/o of Sharon and Paul topped with a most delicious honey lavender syrup c/o Elizabeth.

And now, spiders.

When we first moved into our house we saw spiders everywhere.

"You sure have got a lot of spiders," our exterminator told us, putting into my mind the image of our house coming crashing down upon a field of spiders, a spider village if you will, causing confusion, and even worse, anger that would be unleashed upon the intruders (that being us).  During this past year that we have lived here, I have seen too many different variety of spiders, but if it wasn't for the fact that I had a newborn baby that seemed especially susceptible to scary spiders and if I hadn't spotted one that looks alarmingly like the picture of a black widow spider that I googled soon after, I might have a mildly vague interest in this ecosystem that we seem to have disturbed. Instead, I started growing a mounting hatred to the little critters. "Ugh." I would groan every time I saw a web forming on our front porch. "Can't we get an extra dose of extermination around the house?" I would ask Ken, anxiety tinting my voice.  And then there was that time I vigorously squished a baby spider to it's death.  I was a murderer. It was so tiny!

One particular time after yelling at the top of my lungs for Ken to please come and deal with a bug that had found its way to our bedroom, I thought briefly back to the days when I would do such things as ushering the bug to a piece of paper in order to release it back into the wild. "Off with it's head!" I now screech, body tingly with phantom crawlers.

The other day while waiting for a stoplight, I spied the biggest spider I ever did see crawling up an invisible string slung across an U-Turn sign. The dusk light gave the fat body of the bug a sephoric glow wand I watched, mesmerized and only vaguely disgusted, as the spider unfurled its legs upward in its climb. It made me think of Charlotte's web, you know the Charlotte, and so it was with great familiarity that I approached this letter by E.B. White that he wrote when he was asked to explain why he wrote the book.  It's worth a read.  But I was especially tickled by the last few sentences of the letter:

I haven't told why I wrote the book, but I haven't told you why I sneeze, either.  A book is a sneeze. 

A sneeze! I can't wait to sneeze out a book.  Reading the letter made me remember how fondly I regarded the book and it also made me remember how thoroughly disturbed I was to learn that the way that baby spiders make their way into the world is by bursting forth from a ball of web by the millions.  Be fascinated by everything, is the lesson I'm taking away here.

While looking up more on E.B. White and mentally putting his book of essays on my to-read list, I also came across this article in the Paris Review.  It's an interview with White, which is a great read, but I want to highlight here what the article includes at the beginning - a couple of paragraphs that White's stepson, Roger Angell (also a regular contributor to the New Yorker) wrote about visiting E.B. White's farm with some children who were fans.  I'll include a little excerpt of it here, it made me well up:

The boy, though, was quieter, and for a while I thought that our visit was a disappointment to him. Then I stole another look at him, and I understood. I think I understood. He was taking note of the place, almost checking off corners and shadows and smells to himself as we walked about the old farm, but he wasn’t trying to remember them. He looked like someone who had been there before, and indeed he had, for he was a reader. Andy White had given him the place long before he ever set foot on it—not this farm, exactly, but the one in the book, the one now in the boy’s mind. Only true writers—the rare few of them—can do this, but their deed to us is in perpetuity. The boy didn’t get to meet E. B. White that day, but he already had him by heart. He had him for good. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


My hair is going to be long forever.

At least, until it isn't.

I thought long and hard about giving it the good ol' hack the other week. I hadn't even realized that it had gotten ridiculously long until the flood of "your hair is so ridiculously long!" comments started pouring in.  "Oh.. it is??" I would ask, which has recently turned into, "Oh..I know.  It needs to go." But then, while Sloane had her fingers intertwined all up in my hair while I was having a particularly good hair day, I decided I would keep it around.  It's doing this thing now that because it's so heavy, gravity is keeping it in check. It's less poofy and more hippie-swing.  Maybe I'll give myself a little trim and see how I long I can keep this mane manageable.  Or maybe next week I take a pair of scissors to my head, but for now I looked up tips on taking care of long wavy hair and ordered some things online to keep this mane healthy and low maintenance.  Will report back.

I wore K,'s shirt to work today because I wanted to wear something baggy and it wasn't done on purpose to reflect my mood, but I guess it sort of did.  Trying to put a finger on why this film of glum and funk has descended over my head and down all around me to filter my world, but I do know that last night, I found myself unsettled, distracted and anxious and had the worst time trying to fall asleep.

It probably has something to do with the recent deliberation about undertaking a daunting thing yet again, failure be damned. but this fear of failure just won't die? And am I ever going to get out of this debt? And will things work out? And will I be able to tell my daughter one day that I am proud of what I am doing with these ambitions in my harbor? Am I really going to be able to sacrifice every spare moment studying? Am I going to be able to clean and organize my entire home like I am always thinking I should do?  On most days, the answer to these questions is a yes yes yes, and I can do it, and everything will be okay, and see how blessed I am? But today, the answers sound more like, I don't know, do I care, and what am I doing. I would really like to shut my mind down for a little while, but these words I write here have battled to climb out of my fingers and onto this page.  So.

During my lunch break, I read a few more stories in "The Knife Thrower" by Steven Millhauser and will you understand what I'm saying when I say that sometimes reading a well crafted page of words is like throwing a security blanket around my shoulders and snuggling in?  The stories here are eery, allegorical, and sparse, and were exactly the kind I was in the mood for.  What is this mood? I'll figure it out.  And I'll do all the requisite things to make my way through it, eventually.  For now, I am just going to stay still for a little bit.

And I am going to keep enjoying the present moment while I catch my breath. Because this I do know -  every single day, I am over the moon excited to see my daughter at the beginning and end of it.  Sloane, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are becoming one of my great sources of I am happy to be alive and here in the present.  Am I confused and fearful about how to move forward? Yes.  Am I hopeful and filled to the brim every time I look at her? Yes.  And that is that.

Fear is everywhere and can exist like a layer of mold over everything if you let it.  Don't let it.

I came home to the smiling and comforting presence of my mother-in-law and cousin-in-law and we all watched S. march around the room and had dinner together and I reveled in the hum of dinnertime activities and let my mind forget whatever thing I was worrying about.

And then my day ended with this:

With this bundle of love. I spent a good hour and a half just staring at this very new baby and thought about a perfect maker who formed this tiny being into existence and filled her with the life and potential and hope and grace and growth and newness and cycles and the capacity to love and be loved and trust and learn, and it was all almost more than I could bear.

I am always on the brink of a miracle, I tell myself.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


It was a luxury to be able to spend a concentrated but short amount of time with this particular group of some of my favorite people all together in one city, in one house, with no other real agenda than to catch up and just ..be. One of these days we will make these reunions last longer, but for now, I am grateful for this time of understanding and being understood by these amazing ladies.  Excuse the cheesy quotes, they were just what I would have said here anyways.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. 
It is then burst into flame
 by an encounter with another human being. 
We should all be thankful for those people 
who rekindle the inner spirit. 
- Albert Schweitzer