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October 2009
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December 2009

pretend it's last weekend.

thanksgiving was nice. the food was great. (ahem ... i have to say that ... i cooked it all. except the pies. marc's mom cooked all of those. which is why they were good, too.) we had a good visit with marc's parents. the kids were good. and that's that.

so, last weekend. i got scrappy with some girlfriends at a great little retreat halfway to duluth, the heritage place. comfortable, relaxed, beautiful setting, great work space ... and i got a lot done, which was amazing, considering i've really scrapped nothing of note for months. at least.

i packed up a handful of kits from studio calico that i hadn't yet had the pleasure of cracking open, and by golly they got cracked.

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man. that felt good.

i also worked on a december daily album, but i'll get to that later in the week. now it's time to go polish off another slice of pumpkin pie and relax.

happy thanksgiving ... a little late!

disney, why why WHY???

the princess and the frog.

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harper has been waiting waiting waiting for this movie. for, like, a year. she's seen the teasers in her princess magazines. she's seen the teasers on tv and in the theater. she's seen the books and stickers and dolls at the store. she wants to see this movie. she wants a tiana barbie for christmas. she wants to immerse herself in a new fairy tale.

so ... what's the problem?

disney gives us a new story ... with tarot cards and voodoo.

really, disney?

now, i'm not some uptight bible-thumping conservative. you should know that about me by now; that proclamation shouldn't come as a shock. but am i ready to explain tarot cards and voodoo magic to my four-year-old? merciful heavens, no.


&%*$&%*# disney!!! what do i do? do we go and use it as a learning moment? do i boycott on principle?

this is a hard decision for me. i encourage my kids to learn about diversity of cultures and religions. one of the things i love about this country is that it was built on the freedom to be true to yourself. and i totally get what disney is doing with this movie, as far as the heritage and history of new orleans goes. but there is also a part of me that, regardless of that liberalism, doesn't want to introduce things to which we are morally opposed for reasons of entertainment. and voodoo? i'm a little opposed to that.

gah. what to do? has anyone else come up against this conundrum? what are you doing about it? i really need some input here, because i'll either break my little girl's heart or end up going against my principles. and i don't want to do either.



why am i still awake at 2:30 a.m.?! good question. i've been sick this week ... caught what marc and the kids kicked around last week, and ended up sleeping away monday and part of tuesday. i think my body is in a state of shock as to what to do with that surplus of rest, because the past two nights? wide awake. can't sleep.

but tonight one of the reasons i can't sleep is because i'm thinking. about many things, but about this in particular:

skin deprivation.

i had lunch today with my friend christine, and she mentioned that as she adjusts to the loss of her husband to brain cancer, what she misses - what, she's learned, widows and widowers inevitably come to miss - is the loss of skin. touching. the warmth of another person.

as i laid in bed tonight, listening to marc snore, i got to thinking ... if i were to lose him, i couldn't imagine the thought of touching someone else's skin. but at some point, i'm sure, human touch becomes so strong an urge, like a survival instinct, that you eventually crawl over that hurdle and begin to come alive again.

i've become a much more touchy-feely person than i ever thought i was. something about marc and the kids ... i need to touch them all the time. know they are there. let them know i am here. with my kids, it's a memory thing; to remember how small their hand is in mine, what the shape of their head feels like, that velvety-ness that is a child's cheek, that smooth space on the back of their neck. these things won't last, they change every day, and i won't always be granted access to stroke their hair, pat the bottoms, kiss their heads. but with marc, it's different. it's a spouse thing, i guess, but there's something so comforting in the tactile. rubbing my hands along his chest, smoothing my thumb across the scruffiness of his chin, tracing the edge of his lips - even though he hates it, but lets me do it anyway. it's how i end my day, just as the way he ends his day is to pat my rump one final time after i roll over to go to sleep.

there are so many ways in which we have a hold on the people we love, but shouldn't it all start and end with touch? when kids are born, they are immediately laid upon the mother's chest. skin is the first thing they feel in the outside world.

i recently read an amazing book called "here if you need me," by kate braestrup. her husband was a maine state trooper, who was thinking about switching careers to be a minister when he was killed in the line of duty. through her grief, kate decided to finish his dream, and herself became an ordained chaplain, working with search and rescue teams. now, while this is a powerful story, what does this have to do with touch? after her husband's death, she decided that she should be the last person to touch him; that he should not leave this world being washed and dressed by a stranger when it was her duty as a wife to take care of him.

that was so powerful to me, and it made me think for months: could i do that, if something were to happen to marc or one of the kids? then again, how could i not? i'm not sure i could let any of the three people i love most in this world be cared for by someone else in their final moments. i know every inch of each of them, know exactly what they feel like, and no one else could wash their faces, brush their hair, button their shirt with the love needed. i admire ms braestrup and the courage she had to request and then carry out that desire. and by golly, i will do my best to do the same if, heaven forbid, that day comes. because skin, touch, is the most personal gift we can give.

so now i'll head up to bed, and i'll pray for health to return to our house, pray for christine to find comfort, pray that she finds a new person to touch, if her heart opens up to that again, and pray that marc, whose skin i love and crave above all else, stops snoring. because i am ready to sleep.


harper learned something funny today.


we were talking at lunch today, and i asked her what she learned in preschool.

she said, "we got to be leopards today!"

"oh," i replied, "so you pretended to be purple frogs?"

"no!" she laughed, "leopards! we had spots all over our skin. but i didn't like that we had to hold our breath and puff our cheeks out like this."

(she demonstrated monkey face.)

why did leopards have to puff out their cheeks, i wondered.

"i don't know," she said dismissively, returning to her pancakes.

so tonight after dinner, marc was talking to harper and asked her the same question, and again she replied that they got to be leopards at school. and he asked her how they were leopards.

"we had spots all over our face and arms. then our arms started falling off, then our cheeks. and noah was god and he walked around and we were all better!"

"you were lepers?" marc asked, the lightbulb now coming on for both of us.

"yeah, leopards!"

proof that sometimes the concepts taught at a christian preschool and the realm of understanding in a child's life sometimes overlap like a really nutty venn diagram.

are we really six weeks from christmas??

not possible.


time to make a wish list.

(see how i think?)

actually, i need to hurry up and do it, because two of the things i've had bookmarked for months on my computer (yes, i have a bookmark folder for xmas gift ideas, both for me and for family. that way i can click, ship, and be done.) just showed up in the new martha stewart magazine. ack!! now they're going to be popular and out of stock!!

and, seriously ... the day martha's christmas issue comes out is one of the happiest days of the year. just gets the holiday spirit flowing.

she agrees with me that these two items are xmas must haves:

500 pencils

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how beautiful would that be, hanging on the wall of a scrap space??


washi tape


i fell in love with this stuff after seeing it used on leslie shewring's photos and still life gatherings. i just want to roll myself around in her world and never leave.

beyond the two things upon which martha and i share a fondness, there are these little tidbits, too:

miracle on 34th street poster


this must be in my holiday decorating stash. must.


countertop baggie dryer


i wash and recycle baggies. marc hates it because he hates figuring out how to get them to dry. bingo. solved.


brandi carlile's live album

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because, duh. it's brandi carlile. live.


fuji instax camera

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it's so darn cute.


helping hands

how adorable would this be in the bathroom or by the bedside to hold rings, etc?


flip flop slippers

it's flip flops + slippers. what's not to like?


memo dinnerware

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perfection. how cute would that mug be, sitting on my desk with hot coffee in it? how sweet would those plate be for a snack? and the composition book glasses? shut up. they're awesome.


plot of land

all i really want for christmas is for marc and i to stop dragging our feet, stop being nervous, stop second-guessing ourselves and just commit to a piece of land. and start preparing for the next stage.


what's on YOUR list this year?

sunday goodie

i adore the muppets. i try to get my kids to adore the muppets via youtube, but it's just not happening.

regardless. i adore the muppets. i adore steve martin. he was one of my earliest crushes, and remains so to this day. and for those reasons, today i'm sharing this with you.

happy sunday!

h'ween and photo-of-the-last-14-days round-up


halloween was fun, wasn't it?

robo-boy and snowflake princess. and there you have it.

becca and i finished up our photo-a-day project. the complete album is here, in case you missed any. in quick run-down, here we go, then we'll move on with our lives:

we left off on october 16th, just before marc and i left for door county, and before becca's husband, matt, left for a training school for three weeks. and before becca left for a week-long conference in virginia. picking up on the 17th ...

i made lentil soup.

mario stalked ladybugs.

matt relished a final day in his own bed. sort of his own bed.

i relished doing absolutely nothing.

becca saw the bug that ate indiana.

and i lost myself in autumn.

izzie the cat, looking somewhat neurotic.

bailey's harbor, wisconsin, looking somewhat melancholy.

matt got his pupil dilation on. (yes, you remember correctly. matt isn't home right now. this is an older picture becca wants us to believe she took on the 22nd.)

marc got his boca grandpa shuffleboard look on.

becca saw one tree: three colors.

i saw people trying to overcome the elements and have a good time anyway.

becca saw bruiser waiting patiently for his ball.

i discovered my daughter had been using her favorite book as a leaf press.

bec continues to gestate ...

saw a gorgeous, strange virginian plant ...

and a beautiful babbling brook.

mom saw an incredible sunrise.

becca saw a gnarly, knotty tree.

i saw my inability to roll out pie crust.

becca came seriously close to nature.

i came seriously close to mchotness's cute rear in his most rear-alicious pants.

10-30m we went downtown on a gloomy evening.

and we bought last-minute gloomy pumpkins at the nursery.

and with that ... october is over.

astounding. can christmas really be right around the corner?!