January 31, 2008

Getting Ready for the New Year

Every year, Mr. D and I celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year in traditional Chinese fashion... we get new haircuts! Sometimes we even clean the house. This year Mr. D had a huge plan up his sleeve, and Miss Maria took it all in stride as he walked in requesting a "number one buzz." I tried to remain calm, and, well... it was a big success!

Happy New Year!

January 27, 2008

Winter Wonders

tiny waterfalls
frozen to the rock face —
at last I notice

traveling north
through greys and browns —
still no snow

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.
Currently blogging from the Blackberry River Retreat
in S. Hadley on the campus of Mount Holyoke.)

January 25, 2008

Cousin Love

Here's how our visit with MD cousins went. First, a little space travel (yes, empty boxes beat out even the Wii):

And then a little fun outside:

We feel so fortunate to have such happy, healthy kids, and to live close enough to each other that they can have real relationships with each other!

(Still haven't figured out what I might work on
for this year's Thing-A-Day.
Haiku, maybe, but what else? Legos?
I feel like Winnie the Pooh... think think think.)

January 23, 2008

Opting Out

A few days ago I received an email reminder from a group organizer about a presentation at the Quaker center Pendle Hill. (Hope it rocked, Becky!) Yesterday I and the other email list members received an email that read, in part,
"please take my name off the [name of mailing list] list. I'm not connected to that world anymore and don't need or want to be on the mailing list. "
This has been sticking in my craw. It's hard for me to imagine resigning from an email list because I'm no longer connected to the world it represents. Unless it was a list that had to do with the developmental stages of our son, maybe. (I'm sure I did unsubscribe from some toddler-related listservs once Mr. D had made the shift into full-time boy.) But something like this, where a person opts to leave some piece of their identity behind (either queer or Quaker, I'm not sure which in this case), is hard for me to imagine. I think I am less about shedding skins and more about gradual accretion of affiliations. What think you?

(In other news, Mr. D had a great visit
with his MD cousins this past weekend.
Can photos be far behind?)

January 18, 2008

Pay Yourself First

You know how all those financial gurus talk about the importance of paying yourself first? The idea is that if you genuinely value your future plans as they relate to your money, you should put your money where your values are and move it into those accounts connected with your dreams as soon as you get paid, before you do anything else (like hit the ATM). Bonus points if you can automate it.

What about your time? If you did a time-audit of your life, really looked at the ways you spent your days, would the results map onto who you think you are? Or who you want to be?

I like to think of myself as a creative person, but it took my participation in last year's Thing-A-Day project to understand how important setting aside time every day is to my development as an artist.

I'll be doing it again this year. It's not easy. 30 or so minutes of creativity every day for 29 days. Surrounded by folks whose "creds" as artists are much more impressive and/or "real" than mine. But the community was terrific and inspiring, and some of the work I completed last year really helped move me forward creatively, so... I'm in. Gulp.

(Last year we were encouraged to assign ourselves weekly themes,
which definitely helped me focus my energies.
My four themes last year were: imagined histories,
true-life stories, snailmail, and get outside.
I'm open to suggestions...)

January 15, 2008

Wall Bling

Check it out... these are like Colorforms for your walls! Time for a little fun with my office, I think...
(Wall bling is available at Blik Surface Decals.
They get bonus points for crediting a poem
in their "about us" page.)

January 14, 2008

Childhood Memory Haiku

Two distinct memories from my childhood:

driving home in fog
car full of sleeping family


I cried
whenever my sister did —
her tears reason enough

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.)

January 13, 2008

Top 7 of '07

The lovely Magpie Girl (aka Rachelle) has suggested that we bloggers take a moment to look back over our year and highlight seven posts we were pleased with. Here are mine, with comments about why they made the cut:

Loneliness Haiku
I've been writing haiku all year, with varying degrees of success. These two are both good, I think.

Chocolate Pizza What?
Nicely captures both my silliness and creativity, I think.

Lessons from Camp
This post-camp photo essay is becoming a bit of a tradition.

Everyday Miracles
So many great moments as a parent this year; this one seemed to resonate with folks.

Good to take a moment and recognize some connections.

Just Say Yes
The parenting advice I try to live up to.

Imagined History 2
Last February I participated all month in the fabulous Thing-A-Day project. It was thrilling and humbling to try to play along... I'll probably try again this year. This entry was singled out because many months later it actually managed to re-connect me with the real Monica Russ.

(Thanks for the cool prompt, Rachelle.
And if anyone's still hungry for more true-life stories,
I'd love for you to check out my Life In Stories project.)

January 12, 2008

Go, Auntie Nish!

Here's to Auntie Nish, who slowly but surely worked to turn an idle conversation into a world... just like magic! (Of course we especially enjoy the seconds around 2:30 - 2:55 or so...)

(If you know a kid
-- especially in Boston, Miami, NYC, DC,
San Francisco, or Chicago, but there's also a plain "city" one --
who'd love a book like this,
head on over here, why don't cha?)

January 11, 2008


Got an email from the fabulous Ms. F today (Mr. D's teacher), who sadly informed us that a certain six year old's exhibitionist tendencies had gotten the better of him at school today. In the bathroom, at least, but STILL. He was apparently trying to hold the door open in order to embarrass some other poor kid!

Guess we might need to revisit the whole "why privates are called private" thing.

Also tonight, a meeting about the afterschool program at D's school. We sent our thoughts in, but don't plan to attend... as the parents of the boy who inspired "WedgieGate," we're trying to maintain a low profile for as long as we can.

Sheesh. This parenting thing? Not for sissies.


Are you registered to vote? Want to double-check? Check out VotePoke, an online search that allows you to check your registration status.

NJ primaries are Feb. 5th, which means that any new registrations need to be postmarked by January 15th, i.e. NEXT TUESDAY!

Remember, voting is your civic duty... and it also helps you preserve your right to qvetch.

January 10, 2008

Changing Times

Mr. D is so accustomed to video on demand he doesn't even bat an eye. Want to see a magic trick? Pull up a computer, open up YouTube, and you can put together a magic show of your very own.

Regular television is starting to go the way of camera film in my life; I don't remember the last time I watched television (as opposed to popping in a DVD), and I don't think I've bought a roll of 35mm film in the last five years. The alternatives are just too good.

No matter what you want to do, there's a video out there showing you how. Mr. D wanted to tune his guitar, and I found a great video on YouTube in just a few seconds. Since re-learning how to carve a turkey via the NYT website over Thanksgiving, I've also been more interested in videos as they connect to everyday living. My sister has been offering (for years) to help us get our pantry organized, but maybe the folks over at Better.tv can get me started. (Anyone know where I get those clear plastic containers for cereal?) At home, we're currently benefiting from T's purchase of some organizing drawers for our Lego collection; we still have some sorting to do, but when we finish, it's going to make playing and pickup much more satisfying. There's a local organization that helps folks prepare to apply for jobs, so a closet clean-out is also coming. Part of the challenge for us is that organizing and pitching just aren't as much fun as family board games or cooking. What motivates you?

(Thanks for the tip, Hip Blog Mamas!)

January 07, 2008

Moon Haiku

The moon and I,
silent on the boardwalk —

letting the waves speak.

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.
Bet you weren't expecting a boardwalk poem
on January 7th! But it was t-shirt weather here today,
and last year, too, at this time
we were experiencing a weird heatwave.
Mr. D and I are worried about the Earth.)