February 2008

Monthly Archive

Leap Day

Posted by on 29 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: fun, Uncategorized

Supposedly, this is the day that a young woman can ask her beau to marry her without seeming too forward.

So, me darlin’ Tom–

despite the kids and the illnesses/injuries and the messy house…

whattaya say? Wanna marry me and take me away from all this drudgery?

Continue Reading »

Another Youssif update

Posted by on 26 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: caring, children, Giving, good things, Making a Difference, parenting, Politics and War, Uncategorized

Little Youssif is doing better and better. Here is today’s story from CNN: “No hurt,” the 5-year-old Iraqi boy says in English. “No hurt.”

What a gift this child and his family are receiving — health, hope — a chance at happiness.

If only all stories of hate were able to be resolved as well.

Of course, the best resolution would be for such hurtful acts to stop happening. But until they do…

We will keep hoping for the miracle of human kindness to help soothe the evils of hate.

Yummy Vegan Knitting (reprise)

Posted by on 25 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: books and authors, food, fun, good things, health, Uncategorized, website review

Lolo, the blogger who writes VeganYumYum, was on the Martha Stewart Show today.

I am not really a fan of Martha Stewart, but I do love to read this blog! It’s inspiring and helpful to me as I try to come up with yummy, attractive things to feed my family.  It was great to see and hear one of my favorite cooks!   And no, she wasn’t using yarn and needles — exactly.

If you didn’t get to see the show in time, don’t despair, a clip of Lolo’s TV debut is at her site: here.

Now, in case you didn’t know, our family is not vegan.  Not even vegetarian.  We have a child who didn’t do well on a strictly animal-free diet. And, to be honest, the grandparents were not helpful when the children were little, being only too willing to take them to McD’s and other meat-and-grease-laden purveyors of comestables.  But, since he really does a lot better with meat in his life, we went ahead and made the adjustment for him.
But for me, I really do best on a vegan diet — or if I really want to break my rule, a few eggs or seafood.

Today, I am home feeling yucky.  A combination of things, I am sure, but I am also sure that it is partly my diet lately. Too many things with meat, too much wheat (not a real allergy, more my body prefers other grains) and sugar, too few good veggies.

So, I have refocused, drinking LOTS of water, and eating one banana and a mug of warm marmite broth. I also admit to a candy cane — the peppermint flavor really helped my tummy calm down. Trying to clear out my system a little without too much movement (a nasty multi-day headache that gets worse with motion) or too much prep time.

And while I recuperate, I am spending a little bit of time reading the food blogs I enjoy, considering my next culinary adventure!

Buon Appetito!

Another Birthday, Another Millstone

Posted by on 24 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, environment, Family Matters, friends, fun, hope, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

 [Note:  this post is being written late and is subject to revision when I am coherent again…] 

Here are three best friends at a birthday party.  They were pretty excited and happy, having just come from a movie and anticipating a pizza supper with cake for dessert.  I did have to remind them a couple times to settle down, but they did, and weren’t overly rambunctious or loud (though they could have been if encouraged).

three musketeers ready to eat pizza

Soon after the supper was over, we took them to a park where they played frisbee with dads and brothers…

friends' dad and little brother with the birthday boy

And another, an action shot…

more frisbee play

frisbee is fun!

It was fun.

Today I am a quarter inch shorter than I was three weeks ago…   or the child is taller.

Today I am another year older, and the child is growing into his own.

We are not in a hurry to push him out of the nest, rather he is moving toward the rim on his own.

Here he is, in the morning, wearing the robe I made him (yes!  I finished it!), inspecting the starter telescope we got him with his daddy.  You see he is easily as tall as his taller parent…

A far-seeing object.  Can he see his future from here?

Though I love watching my children learn and grow, come into their own as people, it makes me wistful on occasion for the early years.  Can it really be that so much time has passed?  Are we really this close to “empty nesting” — to being excused from the daily reminders to brush teeth or hair, released from the duties of chauffering, dismissed from their lives?

If I am lucky, when my children are past their teen years, when they have survived their first tentative steps into adulthood, they will rejoin my life — as comfortable, interesting friends.

But right now, we are renegotiating our roles.  Some things I am still very much in charge, some things I am not.  Some things I remain the expert, but in many areas my child(ren) have surpassed me in both interest and knowledge.  It is curious how many ways they exhibit individuality despite their similar upbringings, the many subjects their father or I have studied and enjoyed.

The millstone?  As they approach the point at which they will enter the world on their own terms, I find myself worrying more and more about the state of the world, whether we will have the resources they need to gain a foothold in the lives they wish to lead.

This is the real burden of parenting, I think.  Not the long nights spent sitting up with a sick child, or the days traveling back and forth to doctors/schools/events, nor even the long, intense discussions on birds and bees and other hot topics.

No, the real burden of parenting is learning to let go, remembering my own struggle to find my place in the world, to learn to be a productive adult.  Though my parents were eventually in a position to help me/us along, there were many places I had to go alone, many financial and educational choices I had to make sola.

I made it — my task soon will be to let go, so my own children can make it.   So they can feel the same sense of accomplishment I did.  The same sense they felt the first day they woke up before me and dressed themselves, saying proudly:

Me did it meself! 

Something Blue

Posted by on 15 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: blogposts, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, musings, Uncategorized, words

There are many things that are blue (I am blue, thinking how late I am writing this, for example).

Blue eyes were in the news that last couple of weeks — if you have blue eyes you are definitely a cousin of every other person with blue eyes! Though possibly a thousand generations removed…

Blue skies were overhead for me a couple times this past week. After weeks of mostly gray, cold, and often rainy or snowy weather, they sure looked pretty! Looking forward to tomorrow, when more blue skies are again predicted!

The robe I am making for my son’s birthday in a week is blue — a pretty dark blue (just shy of navy, not quite as bright as sapphire) and a lovely light aqua. Tropical fishes swim across. It will be lovely and warm for him — once it’s done.

My Tom favors blue jeans for daily attire, dark indigo, or faded almost to white, they are durable, comfortable and go with everything! Today, I wore my blue-jean skirt!

And, of course, the stidkid’s bird is “Bleu!” A lovely little parakeet, he continues to bring us a good deal of joy.

Blue can mean many things — it is so common in our language. To feel blue is be sad, melancholy. To be a blue-blood is to have high standing in society as an accident of one’s birth. To be true-blue is to be loyal, trustworthy, honest.

And yet, blue can be elusive. The blue sky cannot be touched, a truly blue rose does not exist. Like any quality that can be named (love, hope, joy), blue is known by all, but experienced uniquely by each. When you think of blue, what is in your mind’s eye?

sky-blue
azure
teal
aqua
navy
sapphire
turquoise
indigo

or some other color?

How blue are you?

Something Borrowed

Posted by on 14 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: blogposts, celebrations, food, fun, health, Uncategorized, website review

The theme today (Valentine’s Day in the United States) is something borrowed…

The book I “borrowed” from a friend who has since passed on?

The idea I “borrowed” (with permission of course) from my friend in fourth grade? She really drew the best people!

The money we “borrowed” from our parents, truly intending to pay back and then didn’t have to?

Lots of Love in this borrowing we do!

I think I will “borrow” my idea for this page from several sources, internet-based, and just make a list of interesting sites that are food/health related. I am inspired by the Weekdayprogram on the local radio station (KUOW) that I am listening to as I write and work around the house this morning. The interviewee is Michael Pollan, who has written a new book called “In Defense of Food” — about the need to return to foods eaten fresh or at least cooked from “scratch.” As much as our budget and my energy/health allow, we eat a good bit of “real food,” though I admit to sometimes not taking it as seriously as I ought.

Left to my own, I would choose a primarily vegan/vegetarian diet because I feel better when I do — but I have a child who doesn’t feel better on only plants for food, and so our family also consumes a lot of poultry and seafood (things I am not allergic to). The very coolest website I have found for vegan recipes is Vegan Yum Yum. Not only does she talk about her successes, but also the things that didn’t work — and why (if she knows). This gives me hope that I can also make some yummy, decadent and tasty meals without resorting to things in packages or eggs (the only thing I really miss on a completely vegan diet).

I also drool when I look at this recipe on the gliving.tv website… Chocolate Raspberry Cake.

Here is someone who, like me, dries their own apple slices. And, like me, has discovered that really thin crispy ones take on a life of their own… Grandpa’s Crunchy Apple Chips.

And one more to tempt you, not vegan, but delicious (and adaptable) for a day like today… Fruittart’s blog has a Chocolate Hazelnut Cake recipe.

Now, I want to point out that there are many really good ideas out there. I really like the “idea” of the slow foods movement, but find it difficult to make my entire life center around meal preparation the way the die-hards seem to. To be honest, there are generally only two or three hours between the time we are all at home and the time the children need to go to bed. I take a middle road in most methods as a result — I strive for integrity in buying good food, whether pre-made or home-grown. But sometimes, it’s important to look at what is reasonable as well as what is healthy.

I encourage you to buy the most natural, most organic, most socially responsible food you can… but don’t sweat the small stuff, either. If you are on a trip, and your kids are hungry … feed them at the closest restaurant and don’t worry that it’s a chain. If you are out of money at the end of the month, and organic lettuce and tomatoes put you over your budget for the week, then buy what you can.

If eating reasonably becomes a huge burden, you won’t want to. So — do what feels right, and stretch a little bit.

Bon Appetit!

Something New

Posted by on 13 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: art, Art Museums and Galleries, children, education, friends, fun, good things, musings, parenting, school, Uncategorized

Today I took my child out of school early today, not for a doctor’s appointment, or a religious reason, not because he called home feeling ill. This was planned.

We went to the Tacoma Glass Museum to watch Maestro Lino Tagliapietra in the hot shop.

Now, some parents (and schools) are sticklers for attendance. ONLY if a child is sick (and they mean, in the hospital) should a child be late, tardy or absent. In general, while I am not that uptight about attendance (any fever or lethargy qualifies as a home day), I do try to impress upon the children the importance of showing up and doing one’s best work.

One might think, given his many absences last trimester that I would want him in school as much as possible this trimester — so he doesn’t fall behind, or miss too many opportunities to support his learning.

But this is the first year that his school doesn’t have an art program. I strongly believe that the arts are not just a “nice” part of an education — I believe they are essential to a well-rounded individual. If my child does not have access to art in school, then it is my duty as a parent to be sure he gets it outside of school. Fortunately, they still have an excellent music program… and the literature/social studies teachers make sure to incorporate culture things like art when and where they can.

So Wednesdays are the day that all the classes are a little shorter, and they get out of school more than an hour earlier than usual to allow the entire staff to meet together or work in small teams on projects. Last week, I checked with his teacher for the last two classes and discovered that today she would be gone! And, with her blessing, I snagged the kid as soon as he was done with science and skee-daddled for the hills. Or, in this case, the Port of Tacoma.

Tying this in to the “something new” that is the theme for the day… This is the first time I have ever deliberately taken a kid out of classes for a “frivolous” activity. So that’s new.

But more importantly, it was looking at the art — and the artisans through my child’s eyes. His wonder, his joy, the en-joy-ment with which we watched each new layer being gatherered onto the pipe, the casual but elegant choreography between the team members, the care and interest with which the master blew, turned, passed the work to his “students” — many of whom are close to masters in their own right, I am sure.

New. Not brand-spanking, gleaming and scratch-free, but fresh, interesting, exciting.

Watching a 73-year old man blow glass? Highly new. And wonderful. Continue Reading »

Something OLD

Posted by on 12 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: blogposts, caring, Family Matters, friends, fun, good things, hope, musings, parenting, Uncategorized

This is a challenge from my friend Ping! (Robin) who also it seems feels sluggish about posting in her own blog. Had you noticed I hadn’t posted in a while? Her original post is at the OTHER mother.

So, for the next few days, I have something specific to post about! Thanks Ping! you’re a great pal!

Something old… My grandmothers kept lots of old things. From the one who immigrated to this country, the oldest things we have are a few postcards from her childhood. One from her own grandmother demonstrates that some “personal flaws” are perhaps genetic. The note begins (translated from the very old, spidery, non-Anglicized writing they used to use in Prussia): I am sorry I haven’t written in so long… [note from me: I tried to find the original, both to scan and to check the wording, but it is “somewhere” — as old things often are!]

Nearly every piece of correspondence from me — and from this grandmother to me — begin in similar fashion. I know I owe you a longer/better/more detailed letter…

We like to visit with people, we like to connect, but the very act of sitting down and putting thoughts on paper (or in print of some form) is daunting. What is it about this old family “tradition?” Perhaps it’s always wanting to be perfect, knowing that our words are such an imperfect reflection of our meanings.

But the meaning in that old postcard, written almost 100 years ago is very clear:

I LOVE YOU.