Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I remember many years ago telling my MIL that I'd inherited a few of my great-grandmother's super tiny crochet hooks. MIL explained that they were for tatting lace, something she enjoyed, and which sounded terribly tedious to me.

Now, I haven't totally lost my mind on this (as I have with chocolate and fried meat, apparently!), but lace-weight yarn (that's really, really thin yarn to you non-knitter/crocheters) has been appealing to me lately. And I even have a project in my Ravelry queue where I could use lace weight yarn and probably not go insane. So tempting...

But then, what kind of lace weight yarn? My automatic preference would be Malabrigo, but has some lovely colors and is half the price. also has some lovely colors and great prices, and, I'm told, is owned by the Malabrigo guy's brother. But when I put together a cart with a little lace weight and some worsted for a sweater- Oh Snap! Guess What I Saw?? $32.50 in shipping charges! I don't hold this against them- they are located in Uruguay and I'm sure that's exactly or close to exactly how much it would cost to mail the yarn to me. But still. I suppose the upside is that with shipping like that the yarn is about the same price as buying Malabrigo here in the States!


Happy Halloween! The kids and I are going trick or treating tonight, so I'll try to post some costume pics after bedtime :)

It's been a busy day so far, in large part because we forgot to get Zion most of his Halloween costume. Long story, but he kept changing his mind about what he wanted to be, so we waited and then...forgot. He finally settled (I hope) on cat, and I made him cat ears as you saw, but there was nothing else for the costume! For Liel we got black pants and a black turtleneck to go with her ears. Anyway, we realized this about 1045pm last night, too late to do anything. So this morning after my classes I came home, picked up Liel so that Robert could work while we were gone, and went to Target to get Zion's costume bits. Apparently boys don't wear black (WTF??), cause I couldn't find a single black shirt (other than Spiderman) or black pants anywhere. So I bought a pair of black sweats from the girl's side and a white turtleneck and he can be a black and white cat. Right? Here's hoping...

Then we swung by Zion's school to drop of the supplies we bought for them yesterday, came back home and helped Robert get his face paint on (he's dressed up as a Pict, with a kilt and blue face paint), and Robert dropped Liel and I off at the preschool to get Zion and walk home while he headed off to work.

As we were leaving the school I pulled Zion off the driveway to let a car pass and he asked who it was. I told him it was Jack and his mama, and Liel, who was on my back in the mei tai, put her arms around me and laid her head on my shoulder and said, "My mama loves me!".

Ain't that the truth???

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Robots and Waffles

Today was an Exciting Excursion day. First we headed to Harlem for some chicken and waffles at Amy Ruth's. It was, in a word, outfuckingstanding (that's called infixing, or tmesis, by the way. In English we do it almost exclusively when swearing. Cool, huh?). Robert and I both got the Al Sharpton (mine was fried and smothered, his just fried). Serious, serious goodness. Robert told me later that he wished he'd gotten smothered, but I assured him that he could next time. I hear they make a mean sweet tea and Red Velvet Cake there, too, but we didn't have room to try them. I know you probably won't believe this, but we actually didn't finish our meals. I must be gettin' old, cause there's only so much sweet starch and fried meat goodness I can take in a single sitting these days. Man, never thought I'd see the day I'd put that in print...

After our yummy lunch we headed to the Upper West Side to go to Robot Village so that Robert could at last buy his Birthday Robot (it hadn't been released yet at his birthday), and Zion could buy his Thunder Robot (a robot figure he's been lusting after since his last trip there in July). Liel got a little robot, too, and everyone left happy.

The weather was gorgeous, and to top it all off, I got to wear my latest knitting project, completed last night. It's a super cropped, bulky, V-neck sweater. I don't have any pictures yet, but we'll be carving pumpkins this afternoon, so hopefully it can all work out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Yesterday I made Liel a sock cat (you know, a cat made out of a sock). She loves it. In fact, she loved it before it was anything other than a sock with some polyfil stuffing in it that she carried around for a day calling it "Kitty". I had to cajole her into giving it up to me so I could make it resemble a cat. Here it is.

Anyway, Liel took Kitty to nap with her yesterday. When I went to get her after she woke up she picked up Kitty and said, "I have Kitty!" I agreed and she pointed at her other cat toy (named Kitty-Kitty. She's apparently taking a page from Balinese naming traditions. I guess this is what that might look like if the namers had kind of sketchy counting skills) and said "I have two kitties! Zion only has one kitty."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sucks to your asthma and other rants

It appears that Liel may be asthmatic. This wouldn't be a huge shock since both Robert and I are, but of course no one wants that for their kids, so yeah. She's got a cold and woke up totally freaked last night. Her breathing was shallow and raspy and uneven and she was shaking and sucked. My poor baby! She was pretty cheerful today, though quite hoarse and snotty.

In other rants, a skincare company I used to love and rave about has pretty much just doubled their prices on everything. I'm irritated on my behalf, and doubly so on behalf of those to whom I'd recommended these products. Yes, costs go up. But seriously, doubling prices on nearly everything in your product line? Um, thanks for the ride, this looks like my stop....

I hate to leave on a down note, so I'll pimp some other products instead, shall I? I bought this lovely facial serum from Nicole at littleflowers and I love it! My skin is pleased, I'm pleased, and Nicole is a total doll. Check her out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Today's class topic was Religion and Sex, and we talked about norms, ethics, injunctions etc in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. As part of my class prep last night I actually went and read some of the Kama Sutra for the first time. Contrary to popular belief, the Kama Sutra isn't just some crazed sex manual. There are 7 sections, one of which deals with sex. It's probably not as thrilling as you've been lead to believe, but you can check it out for yourself.

My favorite part was a list of 64 arts in which a woman should be competent. They include:

-Playing on musical glasses filled with water
-Art of knowing the character of a man from his features
-Knowledge of mines and quarries
-Making artificial flowers
-Knowledge of the art of war, of arms, of armies, etc.
-The art of making beds, and spreading out carpets and cushions for reclining
-Storing and accumulating water in aqueducts, cisterns and reservoirs
-Knowledge of dictionaries and vocabularies
-Various ways of gambling
and of course:
-Art of teaching parrots and starlings to speak

Good ol' Kama Sutra.


Zion has had a virtually life-long love affair with sushi. On his first birthday we took him out for sushi, cause it was already his favorite food. At this age he was just eating cooked stuff, and was particularly fond of tobiko and miso.

When he was 21 months old we let him try the raw stuff, and that was a huge hit, too. He just sat on my brother's lap and gorged himself, pointing at all the new yummies he wanted to try.

So given that we are a family of sushi lovers it was surprising to us to realize, tonight, that we hadn't had sushi in months. Zion's been asking for it, too, so we picked up some take-out from our favorite local sushi joint. It'd been so long since we'd been in that the place appears to have new owners. Our order wasn't done yet when Robert and Zion arrived to pick it up, so they hung out and watched the chef preparing it. Robert pointed out the rainbow roll that was been made, and Zion said, "Oh, I like rainbow roll!" The chef gave a small smile and continued his work. "Look!" said Zion, "Salmon! That is my favorite". The chef smiled. Zion pointed. "And there is the sushi mat!" Bigger smile.

The sushi was quite good, and we had an excellent Chilean Cabernet with crazy cherry/blackberry/vanilla flavors. Sooooo good.

Wet Kisses

Liel has a cold. So does Zion. It's probably not the best time to visit, in case you were wondering.

After lunch today Liel was wailing for me to get her out of her highchair. Having a cold seems to make her wail a lot. I scooped her up and she took my face in her hands, said "Mama, mama!" and leaned in. I felt something wet brush my cheek. She'd wiped her nose on my face.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I did it. I finally joined Facebook. And you know what? I can't believe I held out for so long! What a brilliant way to do nothing! Plus I get to catch up with old friends. Yep. About the only thing I don't like about Facebook is that profiles are closed by default unless you're friends. Um, what if I just want to peek in at you, and not, you know, talk? What then??

Sigh. Voyeurism. Thwarted.

Knitting FOs!

Finally. I've finished some knitting! First up we have this lovely shrug, done in UT colors cause I had the yarn sitting around. Oh, and love the Longhorns, of course!

Sorry- that's the best I could do for a pic of the back/side by myself!

Hmm, just realized I don't have pics of the hat yet- maybe later today.

Last night I went to a River Doulas meeting. It was fabulous! Time to sit, and knit, and talk. I did about 80% of the shrug in the 2 hours I was there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Robert has taken the kids for a bike ride, and you know what I'm planning to do in my free time? Clean the bathroom. As soon as he announced his plan to leave me child free for an hour and a half, I said "Oooo! I'm going to clean the bathroom! And the kitchen!" Yep. This is where my life is at- waiting til the kids are gone or in bed to...clean the bathroom. It's a very cold, hard Mexican ceramic tile, see? So it probably wouldn't be much good for anything else (except for peeing on, of course. Frankly, that's a huge part of the reason I'm so eager to get it clean in the first place).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sheep, and wool

Yesterday we drove the kids up north and did two things. First we stopped off at Bard, one of my alma maters. It was the first time I'd been there in 8 years. It was beautiful, and I felt reassured about the choice my 17 year old self made to go there. When my mom and gramma and I visited the colleges I'd applied to, Bard was the only one where I felt at home. And I still feel at home there. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's no Thacher...when I go back to Thacher I just want to thorw my arms around the whole place, or lay down on the ground and make sure my roots are still there or something. Bard doesn't do that for me, but it is still an excellent place.

After our quick walk around part of the campus we got back in the car and headed to Rhinebeck for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. Rhinebeck is all of 10 minutes from Bard, and my friend Eleanor used to go to the Festival every year. I didn't knit at the time, and had no interest. Now, however, I know better! Rhinebeck hosts one of the bigger fiber festivals in the US, and I was super-psyched to get to go at last.

So we went to a llama jumping contest, a canine frisbee demonstration, a sheep display (with plenty of real, live sheep for petting!), and the wine and food hall. I spent about 20 minutes quickly perusing some of the yarn offerings, too, while Robert and the kids played outside. It was a gorgeous day- sunny, about 73 and fall colors all around. I didn't actually buy any yarn, which surprised me a bit, but I just didn't see anything I liked better than my Favored Yarns. We did buy some venison sausage, maple sugar candy, and wine. The wine we bought was a muscat, made by a NY state winery we've been wanting to check out. The muscat didn't taste like any of the NY dessert wines we've tried; it tasted like wine from home. As I was thinking this Robert looked over at me and said "This tastes like Mike Brown 's (winemaker and owner of Kalyra, and former winemaker at Buttonwood) muscat!" We looked at the bottle- ah. The grapes came from the Central Coast. We bought it. $18 for a 750 of yummy muscat? Yes, please!

Here are some pictures from the frisbee event. We met up with some friends there- their daughter and Zion go to preschool together.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Today as we were driving through the Hudson Valley Zion said, "Look how pretty the trees are! Some of them are lellow, and some are orangen, and some are red, and some are green."

He's really starting to articulate an appreciation for beauty, which I find both delightful and amazing. Last week I was called out onto the deck after dinner to see something "very beautiful". When I got out there Zion pointed up over our neighbor's roof towards the dusky pink sky and said, "The sky is pink. Isn't it very beautiful?" This, I think, must be what people mean when they talk about kids getting you to slow down and appreciate the small things of the world. I kind of thought that was something only others were experiencing (or not at all- perhaps it was one of those public secrets!), since my kids, at least, tend to make much more mundane and repetitive observations before the age of 3 1/2. Of course, it doesn't all shift to moments of quiet beauty at the 42 month mark, but peace and awe apparently do start to squeeze in around then.

Liel, of course, is still in the less gorgeous stage of observation. Tonight she stood up from the potty and announced, "I pooped. Big one!" Robert suggests that this might be a simpler stage of appreciation, and I suppose he's right. A few years ago Leslie reported that Annemarie (then about 2 1/2, but 4 years old today!) peered into the toilet after she'd used it one day and announced its contents to resemble a snake. Leslie obligingly took a look and agreed that yes, it did look like a snake. Annemarie stared into the toilet. "It's beautiful!", she whispered.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


When I lived in Boston for a couple of years in grad school I learned about trashing. On garbage day people go out and canvas certain neighborhoods (say, Allston-Brighton in late May) searching for discarded treasure. I'm sure people do this everywhere, but Boston is the only place I've lived where it's been elevated to an activity in it's own right, complete with a verb. Nate and Rika's landlord was a trashing aficionado, and used their backyard as his personal treasure/junk pile. That part wasn't so cool, actually, tho Nate did manage to salvage useful things at a moment's notice once or twice, as I recall.

I don't know if it's just my kids or what, but Zion and Liel are almost magnetically drawn to trash. They think it's a toy, see. Or toys. Or whatever. Its as if they didn't have piles and drawers and shelves overflowing with carefully crafted toys, wonderful story books, and cheap plastic junk. When new trash comes into the house, they only have eyes for it. A certain amount of it is age related, I assume, since Zion no longer forages around in the paper recycling, even tho Liel spends at least 5 minutes every day at this very activity (and leaves the kitchen floor strewn with flattened cardboard boxes and junk mail). But there are plenty of items destined for the garbage or recycling that Robert and I have to sneak out in the dead of night (or what passes for the dead of night around here...say, 930pm). Just today, for instance, I asked Robert what we were planning to do with the 3 large cardboard boxes laying around our living and dining rooms. They've been there for 2 days now.

And that, perhaps, is the crux of it. Robert and I are weak when it comes to clutter, and weaker still when the clutter in question appears to bring some kind of joy to our children. When we lived in Brooklyn we actually kept certain waste items in Zion's toy basket, just because he seemed to enjoy them at least as well as his traditional toys. Only in the past few months have we attempted to harden our hearts and actually dispose of the random lids, empty boxes, and junk mail featuring cute animals.

Still, though, we can't beat ourselves up too much. Even in our new, clean(er) home the kids find a way. This afternoon I was reading them stories on my bed. Liel, displeased with Zion's choice of story ("no, no! I do not love that story!") had climbed down to select the book we'd read next. Unusually, she didn't return to the bed, demanding to sit on my lap where she could complain about the unloved story from her rightful perch. In fact, she was suprisingly silent. Thrilled, I continued to read to Zion in the blissful quiet. But as the minutes ticked on I became curious, then mildly concerned. I put the book down and looked around the room for Liel. She was sitting next to the trashcan surrounded by piles of empty taffy wrappers, carefully unwadding each one in search of overlooked delights.



I'll get right to the point: I love Neil Gaiman. Love him. He's probably my favorite author ever, and even if he's not, he's one hell of a storyteller. I joined a group on Ravelry for other knitters who are obsessed with Neil Gaiman, and there's movement afoot to get a Gaiman-inspired knitalong going. I hope it happens!

Neither Robert nor I have ever read the Sandman series, so I think that's where we're headed next.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sweater links for Mom

I think I'm going to be making this sweater for my mom. She's not sure about what yarn she wants yet- choice is btwn a turquoise Cascade 220 and something from Peace Fleece (probably Baltic Blue or Soyuz-Apollo Teal).


Like I said, this is the one time of year I really love living in the northeast! Today Zion's preschool class went apple-picking at a local farm. It might be a cute overload, but that's a risk I'm willing to take :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Further Cool

Check out this fun test to show if you are more left- or right-brained!

Feel free to post your results, I must admit to being very curious. I'm a strong right brain, apparently!


Someone has obviously replaced the real me with a copy. How do I know? I can no longer abide milk chocolate. Any chocolate that I consume must be dark, almost bitter, and preferrably artisinal. I used to prefer milk chocolate largely because I just didn't like chocolate much, and preferred not to taste it more than was necessary.

On the balance I guess my chocolate taste now matches my coffee taste. I don't really drink coffee, tho, but chocolate is more and more delicious...

Monday, October 15, 2007


Sometimes, one is forced to make sacrifices for the sake of one's art. Or work. So when Geoffrey Miller and his team at the University of New Mexico set out to study human fertility and it's accompanying signals and chose strip clubs as the setting, you know they were sacrficing themselves for the greater good! And we all surely appreciate it. Actually, their findings are pretty interesting, as they indicated that women do send out "I'm fertile" signals, that men do read them accurately (if unknowingly) and that the Pill sucks (OK, fine, that's just me editorializing. But it does.).

Plus they got to go to strip clubs! For work!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Here kitty, kitty...

Last night I made a pair of fly cat ears for Liel's halloween costume. This morning it turned out they were a bit big for her. Luckily Zion had already started coveting them, so I gave them to him and made Liel a new pair (well, almost. I just need to make some icord for the strings). Zion informed me that he was a smashed face cat (like Ajax), which perhaps explains the surly expression on his face. He was happy tho, I assure you. He even napped in the cat ears.

Further updates in the world of home alcohal making! I now have 2 750ml bottles of mead going on the counter. I moved the second batch out of the applesauce jar today, and a good thing, too. the lid was super tight, and I belatedly realized that without a way of releasing the pressure the glass jar could have exploded. Good thing we dodged that bullet! Zion got to help with the exciting task of releasing the carbon dioxide that had built up in the balloon over the past 24 hours. He was mostly excited to remove the balloon and see it deflate, but I was enthralled by the carbonation bubbles! It was just like in commercial soda, man! Carbonation bubbles moving up through the mead. I sat and watched it for a couple minutes and then something really extra cool happened- the carbonation caused the heavier, older layer (the honey/pear ferment) on the bottom to rise up and mix with the lighter, newer (honey water) layer on top!

Science is sooooo cool. Too bad it more or less sucked the way it was taught to me in school. I might've been more interested if it were more hands on! That, or if it had had a potentially tasty result.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've still got time...

So why not make homemade vegan candy corn?

No, seriously. I'm going to make them. Robert loves candy corn and they are loaded with crap. Not that homemade candy corn will be health food, exactly, but you know. Gotta start somewhere!

Live to tell

We tried the mead today! The pears had become little more than pear skins floating in a cider colored, slightly thick liquid. It still smelled fine- like honey, and pears, and booze. So I strained out the solids and called Robert over to see. Once he was there I quickly insisted that he be the first to taste the stuff. I wish I could fabricate some righteous motive for this, but I'm afraid the cold, hard truth is just that I wanted someone else to tell me if it was really gross so that I could avoid drinking yuck.

Luckily, Robert is both kind and tolerant and he grabbed a cup and dipped it into the bowlful of strained mead. He reported it to be "fine" or "alright" or something that was definatly not bad, but not quite delicious, either. So I took the plunge and tried it myself. Robert was pretty much dead on- the stuff was fine. Sweet, pear-ish, yeasty, and somewhat alcoholic.

I'm hoping we can do better, tho, so I bottled it up in an empty wine bottle with more 4:1 water/honey solution. I filled a 750ml bottle and had leftovers, so I put those into an empty applesauce jar with the honey water. I'm afraid the seal from the lid on that jar isn't properly airtight, but Robert assures me we'll have another empy wine bottle I can use by the end of the day. Takin' one for the team ;)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hope springs eternal

Today I babysat our friend's 16 month old son while Zion was at preschool (it was his mama's turn to be class parent today). He and Liel played pretty well together/near each other, and he's a sweet kid- kept bringing her Fluffy every time he noticed Fluffy lying somewhere by himself.

Then Liel asked to draw, so I sat them down at the table with paper and crayons. And the boy? Kept trying to eat the crayons. And kept trying. And trying. He managed to bite the tip off of one of them, and a very sour expression came across his little face. He spit out the offending bit of crayon and handed it to me. Ah, parenthood. You know, there seems to be a lot of commentary about how becoming a parent hardens you to all manner of grossness from your children, but I haven't seen much about parenthood enabling the gracious acceptance of spit-drenched ends of crayons from other people's progeny. Yet there I was! Interestingly, the undeliciousness of the black crayon did not deter the boy from trying to eat every other color of crayon. He'd pick up a new one, give me a shifty-eyed, sideways look to see if I was watching, and pop the new crayon into his mouth. I'd remind him that crayons are not for eating, and he'd remove it, pick up a new crayon, and we'd start again.

It's incredible how fast kids change when they are little. He's only 6 months younger than Liel, and it seems like her crayon (and marker. sigh.) eating days were just last week. I'm so used to seeing her as the baby, and here she was today, the big girl who didn't even try to sneak one crayon into her mouth. Next thing I know she'll be putting on her own clothes, planting her own garden and baking her own pies, right?

But it all started with the crayons.

Yarn in the hand

Even though I haven't been knitting much lately, I'm still horribly tempted by yarn!! If the past six months of mad knitting have taught me anything, it's that the more I love a yarn, the more I love knitting. And if I dislike or am only "meh" about a yarn, it's tough to be movtivated to knit.

So in conclusion: I'll be knitting a lot with Malabrigo and Peace Fleece! I have a skein of Malabrigo worsted merino in Cactus Flower all balled up and ready to go, but I haven't quite decided what to make with it. I bought it with the intention of making mittens, but I'm tempted by some sweet scarf patterns.

See, I love knitting with Malabrigo so much that I'm actually considering buying more to knit small projects for sale (scarves and hats and the like). And as I've posted before, I don't usually sell my knitting since making affordable items means barely getting paid. But I just want to knit with nice yarn, and a girl really CAN have enough hats/scarves/mittens I think I'm willing to sell small things at low prices, just so I can have the fun of knitting with these gorgeous yarns.

Comission me, baby! LMAO.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today one of my students (whom I like quite a bit) wore a shirt to class that said "Define 'girlfriend'".

My immediate reaction was to say "No problem! How about: 'something you don't have'?"

But I censored myself. Cause, you know, appropriate behavior as the professor and all. Kinda sucks when I have to be The Man for myself.

Heh. But I'm totally right. No guy with a girlfriend would wear that shirt. To my further amusement he was also wearing a huge crucifix, which hung right over the words of the shirt.


When I got home from work this morning Liel sidled up to me and said something that sounded like, "May I have gum, mama? In wrapper?"

"You want gum? In a wrapper?" I asked, making sure I'd heard correctly.

Liel looked at me pityingly. "No mama. Want gum in MOUTH."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


You may have noticed a lack of knitting chatter recently. The reason is simple: I'm not knitting. I have come, inexplicably, to dislike the sweater I'm knitting, and I don't want to work on it. It's using up most of my cords, tho, so I can't really start something new (unless I work on straight needles, of course). Bah! So: anyone need/want a sweater? In brown and red? Perhaps I'll manage to finish it if I know where it's going from here. Wool/acrylic blend yarn. Machine washable! Perfect for fall! Yours for yarn + shipping.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Forgive me, ABC

For I have most certainly sinned. I failed to watch The Bachelor (episode 3, season 11) last night.

Fucking Columbus Day. As if I didn't have enough reasons to hate it, it has now caused to me forget that yesterday was Monday, since I didn't teach. Bastard!

To atone, I present you with a picture of my honey-pear mead, fermenting and bubbling away! And this despite the fact that I have heard nary a peep of the adulation I so clearly deserve for taking on this bold experiment in home alcohal making. Don't say I never show my love!

Plus, I like the Nightmare Before Christmas

The Knitty fall surprise pattern went up today. Oh yeah. Cool as-is and think of the possibilities! Zombies and jack o'lanterns and monsters, oh my!

Monday, October 8, 2007

We got yeast!

I know, not normally something to shout about, but the mead on my counter is fermenting! When I take the cover off it smells alcohol-y and not at all rotting. Cool!! I'm totally makng mead on my counter with nothing but water, honey, and fruit. At least, it appears I'm making mead. I'm willing to reserve final judgement until I've tried it in 3 or 4 more days.

I put the kimchi in a glass jar today and put it in the fridge. I give good odds that it'll go to my brother. I always think I'll like kimchi, and very rarely do. It's fun to make, tho! I'm like Martha the hippo and her split pea soup :P

But once the kimchi got cleared off the counter I had this big empty space with nothing fermenting! So I started some yogurt/clabbered milk. Good times.

Liel's feeling much better today. She's still not totally well, but she's been eating some and is only warm, not hot. So that's good. Hopefully she'll be ship shape by tomorrow since I have to teach, and when she's not feeling good all she wants is to sit on my lap or have me hold her.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Time on my hands

Could I knit a Mei Tai? Hmmm. Felted, so it wouldn't sag. Probably only good for use in cooler weather, tho maybe a single strand felt would be OK in warmer climates. Hmmm.


Liel woke up crying at about 1030pm last night, and proceeded to throw up all over her floor as I held her (hey, better than in her bed!). She was burning hot, and tho she didn't throw up any more, she woke up a few more times from being hot and thirsty. Today she clearly didn't feel well and there was much wailing and clinging to mama. In fact, I spent most of my day holding her in my arms or on my lap. It was kind of nice, except for the fact that she didn't feel great. And despite her repeated claims that she wanted pie, she didn't feel well enough to allow me to make it. We did get the crust done (with help from Robert and Zion), and it's waiting in the fridge now.

In topics hopfully unrelated to illness: I've started two fermentation experiments in the kitchen. One is a kimchi recipe that I modified from the kraut maker at Hawthorne Valley Farms. I made this last year and didn't really like it, but Kenny did (or at least claimed to), so I'm counting on him to take this off my hands if it's still not my speed.

The other is a (theorhetically) wild fermented fruit mead. Apparently fruits, herbs, and flowers tend to have wild strains of yeast on them, so if you mix some in with the honey water base for mead you can get fermentation going without fancy starters or, well, anything else. Remember those little, unyummy pears? Yeah. I chopped up 4 or 5 of those suckers and tossed 'em in the honey water yesterday. Here's to hoping they have wild yeast on them...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cultural Ferment

A week or so ago I went to the library to see if they had a copy of Barbara Kingslover's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about the year she and her family grew nearly everything they ate. The library copy was checked out, but as I stared at the shelf in disappointment another book caught my eye. It was called The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved and I thought something like "well, duh". But since it seemed to be about local food and other food politics I grabbed it. I like a little revolution as much as the next girl!

This book? Is super cool. There's nothing in it that's flat out news to me (agribusiness and drug manufacterers are bad, m'kay? whole, local, organic foods are good. high fructose corn syrup and trans fats are the spawn of the devil. big brother sucks. 99% of the animals used for meat, eggs, and dairy in this country live miserable lives of abuse. colonialism is still very much alive. good stuff to keep in mind, all of it.), but I've still learned quite a bit. I'm thinking and plotting, and working to change as much as I can in my own life, and hopefully for others as well.

An added bounus to this book, tho, are the recipes! The author, Sandor Katz, is a fermentation guru and includes recipes for mead and root beer (also saurkraut and other pickles, pestos, streudls, all kinds of yum)!!! I am sooooo making root beer at home. Right now I've got a shopping cart full of roots over at Mountain Rose Herbs, and if they weren't out of sassafrass root I'd be buying the lot of it right now. Your body, it turns out, can't really digest high fructose corn syrup (which is a product requiring the addition of genetically engineered components just to create), and it builds up in your liver. The livers of people who consume a lot of the stuff (that would be most of us, with average American consumption at about 55 lbs per year) resemble the livers of alcoholics. Nice.

My mama never let us drink much soda growing up and I never really developed a taste for it. As a result I almost never drink it (of course this doesn't fully protect me from the horrors of high fructose corn syrup- read some labels, it's in damn near all prepared foods- but it does help a lot. Wanna know how much soda the average American drinks? 54 gallons a year, or 1.5 cans per day.), but Robert really likes to have some when he comes back from a long ride. This makes sense; it's quick energy and his body has just used up a lot of what it had on hand. But Robert knows it's not good for him, and more importantly he knows its not good for the kids and he doesn't want to set a bad example for them. So we don't buy it. But now I get to try to make it! With wholesome (or as wholesome as sweetners get) stuff like raw honey and maple syrup, and with the healing powers of herbs and roots.

Stay tuned. I'm totally gonna rock this fermented beverage ride!

Friday, October 5, 2007

By any other name

Today was a kind of tough parenting day. Both kids were in bad moods from the get-go, which meant they were easily frustrated and had a great many tantrums and tears. Example: At one point this morning we were all playing with blocks and robots on the living room rug. Zion wanted Liel and I to use our robots to wake his robot up, and to offer his robot onions and fruit to eat. So we did. But when Zion's robot wanted more onions, and Liel leapt up to get another block to use as pretend onions, Zion freaked out.

"No, no Liel!", he shouted. "I do not want any blocks over here!" He swung at the block in her hands, knocking it away.

"No, no Zion!", shouted Liel.

I tried to sound calm and collected while still making myself heard over them. I'm not sure I succeeded, but eventually I managed to get Zion to hear me explain that Liel was playing pretend in her own way, and that I suggested a compromise wherein Liel could use the block as onions, but wouldn't feed them to Zion's robot. That worked fine, up until Zion's robot wanted more onions, and then all hell broke loose again. At this point Liel decided she wanted to pee (this has become a diversionary tactic of hers when she wants more attention from me, since she can't get on the potty by herself yet). Off to the bathroom. Only Liel kept insisting there was something poking her on the potty. I checked carefully, several times. There wasn't. She startes shreiking about wanting to pee, and refusing to sit on the potty. Either one. As her howls echoed around the bathroom she picked up the small plastic potty and swung it towards the big toilet, accidentally hitting me in the head with it in the process.

"Ouch! Liel!", I shouted. This produced fresh wails and tears. "I'm sorry, sweetie", I said, "I'm not yelling at you, but you hit me with the potty and it hurt."

"No, no! Potty!", she sobbed. She looked pathetic, with her little tear stained face, clutching Fluffy and sobbing in the bathroom.

"Do you want to come sit on my lap?" I asked her.

"No! Don'!", she cried.

"OK", I said. "Should we go out to the living room?" Thank G-d the boy was playing quietly and happily.

"NO!!! Want POTTY!"

"OK, why don't you sit down then?"


Eventually I just picked her up and put her on my lap and she calmed down pretty quickly. We returned to the living room, and resumed the battle over the blocks that Zion did NOT want to be onions. Eventually Zion had to go to his room to calm down, which I'm pleased to report worked. After that we had a talk about frustration, and different people and their imaginations and being able to accomodate differnt types of play in the same game.

The rest of the morning was more or less like that, I'm afraid. Things improved after naptime, with only a couple meltdowns.

But at bedtime. Oh, the whole day was worth it. Kids are magical- they can scream and cry, and throw things all day, and then melt your heart in less than a second, causing all frustration to just fade away.

When he was brushing his teeth Zion stopped, looked at me and said "You look pretty". He's never said anything like that to me before.

When I was settling Liel down for the night she sang the Shema all by herself. I know it's not long, but it's in Hebrew and she's not even 2.

Really, they grow up too fast. I'm so lucky to be their mama.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

No rags here

My new rug. My NEW rug. MY new rug!!!!!!

Handknotted, from Turkey. One of a kind. Early Hanukkah gift from my fantabulous grandmother!


Liel lost her first helium balloon today. Trader Joe's always has balloons for the kids, which they love, despite the fact that once we get home the balloons become irrelevant (until I try to throw away thier deflated carcasses, of course!). Anyway, I was loading the groceries into the car and when I turned back to Liel she was pointing up over the store and saying "Balloon go away!", which was extremely accurate. "Get balloon back?", she asked hopefully. Tears ensued when I explained that we could not, in fact, get that balloon back. So, I got Zion back out of his carseat and we headed back into the store to ask for another balloon. And buy flowers. Zion had asked for some earlier, but I'd forgotten and felt badly about it. So we left again with sunflowers, chrysanthaums, and a new balloon.

As we headed home I was feeling pleased that the excitement of the balloons would keep the kids awake in case either of them felt tired. But Liel turned on her balloon! Or it turned on her, I'm not sure. At any rate she wouldn't let go of it, but kept asking me to hold it for it.

"I can't hold it right now Liel, I'm driving. But you can just let go if you don't want to hold it, I can't fly away in the car".

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!", she sobbed.

This conversation repeated about 6 times and then Zion offered to hold it for her. What a kind brother! Two minutes later he gave it back and the howling resumed. Very long drive home. Very long.

And now, some unrealted pictures! Tell me this crocodile isn't the fattest croc you've ever seen. I love it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

One little thing

As I was driving to work this morning, Robert called. When the phone started ringing I figured it must be him (who else would call the cell at 740 am?) and my heart started beating a little too fast because if there's one thing Robert hates, it's cell phones. And if there's one thing Robert hates most of all about cell phones, it's that people talk on them while they are driving (well, then and when they are out with other people, but that's a different story). So I knew that if he was calling when he knew I was driving it must be important. And probably bad. Oh G-d, I hope the kids are OK!

"Jovi? You forgot the speakers."

Oh crap. Crap, crap, crap. I mean, thank G-d the kids are fine, but crap!

See, I was planning to show a movie in class. But without the speakers there would be no sound.

After I calmed down I realized it really wasn't a huge tragedy. We're spending the next two days on Rasta, and while the plan had been to watch the documentary "Ras/Tafari" today and elaborate and discuss tomorrow, I had the lecture with me, so being both flexible and quick like a monkey I made the bold decision to do the lectures (slightly modified) TODAY, and the movie tomorrow. Seriously, check out my mad leadership and decision making skillz! Can't say that 6 years of grad school was wasted on me, no sir!

But oh, my poor students! In they stumbled at the unholy hours of 8 and 9am, bleary eyed and wanting very little so much as to watch a movie and not think even a little bit. When I cheerfully explained about the forgotten speakers and my new plan to lecture today the air of disappointment in the room was palpable. One eager student had even worn a Rasta tshirt to class in celebration.

In the end, tho, I like to think that the class was pretty enjoyable (please, let me cling to my illusion). Rasta was a topic they chose, and no matter how dull they might have found Marcus Garvey or Haile Selassie, they thrilled to discussion of the religious use of herb in Rasta.

Now that's good learnin'!


I just ate microwave kettle corn and YUCK. The inside of my mouth feels like it's coated in some kind of industrial grease. Ewwww. Guess that'll learn me, huh?

Dinner's going to be out of the Land of Plenty cookbook: Dan-dan noodles and stir fried green beans. I've made both recipes several times and they are delicious! If I get ambitious (and have enough apples) I might make a pie. Need to figure out something to do with these little tiny pears we got from the CSA, too. I think they're the kind that starts with an "S", but more importantly, they aren't very good eating pears. Pear butter? I dunno, I'm feeling pretty uninspired by teeny pears with peels and cores right now.

Yuck. Stupid microwave kettle corn.


The Bronx Zoo has this cool Bug Carousel, which both kids call the Caroubugsel. Here they are, riding with grandparents on a recent trip to the zoo!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lazy cats

As if Ajax's picture to the right wasn't proof enough, I'm here to tell you how lazy cats are.

The kids and I drove my parents to my brother's house today so they can spend a few days with him before flying home. This morning Zion and I were discussing our plans for the day, and I reminded him that we were going to get to see Uncle Kenny and Aunt Giselle.

"Oh wait", I said, remembering. "Not Aunt Giselle, she's going to be at work. But Uncle Kenn will be there...and, um...July and Melville!" July and Melville are my brother's pointy, big nosed cats (for reals. Spend a week or two with Ajax and "normal" cats start looking like a Dali painting). I was hoping that the cats would make up for the disappointment of no Aunt Giselle. It worked! Zion was unfazed.

"Yeah, because cat's don't like going to work", he said.

I thought of Ajax, sprawled on the bed and barely able to keep his eyes open after a hard day of sleeping. "True", I agreed.

"So, fortunatly, we will be able to see July and Melville", Zion concluded briskly. "I think I will like petting them".

Further proof

As if you needed it. But. Regarding last night's post on aging Gen X'ers; as I was getting ready for bed I was struck by another example. Sleazy Motherfucking Golitko is no longer known as Sleazy Motherfucking Golitko. No, he's now known as Uncle Sleazy.

The indignity! When you're Sleazy MFG you pack a punch, you're a force to be reckoned with. But Uncle Sleazy? Not nearly so edgy.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Times have changed

Today, my friend Lisa asked for opinions on a maternity dress she's thinking of wearing to a wedding in a few weeks. She linked, we all checked it out, and since she has good taste, approved.

This kind of virtual shopping with far-flung friends isn't particularly unusual or new. But I did a lot of driving today, and as I drove I was reminded of shopping for undies at Victoria's Secret online with Ysette on the phone in NY. It was the first year of my PhD program. Robert and I had been dating for a few months, at most. I didn't even have a desk set up in my apartment yet and was sitting on the floor in my study with my new iMac. Underwear are important like that.

See, I *used* to internet shop with friends for underwear and lingerie. Now we internet shop for maternity dresses that are appropriate wedding wear. I don't mind the change, but I'm damn confused about how it snuck up on me like that. Bing! You have new boyfriend and you're shopping for lingerie! Bing! You have husband, 2 kids, and your giving advice on maternity dresses. Frankly, I'm a little scared of what the next "bing" with be. Girdles? High waisted, tapered legged jeans (or worse yet- slacks! Oh, I know, high waists and tapered legs will come back, and who'll be laughing then? Not me. I did my time.)? Holiday themed sweaters?

Devon reports that one of her high school students last year gave her the reassuring news that she doesn't look THAT old. Pete tells me that in the span of 3 days his students told him that: 1. it would be cool if he got jacked, 2. he reminded them of one of the "Average Joe" guys in Dodgeball and 3. he reminded them of, you know, that guy who plays the Green Goblin in Spiderman (aka Willam Dafoe). Devon and Pete are both 31.

Bring on the girdles, baby!


Robert and I (like most parents) are trying to raise kind, healthy, well adjusted, and confident children. Babywearing advocates claim that having your child so close to you for so much of their infancy will help produce a more independent, confident child. Well, I don't know if it was the babywearing or something else (or a bunch of somethings) but Zion is turning out to be a pretty damn self-confident kid. I was a bit anxious about how he'd do at nursery school since neither kid has ever even been left with a babysitter (other than grandparents, which has occured literally 6 times in Zion's 3 1/2 years). I needn't have worried. Robert does the drop offs and he tells me that when they get to the classroom Zion never even looks back- he just rushes off to play.

When I arrived at the school to pick Zion up today I saw him running across the grass and called out to him (in my head I had visions of him rushing over to hug me and tell me about his day). He turned towards me and his face fell. "Oh", he said, looking disappointed. "That was fast."