Monday, June 28, 2010


It's been a crazy-good, jam-packed kind of a week. I spent a good portion of it working on that cake; baking it, wrapping it in obscene amounts of plastic wrap, freezing it, transporting it, constructing it, frosting it, watching the frosting melt off of it, sticking it in the fridge and telling the frosting to think about what it had done, and finally, carrying all 20 lbs. of it to the table without tripping so that lovely couple up there could cut it. Nick and Jaime eloped and never had a wedding reception, so on Saturday we had a down-home barbecue and all-around love fest to celebrate. The next day I made another cake because there was a birthday and frankly, I can't help myself. For now, I'm going to go lie in the sun while my kids play with the hose and work really hard at doing nothing strenuous.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

At the Market

photo by Jack
photo by Jack
I love the Edmonds Farmer's Market. When I was pregnant with Jack I dreamed about doing all kinds of cozy things with him like raking leaves in the fall, building a snowman in the winter, and going to the Farmer's Market in the Spring. I get antsy every April, waiting for the first Saturday in May when the market opens. Last year Jack made it to the Farmer's Market once. There were dogs there. Panic ensued. And that was the end of my Farmer's Market dreams.
As a parent, I feel that the most important thing I can do is teach my children to feel love. The second most important thing is to teach them how to relate to the world; how to get things from the inside out, and how and what to get from the outside in. Jack has a lot of fears and a lot of concerns, and his fear often holds him back. Sometimes it's a concrete fear, other times it's more vague. Over the years I've learned that he often worries about where he will fit in, and that his primary concern is that he doesn't know what to do in certain situations. Often times, he won't even tell me what his concerns are and sometimes he honestly doesn't know, so I've taken special pains to help him communicate what he's thinking, what he's worried about, and what we can do about it.
This morning over breakfast we discussed the Farmer's Market, and I asked him if he wanted to go with me. He said no. I told him that he didn't have to, but that I had a few ideas that he might like. He said he'd listen. I told him about all the beautiful fruits and vegetables we'd see, about the kind lady who makes the amazing kettle corn, the buckets and buckets of bright flowers. I said there'd be a lot to see, good things to eat, new foods to try, and that maybe he'd like to come along and be my photographer. I said that there would probably be a few dogs there, but they would all be on leashes and I promised I wouldn't let any of the dogs get close. If we found ourselves too near a dog, we could simply walk the other way.
He said yes. He found it particularly thrilling when I showed him the zoom feature on our camera; he could get a close-up picture of a dog while standing a comfortable distance away, examine the object of his fear without leaving his comfort zone. He was totally stoked.
photo by Jack
photo by Jack
The first tomatoes of the season, picked yesterday.
Matteas really enjoyed his post-shopping snack of fresh berries.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Home Improvement: The Entryway

After. I feel more peaceful just looking at it. I haven't loaded the wine rack with all the shoes yet, nor have I sorted through and put away the large pile of backpacks and backs that used to be on the bench. But I have thought about buying more orchids. I bought that one at Trader Joe's and painted the pot silver.
Also, I've decided that I want to start putting mirrors everywhere; I love the way they open up a space and the reflected light makes it so much brighter. Sorry for the weird gap between the before pictures, Blogger is being weird and not letting me format my pictures.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Feeling Existential

I read about a study once that said change of any kind can get you out of a rut. If you are depressed about your job, even the small act of putting a lamp in a different spot can help your brain shift out of a mental ditch and onto the highway of ideas. I find it interesting that it is the principle of the thing, not the thing in itself, which matters. The end-goal might be to find a better job, but making a change, any kind of change, can start you on the path to productivity and possibilities. Brains are cool. The theory goes that if your brain recognizes that you have the power to change one thing, you probably have the power to change all kinds of other things.
I've been in kind of a domestic rut lately. Not depressed, but discouraged by the necessity of the mundane. I'd love to spend all my time cooking gourmet meals, planting organic vegetables and hiking through the woods with my children, but I have to stop and sweep the floor, put away the laundry, load the dishwasher. I've been applying the change principle with fairly good success; one improvement inspires another. I used to keep the microwave on top of my hutch, but decided it might be better to use that space for more storage(which is scarce in my kitchen). The microwave was relocated to the countertop which made me realize how filthy it was, so I cleaned it and then painted some crates for the top of the hutch. You may notice I ran out of paint, but I'm choosing to think it creates a charming vintage look rather than an unfinished one. I'm not sure how I'll end up using my new storage space, but I sure am excited about the possibilities.
For my next trick, I'm going to turn our beautiful(and largely unused) wine rack into a shoe rack for the entryway. I bought the orchid in the first picture to go on top of the rack because my other plan is to turn everyday ordinary spots into little altars of beauty. The shoe rack certainly doesn't need to have an orchid on it to function, but I don't think it will mind the sprucing up.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 6th, 1970

My parents' wedding day.
My parents' original toasting glasses from their wedding.
A few weeks ago, my Dad mentioned to me that he'd like to surprise my Mom with a party for their 40th wedding anniversary. His idea was to renew their vows, then have a nice meal. I called my sister Briana and we started planning. We thought we could have the ceremony in my parents' backyard, but the morning of the party it was pouring rain. Briana offered to host the party at her house, which turned out to be the perfect thing. Briana's house is huge and beautiful and difficult to fill with furniture, which worked in our favor since we had 40 chairs, four banquet tables and about 35 bodies to accommodate. Briana's mother-in-law made the cake and my niece Briana made the cake topper, a replica of the log cabin my Dad built with little dolls of my parents in front. My brothers Kevin and Sandor played Pachelbel for the procession, each grandchild carrying a long-stemmed white rose to put in a vase before Damien gave my Mom away. The priest who officiated was Father Deo Gratias(Latin for "Thanks be to God"). The whole thing came off pretty much flawlessly, and it was all I could do not to high-five Briana the whole time. I put together a wedding scrapbook for my parents, who were 18 and 23 when they got married. Knowing what lay ahead over the course of the next 40 years, it was hard not to weep when I saw my parents' young faces. I was glad no one could tell that 18 year-old bride what suffering lay ahead; that she would bury three of her children; a third of her children would divorce; one would be born with an auto-immune disease. What was so beautiful about their anniversary was that they know now all the struggles that would come their way but the joy outweighs the sorrow, they still love each other, still say "I do."