31 January 2009

thoughts du jour

1. many moons ago, rob requested that i post the top ten best books ever. this is all well and good except for the bit about it being impossible for me to determine the top ten best books ever. even if i weren't the poster child for indecision, i could maybe pull off the top ten best books i vaguely recall reading, but ever? rob, dearest. you have no idea what you've gotten me into.

so in an effort to do this list justice, i am attempting to read all of the books that routinely crop up on those "top 100 novels of all time" lists (sidenote: i trudged through the first 300 pages of ANNA KARENINA and decided i would rather die an uncultured idiot, and returned that tome with no small amount of glee), and i'm rereading the classics from high school that i don't precisely recall, but suspect i might have enjoyed.

sometime in the spring of 2010, i might get to blogging about this.

2. remember when it was warm, and bushes were bright with berries, and walking out of your house didn't make you want to die or at least move to arizona? well, me neither. it was rather long ago. but let's remind ourselves for a moment:

ah yes, the sunshine. the color. they will come again.

3. last night i was lucky enough to see slumdog millionaire with my dear friend karen. it was...intense. beautiful and heart-wrenching and difficult to watch much of the time. still, at its most elemental level, it's a tale of strength of character and resilience and moral fiber standing uncorrupted in the face of crushing poverty. it's a hopeful story. see it.

4. earlier this week, em wanted the tag cut out of his gloves. when asked why by his father, em explained, "because. it makes me nervous."

5. we all know how much i love lists, but this love has been displaced by another love: the love of polls. i sense a new era in the virtual land of 60piggies...remember how we had the era with the points? and then all the iou's? well, this is the year of the polls. long live the polls.

29 January 2009

and also, vitamin c has a grotty aftertaste

the boys enjoyed a two-day holiday from school, compliments of a ten inch dousing of snow.

so we did a bit of this

and quite a bunch of this

(please note my sweet housing development on park place/boardwalk, through which i methodically annihilated the competition. go me.)

when i wasn't tramping through drifts with my camera or getting trounced in a game of blokus or memory, i was busy developing a cold. my personal recipe for curing the common cold goes like this: slog five miles on the treadmill, read an old novel, eat some sweet rolls. voila.

so far it hasn't worked, but i haven't given up hope on the rolls.

digression: so the novel i'm reading is set in eighteenth century scotland, and as a free bonus i find the ever-present voice in my head speaking with an accent as i go about my daily routine, uttering phrases like i didna ken vitamin c would taste so verra vile, or mentally referring to my kids as laddie or bonny lass.

and now i am off to read a wee bit of LOTR to my firstborn, and possibly hit the sack early. after another sweet roll.

good night, dear friends.

26 January 2009

mi niña

this kid i like.

many a child goes through that classic stage of cavorting about with imaginary friends, but elle takes this rite of passage to a new level. lately she talks incessantly of her "volleyball teacher," who unfortunately has a doubly difficult time existing in real life as elle neither plays volleyball nor attends school.

my daughter, however, is not one to be daunted by such technicalities.

she says: "my volleyball teacher teached me the brushing teeth song," which is followed by an animated and very made up song about shoes and toothpaste.

also, her volleyball teacher wants her to do this particular dance with flapping arms and a bum wiggle and a whole lot of spinning.

her volleyball teacher says that all the leaves fell off the trees on the day that was christmas, not in fall, mom. (clearly, an argument with an invisible sports guru is not one i'm likely to win.)

other reasons i like this kid:

1. she plays "doll camping camp" with me and every other day is my pretend birthday. (on your pretend birthday you get handmade ballpoint-and-colored-pencil cards, presents like plush dogs and barbie watches wrapped in boxes and blankets, and a birthday cake made of blocks. lots of fiber.)

2. she is little all over.

3. she has a dance for most routines of the day. my current favorite is the happy cake dance, which is a lot of hops punctuated by brief pauses where one sneaks a bit of frosting from the cake plate.

and just in case you wondered what her eating cake face looks like, here you go:

she is my favorite gal this side of mexico. (and also the other side of mexico. and in mexico itself. i'm suddenly craving a taco.)

adiós amigos. tener un buen día.

23 January 2009

outside : inside

the backyard has transformed from this:

to this:

which is actually quite lovely to walk about in, all glitter and crunch beneath one's bootsoles. tuesday i spent about six minutes wandering the crystalline snowscape before my gloved fingers went from aching to numb, which i tend to take as a cue to head indoors.

elle and i spent the remains of the morning poring over books, lambent in their own way:

some things about winter are quite nice.

21 January 2009

finally, and then some.

yay, so the news we've all been waiting for! well, okay, maybe not *all* of us. maybe just like a smallish grouping of us. or perhaps just me plus one other person, probably my mum, as she is always good for stuff like this. oh right, the news: my photography site is up and running. yeeeee!

please let me know what you think (unless you think it's utter crap, in which case please pretend the link wouldn't work for you).

and a HUGE cyber shoutout to the good people who comprise the band broken hill. that first song on my site is them...and also their pics are featured in my commercial portfolio, as not only do they make phenomenal music, they're fairly easy on the eyes as well. i especially heart denae, their lead vocal. i don't heart many people, as i'm no longer in junior high, but something about denae makes me so giddy that all reason abandons me.

anyway, if you're in my area and need a local band, i'll totally hook you up.

also, noel, she's single. just saying.

and now i am going.

except for actually i am not, 'cause i've got one more quick-but-imperative shoutout: happy birthday dad! you're so precious to me.

for real now. goodbye and may your wednesday be prosperous.

16 January 2009

the making of stuff plus also some complaining

last month was full of the making of things.

one of the most satisfying experiences of december was observing my children crafting gifts for each other, and watching their shimmering excitement on christmas morning as their siblings unwrapped the items fashioned beneath the toil of their very own hands.

1. memory game pieces, using the tops of frozen juice containers 2. little hands at work 3. bookmarks for bee 4. checkerboard for zee 5. a bracelet for the other nicole, with hammered and welded sterling (this one i made) 6. memory game tin for em 7. felt donuts for elle 8. checkerboard 9. checkers on wooden rounds

speaking of the making of things, i've been working on a little something for the past two weeks--my very own photography website.** i think i've sufficiently tweaked it to death; i now just need to choose from the legal-but-pitiful selection of royalty-free music (although i am holding out hope for a song from a local band whose talent makes me giddy), and we should be live.

in other news, we have moved beyond ridiculous and smack into the land of inconceivable with the temperatures this week. negative fourteen degrees this morning? if i'd wanted negative fourteen degrees (windchill is -25), i'd have invested in siberian real estate. but okay, i know, this cold front is not exclusive to me: you are fully welcome to whinge about how much colder it is where you live in the comment section below. (warm climated people, please keep your weather reports to yourselves. grazie.)

**in case you've noticed my sparseness in blogland lately, this website development is why. it's not so much that it's consumed the entirety of my days as it is that one's hind quarters can only spend so much time sitting in a chair in front of the computer before they need to, like, salsa. or you know, do something that's not sitting in a chair.

12 January 2009

holing up

“I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough, let's go west.'”

(Richard Jeni)

truly one of my all-time favorite quotes.

as evidenced above, we've had the grumpies off and on this morning, but i've got a black bean soup simmering on the stove, and pieces of patty's fabric cut out and waiting to be stitched together into something vibrant and darling and fabulous (i hope). we'll trek out to the library after school, but for now it's nice to be warm and indoors with a day full of good things stretching out before me.

05 January 2009


i'm having an out-of-sorts kind of day. it began in the bleak hours of the morning with a nightmare so horrifying that it woke me, and instead of gulping in air and relief, a film of panic clung to my consciousness.

the day was fine, nice even, as mondays go: six loads of laundry cycling through the washer and dryer, the post processing of photos, a few hours of sewing, homework and games with the little people, coq au vin in the oven. and yet it's hard to shake the feeling that something, somewhere nearby, is wrong.

i am blessed. i know this. my life is a litany of good things that i neither earned nor deserve. and so i figure that i'm okay with having a day, every once in a while, where i'm strangely out of sorts.

so moving on.

my daughter is quite possibly the cleanest four year old in the history of personal cleanliness. she was the giddy recipient of bubble bath in a dora-shaped bottle, which, in case you have not heard, is the best. thing. ever. she tries to schedule bubble baths multiple times a day: i say, okay, let's clean up for lunch, and she says, yes, and then i will take a bath with my dora bubbles. i tell her that her brothers should be home soon and she says, i think i am stinky and so i need to take a bath with my dora bubbles.

i've spent so much of the past four years trying to coax her into the tub that i'm not even sure what to do with this. mostly i give in.

she may sport pruned fingers for the next seven months, but her strawberry soapy aroma is quite pleasant. and also, it renders my day just a little bit happier.

thank you, dora. thank you, elle. and thank you, God.