28 May 2009

introspection and stuff.

"how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." (annie dillard)

gathering dirt

apres l'ecole

i've been thinking about this lately, about how i construct our days and the use of our resources. some of it's worth keeping, but much shuffling is in order.

another thought, so obvious and yet new to me: whenever i choose to pour my resources--my time, energy, thoughts, money--into something, i am, by default, choosing to not spend it on all the other things. when i decide to windowshop online, i am choosing to not play magic-trick-show with elle. when i drop another carton or two of breyer's strawberry ice cream into my grocery cart, i am choosing (inactively, perhaps, but still choosing) to not send a mosquito net to malaria-plagued cameroon. it gives me pause.

whenever i start talking (and, occasionally, acting) along these lines, i seem to elicit a verbal barrage from The Voices of Reason to the tune of woah there, nic. calm down. you needn't be so extreme.

but really? needn't i? because all i can tell you is that in my experience, a life of personal comfort is overrated. and the people i most admire in the history of humankind--francis of assisi, mother teresa, jesus--were all about giving themselves away. they were extreme.

so indeed, much shuffling is in order. wish me luck fortitude a miracle.

24 May 2009

weekend random

another list of happy; sponsored by the bizarre people who run my brain.

1. hurrah for more nine-blocks. (just think: i only need 53 more blocks, plus sashing, quilting, and binding, and i shall have a quilt. this quilting thing takes Fortitude.)


2. internet, meet the shadow project. okay, so you've probably already met, but still. brilliant.

3. i have only one thing to say about the new look of ninja: hahahahahahahahaha. haha.

4. because.

5. 100 abandoned houses. (i'm partial to number 26.)

6. peonies in bloom. i love their excessiveness: the fat-fisted buds, the ruffled blooms so full of pink frill that they swoon beneath their own heft.

bloomin' fabulous

into the light


7. a simple dress for elle.


i'm feeling a bit conflicted about the hemline. this knit doesn't fray, so no issues there, but i can't decide if a raw edge outcutes a clean double-turned hem. what say you?

21 May 2009

viburnum + quotage

we took a morning walk, elle and i, to the end of our road, then the end of the next road, where pavement gives way to a field of purple flowers. along the way, a gentleman on a riding mower fancied us a bit and gave elle these snowball blooms.



portable snowballs. she was delighted. me too, come to think of it. they brought to mind one of my newish favorite quotes.

love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real. {iris murdoch}

20 May 2009

serendipity. or something.

so i've got this box of fabric scraps in my closet, and amanda jean of crazy mom quilts is hosting a quilt-along wherein we scrap-hoarders actually use our packrat tendencies for good and create a nine-patch per day. the idea is that after a few months, we'll each have enough blocks to comprise a sashing block quilt.

i, of course, like to do things in The Most Complicated Manner Possible, so i didn't even discover the quilt-along till this past monday, putting me exactly three weeks and twenty-one blocks behind the rest of the group.

i shall be a blocking fiend.

here's the first week's worth, done in two days in a fit of blocking fiendishness. (okay, so each one only takes like six minutes, but i like to heighten the drama. quilting needs more drama.)



also, it must be said that i have never made a quilt before. i have started two quilts, but abandoned them somewhere in the piecing/sashing stages, and now they sit in loosely folded rectangles of dejection. so i'm thinking this nine-patch group will be proper accountability for me.

in the meantime, please aim all your Prosperous Quilting Vibes in my general direction. grazie, and happy wednesday.

18 May 2009

conversations with elle





me: you? are my favorite littlest kid. except you are getting bigger and bigger.

that was not the plan, kiddo.

you have got to adhere to the plan.

elle: [laughing] ok!

me: ok then.

elle: except my whole body does not know about the plan.

me: that's a rather good summary of the problem. alas.

14 May 2009

self portrait challenge: diptych.2

among the ferns.

among the ferns

these green fellows make me itch, what with their prickly, hairy stems and their sinister tendency to launch fern spores at unsuspecting passersby.


i can't help but love them, as in a span of a few small weeks their tiny coils of pale chartreuse unfurl and fan upward with unbridled exuberance. i love how they are both lacy and hardy, delicate yet resilient. i love the grace with which they flutter and sway in a storm.

i just make sure to do all this loving from the opposite side of the windowpane.

for more of spc, visit us on flickr.

12 May 2009

i laughed like a (silent) drain. if drains could laugh. silently.

i first spotted the following bit of hilarity on somebody's blog (can't remember whose; email me if it's you) and nearly dissolved with internal laughter. upon review, it turns out that i don't do much in the way of audible laughing. i may have to work on this.

anyhow, mostly i loved this list because it's exactly what my fellow english classmates and i would've devised, fueled by a blend of spite and boredom, were we given the vapid assignment of concocting similes.


Best High School Similes

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

* * *

want to make my week? leave me a simile in the comments or an email and i will love you like i loved luke perry back when 90210 was The Raddest Show Ever and i was oblivious to his supersized, creased forehead.

10 May 2009

todd's birthday

...brought to you by The Progeny.

what is your favorite thing to do with daddy?

elle: play peanut butter and jelly.

what does daddy like to get for his birthday?

elle: um, magazines, guava, and...chips.

what do you like best about daddy?

em: ummmmmmm...he plays mario kart?

what does daddy look like?

zee: short hair, not very long, blond hair, strong, very fast.

em: and um...he has peach skin color.

what is daddy especially good at?

zee: the boxing video game.

elle: he's good at playing cooking cookies but sometimes he loses and i win. i'm very good at that game 'cause it's mine.

if you had unlimited money, what would you get for daddy?

bee: xbox 360 and a whole bunch of games.

zee: i'd get him toys r us. and i'd also buy daddy one of each of the restaurants.

bee: yeah, like mcdonald's.

what is the funniest thing daddy has ever said or done?

bee: the chuck norris jokes. like, why does lightning never strike twice in the same place? because it knows chuck norris is looking for it.

so there you have it. happy thirty-second, babe.

08 May 2009


a few more, as promised:

thank you for such a laid-back, enjoyable shoot, guys. (ps: sam, i just watched yes man so now i finally get your jogging photography allusion. a little late, i know, but there it is.)

06 May 2009

swell peeps + sabotaged photos

monday was a frabjous day at chez owens, largely because mister postal guy showed up at my place with not one, but TWO lovely packages. lovely because of whom they came from. and lovely because they will keep my literary fetish alive and well for another solid week.

package numero uno came from my partner in crime, jen, complete with a lemon-colored handcrafted card:

numero dos hailed from rebekah, who tucked in a few flawless sanibel island shells:

allow me to extend a warm and enthusiastic THANK YOU, girls...i was sixty pages into this crichton novel, and experiencing another slow and tragic case of Death By Boredom. i was quite relieved to chuck that book into the library's return bin; your timing could not have been more perfect.

in other news, i've been working on mother's day gifts for the mums in my life, and now remember why exactly it is that i: 1. am not fond of posed photos 2. of children, especially 3. particularly when the children in question are my own.

what i end up with, invariably, is a heap of digital files that are 98% outtakes, 2% not outtakes (as in, not good, but not comically horrid, so we'll go with them).

while we're all here, i thought i'd share a sampling of the outtake variety:

i believe i've gained insight into why people aim for just one child. it may be awfully quiet at their place, but it sure increases the odds of everyone behaving like a normal human being at the same time.

04 May 2009

should she write a book on classroom management, i'll buy it.

school, under the direction of my elle.

where the pupils are attentive, no one pokes his neighbor with a protractor, and nobody interrupts the lesson on adverbs to announce that her cockatiel can curse in spanish.