26 June 2009

noteworthy. sort of.

from last friday:

::this morning i ran beneath a painter's sky, the clouds an impasto of mottled shadows and exaggerated luminescence. i love a moody morning, a robust storm brewing overhead, the pavement exhaling warmth and dampness.

::when i jog my usual lazy loop, i hit a street called "bliss" about 70% of the way through. most days i'm in a zone and it catches me by surprise, making me grin for the next quarter mile. mornings like today, though, i find myself straining ahead, reading each street sign in anticipation. aspen, bayberry, i'm almost there.

it tastes a bit like hope, doesn't it? i can't yet see it, but i know it's coming.

from sunday:

::filed under Disconcerting: an anonymous creature is bleating outside my window, its high-pitched trilling sound making me suspect we may be harboring an escapee from jurassic park. i'm going with baby velociraptor.

from tuesday:

::from the nicyclopedia
Nancy (`năn-sē): design maven with a eurofunk bent; ingenious with photoshoots; also esoteric and articulate. see following proof of brilliance: exhibits a and b.


::i want to be a mum like lisa or ann, who'd never behold a flooded sandbox and admonish her kids don't you dare stick one toe in there, you'll be a muddy mess; who'd likely even clamber in beside them to play. i am relaxing by increments, but the going's so slow i'll have grandkids by the time i'm any fun.

::a few more images from last tuesday's shoot.





j&m are so sweet-tempered and calm, and i had such an enjoyable time photographing their quiet play. thank you, lisa, for allowing me a lovely morning with your girls.

happy weekend, all. be well.

24 June 2009

a smidgen of solidarity

i love a sixty-eight degree room as much as the next american, but as of late i’m finding air conditioning hard to justify.

for starters, there’s the whole global energy crisis, and the troubling effects of our nation’s ever-expanding carbon footprint on the planet i’m handing off to my kids. but more importantly, i’m just not convinced that tweaking the air temperature to suit my comfort is a wise use of our money and resources.

i was thinking about this last week sometime: what does most of the world’s population do when it’s hot out? they deal with it. in fact, a good portion of the earth’s poor are consumed with thoughts of scraping together the next meal or the odds of their sick child surviving a ten mile trek to the closest clinic, which may or may not be out of meds this week. air temperature doesn’t even register on their cognitive radars.

this whole Spoiled American bit is wearing thin, and i want out.

i am blessed to be married to a man who not only humors my latest efforts to live conscionably, but usually finds himself climbing aboard for the long haul.

hurrah for fab husbands.

my free (albeit obvious) tips for dealing with hot, muggy days:

1. dress in cool, light clothing
2. turn on a fan (which still consumes energy, i know, but is a far cry from the appetite of a condensing unit)
3. stay hydrated
4. shower in cold water
5. let hair air-dry after a shower
6. keep windows open during the night/early morning, closed during much of the day
7. move to hawaii where near-constant trade winds make 85 degrees feel like 75 (useful tip list, isn't it?)
8. rinse face/neck with cool water
9. when all else fails, suck it up

would you consider joining me? if not for an entire summer, maybe just a month? a week? one day per week for the next three months?

maybe this won’t change much for our planet or our global neighbors. but maybe it will. and at the very least, this changes me, and that makes the effort worthwhile.

22 June 2009

goals for the day

1. run (check)
2. serious laundry (mostly check)
3. morning table work with the kids (check: creative journaling&reader's theatre)
4. be Jesus to everyone within my reach (especially the kids, to whom, let's face it, i am more often satan)
5. push ups and jumping squats (entirely as much fun as they sound)
6. be a photo-editing fiend (ch)(that there's a partial check, haha)
7. sew
8. blog (check by the time you read this)
9. finish MY SISTER'S KEEPER (i've been uncharacteristically dragging my feet on this; i'm finding the subject matter difficult to stomach)
10. declutter the bathroom cabinets&drawers (uncheck: still trying to devise a way to outsource this one)
11. eat a pair of oreos (check. i LOVE this list)
12. ferret out a few more family vacation ideas
13. be present
14. be mindful
15. be kind (see number 4)
16. enjoy a few board/card games with the smallish people

21 June 2009

on father's day.

when you come thisclose to losing someone, it's hard not to count every day you get to keep him close as your own personal miracle; it's hard not to regard him through tinted lenses, honeyed, dusted in gold. my dad is human and flawed and i know this, but he's also part mythical, a legend of sorts.

i'm finding it swell to have come full circle, to once again see him as i did as a child, so much larger than life. (also, my dad can totally take your dad.)

he has loved me well. he loves me still. and today i celebrate him.

17 June 2009

sneak peek: j & m

i had the pleasure of spending yesterday morning with these two lovely little ladies and their sweet mum.



more coming soon. happy wednesday!

15 June 2009


kentucky had a sobering beauty: we'd snake along a dirt road to a peeling single-wide that was maybe twice the square footage of my hallway, and yet this trailer overlooked undulating foothills, a leafy vista which many a person would gladly pay millions for.

i wish the organization would have worked us a bit harder, but overall the week went well, and i was pretty much giddy to have the chance to forge stronger relationships with our teens. what a stellar group of kids.

meanwhile, my own four little people were, from all reports, having the time of their young lives with the grandparents in michigan. i'm quite certain they didn't miss us at all, which is quite honestly a mighty good thing.

now we're settling into a summer routine of sorts: some morning table work, some puttering about the house, some cavorting outdoors, and a good dose of crafting and making sprinkled over the entire day.

it's good to be home, but i'd dive headlong into another such project in a heartbeat.

12 June 2009


my favorite shots from last week have got to be this series of todd's dad and grandfather.






you have to admire a man whose son, after all these years, still finds his storytelling hysterical.

10 June 2009

08 June 2009


italian sausage soup spooned over leftover black beans and rice.


admittedly, not much to look at, but mighty tasty nonetheless.

soup recipe here.

(speaking of lunch, how much do i love this bento box photo pool on flickr? this is a rhetorical question, of course, and yet somehow that never stops me from answering: so much.)

also, please consider giving a few lunches to someone in need. grazie, my friends.

06 June 2009

stuff. and then other stuff.

todd's grandfather has got to be one of the most tender, admirable people i know. his memory is impeccable and he has this laugh that fills you up like soulfood, heartening and real.


we spent parts of thursday and friday with grandpa owens, and already i'm certain those days will rank as one of the more treasured times of our lives.

(note to owens clan: more photos to come. patience is a virtue.)

so tomorrow we're heading out for a week of basic contruction and repairwork in the community of beattyville, kentucky...the "we" being comprised of the hubby and rob and a bunch of extraordinary teens and me. (check out this brief video clip from abc's 20/20: hidden america for a glimpse of life in beattyville.)**

while we're gone, todd's parents are caring for our kiddos. in fact, they took the children back home with them when they left our place yesterday.

our house has never known such quiet.

perhaps you’d think that after eleven years of nonstop children, i’d welcome a week of someone else fielding their myriad queries, their bickering, their self-renewing energy.

but while i am profoundly grateful to have left our kids in such capable hands, the truth is i missed them the moment i retraced my path up the driveway without the weight of a small hand in mine, the second i took a step into this suddenly cavernous house and let the screen door slap shut behind me, no one treading on my heels.

i'm certain to fare better next week, once i'm engaged in labor and hanging with my surrogate church kids, but this morning was difficult: waking to a silence that pressed my lungs, a palpable stillness.

it strikes me how often the human experience is rife with conflicting emotions: we are at once heady and listless, content and yet bleak with grief. we are frail and complex and so utterly predictable.

it's a grand mess, isn't it? and i could not love it more.

**since i know better than to leave y'all unattended, i've scheduled a few ramblings-slash-photos to post while i'm gone. check back soonish.

02 June 2009





rainy days make for happy flowers and sad kids.

still, the aftermath is stunning, our backyard spangled with a hundred thousand globules of light.