About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baby Gaga

So, there's a place in London that's making Baby Gaga, an ice cream made from the breast milk of 15 women. That's interesting, right?

Initially, I admit, the thought turned my stomach. I mean, I am not really interested in eating anyone's breast milk. Also, would never have used a wet nurse for my children. It's just not something that I am comfortable with. I'm sure that there are great arguments for wet nurses and I'm not debating that usefulness of them. It's just something that makes me feel uncomfortable. (How many times can I use a variation of the word "comfort" in one paragraph?) I am pretty sure that my discomfort is based in ignorance.

After all, it's not actually any different (outside of being healthier) than drinking cows milk and eating ice cream made from cow's milk. The difference is all mental.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you try it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Big Dilemma

Here's the problem, I do not know where I want to live.

Suburb? City?

I think, in part, I get caught up in what-I-think-I-should-want.

There are people out there who will talk your ear off about how the city is no place to raise children. They'll tote the common suburban ideals: safety, big yards, great schools and family community so convincingly that I feel I'm doing my children a grave injustice by living in the city. I feel poor. I feel weird. I feel... well, BAD about our choices. But for every suburban warrior, there is another person who says, "there's nothin' like city living." And of course, this is true. Because we live in the city, my kids are exposed to more culture and more diversity. The trouble is that with this culture and diversity comes a few rude awakenings. They see more poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and other general crime. They deal with crowding. They see people who are clearly nuts and experience the helplessness of not being able to help and the confusion of not understanding why. They live in a smaller space without an attached dwelling (there's no such thing in philly. Everyone shares walls) and don't have a big yard to move around in.

On the other hand, they have an unbeatable charter school in the city. Not only do I feel like my children are getting a top notch education, but I also feel that they are both part of something important. If we moved to the suburbs and lived in Cherry Hill, NJ or Voorhees, there's no doubt that they'd have a good school... but their classmates would be mostly white and come from families that were sitting in an economic middle. Not that this is bad. It's not bad. I just don't think that it's good either. I like the fact that my kids go to school with an incredibly diverse body of children. Some are coming fro extreme poverty and some are coming from extreme wealth. We fall in the middle. I like the fact that rather than making up the status quo, our family becomes part of the diversity. I feel that being exposed to this sort of racial and socioeconomic diversity gives my children an education that goes beyond books and blackboards. They learn culture and they learn social conscience. They learn tolerance and they don't have to stretch themselves far to accept differences because they aren't growing up with a ton of people who come from families that are just like theirs.

And then there's the matter of bedbugs. They're all over this city. If I have to go through it again, I will likely die. DIE. I'm serious. DIE. Bedbugs are the hardest thing that have ever happened to me. And they are spreading like wildfire in this city. Everyone has them or has had them. They're in everyone's neighborhood. They are becoming resistant to the chemicals and people are having a tough time killing them.

What to do... what to do...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Dog Treats Ever...

Sidney Holler is not a stereotypical dog who will eat anything and is always hungry. When it comes to food, she's a bit of an elitist. Frankly, I've never seen her like a dog treat. Milkbones are beneath her and Snausages turn her belly.

As a get-well gift I grabbed a box of organic Planet Dog treats from work. They're the first treats that I've ever seen her enjoy. We have been keeping them on the table of the desk that sits next to our couch and I noticed today that she's even started helping herself!

Fun With Egg Cartons

I wasn't feeling so well yesterday, so we spent the whole morning, afternoon and evening at home! We baked cupcakes and found a fun crafting idea!

I've been saving our egg cartons for awhile. I cut them apart and then the girls painted them.

Next we covered a wire hanger with yellow yarn and strung the painted egg cups upside down like flowers.

Lila loves the way this craft livens up her white bedroom wall! Spring is a'comin!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Day

Again, I just haven't been feeling so inspired lately. I haven't been knitting or writing and the only cooking that I've been doing is obligatory.

I had a WONDERFUL Valentines Day though. The day before, our family met another family from the school at the zoo and had a really nice time there. Then, the girls and I made heart shaped rice krispy treats to take to school the following day and prepared the potted succulents that they chose for their teachers. They woke up to Valentines Day breakfast on heart plates and bowls that I bought to surprise them and their valentines were on the table. I sent them off to school with their treats and bundles of valentines. When I got to work there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me. Even one of my coworkers gave me chocolates. Then, when I got home I made a heart shaped chicken pot pie and homemade bread. Delicious.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cat Refuge

Philadelphia has a pretty big stray cat problem. It also gets really cold here with giant build-ups of snow which can be fatal to our feral friends.

This year, I took advantage of my new backyard and built a little cat shelter. I took a big Tupperware container and turned it on its side. Then, I lined the inside with old blankets and towels.

It's been sitting out there all winter and finally it has an occupant. I can hardly withstand my glee. There's a big Tom cat that's taken up residence in my little cat shelter. As soon as I discovered him I began putting food and water out. But today, when I saw him in the backyard I noticed that one of his back legs wasn't working. He wouldn't put it down and was hopping around the yard. I hope that he's okay! I mean, I can't exactly catch him and take him to the vet, so I put a new bowl of food out with a fresh bowl of water and hope that he'll have a safe place to stay tonight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feeling Indulgent

I never cease to be amazed by the incredible role that Sidney plays in our family. Her surgery went well and she can come home tomorrow at 4:30. They found two lumps in one of her mammaries and a large cyst in her uterus. Oddly, they think that her body was tricked into a false pregnancy which caused her hormones to go wild and caused the lumps.

Even though we have the cats, our house felt empty when I got home tonight.

I've been a bit of a wreck this past week, which is why I haven't been writing. Nothing terrible happened, I just had a lot of small obstacles and a large case of pms. I'm waiting for the simple lull of boring monotony to send waves of soothing routine over my life. Which brings me to this: I have never been very good at processing stress or unpleasantries. How do people get good at this? Is it just something that you're born with? It's always my tendency to run when the going gets tough. As I get older and more rooted in the life Jay and I have made, my choices become fewer and fewer in the running department. When stress hits I seem to melt into a giant weepy mess. Part of this is the hopeless pressure of being trapped in whatever situation I'm stressed out by. I don't like conflict and I don't like feeling as though I have to deal with things that I do not like. I just want life to be simple and easy. I want to be able to pay my bills. I want my family to be healthy. I want to feel safe. I want to buy presents for my children. I want to have a few good friends who I love and who I know love me back. I want to watch tv shows with my husband and occasionally drink a glass or two of red wine. I want a phone and a remote control that both work when they have new batteries. I want friendly neighbors and a nice backyard. I want to leave work feeling like I did a good job and exceeded the expectations of my superiors. I want to be good to my body. I want to have patience with my children. I want to make nice meals for my husband and sit around and laugh together.

The longer we live in the city the more claustrophobic that I feel. Yet, I'm tired of moving around. When we moved to Philadelphia it all felt very temporary. In our third year of city living I'm pretty sure that it's not for me... but I don't really know where to go. Should we move to a suburb? Should we go back to Jersey? Should we just stay put?

Lately, I've been struggling not to feel overwhelmed and I'm not sure why. Is it just a hormonal month? Am I losing my mind? Am I trying to achieve things that aren't possible? Will I regret my choices?

I miss being entirely present for my children. Of course, I'm not entirely present because I have a job now. But this has less to do with my job and more to do with the fact that they are growing up. Though I LOVE the people who they are becoming more than I could ever express... I love them so much that it brings me to tears when I think about how special they both are... I also feel sadness and wish deeply that their lives wouldn't move so quickly. I'm incredibly proud of every milestone and yet sad that they need me less. At the heart of this is pure selfishness. I enjoyed my time as a stay at home mom because I made a career of it. I worked hard. For any difficult day that saw me pulling my hair out and dying for my husband to get home from work... I wouldn't trade one second of it. And I miss it. Even last year, when Bunny was in Kindergarten and I had alone time with Lila for the first time ever. I long for it. Even though I have always been aware of the fact that I wouldn't homeschool and the day would come when my children would inevitably be gone for most of the day, five days a week... it went too fast and I wasn't prepared. And I AM NOT READY. Why aren't I ready?

Earlier in the year we had so many changes and so much happening. The move. The big loss. The new job. The Holidays. And now it's hit me hard.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lapse of Time

I haven't blogged all week! This is because I've had a tough week...

We scheduled Sidney's surgery for next Monday. My poor little Sidney.

Also, I have just had a bad week at work.

I'm ready for the weekend to be here.