Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I heart L _ 03


How could I *not*? I mean... look at her:

How fucking hot is that?!

She leaves in one day!

Hm... I'm kind of enjoying this little Ode to L. Maybe I'll just continue posting and rename this blog to All L, All the Time ;)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I heart L _ 02

We're both dancing partners...

As well as nerding partners...

Two more days! :D

NEW! Printable Cold Sores (R)

This alone makes me wish I lived on a train line:

Flippin' brilliant.

(via >wooster)

Monday, February 26, 2007

I heart L _ 01

My best friend? Yeah, she's leaving.

Which, selfishly, really fucking blows.

*Un*selfishly though, it's pretty amazing, and I am so incredibly happy for her. I cannot even begin to explain how much I am going to miss having her beautiful spirit 200 miles, instead of *2,000*, miles away.

She is my inspiration, my excitement and my silliness. She's my girl. I don't know how else to say it.

I love you, L. Even though you and your insane Vegan Treat metabolism makes me eat way too much of the dessert... I love you. I love you like no other best friend has ever loved.

Like. EVER.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I have the shape of a mother

A few weeks ago, I submitted my photos and story to The Shape of a Mother, and they were posted a couple days ago. On my sister's birthday, a fact that I believe is an extra bonus :) If you haven't already, I encourage you to visit the site that Bonnie began with this in mind:
"It occurred to me that a post-pregnancy body is one of this society's greatest secrets; all we see of the female body is that which is airbrushed and perfect, and if we look any different, we hide it from the light of day in fear of being seen. That makes me want to cry. Sure we all talk about the sagging boobs and other parts, but no one ever sees them. Or if they do, it's in comical form, mocking the beauty that created and nourished our children.

"It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. I am asking for mothers to send in photos of bellies, bums, boobs or any other body part (even my lower legs and face show changes since my pregnancies!) to be posted on this website. The pictures can be anything you like from a simple snapshot to something professional. They can be as anonymous as you'd like, or you may choose to have your name and contact info posted with them."
That's right, a site full of pretty mommas. And you know what? You should *tewtally* participate in this awesome project. I've found incredible joy just perusing the essays and photographs, as I believe all moms, dads and non-parents will. It's a little bit of authenticity and beauty peeking out of the over-processed, over-thought, over-consumed, over-everything-ed static of our surroundings. Visit the site and I bet you'll immediately feel the urge to share the link. Yup, that's right, I betcha!

Personally, by making my own contribution I feel a little extra bit of sisterhood, calmness, self-awareness and love in my spirit. If you are a momma, I do hope you'll consider sending in your story :)


The first time I visited The Shape of a Mother, there were only a few submissions, and I thought, "I have to do this." It's taken me several months to *finally* do it, but here I am, thanks to all the amazing moms who’ve already posted :)

Before I really had the chance to even consider whether or not I wanted children, I became pregnant. We were high school sweethearts, together for almost four years and engaged. I was 18, he was 19, and we were living together, far away from home. I don’t remember much about being pregnant, other than *loving* it.

I’ve never in my life ever felt so beautiful than I did during those nine months. Even when I was working double shifts and throwing up in a trash can at my desk, I was absolutely joyous over my belly.

Being so young, my body weight and shape went right back to where I started almost immediately. However, the nearly 40 pounds I gained left me with many stretch marks; all over my tummy, on the tops of my thighs and on my breasts. I never had a stretch mark in my life before then and I thought they were just the wildest things.

I’ve always been self-conscience of my body, always very modest, and so these scars didn’t really change the way I dressed or undressed or displayed myself. I hadn’t owned a bathing suit in years, I never wore belly-bearing tops and I never undressed in front of my boyfriend. As much as my modesty has been a burden, I believe it also really helped me adjust to my new appearance. I’d always had a private, intimate relationship with my body – getting to know it with these unusual stretch marks wasn’t difficult.

I do love them. Seeing them, I am reminded of just how clueless I was ten years ago when I got pregnant. What were we thinking?! 2,500 miles away from home, barely making it on our own, living it up every weekend, no car, still kids ourselves… It’s amazing that we were allowed to have a child!

Like most mommas, I now know that I was intended to give birth to my son; I know the world was simply not complete without him. He is an amazing, thoughtful, creative, cuddly, nonstop, tackling, building, drawing, high-energy, high-impact, collection of skateboarding legs, basketball playing arms and long hair. He’s my monster. My number one man, my light, my heart and my soul. And every time I brush a hand across my stomach and feel one of my deep stretch marks, or catch a glimpse of them on my breasts, the edges of them poking out the top of my shirt, or notice them on my thighs when I change at the gym, I am reminded of him, and I feel proud and insanely touched by the fact that I am a mom. A mom – wow!

Now that I’ve had the time and experience to consider parenthood, I know that had I not become pregnant then, I never would have. Sustainability, economics, consumerism, politics and just plain fright play major roles in my decision to *not* have any more children. Thank goodness I was too young and stupid ten years ago to know any better! As difficult as being a very young, and eventually a single mom, has been, I feel like parenthood was the universe’s gift to me – the only way I could become a mother, was to let it happen before I could even think about it. Thank god it did :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Day!

Finally! A snow day!

Except it was more of an ice day, so no sledding... but there was soup!

Serves: 12
6-quart stock pot with lids
3 tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cups dark leafy greens, chopped (I used a frozen Blooming Glen mixture of carrot greens, kale and swiss chard)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/2 cups pearled barley (use more for a thicker stew)
32 ounces butternut squash soup (I use Imagine brand)
5 scrubbed, but unpeeled* carrots, diced or sliced into discs
5 scrubbed, but unpeeled* parsnips, diced or sliced into discs
1 rutabaga diced - if there's wax on the skin, peel it off, otherwise just scrub it clean
5 stalks of celery, diced (I use the leafy parts, too)
4+ tablespoons of curry powder (spice it up to taste)

*Most of the nutrients in root vegetables live close to the surface; by peeling them you'll inadvertently loose the good stuff.

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened (about five minutes). Add the garlic, greens and half of the curry powder; saute for about 30 seconds. Stir in barley and soup Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, skim off any froth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add root veggie loveliness, celery and remaining curry powder. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes more, or until barley and vegetables are tender; add water if necessary. I served this with Dave's Own Pumpernickel bread (shipped from RI by Grandma G.).

We had such a great day hanging out together. I wish everyday could be like this :)

AC ventured outside while I was making soup.

After lunch, we built the best Lego army base EVER.

Clearly, Cinder was too busy to play in the snow, cook soup or build an army base.

No school, no work... just family time, cooking, building, playing and finishing the day up with cuddle puddle on the couch while watching Totoro (one the best movies ever created).

Yeah, man :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

What do the good moms do?

The ground is frozen. Also, we have a hamster in need of a burial (see post, below). I'm in danger of blowing my Good Mom cover. Ideas? :-/

RIP Hampie Poo

We love you, Hampie Poo - rest in peace, sweetness.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Forever 4

You know how sometimes when you learn something and it's just so right and so perfect and so mind-blowing that you actually start making real changes, implementing what you've learned into your life? When something you've read or seen or heard actually changes your life because you couldn't possibly ignore it? When you open your brain to what's being said and allow it to affect you instead of considering it something that you "should" do or something that you'll "do later" or "get to eventually?"

I'm sure we've all experienced it when we've made big changes; maybe when we became a vegetarian, or moved from vegetarian to vegan, or left a sedentary lifestyle for daily gym visits, or maybe even converted to a different religion. Changes like that are incredible and at some point, you think "how did I ever not do this?" You feel good - you feel great! It's all so clear and obvious and right.

Time passes though, and it's possible that what was once so clear and obvious and right is just... a little less. Maybe you forget how much those teachings meant to you and before you know it, you're slipping and maybe picking up some old habits, using old excuses. Maybe you allow yourself to have junk food/meat/dairy "because it's a special occasion" or skip the gym a few times because you're just "so tired" or spend less time meditating/praying/chanting because you're "too busy." Maybe you even feel bad about about slipping and so you try to satisfy your feelings of inadequacy with your vice/s of choice - cigarettes, television, sex, gambling, dressing up like a chicken, or, ahem, drinking large quantities of red boxed wine.

Maybe you catch yourself and return to the lessons and re-read or re-study, and get back on track. Or maybe the excuses get so loud and the distractions so many, that you forget what you learned entirely, as if the lessons never existed and the change never happened.

That forgetting thing was so totally not what I wanted to have happen after I read The Four Agreements. I read it one afternoon about a year and a half ago - in less than three hours my life was changed.

And it felt good! As I started making changes over the next few weeks, I felt so amazing that I thought, "man, I've gotta get this tattooed on my forehead or something so I never forget how right this is." Of course, having a tattoo on one's forehead to serve as a reminder is kind of dumb. How often do you see your forehead? I knew that I wanted a tattoo symbolizing The Four Agreements somewhere on my body where I could refer to it often, someplace where it would serve as a daily visual reminder.

About a year after I read the book, I loaned it to L, and seven months later, this weekend, together we got those tattoos, thanks in part to 43 things kicking us in our asses. I love when shit comes together like it has for us over the last few weeks :)

So, "live the Four Agreements." That was the big plan for our tattoo. Kind of vague, yes? We went through some ideas, but really, had no clue what we wanted. Thankfully, we had a very talented artist and an insanely patient man on our side. Paul (from Gallery of Living Art at Fifth and Cannon in Lansdale) worked with us to come up with four brilliant designs using the elements we wanted:

The scoop on the design
The flower and bud design comes from the cover of the book (specifically, the lower right corner) and to us, shows growth, change and life. We found that the specific design of one fully bloomed flower and three buds was symbolic of the book's teachings: The flower represented the first agreement, "be impeccable with your word," the agreement on which all others hinge; without impeccability of one's word, agreements just can't be made. Additionally, agreement one is not only the most important agreement, but also the hardest to accomplish. The three flower buds then, represented each of the following agreements noted in the book, "don't take anything personally," "don't make assumptions," and "always do your best."

Perfect! So, we looked at Paul's art and choose a design that fit the placement we wanted (we placed our tattoos on the same forearm, but not exactly in the same spot).

Because L is the greatest best friend in the entire world EVER, she let me go first. I have one other small tattoo that I got 12 years ago. Piercing has always been my body modification practice of choice, and I was nervous about the thought of extended needle time.

I shouldn't have worried. The experience was awesome and I can't wait to go back and get the next one (AC's name on the opposite arm). Also, it helped that L held my hand. Thanks, lady!

More pics on my flick'r page:

Of course, L blogged about this, too:

My arm is a little swollen and itchy as hell, but I love my tattoo. In fact, I keep catching myself loving everything - I love my best friend, I love Paul, I love the Four Agreements, I love tattoos, I love change, I love all of it!

Except maybe the dog and cat hair that sticks to the bacitracin ointment that I have to keep on the tattoo. I don't really love that.

But everything else!

Everything else is fucking beautiful! :)


Sunday, February 04, 2007


(From, Feb. 2 entries.)

This was my life for the past year. Not anymore :) I got tired of waiting for him to do it, so I did. Getting it out in the open, and the subsequent changes that have occurred since, have turned out to be the best thing that's happened in my life in years. Years!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dressing room no longer the messing room

One of my 43 things is to organize my closet; my closet is actually the smallest "bedroom" in the house, so we call it the dressing room.

It makes me feel so fancy when I say that. "Check the dressing room, dahling." Of course, it also makes me laugh, considering the fact that the dressing room is located in a small, falling apart (but very loved!) 80-year-old suburban rowhome - that was built with only one closet :)

Anyway, this past gray Saturday afternoon, I grabbed some coffee and the laptop and headed upstairs to rearrange, get rid of stuff and clean up. I spent three hours up there; a long time, but so worth it. It wasn't terribly disorganized or overcrowded before, but it is thoroughly organized now. Four bags of clothes and other items were donated and I'm hoping to continue to weed things out.

Befores on the left, afters on right...

There's a photo stream on my flick'r page:

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due, for none of this was possible without the assistance of two amazing people: Ira Glass (three episodes of This American Life carried me through the afternoon) and our resident Super Geek at work (who fixed my wireless card which allowed said radio show to play upstairs, untethered by cable). Thanks, guys! :P