Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm making a resolution right now, starting tonight. I have let things go too long, stayed away much longer than I should have. So starting tonight, I resolve to spend at least 30 minutes every day dancing. Whether I take a class, do a DVD, or just put on some music and go for it, I must dance every day. I'm going to aim for the end of March for now. If I can manage that, maybe I can make the leap and resolve to dance every day of this year.

Nothing is going to move forward unless I move it forward. It's time to put in some work.

Friday, February 19, 2010


As my few, proud, loyal readers can see, things have changed. New title, slightly different layout, and a more specific focus. Hopefully there will also be a new banner soon. There will still be plenty of N stories, but I am expending this blog to tell the story of our life as a Pagan family. It's such a huge part of who we are, I just can't ignore it here. So stay tuned, and if you're interested in how a Pagan family runs then keep reading, there will be lots to come!

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Words of Wisdom

N is a late talker. That is, at nearly 20 months old, he doesn't talk. He started off on the right foot, saying "mama" at a precocious 6 months old, and quickly moved on to "cat" and "car". But soon after that he dropped all but mama, and only used that in the most distressing of circumstances. T and I have been patiently holding our breath, examining each sound that comes from N's mouth (few and far between though they are) for possible linguistic meaning. But after all this time, we have given up and decided to just let nature take its course. My main concern for N is not his lack of speech, but the communication difficulties caused by a lack of speech. With me, every slight sound and gesture is quickly understood, because are very tuned in to each other. With strangers - or rotating daycare workers - it's not that easy.

So imagine my surprise today when the little guy came out with not one, not two, but three brand new words all in the span of a few minutes. "What wonderful news!" must be your thought right now. But hold that thought, because the new words? They were in Chinese. No, I don't have any problem with N learning Chinese. In fact, I'd be thrilled in he showed an aptitude for foreign language, and Chinese would certainly be a useful one. But couldn't he learn his native language first? You know, the one his mother and all his caregivers speak? It might make things a bit easier on all of us. Then again, when has my beautiful little roughneck ever worried about what's easiest.

I'm thinking soon I'll want to make some decisions. Do I want to encourage this, or cut it off until he learns English? He's not going to learn very much Chinese just from watching Ni Hao Kai-Lan, so further instruction will require stepping away from the TV and into a classroom, or at least some workbooks and DVDs. And at 20 months old, is he too young for this, however informal the education might be? If he truly has a flair for languages, or even just for the one language, I hate to cut him off and let a crucial window pass. Tell me mamas, if any of you are out there reading, what would you do?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Marching on...

My summer off has been bittersweet. With our finances in a shambles, we were unable to take a vacation, or even many day trips. Fortunately we live on a park, so we made up for it by spending almost every day playing outside. N is probably too young for The Met, anyway. We had a lot of fun together and came out feeling somewhat refreshed, but it ended all too soon.

Now the weather is changing, and daily life is changing too. We're well into the school yer, and this year all three of us are at school - T as a teacher, me as a student, and N as a brand new daycare child. The transition has been tough on all three of us. T is teaching SAT prep classes in the evening this year, and subbing during the day. I have my heaviest class load yet, and several extracurricular activities. N is in daycare twice a week, all day long, and with father-in-law the other days. I feel like we never see each other any more, and I can already feel the toll it's taking on our connection as a family. N is a different baby already - less relaxed and smiley, more likely to scream and cling, less interactive and interested in his world. But I have no choices left in this. I have dropped him down to as few days of daycare as possible, and he's still becoming increasingly listless.

Two and a half months. Only two and a half more months until my hardest semster ends. In mid-December we can reconnect, N can leave daycare, and maybe T can take a week off so we can spend some family time. I look back on our empty summer days now and see all the opportunities missed. Could I have taken N to the playground more? Should we have skipped that TV show and played a game together instead? Maybe I could have run those errands another day, a day when the sun wasn't shining and the park wasn't calling to us to come explore. But those days are over, and I missed those chances. It's time to live this day, to make sure we don't miss any of today's chances. It's time to go grab N, give him a snuggle, and play a game. Opportunity calls.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Around the world in 80 clicks

For an explanation of this post, see here.  Then join the game!

Five things I love about being a mother:

1) I get to buy all of the games and toys that I wanted, but didn't have, as a child.  For N, of course. *wink*

2) When I come home from a long day in class, exhausted and hungry, there is always a smiley little face waiting to welcome me back home.

3) The smell and sound and feeling of a warm, sleepy, perfect and tiny body next to mine at night fills me with a languorous euphoria.  There's nothing like sleeping curled up with your baby.

4) Everything old is new again.  Sometimes I feel like I'm starting over, experiencing the world for the first time, but through his eyes.

5) I have an excuse to play endlessly with my camera.

So there you are.  Heavy, light, and in between.  Now go play!  Find out whether the experience of motherhood is similar for women in Sweden, India, Australia, Ireland, and Bolivia.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


My father-in-law is a bit of an artistic genius.  He draws, paints, and among the many other crafts he is proficient in, he restores old trunks.  He has several at his house, and in the years I have known my husband I have seen him restore several more, usually those belonging to friends and family.  I never really expected to end up with one of my own, because my husband already has one.  A few weeks ago that changed, when I walked into FIL's house to see the sweetest little trunk he has ever brought home, and knew I had to claim it.  I told him right away that that was my trunk, had to be my trunk, and he agreed.  But rather than restoring it for me, we'd do it together, so that we could spend some quality time, and he could pass on his craft.

They're not much to look at when he first brings them home.  A century of wear and tear means scuffed wood and torn paper, scratches and bad paint jobs.

The tray is a total loss, so that will be thrown away.  The first step is to remove the hinges and take off the top.  Then, piece by piece, the hardware is stripped from the whole trunk, starting with the lid.  One the hardware is off, the support slats and tin covering can be removed.

It's a painstaking process.  When the trunk was nailed together, the pieces were against a block so that the nails would hit the block and curl over, locking them in.  Trying to pull them out would be like ripping out a barbed fishhook, and would destroy the wood.  So, each nail needs to be located under the paper lining and cut with a Dremel tool.  Then a hammer and spike are used to drive the nail back through the wood, so that it can be pulled out by the head.  Once the nails are gone, the hardware can be removed.  More nails much be cut before the wood slats and tin plates are taken off.

And that's it.  Underneath all the plating is a bare wooden trunk.  

But we did find one hidden treasure: a patent stamp from the year the trunk was built.

I'm planning to post pictures and updates on the trunk as we go along.  So far we're only partially done with stripping it, and I expect it to be a long process.  It'll be a lot of fun, though, so if you're curious about how it's done or what it will look like at the end, keep checking back.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

1000 words

N's birthday party was on the 21st, and I handed our old reliable point and shoot camera to my father-in-law, the family artist.  The bad news is, he dropped it while the lens was extended, effectively totaling it.  The good news is, we now have a lovely Nikon D60 DSLR to replace it.  Considering how long I've been coveting the DSLRs, I've shown remarkable restraint in my photo taking.