Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


People! What a bunch of bastards!

The IT Crowd

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Friend

My godson was once so tiny. That was a long time ago. Now he is a running, laughing, complicated-story-telling blur. I love how enthusiastic he is, and I am thrilled to have caught a him a few times the other day:

My New Favorite Picture of Him
My new favorite picture of him


Inside the lion head at the Chinese Gardens New Years Celebration

I am really looking forward to seeing him continue to grow up within his family and mine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Days are Here Again

Mayberry Mom added me to her list of bloggers that make her happy, which makes me giddy with joy. (No really, reading her post made me very happy.)

Reading Mayberry's list got me thinking about what makes me happy these days. Some of what occurred to me:
  • They Might Be Giants' song Seven and jumping around singing "we want cake, where's our cake?" (while I'm at it, this is a great song too.)
  • Ada is potty trained. I know this happened months ago, but it still knocks me out. 
  • Coworkers who are also friends.
  • I get along so well with my parents and in-laws that I look forward to their visits. 
  • The just-ended stretch of sunny February days included a weekend. 
  • Good coffee and being able to have a second cup when I want to. 
  • A friend and I signed up for a series of plays this year, so I periodically get to the theater without having to think about whether or not a particular play will be "worth" it. 
  • The gray month of my current photo project is almost over.
  • Moving my huge rosemary plant freed up more room in the garden. I will be adding tarragon and cilantro to my herbs. 
  • Magpie Musing sent me two charming unsigned postcards before I thought to compare the handwriting with that of a card she'd taken credit for. (I couldn't read the postmark on either of the anonymous cards. What did you do, Maggie, bribe the post office?
Please join in. Comment with your happy lists, or post about this yourself. I want to know what makes you happy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love Him

Happy Birthday Chris. I know you don't like a fuss, so hope you won't hold it against me that I like to tell everyone it is your birthday. To make it up to you Ada and I promise not to eat all your birthday cookies. Hmm, maybe it is time to make some birthday cookies.

Edited to add: I ended up making cupcakes instead. Chris didn't seem to mind. 

"Birthday Cookies? Where?"


I love you so much and could not ask for a better husband or father to our three (!) kids. As great as you are, I do have one bit of advice for the next year: that bag doesn't really go with fleece.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nine, Nine, Doin' Fine

Mira:  crawling, in the traditional style
Ian:  commando crawling (arms only)

9 months
Yes, we used the baby gates for their outside time. 
You try to keep crawling twins from eating dirt and bugs and then judge us.

Ian:  definitely clapping. Favorite new game - clap twice, then look hopefully at nearest adult. Laugh and clap some more when adult starts clapping too.
Mira:  (maybe) waving, differently from the slow queen wave of a few months ago (I say maybe because she does a lot of hand stuff, but this looks like waving)

9 month Ian
Ian: not a big fan of wearing a hat

Mira: Pulling herself up on things, without regard to whether they'll hold her

Mira:  opposed to having her nose wiped
Ian:  opposed to having his nose wiped

Both Ian and Mira have settled into a routine, with the obvious changes when they are sick or annoyed. Ian likes to wake up around 4. Chris and I don't like this, and generally try to quiet Ian and then go back to bed until as close to 5 as we can muster. Some mornings this means that Ian complains in his crib for a half hour or more, but somehow Mira manages not to be disturbed by this. In fact, she is more likely to wake up once we've given in and taken him out of their room. Chris thinks it is because Ian acts as Mira's white noise machine, and his removal from the room leaves her without his soothing wails as background to her slumber. In any case, even when she wakes up around 5, she can often be coaxed back to bed until 6 or even 7. (This would be great if one of us wasn't already up with Ian.)

Ian and Mira turn 9 months on Monday. Tuesday is Chris's birthday. I suppose that means I should let him sleep in.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

Sign outside methodist church

One of these days... I am really...going to let you teach that guy a lesson.

Monsters, Inc.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lemonade (but no Burritos)

Working at home yesterday, I started thinking about the sweet potato burrito from Magnificent's, a trailer near my house.

Feb 17: Grey Magnificent's Trailer
Portland is currently in the throes of a food cart obsession.

I walked over at lunch, to find this:

Sign in Magnificent's window

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Experiments (My New Toy)

For my birthday, Chris got me a diana lens for my digital SLR. This might seem like a weird idea, getting an incredibly low tech toy camera lens for a high tech digital camera. It might be, but it is so fun. It is freeing to slap on a lens that makes everything, um, impressionistic (to be polite). It lets me think about framing, color and mood, without being too obsessed with getting the focus detail just right. Plus, the diana only works in full manual mode, which pushes me to pay more attention to what I am doing as I take pictures, instead of leaving things at one aperture whether or not it is appropriate to the light and situation. 

early cherry blossoms (diana)
early cherry blossoms

the big bad woods (diana)
I took a bunch of pictures of Ada using a variety of settings, and even this one is clearly "too dark" I love the look - it reminds me of a fairy tale, with the heroine entering the deep, dark forest. I can't wait to show it to Ada.

reflected trees (diana)
Laurelhurst park pond

Experimenting with Diana lens

I also own a (film-using) Holga, which I love, but I am so in love with being able to review my pictures at the end of the day that the Holga gets a bit neglected. In fact, I have a roll of film taken with the Holga (mumble-mumble) months ago that is STILL waiting to get developed. I'll get right on that, I promise. In the mean time, I am having a great time playing with my low tech lens without losing my high tech ability to See It Now! Right Now!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I hate it when people blog about how they are having a hard time finding things to write about. Really, what is the point? You are uninspired, you are tired, you are busy. Why would anyone want to hear about that? And yet...

NO. I won't do it.

Instead, I offer: 

Mira, Crackered
Mira, with a rice cracker

Shocked the cracker right out of her mouth
...aaand, shocked the cracker right out of her mouth.

Did I mention that she's crawling and has a head cold?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo(s) of the Week

Poo on a Child's Shoe
small text reads: Winnie is the only pooh welcome in our school. 
Please respect our childrens' health, happiness and learning environment.

Don't be in such a haste
small text reads: Please respect our children's health, happiness and learning environment. 
Dog doo is not cool at school!

in the past I've been as interested in tai chi as I would be in a particularly exotic flavor of ibuprofen

Sandra Tsing Loh
Tai chi & me

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leave the House

Friday is the day I am home alone with all three kids. This can be great or it can be a horror show. Determined to avoid the latter, I suggested to Ada that we go to the library. Ada is almost always more fun when we leave the house. Something about staying home makes her clingy and whiny and (even when she is being pleasant) prone to asking me to play dolls, which I (parenting failure on my part, I know) hate. But really, what could be more boring? I am always trying to steer her toward games or legos or really anything but holding three dolls at once while pretending to take them to the park. Again. Plus, one doll's head tends to pop off unexpectedly, and I am always made to be that doll, so there's the added stress of playing while trying not to decapitate the toys.

But back to the day: getting all three kids out the door can be tricky, especially if (due to illness, say) Ian and Mira are not synced in their naps. And yes, the babies were out of sync, but it worked out anyway and once they were both up we scooted out the door. As expected, Ada was completely lovely the moment we went outside. We talked, looked for rocks, and avoided stepping on cracks all the way to the library. (As an aside, although a little put out that I would not let her pilfer a lovely river stone that caught her eye, Ada seems to understand why it is not okay to take "special rocks" out of people's yards. In addition to not stealing from my neighbors, this rule has the benefit of limiting the number of rocks that come home with us.)

On the way there, we passed a man sitting in his yard with a baby. We stopped to say hello and compare ages, and we entered into our usual conversation with strangers:

Man: Are they twins?

Me: Yes. Whenever you think you are having a hard parenting day, you can think of us.

Man: Wow. (Making small bowing motion) I'm impressed. I feel like one is hard!

Me (backpedaling): Actually, they are pretty good. It helps that I had practice with her (pointing to Ada). And she's a really good big sister.

Immediately I thought to myself, why am I such an asshole? Why do I need this nice stranger to acknowledge my workload? All parenting is hard, and why make him bow to my superhuman parenting abilities? I need to stop implying that things are so much harder with twins. I mean, they are harder in some ways, but there are a lot of ways in which just having one baby and a preschooler would be just as challenging. It really depends on the day, or maybe the moment.

Speaking of the day, the rest of the day Ada was a joy. After the library we popped into our local biscuit shop for eats. When we got home (just in time to feed Mira and Ian before they passed out) Ada decided she wanted to stay outside. So, fine. We agreed she could play on the porch or in the yard, as long as I could see her my perch in from the dining room. Ada is so good about this kind of thing. She played on her own for an hour while I got Ian and Mira fed, diapered, nursed and in bed. Then I went outside and we played until Mira woke up. Then we read books and hung out outside most of the rest of the day.  At some point I thought to myself that I needed to remember to tell Ada how much fun I had with her, what a joy she was to be around. (I did tell her that at bedtime, but I am not sure she actually heard me, as she was practically asleep when her head hit the pillow.)

You DO TOO like being outside 
Maybe the wrong photo for a post on the virtues of going outside.
He really does like leaving the house.

On Saturday, Ada was crabby, crabby, crabby. She insisted she could not go upstairs to get something from her room because she was afraid. She didn't want to be lonely. Never mind that it would take 30 seconds to run upstairs, grab the shirt and zoom back down, which was about one tenth of the time she took whining about the idea. Everything was a struggle, and it took all my will not to yell at her. Luckily some friends called and we forced Ada out the door to go see them. When Chris took the babies home for lunch and nap, Ada and I played in the park. Later that day I took Ada and a friend to a local art center, where they had a fantastic time. By the time the friend's parents came to get her at 8:30 that night, the girls had also built a complicated block and toy city, acted out a complicated story in which they were "super baby kittens" and eaten the (fantastic) brownies I made on a whim. So we were back in the "happy" category, family-wise.

balance beam

The main lesson for me is to leave the house. No matter how hard the kids make that, leave the house. They, and I will be the better for it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Balance Shmalance (or, I Need More of Everything)

What I want to do:

Take better pictures
Sew a groundhog ipod cozy
Be more fun as a parent
Get back to sewing clothes for myself and the kids
Make a crown for Ada
Read more
Laugh more

But I feel so stretched as it is. Tonight after dinner I suddenly literally could not keep my eyes open. Retreating from table to couch, I lay down and fell asleep. I woke up only when Ada and Chris were getting ready to go upstairs.

I don't know if the answer is to work more or work less. Right now I am entering a busy time at work, which means more working in my "off" hours. So far it is not too much, but I look at a friend/coworker who has put in a super-human number of unpaid hours and wonder when I would be able to say it was too much. Financially I need my job, and intellectually I really enjoy it. I also enjoy that I work part-time. I want to spend more than two days a week with my children. And yet, at the end of one such day with them I am emotionally and physically spent.

How do you find balance, or is that a myth?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Still not a good reason

"But we want to!"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week


Following a lengthy period of evolution, the earth had more or less reached the point where we are now; in other words it  had entered the phase where cars wear out more quickly than the soles of shoes.

Italo Calvino
The Daughters of the Moon

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pata Pata Post (say that three times fast)

Chris is watching the first episode of the final season of Lost. The show ends and a commercial for a new Honda comes on. Hearing the music, I perk up.

"It's the pata pata! Do you know how many people find me by searching for 'pata pata'?"

"How many? More than three a week?"

"Yes!" (A quick check of my sitemeter shows that 4 of my most recent 40 visitors fit this description.)

"You should throw them a bone."

"What? I already posted about the pata pata."

"You could do more. How 'bout a weekly pata pata post?"

(I won't do that, but for those of you here looking for the Honda ad, this is your lucky day.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Not Much Of A Sale

Excuse the photo quality (snapped with my phone). I spotted this at the fancy grocery store near my house:

asparagus on sale?