Best of 2005

Album: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes
Favorite New Zane word: poop
Favorite Zane Moment: kissing his Mommy on the cheek
Restaurant: Casa la Femme, NYC
Favorite Photoblog:
Favorite Blog:
Favorite news: Birth of new nephew, SMA-free
Favorite photo shoot: Patricia's family
Most challenging photo shoot: Pets! 2 cats, 3 dogs, 2 birds and bird eggs. Really, I swear.
Favorite photo of 2005: Featured above
Favorite Movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Book: The Book of Mormon
Concert: Death Cab for Cutie, of course
* honerable mention: NIN

So long, and thanks for all the fish.


Oh Christmas Tree

Today's Christmas Eve began like I assume many others might have experienced. Irate conversation with man in India who can't tell me how my amazon.com order got lost. Missing extended families, a little home sick. One sister with no gift to open tomorrow. A frantic mad dash to the grocery store three times in a row to make sure we have each ingredient for our feasting. The overview of gifts purchased in my mind, nope didn't feel happy with what I got Mike. Out to the store for that ONE LAST perfect gift. Fought traffic jams in parking lots, stood in long lines with irritable people. Back to the grocery store again. Doesn't look like Celiac Santa is getting special cookies or fudge this year- no time left in the day. Delightful belly with traditional Mexican fiesta and good friends to visit with. Kids running wild, fully charged with countless ounces of sugar. The clean-up and goodbyes. Putting snacks out for Santa. A big sigh and contemplation of what we really want to tell him about Santa next year when he is old enough to comprehend, respond, and ask questions. Are we doing this right? What is the right way to do this? What do we want to teach him? Oh, well, it's late and we have 12 more months to figure that one out.

Final diaper change of the day and into warm jammies. Should I have sung more Christmas carols? Read more Christmas books this month? Talked more about it?

Mike grabs the scriptures and informs me it's during the story that we place baby Jesus into the nativity scene. I don't hesitate because I know no other tradition. Zane scoots backwards until he settles into my cozy lap, holding a shiny, ceramic Jesus. He gives it a little taste test; let's consider it a kiss. Mike reads the Christmas story in Luke, like every father should, and indicates the time we place Jesus into the nativity scene. I was half listening and wholly realizing this is what doing it right is all about. The presents and worry and questions escape my mind and I am filled with a peace that I always hope to have in my home.



I'll be honest; Motherhood was not an easy transition for me. I know mothers who eased into it with poise and never looked back. I am not one of those mothers.

My most recent full time office job was the peak to my career I had been hoping to find for some time. It was what made the history of bad jobs, hellish bosses, ridiculous commutes, and years of arduous education all worth it. I had finally found the right company and people that came together in perfect alignment. The trust I was handed and ability to thrive in experience seemed to triple each quarter. I never counted the hours, waiting for the day to end. While there were moments of exhaustion after big projects or difficult employee issues to be resolved, I can say I almost always felt a sense of accomplishment and appreciation. I temporarily overcame my anxiety of flying through frequent travel to new places without getting lost or missing a single flight. Perhaps these are the reasons I heard this response when I told people I was pregnant: Was it planned?

Yes, it was planned. The timing in which we had our son was planned. The job description for Mother was something I had not planned.

I reflect often on the hardest classes I had in college and wonder how I passed when my test results were often the letters in the alphabet further away from the first. Then I recall the bell curve grading method. On difficult days of motherhood I remember that bell curve my math teachers would draw on the board and how comforting that would make me feel- almost like a big blanket at the beginning of a semester.

Fortunately, motherhood has a similar learning curve. I am allowed to do some things wrong once in a while, I am allowed to learn from them. My son probably didn’t understand (or remember) those words I might have mumbled (or perhaps shouted) in those initial days and weeks of frustration and fatigue while figuring out this new job.

Similar to my former career, right when I feel like I have things under control, it all changes. That learning curve continues to travels into the front of my mind just as I feel so hopeless, like I wasn't cut out for motherhood. While there are times I consider launching a job search on Monster.com (or Give-Away-My-Monster.com), I take a deep breath and think about the new challenges I am unfamiliar with. What resources I have available to help me get closer to acing this test. Okay, sometimes I cheat and say a little prayer for help. It's usually followed by a moment bigger than words can describe. There have been several, but one of my favorites happened in April.

We went to the botanical gardens and it was probably the only place in all of New York that still had green grass. It seemed to take the usual hour to prepare to leave the house. I imagine I was late meeting friends there and forgot to pack a lunch. It didn't occur to me Zane had never touched grass until I put him on the ground for a picture without his shoes. His little toes wiggled and he dug his fingers into the thick, green blades. He had the most curious look on his face. As I took pictures I choked back tears. This is what it's all about, I thought. Things just seemed so clear and peaceful and pure that moment. I realized how incredibly amazing it was to watch this little body that grew inside of me explore a little part of nature and I got to see it all unfold before my eyes. I think my heart consumed the entire inside of me until it was bursting through my skin at the miracle of this gift. A child I get to nurture and teach and love all day long. Somehow a simple little moment opened my mind to the joys that outweigh the challenges of difficult days. Whatever that feeling was called, it was so far beyond the appreciation and accomplishment of my former life that I vowed to take on a new definition of success. The rest of the day took on a new angle. Zane spitting up all over me each hour didn't aggravate me as much. Stopping frequently throughout the day to nurse didn't seem so disruptive. The dirty dishes in the sink didn't glare at me so strongly. And the dry cleaning, well, Mike likes to work from home in a T-shirt once in a while anyway.

I was able to replace the bell curve with that memory; I keep the picture up in my room so maybe my eyes will catch it on the next bad day.


Thankful List, by Zane

1) I am so thankful my busted lip is healing properly.

2) I am so thankful my mommy cut my hair. It works well with the purple stroller look I am going for.
3) I am so grateful for my abilty to stealthily take dolls away from girls. Hang loose?!

4) I am most grateful for food and drink. And ((grunt)) food exit.


whatever smile i smile the most

I realize few of the pictures I share of Zane involve a smile. He does smile. He does loves us. He does have fun. This week enjoy smiles from some of the best 16 months of my life.

everything nice

nacho bell grande
blueberry and cherry flavored Icee- blue on bottom
cinnamon bears
mint chocolate chip ice cream
beef jerky
junior mints
Mr. Salty Pretzels
Mrs. Grass Soup
strawberry soda, or grape
otter pops- specifically Little Orphan Orange
Fanny May mint meltaways
fun dip
big league chewing gum
grape or watermelon bubble gum
disco fries
hot tamales (the candy, not actual tamales)
7 layered bean dip
spinach artichoke dip, warm
thin mint girl scout cookies, made from real girl scouts
andes candies, but not candies shoes those are so 80's
orange soda
astro pops
mary janes
chocolate fondue with peaches
peach pie, warm
baked potato with the works
egg drop soup
thick chocolate shake
milk duds
almond kisses
peanut m&m's
colgate toothpaste


You'll Dance To Anything by Public Image Ltd.

Celebrity look-a-likes always liven up the day. Today I sat behind one at church. It was like a 2005 version of Johnny Rotton (Lydon). While primary children were singing in sweet harmony I kept expecting this guy to stand up and chant 'ANGER IS AN ENERGY'.



Talking Dirty

Last week I met up with some friends at the NY Botanical Gardens. Once we spotted the rose gardens we parked the strollers and let the kids roam freely. Zane wandered between pink and red rows of blooming, fragrant roses. He also ran through fresh cut grass and down pebbled paths; stumbling over his new shoes here and there. I winced at the fact that I put him in light colored khaki pants, but only for a moment.

I was in labor with Zane the summer of 2004 for 31 hours. During that time I contracted a fever and the decision was made prior to him entering this world that Zane would need to be monitored in the NICU immediately after birth and for days thereafter. With IV pumping into the littlest arm I have ever seen, routine blood work drawn from his heels and arm, I insisted an additional test be taken. This poor little 5-hour-old baby had to have more blood drawn to determine whether or not he was a carrier of the potentially terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Fortunately, within two weeks we learned he did not have SMA. Unfortunately, someone special in our family does.

Cure for grass stains: equal parts liquid dishwashing detergent,
water, and vinegar

Cure for SMA: none

There are no words to describe the gratitude that came with his first grass stains on his trousers.




Today my heart skipped a beat. It has been a long time since something has taken my breath away with such grace. As I crossed the street to drop off the dry cleaning, there it was. Behold, glistening in the crisp sunlight was a 1963 beige Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III. I couldn't hide my admiration and awe. I stopped dead in my tracks as my eyes followed the sultry curves over and over again. Hopefully the driver did not get the wrong impression. Even if he did, child on hip would have cleared things up right away.

I was dazed while speaking with the dry cleaners, glancing over my shoulder not to let it escape. I was crawling out of my skin with desire to photograph this angelic machine and oh the angles I could use! If-only-someone-could-hold-him, here: take-my-diaper-bag, let-me-get-the=camer.. oh It's gone. It rolled away with such class there was a red carpet lined with diamonds and the faint aroma of rich tobacco from a mahogany pipe lingering behind. Because mahogany pipes totally exist in your world if you drop off your dry cleaning in a Rolls-Royce.

I always wanted to own a 1974 Dodge Dart and refinish it to perfection. It would be parked next to my 1962 white, hard top Impala (red interior). These cars, in comparison, are nothing to me now. Do you think The Mister will have a problem if I change the 529 plan to RR funding?


Open Letter

Dear Ben Gibbard,

Last week's concert at Hammerstein was supreme. The Mezz 2 proved to be a great seat to watch the whole band intertwine their chords and beats. Your voice rang through the ballroom enchantingly. The occasional flashy lighting enhanced the massive bass as it projected the long arm onto the screen behind you. You don't know that because you were performing. But let me assure you that it was a great effect. For an indie rock concert, anyway.

While I was pleased with the performance, Ben, I have to admit I was rather disappointed with the song line-up. These are the songs you should play on your next tour, regardless of what you release between now and then:

1) ALL songs on We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes
2) Some songs on Something About Airplanes
3) Some songs from the latest 2 albums
4) After the encore, bring out your Other Band and play all songs from Give Up. Twice.
5) Double time all songs not on We Have the Facts and that will help fit my recommended songs into your allotted time.
6) Don't bother having an opening band. This is another way you will have more time.

Also, I think it would be beneficial for you to practice some new moves. Your dancing behind the guitar sort of looked like you were trying to take a dump behind a bush, what with your legs spread so far apart/ knees bent/ feet tapping to and fro. Perhaps you could spend some time with Nelly or R. Kelly, they could help you out. Is it getting hot in here?


Your 965th biggest fan



Here is my sister's 3rd beautiful baby: Carter Paul. He was born at 12:31 NY time while I cleaned up Zane's high chair from lunch. He weighs 6 lbs 13 oz. and is 20 inches long.

We adore him and can't wait to meet him.

*picture courtesy of The Daddy, Rob.

Carter USM (uncooperative silly man)

Carter, my nephew, is well on his way.

As we speak his mommy's working hard to get him into this world.
Go Lisa, go!


under a shady tree, you and me

My hands are tired from cracking skulls to get this massive, fallen tree trunk off of our home.
While it looks like your average fallen tree branch from a distance one would drag away like a wet mop, it is not. Notice the height of this Bessy: well above the roof. Take note of the thickness of the main branch: that of a solid, human thigh.



The Curse of the Pro-Wings

So I used to have this foolproof theory that you could tell a lot about a person by the kind of shoes he/ she would sport. I drove myself insane looking for the perfect shoes to follow my theory, even if it meant the perfect pair didn’t come in my size. Of course you have your traditional slip-on sandal or flip flops in the mix, but this post is about the Leading Shoe in the closet. The One. The pair you would wear to the concert to get digits.

It all began with my first pair of Vans. I think I was in 7th grade. They were black and white stone-washed pattern. Of course, I had to work on fitting the bill over time as I had few skater shirts when I scored these kicks. These were followed by a pair of black corduroy Vans with tan piping. I think these would officially be 1st place in my shoe Hall of Fame.

As I approached High School I got a little confused and busted out white Nikes- what was I thinking?! Just because I ran track and cross country did not mean I was a Nike kind of girl. With some positive peer influence getting me back on track, I was back into the saddle again with a pair of flannel plaid girl Vans. These were quickly replaced by blue Vans as soon as Pearl Jam hit mainstream radio.

I admit I was soon found wearing brown 6-hole Doc Martins, only to be spray-painted silver within a month. I thought I was so punk rock.

Then came the Converse One-Star fetish my Junior/ Senior year. The great thing about these was that they were slimming of the foot and looked great with long dresses! Sadly, my green pair found new owners when my small friend, Bruce, borrowed them Halloween night to dress up as a girl. I think I saw him at the State Fair several years later. With another guy. They might have both been wearing dresses.

Ah, Etnies. They were electric blue and welcomed me into college and saw many a good times. These were a great conversation piece as they were quite rare. One coworker at Tower Records asked me about them. I offered they were 2 sizes too big, but they were the last pair and I HAD to have them. He snickered as he said, “Yeah, we all wondered about the new girl with such big feet”.

Two-Toned Wingtips. These babies were my most prized possession and ordered from a magazine out of New York. Ska shows were the nightlife that made life worth living at the time. Skater Chick by day, Rude Girl by night. These pushed the baby blue Pumas to the back of the closet for a long, long time. After they were broken-in and well scuffed I went to a concert with this guy “Mike” and saw about 15 girls with the exact same shoes! This was a travesty. I pulled them off of my feet, threw them into a trash can filled with beer cups, and demanded he give me a ride to my car on his back. He thought I was crazy. He just didn’t get how important the Shoe Theory was! The golden rule to the Shoe Theory is that they have to be unique. So if they start to appear in shopping mall store windows and on the feet of girls at concerts wearing big bows in their hair, the shoes have to be retired. IMMEDIATELY.

I think my next pair of shoes worthy of recognition was a great pair of royal blue Simples. The last I wore them I was on another date with “Mike”. I stepped in a huge, sloppy pile of fresh doggy dung. They were rendered totaled, I was sad to lose them. “Mike” still didn’t get it and shook his head smugly with each mention of it.

I went back to the old reliable, beige Vans. The skater shoes were getting puffier and wider and things were changing. Who am I? What is the RIGHT shoe for me? This question became less and less important as I began to see people more for who they were and not the shoes they had on their feet. I will probably always have a pair of Vans in the back of my closet and I will always appreciate truly unique shoes, just less viciously. I am fully aware that there is so much more to me than just a pair of white Penguins. And as for “Mike”, well, I eventually talked him into marrying me and he is now an extremely picky shoe-shopper.

Oh, and as for the type of shoes I will don my children with? Only the COOLEST FREAKING SHOES EVER!

*picture by Penguin


Christmas Day 2002
so many things are sexy about this picture of my husband