Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the doghouse

i don't know about you, but sometimes i like to spend time thinking about what snapshots of my life will make the cut for the much-touted "life passing before your eyes" death show.   well, if i were in charge of the editing (and who knows, maybe i am), then i had a moment last night that might make it in.

so there are these two dogs who live at the house on the corner, and they live outside.   more specifically, they live chained up in a dirt yard, with one doghouse which only one of them can reach.   i could elaborate further on their lives but the purpose of this blog is not to thoroughly depress its readers.  the weather has been cold in michigan lately, and these dogs have weighed heavily on my mind.   i've made pots of warm bouillon for them and brought it over, and chicken too, but last night the snow just kept falling and falling and the wind was bitingly cold.   david trudged home from a long, long day of work (at his new job!) and we settled in for a cozy evening at home.   but my mind kept going to those doggles.

when we moved in here, we inherited a doghouse that has thus far been used for beer bottle storage purposes.  aha! my mind said.   let's bring it to the dogs!   david was tuckered out though, and it was very late, so we agreed that we'd move it over tomorrow.  but...i just couldn't stop thinking about that dog lying on the frozen ground, wind burrowing into its bones.  i kept telling myself it was just one more night, but it was really getting to me. ever since i was a little kid i've had this thing about the suffering of animals and lonely people in particular, where i really feel it keenly and uncomfortably.  it's kind of the worst.   i didn't say anything but i think david knew what was up.   suddenly, he got up from our warm blanket-strewn couch.   whatcha doin? i said.   moving the doghouse! he said.

MY HERO!   it was eleven o'clock at night, a strange time to move an unannounced doghouse into someone else's yard for a number of reasons, but he was totally on board with my "fuck 'em" attitude.   i'm not a violent person but i would happily punch an animal mistreater in the balls any day o the week. (consider yourself warned!)

so the doghouse turns out to be composed of two parts, roof and house, and it's hard to say which one is ungodly heavier.  not as heavy as my heart thinking about that cold dog, but real close. wheelbarrow and dolly options are both thrown out, the thing is just too big.   the snow is falling very fast and silent, and our street is completely hushed.   sho is asleep upstairs, wrapped in blankets.  the streetlights cast their yellow glow and i can really picture the north side the way it was one hundred years ago, humble houses built by the dutch farmers who would live out the entirety of their simple, hardworking lives within them.   we try rolling the house down the sidewalk, a slow, odd progress. david runs inside and comes back out with our skateboards: we are in business!   we hoist the huge doghouse onto david's new board and suddenly we are zooming down the street, running and pushing the doghouse as fast as we can, laughing with snow in our eyes.   you are my best friend! i yell.   you are my best friend! he yells back.

getting portraity

how i missed you! many apologies for my sudden disappearance. our internet was turned off, but now it's back in business. sometimes i sure feel poor, but then i look across the backyard at our neighbors whose roof consists of a giant blue tarp (in december), and suddenly feel utterly rich. who couldn't feel that way, with the little buckets of love pictured above in our house all the time?  

vanessa and i set up a little portrait studio in our living room recently to immortalize the chunky, bald-headed greatness that is shoshanna mary at seven months. it was pretty fancy. we used two sheets, some bright painting lights, and of course, two black pitbull-ish doggies who are shoshi's best friends to date. vanessa borrowed her stepdad's fancy camera and took these.

can you believe what a little dumpling she is?

Friday, November 26, 2010

I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I needed it

--John Cage

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving

exciting news! david's mom gave us our christmas present early...a new camera! it is orange, fancy, and beauuutiful. picture quality around here is about to explode!

i am thankful for pretty much one million things in my life everyday. in-laws i adore, shoshi mary, butter, treehouses, mr hughes that foxy husband of mine, my family, squash, books, green curry, fwiends, rain, and last but NOT least, our new orange camera. lucky duckster, that's me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

today's simple pleasures

1. i put a new drawstring in david's favorite around-the-house pants today and also mended the cuffs, and it was so weirdly satisfying. anytime i patch a blanket or mend the sheets or something, i feel a total ma ingalls-level of virtuousness and practicality. it really is the little things in life.

2. driving around town in our cadillac with speakers in the trunk, bumping biggie in ideal biggie bumping conditions. mr smalls holds special real estate on my soul, my favorite rapper of all time no question dog.

3. washing the cranberries. such vibrant shades of red, my eyes were just gobbling up the pure color the whole time. if sho had been awake i would've showed her for sure. you don't come across color like that every day, no sir ya don't.

4. finally matching up a several-months backlogged supply of socks. sock pairing, it is my utter housewifely downfall. i HATE it and always end up stashing the sock portion of the laundry somewhere "to do at a later time." well, the buck stops here folks. i did em. and now i am excitedly scheming, because david's hanging sock organizer thing is the PERFECT place to hide this fake rubber snake we got for halloween. i have been steadily hiding it around the house ever since, and david claims he hasn't been scared a single time, even when it was in the shower. snake in the socks could take care of that...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

half a year

i took this picture six months ago, the night before sho was born. she is so much sweeter, fiercer, dearer and more fearless than i ever imagined possible. happy six months shoshanna, you buttery little biscuit.

Monday, November 22, 2010

ask the audience

1. tomorrow is sho's six month birthday, which means that (according to the world health organization) it is officially kosher to feed your baby solid foods. we've given the little rascally one tastes of the food on our plates, but that's about it. i think tomorrow i should present sho with an official "first meal," complete with hat, speeches, and picture-taking. any ideas on what a new human's first meal on the planet should consist of?

2. i'm trying to make almost all the christmas presents i give this year, which i really hope ends up being more you-couldn't-find-this-awesome-in-a-store and less glitter-on-a-popsicle stick. i have ideas for almost everyone and have even finished some people's presents already. i readily confess that ma ingalls is my total inspiration for this endeavor. anyway, i'm really stuck on handmade men's presents. all i can think of are barbeque aprons, which i think might be one of the many men's gift ideas that only a woman would come up with. does anyone out there have any suggestions?

love, sarah

Sunday, November 21, 2010

(i wrote this last month for my writing workshop)


You used to play a game with a fellow waiter at a restaurant where you worked. “Could you kill someone with a plastic fork?” (His response, after zero seconds of hesitation: “Yep. I’d go through the eye.”) “If you had to, could you chew threw your own arm?” “Could you gut your own horse and sleep inside it during a snowstorm?” You always doubted your own drive for survival would be enough to come out a victor in any of your proposed scenarios, but now you know without a doubt that if anyone was coming after your girl, you could kill ‘em in a second with a spork through the eye.

It turns out that there is a reason sleep deprivation is used as torture. And while usually you get used to such things with time, this feeling actually tends to get worse as the night goes on. It is a grueling exercise in your own needs coming last, 154 nights in a row (so far).

You feel guilty about swaddling her but probably shouldn’t; you don’t feel guilty about drinking a glass of beer while breastfeeding but probably should. You feel guilty about once yelling at her dad while he held her and probably should; you don’t feel guilty about having her sleep with you and probably shouldn’t. You feel a vague, nameless guilt for her reliance on a pacifier, and a similar yet more lighthearted guilt for letting the dogs lick her face. You don’t feel guilty making her wear a fake mustache, though your mother thinks you should. You feel guilt drenched in gratitude for the electronic swing that lulls her to sleep; you feel socially motivated guilt for the disposable diapers she wears. And of course, you feel major feminist guilt for having any of that mother’s guilt bullshit in the first place.

Most men aren’t particularly interested in and/or are terrified by young infants, but every so often a man will come along who reaches out for a baby with the same zeal as every small girl you’ve encountered. (Literal swarms of neighborhood girls descend on you like baby-zombies when you pull in to your parents’ driveway: “Can I hold her? Can I hold her? Please, can I hold the baby?”) This type of man cannot be predicted: what a delightful surprise it is, to discover those men who walk gruffly among us as baby-lovers in disguise.

Olive oil cleans particularly dirty spots on a baby with ease. There are a lot of unfortunate baby clothes out there. A washcloth soaked in breast milk and frozen helps with teething. You don’t need a changing table. Elders tend to hate it when you sleep with your baby. Swaddling works, though executing the swaddle may make you feel a bit sadistic. Keep a spare outfit in the car. Dogs love babies; cats’ feelings toward them are a little more complicated.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

things that are hard to photograph

1. the dangling crib mobile i refashioned from the same wood my aunt made for her son thirty years ago, seen above
2. lightning, see also butterflies, hummingbirds
3. david hughes
4. dogs, isn't it weird the way they mostly look like ghost dogs in pictures?
5. the moon
6. let's face it, anything with my camera phone

Thursday, November 18, 2010

information station

1. hippos sweat blood
2. i secretly hate camping
3. everything that's wrong with america
4. in many cities, including kalamazoo, you can check out art from your local library. every month we check out two new works of art, a very exciting process. i think my favorite so far is a painting i renewed in order to have for two months this summer, around the time we got married. it is horace pippin's holy mountain, pictured above. "pictures just come to my head," mr pippin once explained, "and i tell my heart to go ahead."
5. is my favorite number

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

wherein i take on mice (while showing great respect for their humanity)

oh, mice. what are we going to do with you. the sound of mice in one's kitchen...it's a little what i imagine to be the exact sound scritching through a brain on the verge of a nervous breakdown. ever since our wild little ghetto cat mae was "relocated," the mouse community in our drafty old north side farmhouse (built circa 1887) have experienced a period of unprecedented celebration and bounty. my feeling about this is about 60% NOT IN MAH HOUSE, B-WORD (animal droppings in the kitchen...call me a stickler but i've always been team no on that one and always will be) and 40% bleeding-heart mouse empathy. ever since having sho (ok, it might go back a little further than that), my dang ole heart is so tender i don't even want to consider the live trap/relocation option because it would mean BREAKING UP MOUSE FAMILIES. i just can't do it, especially since it's getting closer to the brutal cold of a michigan winter. i'll admit that my mouse knowledge is shaky but i imagine wild mice do some sort of hibernation or fall foraging to prepare for our hardest season, and releasing a north side house mouse to the wilds this close to winter seems like glorified murder. yeah, i said it: GLORIFIED MURDER! my wish for the mouse community of our home is ideally that they would take up residence in a nearby mouse-friendly outbuilding of some sort and have themselves a cozy holiday season. i would even be happy to hand-deliver a pleasing mouse treat to their doorstep every now and again if it meant they never darkened my kitchen's door again, although i suppose it's doubtful i'd be able to find a mouse/human relations lawyer to facilitate this agreement. google tells me that cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil does the trick for humane mouse eradication, and i'm hoping it's true. these mice better bring their A games 'cause i'm about to BRING IT (peacefully and respectfully, of course)...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

so there's this job that david is really excited about, and yesterday i was helping him write a cover letter for his application. "a cover letter is a way for you to introduce yourself to the people who might be hiring you," i explained. "ok," he said. "well, my favorite color is purple, i have a really cute baby, i like wolves and drawing..."

oh, cutey. i would hire you in a second!

Monday, November 15, 2010


for the past two days the baby will only sleep if i'm holding her, which the key to that situation is giving up all hope of getting anything done ever. then, savor the satisfying heft of an almost six month old baby. what a perfect mostly wild creature it is. today while sitting on my lap at saffron, she reached out her hand most decisively, grabbed a handful of mutter paneer, and placed it firmly in her mouth. all signs point to her someday becoming a real person, possibly soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

dead people's stuff

recent finds...$7.75 total, baby

about a month ago my friend vanessa introduced me to something truly amazing: estate sales. also known as: walking through the houses of the recently dead and buying their things. since that fateful day, it has been a saturday morning tradition to hit at least one estate sale with vanessa, sho, and usually david, whose enthusiasm i was initially surprised by, before i remembered his love of gaudy kitchenware and "apocalypse tools," i.e. the really really old tools usually buried under a pile of rusted nails in the basement that require no electricity to operate. i think we both have this picture in our minds of the apocalypse that involves equal parts red skies filled with swarms of vultures and finally putting our victrola to good party use! either way, if you end up needing a like-new hatchet or gear-operated hand drill once judgement day arrives, you know where to find us...

david's recent finds...note the hand mixer for post-apocalyptic cake-baking

anyway, the thing i love/hate about estate sales is the way an entire life is on display for all to see. it can be heartbreaking, like the lifetime's worth of collected stamps ($3) for sale at a house yesterday, or the box of christmas ornaments packed neatly away for a next year that would never come. i always wonder what the woman of the house would think, having strangers tramping through her house (with their shoes on, no less!), looking with a critical eye at her collection of thanksgiving tablecloths and the matching hula girl nightstand lamps from their honeymoon in hawaii. "i know they're tacky," i can hear her saying, "but we could just never quite get rid of them..."

you spend a lifetime collecting and treasuring things--a certain cup that fits in your hand just so, or an ashtray that you stole on a dare from an alaskan cruise liner in 1953--and then just like that, you're both dead and strangers are haggling over your aprons. no matter how much you love something, you just can't take it with you, can you?

and that's where the love part of estate sales comes in. as forbidden as it feels to gaze at a stranger's treasures with acquisition in mind, it is with a good heart and respect for their histories. i always remember the house where i got each bowl or painting, and what it felt like there. i think that's true of most estate salers. you usually hear people wondering aloud about the people whose house it was as they look through their stuff: "oh look, she was a quilter," or "they must have been from texas originally." i have never heard anyone comment on the ugliness of anything, though lord knows it's there. maybe we all feel a little as if we're being watched, or are simply conscious of the fact that it's a life we're digging through.

it reminds me a bit of the lovely custom practiced by many native cultures of potlatching, redistributing wealth and possessions within a community, often after a death, to promote general equality. the way i see it, there are so many beautiful old things already on this earth, i really try to think hard before buying new stuff these days (especially plastic, ugh). i love estate sales because you can walk away with truly beautiful old finds, often for just a few dollars, and with a wonderful reminder of the ultimate impermanence of it all thrown in free of charge.

this has been sarah h, gettin' philisophical about dead people's stuff.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

big promises

there's been a terrible lack of posting here lately, but from now till new years i plan on attempting to write one blogblogblog entry a day here. that is a goal i just made up, and i'm gonna do it dude! call it a pre-new years resolution...like a bald eagle or infant pro skateboarder i shall sail to the heights of glory and ACCOMPLISH MY DREAM!

come back for more tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


last sunday david's mom was cooking breakfast for us when her sweater caught sadly on fire! she was about to throw it away but i said i'd patch it up for her. this is what i made, a tracing of shoshi's hand that i embroidered onto a patch. AWWWW


photo credit: vanessa hardy

such a classic part of michigan life i think. i love how the local weather people get so SO excited but they have to play it cool because, you know, gotta keep it professional for the public, who are in DANGER FOR THEIR LIVES. but their love of crazy weather totally comes through anyway and they're practically hopping up and down with excitement. david and i love to turn on the local weather when it gets like this just to hear em. today: "...and the yellow swirls, the majestic fuscia swirls, of this doppler radar screen, indicates that the winds are indeed progressing..." when the last tornado came through they were practically begging people to send in any "live-action" tornado shots they might happen to come across.

it reminds me of bill keneely, who was me and my mom's favorite meteorologist on the weather channel some years ago. we always yelled for each other when he came on, because his outrageous enthusiasm for all things extreme weather-related was so wonderful to watch. he would always be standing either in slashing horizontal rain somewhere, sickening green sky and palm fronds behind him whipping around as fast as his hair, or in like some NASA-grade space-blue cold-weather parka with ten foot blowing drifts behind him, always with a HUGE smile on his face. there is something so endearing about a true extreme weather-lover. my grandpa gave me more than one weather radio over the years that could turn on automatically in the event of a tornado warning, which i assumed probably involved a spy-grade level of technological advancement. not that any true extreme weather-lover would ever actually go into the basement during a tornado, which it is the entire point of the tornado warning to advise...

i love tornadoey days.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

too sleepy for a title

dude, i am such a dedicated blogger that i just got out of bed to post this picture, having remembered four minutes before midnight that i promised my vast readership a picture of sho's fresh knockoff lions gear today. it was a hit, and so lovely to present an unexpected little wrapped package to my lovely this morning. i have been a true believer in spontaneous gift giving ever since a landmark day of around the age of six, when for some reason i went to my mom and earnestly explained that i was having the sort of day where a present would be particularly appreciated. my mom is the best at understanding those rare and perfect moments when the best course of action is to spoil a person, so she wrapped up a popple puzzle she must have been saving for some unexpected kid's birthday party and presented it to me in the living room. i think i even remember what i was wearing (green corduroy overalls) as i opened the popple puzzle, that's how amazing it was to make such an outlandish request and have it be respected, just this once. they can make a day just a touch magical, unexpected presents.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sew sew sew your boat

so since figuring out how to make shirts and, as of late last night, pants, i have become a baby clothes sewing maniac! four dresses and one autumnal track suit later and i show no signs of slowing down. there is something so satisfying about taking one old thing and using it to make another (very little house). the yellow ribbing on the lil number above is from a cut up old t-shirt, and on the back strip it says (in small letters, upside down) "groceries - lotto - liquor". i think those are all good solid themes for infantwear.

since there is approximately o chance of david reading this, since his aversion to both reading and internet navigation rivals that of...well, no one, i will tell you that i am scheming on a present for him! to be unveiled this (superbowl football party) sunday, a lions dress for shoshi. made from thrifted t-shirts (total cost 98 cents) and a screen printed lions logo on the front. don't tell the trademarking peeps, i am totally making knockoff football apparel out of my own home! stay tuned, on sunday i will post a picture. it's getting very exciting around here, isn't it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

gettin' crafty part deux

back by popular demand (one comment! my darling emilia, this one's for you), another thing i made last night! this dress was surprisingly easy to sew (it took about the length of a movie to construct, and one t-shirt donated by dahvid) and very satisfying to put on shoshi when she woke up this morning (see below). it will be one just element of her grand halloween costume (suspense!). but i think i'm going to make a couple more just for her wardrobe's sake, cause me and instant gratification sewing go together like me and butter.
in case you're curious, i used this tutorial and adapted it into a dress. my first link! it's getting pretty fancy over here...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

gettin' crafty

one type of blogs i enjoy reading are "craft blogs" (not the ugly kind). in an effort to expand this blog's horizons i will show you a craft i made just now. they are crinkly little teething blanket/toy devices and are pretty much exactly identical to some dog toys i made for stella (and somewhat unbelievably also embroidered with her name) when i was pregnant. except instead of stuffed with batting, they are stuffed with a layer of qdoba takeout bag (i found its middle-weight crinkle to be the most satisfying). other accoutrements include nylon (tug straps? tug job? strap ons? nothing sounds quite right...) straps used to tug things. also knotted strips of leather, fur, yellow t-shirt scraps, and sho's name. so far all of these accessories are right up her alley, especially chewin' on that leather (which is stella's favorite part too).

thank you, this has been DOIN CRAFTS with sarah h!

Monday, October 11, 2010

reading roundup no. 2

i meant to have a good quantity of book-talk in this blog and then i forgot about it until now. here we go! today i will tell you about my current fave, little house in the big woods. this is the dearest book alive. i read it yesterday and kept telling david about it: "pa built ma a wooden shelf for her china shepherdess. laura and mary got red mittens for christmas. pa makes bullets every night before bed" until he was finally just so on the edge of his seat, crazy jealous that i decided to read him the next book in the series, little house on the prarie. (sometimes i read to him at night because otherwise that boy would never get his daily dose of reading, ever. also it is a pleasant custom.) i am on a quest, along with sho being trilingual, to give her the best library of books a kid could possibly dream of, in addition to a personal reading cave, tent, or fort (her choice). so i've been collecting used kids' books for about a year now and have a pretty good collection going, including a few of the little house books. with fall in the air, how could i resist breaking one out again? and oh, so cozy and perfect for this season. it takes place in wisconsin back when it (and michigan too) was just one huge forest. and they are so secluded there in the middle of the woods, entirely dependent on themselves and what they find in the woods for survival through the long winter. it's pretty much nonstop churning butter and smoking meat and oiling traps, basically. and you can tell ma and pa are totally in love, the way they call each other "charles" and "caroline" (hot, right?) and make each other wooden shelves for their china shepherdesses. the humble and hardworking simplicity of their lives makes me seriously yearn for the frontier life. in conclusion, little house in the big woods totally wins as serious homesteading inspiration and dreaminess champion. eat it, thoreau! and take a look, it's in a book!

Friday, October 8, 2010

tucker butters

at least five times every day i say the following poem to shoshi mary (invented by myself):

plum puddings
and tucker butters
cellar doors
and forest floors
pink bunnies
and full tummies
and dinosaur bones
birch trees
and busy bees
black dogs
and tree frogs
hawk feathers
and worn leather
and shoshanna mary,
such a good girl

the end result is pictured above.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


twas a bad day yesterday so last night we put sho in her jammies and took her to the union to eat portabella fries and hear some jazz (in that order, at least for david and me). i remember the first time we took her out to eat when she was about three weeks old, we walked down to bell's and sat outside, and i pretty much felt like i was having a heart attack the whole time. i was so worried about her bothering people, crying, needing something and not having it, lordy. now we take her out to eat with us at least once a week and it's all gravy. the only supplies you really need are a spare diaper and pacifier, and we just hold her while we eat. gravy! anywayyy, back to the JAZZ. that kid loved it! literally from the time it started to the time it ended, she stood on david's lap and stared with wide eyes at the stage. it reminded me of when i used to live in san francisco, i would go to this underground (literally) "jazz club" and drink whiskey sours with my fake id that said i was 5'7" (i wish!) and muse that jazz sounds exactly like an alligator staircase. it still does. it was a magical evening, and sho didn't even need to break out her fake id to hear the alligators.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

a person in progress, part 2

sleep deprivation

feels a little like velcro being ripped apart, the velcro being your soul of course. a baby is like an alarm clock that's set to go off every couple hours (BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP) and wake you up just enough so you can't go back to sleep. until about fifteen minutes before the next alarm, that is!

but then this morning she was so excited to see me that her whole body started wiggling, legs kicking, arms flailing, a big face-cracker of a smile on her face. preservation of the species, a tale as old as time...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

peep our new woodburning stove

doesn't it just have the wood stove equivalent of a real nice face? now we just need a stovepipe and we'll be cookin! (cookin eggs! in a skillet on top of our stove [has always been a dream of mine, much like the entire little house on the prairie experience (minus the question of where one poops in a one-room cabin with no plumbing during a snowstorm)])

Monday, October 4, 2010

the tamale man

one of the things i like about living on the north side, aside from the easy availability of churches with hand-painted signs and 3/$10 rap bootlegs, is the tamale man. whenever one of us sees his red truck we yell, "tamale guy! tamale guy!" and run out the door, much like the ice cream truck's somewhat illegal (health code) immigrant cousin. although there's really no need to run, ever since we told him how much we love his tamales he makes a special stop for us. they are always piping hot, fresh from his kitchen where his wife and daughter make and package them in fold-over baggies, six for $4. we always split a package of six right then and there. the best part is the hot sauce, which is also packaged in a knotted baggie like a little hot sauce bomb. you stick a fork in it and drizzle it out onto the tamale. delicioso!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

gratuitous baby pictures

sunday morning with our small person in progress.

yoplait face

one time david and i were watching "the dog whisperer" on television (it must have been at a restaurant because we sure don't get the fancy cable that features the dog whisperer and also seventh heaven reruns here. it is all america's funniest home videos, all day at the hughes crib). the show in question involved a german shepherd who was barking at and scaring the shit out of his owner's new husband. it was sometime around the point that the new husband put his helmet on and (terrifiedly) walked past the dog into the backyard to retrieve his bicycle that david said these immortal words: "man, that dude has a total yoplait face."

much like the time i once said that someone (possibly the entire duggar family) "looks like they drink a lot of milk," but even more on point, yoplait face has become a perfect descriptive term for all those people out there in america who wear elbow pads, eat kraft cheese products, and are usually named brian. the yoplait face is the opposite of a freak face, which evidently if you are a man you will know what that means?

the yoplait face isn't all bad. just the other day we observed a young asian man riding his bicycle on the sidewalk wearing a helmet and sitting up very straight as he pedaled along, and it was among the real nicest things i saw all week. total yoplait. the principal in eastbound and down is a quintessential example of yoplait at its finest (pictured above). yoplait can easily be found at your local hallmark gold crown store, babies r us, and any coffee shop with the word "bean" in the title. yoplait buys 95% of the world's antibacterial hand sanitizer, and they aren't afraid to use it. thank you, yoplait faces of america, for making this great nation what it is today.


"i need to start writing some raps, some SPOOKY raps. for halloween."

so due to "the economy" and "rising foreclosure rates in the state of michigan," david's pop and his doberman named sylvia now live in our garage out back (actually pretty cozy thanks to a little woodburning stove). among other things i am learning that david hughes and his father LOVE halloween, i mean i do too, it is surely a magical time of the year, but this is serious. the decorations began in early august (small exaggeration only), a skeleton here, a pumpkin there, but now that it's finally october, the VERY MONTH OF HALLOWEEN, well. there are seriously probably 25 skull representations in the front yard alone. how do i feel about this? i am planning on decorating the house to within an inch of its life for christmas. in fact i think we should become one of those houses, the ones with the thirty-foot tall lifelike leprechaun on the roof for the entire month of march. wish us luck!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

nature v nurture

photo credit: dan foley

yesterday morning we strapped shoshi into her yuppie-grade three-wheeled all-terrain strollermobile and walked on over the the family health center on paterson for her four-month checkup (90th percentile for height, by the way--our girl's going to potentially be tall). and man, the waiting room of that place was like ground zero for grim city. i keep noticing so many mothers either totally ignoring their sobbing babies or all, "SIT YER ASS DOWN" which, grammar aside, i have serious doubts i could talk to somebody like that even if we were blood enemies (real phrase?), much less my small child. it really does make my blood boil (it's a bloody post, what can i say) when parents think it's ok to talk to their kids with total contempt and disrespect, on the reg. as david said (loudly):"what up with all these bitch moms?"

and then you have the scene right before my friend casey's wedding last weekend, when sho and i and three of my dear friends were all getting ready for the ceremony in a small unheated cabin with one tiny mirror to share between us. after i pulled the second layer of tights on over shoshi's plump little thighs, put on her monster boots, and popped up her bear hood, i stood back for a moment in silent admiration of the cute explosion happening before my very eyes. i said something like, "whoah, check out this cute." and as i held sho up while she stood on a bunk bed, all three of her aunties crowded around with exclamations of delight until they finally began clapping for her. the girl got a standing ovation for being herself (with help from the bear hoodie, of course).

so, even though i tend to think most of who you are is just random DNA sequencing stuck in your genes from moments after conception, i do have to believe that how you are treated in your early days has something to do with who you end up becoming. and that is why i intend to get sho going on the child beauty pageant circuit, post haste.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

on football

out of all the sports that make my brain go -------------, football is the -------iest of them all. i like the parts where the announcers talk about the players' life stories, or interesting facts of football history, or best of all when one of the players or coaches cries, but when it comes time to play and all the players are just this big murky jumble on the field, my mind does the exact thing it does in chase scenes in movies, namely go ----------------. football is the least aesthetically beautiful of all the sports. (sometimes during sports games i like to make a mental list of my own sports prejudices, for example hockey players are the most likely to beat their wives and drive very clean pickup trucks. golfers are the most likely to have drinking problems and weird sexual pecadillos, like peeing on people/getting peed on. soccer players are the most likely to cheat on their wives with their wives' permission, while basketball players are the most likely to cheat on their wives without their wives' permission. and so on.)

anyway, as it happens my new husband is a football fan. he was in fact a "football star" in high school. he enjoys watching football and talking about football, primarily on sundays at 1 pm which is when football takes place. i have decided to embrace this for a number of reasons. i like how the lions are the underdoggiest of all the underdogs, much like michigan. (the aesthetics of their logo and outfits needs some work however.) i like how cozy a football game sounds (especially on the radio) in the fall and winter months (i think this cozy association was imprinted on my brain from a young age by my mom's three brothers). football watching mostly involves drinking beer and eating fried cheese, two parts of life that i deeply appreciate. also there is the part where the players (i typed characters at first) cry and cry like little kindegarten babies. additionally i like how mistah hughes can build things (he is sawing something in the basement as we speak, also hammering), carry a baby in one hand, and (yes) watch football. i don't even want to think about what this means for my feminist leanings, it is hot to think about my man tackling or linebacking or front rear end sideline grabbing.

so, i told him that as long as i don't have to watch or get caught up in the repeated heartbreak (especially for a lions fan) of wins/losses, i will make one delicious food every sunday for his football party (as i like to call it, even when he just listens to the radio in the basement. i also keep calling it super bowl sunday every sunday. sometimes i like to call it both, as in, "are you so excited for your super bowl sunday football party today??")

this has been sarah v, on football.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

doom, gloom

along with parenthood has come a new hobby for me (no, i'm not talking about putt putt golf n games OR formula k family fun park...this time). and that is...worrying about unlikely things! for example, on our recent honeymoon i liked to think about what if someone came to the cabin at night, after i'd put shoshi to bed but while david and i were still awake. they would murder us both (obviously) but would overlook the sleeping bundle of baby in the bed. or, maybe they weren't in the mood for baby killing that day. who am i to say? either way, HOW LONG would it take for sho to be discovered? in that case, it would really have been days. oh god. the thought of her crying and crying and wondering why her mama was ignoring her...and then REALLY crying...

well, that's my hobby!

Monday, September 13, 2010

back in the hood

it's hard to believe that earlier today, we were at a cabin so secluded it took two hours of waiting by the end of the driveway to get a jump for our car...and now we're back in the north side saddle. we came home a few days early 'cause our insane dog bit a porcupine an estimated more than once times and the resulting gory extraction by mr hughes and i has been stuck (so to speak) in our heads ever since. well, we came home for the antibiotics really. but god almighty. our hosts had an incredible liquor cabinet that we ordinarily wouldn't have touched (manners, breastfeeding), but can i just say that after pinning down a bulldozer-strong dog (whimpering for the first time in his tough ass life) again and again for about two hours of brutal porcupine-quill yanking (pliers, blood, dirt), one shared shot of twelve year old single malt scotch tasted exactly like golden liquid magic. l'chaim!

Monday, September 6, 2010

the honeymooners

we have loaded up the caddy and are taking it, the dogs, and the baby northward! david and i went camping in the same area up north around the same time of year when we first dated six years ago and have really good memories of that time. i even wrote a poem about it that began,

"when we go into town
(looking for a wine key)
the old people smile."

i don't remember the rest, except that it ended, "when i am an old woman/ i hope your ghost haunts me."

yeah i just quoted my own poetry, WHAT! anyway, i still hope his ghost haunts me when i am an old woman, or better yet salty old dahveed himself. so happy to be going on a honeymoon with him.

back in one week, my dear two readers!

things i like about shoshi mary part 2


her hands are like fat little starfish and her hair is so fine that it waves slowly in the breeze like seaweed

her laugh, so far this is best achieved by the following technique: "i'mmmmm gonnnnaaa...SQUIGGLE YOU UP! I'M GONNA SQUIGGLE YOU UP FOR BREAKFAST!" (disclaimer: i don't know what this is exactly.)

lately she likes to fall asleep holding your hand with both of her hands

so sweet and so fierce, she just might be achieving the perfect ratio

Monday, August 23, 2010

we have a new first place for parental nightmare porn

"Dang Moua...saw dozens of ragged orphaned children in the forest, eating leaves and dirt. He gave them food but walked on past. His wife found a baby, less than a year old, trying to nurse from the breast of its dead mother. They walked past it, too."
--Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (163).

her voice sounded like she had cut out her lungs with a knife and eaten them

i dreamt last night that i wrote that sentence (among other things i don't remember). i don't know what it means exactly but it's sure been stuck in my head all day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

our first hit

the following is a collaborative effort from sarah n david. we have recently discovered that if singsonged in a very sincere and magical tone (don't be afraid to get a little british with it), our girl can often be knocked straight into dreamland.


plum puddings
and tucker butters
and cellar doors
and forest floors
and pretty maids all in a row


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

just like a prayer you know i'll take you there

sometimes our girl has a real hard time falling asleep. she turns into a wicked wild thing (which i secretly love) and fights sleep kicking and screaming till the gruesome end. this will be v charming when she's a toddler! as her mama it is my top job to help escort her into sleep. it usually involves a finely tuned assortment of pacing, pacifier, jiggling, calm "vibes," rocking, soothing words, and swinging (all at once, obv). but the one thing that really never fails is madonna's "like a prayer." it must truly sound "like angels sighing" to our girl because it knocks her right out.

recently david was presented with a poster of madonna in the nude by a friend of his whose girlfriend had moved in, you know how that goes. before seeing the poster i proposed that we hang it above our bed. we were both excited about this prospect. but then david brought it home and it was just too classy! i thought it was going to be a TITSTITSTITS poster with MADONNA in big letters across the top, but it was actually a very tastefully done little portrait and somehow that made it unacceptable for placement above our bed. it's complicated. instead we put it in sho's room because we decided that she is probably the biggest tits man of all in this house.