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)


THINGS YOU MAY HAVE LEARNED,
HAVING BEEN A MOTHER FOR FIVE MONTHS TODAY

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

teething

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!