Wednesday, October 31, 2012

traditiiiiion, tradition

there's a story in my family that when i was about four or so, i reportedly went up to my mom (who was holding my baby brother matt at the time) and proclaimed, "someday i will be able to play catch with matty, once he is a human bean!"  i totally get what i meant, and man: these days sho is a total, full-fledged human bean (and then some).  she can communicate in such clear and funny full sentences, act, turn on light switches, and breakdance.  homo erectus at its finest.

i feel like the older she gets, the better suited i am to being her mom.  i loved her as a baby, so fragrant and mysterious, but i am having a lot more fun with her these days, as an interactive human bean.  i predict that my perfect mothering age will probably be 8-12 or so, since i love activities and projects and roald dahl.  but this age, right now, is pretty great too.

so due to her human bean status upgrade, i've been thinking a lot about the traditions i'd like to raise her with.  especially since the shape our future will take is so unknown right now, i would like to set down some roots in the customs that we follow together each year.  this little blog doesn't get too many comments, but i would truly love to hear from any of you dear readers out there about your favorite traditions that you grew up with, not just this season but any time of year.

we do a curry night (usually in october) instead of thanksgiving each year with my mom's side of the family, with overflowing bowls of rice and a dozen little bowls of different toppings (peanuts, pineapple, coconut) and two huge simmering pots full of the curry that my dad spent an entire heavenly-smelling day slaving over.  my mom gets small favors for the little ones (last year it was a couple of bugs that stuck to the wall, then walked slowly down to the ground).  another tradition we have is of opening one gift the night before christmas, then reading the polar express and night tree out loud.  on valentines day, my mom always had a little prettily wrapped gift waiting for my brother and me on our breakfast plates in the morning.  and for birthdays, the kitchen is decorated with streamers the night before, so when you wake up, the ordinary has been transformed into something far more exciting, just for you.  these are all such little things, but some of my happiest memories of childhood revolve around these dependable traditions.

i'm sure i'll be incorporating many of them into sho's growing-up, but the thought that i can just sit down and make up my own traditions for shoshi's childhood is rather intoxicating.  i'd love to hear any suggestions!  xo

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Monday, October 29, 2012


yesterday, after a breakfast of bacon and eggs at sara's house and a long nap, sho and I met neesy at gull meadows farm for some wholesome fall activities.  we've been going there since sho was a tiny babe, because the family who owns it took a natural childbirth class with david and me, and hosted a reunion there when all the babies were a few months old.  riding a wagon out to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin, then drinking cider and eating donuts was awesome enough.  but now that sho's old enough to partake in the activities in "pumpkin lane," we had a ridiculous amount of fun.  we were pretty much grinning from ear to ear the entire time we were there, all three of us.  they have two huge trampolines built into the ground, a couple zip lines, a massive slide built into a steep hill, a long kiddie train pulled by a tractor, and (inexplicably sho's favorite) a bunch of water pumps in front of gutters with plastic ducks to race in them.  the best part about this place is how simple it is.  entrance is cheap and covers everything there.  the slide is just a huge plastic corrugated drain pipe dug into a hill, and the train cars are made from metal barrels.  all the signs are hand-painted, and there was even just a big ol' pile of straw to jump in.  but in spite of this simplicity (or perchance...because of it?), we had an exhilarating level of fun; it was slightly ridiculous how happy the three of us were.  and then, once pumpkin lane closed its doors, we bought some homemade jam for sho's pb&js, a little bottle of cider shaped like an apple, and called it a day.

once sho and i got home and got cozy in that dreamy sunday-evening late-fall sort of way, wearing warm pajamas and slippers and watching mouk on the laptop, i got to thinking about the day.  officially, it's just sho and me, a tiny nuclear family indeed.  an adventure like today has the potential to be a pretty sad little outing, just a single mom and her kid in a sea of happy families.  but i rarely feel like we're lacking anything (well...except money).  neesy and i often joke about being sho's two mommies, and i think we probably do look like a couple sometimes while we're out and about, so focused are we on shoshanna and equally proud of her every brave moment and grown-up new experience.  i'm sure it's also unclear which of us is her mom at times, just because we are both right there by her side, taking her picture and scooping her up when she gets hurt.  we absolutely feel like a family when we're together.

and then there's our family that we live with, my parents and grandma, who are such a part of our lives that the term "extended" family doesn't really apply; and all my dear close friends from way back when, both here in town and on both coasts.  i pretty much never feel alone. sometimes i talk about how it's sho and me against the world, but i don't often feel that way really, because so many incredible people have our back.  our family might not be traditional, and there definitely aren't too many picture books about ones like ours, but man, it works for us.  and i'm so grateful to call this family my own.        

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Sunday, October 28, 2012


even last year, when sho was such a little tiny dumpling of a girl, she was all about halloween. she got the whole trick-or-treat thing instantly, and did not want it to end, even when it was cold and dark out and the house one street over blasted industrial music complete with strobe lights and a cackling gravedigger.  "mo, mama, mo!"  it's even more fun this year, now that she's a grown-up girl who can make jokes and sing the alphabet and count to ten in spanish out of nowhere (whaat?).  we did a trick-or-trail one mile fun run yesterday with neesy, as part of her job.  ("this is recreation at its finest!" she texted me early in the morning, and it does not get cuter than that.)  after sho's nap was the neighborhood parade and halloween party, which was pretty much better than christmas for sho.  i took so many good pictures there, but i feel like posting photos of kiddos without their parents' permission is pretty wack, so somehow you'll just have to pick up the pieces of your life without having seen them.  so good though...all those bright costumes and laughing faces make great photos just kinda fall into your lap, i do believe.

at the fun run, there was this "tween" wearing a purple wig and hot pink tights and a crazy dress, and sho stopped in her tracks when she saw her, then slowly walked to her side, beaming up at her as she settled in to follow her around for the rest of her life, ideally.  the smile on her face did not waver as she walked side by side with this kid, just gazing up at her in silent adoration.  finally we took pity on the poor kid ("uh...hi there") and ushered sho along. shosh would be so happy in a huge family of kids, which is why i'll probably have to join a commune shortly.

sho likes to go, "BOO!...don't worry, i'm just a witch.  it's just me!"  she loves scaring people, but man, i put on an old "my little pony" episode on youtube for her last night, and shortly thereafter heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from our room.  "the unicorn...the unicorn!"  she sobbed. after i calmed her down, she said sadly, "tears are coming all down my face."  those unicorns, man.  they get you every time.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

life, man

most days when i get home from work, this is the face i see waiting for me at the window.  i walk in through the door and say, "where's my shoshi?" and look around for awhile.  ("is she under this banana?")  someone usually says, "we don't know WHERE she is.  haven't seen her for hours!"  then she pops out and says "heyah i am, mama!" and runs as fast as she can into my arms.

i guess i understand why people have more than one kid, because if she does not continue to run breathlessly into my arms shrieking "i miss you mama!" well into her twenties, it's going to be pretty rough.  but gawd, the further away i get from those brutal sleep-snatching new baby nights, the harder it is to imagine voluntarily doing it all again.  i'm still years away from just having a few solid hours to myself to read without pretending to be a coyote, cooking play-doh on the stove, playing catch with great enthusiasm, or heading off a tantrum with my quick-thinking ninja reflexes.  i've slept in, straight up, probably five mornings total out of the past 886 mornings.  and that's a generous assessment.  (one that makes me tired just thinking about it.)  although i know when she's fifteen, i will wish for just one more of these early mornings with my tiny girl who climbs cheerfully over my face to hit the ground running, the instant she wakes up every day.

she's such a total peach.  my hilarious little buddy in cowboy boots, and my favorite person to hang out with.  sometimes i just get so curious about what the rest of our life will look like. even five years from now, life is a huge blank canvas with a big UHHHHHH? written on it.  i guess that's true of everyone, but man, us especially.  where we'll live, what my job will be, where she'll go to school: BOWKNOW.  realistically, it will be years before i have the time to date (my time with lil shosh is already way too short, no way i'm shortening it any more if i can possibly help it), plus who knows if i'll ever want to again anyway.  life is so peaceful without the menfolk.  the thought of letting another one into my life sounds even more exhausting than the past 881 early-rising mornings combined, to be honest.'s just really up to me and sho to fill that blank space with something rather grand.  i'm open to suggestions, universe....  (just please be gentle with us.)

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

building her a kitchen

 in a lot of ways it's hard for me to see much of myself in sho.  she looks like her papa, she dances like her papa, she drama-queens like her papa.  :)  but!  in one way she's mine, and that is her love of a good cozy spot.  she's always after me to "make a nest fo' me, mama bird."  there's a new nest in town these days, a long cardboard box that sho likes to do some cozy chilling in.  ah, but if only she knew from whence this cardboard box came!

i bought her a fancy vintage-style kitchen, oh, only about three months early.  can you tell i'm slightly excited?  i even got her the pink one, which was very difficult for my inner pink-hater to do.  that's love, man.

it is so tough to be away from sho so much while i'm at work.  on weekdays, i only get a couple hours with her before it's time for bed, which is pretty heartbreaking when i think about it, which i basically try not to.  so when an occasion arises where my working can actually benefit her, like by getting her the dopest kitchen on the internets, i'm pretty psyched to do it.  i really try to keep this in check, however.  endless toys is not my idea of an awesome childhood, or even a particularly good way to show your love, in my book.  but sometimes...  it's like: she's on the team, she gets a cut.

so anyway, i've been building this kitchen in my dad's workshop downstairs after sho goes to sleep at night, piece by numbered piece.  it took about a half an hour just to unpack all the pieces from the box, to give you an idea of how elaborate this project is, plus about a pound of various bolts and screws and things.  it feels good; it's like a variation on casserole making or pocket sewing, a physical way to show your love.  then the other morning my dad told me, "hey, sho's kitchen is done."  he was building it on the sly, too, and finished up the job!  my dad is really good at finding those little things, from handling paperwork and helping with budgeting (my two worsts), to bringing home a coke for my mom and baking bread for sho's pb&js...he just has a quiet "show your love" way of doing things sometimes.

my parents are spending a couple weeks in colorado for christmas, and my brother and his girlfriend will be joining them there.  and, as of a few days ago, sho and i are going to fly out and meet them there for a week as well, over christmastime!  sho's first airplane ride.  i've already gotten her a couple books about flying, and am pretty much so excited to travel with her.  so, i guess the little kitchen's debut will be put on hold a little longer.  we'll see if i can stand the suspense.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

emily gets married

my friend emily's wedding was yesterday, and everything about it was so beautiful.  jewish weddings are officially my favorite (especially when accompanied by a klesmer band), and emily was utterly radiant.  she and her new husband jon are so perfect for each other, i cannot wait to see what the those two crazy mofos do during their life together.  the sky was that glorious late-fall shade of crisp bright blue (the above picture doesn't come close).  my friend kelsey was in town from brooklyn, emily and jon were (obviously) in town from new orleans, i was finally done with all my creative wedding endeavors, oh happy day.  

sho danced right out of her shoes, and then danced some more.  that kid!


i celebrated by going home and reading the casual vacancy for several hours straight while sho took the latest nap of her life (and was then up until eleven o'clock, upon waking).  it was utterly delicious.  i'm not doing anything creative for at least a week, so don't even ask, y'all! don't even ask.  

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

dancing magic machine

oh, home videos of your kids.  what a narcisisstic generation we are, to imagine that anyone cares.  the weird part is though, that sometimes i do care about a stranger's home video, at least enough to click on it.  what up with that?  the internet makes weirdos of us all.

presenting...sho dancing to a parking-lot marching band!  (taken by my mumsy.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

a camera, a pony, and some unpasteurized cider

the weekend was drizzly and dreary, my favorite kind of weekend, and strangely warm.  kind of like moss in weather form: hazily prehistoric, mysterious and cozy.  so we piled in my car and went to an apple orchard, where my friend dan presented sho with a prize: his seriously battered and trusty old point-and-shoot camera. a real camera, for a two-year old! much less a camera that has taken so many beautiful photos over the years. dan has the eye, for sure. this generous gift comes at a lucky time for mama, because sho has taken to carrying my camera around, snapping pictures with such joy and excitement that it's as hard on me as it is on her to finally tear her away from my (so breathtakingly breakable, so expensive) camera.

sho went on her first pony ride (besides the penny pony at meijers, which she always used to yell "HEE HAW" while sitting upon).  it was like the ponies and the pony-ride operator were having a grim-off, to see who could be the most clinically depressed (and depressing) over the course of one pony ride.  it was neck and neck!  fortunately, sho was too busying yelling "GIDDYUP GIDDYUP GIDDYUP" to worry too much about the mental health status of either pony or operator, so that was good.

it was just barely warm enough for the bees to be out, but they were stumbling and dumb, and kept landing in places that would normally be alarming -- my eye region, sho's donut -- but they were so staggery that you could just brush them off without fear.  (at least...sho and i could.  jason had some rather high-pitched misgivings, i think.)

oh, win again.  until tomorrow!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

t-minus three days and counting

lordy i'm tired.  and also so heroically dedicated to my daily posting pledge that i'm working through the exhaustion to bring this award-winning post into your hearts and homes!

weddings!  every time a good friend of mine gets married, i collapse into a heap of tuckered-out happiness and utter relief when it's all over.  i just am so excited for them, and so full of "good ideas" and "ways i'd love to help, no i insist" that i end up driving myself and everyone around me bananas, helping them throw the most elaborately orchestrated, detailed DIY wedding the planet has ever seen.  until my next dear friend gets married, when i strive to top that insanity record.  

my to-do list is so full of love for my darlin' emilia.  but for now, ima have to collapse into bed.  snuggle up next to my little partner in crime.  drift off to dreamland.  zzzz....

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

wig shopping

i've written a fair bit here about my friend sara's breast cancer, but man.  the writing she's doing lately is incredible.  i have to take a break after reading it sometimes and just sit quietly for a moment.  to update you in two sentences, the reconstruction after her mastectomy--which took something like twelve hours in surgery and a solid month of brutal recovery--had a sudden tissue failure a couple weeks ago and needed to be removed by emergency surgery.  right around that time, sara decided to undergo intensive chemotherapy (even though all the cancer is gone from her body right now), in an effort to lower the chances of the cancer coming back years later in a form that can't be treated.  she starts chemo in a week.

she has been so brave, funny, and gracious through all of this.  it has really reminded me how lucky i am to have grown up with her and known her for so many years, through all of our crazy schemes and boys loved and lost (and loved again), all the mixtapes made and books traded back and forth and folded-up notes stuck in lockers.  even in the midst of this life-and-death battle that she's fighting, she still has a little present to spoil sho with more often than not, and asks after all the mundane details of everyone's lives with genuine care and interest.  she's a peach, and i'm so lucky to know her.

so, chemo!  it's gonna be awesome!  (no.)  but we're in chemo prep mode right now, which means there are actual physical things i've been able to do to help out, like shop for hats and scarves and go to three different wig shops with sara.  i also went with her to an ekg and ct scan, where i got to see the inside of her amazing heart.  good times!  i never before realized how important it is to have something tangible to do in the face of terrifying uncertainty.  i really appreciate it.  i haven't spent this much time with sara since we were nineteen-year old roommates, which is also a silver lining.  (side note: i just found my old diaryland blog, lemonaide, from when i was 16-19, and o lord it is incredible.  an excerpt: "i do not know when we turned into partygirls but i suspect it has something to do with high heels and rap music.")

wig shopping: not as fun as it sounds, when it's not a drunken halloween costume you're shopping for, but,  hair that will make you feel like a regular person, maybe, if you're lucky.  thanks to my dad's friendly nature, he ran into a chemo patient at this student hair salon he goes to ($5 haircuts = my dad's idea of heaven) and asked her about wig hookups.  she told him that the american cancer society donates free wigs to cancer patients (who knew?) and sara walked away with a $500 wig fo' free.  free wig, totally worth cancer!  (no.)  also who knew: all wig mannequins look like she-devils.  every last one!  (see below for photographic evidence.) (see above for textual evidence of the first time i have ever used the phrase "she-devils.")        

so, i feel like it's been ages since i've posted and it's lame!  i've missed this place.  i have been in mad wedding prep mode, helping my friend emily with a neverending list of creative endeavors for her wedding this weekend.  (pictures to follow!)  but i'm going to try to get a post up every single day for awhile, to get back into the swing of this strange blogging business.  thank you as always for reading and listening and stopping by to marvel at the collective bitchiness of wig mannequins everywhere.

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