Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cute things in pairs.


A few months ago I was wearing an interesting color combination and my dear maternal co-worker Susan looked at me and said, "I love how you wear things I would never put together."

I replied, "Oh, If I could dress the way I wanted to; it would be crazy."

Susan looked me right in the eye and said, "You can Katherine. You can."

It hit me that she was right!

I ordered some socks and pants from Little Miss Matched

I love them.
And I love my new shoes with spirals on the side.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rainy days

We have had three days of spring rain. Today Georgia asked with concern, "Mama, is burds waterproof?"

Instead of cleaning the kitchen I am sitting here at the computer.
I liked my horoscope this week.
See link for yours:

Sagittarius Horoscope for week of May 28, 2009

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
"Wisdom is knowing I am nothing," said Indian philosopher Nisargadatta Maharaj. "Love is knowing I am everything. And between the two my life moves." According to my calculations, Sagittarius, you'll be more on the "knowing you are everything" side of the polarity for the next few weeks. That's because a flood is imminent. I expect you'll be on the receiving end of a massive outreach from the universe -- an influx of invitations, inquiries, and offers to make connection. You should also be prepared for the dizzying pleasure that comes from seeing how profoundly interlinked and interdependent you are.

Oooh, I turned around and it was 11:11 which is my favorite time. I've got myself convinced that when I catch the number it means the universe is giving me a hello, a friendly nod to carry on, that everything is proceeding along as it should. Now, I actually get a calm soothed feeling when I see the ones all lined up in a row. Mmmmm (that's me drooling a little bit)

Anyway, three years ago I wrote a book about becoming a labor and delivery nurse and I haven't found a publisher, yet. Now I am excited because there is a new series on Showtime with Edi Falco playing a nurse and another show, HawthoRNe, with Jada Pinkett Smith portraying a charge nurse. Both of these shows focus primarily on the nurses. Hooray!
Here's an article about the shows from a pro-nursing organization that tries to change the false portrayal of nurses in the media.

Usually I can't watch medical shows because of the totally absurd depiction of doctors and nurses. In my reality, nurses do most of the hands-on actual patient care in the hospital and most doctors would agree. They are not the ones who shave the patient's head the night before surgery like McDreamy did on Grey's Anatomy. (during the 10 minutes of viewing that I could tolerate before loudly protesting!) Anyway I'm excited that nurses are coming into the scene and I'm feeling positive that maybe there will be more interest in a nurse memoir written by yours truly!
Now I've got to revise my query letter and get on it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marie Howe poem

This week's poem from Ted Kooser's weekly email from American Life in Poetry. (Everything in the green is from his emai) l I love it. I figure it's ok for me to post it here in care of
American Life in Poetry:
Column 218BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Here is one of my favorite mother-daughter poems, by Marie Howe, who lives in New York City and who has a charming little girl.


We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I'm sorry I keep saying Hurry--
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.

And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flower Fritters

The Black Locust flowers are blooming everywhere. They have a heavy sweet scent of Ylang Ylang and the bees go crazy for them. Today Georgia and I made flower fritters with the sweet crunchy flowers dipped in egg and milk then rolled in flour and fried in butter. Just now as she was going to bed she asked, "Can we make that thing again?" and it took me quite a few questions to figure out what she was talking about. "Yeah, flower frwittas.." she said as she put her head down for sleep.

Spring makes it hard for me to ignore my deep craving and affinity for plants and birds. I feel such a grounded and solid joy when I am out surrounded by plants, birds flitting or soaring by. Today there were two Great Blue Herons on the road to the dump; with enormous wings they floated above the ponds. I felt peace and resisted the urge to try to snap a substandard photo. Flowers are easier at this point.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We went to see Barb's puppies today. For a week I have been using the visit to make the girls behave. "Well, if you want to meet those puppies, you'd better stop fighting.." and it has worked beautifully. Six 5 week old chubby sweet English Mastiffs; they were big and mellow and adorable. We finally left after Lily rounded them all up and Georgia was not happy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Here at work

It's quiet and I'm catching up on policies and minutes. It was difficult to come into work this evening. The sun came out after some rain and everything was steamy. Oh well. Working with nice people and it's good to have a quiet catch-up evening sometimes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rob's 41st Birthday!

We all played hookie and went up north.

First to Burdicks, the beautiful upscale restaurant/chocolate shop in Walpole NH (@45 min from home)

We each got a fruit tart with gorgeous plump blueberries, raspberries and blackberries covered with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. The girls only ate the fruit, leaving behind the tasty shell, and then went trolling for more fruit, stealing from Rob's and mine and each other's.

(That's why Rob looks so nervous letting his guard down for a photo!)

I got a hot chocolate and and then a chocolate espresso frappe to go.

I have to make a quick aside to myself for next time. Excuse me for a moment.

(Next time, sweetie, how about you don't order the large hot chocolate? Let me remind you, it will mean a day of nausea and pain. Your digestive system is not meant to drink a glorious cup of hot cream and thick chocolate. You will feel like you need an airplane sick bag before you even get to the car. The rest of the jam-packed day will be spent with you trying to lie down on any surface you can and cover your eyes. Don't order it! Rob will try to remind you! You will think he is conservative and boring. Heed his word! The first sip will be glorious tasty comfort and you will feel smug, but you will soon be suffering. Also, you do not have to try every sample in the shop, delectable as they may look, fragmented and tiny in small decorative bowls. Don't do it. There is plenty of chocolate in the world for you, no need to hoard in this oasis of chocolate scented loveliness. Just get the $2 demi tasse of hot chocolate and walk away. Breathe deeply, enjoy the thick white paper towels and fresh flowers in the bathroom. Don't ruin the day with a blood sugar nightmare.)

OK back to the road trip.

Then we went to the Montshire Museum of Science (@45 more minutes away), which is a fun interactive place inside and out.

There was an exhibit with American toads that were lumpy and pleasing in their green cage. They have just started their singing in the evening at home. It is such an evocative and thrilling song, I remember I was surprised it came from these rock-like creatures.

Here it is if you don't know it.

Then I had to eat lunch or I was going to puke so we took a break from the museum and went to Lou's in White River Junction. Very satisfying chicken gyro had by me with a coke to settle my stomach from the previously mentioned error in consumption.

Then back to Montshire for the outside water play. It was hot and we didn't know to bring bathing suits for the girls but they got wet and had fun.

The ride home was an almost-nightmare filled with heat and whining but we made it home and got the kids to bed.

The toads were singing in their ethereal chorus again and again in the swampy side-yard. I wanted to gather the children and sleep out, but we resisted because we were too tired to get the tent out and wanted a good night sleep.

Lily came in at 4am crying. When I sat up and asked, "What's the matter!?" she sobbed,

"Leaf Cutter Antssss" which were one of the exhibits at the museum. You never know what's going to spark the nightmare. She went back to bed OK, though.

Happy Birthday to Rob!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The newly painted mudroom!

We have just transformed the mudroom from a dingy white walled room into a bright yellow welcoming entrance to our home. I am so excited it came out so well. Ever since we moved in (four years ago) I've wanted to paint it. I was going to do it myself, but Rob was worried about my edging capabilities. He took a day off work last week and did all the edges after I did the prep; then I filled in the paint. Lily even helped a bit. We finished off with the floor. Now I don't want to overload it with all of our junk so I am letting the front porch be a disaster of dumped shoes and coats and slowly adding only what we need into our bright fresh mud room.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Violin Lessons

Lissa and Lily playing a fiddle game. Lily and me ready to play!

Here we are at violin lessons this Monday. Lissa Schneckenburger is our wonderful teacher.
She makes lessons fun for Lily (and me) and makes playing an instrument very cool. We go to her house in Brattleboro on Mondays; we walk through the red stained-glass door and step around the large upright bass in the hallway.
Lily gets pretty giddy but she pulls it together for some playing and learning. We have been trying to develop our ears. Fiddle players usually play music by ear, which means they don't look at the sheet music, they just feel out the tune and play it back. This has been a phenomenal shock to me! Apparently, I love to hide behind the sheet music and the music stand; they make me feel safe and protected. The first week Lissa told us not to look at the book; I had no idea what she was talking about. I had to stand in the kitchen and hear the tune and then figure out how to play it back. I felt like Helen Keller at the pump. I creakily engaged a never used part of my brain. But after a few tries, I could actually play the tune from listening! It felt like smelling really intensely and following a trail. And, just like Lissa said, it took longer to play the tune, but I remembered it much easier than the tunes I'd learned by only looking at the book. It feels very engaging, but deeply relaxing at the same time. It's a fun discovery and it's nice to know at age 38 I can still wake up underused parts of my brain. (Lily can play it back at a quick clip when it doesn't even look like she's been paying attention.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer is coming!

Miss Georgia and Azalea at the little stream on our road. What a lovely day, hot and sunny with the birds singing from the tops of the trees.
These two are very fond of each other. Azalea puts up with hugs, leash pulls and food take-aways from Georgia that would have her glaring at me. When Azalea finally gets sick of playing she pushes her head into Georgia with a steady slow wipe and Georgia hugs her, humming away, "Oh my little baby, good girl."
Here they are sitting at the stream side. Azalea's most favorite thing has always been to play in moving streams of water. She used to prance around and pick up rocks from the stream and place them methodically on the stream bed. Now at fourteen ("a hundred in dog years" exclaims Lily) she is tottery and just stands in the stream drinking and eating grass along the edge.

Happy old dog.

We came home and made our first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season. We ate is for dessert and devoured the entire pie!
The sweet tartness was perfect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Belated Mother's Day

Me (with my mother's day orange roses) at EK the frozen yogurt place where we went on Sat eve in NYC. I took the photo myself because I loved the colors of the place with the roses. Rob was busy wolfing down his $5 yogurt, while the children cried (Lily, about the dogshit cleaning napkin that she put on the table which Rob grabbed to wipe his face, yelling in horror when he realized it's previous job. Georgia because she wanted a chocolate ice cream with sprinkles (which is not an otion at EK))

Today I took a picture of these Forget-Me-Nots is my neighbor's yard. I love their yellow eye! I have tried to grow them several times, with no luck. My neighbor is going to give me seeds from her happy plants this fall. They were my Grandmother's favorite flowers.
Here is a link to the funny beautifully done video that
put together for Mother's Day. Wonderful work ladies!
Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rattie update!

Here are some sweet photos of the rats.

They love pasta, it disappears moments after we set a few pieces in the cage!

They don't seem to mind us holding them, although they do clean themselves scrupulously the moment we place them back in the cage.

(It's as if you can hear them saying, "yuck yuck human smell! Get it off!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Scarlet Ibis

A Scarlet Ibis from the Central park zoo.

I think it looks like a heart.

Heres' a link to kris Waldherr's Sacred World Oracle.

You can ask a question and click on her lovely cards. It gives me something to do when I feel stuck.

Today we stained the deck and picnic table and all the while a Baltimore Oriole sang from the trees above.

So orange! I didn't even try to get a photo.

It's nice to be home!

The lilacs are blooming and the world is swimming with their scent.

This evening as I was dumping the compost at the bottom of the yard, I heard a Veery calling from the woods.

What an amazing sound; a thrush with a wonderful complicated song.

click here for a listen:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

NYC day 2

What a long day! Somehow we didn't get rained on. Last night a huge rumble of thunder rolled down the street at 4am and I was awake for a while after that. It was nice to be the only one awake in the quiet cozy apartment.

Union Square farmer's market was lovely with generous bunches of flowers.

Then the subway to chinatown

We took the 6 train but 456 is the number that has been after me the last few days so I had to take a photo. We'll see what it means when I get home.

The great Columbus Playground in Chinatown amused us for hours.
We ate a pound of cherries and shared our first rambutan.

then we did some shopping and took our first family cab ride.

Dim Sum A Go Go was our stop for lunch. Lily and Georgia mostly poured sugar into their tea, then stirred it loudly, spilling it as they slurped, then poured shakily from the hot teapot again. Rob and I tried to eat slippery dumplings with our chopsticks while the strangers sharing our table ate chicken feet.

We were starting to lose it but we went to the Mahayana Buddhist temple and took a little break .

Then we did lose it as, waiting 45 minutes for the L train back to Brooklyn to move from the station, during that time, Lily had an urgent need for the bathroom (maybe the 4 cups of sugar with tea) and we had all run back up the stairs and go into the most disgusting bathroom I have seen, ok maybe not the worst; I won't go into details. I was trying to clean up and speak in a chipper voice to Lily while not gagging. But a woman came in and didn't stop saying, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Next time I go to any city I will bring Purell. I'm not usually that way but later when Lily was licking her fingers and I thought of her soapless hand wash, I got the willies.

Instead of glorious fried chicken at Egg tonight we barely survived pizza at Vinnie's, then to a walk around the local park where Lily rolled in dog shit and said she was having the worst day of her life. (no fun photos from that part of the day!)

Anyway. Time for bed.

The final text from the dog/rat babysitter said things are fine, but that Azalea shat in the garage. As I finish this post I think maybe the title should be "shit" because it is the recurring theme.

But, shit and all, it was fun and memorable and Lily changed her mind about it being the worst day ever.

Friday, May 8, 2009

First NYC trip with kids!


I'm tired and should be settling into our friend's lovely little apartment, but I just wanted to check in.

Hot 3.5 hour drive from home.
Moderate amount of traffic.

Probably one of the the highlight's of the trip for the girls will be watching Phineus and Ferb while laying the pullout couch in front of the flatscreen TV.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fox Sighting and Hickory Exploding

Today I saw a fox trotting along in a field. I stopped to get a photo, crouching and running in the field. She spotted me from far off and took off at a slow run.

Here's my attempted photo.

I can't even see her! She was rusty orange with black around her muzzle.
Then I saw a Pileated Woodpecker at Georgia's school, but the zzzip of my camera case zipper made it fly away. I was glad when her teacher sent a photo along with the daily school update. The bird was beautiful, the red crest is shocking and lush. She is as big as a crow. Impressive.

Then I saw my first Heron of the season, but was driving late to work so I didn't even try to snap a photo.

I did get a photo of this hickory bud opening into leaves. It looks like a firework!

In my googling on line to verify that this was a Hickory tree I found a blog titled Hickory Bud which I was enjoying, then I realized the author's last post was April of last year. She had since passed away. Her obituary said one of her favorite subjects was the fox. Sad, how on the internet you can meet someone and lose them so quickly. I'll put a link to her silk paintings because I think they're beautiful.

These failed attempts at nature photography have made me much more esteem for Bill Danielson, the beloved (at least I love him) naturalist who writes in every Thursday of our local paper. He gives details of the struggles he goes through to obtain just one photo of a precious bird. He puts in hours behind a blind.
I'll appreciate wild animal photos more now.
Here's a link to his website: