Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Fungus Among Us

We've been going out in search of mushrooms and we've been finding them! All three of us love the thrill of the hunt. Mostly we've been taking pictures as our "trophies" and to try and identify them with. Even though I really love eating mushrooms, I just don't think I could enjoy eating wild one's on the off chance that they were misidentified (by myself or someone else). Maybe someday... Tomorrow we will go to a special spot and continue our search. And soon it will be the Fungus Fair on January 13th and 14th 2007 here in town.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Bill BILLY My Bill Willie Will WILLIAM
thank you love, for every day

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Peace Makers 2006

This is the first in a series of MakingPeace posts to wrap up 2006. Like most years, this year has been full of life's hardest challenges as well as it's purest pleasures, and I'd like to acknowledge some of mine here. The first person I want to acknowledge and celebrate is Annie. I could thank her for many, many things but right now I want to really thank her for being in my life and inspiring me to be the person I really want to be. Thank you Annie for sharing so much of yourself and for being my partner in learning how to take good care of what is alive and beautiful within both of us. I'm so excited to see what we discover in 2007!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Making Peace?

Grudge Tuesday. Hmmmm. Interesting idea. I read Michelle at Green Kitchen's post for today and although I mainly use my blog for chronicling what I'm enjoying in my life, I thought I'd give a grudge a go-go! So here's mine;
I was alone sewing in my studio on Christmas eve, listening to some acoustic guitar music, happy as a clam, basically in-the-zone of goodness and perfection, when I felt moved to call and wish my sister a Merry Christmas. This is my sister who I've chosen to take a break from speaking to, which has now lasted about a year. (Note:We actually did speak when she called me repeatedly, on my birthday when she yelled, name-called, berated, threatened, blamed, and cried at me until I finally, after a few warnings that I was going to hang up, I hung up. Of course, then she left a few more fun messages on my machine.) I thought "Wow, it's Christmas Eve, and I could make a short call to wish her a Merry Christmas, and cut through some of the negativity that has reigned between us for so long. It might be really meaningful to her after the hard year that she's had." I thought about it for a few minutes...then the urge completely passed. What was I thinking?? Calling her house and putting aside all of the shit that went on this year didn't feel authentic, or self protective at all. What if she became enraged or sarcastic with me and wasn't able to receive my wishes the way I was intending? So I erred on the side of taking care of myself.
It wasn't as easy as I've reported. After the above I had some self-judgemental dialog with myself (stemming from the fact that I really do care for her, and I would love peace and harmony between us) but it didn't last too long. I ended up feeling warmly that I had the urge, and the tender feelings for her, without risking my peaceful holiday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Will Work For Presents

Annie is so excited about Christmas and Santa! In an attempt to keep her busy and to work off some of her intense excitement, we've decided to clean out the guinea pig run and the chicken coop this morning. Bill repaired some of the chicken wire and worked most of the manure back into the garden, while Annie and I replaced the straw in the coop, the egg room and the hutch. Last but not least, Annie raided our worm bin and gave each hen her fill of red worms as a Christmas treat.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My friend Alison gave me a wonderful idea for a new holiday tradition. Take a string of fresh popcorn, some chopped apples and maybe some bird seed or nuts, and go decorate on and around a tree (or a bush or shrub) in nature somewhere so that the birds (and other animals) can have a holiday feast! I love the idea and we're going to start by stringing the popcorn tonight.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lighting the Candles

Tonight we joined our dear friends the Hapners to celebrate the lighting of the candles for the last night of Chanukkah. I love being included! This is the fourth year we've celebrated together with them, and I so enjoy the prayers of gratitude and hope, they all sound so beautiful. Plus it was Shabbat as well and I love the blessing and the sharing of bread. Just as we were arriving, Annie told me she had prepared a Chanukkah song to sing called Zombie Mommy. I was a little worried. After the candles were lit, Annie performed Zombie Mommy which included a small dance. Zombie Mommy turned out to be "Happy Chanukkah to Ezra" to the tune of "Happy Birthday. Whew! I'm so glad it wasn't something really weird.
Shalom, everyone!

Gingerbread Woman

I love the shape of this gingerbread woman. She is so thick-waisted and capable looking isn't she? I used the Gingerbread Man Cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking but I don't know if I'd use it again. The flavor doesn't have that intense zing! that I really love. This recipe turned out slightly-mild and soft-cookie-like. Plus it was hard to re-roll the extra dough after each cutting. Maybe I should have found a recipe for Gingerbread Woman Cookies instead. Aside from that, Annie and Chloe loved the whole process. Rolling, cutting, and eating the dough, and then decorating. They both made a highly decorated cookie to leave out for Santa for Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Annie and her friend Chloe really wanted to go to the beach yesterday. So I took them. I think it was in the mid 50's. They were fine, but I froze. And I was fully clothed. With many layers and wool socks! Finally, my temperature forced us to leave and we went and had clam chowder on the wharf so that we all could warm up. Annie's asking to go again today. No way!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mary Tyler Mom

I love pictures of my mom during this period. She's so Mary Tyler Moore, isn't she? For those of you who love the opener of the second season show, click on the link for it. This top photo is her in Berkeley probably in 1966. Is that right Pat? She's out on the balcony of our apartment with Sassy the cat. My mom's sister Pat (and her cats Sassy and Amber) lived with us in this very large penthouse apartment until I was 2 1/2. Then Pat packed up her VW Bug and moved to Los Angeles. (Where she still lives and where I'm going today to visit for three whole days! Yahoo for getting a vacation by myself!) We lived in this apartment in Berkeley until my folks bought their first house over in Richmond. I think my folks paid $13,000 for a three bedroom house back then.

This photo was taken toward the end of her Mary Tyler Moore phase. Probably '72 or '73. Pat? Can you tell by the look on her face that the seventies were proving to be pretty disappointing? Look at her kitchen counter! Everything is definitely in it's place. See the small plaque hanging perfectly aligned with the switch plate? Kinda scary how orderly it all was. If I remember correctly, we had a fridge that was about the color that I'm using here on this type. I'm sure my folks were entertaining when this picture was taken. They entertained a lot. She looks pissed though, doesn't she? I'm guessing my dad took both of these photos. Who else would she look so serious at?

Also, if any of you readers want me to use a larger type size, just leave a comment saying so. I'll go larger.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Darkest Night

Today is really the day that feels most like a special holi-day to me. It love how today, and especially tonight, symbolized moving from the darkest time, back into the light. I've been feeling the darkness both internally and externally so this Solstice brings to me the promise of light and life and new growth. Late yesterday Annie and I and some dear friends took a tour of the USCS Shakespeare Theater where we saw a production of Sleeping Beauty recently. We really enjoyed both the play and the tour. After the tour all of the kids went running off in the darkness under the trees hoopin' and hollerin'! Can you see the light silhouettes of them there under the limb of the tree? I couldn't help but see them as earth's children celebrating the darkness and the light in the foggy lamplight. I snapped some shots of them and and some of the fungus growing underneath the recently-rained-on oaks we saw on our way in. Warm wishes everyone for peace and joy!

This mushroom measured about 7" wide across at the cap! Plus, there were a bunch of them!
Michelle, any ideas as to identification??

The Little World

Much to all of our surprise, garden elves seem to have decorated Nana's dollhouse while were were all tucked in our beds asleep last night. Wreaths, garlands, and stockings were all hung with care! Even a little Christmas tree! What a surprise! Annie and her friend Chloe swear they see tiny wet footprints all through our house which proves the theory!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stormy Tuesday

Annie and I bundled up and headed down to the wharf Tuesday. Our goal was to buy "the good kind" of candy canes at Marini's candy store. We needed them to make the Candy Cane Cake that was featured on the cover of Sunset Magazine this month for our little holiday party. Annie's cousins Eliza, Miles and Spencer are coming over plus a few neighbor kids as well.

Being at the wharf is so exhilarating on a stormy day. It's like being out to sea, minus the boat. The water was churned up and steel colored. Wind and rain whip around and splashed our faces. The fog was really thick all around but we could still make out the Boardwalk and the houses along the cliffs. We could even see some surfers out in the water at Lighthouse Point. Many sea birds, including the very wet pelican above, were perching on the railing of the wharf, riding out the storm. After we got the candy canes, and some ice cream, we followed the sounds of the elephant seal to the end of the wharf. You can see them there, laying under the wharf on the beams. Hard to photograph though...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That Girl!

I remember being Annie's age. I have a lot of vivid memories of my mother and I, the clothes I wore, the shows I watched and how I viewed the world. When Annie and I went over the hill to visit Santa last week she wore this little vintage dress. I remember having a dress very similar to it. Oh! She looked like a million bucks and I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. I was flooded with a mixture of past and present feelings. My friend and neighbor Tiger passed this dress to me when her daughter Chloe (who Annie loves truly, madly and deepy) grew out of it. I think she got it at the Salvation Army. It is in pristine condition. I'm glad Annie likes wearing it so we can get full use out of it before it gets too short.

Above photo is Annie buzzed on samples of peppermint bark at William Sonoma.
Below having a "special lunch" out. While waiting for our food to be delivered, she wrote B-R-E-A-D on a napkin. That's her longest word so far!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Soup Swap

My dear friend and neighbor Sara and I are doing a Soup Swap. One week I make a big pot of soup and I share it with her and her family. The next week she does the same and shares it with us. I started it off with a Black Bean Soup from Nourishing Traditions and she just followed up with a Dill Barley Mushroom Soup from Moosewood. Mmmmm. I had the last of hers last night. It was so delicious. I think what makes this Soup Swap work is that we live so close and that we have similar tastes in food. Love you Sara!

(That's Ninja-Ezra below protecting the liquid gold!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Skill

I'm fooling around with adding a watermark to the photos that I publish. Have you noticed? What do you think? Too much or subtle enough? Michelle over at Green Kitchen has a tutorial on how-to under her July archives. That's where I got the idea. I added MakingPeace over the photo and changed the opacity, just enough to leave a light impression on the photo. I'm not too worried about thievery, so I'm not quite sure why I'm doing it. Partly to claim my photos and to make it harder for others to use them without crediting them back to me.
Since loosing all of my archives and customizations for this blog, I'm researching moving it to another platform and changing the name.
I've been surfing around different blogs, looking at who is using what to blog. I see lots of Typepad, Blogger, and people with their own websites. I checked out my SBC offerings and there I can have a website with my own name (i.e. rather than and that appeals to my need for independence and autonomy. I want to check out the services available to me and get real feedback from users before I make any decisions.
Just last April, I stumbled onto my first blog and was captivated and excited. By May I had explored more and decided to give it a try myself, and it has turned into something I really enjoy and have some attachment to. As for new names, the only thing I have on my mind is MayAvenue. I like the name and it would match my Etsy store, MayAvenueStudio.

Photo above is a detail of Morning Light, a painting of Annie Christmas morning 2004. Acrylic on canvas.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

"If You Had a Corn Snake..."

"If you had a corn snake you could give it to me."

This is what Annie told Santa Claus when she saw him yesterday.
On the drive to see him, I asked her what she was going to ask for. She said "Can I ask him for a corn snake?" I said she could ask for anything she wanted, and that Papa and I really didn't want any more animals to take care of. When we got there and we were waiting in the line, she told me she wanted to talk to him, but that she didn't want to sit on him or have her picture taken. She was so shy when it was our turn that all she said was "If you have a corn snake you could give it to me."

I guess we're getting her a corn snake.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Darkness Lifting

I've been in a really dark place with the loss of my entire blog. For a few days I thought of throwing in the towel with blogging all together. I'm starting to pull out of it since I got an email from Laura offering empathetic words. She also put me in touch with Marsha who's attempting to untangle the blog nightmare I've been in. I don't feel as hopeless and alone. Regardless of how things turn out, thank you both for reaching out to me. (Deep happy exhale of gratitude.)

Holiday MeMe

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate. With fresh whip cream. Not too much chocolate.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrap. Unless it looks so great that wrapping would spoil the surprise of seeing it "as is".
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I like white. The ornaments provide the color.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I haven't this year. I need a fresh sprig.
5. When do you put your decorations up? I usually like to wait until mid-month so it's short but sweet. This year I did it early because we are going to be out of town for a week.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Bill's roast with horseradish sauce.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Way after all the presents had been opened, my Dad pulled a large box out of the chimney, and it was all covered in soot and he gave it to my Mom. It was a cashmere coat she'd really wanted, and they both seemed so happy!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember. It wasn't a shock or a let down. I think it was natural awakening.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. We have Santa gifts in the morning. Then we have breakfast. Maybe we go for a walk or to the beach. Then we hang out and make Christmas dinner. Then we open presents and eat dessert. We stretch it out all day. I love it!
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I start with the lights, tree topper, then ornaments, then any garlands. There really is a method to my tree decorating that I rarely deviate from. I'm slowly teaching Annie my "secrets".
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I'll pass on living in snow, and I like to visit it.
12. Can you ice skate? Yea.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I remember getting my first dollhouse. I was eight and I loved it. But my most favorite gift was when Bill gave me the pearl ring that I wear.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Balance and authenticity.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pecan pie. Or the tiramisu that my Mother-in-law serves.
17. What tops your tree? A wonderful Santa Claus that was on my tree growing up.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? It's a close tie, but I'll say getting!
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song (s)? Bells are Ringing.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Like the look, but yuck.

I saw this MeMe at Marsha's, who got it from Laura. Pass it on!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I'm deeeply sad about James Kim. I am grieving for his family, and I feel in some way that I have lost something as well.

As for my blog, I am troubled with the conversion to beta, and the loss of all of my archives, favorites, and customizations.
I'm working hard to recover something....anything.
I'd glady pay for a hosting site if I could just recover my old one.
Anyone have any input?