Friday, December 17, 2010

my little tyrant

The other night at bedtime:

"You want a song, Auden?"
"The Matt Song."
"The Matt Song?"
"How does that go?"
"You better sing it."
"I don't know the words."
"You better try."
"Can you help me?"
"Sing it for me."
"Matt, Matt, Matt!"
"Sing it, mom."
"I don't know the words."
"You better remember."
"Can you help me remember?"
"You better pretend to remember.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

slippers, felted

I've been knitting.

I learned earlier this year, and made the same first mistake that amateur knitters everywhere make: to knit a scarf as my first project!

The problem with scarves is that they are incredibly boring. Back and forth, back and forth... the satisfaction of finishing waaay off in the distance. I should have started with a potholder. So, even though it's a gorgeous cerulean blue and a mohair blend and a sweet and easy knit-one-purl-one-odd-stitch pattern, that scarf is on hold at the bottom of my knitting bag.

"My knitting bag" -- see? I'm already intermediate.

Instead of downsizing my ambitions, I picked up a booklet about felting a few months ago and wanted to try that, too. I started with a little card-carrying case (ask Jason, it's, uh... awesome), and then jumped in the deep end with a pattern for felted slippers. The inspiration was this pattern, which I saw over at Woodcraft, a great crafty blog. Slightly less knitting than a scarf!

Once I got about 40 rows in, though, I realized how big these suckers have to start out, and I got kind of daunted. I plugged along, though, with nightly updates to the rest of the family about how many rows I had left. I need cheerleaders, okay? Meanwhile Jason was unsure he wanted such a loaded gift, because OF COURSE I AM KNITTING THESE FOR YOU, YOU NEED SOME SLIPPERS. I'm like a Jewish mother that way.

So here they are, from start to finish...

I didn't alternate colors like the pattern suggests, so I just knit one long piece and picked up stitches on the side for the flap parts:
The most complicated part was following the directions to fold the slippers together. Doing it reminded me of a story we read in Geometry about a 4-dimensional house that folds in on itself (go read it, it's crazy!). Anyway, no tesseracts here, just a wonky hexagram:
Wood (at Woodcraft) warned me that they'd look like giant crazy shoes before the felting, and she was right. Actually, once I sewed them up, we decided they looked like medieval boot cozies:
She also said she felted hers in a front-loading machine, but when I did it, I found that they didn't shrink down enough. So I did another two cycles in a top-loader:
And look at that! I kind of freaked out when they didn't properly felt the first time, so I'm relieved they turned out. That was going to be a lot of time invested to just chuck 'em on the scrap heap.

There, that only took three months. Now, back to the scarf.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


There's a potted plant in the front room of the house that is like a siren call to Isla. If she is left to her own devices, she will head straight for it (ignoring nana's attempts at a blockade), and stuff her face with dirt.

A couple of times I've caught her doing it, and she startles like she's got her hand in the cookie jar. But then she cracks up, because she is so obviously pleased with herself.

Oh, and: can you see the TEETH? My god, there are six of them coming in at once. It is no longer any wonder this child has not been sleeping for the past four months.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

deviant, part III

I promise, this is the last installment. The first two are here and here.

During the first couple of weeks after surgery, I carried handfuls of tissues with me everywhere, and held them constantly to my face, because my nose did not stop dripping. I taped them to my face at night so the snot wouldn't dry and form a crust on my upper lip. I'm not kidding.

I would blow and blow and blow and not reach the end of it. I could blow forcefully or softly, but it would just slowly drip drip drip.

Many weeks went by, many more neti pots of saline water were flushed through my noggin, many many impressive, formidable, enormous clot-like boogers were expelled, and still I could only breathe through the left nostril. It was kind of torturous, actually: to be so close to perfection, and yet so maddeningly short of the goal. It felt like when you suck on a mint, but forget to switch it to the other side of your mouth, so when you breathe in it's all cold on the one side and dark and loamy on the other. But, like, in your nose. Because, wow! Breathing through my nose! It was only 50%, but already I could tell I was going to like it. I just became a little neurotic in my fears that it was all I would get, and that the right nostril would be doomed to limp meekly forever behind it's more robust partner. Have I mentioned that I'm prone to exaggeration?

So, the other factor was that our fancy insurance, like Jason's position itself, had an expiration date. If I was going to do anything else, it had to be done quickly. This alone is what gave me the gumption to call the doctor back a second and third time and request more follow-ups. Because, you know, I'm a nice person and a nice patient and I don't want to be needy because that's not nice. (I guess I should have warned you that in addition to seeing inside my nose, you would also be seeing inside THE HEAD OF A CRAZY PERSON)

Back in I went, to say Great Job on Breaking My Nose! Can You Fix it Please? She offered to swab the inside of the right nostril with silver nitrate, essentially to burn back the tissue that was still blocking my airway. What do I know about silver nitrate? I just wanted to feel the cool breeze through that nostril, too. So I let her do it. She told me I may get a headache later, and that things would get worse before they got better. I should have known by this point how dramatically and diabolically this doctor underestimated the pain she causes.

Headache? It was like having a white-hot poker shoved into my face. For days. I didn't dare venture back into Percocet territory, so I game-faced it while seething and grimacing inside. It may have been worse than the first recovery. I don't know, it's too long ago at this point, and we forget pain so easily... but let me check: nope, not harder than birthing two babies. Okay, moving on.

On day four or five after the white-hot poker, I noticed a real humdinger of a scabrous booger way back in that right nostril. By this point, of course, I was no stranger to sticking petroleum-jelly covered q-tips halfway to my brain, so I went after it.

Friends, I wrenched that sucker clear, and angels shot out of my nose on cosmic mucous. The nostril was clear, and I could breathe.

A genuine and unedited grin of sheer foolish relief erupted on my face, and I'm just glad I was looking in the mirror at the time, because I SAW how ridiculously happy I was. I may have gone shouting through the house.

It took some more healing after that (and yet more amazing and substantial boogers), but I am now breathing through my nose like a normal person. Nevermind that I am also still swabbing that right nostril with a q-tip from time to time because no amount of blowing seems to get the junk past what I'm guessing is a little version of the Marianas Trench in there, carved out by silver nitrate. But hey! I am satisfied! I am now a nose breather! I'll take the quirks!

Now that you've been so patient and read all the blather, here are the photos.

Jason told me to spare you the graphic picture of my nose all packed and bloody and me looking like a ghost, so, you're welcome. Here are the before and after shots:

a side story: my pores! wow!

You can see it, right? How my nose points off to Lake Ontario in the first picture, and then more toward Superior in the second? Also notice how my right nostril (your left) is actually the bigger of the two. That rascal!

Friday, December 3, 2010

deviant, part II

If you think this story is unfolding at a glacial pace, I cannot tell you how long it is taking to write it. (The first part is here.) Without further ado:

The spring following my discovery that there could possibly be nose-breathing in my future, when Isla was barely six weeks old, I went to the ENT doc that my friend recommended. She peered up my nose with a little light and what looked like a tiny speculum, and, easy as you please, proclaimed that I had a deviated septum and overgrown turbinates. Would I like to schedule a septoplasty and turbinate reduction for next week?

Before I could even consider that I had something called turbinates inside my nose (I mean, my nose is big, but surely not big enough to support something that sounds like it could generate electrical power), I was in the scheduler's office going over the details of what to do before and after surgery, ie, don't eat, eat, don't blow, blow.

It was such a fast consultation and, well, such a whimsical decision to be operated upon, that I retained absolutely none of the finer points. They'll straighten the septum and then, um, something about turbines? And then I'll take some ibuprofen?

So of course I googled it when I got home, and foolishly followed a link to a youtube video of a similar surgery. It involved a hammer.

(Also, do not expect the internet to take you through recovery gently, either.)

I got nervous the night before surgery, and prayed that the doctor (and her hammer) would be deft and delicate and done quickly. And then, to be honest, I was actually kind of looking forward to being away from the children for a few hours.

The next morning, besides feeling completely out of place at the hospital -- look, these awful blue polyester slip-proof socks, on MY feet! -- and besides much checking of nurses to make sure I was the right patient getting the right surgery, and some bizarrely personal banter from the anesthesiologist, everything was unremarkable and then it was over. I awoke in a thick fog, feeling nauseous, trying to process the doctor's summary: surgery went fine, after-care instructions are mhrruupphh hlllggnnn urrrnngghhh. Blurrhghhhpphh. Mmmkay?

Then my gracious friend Anne brought me a smoothie and took me home.

Then there was THE PAIN.

Oh ho ho, the pain. And puking. And Jason calling the clinic at 9pm because should my wife be this sick? Still? And then Zofran to go with my Percocet. And frozen peas on my face. And changing of gauze masks, and trying not to sneeze, and breastfeeding a newborn while seriously compromised. For days. Until I figured out it was the Percocet making me so sick, and finally I could get by just on Tylenol. But I think the doctor seriously underestimated how much IT WOULD HURT.

I had to remove the packing myself, the day after the surgery, a event that made me feel like a grotesque clown, pulling out the handkerchiefs, you know? Because wow, that was a LOT of cotton up there.

After a week or so, I went back to the doctor for a follow-up visit. She used a little suction hose to remove the stalactites that had formed, and then deemed me fit and cured. By that time I had caught a whiff or two through my left nostril, but nothing through the right. She told me it was still healing, but it looked fine and should probably clear up.

It did not clear up.


One more installment, here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm not sure why, but November is always a good month for me, creatively speaking. In the last couple of weeks I've been spending more time at the art table, even if it's only for 10 minutes at a time.

I worked some more on the B500 bone piece:

Covered up the weird green color that I didn't like on this double lumbar bone piece:

And dabbed some more muted colors on these bones pieces that were already in the works:

I feel insane sometimes trying to make time for this in the midst of non-stop baby wrangling -- Auden's yapping at my heels as I type, cementing my authenticity -- but I just can't NOT make art.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

9 months

Isla, sweetness.

Okay, I guess technically you're closer to ten months, but I'm too busy (with you) to write (about you) in a timely way.

But I'm saying nine months because you really did start walking at 9 months, and no one can believe it because you are so tiny. You clear the dining room table as you gleefully stagger through the room. Your preference is to be holding something in your hand while you walk, especially if it makes noise. You love to be chased, which is hilarious because you can't run, and you can't even walk faster, so you just flail your arms out in front of you and giggle madly when I'm on your heels. You show the same utter delight in climbing the stairs.

You have discovered that the adults keep anything worth having up on high shelves, so you demand to be picked up, and then you point with your tiny finger at everything up there that you like, huffing excitedly with your mouth in a perfect "O".

You love to tumble. We have to have at least one good wrestling session per day, and it's preferable if we also do some contact improv on the bed. You love it when I push you with my head; you laugh so hard you give yourself the hiccups, every time.

You love reading books. I feel guilty now that I waited so long to sit down & read with you, because it's face-meltingly adorable how you growl at every picture of a lion that you see. Auden never had the patience you have; you like to read them again and again and again.

You love eating, too! You would probably subsist entirely on Goldfish Crackers if I let you. But you like vegetables, too. And I'm not sure, but I think you deliberately signed 'milk' today.

The sleep issues are marginally improved -- now you're only waking once or twice a night. I am no longer tearing my hair out, determined to DO SOMETHING about it. It helps that I don't mind letting you cry a little. I have reached the Grim Acceptance phase of this struggle, and am just counting my blessings that you nap well. I can put you in your crib, sing a song, and then walk out of the room. Compared to the excruciating rocking-strolling-singing routine required to get Auden to sleep, and the expert ninja moves I had to do to avoid creaking floorboards that could disturb him when he finally was asleep, well, I still feel like I've won the baby-sleep jackpot.

It's weird to feel already like your baby-ness is slipping away. Today I saw a new-born at the library, and felt momentarily wistful for that time. You're so feisty now, so busy and so determined. It's pure joy to watch you learn and show me what you know. Just don't lose those yummy squishy thighs anytime soon, they are like desert to me.

What's next, cartwheels?

I love you, baby girl.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

deviant, part I

I may have passed the statute of limitations on this story, but unless I tell it you're not going to appreciate what I mean when I say I haven't stopped blowing my nose since April.

Besides, April in baby-time is, like, yesterday.

So. Because I am totally changed and recovered, I can tell you my Confessions of a Mouth Breather:

I have never been able to breathe properly through my nose. Every so often, like on a cold day or, weirdly, on an airplane, both pathways would clear and I'd get a few minutes of uninhibited nasal breathing. But most of the time it was like sucking air through a straw that's been chewed and flattened. And knotted.

I thought maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough, like my nose was a lazy muscle and needed a stricter regimen of exercise. Before bed, lying flat on my back, I'd concentrate on long slow breaths through my nose. Inevitably I'd get that panicky feeling of NOT ENOUGH AIR in my lungs and would give up entirely, resigned to another night of dry mouth.

I was extremely self-conscious about it: ashamed of sounding perpetually nasal, chewing with my mouth slightly open, snoring. But I didn't think there was anything I could do about it, so it just got added to the list of Things That Make Me Different (below "hate onions" and "cry in front of the mirror").

Oh, the things you normal people take for granted! Keeping your lips gently pressed together at all times while you breathe!

And I probably would have gone on like this all my life, not knowing it was only structural and could be changed.

Then one day the lovely woman who facilitated the mama's group I went to in Milwaukee told us she'd be out for surgery & recovery the following week. When she got back she told us all about it: she had never been able to breathe through her nose, she said. She'd had sinus surgery; now it was fixed.

I tell you what, I know I'm prone to exaggerating, but damn. A light positively dawned on my head. Aimed at my nose.

Of course, right at that moment, I was very newly pregnant with Isla, so surgery for me would not be an option for another 81/2 months. BUT. Just knowing that there was the option of one day breathing through my nose, and not to mention the fact that we had health insurance through Jason's post-doc that would cover the procedure, was a light at the end of a very long nasal tunnel.


(keep reading here)

Monday, November 15, 2010

not a belated Halloween picture

Just photographic proof of my costuming skillz:

And I made that kid, too! I AM creative!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

art hour

Last week I had an abbreviated "art day." It was "art hour." I managed to do a couple of swabs of gesso in a collage journal I'm keeping. I unpacked some canvases. I looked at the notebook of ideas I've been collecting for a year or more. I "showed up," as they say. I tried not to expect too much.

But I thought I'd post some pictures of the progress I made on the bone pieces last time I worked on them, and then at least to you guys it will seem like I'm still an artist!

When we left off, I was enamored of my new overhead projector, and starting to get the contour drawing situated on the canvas. One piece looked like this:

I wanted to rough it up a little, but still keep the paint strokes looking dynamic.

Then I realized I had to bring the bone form forward a little more, so it didn't get lost in the scumbled-up background.

It's hard for me to be at a standstill at this stage. Based on the pictures, I like the first layer the best. It's like watching your sweet innocent newborn turn into a wily unpredictable toddler. On one hand you're like, my kid's grown so much and he's so smart and complicated and learning so much about the world; and on the other hand you're like, why can't I go back to the simplicity and ignorance and bliss of pure baby-dom? But then later you'll be like, ahhh the toddler years were SO EASY compared to this hooligan teenager! Enough of that metaphor.

The other painting looked like this:

I got it looking nice and safe, which I can't stand, so then I went all botched skin-tone miasma* on it. Not in a good way:

*credit to Jason for that official art term

I think I follow a fairly predictable arc, don't you? Tip the scales one way, then the other, then whooooaaaaaaa, back the other way, quick! Damn. Crazy artists.

So, it's got some more interesting wash-y layers, which I like a lot, but no real focus. I'm hoping to do a little more texture in the background, and then bring the bones to the foreground again.

I do this thing to myself where I want all kinds of haphazard layers and pieces of things all jumbled together, but then I find some area I like and try to protect it. That causes the whole composition to seize up, and then I stall out, forcing things to fit where they don't. Then I sit and contemplate for a while.

Just kidding, who has time for that!

Stay tuned for the next layer!


Sunday, October 17, 2010


And it turns out I do keep functioning after two months of the worst sleep deprivation of my life -- even after days of getting up at 5am, even after nights of waking up EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR, even after weeks and weeks of not more than two hours at a stretch -- which is really kind of a shame because I want to make good on my threats to Go Off the Deep End. I think Jason won't take me seriously until I stop combing my hair and go a little twitchy-eyed.

But I was going to write a bunch of stuff and now I forgot what it was, so "functioning" is to be interpreted liberally, I guess.

Isla is nearly walking. WALKING. She's not even nine months old yet. She doesn't even have any teeth yet. The other day she was jamming on the "demo" buttons of Auden's keyboard (which is her favorite toy EVAR), and she raised herself to standing and then started doing a little booty-shake to the music. Of course the minute we whipped out the flip camera to document, she went all Warner Brother's Frog on us.

Auden decided to start calling me mamblah today.


Oh! And I finished making Auden's costume for Halloween. I accomplished this in five-minute increments over the past six weeks. You, too, can ralize your dremz!

And, zzzzzmmppphhhhtttt.


Monday, September 13, 2010

the answer is yes

Usually the first thing I do when I get a break from my kids is to read blogs by other people about their kids. So the irony of taking Auden and Isla to a babysitter so that I can write about them is not lost on me. But if I don't do it now, you will not hear from me until they are away at college. And by then, this story probably won't be as funny:

Isla has been the kind of baby who can go days without pooping. When she finally goes, it's... dramatic. A friend once told me about a diaper blow-out that was so bad that she cut her son's clothes off of him. Now, I'm too much of a frugal mofo to just waste a onesie like that, but I have spent precious after-explosion seconds contemplating that option. Because how -- where...? this...? this MUCH? in the HAIR...? -- do I even begin to clean it up?

So, because there is no comic justice (until later, just WAIT), Auden has been having poop issues of his own since we moved. He's pretty regular, but he just forgets to tell me that he has to go. Consequently there have been altogether too many poopy-pants episodes lately. The good news is that he's responding favorably to bribery, so I think we're on the up & up.

But on this fateful day, when I decided to go to the zoo, with both children, BY MYSELF, there was no way to know what a perfect storm I'd created.

This was back when I was too proud to admit I needed a double stroller, so I had Isla in the bjorn, and Auden in an umbrella stroller, and for a while everything was dandy. We spent ages in the pen with the pygmy goats: Auden heaping hay into their food dishes, and Isla grabbing their rough fur in both hands and screeching with delight. Then I had to go to the bathroom, and I figured Auden did too.

And as I packed us up, I realized Isla had issued her weekly address.

Into the narrow bathroom we went, and lo, out sprouted two extra pairs of arms so that I could wrangle Auden as I wiped Isla's every crevice and executed a complete wardrobe change. I had to put her in Auden's stroller as I tended to him, though, where she let me know in no uncertain terms just how hungry she was, now that she had all that extra room in her guts.

These potty breaks always take fourteen times as long as you think they will, and you become that mom in the bathroom saying things like, No don't put your hands there! Or THERE. Don't pull on that! Don't aim your penis there! Or THERE. GAH.

To my own credit, though, there was a mom in the next stall over who was losing it way worse than me, cursing at her son NOT TO TAKE OFF ALL HIS CLOTHES, JESUS CHRIST ALREADY. So I felt like I was doing pretty good, even with Isla bawling in the stroller and Auden leaning over me to flush while his pants were still around his ankles.

By the time we got out of there, I had broken a sweat.

We stopped in a shady spot that was partially fenced in, so I could feed Isla and keep an eye on Auden. I gave him his sippy-cup and hoped he'd be entertained by a wheel-chair ramp and a couple of stairs until I could finish nursing. And he was, until he stopped and got that far-away look in his eye. You know that look. It means, I have to concentrate on this. It means, this is happening now and I cannot stop it.

"Are you pooping?!" I yelled. Even though it was obvious enough.

"Godddfrrrhhjgpphhhmmmppzzzztttttt," I muttered, not swearing.

I plopped Isla back in the stroller, much to her chagrin, aaaand back to the bathroom we went, to clean poop out of pants. Yet again.

When it was all over, and we emerged twice cleansed, and I was resuming my station at (er, AS) the milk bar, I saw a young girl walk by wearing a bright pink shirt with that loathsome and overused "Got Milk?" font on the front, only her shirt said:

Got Poop?

And I kind of couldn't believe it. Because who would wear a shirt that says that? And how could her timing be any more perfect? And how could god be so cruel as to mock me after that epic shit-storm? I was actually annoyed. I took offense.

YES. YES, I GOT POOP. Are you happy?

And there was comic justice for all.


Friday, August 27, 2010

catching up, now with pictures

this post brought to you by my mom who took the babies so I could complete a sentence for a change


It's now exactly one month after the move, and I just had my first moving anxiety dream. It was remarkably similar to the move itself: packing the truck to its gills and looking ruefully at the pile of stuff that had yet to be packed. In the truck. That was already stuffed. Like, take-the-paper-towels-out-of-their-package-and-cram-them-into-the-few-remaining-spare-inches kind of stuffed. So, duh, subconscious mind, that one's not hard to de-code. Funny how there's always a lag-time with dreams, though. I heard a story once about a guy who was paralyzed in an accident, but had walking dreams for 11 more years.

I even managed to cram houseplants into the cab, ask Jason!

I know moving is not exactly trauma, but throw in a toddler, a baby, a stay of unknown duration at your parents' house, a future of uncertain job prospects, and the dramatic hyperbole of an underslept mother, and wheeee! It's a close second!

Auden was the age Isla is now when we first moved to Milwaukee, and like she is doing now, he elected to start crawling during that major transition. It seems fairly obvious, looking back, that a move on top of a major developmental milestone WOULD throw him off kilter for a while, further fragmenting his already-fragmented sleeping habits. So, I kind of? Knew? To expect that? Again? But still, after these four weeks of multiple night wakings and nap schedules full of holes, I'm feeling punchy.

We thought Isla was teething, what with waking up every two hours some nights, so we tried dosing her with baby tylenol and swabbing her gums with baby orajel, just in case. To no avail. I would have thought the second time around I'd feel better prepared, more magnanimous, more tolerant of what will surely be a BRIEF DISRUPTION in the big scheme of things. But no! I'm just as ornery, just as prone to 2am second-guessings and giving-in to feedings. Isla, you were supposed to be my good sleeper! Blowing raspberries in your crib at 5am is NOT OKAY.

One can only imagine what she and Auden are dreaming about.

On the bright side, though: we've been spending weekends at the lake

Grandparents are manna from heaven

We get to have date night now

We stayed out until 9:30!

And my new best friend, a hip mama I met at the Children's Museum (what? moms pick up other moms at parks the way hipsters pick up other hipsters at alt-indie-margin-outlier-rock shows) is lending me her double stroller which is VASTLY preferable to the pack-mule configuration I was assembling, righteously, before.

Gateway drug to minivans!

Also, there is much cuteness: Isla pulls herself up on everything

She loves being manually rolled and tumbled, and does a fearsome jowl-shaking strong-man impression where she threatens to bend the very bars of her confining sassy seat. Auden knows all the lyrics to "Book of Love," by the Magnetic Fields; the opposite of "opening" is "closening"; and girl is pronounced gee-yul.

Coming next -- God Does Have a Sense of Humor: Poop edition.

Hope you're doing well! Hope you're not moving! Pray for me!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


"I'm driving you bonkers!"
"Yes, you are."

"I'm driving you bonkers right now!"
"I know, I want you to stop driving me bonkers."

"I'm driving you bonkers again!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

box man

I like to think of this blog as my own personal answer to the Slow Food Movement. Like, really slow.

Because hot damn, I've got THINGS TO SAY, a whole backlog of 'em, and it's just not going to happen until we switch sides of Lake Michigan. Departure is set for Sunday, cavalry is coming tomorrow in the form of grandparents to corral the children, and you'll just have to imagine that our moving truck will be festooned with palm fronds and marigolds and ripe pomegranates and little swamis chanting good-luck mantras. Because I'm not going to post any pictures.

Hey, you should try this mixture of no-sleep, stress, and hormones, it's groovy!

So, Auden. Bless his little heart. We saw a contortionist at Bastille Days a few weekends ago, and he has been OBSESSED with the part of the act where the big tall man in a neon-green leopard print bodysuit folds himself into his tiny box. He calls him Box Man, and has been compelled to re-enact the routine at home. Like, all the time. And box man wears cool shoes, and box man does a funny dance, and box man walks LIKE THAT MAMA, MAMA WATCHING YOU?

He dumps out the recycling bin and crouches inside, he dumps his trucks out of their plastic bin and eases his butt down into it, he squeezes both feet into his potty and hunches over it, exclaiming, I'm a BOX MAN! He can do box-man in just about anything.

Fortunately for him, there are lots and lots of boxes. Boxes everywhere. Everything boxed. We are a Box Family.

After we move: video proof of these shenanigans, Isla crawling, and a story about a surgery from all the way back in April! With before and after pictures!

And I'll make 75% more sense!

Milwaukee, we'll really really miss you.


Monday, July 5, 2010

the hair

I was going to write something, but I don't think I have to.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

four months

Dear Isla,

You are an exquisite creature.

You are four months old, and you have filled out deliciously. You are plump everywhere: rosy and glowing and sweet. I cannot stop myself from nibbling your cheeks, your neck, your thighs, your fingertips.

You coo and squeal and laugh. You regard me with a gaze so intimate and straightforward that it stops me short -- you are more than a cooing squealing laughing baby, you are a tiny god of infinite gazes, sagacious and wise.

You are a prodigious sleeper. Do you know how glad I am of this? I don't even know how to measure the gladness. It's a lot. When you wake up in the morning you don't even cry, you just murmur sweet little baby sounds from your bassinet and get happily tangled in your blanket.

You are rolling over now, which is hooray for you, but beginning-of-the-end for me. We won't be able to negotiate this, I can tell. You can't help yourself. But I think you like the rolling better than the resulting belly position, if your bellowing into the rug is any indication.

You have a sudden and urgent need for toys, and will grab for things with your whole body. Also, the hand-mouth reflex? OBJECT DETECTED IN HAND! OPEN MOUTH! CONSUME! CONSUME! Cracks me up every time.

I understand it, I want to do the same thing to you, you yummy baby.

You love Auden. You follow the sound of his voice; you giggle when he jumps, you guffaw when he rolls on top of you. I don't think he's quite as enamored of you, especially now that you are a threat to his monopoly on toy ownership, but I know he has his own fondness for you. Hidden under impulsive smacks to the face. Okay, forget it -- boys are jerks, it's time you learned.

You love music and singing, you are ticklish on the chub of your upper arms, you are fascinated by the pattern of the couch upholstery and greet it eagerly when I'm trying to feed you. You'd rather stand than sit, and I foresee some frustrating days of crawling ahead before you can run. I guess your papa and I are not capable of making babies that sit still and cuddle.

I'm watching you unfold with the same bittersweetness I felt with your brother. Can't you just slow down a little? Am I allowed to be wistful already for those blurry early days of you? There will never be another time like this, so I'm paying grateful attention to most every minute.

I continue to be under your spell, kissing and goofing endlessly to make you smile.


Friday, June 4, 2010


"Mama chase you?"
"I'm not going to chase you right now."
"I chase myself?"
"Yeah, I'd like to see that."

"I see excavator!"
"Do you see an excavator?"
"I ride it?"
"No, you can't ride on it."
"I ride it?"
"I ride it?"
"I see another excavator?"
"I ride that one?"

"Oh, there's the baseball stadium."
"I play baseball!"
"I try it?"
"Mama try it, too?"
"Yeah, I'll try it too."
"Papa try it, too?"
"Sure, papa too."
"Auden try it, too?"
"Yep, everyone will try it."
"Isla try it, too?"

"Red light!"
"Yes, the light is red."
"Red light, go!"
"No, silly, red light, stop."
"Red light, go!"
"No, red light, stop."
"Red light, go!"
"You're headed for a crash if you drive that way."

"We go this way?"
"Where, to Kohl's?"
"Yah! Shopping toys?"
"No, not today."
"No, honey."
"No, we're not going to Kohl's."
"No, we're going home."
"... ?"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

grandma jo


I've been on the fence about whether to post this. But it feels like a gaping omission if I don't.

My lovely grams died last month, at age 92. We drove to Michigan in time to see her alive one last time, and I had the honor of doing this sketch a few hours after she passed:

The image isn't complete without this this poem that my cousin wrote, which she read at the memorial service.

My Grandma's Arms

Babies cradled, flowers tended
Arms made strong with years of stirring, kneading
Hands that spent years caring for others

Fingers and hands composed many cards and letters
Arms that prepared delicious meals
Hands that created blankets for children

Loving arms that kept us close
Many years of work and wear
Now held in her Lord's arms.

-Rachel Redman (April 30, 2010)

Grandma Jo, we love you and miss you.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

technology vs. dinosaur

Cars face off with dinos.

Dinos attack from behind!

And win!

(Uncle Mike, dig the Lamborghini)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

mother's day

You know this is what you really feel like doing on mother's day:

But you don't, because your kid wouldn't make good turtle food, and the turtles are too cute, anyway.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm more than a little obsessed with footwear for Isla. I've thrifted plenty of cute shoes for her, and STILL I can't resist making things like felted cashmere booties and these darling kimono slippers:

Auden is also benefiting from my sudden craft craze. I made him a little tote bag with some fabric cast-offs from Grandma Danely:

It has fancy satin lining inside:

So far he uses it to go grocery shopping (with all his plastic food) and to deliver the mail (maps and take-out menus from the bottom drawer in the buffet).

I've been inspired by all the great projects on this blog, and it's made me think about making more stuff. Which, GREAT, now I have like ten more projects to add to my pile of artistic ideas. I can't focus on anything for long, so we'll see how that goes, but hey, at least the creative energy is going somewhere. And Isla gets to be the Imelda Marcos of babies.


Monday, May 3, 2010

three months

Oh, Isla.

Last year at this moment you were just a spark, just a bright cluster of cells. And now look at you! A much bigger cluster of cells! But much cuter.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

not nothing

A sketch I did in five minutes counts as making art, right?

Monday, March 29, 2010

two years

Dear Auden,

Everyone keeps asking me how you're doing and my response is usually, Well, he's two. This gets a knowing nod. We all know what TWO means.

You can certainly be obstinate and assholish. (Which, I have to say, I now understand as the inevitable consequence of your wee human ego, budding and flourishing as it must, and not the result of bad parenting) You like to run away when it's time to put on your socks and shoes, you like to shuffle your feet and flop on the couch when it's time to clean up. You are loathe to interrupt any activity, especially if it means having to come inside, having to eat, having to go potty, or having to take a nap. You like getting what you want, exactly when you want it. If I take too long getting your milk or if I attempt to linger over the newspaper at breakfast, you will let me know. You issue constant and varied cries of MOMMY, to the point where I'm starting to suspect you of using a highly sophisticated kind of toddler Morse code: mommy mommy MOMMY MOOOOOMMMMMY mami-mami-mami MAHHHHH MEEEEE. Mah. ME. Mommy.

(Sometimes 'mommy' doesn't have enough syllables, so you yell MOMMMIE-AHHHHHH)

If I could decipher the meaning of it, perhaps it would not threaten to unravel my sanity on a daily basis. No, that's not true. Obviously, I understand all too well: you need attention, my love. You need a running commentary on your important attention-worthy actions: Are you driving your dump truck? That's a big dump truck! What goes in the dump truck? Rocks? Where are your rocks? Wow, that's a lot of rocks. You are strong!

You especially need attention when I am dressing Isla or nursing Isla or holding Isla or paying attention to Isla.


There are many many more moments of the delightful variety, when you impress me with tenderness toward another child, or use a word I didn't know you knew, like 'fixing'.

Or when you lift your shirt to nurse your giraffe, or when you deliberately fall off your push-car and ask yourself, "Are you okay? Are you okay?"

You are totally potty trained, which, even though I was present for all the messy work that entailed, seems like it happened magically and all of the sudden. It's awesome. I'm disproportionately proud of you for wearing underwear, especially since a two-year-old in tighty-whities is among the cutest things in the world.

For a while, Papa and I kept a list of all the new words you were saying. But now it seems like your vocabulary increases exponentially every day and involves whole phrases and imperatives and plurals -- as in, "one bus! two buses!" You are SMART, kid. You count to fourteen. You know the whole alphabet. We can't keep up.

You keep up with us just fine, though. Maybe a little too well. As I rummaged in the fridge one day, I bemoaned the lack of anything to have for lunch, groaning arrghhhhh.

"Dammit!" you chirped, helpfully.

Today we were reading a book and in it was a person wearing a mask. "Mask," I said. "Mak," you said. "Mask," I repeated. "Hard one!" you said. Yes, sweet boy. That's a hard one to say. But it doesn't slow you down AT ALL. You talk about everything, nonstop, and each expression gives me another peek into the kaleidoscope of you.

Kid, I knew you liked trucks, but now that you have entire truck books memorized and are talking about jack-hammers and I-beams, I can appreciate just how intense that passion is.

I want to always make room for the spark in you, whether it's rascal or genius. You are an amazing puzzle. You are two. Happy Birthday.

love, mama

Saturday, March 20, 2010

who needs sleep when you have cute?

That last post took a lot of time and a lot of brain power -- and you know I have neither of those things to spare. So instead of more words... here, a clip of my delicious daughter in the morning:

How did I not eat her for breakfast? Nom nom nom.


Friday, March 5, 2010

the way of Isla

Well before this labor began, I had been telling and re-telling myself the story of Auden's birth in a hundred different ways -- with all my hope and expectation and fear and and pride. I knew it would be different, and yet my poor rational brain struggled to gain footing by casting about in past experiences. It makes sense, right? But now that it's over, I am struck by how very different Isla's story is.

Here we go:

I woke up to contractions at 4:00 on Sunday morning. They came and went sporadically until 7:00, then stopped entirely. I was a bit miffed about the false start, but more annoyed that I hadn't been able to sleep at all. We got up and went about the day, though: brunch with some lovely friends (made possible by the fact that my mom was also there and could entertain Auden so that Jason and I could finish our sentences), a walk with Auden down to the river where it was sunny enough to stay a while and throw chunks of ice into the river, and home again for an attempt at napping.

As soon as I lay down, the contractions returned. They got regular by about 1pm, coming every ten minutes and lasting 45 seconds. Early stage. I was heartened to find that rhythm, though, and remembered to enjoy the part where you're excited for things to get going but not so tired and out of your mind with pain that it still can be enjoyable.

We brought Auden over to a friend's house by 3pm, and spent the rest of the afternoon reading the paper and watching movies. Aside from being just a tiny bit incredulous that it was taking so long -- like, where's my super short six-hour second labor? -- I thought it was a perfect way to spend the day. During this stage, Jason and my mom dutifully kept track of the intervals and duration of the contractions, which, after 12 hours or so, not only takes up several pages of legal pad but also starts to seem kind of beside the point. I called my awesome midwife to let her know it would probably still be a while.

Things picked up a bit by 1am, meaning the contractions were about five minutes apart and lasting a little longer. I didn't get any sleep that night, either; I think I took a bath at some point. Jason and my mom were right there with me all the while, same as when I was in labor with Auden. We employed the "horse lips" technique much earlier this time, THANK GOD, because it not only spared me my vocal cords, but it actually really helped. The contractions were becoming intense, but not crazy, and I felt strong and completely capable. Just make it through three breaths, and then it'll be over, I was telling myself every time, and instead of trying to get away from the pain, I stayed very focused on getting that much closer to meeting my baby.

We settled into a routine: when a contraction started, I'd reach for Jason's hands and clamp down while we locked eyes and horse-lipped at each other through the length of it. At first it felt kind of silly, like I was a spoof on every lamaze class and hee-hee-hoooooo-ing laboring lady in the movies, but it worked so well that it became necessary to do it the exact same way every time. I was surprised at how calm I felt, and how relaxed I stayed in the rest of my body.

I was starting to get antsy by 7am, though. I was pissed that I was taking so long, AGAIN, and that nothing had changed since the day before. I decided that walking around would surely ramp things up, so I paced furiously throughout the house. Which made the contractions stop. I lost my cool and went full-bore into whining IT'S NOT FAAAAAIRRRRR before I realized I needed a pep-talk from my midwife. I called her and kept whining about how discouraged I felt, and how tired and unhappy. As I was voicing my self-pity, I felt another contraction coming on, so I held the phone away and moaned through it. Afterward she said, "You've been having contractions like that since 1am? I'm coming over."

I was instantly relieved, and by the time she showed up and started getting everything ready my contractions were regular again and I was getting a second wind from the flurry of activity. We kept going in our hand-clench-eye-lock-horse-lip pattern for the next few hours, until I decided I wanted the midwife to check my dilation. I was worried that I hadn't made any progress and that I'd be looking at another 24 hours of THIS: AAAHHHRRGH. But she checked and announced that I'd made it to 5cm, at which I whooped and said THANK GOD. I rallied, and elected to take another bath.

Not much later, though, I started to hit the wall. The bath was good, but the contractions were getting harder and my energy was flagging. I'd made it to 7cm by the time I got out of the tub, and when I got settled again on the bed, I hit transition.

So, with Auden's birth, I'm not sure what magical force allowed me to coast through transition and pushing WITH NO PAIN WHATSOEVER, maybe it was a merciful god deciding I'd already worked hard enough. But this time? No such magical force.

When we decided to do a home birth, Jason and I joked about how we'd make a shirt for him that said, in a Barry White voice, "I'm Your Epidural, Baby." And I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I think that ended up being true. Not in the way that his mere presence was a nerve-block obliterating all unpleasantness, but in the way that looking at his face, in his eyes, I saw the reflection of all the calm and encouragement and determination I'd been feeling up to that point. I saw I AM DOING THIS and I felt powerful. That confidence made it possible to ride out all the contractions with grace and focus. Until transition.

Let me just say it again: TRANSITION.

I was lying on my side and the contractions were one right after the other and the horse lips just weren't cutting it anymore. There was a new and raw and searing edge to those last contractions, and it was like I needed to convey to everyone just how painful they were, so my nice quiet calming horse lips unraveled into screaming. My perfect routine with Jason was coming undone and wasn't helping any more -- I started to pull away from him. Not physically but mentally. It was like I was pulling back into myself, into a dark tunnel.

My midwife and my mom were telling me how close I was, and that I would be able to start pushing soon. I would've thought at the outset that this would be great news, like with Auden, AT LONG LAST it's time to push! But as soon as I started involuntarily bearing down I thought, OH NO, no way, I'm not pushing. HELL NO. And suddenly it felt very wrong to be on my side like that, so I struggled to get upright into a semi-reclined position. Jason got behind me and supported me, which felt better, but really, there was no "feeling better." I felt panicked.

The steady rhythm we'd built was broken into jagged pieces and I felt unmoored and lost and I didn't know what to do. Was I supposed to push? Hold back? What did I do before? Shouldn't someone be telling me what to do? I think I remember the midwife saying something like, "Let her show you," meaning Isla, and meaning Easy Does It, Mama. But I was in this dark tunnel, this chasm, that I hadn't planned on, and couldn't fathom.

Then something huge took over -- a surge of animalistic power -- and suddenly I snapped out of that dark confusion and decided to charge like a bull at my target. I roared and screamed and spat fire; I thrashed like a frantic beast; I pushed into a burning pain so intense it felt like my legs were going through a shredder.

I was so oblivious of the outside world and so totally inside myself and inside the tunnel and inside the fire that I wasn't paying attention to what the midwife was saying. Then my mom was saying it too, and then Jason, and all their words were like a blur until Jason said it over and over in my ear: "Don't push, just wait. Don't push. Don't push. Just wait right there, and let her ease out."

I thought, you have got to be kidding me.

Actually, my first thought when he said that was, I thought you were on my side! I could not reconcile his instructions with the momentum of the train barreling through me at that moment, it seemed utterly ludicrous. Why and how would I STOP? I WAS CHARGING AT MY TARGET LIKE A BULL AND BULLS DO NOT STOP.

Somehow, though, I figured out how not to push, and the midwife pried my hands loose from where I was clutching at my thighs to bring my hand to the top of my daughter's head, which was crowning. It was soft and wet, pulpy and strange. It reminded me what was happening. And before I knew it that head was sliding all the way out, into my hand, and then the rest of her in a slippery gush.

Instantly all the pressure was gone. All the pain and the fire and the hours and the clenching and the counting -- in one delirious second she came rushing out, and my whole body went slack.

They lifted her to my chest and wrapped us in blankets, with me crying and Jason laughing and Isla, scrunched and tiny and perfect, finally born.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

in the meantime

I'm working on writing out Isla's birth story, but for SOME reason it's taking a lot longer than I thought. So that you're not twiddling your thumbs in want of something new to look at on Fingerfold, here is a slice of hilarious from the Danely household:

First of all: Jason shot this, which is good because I would have been dying of laughter on the floor.

Secondly: Naked in packing peanuts. OMG.

Third: Remember the intro to "Duck Tales" when Scrooge swims in his money?


Monday, February 15, 2010

chronology of this little lifetime

Auden got sick first. Then I got sick. Then I went into labor.

Then a beautiful baby girl arrived, all scrunchy and tiny and perfect.

Then we entered that bleary realm of the 45-minute sleep cycle, and stumbled around the house attempting complete sentences and creative ways of burning off the natural energy of a cabin-fever-ed toddler. Who was also on food strike because of the sickness, and whining with every exhale because of the Mommy No Longer Available At All Times.

Then Isla, all of 10 days old, got sick too -- a harsh phlegm-y cough that sounded like she's already been smoking for 20 years.

Then our heat went out. And the oil-delivery people don't deliver after 1:30pm. So our landlady put us up in a hotel for the night. Which could have been like a fun winter stay-cation, except that it was a crappy business hotel with no frills and the fact that 3 out of four of us were sick and one of us was a 10-DAY-OLD BABY. Jason dubbed it Family Togetherness Night anyway, and we stayed up way too late eating bad pizza and watching junk-food TV. Ugh.

Then there were lots of episodes of projectile spitting-up, with multiple costume changes.

Then we got a nebulizer for Auden. At first I was sure it was going to take a baby straight-jacket and some wrestling holds to get him to hold this thing to his face for 6 - 8 breaths, but no, it turns out chocolate chips are a sufficient bribe.

Then Jason found out his book will not be published. At least not this year, and not by the folks he had hoped would publish it. And his job search continues... where will the Danelys be come July??? It's a cliffhanger for you AND for me!

Then, once, while clinging madly to my leg and screaming MOMMY MOMMY MOMMYMOMMYMOMMY for the jillionth time, Auden also inadvertently wiped his snot all over my leg. When I finally pried him loose he stepped back and saw his handiwork, correctly identifying it as "booger!" Which I had never heard him say before! What a big boy!

Then I found out Isla also has thrush.

Which I think brings us to today. I may have left out a few night wakings and some eating of peanut butter directly from the jar, but you get the drift.

These are your first two weeks, Isla! They have been nuts!

But oh, we love you to pieces and we promise things will get better. Because that was promised to us, by people who have Been There Before, and you can be sure I'll... give them... SOMETHING... BAD! if it's not true. As soon as I get at least two hours of sleep in a row. Ahem.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

she's here

Isla Faye Danely
arrived February 1st, 2010
weighing 6lbs 10oz and stretching to 18.5 inches
after 24 hours of awesome labor

Auden approves.

(He had several of his dinosaurs kiss her, which is a high compliment)

Welcome, sweet girl!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

40 weeks

It's not just my imagination... compared to four weeks ago, this bowling ball has descended significantly and is now resting directly ON TOP OF MY BLADDER.

Friday, January 22, 2010


It's not like I needed any more reason to love my midwife, but now I have several.

I may have already mentioned that I'm measuring a bit small for my gestational date, a concern relayed from my midwife to my back-up OB to a perinatologist, who did two ultrasounds and a biophysical profile to determine that either A) she's just a small baby or B) the placenta isn't delivering the goods. So far it just looks like she's a small baby, but he recommended that I go in for non-stress tests twice a week anyway, Just To Be Sure.

At first they seemed like lovely little windows of enforced vacation: reclining with a funny book, a cup of iced juice with a straw, and listening to the tide-like gallumph-gallumph of my baby's heartbeat... why, let's do it three times a week! Each time, we'd pass the test with flying colors, with baby poking a heel or an elbow out at the monitors for dramatic effect, and they'd send me on my way.

After a few of these, though, I was getting bored. I met with my OB again to ask if we really needed to continue, seeing as how she's super active and nothing amiss was detected in either ultrasound. He said yes, Just To Be Sure. I did a mental shrug and thought, At least he's not pushing for induction, which is something the perinatologist had alluded to. I didn't feel like all the monitoring was warranted, but neither did I want to be too flippant. They really get you with those "off" chances.

So I went in on Friday for the latest test, got cozy in my seat while the nurse hooked me up, and finished my book while baby did some back-flips and body-rocks to my gastrointestinal soundtrack. I'd just eaten a huge bowl of oatmeal, and was sucking down some apple juice, so her heart-rate was in the the high 160's, and plus it seemed like she was doing some extra groovin' in there just to show off. The nurse said everything looked great, but when she came back from consulting the OB, she said he had read the dips in the chart as decelerations and wanted me to go over to perinatal assessment and have a Contraction Non-Stress Test, Just to Be Sure.

I kind of grumbled to myself and wanted to say no thanks, I've got to get my husband to work and my toddler down for a nap. I wondered briefly if the OB was actively searching for something to be wrong.

Jason was a sport, and agreed to take Auden to Whole Foods while I sat for another half-hour of monitoring. I forgot that things NEVER go as quickly as you plan, and I also forgot to give him the cell phone.

The second test looked much like the first, and even better when baby calmed down enough to establish a reasonable base-line in the 130's. The nurse said maybe the doctor had just read all the previous accelerations as baseline and that's why the dips looked so low. This is all German to me -- I'd have just as much luck reading a seismograph -- but she seemed positive about it, so I was ready to get out of there and get on with my day.

But she wanted to induce a few contractions to see how the baby dealt with those (hence the name of the test): if baby stayed constant, we'd pass go and collect $200; if her heart-rate dipped, it could mean some kind of distress and they'd be wheeling me over to L&D.

At that moment it stopped being about non-stress for the baby, and started being about an adrenaline-pumping limb-limpening dose of stress for me.

Intuitively I knew nothing was wrong with baby, but sensed immediately and acutely how little that would probably count. Like, would I be able to refuse to go? Would they threaten me? I mean, of course I could refuse to go, or could at least say Let me call my husband and my midwife first. But I was sufficiently impressed with how inevitably things unfold at the hospital, and how intimidated I was in the face of it.

So, great, let's stimulate those nipples and try to bring on some contractions!

The nurse helpfully brought out some gel-lubricant, and a sheet for modesty, and kept watch over the monitor for upwards of 45 minutes while I suffered through a potent combination of performance anxiety -- do I need to THINK stimulating thoughts, too? because this is waaaaaay worse than what it must be like to produce a sperm sample -- and downright indignation at being strapped to a hospital bed WHEN MY TODDLER NEEDS TO TAKE A NAP DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT HIS NAPS ARE???? I tried calling Whole Foods to page Jason to tell him no I'm not having a baby, at least not yet, and IS AUDEN SLEEPING? and dammit I should've just told you to head home and I'd take the damn bus.

If they'd had a tread-mill or a stair-master in the contraction non-stress test room, I'd have been able to give them three contractions in five minutes, but with lying down doing nothing but worrying, it took over an hour to be done with it and to prove, according to their seismograph, that my baby was Just Fine and for the doctor to agree. I forced smiles as I thanked everyone, including the perinatologist who noted brightly that I did in fact look bigger than last time! And even though I don't need to take it personally, and don't really hold it against him personally either, I left there feeling angry and totally annoyed by the whole experience.

Because it felt like none of it had to do with my actual baby -- it was all about their monitors and how they interpreted the numbers.

Perhaps you're thinking, "Oh sure, Doctors are all well and good when the advice is to sit around and eat and rest and have someone else do all the housework, but when you have to sit strapped to a hospital bed hour after inconvenient hour it's Bad Bad Medical Establishment." But honestly, it's more that... Hmm. Actually, now that you mention it, that's what I'm thinking too.

Jason reminded me that it's easy to gripe when you spend all day at the hospital only to find out it's GOOD NEWS.

Okay, fine, but I'd still rather be done with fear-mongering monitors, and I'm still pissed that Auden only got a 20-minute nap in the cafe of Whole Foods.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

home visit

Have I sung the praises of my midwife yet? Allow me to present pictorial evidence for how much I prefer this to a doctor's office:

And Auden gets to help, too.

You may not be the type who wants to hug and kiss her doctor out the door, but I am, and I get to. Yay.


Monday, January 11, 2010


I was just saying to Jason the other day that I really wanted to get an overhead projector and where on earth does one even start looking for one of those? The last time I saw one in person was in my 8th grade Algebra class (any other City High Pegasi want to weigh in on that? I actually have fond memories of it!). Actually now that I think of it, I 'm pretty sure my obsessive-compulsive hoarder of a boyfriend in the San Francisco days probably had one in his meticulous stacks of rubble, but I was too unnerved by the claustrophobia to put it to use at that time.

But I'm past that now.

So not a week after voicing my desire did I find one for sale at an artist's rummage sale. She herself hated to part with it, because she was moving to Europe and couldn't take it along and where on earth would she even start looking for one over there? But hey, her loss is my fortuity! Er, I mean, I know a good deal when I see one, and was only too happy to lighten her load.

Auden likes my new toy, too:

Really, the possibilities for these things are unlimited, but I knew I wanted it specifically for the latest bone pieces, which I started here. I wanted to project the contour drawings to be able to fiddle with the composition, and let me tell you, I totally dorked out on fiddling with the composition. For hours. It was magical.

They're still evolving, and I have a sneaking suspicion that very little of what you see here will remain in the final product... because this is acrylic paint and try as I do, I just don't love the quality of it the way I love oils. I think more layers are in order, but I'm on that precarious edge of wanting to push the piece forward without overworking what's fresh and fluid about it.

For the time being think I'll go project drawings of bones on some other stuff, just because I can.