Friday, March 28, 2014


It's Friday, and although sometimes the week ahead feels daunting - here we are, wrapping up yet another one.   The pace is crazy these days.  I'm up earlier, home later and trying to cram in some fun social time too.  I know I'm burning the candle on both ends but hey - life is for living.  

The boxes will get unpacked and we will settle in.   Eventually.  

(via simple lovely)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


A Cup of Jo linked to this article yesterday and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Warning: it's a long read, but a worthwhile read, and really interesting too.   It made me somewhat nostalgic for many of my childhood memories - when my parents would leave me at my cousin's house for what was supposed to be a summertime weekend but I would keep extending it until I had been there for more than 2 weeks!   ...we had so much fun there, just being kids.  Playing in the woods, reenacting scenes from Robin Hood.

While times have changed, I will do my best possible job to remember how happy those times made me and give them to J.  He deserves it.   It's hard, now as a parent, to not warn your child about what might happen...or help them find the easier way.   But the exploration, the hits and the misses, are so critical.

If you have a chance, please read it.  I think it was so important.

"Even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers—and fathers—of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to..."

"It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. "

It is no longer easy to find a playground that has an element of surprise, no matter how far you travel. Kids can find the same slides at the same heights and angles as the ones in their own neighborhood, with many of the same accessories. Now the playground can hold only a toddler’s attention, and not for very long. 

“look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.” But adults have come to the mistaken view “that children must somehow be sheltered from all risks of injury,” Frost writes. “In the real world, life is filled with risks—financial, physical, emotional, social—and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.”

Children, she concluded, have a sensory need to taste danger and excitement; this doesn’t mean that what they do has to actually be dangerous, only that they feel they are taking a great risk. That scares them, but then they overcome the fear.

Hart can’t help but wonder what disappeared with “the erosion of child culture,” in which children were “inventing their own activities and building up a kind of community of their own that they knew much more about than their parents.”

"There is a big difference between avoiding major hazards and making every decision with the primary goal of optimizing child safety (or enrichment, or happiness). We can no more create the perfect environment for our children than we can create perfect children. To believe otherwise is a delusion, and a harmful one; remind yourself of that every time the panic rises."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boomerang: Michael Lewis

I just finished up Boomerang by Michael Lewis.   It was a really interesting read (ahem, listen - I did the audio version).  It elaborates on the financial falls in 2008 of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California.   It required a basic knowledge and interest in global finance but otherwise Lewis did a good job developing the characters and some personal story lines to keep it from becoming too dry.

The recurring take-away from the book, in my opinion, was really what happens when we let credit get too loose...  Do humans possess a natural ability to "do right".   The answer, according to Lewis, was unfortunately, no, they do not.   Given the opportunity, we will overlook common sense, and allow our greed paired with a general optimism take over.    I thought the way in which Lewis used cultural generalizations to explain what happened in Iceland vs. Ireland and so forth an interesting way of tying in some anthropology into an otherwise financial topic.

In the final paragraphs on the chapter on Greece, Lewis describes an inscription from the ancient Greek orator, Isocrates,  “Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress.”   Boomerang certainly leaves a reader wondering if in fact we are on a downward descent....

Monday, March 24, 2014

73 Questions

Have you seen this clip with Sarah Jessica Parker for    Wow, she never disappoints.   What is it about her  ---  her ease, her comfort in her own skin, her style, her inner security.   She is such a class act.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Britt Bass

I'm trying to resist buying anything until I get boxes unpacked and organized.  Since that isn't my favorite project, especially after working a long day and taking care of my little one, not buying much is sort of keeping me honest and motivated to keep slugging through it.

Plus, it gives me time to peruse sights and gather up some fun sources.  Like these prints from Britt Bass Turner:

Thursday, March 13, 2014


This morning was a doozy.  An icy overnight made for a long haul in this morning.  I promised myself I wouldn't complain about commuting --- it is a part of my new reality and a sacrifice I'm happy to make for our new home and land that surrounds it.  

But it's days like today that I daydream I own a quaint shop that sells perfectly curated international groceries, stationary, books, coffee and flowers.   In the back, there's a garden and ice cream stand.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

All Joy and No Fun

Have you all heard about this book - All Joy and No Fun.   It's a book on the paradox of modern parenting and the effects of children on parents.  It's a really interesting read.   As I've mentioned here before, I joined a group of new mother's when baby J was an infant.  They are a remarkable group of women - I feel so blessed to know them and share this journey of parenting with them.  It helps that our 9 kids were all born within a month of each other, which means we're generally experiencing  the same stages at the same times.  

We usually get together with the kids, which is awesome because I love seeing them all grow, but as the kids get older and more active, it's harder to actually have a conversation.   When we met and they were infants, we could simply nurse, rock, or hold them and carry on about what was going on with us.  Not that they're young toddlers, we meet at places where the kids can run around and the conversations are constantly interrupted.  Still fun, just harder to focus.

So this month, we're doing a sort of bookclub night and we're all going to read All Joy and No Fun, meet at a restaurant and have a night out.  I can't wait.  These girls have consistently impressed me with their wise insights and I'm sure the discussion is going to be really engaging.  

I'm sure I'll do another post to recap, but in the meantime I flagged this passage in the book.  It really resonated.

    "Children, I think, suffer - in a way that adults don't always realize - under the pressure their parents put on them to be happy, which is the pressure not to make their parents unhappy, or more unhappy than they already are.    ....just 10% of the kids in Galinsky's survey wanted more time with their mothers and just 16% wanted more time with their dads.  A full 34%, however, wished their mothers would be "less stressed". "  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The bookstore

Note to self - the next time I'm feeling tired, uninspired, worried, bored, or overwhelmed - head to a local bookstore.  I took a few days off to move and yesterday I had kind of hit a wall.   I was physically tired from packing and unpacking, mentally tired from thinking about home decor, and just a little worn out from errands and the such.   I didn't want to spend the afternoon at home, because it's hard for me to relax when I know how much can be done, but I didn't want to spend it bouncing around Target et al.
My intention with the day off yesterday wasn't just to get things done, but to enjoy a moment of "me" time.

I popped in to pick up a copy of Domino magazine.  Two hours later, I was curled up in their 2nd floor reading room devouring a copy of the Scientific Mind - a magazine I had never read, but am now a huge fan.  A very soft instrumental cd played in the background.  Without even realizing it, I had relaxed and recharged.  I felt great.

I left, finished off my errands, and had a perfectly productive rest of the day.   The bookstore - my happy place.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Playroom decor

In the new house, we crafted a little playroom for J.  It's a sunny, charming room in the front of the house with french doors on either side and a nice built-in bookcase in the corner.  The room has a wonderful vibe and I haven't even moved a single piece of furniture in yet.

My idea is to keep it playful, fun and comfortable.  Instead of traditional furnishings, I'm going to do some floor pillows, bean bags, poufs etc.   And storage --- lots of storage.    ...and a map.   I'm a sucker for a map, especially in a child's space.  One of my favorite toys as a kid was a puzzle of the USA --- I equate most of my knowledge of geography and state capitals to the 100's of times I did that puzzle!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wed

All I have is thanks.   Feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings of my life.   And so tonight, the start of Lent, I will head over to mass to receive my ashes.  I was born and raised Catholic. Sunday mass was never missed.   Although I attend less regularly now, I am grateful for the presence of religion in my life.  I don't talk about it here, or talk about it much, since I completely respect people's various opinions and am firm in what I believe and have no interest in trying to persuade anyone... and I do think there is a fundamental difference between religion and spirituality.  I am both, but much more spiritual than particularly religious.  I was raised a Catholic and although I disagree with many of their social stances and dogma, I agree with their message of universal love, social justice and kindness to those in need.  I am hopeful that the current Pope will bring back some of the Church's true mission. 

But religion is a vehicle.  A tradition. Hopefully, it's a gathering of like minded spiritual people and an avenue to practice my spirituality.  Ultimately, I believe that I have faith in the same God as all God-believing people.  That God is Love.  

Tonight I will receive my ashes and for the next 40 days I will follow traditional Lenten customs.   It's a way to honor what I believe --- life is way beyond our comprehension.  We are spiritual beings, having a human experience. 

“All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Anyone who chooses a religion is also choosing a collective way for worshipping and sharing the mysteries. Nevertheless, that person is the only one responsible for his or her actions along the way and has no right to shift responsibility for any personal decisions on to that religion.” - Paulo Coehlo

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Old School

I just can't find a calendar app or use google calendars in a way that makes me feel confident.  Some weeks I'm diligent about updating it, other weeks I'm not.  And if it's not consistent, it's really not helpful.   But as my commitments expand in both quantity and variety --- I've been finding it near impossible to keep things straight.  Appts for me, appts for the baby, social things, work things etc. etc.

So I went old school and picked myself up a little date book.  The perfect size for keeping in my bag.  I already updated it and feel so much less anxious.  I think it's scientifically proven that writing things down helps the memory process more efficiently.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Night

I guess it's the optimist in us - but we love the Oscars in our little family.  My husband grew up staying up late in Rio with his dad and brother watching the whole show.  Maybe that contributed towards his tenacity and fearlessness in going after his goals.

I love the acceptance speeches.  I love the positivity and wonder that the night captures.   We'll keep up the tradition and one day start including Baby J in our Oscar night.   Dream big!

Couldn't have been happier that Matthew and Jared won.  Dallas Buyer's Club was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.  Well earned!!!

...and his "Alright, alright alright" was the PERFECTION.   Love.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to the Academy for this, all 6000 members, thank you to the other nominees: all these performances were impeccable. In my opinion, I didn't see a false note anywhere. I want to thank Jean-Marc Valee, our director. I want to thank Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, who I worked with daily .
Um, there's a few things, 'bout three things to my count, that I need each day. Um, one of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I wanna thank God because that's who I look up to. He's graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. Um, He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said "When you got God, you got a friend & that friend is you."
To my family: that's who & what I look forward to. To my father who I know is up there right now with a big pot of gumbo, he's got a lemon meringue pie over there, he's probably in his underwear & he's got a cold can of Miller Lite & he's dancing right now. To you Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man.
To my mother who is here tonight. Who taught me & my two older brothers, demanded, that we respect ourselves and what we in turn learned was then we were better able to respect others. Thank you for that Mama.
To my wife Camilla & my kids; Levi, Vida, Mr. Stone, the courage & significance you give me every day as I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life I want to make the most proud of me. Thank you.
And to, um, my hero - that's who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say "Who's your hero" & I said, "I don't know, I gotta think about that, give me a couple weeks." I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says, "who is your hero?". I said, "I thought about it, you know, who it is? It's me in 10 years." So I turn 25, 10 years later, that same person comes to me and goes, "So are you a hero?" And I was like, "Not even close! No, no, no!". She says, "Why?" I say, because my hero is me at 35. So you see, every day, every week, every month, & every year of my life -- my hero's always 10 years away-- I'm never going to beat my hero, I'm not gonna obtain that. I know I'm not and that's just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
So to any of us, whatever those things are: whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to & whoever it is we're chasing...
To that I say, Amen.
To that I say, Alright, Alright Alright.
To that I say, Just Keep Livin', ye'uh.