My sisters kindly threw a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law last month. A bridal or baby shower in our family used to entail a godforsaken food substitute known as "sandwich loaf." My grandmother made the seven-layer abomination and passed down the recipe to my aunts who bought into the fantasy that sandwich loaf is something that people actually wish to chew and swallow. It is in fact an egregious invention requiring special bread sliced horizontally onto which you spread egg salad, ham or spam salad, chicken salad with a little gristle and bone for protein, chunks of green olives, sprigs of parsley, and soggy walnuts all encased in thick pasty cream cheese.Read More
What a month. Needy babies everywhere! You might think I'm referring to the sons graduating (#2 and #4) or marrying (#1), but I'm talking about baby creatures in my yard.
In the shrubbery alongside our driveway, a mother duck built a nest and laid ten eggs. My neighbor and I fretted about the long distance to a water source but who are we to judge another mother's choices. My neighbor is up early and I'm up late, so we know everyone else's business, but somehow we missed the hatching of the ducklings because the nest is now empty. Well, not quite. There are three unhatched eggs just sitting there. Waiting.Read More
On Sunday, my oldest son married his lovely Jane and I was not there.
My first-born child, the boy who tried to exit my uterus three months early, who caused me to go on bed rest just long enough to grow him into a nearly 10-pound behemoth and grow my own addiction to The People’s Court, and whose very large mass broke my tailbone during delivery, and whose young doctor misunderstood the difference between stitching my episiotomy and stitching close my anus, and whose overall departure left my nether regions so traumatized I was unable to sit for a month afterwards and had to nurse on my side like a mama pig. That son.
This was a planned elopement. Not the ladder-up-to-the-window sneaking-off kind of elopement but a desire for shared solitude to be followed by a family celebration back home.
My husband and I thought the plan suited their personalities. Plus, it’s so romantic and sacred. My parents did the same thing over fifty years ago.
Then, their day came and they excitedly texted a photo from Yosemite and I cried. I wished I could have been there.
When I called my mom, she said, “Well, I guess your father and I started something, didn’t we. But at least you got a photo. Your poor grandmother got a telegram and that was it.”
Don't misunderstand me. We are very happy! I was especially thrilled to hear that a small herd of deer followed them in Yosemite as they walked in their finery. My husband and I were visited by a bunch of deer on our wedding day as well. So, a good omen.
And the tears are mostly happy and just a smidge sad. I was taken by surprise by how much I wanted to be with them. Like getting caught in an unexpected summer rain shower that comes and goes quickly and everything is a little more nourished and green afterwards.
Speaking of the weather, on to the party! It’s going to be in the backyard so I have sent out daily pleas to our higher being with the reminder that my name, Mithra, means God of Sun. Not rain. Not drizzle. Sun.
I so enjoyed sitting down with Jane last winter, sketching out the details of a garden party . Now we are in the midst of planting, weeding, trimming, in preparation. I remember planning my wedding and how much I loved all the details -- especially the flowers and the invitations.
Nick and Jane's invitation came from Minted, of course. They have been my source for holiday cards and invitations for the last five years. I never imagined ordering wedding invites online but Minted has the process down to a near science. Jane and I worked on the phrasing, getting ideas from the hundreds of samples on Minted's website. Customizing the design went smooth as silk. When the Minted box arrived, I rushed for the camera. I love this company, partly because the founder is a badass Iranian woman, and partly because they support independent designers.
Just so you know, this post is sponsored by Minted, and I would like to apologize to Minted for writing about episiotomies and anuses in their sponsored post. But they are in the business of wedding and birth announcements. I think they know what they’re getting themselves into. And really, is there an expiration date on a good birth story?
If you like reading posts with medical terminology, a swear word or two, and some pretty photos, join me every Friday by subscribing below.
Last weekend, we drove to Iowa to celebrate my nephew Graham's high school graduation. I want to share some photos of Graham's artwork. He is a talented ceramicist with an affinity for science. Or is he a talented scientist with an affinity for art? It doesn't matter. His future is bright and time will tell which direction he takes.
But it is worth delving into his earlier days. This boy, born with mad dexterity, struggled in grade school to sit still at his desk. He couldn't always control his impulses. He was the type of student who could have fallen through the cracks in a standardized system that sometimes fails kids who don't fit the mold. But he didn't.Read More
Have we changed the way we picnic? I recently watched an old Mad Men episode where the Draper family drives out into the country for a picnic lunch. The scene is exactly what you expect with a wicker hamper and a blanket. As they pack up to go home, Don tosses his empty beer can into the bushes and Betty flings the paper napkins and plates onto the grass, which made the internet really sad because no one likes a litterbug. But aside from the littering, has the art of eating on the grass changed?Read More
Remember my friend Peg, the modern day pioneer woman with a crow named Vladimir Putin? If you missed the post, read it here. It is currently the most popular post I've ever published and is responsible for lots of new subscribers. (Hello!)
Peg adopted Vladimir Putin as a baby last spring and spent last summer and fall spoiling him. You can see from the photo collage (above) that poor Peg cannot get through a paragraph of Elizabeth Gilbert's most excellent novel A Signature for All Things without Vladimir vying for attention. Maybe he too wanted to read about Alma and her quim. (Look it up.)Read More
I live in a saltbox colonial. When you come to my door, you will look for the doorbell. It isn't there. The man who built our house loved early American architecture. He incorporated many period-correct elements, like multiple fireplaces, wide-plank floors, and mullioned windows. But no overhead lights and no doorbells. I've always wanted to ask him why he stooped to include flushing toilets.Read More
Phew! It's done. I just completed my dating questionnaire, uploaded two flattering images, clicked 'profile complete', and am now anxiously awaiting my matches. Once I receive "today's harvest", as it's called, I will begin the process of swiping left or right. Please let me rise above my shallow nature and judge not on looks alone.
Because my son is depending on me as his new online matchmaker. A mother gone haywire, you wonder? Nah, I thought it would be funny.Read More
This week's post is about my friend Peg. As way of introduction, let's play "Five Truths and a Lie". In this game, you have to guess which statement about Peg is a lie. Ready? Here we go.
- In 1975, Peg boarded a Greyhound bus by herself to spend the weekend at her brother's fraternity house at the University of Wisconsin. She was five.
This collection took months to put together. Kris and I messed around with different frames. We tried chunky wood finials. A shiny orange vase. Worn baskets. I can't tell you how many iterations we attempted. Probably twenty. We got close a couple of times, but after stepping away for a day or so, we would come back, growl in frustration, and begin again.
The screenprint, titled "Winter Sun", is the work of Milwaukee artist Miriam K. Eaton who passed away in 2008. In 2013, I bought a large box of her prints and old posters without knowing much about her.Read More
On a cold and quiet school morning in February about ten years ago, I was toasting waffles when the phone rang. It was my next-door neighbor. She didn't usually call that early unless one of our kids had run away to her house. (Read that here.) Anyway, she told me that a wolf was attacking a deer under the treehouse in our backyard. I repeated her incredible message out loud to the four waffle-eaters sitting at the table.Read More
The couple in this photo are teacher and student. The photo was taken in the early 1950s. He looks like Salvador Dali with his pencil mustache, artsy beret, painter's smock and flamboyant tie. His lovely subject is dressed similarly and clutches a bouquet of paintbrushes. Their names are Hugo Martinez and Gisela Ballesteros and shortly after this photo was taken, they married. They have spent their lives in Bogotá, Colombia where they have dedicated themselves to the practice of art -- she as a painter and he as a sculptor.Read More
This is Meeko, a kitty cat who sashays onto a photography set and owns it. He doesn't mind the lights, the flash, nor the attention. He is a natural in front of the camera, and tomorrow, he will be the lead attraction in the shop's new April Fool's slideshow.
For those who don't know, I used to celebrate April Fool's by pranking my kids. This year, the only child left at home is out of reach, traveling with the high school marching band for spring break. So annoying.Read More
Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at the age of 49. She introduced America to the concept of a television cooking show, "The French Chef" at the age of 51. By the time she died at 92, she had authored numerous books, cooked on camera for hundreds of television episodes, been dubbed "Our Lady of the Ladle" by Time Magazine, won the French Legion of Honor, three Emmys and a Peabody, and perhaps in her opinion best of all, she was the subject of parodies on Second City, Saturday Night Live, and The Cosby Show.Read More
Last week, I took a class on Skillshare. I've written about Skillshare before. For $10 a month, I get access to free classes taught on many subjects, some by some very famous people like Seth Godin. In fact, if you are interested in trying it, please email me here and I will forward you an offer for 3 months at $0.99.
Anyway, this particular class, led by Andrew Knapp, is titled Photograph Your Muse: One Subject, Endless Possibilities. Andrew's dog, Momo is his muse. That dog might also be an early iteration of the 23rd century's Dalai Lama, as he is the most peaceful, friendly creature and allows himself to be posed in ridiculously adorable compositions. Go here to follow Andrew and Momo.Read More
This week I witnessed the ushering in of grief. A tsunami, a spilled glass of milk, a strike of a match. Cold waves, contents released, heat. It materialized out of nowhere. In a blink, my friend is whisked away to a new country, a land of sorrow, where I cannot follow.
I remain here, shaking, sad, troubled.Read More
This post is all about Instagram. If you have no interest, I understand. Feel free to click off the page. If you're leaving me, you might as well go somewhere fun. Check out this post of boudoir photos featuring one of my fellow bloggers, Shannon. Doesn't she look so sexy?
For those who are still in the room and want to talk Instagram, thank you! I'll be sharing a few tips that I have been using for all of twelve hours (because I'm a bozo), and then, at the bottom, I'll share a few of my favorite Instagram accounts.Read More
Back in September, I started a series called "What Not to Buy New," in which I talk about the categories of things that we ought to buy used or vintage. You can read Part One here.
Today's post is Part Two, about collectibles. Some of us collect quirky things, don't we? I bet you can remember with pride each time you found a piece to add to your collection. I doubt I need to encourage you to hunt for your collectibles in vintage and antique shops.Read More
I am troubled by the question of what to do with a few items I have which fall under the category 'black memorabilia'. All of these items depict black mammies, and from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I love them. The colors -- black, white, & red -- are striking. The rag doll mother and child were stitched by hand. Same with the framed appliqué canvas. And I adore cookie jars in the shapes of people or animals. A black mammy seems like a nostalgic symbol of home and hospitality.Read More
Many of you know that I shoot the photos for Finder Not Keeper in my home. As a result, the walls are painted a rainbow of colors. I also use wall decals. They help me achieve a different look out of the same color of paint. (Yes, yes, I know my husband deserves an award. My mother points it out regularly.)Read More