December 22, 2010

The First Annual Tree

New Year's Tree 2010

(That's fun with the long exposure time, right?)

Last week we bought our first seasonal fir tree. I am totally thrilled. I've written about it before, but as a recap - I grew up having a tree every New Year's (the Russian nonreligious winter lights + gift exchange holiday), and although my nostalgia for it waxed and mostly waned through the I'm-too-cool years, ever since Lara was born I have been feeling like she is being deprived.

Deprived of what, exactly? I have only vague memories of the ceiling-scraping trees my parents put up and decorated every year. Mainly, I remember staying up past my bedtime, spying on the tree, and then proudly debunking the myth of Ded Moroz, the kindly old man who supposedly rode around on a sleigh behind a troika of horses and brought presents to all the boys and girls. Spoiler alert - the presents actually came from my parents.

On the other hand, I do have intense memories of the tiny, artificial tree that one of my grandmothers would set up every year. The memories are strange: not very visual, and instead almost entirely sensual. I wouldn't actually be able to describe what any of the miniature ornaments on it. But I strongly remember a kind of gut feeling of awe, magic, and delight - and a slight sense of taboo, probably because I wasn't allowed to handle any of the little hanging things.

Why was this the tree that made such an indelible impression? I have no idea. Maybe because it was one of the very few ways that our usually non-materialistic family expressed the specialness of objects. Or maybe simply because I loved small versions of everyday things. Either, way this year I am happy that we started what I hope will be an annual tradition - and maybe even a way to leave a little bit of magic in Lara and Jakey's memories.

Our Reindeer Friend

December 21, 2010

Hanukkah Gifts and Clues

Yes, that's right, it was that time of year again - time for the annual clue-la-palooza! This time we went for haiku, which are fun, easy, and fast. For those playing along at home, ready, get set, go!

Cooking tasty dish?
Still needs pungent allium…
Hands too tired to chop.

Cousin with lame clothes?
You helped, bought mozzareppa.
Now you get one too.

Going on a trip?
Off to see the fourth planet?
Tips on what to bring.

Too cold on the couch,
But winter TV beckons.
Snuggle under this!

Slender swaying reeds
Delicate and feminine
Captured on a strand

Now you won’t have trouble
With those pesky princesses –
It’ll guard their tower.

Chicken noodle? Borscht?
Latte? Cappuccino? Tea?
Serve them nice and hot!

Long before striped canes,
Seeing-eye dogs or brail type,
One man sailed the world

Cliff Lee ‘s a Phillie
Jakey may become a fan
Show him the Yankees

If straight copying
Is praise, then what is artful
Mockery? Tough love.

Butterflies are cute
But everybody thinks that
Only we like these

Currently empty
But meant to hold pretty things
Don’t forget water

Answers: 1) gadgety garlic mincer from Williams-Sonoma, 2) an impossible clue about an inside joke... but if you are dying to know, the answer is a shirt from Urban Outfitters, 3) "Packing for Mars", 4) super-soft fuzzy throw, 5) clay necklace from a local artist, 6) a dragon, aka one of the amazing shrinky-dink key chains Lara made for everyone, 7) soup/coffee mugs from Anthropologie, 8) biography of a blind 19th century explorer, aka "A Sense of the World" 9) tickets to Yankee stadium, 10) "The Oxford Book of Parodies", 11) photos of creepy-crawlies, aka "100 Centipedes", 12) Anthropologie vase

December 12, 2010

Warm Sleepies for Naaiii

I was half-heartedly looking around for some flannel sheets for Jakey's crib when it dawned on me - um, it's a fabric rectangle with folded-in edges and some elastic. Hey, me, I said, you could probably whip one of those up and then you could also skip the mandatory boy-related prints. Jakey came with me to the fabric store to help pick out the fabric. Ok, I dragged him along by letting him push the shopping cart around and quickly grabbed what jumped out at me as we ran by it at top 18-month old speed. A few hours later (don't judge, I'm slow with the machine), I ended up with this:

flannel crib sheet & pillow

I have the rest of the fabric pieces to make a reverse-coordinating set of sheet and pillowcase whenever I get around to it.

Whenever Jakey points to his crib he says appreciatively, "Naaaiii," alluding with great wisdom to the Good-Night song we sing to him before bed every day.

December 11, 2010

Oils Portrait

Oils - Danielle's son

A lovely lilac background for this great image of Danielle's son. It's a huge piece, 18" x 24", and the slightly-larger-than-life proportions look totally great.

December 10, 2010

Collage Portrait

Collage - Sharon & Bill

I am loving this portrait of Sharon and Bill - it really came out just how I wanted it to. It's interesting that in theory the stencil technique is the same as with the oils, but the element of the found ephemera transforms into almost a different genre.

December 9, 2010

Little language

I never really know how to start these, maybe because I post less frequently and it's hard to know exactly what voice to use, or to whom these posts should be addressed or directed. Sometimes I think it'd be cute if Jakey and Lara were reading this, years from now (yes, life revolves around those two, constantly, in all 4 dimensions); often I figure it's friends and family, and the kind people who follow along. That's quite a varied group. So I'm just going to launch in, with this as the only preamble.

Jake is starting to make more and more sounds, and it's the best. The funniest, though, is his interest: entirely boy things. I still remember before Lara was born Anna and I got all sorts of gender-neutral stuff, colors, decor, toys, books, everything was green and yellow, geared towards both genders. And Lara ended up a pink and purple, sparkle and glitter princess, and it's the best. And yet, surrounded by that, Jakey is all boy. I was holding him the other day, and their toys (by "their" I mean "almost entirely Lara's") were strewn over the floor of their room, and he started reaching for one, "ep, ep" (help, help) - in the middle of a pile of frilly princessy things, there it lay... the solitary car--calling his name; he had no interest in anything else, except the most vehicular object within the pile. And that is just one example; this guy is car ca-razy.
He has extended "caaaaa" (car) to "caaaa-busssh" (bus, or, truly, "car bus," but really he means bus). Some other relatively new Jake-isms:

"I!" (it's hard to write phoenetically - regardless, he says "hi" like "eye" and it's cute)
"Pipa!" (pizza... Jakey's a fan)
"Ci-kah!" (chocolate. Jakey's more of a fan. In fact, for the days of Hannukah, it only took two nights of candles for Jakey to learn that the order of events is: dinner, candles, chocolate -so as he tired of dinner he'd point to the candles, blabber a bit, and say "mooye" (more; as in, "enough of this dinner facade, get down to the good stuff, I want more chocolate)
"Aaahm" (arm)
"Buzsh" (Buzz, as in Buzz-comma-Lightyear)
"Ga" (go - and this may not sound cute, but when imperiously commanded by a one-foot-nuthin' chubby curly cherub, it's pretty cute)
"Bah-sh" (Bath - Jakey's favorite place on Earth)

Both help and up sound similar, "ehp," usually repeated rapid-fire until the correct result is rendered. "ehp ehp ehp ehp ehp ehp," if said while tugging on pants and looking upwards with big puppy dog eyes, that one translates into "up" pretty reliably. "ehp ehp ehp ehp ehp" if trying to unscrew something, or reach a fallen toy (fallen car, Jakey only plays with cars), translates as "help" pretty reliably.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a billion - he's enjoying the pre-verbal thing and is getting very good at communicating. He's a cuddly little guy and we love him!

Lara is ridiculously awesome and totally amazing, but stories aren't the same - she speaks perfectly, and complicatedly, and if I were to tell a story it'd probably be about yet another way she outsmarted or outmaneuvered or outnegotiated me.

Good night!

Something Blue

Oils - Dad & Linda

For my dad and Linda, with wishes, hopes, dreams for a long and happy life together!