Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New Friend

A feline friend. I heard her mewing in the street beyond our gate, as I returned from a beautiful evening kirtan. She came up happily leaning into my legs for a back rub, her scrawny little body longing for human contact.The kids were so happy for meeting her. We fed her and petted her. She has beautiful sparkling green eyes and a shiny black coat of fur.
Unfortunately, I am so allergic to cats that I could not think to keep her. She was without a collar, and we decided to offer her food and shelter on our porch, and if she stayed close, we would find a home for her. She dutifully offered a dead vole and several crickets this morning, so proud of her prowess. Since this morning, she has not returned. I know of a few cat loving people in the neighborhood, I imagine that she is being fed and attended to near-by. But we wait in the quiet of the evening to listen for her voice, to call her in and give her attention. I would like to help place her in a rescue if she continues to roam the streets.

Vivienne called her Skinny, and loves her so deeply. She reminds me of some of our favorite cat characters from books. Slinky Malinki is a darling mischievous black cat, just like our Skinny. And Jenny Linksy (and the Cat Club )series by Esther Avril are another family favorite about a little black cat and her friends.

We wish that you could stay with us, sweet little Skinny cat.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy (sweet) Tooth Day!

Yes, it was a tooth party in our house. Vivienne had a loose tooth that she boldly pulled out as soon as she realized that it was a bit jiggly. Can you believe that she once actually tied her tooth to the door knob and closed the door? No door required this time, but she sure knows how to get the job done!

The kids decided to make a cake in celebration. This love of baking seems to have been inherited by me. The girls found a recipe for birthday cake and then modified it to include grated carrot, and anise extract instead of vanilla in the batter. They insisted on making it by themselves, so I did nothing but turn on the oven and put it in to bake. Then they topped it with a lovely (very) vanilla whipped cream frosting. The cake turned out wonderfully moist and delicious! Then the kids got dressed up in their finest attire, dressed the cake with candles, and had a proper tea party. It honored the missing tooth for Vivienne, the loose tooth for Mia and the new molars for Jasper. Everyone got to join in the party!

three cheers for the tooth fairy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Celebrating Beauty

This weekend was a feast for my senses. It was absolutely wonderful! Days as these remind me to love my life, to savor my friendships and the beauty present in the most ordinary things, when afforded attention and reverence.

I had the honor of being present for my friend Nikki's Blessing Way. Carla washed her feel in a bowl of aromatic herbs. Petals of rose , chamomile and lavender floated in the water, as her worries were washed away, and symbolically discarded with the bowl of water. Beads were dedicated to Nikki, each bringing well wishes and positive energy for the coming of the new little one. The women brought amazing food, laughter and stories, and the light and joy surrounded us all. I feel so blessed to be present for setting an intention of love and welcome for the sacred journey of this baby's arrival .

Sunday was a day for silk dying with my handwork group. We experimented with natural dyes, as well as food coloring to fill in the gaps. The beet dye worked beautifully. I used the peelings from a dish that I was making, and then cooked the scraps on the stove top for half an hour. They produced a lovely soft pink hue. The other color that came out nicely was from the Coreopsis that grows prolifically all over my garden. It has reseeded itself everywhere, and it was easy to collect ample blossoms for the dye pot. I love to see the kids take delight in stirring the colorful waters and then to watch the brilliant silks dancing on the line to dry.

Evening came, and there was more joy to be had. It was time for my beloved monthly book club gathering. This group is so special because we have such a beautiful friendship among us, and we all savor the chance to share a really fine meal together as women. There are no picky eaters, who snub the greens or beg for pizza or macaroni and cheese. We all love fine food, and take joy in cooking a meal for each other, and sharing it over conversation and book discussion. Did I mention the desserts? Oh my, it is not for the faint of heart! Last night it was a luscious espresso chocolate mousse, and beautiful authentic french tartes. Words cannot describe the bliss of this meal!

My contribution was the Carottes et Betteraves Râpées from Clotide's amazing Chocolate and Zucchini blog. It was a refreshing way to eat beets, and I will make this many times again.

Oh, so much to love.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Late Summer Days

Already, I am noticing the signs of a change in season. The air is getting crisp in the evening, and the days are growing short. The garden is moving from the bright blossoms to the warm oranges and yellows of late summer. I am trying to savor every bit of sunlight and fill my memory with the sounds, tastes and fragrances of the season. Our week has been filled with summer delights. We picked tons of blueberries, built fairy houses, snapped pods of the lovely touch-me-not (also known as jewel weed- a dear friend to those of us who are sensitive to poison ivy.)

We worked on our CSA farm, took Grandma for a visit to our favorite swimming hole at the river, feasted on fresh veggies from the garden, and watched the Montford Park Players perform Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. It is a late evening for the kids, but they hang in there to the end. I am impressed with how much the kids love it.

Today they made their own production entitled "The Alaskan Princess and the Pizza Guy, " Mia narrated and played the African drum for sound effects. It was hilarious. Vivienne later became "Princess of the Kudzu Forest" as we took our evening stroll.

I discovered a new favorite pasta recipe, in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone (my very favorite cook book). It is corn flour spaghetti with fresh corn, tomato, cilantro and lime. I didn't have the scallions, but it was delicious. The kids even loved it and had extra helpings.

A life without love is like a year without summer

~Swedish proverb

Monday, August 3, 2009

Clowning Around

The kids all seemed to wake up with a punchy spirit today. Luckily they found a creative outlet! Vivienne pulled out our Artemis natural face paints and the fun began. Here is the visual tale of Vivienne and Mia the clowns, and Jasper the clown puppy. Later the theme changed to "the chimney sweep, the moon, and the little red robin hood" and finally Vivienne became a witch. It helped that the kids attended a balloon workshop at the library last week- the balloon hats all popped but we still have tons of little balloons floating about.

Some years ago, it was me dressing up with my little sister, Amy and cousin Nathan. It is fun to see the same passion live on in my own kids! After the neighborhood clown parade, we plan to make cucumber sandwiches and get out of the house for a bit.