Sunday, August 26, 2007

meet Jasper

He's a very polite and mild-mannered boy.

He was kind of an impulse dog, if you will. Not that we hadn't been planning to get a new dog. Eventually. Which for J meant sooner than it meant for me. Of the two of us, he's the real dog person, and despite my foot-dragging, he had begun trawling, looking for possible candidates. Fast forward a few weeks, and we found ourselves at the shelter (hey, how'd that happen?), where we fell in love with Jasper's composure and affectionate nature and, truth be told, his superficial resemblance to our dear departed Thisbe.

Iris was asleep when we got home with him—she’s on the mend, but not all the way better, and still sleeping as much per day as the average cat—so she did not meet him till early the next morning. “Just you wait,” we said to Jasper that first night. “You think you’ve been adopted by such a nice, quiet, mellow family. Just wait till Little Miss Smother Dogs With Love wakes up!”

In her fever dreams, Iris has been traumatized by foxes, so we were a little worried about what would happen if she woke in the night and came into our room only to find what appeared to be a real fox lurking there. But J played defense between them all nght, and when morning broke, all was well. She reached out and very lightly patted his velvety head, and then she actually said, “We got a new dog! Hooray!”

Other recent happenings of note:

Iris' school art show. The Japanese mother of a boy in her class made these paper cranes out of the kids' artwork, which I thought was really great.

Iris helped her dad make a fresh peach pie.

And she had her first sleepover with Anya. In the morning, they made breakfast in their pajamas and aprons. Mmm, play-doh pancakes!

J gallantly took the girls for the evening part of the sleepover, since my friend Kat was visiting from Ithaca and we were invited to a girls' night of pesto and wine at another friend's house. Got home at 2:30 a.m. Felt 28 again. Until Anya and Iris woke up a scant four and a half hours later. Oh, right, that's why I don't do that anymore!

Monday, August 20, 2007

it's raining again

Hello, and how have you been this past week and then some? Here, our rain barrel runneth over. We had bad news this week, then more bad news, then the kind of news that makes you wonder if everything really does happen for a reason. I don't know. We're equilibrating, holding our breaths to make sure it all really is going to turn out all right. (What if it doesn't?)

On top of this, Iris is under the weather, which is pretty low indeed. It started with her voice "feeling crooked," then like she had "orange thread in her throat." By yesterday she was feverish, complete with hallucinogenic fever dreams. She is not prone to this kind of sickness and it's kind of scary. I mean, she actually asked to go to bed – before 8 P.M. Who are you and what have you done with my healthy, vivacious child?

But with wet weather pre-empting any work on the backyard fence and a poor sick kid who's slept 20 out of the last 24 hours, I've had plenty of indoor project time (when I haven't been compulsively checking on Iris to make sure she hasn't incinerated in her sleep).

Does making curtains count as craft? I don't think so – I think it's really just measuring, cutting, and hemming. But making curtains has kept the old sewing machine humming the past few weeks.


J's office:

Third-floor bathroom, badly in need of paint:

Playroom, badly in need of sunlight:

Iris' big-girl room to be:

I've also been working on all-new table linens, since I tire of the old ones I made ten if not twelve years ago now. I had this idea to make a set of placemats and napkins for each season. These are the spring ones, completed some months ago now. I hope to have pictures of summer (a little late, but who's counting?), fall, and winter soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

scenes from a weekend

Iris' new favorite video: the blueberry cobbler demonstration from America's Test Kitchen. "Mama, can I watch blueberry cobbler?"

She made a shoe out of salvaged cellophane and masking tape. That's my girl!

We went to Medha's first birthday party

at Moraine State Park.

I am totally moving Iris' birthday to the summer so we can have outdoor picnic/swimming parties. Also, I am converting our ethnicity to Indian so the food will be as good as it was at this one.

Revenge of the nap.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

it's raining, it's pouring

So, no pool today after all. We're taking a rain check, quite literally, but you won't hear me complaining, because it's the kind of good soaking rain we need to revive our poor tomato plants. Plus, the cool air is a relief.

It's been a challenge being inside all day, though. None of us is used to it.

My rainy-day project was making a curtain for our inner front door (our house has a vestibule, so we have two sets of doors – actually three in summer, including the screens) out of organza ribbons. I've had the idea, and those ribbons, for years. Attribute the delay to second thoughts about the whole idea of a curtain – the longer we lived without our previous one, the longer I liked the light and transparency of the bare window – compounded by uncertainty about how I would actually construct the thing. I wanted the ribbons secured to both a top and a bottom rod so they wouldn't flutter when the door was opened or closed. Not rocket science, but I knew the solution would be tedious. And so it was.

But now it's done and I'm really happy with the result. From some angles, the different colors and widths of ribbon are very apparent; from others they almost vanish into a sort of shimmery, barely translucent screen. I'm glad a rainy day got me to revisit this project.

Final score: me, one. Procrastination, infinity minus one. I'm still counting a victory.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

375 fun-lovin' degrees

It's the temperature our blueberry cobbler is baking at (or should I say, like the proper English major I am, at which our blueberry cobbler is baking), but it feels like the my body temperature right now. I am sweltering. Withering. Wilting. Hello, August. Why are we baking, again? Because we are rolling in blueberries, that's why.

I am hoping to show some things I'm working on soon, but I'm not sure I can get anything else done until I get my studio under control, and it is just too hot for that kind of effort. The most effort I can muster is for staying up late to watch Sopranos DVDs, which I've been getting from the library. J and I are finally stepping from the cultural sidelines into the mainstream. So what if the mainstream passed under the bridge eight years ago? Who's counting?

Meanwhile, my love affair with my new bike continues, at least in the mornings and evenings when it's not too blistering to be outside. I got a nifty detachable basket for it so now I can carry Iris and my purse, water bottle, lock, and packages. Thus equipped, this morning I set out on a couple of Uninspiring Errands, which fortunately took place in an Ever-Interesting Neighborhood. I pedaled past a rack of never-worn 1950s dresses on the sidewalk, then (can you hear the screech of tires?) executed a rapid about-face to stop and peruse them. I ended up trying on two and buying both after a lengthy internal debate about whether this one was too busy:

But I so loved the cut of it and especially the sleeves, which have fins just like the cars this dress would have ridden in:

And though I have not really been on the whole mustard-yellow bandwagon this summer – let's just say that the color does not flatter my northern European pallor – there was never any doubt about getting this one:

It even came with a little matching butterfly jacket. I'll probably mostly wear the dress without, but cute, no?

The guy who was selling the dresses said they came from an old woman who bought them 50 years ago and just stored them in her closet. Indeed, most of them had the tags still on and they looked just printed yesterday.

In case you can't read the fine print, that tag would have you believe that Flairlin is "The finest man made fabric available." So quaint, that atomic-age enthusiasm for all that is unnatural! But that's just the jacket; the dresses themselves are cotton and crisp as potato chips.

Speaking of which, tomorrow we're invited to a picnic at the home of friends who have a pool. Counting the hours....