ewoks are the best woks

It's no secret that I come from a wide line of Star Wars-loving, sci-fi geeks. My torch does not burn nearly as brightly as others in my family, but; BUT, I took my long-standing desire to have my very own ewok out on my son for his second ever halloween. Probably the easiest costume I've ever made, and definitely my most favorite.

Leftover fur and curtains from when Joe was a jedi. Measured from overalls and a hoodie.

We took him downtown.

People were pretty stoked. Especially the guys.

But how could you not love this face?

So much fun.

Also, today's favorite creations from the internets. People are amazing.



one day, because i did not sleep, because someone is getting every single tooth at once, because i am too cheap, because i am afraid of looking like an anchorwoman, because i do not feel like doing the dishes or putting away laundry, because i need to drop some lbs, because i miss dying my hair, because my face is rather broken out, because the aunt is all the way in seattle, because it is all swiftly shifting,

i cut bangs.


rain and steps (of a few kinds)

It rained for the first time all season yesterday. I love it. Joey does not. Oh the conflict of a desert rat and a northwest girl. We even made it to church for the first time in ages. Also, because I am an old lady, I slipped and fell all the way down my porch steps and broke a hip. Not really. Banged up my knee pretty badly though, and scared the sweet potatoes out of my small son (who I was not holding, thank you for your concern). Makes for some challenging "crawl around and chase after me like a monster" playing.

Right now I am trying to teach the very athletic child that blocks are for stacking and not for throwing, as his aim has become surprisingly direct, and I am concerned for our new and fancy tv. He knocked the phone off its perch this morning, narrowly missing the new (sort of) and fancy computer. Yeep. I like my wild boy quite a lot, destruction and all. The most fascinating and encouraging thing to me has been with the intentional and gentle discipline and correction that comes with teaching another person how to interact in society and community and life. He is (for such a little dude) genuinely responsive and has this sweet little nature and sincere desire to obey. Trying to support that and meet him in that way. I like this adventure most days.


haiku for the whelmed

malted blue kitchen
enabled all of my life
almost bought a house

trying to be as
responsible as i can
finish paperwork

not doing too well
sleeping like a normal girl
adrenaline kills

a pink eyedropper
ibuprofen suspension
gums and crooked teeth


mr. joshua bennett is remarkable and i love this.

as well as this.

when one is living out their created glory you can feel it across your skin.



from an old journal i revisited tonight:


I am on my way to London, hopefully headed in the right direction. I got on the train to Malmô to find that I could go no farther than the entrance. It's crammed full of people. There is a family of sweet grandparents and three blonde, blue-eyed, lilting-voiced, young girls. An older girl is with them, lovely and beautiful in that European sort of way, but with kind eyes. That is not common. I am balancing on Elly's backpack with my toes against the wall in front of me. I understand the children. They're making a fort of scarves.

There are two thick army boys with their buzzed heads and hardened eyes. A gay man with a tight, black uniform and beautiful features squirms out of the bathroom. His eyes are fearful and tender and sad. I wonder what he has known. The wire waste-basket is above my knees, spilling out milk cartons and universal McDonald's cups leaking leftover coke. The little girls sing made up songs in the dancing language as the sun flashes into our cramped cabin. I feel God's tender heart.

I actually made it. To Malmô at least. How wonderful it will be to be among people who speak English again. As I was on the bus, watching the neighborhoods blink past in the dark sky, I thought I was in San Rafael again. How odd to forget you are on one side of the world. There is a man in gray, sagging around the edges with hair that is to young for him, flirting cockily with the information woman inside the glass box. His teeth are chipped in front as he smiles. I wonder if she finds them attractive.


feather head

morning doodle inspired by the washing of a down mummy bag the mice got to... safety pins do not a patch make. wahoo for cleaning out a feathery washer drum!

on a side note, the man pad of the garage is pretty complete! and livable! for people who aren't afraid of sleeping bag-destroying rodentia!

also, september is finally over. life is slowly coming back. as long as we stop having 90-degree weather, i will survive. and my house will be clean. post-summer clean.

also, my dog is mostly blind. which is sad. she seems okay with it, though. as far as i can tell. siah loves on her quite excessively. now that he is ridiculously mobile and can throw nearly anything, they are getting along relatively well. sometimes there is a lull in the mania and we find ourselves with some sweet, rockwellian moments. sometimes...


for kit

there are women in my world who have my heart as i have theirs. we exist through seasons and mountains and deserts and oceans. i would not survive my life nearly so well without them.

kit is moving to seize her life with the orff folk in austria for a year. this is so very, very good. and i will miss her quite a lot. made this for her the other night. because it is that sort of a season for her.



I love this guy. Hilarious. Wonderful. So fabulous. I've always wanted my children to be fluent in a variety of languages, but have seriously dropped the ball regarding my own fluency. Makes it hard to teach the small one. We speak rudimentary spanish, veeerrrrryyyy basic asl, and... well... english. It's actually kind of sad for me. I wish our swedes lived closer than sweden, the arabic boy was across the street, and that my high school spanish teacher wasn't such a discouraging whack job. One of the reasons I wish we were in the city. Easier access to the multicultural life. However, I know that as he gets older, we can seek it out and immerse as much as possible. Just need to make sure that we actually do.



I want:
hair like a twenties flapper
long enough naps for a full yoga session
to buy my house
a stress-free budget
to go to disneyland
my sister to visit
hiring to be complete
camp to come

I need:
to do the laundry
to clean the house
to drive to santa cruz and get siah's social security number so that i can do our taxes
to call my dad
to get my stroller from pleasanton
some serious excercise

notes from the day:
having a salad for lunch is voided by having nachos for dinner
small, shrieky men want to mash the keyboard instead of sit contentedly while you work
sunshine and time changes bring out so many more happy things than the exhaustion can conquer
oodles of old friends are pregnant and i want very much badly to love on them in person


a. yes, i'm weak sauce at the posting right now.
excuses: sick, mastitis, non-napping baby, busted dryer, crazy weather, yada yada yada

b. fall collections are oozing their way out and it is so nice to see fashion turning around after last year's sad tribute to economic depression. as off her noodle as donatella versace is, i wish i was a man because the leather jackets (and almost every other one) are so tasty. and galliano is as surreal as dali, but those suits are delicious. as much as i abhor pastels and glittery foofness, i think the chanel haute couture collection is remarkably beautiful. favorite website presenting collections: project rungay, for so many reasons.

c. we are deep in the throes of Friday Night Lights. i never want to live in texas. i moderately dread my continued life as a coach's wife. high school is hilarious and terrible and i'm very glad it's over. i LOVE the wife. that is all.

d. i like my boy even though he's a whackadoo. especially because he's a whackadoo.


rice cereal

apparently a success.



We have these friends, you see, and I love them very much. We live in our house on purpose, as it fits snugly between the bookends of the most non-family family that we have. In all honesty, I am terrible at making friends. Not terrible at being friendly, which confuses most people. I am quite friendly. I was a church wife. It is a prerequisite. I can turn "on" and be engaging and charming and lovely and it is most often exhausting. Social settings that include more than 3 people generally make me hyperventilate and rehearse conversational topics in my head.

Anyway. Terrible. I am terrible at growing friendships; at taking the acquaintances to the next, knowing level. The friendships that I have have existed for many, many years. The ones I am trying to grow are slow. I like to believe that because of this weakness, there is a rooty richness to those which are present. Yes.

A few months ago one of our bookends burned down. It was horrible and tragic and terrifying and sad. And even though it is only a year that they are not right there, I have deeply missed the casualty of the every day ease of our friendship. It is hard enough to have pieces of them across the ocean for most of the year, but to have even our same-street ones far down at the beach is a slow, quiet drain on my heart.

Luckily, this isn't as depressing of a post as it has made itself out to be.

Last night we started the year the week the season with my most favorite and missed neighborhood ritual: Sunday Wine Nights. This one involved a minor trek to the temporary ocean-front beach house, but it was most worth it. There is beauty and security and peace found sitting amongst my most favorite grownups, sharing bottles of wine, and talking about family and life and Jesus while taking in winter sunsets. The way our year was starting, with the plague and messiness, I was disheartened. I needed last night. I needed the grounding warmth of those guys, the night of listening and talking and time, in order to walk into this year well. The bookends have expanded a bit for now, but roots of those relationships are growing deeper and farther into my earth. For this I am thankful. For them I am thankful.


I am not one for goals. Not being a linear thinker, it has always been hard for me to track progress and find success in the steps. Also, I seem to find too much guilt in process, so I tend to avoid them altogether. But it's the new year. And I have a tiny son and family who'd like to know him and time and energy (hah) to explore wonderful and fascinating things. So here's to starting it well.

- blog 3-4 times per week (re: tiny son and fabulous items of fancy)
- walking with the tiny son (and whomever else would like to join us) 3 times each week
- drawing more. watercoloring illustrations. general and intentional creation. perhaps once a week to start?
- house is clean more often than not
- fresh bread every few weeks
- intentionally pursuing mom and non-mom relationships
- visit the library 1-2 times per month
- complete the following books this year:
- Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places
- Jesus Before Christianity
- Infinite Jest
(and fill in the blanks with the oodles of new fiction/etc. I've unintentionally accumulated in the last few months; i.e. Christy, The Hiding Place, Naked, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, miscellany Discworld, Teacher Man, Roverandom, Til We Have Faces, The Time Traveler's Wife.... you get the picture)
- make it to church more often than not
- be creative and financially efficient with meals
- wine nights with neighbors
- communicating more regularly with the girls and family
- creative and cheap date nights

That's all I have. My brain is being overtaken by my nauseous and slowly recovering self, as the family decided to kick off the year with the most horrific stomach flu I've ever seen. Seriously. Lost five pounds in one night. Great beginning for the post-baby body plan. Hah.

Also, thanks to my ridiculously awesome photographer brother, Michael Chiaravalle, for the lovely family photo.