The Kitchen Window

I have this great view out my kitchen window.  I love watching the neighbor kids play; Boo running up and down what we might loosely call "lawn."  I love having the neighbor boy kick the ball over to our side and watch him retrieve it.  It symbolizes our warm and friendly relationship as neighbors.

But at dusk?  At night time?  They call this "The TV screen."  [Never mind that it's as boring as real TV.]  We've playfully talked to each other on the phone, while waving at each other through that screen.

Fabric name: "Fresh"
"What's a girl to do?"  I am not a fan of curtains.  Or lace.  Or frou-frou of any kind.  Short of a renovation or expensive up/down mini blinds, I was left with a trip to Joanne's Fabrics.  I went in thinking I wanted white, or muslin or something plain and severe and architectural.  But this caught my eye:

It reminded me of my childhood.  I think my mother had bright yellow curtains in our kitchen that she made.  Isn't the kitchen full of memories for you?  For many of us women, isn't there a special connection to our mothers that was made and broken and made again in the kitchen?

So, my intellectual architectural self had to step aside and let my emotional reminiscent side thread the bobbin, set the stitch and press the seams down on this one.

I'll miss the view but I don't think my neighbors need to see reruns all year long.  ;-)


Do the Hustle

Death be not proud.

We know you're dancin' up there, buddy. The Hustle will come back to you like...well, like riding a bicycle. But we miss you down here. See you later, sweet, sweet friend.


Fashion Friday, or Blackbelt Strikes Again

Blackbelt, dressed as an ordinary mom, stealthily by day or night, frequents thrifts stores and yard sales...all in the name of fashion justice.

Just last week, she found and rescued these fashion basics, bringing them to a warm, loving home, where they will be washed inside out with mild detergent and hung on satin hangers.

Black cotton jersey.  From H&;M.
Worn with a tank under, a bit like this?

I am always warm.  So even in the winter, I am wearing short sleeves.  I've got plenty of V-necks because that's more flattering on me.  But I needed some scoop-necks to wear under denim jackets or cardis.  It's hard to find good basics, I found this deep scoop neck is more flattering on me than a more modest one.

By Ideology.
I was scanning the internet for the right look, and I found one at my friend Jo-Lynne's blog:
From Francesca's Collection
What do you think? Pretty close, huh?

This one, too, but a longer silhouette that I can wear over leggings:

It's brand new!  It's organic!  and it's actually a grey-purple.  By Toggery.

And look at this beautiful silky top! I want to find a pair of straight jeans in an unusual color to wear with this:

In 2 shades of gray by cdr

Closest I could get but not this tent-ish.

I've been looking for a sporty winter something:

Eddie Bauer down vest

I'm not the outdoorsy type but here's an outdoorsy look that'll help me pretend!

And last but not least, this black, silk top from my favorite store - TJMaxx:

On clearance for $7

I'm thinking something like this - with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt.  (I wish I could belt it but that's not the style for me at this point):
Not perfect, but really wanted to show you!

All six items for a grand total of $26.00.  SCOooRE!!!

*Thanks to Eddie Bauer and Ann Taylor, my stylists.  ;-)


Being Baby

At the ripe old age of 8, children seem to start their march to the beat of social norms.  One of them seems to be trying to shed the image of youth, calling someone a "baby" one of the cruel but common taunts.  They also seem to separate themselves by pre-defined gender roles.  Girls play "girly" stuff with girls, and boys show their athletic prowess with boys.

One of life's difficulties for Boo is that he doesn't understand any of those social norms.  He is just as ready to play with a boy as a girl and just as willing to play with a 3-year old as with a 12-year old.

He is hurt that he isn't allowed to join the girls, even though a couple of them are good friends of his and have come for play dates.  He was shunned by several kids last year because he would quote the Teletubbies, because he thought they were hilarious!
It would actually upset these kids as if they were personally attacked, yelling, "That's for babies!!"  Boo isn't interested in Pokemon or Spiderman or the DS.  He isn't envious and doesn't follow the norms just to belong.

He has a bully in his class that day after day, week after week, rules over the other boys with his physical prowess and excludes Jinsok with the dreaded words, "You can't play!"  I advised him that this boy is no friend, and that he should stay away from him.  With uncharacteristic angst, he protested,"But the Bible says I should try to be friends with him, mom!"

This same bully has been harsh to one of Boo's classmate but Boo has stayed true to him.  In fact, this little boy said to me that Boo was the only one that was still his friend.  But when Dylan was allowed into the bully's circle, Dylan obeyed the groupthink and did not play with Boo.  Lately, Boo has made friends with some kind older boys and has left his classmates behind.

Boo loves to wear a shirt and tie, because he loves looking like his dad.  [Stay with me here.]  On Chapel days, he always wears a shirt and tie.  Except that he told us he and Jason were going to wear a t-shirt which they both own.  We reminded him that he had made a promise to a friend but left it at that.  He came back out of his room, wearing the t-shirt and said, "I can wear a shirt a tie to church on Sunday."

So my rhetorical question is, who is a "baby" and who is mature?  Do we teach our children to grow up by associating their "maturity" with certain toys and tv shows?

Do we, as adults know the difference between worldliness and maturity?  Between information and wisdom?



So Far Away

We held onto the last scrap of summer, refusing to believe that the corner of that shimmery scarf would slip out of our hands.  But all this week, I've awoken to temperatures in the mid-sixties.  It was cold enough for me to holler at Boo to wear a jacket, knowing full well it would be discarded on the play ground blacktop.  Summer is gone; Autumn is here.

But I recall the shimmery, soft scarf, its reality is with me.  Not sere nor not surreal, but real.



What is Real

“To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential."

-Dietrich Bonhoffer



I cringe when I hear "Asian inspired."  I cringe almost as much if I hear "Tribal inspired." There aren't a lot of people who understand the word "inspired" in a true design sense.  And when they are ignorant enough to use terms like "Asian" or "Tribal," or Heaven forbid "Ethnic,"  I know my bp is going to shoot through my designer chapeau. 

When I was in grad school, laying over the drafting table with mechanical pen in hand trying not to smudge the line (the computers in the CAD lab for non-designy geeks,) there was a term coined by my favorite professor:  Put-a-tecture.  It's the designer who didn't understand the underlying structure, theory or concept of a certain style or period of architecture.  Instead, the poor student would browse through architecture fashion magazines and pick out pieces of buildings he liked and "put-a" here and "put-a" there on his -tecture.

Fashion design can be like that.  Take the shiny, cheap silk, embroidered with overused icons - storks, pagodas or Heaven forbid, Geisha - and just make it into something "western," and Voila!  (If I can mix cultures here) there you have some "Asian inspired."  Or, here's something unfortunate from no less of a fashion house than Dior:
All he forgot was the coolie hat.  This is from 2008, not 1988.  Let's do some Amish Shunning of that.

And which part of the 17 MILLION SQUARE MILES of the Asian continent are we talking about?  Hmmmm?

So imagine my surprise, let's make that joyous, ecstatic surprise, when I saw the Spring 2011 collection by Carolina Herrara.  She didn't insult with "Asian" inspired.  It's Korean inspired.  Here's the inspiration:

And here, Carolina Herrara is just flat out phenomenally "inspired:"

I have to say she is not the first one to draw on Korea.  Korean designers have been doing it for awhile.  (The problem with this one, right, is that it may look beautiful to some, but those of us familiar with Korea see something too literal.  Those "gowns" look just like the traditional skirts - but without the tops that go with them, so they look slightly obscene to me!)
Carolina Herrera is the first master designer of international fame to do it and really get it SPOT ON.  Thank you, Cah-roleeena!!  MWAH!


Boo has a good friend Z in his class, who is seriously in the running to marry.  When he's 25.   Her little sister started Kindergarten this year.  Boo loves Z and T. 

He told me he saw T at Chapel.  I said, "Did you say 'hi'?"

"Yes, mom, we communicated."

Well, excuuuuse me! ;-)


Summer Days Gone By

Boo has expanded his preoccupations from elevators, fires stations and skyscrapers to include spiders, insects and dinosaurs.

So, on a coolish summer day, we took the train to 30th Street Station to the Academy of Natural Sciences.

We ran away from some jaws, peeked through some skulls, took time to be a paleontologist and ate an awful lunch at awful prices.  (can I make a joke that the pizza must have been made during the dinosaur years??)
I had to carry all 60 lbs of him, and my the backpack across the length of the parking lot to our car...then home.


Comout Comout

My feed tells me you're all visiting me but not leaving a calling card.  Do a girl some good and leave a comment.  We bloggers, even small timers like me...or especially small timers like me? 

We <3 comments.

We can't always answer'em, but we love getting'em.

Being Yin

I sense the unceasing silence of the night
a damper around my head.

This whirling winding wonder
not surrendered
but overcome
Even his sleep seems alive
No yin to his yang

I bend over him
   Siberian tiger stares back at me
   (cheetah, rabbit, snake, spider, otter...)
My old bones are already aching
I hover pure love
his unimaginably beautiful face
his fleshy hands, bitten down nails
his hair askew

I am the temporary Guardian

He sits up and his eyes are seeing another world.
He looks around - at me past me.
He turns again
his eyes stop


"hmmm?" I hum.

Then his eyes turn gentle: yin

He lays back down
into a soft cloud of tranquility
or so it seems to me
or I hope.

Then I hear the cheep-cheep chirping of the night.

Sticks and Stones

Late at night
when Boo's been slumbering for hours
I lean over him
Kiss him once
(he turns his head and wipes away the moist)
Kiss him again
(he might wake up)

and whisper in his ear "Oma loves you."

"Oma" so he's reminded in this (white) world that he belongs to me.

Kiss him again and again, at the risk of waking him
I think he remembers my kisses
misses them when I don't.

He won't remember them when he bounces out of bed
When he's watching PBS kids.
or saying the Pledge.

But I will.

My kisses and whispers are like pea gravel
plop plop
that I drop against his foundation
where the insults of this world
the stones cast on him
  ("you can't play")




Sabbath Verses

 3 The God of Israel spoke,
       the Rock of Israel said to me:
       'When one rules over men in righteousness,
       when he rules in the fear of God,
 4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
       on a cloudless morning,
       like the brightness after rain
       that brings the grass from the earth.'

-2 Samuel 23


All About Me

Boo filled this out today.  If you are a Christian, this is the dream for your child:


The Last Days of Summer

Hamming it up!


The drink that refreshes!


Love my dad...

Swan Boats in Boston's Public Gardens (co-ho co-ho!)

Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouck, Pack and Quack