Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday night on the Hudson

All the good pictures tonight were taken by Callie. Not these, these are mine. But she ran off with a smile and my camera, and on Thursday, maybe, you'll see some of those. But they are not mine to share. They are hers.

Mine show a slice of the Hudson River that sits before us, at our tiny little beach that juts out into the river, with a few picnic benches, some new sand, and everyone we know, there (at some point or another) for the same reason we are. To sit, watch the kids play, and be relaxed by the wind and the water and the sunset.

We all have that in common.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Happiness

Umm...I really got nothin' today. Well, I've got this picture, which is very pretty, I think.

I'm happy today because all of the girls went to school, even the one who really didn't want to. I was mean, today. Made her go. Not my normal m.o., to be honest. But I had to be grown-up about it today. Both of us did.

I'll make it up to her. Coffee Labs after school. We're making sushi tonight. Movies with her sisters. She'll be alright.

What else?

I like this photo blog a lot. And this one. And over at Habit, Molly's daughter gave herself a haircut. Sound familiar?

More and more, I'm drawn towards the combination of a picture a day + a few words. You'd never know it, from all these ridiculously long posts here, but it's what I'd like to do. Aspire to do. We'll see if I can make my camera see what I see, and then shut up long enough to write just few words about it.

I hope you all enjoy the weekend. Rumor has it the weather's going to pick up a bit come tomorrow.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Me, mom::Fifth

Me,mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me,mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

Three things we are most looking forward to this summer:

staying up late with the neighbors, watching movies;
giving Lindsey rides on the back of her bike on Pink Street;
tye-dying on The Cape with her step-mom.

staying up late with the neighbors, talking around a fire;
farmers' markets;

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Tuesday after, during which we're supposed to behave as if all is normal.

I know you are out there, sitting at your desk, thinking about how the stretch of beach was never ending, and how you could think about things on that walk that you can't, when you are driving in your car to the train station. There is more room there. It's summer there on the beach.

I know you are out there, looking at your calendar, trying to get out of the third meeting scheduled for today. Thinking about who you are going up against in doubles later on, after work . It's summer on the tennis court.

I know you are out there, teaching your students about The Colonies, knowing they are looking out the window at the sun, and barely being able to stop yourself from flinging open the window and yelling "Enough! Let's go home!" It's summer on the weekends only now, until the end of June.

I know you are out there, waking up kids who were babies the last time you checked, way too early in the morning, to get to school. Even though they were out with dirty feet, and bicycles, and dessert, way past a school days' proper bedtime. It's summer in theory now, if not in practice.

I know you are out there, dreaming of playing all morning, and splashing in the afternoon, and reading what you want, when you want, and eating watermelon, and going back to the places that mean summer to you. Summer is all you dream about all school year long.

I know you are out there, feeling like I am, that this early taste of summer, this early start of something you are not really ready for until the fourth of July, is bittersweet at best, cruel at worst.

Summer is here. Summer is not here. Summer is easy, but not when you are still living your un-summer life. Your school days work days worrying days not ready days.

Summer is upon us. And it is glorious. But it teases and taunts, while we still can't fully grab it and run.

Summer is almost.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
ps:: two more songs I like right now:

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Heartbreaking photos of a girl waiting for her sisters to come home from vacation.

We had a wonderful weekend, despite this evidence to the contrary.

Hope you did, too.

Back tomorrow, with the bright side. For now, here are three songs that are sounding like the soundtrack of my summer:

For now, waiting. Thanks for reading.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some scenes from a long weekend with not a lot to do.

I don't know if I mentioned that we have only one child around this weekend, and very few plans.

We have some work to do, though. The first issue of our art journal, Public Bookstore, will be published at the end of June. See how I phrase that, will be published. Positive thinking. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Etc...

We are very excited about this project; it doesn't really seem fair to call it "work". We are truly awed and inspired by the work we've put together, from an incredible group of artists. That we will have our names attached to something we are so proud of, including so many people we admire, is a privilege we take seriously.

But, we certainly are doing a good job procrastinating this weekend.

Gardening, napping, walking. Lots and lots of picture taking.

The neighbors must think I'm looney. The amount of times I've been "caught" standing on chairs and laying in the driveway and taking pictures of my feet. Oh, my.

Passing time waiting for peonies to open.

Seems like a decent way to spend a holiday weekend.

I miss the girls like crazy though. That is, when I'm not taking pictures.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Happiness

I'm in my kitchen, late afternoon, assembling the elements of another neighborhood Thursday night dinner. My youngest girls-10,11, and 4-are in bathing suits in the back yard, spraying each other and everything else with the garden hose, while they play an iPod on the smallest but loudest speakers.

The words of an absurd post-modern teen-angst love song come out of this small piece of plastic, blare over the sounds of their happy screams, and I am swept along with everything-the song, the squealing, the spraying-and I find myself welling up and choking down the most ridiculous tears I've cried in months.

It is something in between the fact that they sing along with such fierce, ignorant compassion, and the fact that I understand (more than they do) the appeal of the song, that makes me lose it.

Later on, I get up from the melee that is dinner with three or four families, and begin to straighten up the kitchen. And then stop. Walk back out, and sit down again with everyone. Pour a fresh glass of wine.


Even later, I walk out to the park with grown-ups who are setting up a game for the kids, in the dark. I look back up our driveway to see, backlit by the porch light, some girls in ballet tutus, some girls in bathing suits, still (again?), boys and girls with hockey sticks or flashlights, hear laughter and shouting.


In the end, when it was past time to go home, and the kids ended up having more fun playing than we did (a toss up, earlier), and still, we all sat there, young and old, listening to a story we had never heard before...well. I don't think things get any better than that.


I am forty two, and I am in love.

With kids, and neighbors, and Spring trees, and summery foods, and letting go, and digging in, and tasting, and laughing and crying, and saying yes, and breaking down, and sucking up, and pushing forward, and growing your own, and making from scratch, and playing games, and finding our way.

If I can do it. You can too.

Enjoy the weekend. Thanks for reading.
ps::and with you, too, sweetie.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


Me, mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.
Me, mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.
At our bedsides::
Callie: iTouch(bought with babysitting money and some help from Nana and PopPop), clothes ready to pack for the Cape, Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Tara: glass and bottles filled with water, tissue-paper forsythia made by Anna, Georgia O'Keeffe biography.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hi. Just stopping in to say hi. While I would like to claim that I've been busy laying around in fields of flowers, watching happy children frolic-sadly,no. I've been clocking a few hours (yes, hours) sitting around waiting rooms, and tending to bothersome details like yearly check-ups, and gruesome dental procedures, and trips to the post office.


Things are looking up, though. The long weekend is coming, which around here we've sort of collectively decided to start tomorrow. Some good plans are in the works: parties and other night-time games; a hike or two; definitely some late mornings; and perhaps, even, a drive-in movie.

It's good, I think, to have some things on the horizon to get you through the drudgery. What are you looking forward to?

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Morning Afternoon Love

I know this is not news to anyone, but man-oh-man, Monday comes on fast and furious sometimes.

We've got a few ailments running around this place, the most contagious of which is Spring Fever. Makes it hard to go to bed on time. Even harder to get out of bed on time.

Schools out, in my opinion at least, can not come soon enough.

Now, before you make the universal hand gesture...(not that one!)...for "gag me", hear me out.

It's not that I'm so crazy about running a taxi service cum sleepover camp for girls aged 4 to 13.

It's not that I'm a bigbigfan of the three H's of the east coast summer (that's hot, hazy, and humid, for those of you in a pleasant climate). Actually, my whole personality falls apart in the humidity. Completely.deteriorates.

It's not that I'm dying to wear the equivalent of full coverage underwear, in front of people I customarily meet fully dressed. I think the whole town pool club scenario is a living version of that recurring nightmare we all have about going to class naked.


I'm ready to relax.

And I don't just mean feetupcolddrinkpaperbackbook relax.

I mean, relax the rules a little.

Relax that knot in my tummy when there's homework still to be done on a Sunday night. Relax my thinking on bedtime and marshmallows and riding bikes after dinner. Relax about needing to wear shoes all the time, and pick out your clothes for school the night before. About needing to start dinner early, and for it to be anything more than tomatoes, and bread, and some cheese.
With fire-roasted marshmallows for dessert, maybe.

Are you with me now? Of course, summer is awesome for them. No one in the world needs to relax more than a kid after nine months of school days.

But it can be pretty awesome for all of us, I think.

I, for one, am ready to relax.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The View

from eyebuzz. Tenth in a series.
Dear Lisa and Maria,

Thank you for coming into the gallery today. And snapping me out of my Flickr-induced trance. And bringing (buying) me an essential cup of tea. And making me laugh. And inviting me to lunch (sorry Lisa), or to sit in your back yard (that's better, right?). And for making my day.

I totally forgive you for calling me a "townie" last summer.

Best wishes,

My view, today. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Happiness

I love::
girls who wear dresses, but still get grass-stained knees.

I love::
a soft rain starting at night, when we're ready to come inside, anyway.

I love::
the end of a good day.

I love::
Third Friday, today. Come visit us. Bill Mead, Vessel Paintings.

Enjoy the weekend! Thanks for reading.
ps::these photos larger, and more, here.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Me, mom::Third

Me, mom::how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me, mom::Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

Callie:: keeps forgetting: her lunch bag; which day of the week it is; to bring her bike in at night.

Can remember: her daycare when she was two; "the first twenty" on the periodic table of elements; every name on her extended family tree;

Tara:: keeps forgetting: to return library books + movies; to fill the tank with gas; orthodontist appointments.

Can remember: phone numbers from her childhood; lines from movies, verbatim; specific dates of all sorts of random events in her life.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Small matters

He talks largely about small matters and smally about great affairs.
James Thurber::My Life and Hard Times, 1933

I've not much to say here, on a grand scale. You...ahem...may have noticed this already.

Our life is very small. We travel a pretty small radius, with a small group of friends, small(ish) children. Small moments, small mercies, small victories. A small house with a small yard, and (luckily) a small park, out front.

But, I think, it is in all of these tiny ways, these not-large gains, these un-grand gestures, that we can begin to make a difference. We in our children's lives, you in yours, all of us in each other's. Our schools, our town, our world.

One.small.step. at a time.

Small matters. I'm putting all my chips on small.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photo project::Horizon line

While walking at the sculpture gardens on Sunday, Tim began to see a pattern emerge, and started shooting.
Horizon lines, everywhere. Check out the whole project (in progress), here.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Road trip, close to home

Yesterday was pretty close to perfect. I don't say this lightly. I know that I'm generally pretty cheery here, but believe me, it's not all sunlight and flowers, all the time.

But yesterday. Good. Flowing. Relaxed. Happy.

And a road trip, of sorts. Close to home, but it felt like miles away.

Art, gardens, families with whole picnic spreads, and snippets of conversations overheard, in several different languages; a mother duck with her ducklings, following; dogs on leashes; children, not.

It felt...European. Something about giving the people grand, exquisite places to spend time in, and the people rising to the surroundings. (I feel the same way about the National Mall.)

And from such an unlikely source. I can't really figure it out, quite. But I'm glad it is so.

For yesterday was nearly perfect. And this place had a lot to do with it.

We brought three different cameras, and took hundreds of pictures. Most of these are Callie's.
You can see them full size, here.

And look for a new photo project by Tim; (as soon as I can find the cord to that camera.) He's really on to something good.

Enjoy Monday! Thanks for reading.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day::wishes

::tea, and a morning movie, in bed.

::no quarrelling allowed. That goes for grown-ups, too. Especially grown-ups.

::blue skies, and a walk. Holding hands while the kids run ahead.

::handmade cards.

::A four-year-old's love poem::you're as warm as soup, and you smell good.

::handpicked bouquets.

::backyard nap.

::laughing with our mothers.

::not cooking dinner.

::a whole lot of "I love you."

::that they feel as loved as I do.

Happiness and love, mothers, all. May this day be just a little more special than the rest of them.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.



Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Happiness

{Well, I wrote this and then wasn't going to post it, because, um, who cares? if it's our anniversary except for us. And a little too much information, etc... But then, Tim just gave me this most incredible vintage tin picnic basket from Pretty Funny, which is a)the perfect present for me, who admittedly may not be the easiest person to buy a present for as I'm a little, er...particular... and b)the sweetest thing because we are really truly fresh out of fun money, and we really truly don't need anything, anyway; certainly not a vintage picnic basket. But then isn't that maybe exactly what we need? And, let's face it, isn't this whole silly thing a little too much information in the first place? And, I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's my blog and I can do what I want to. So...}

Because you asked me.

Because every time I hand you a cup of tea, you still look at me with those same, kind eyes.

Because you are the most patient person I've ever met. Because you need to be.

Because you and I have the same juvenile sense of humor.

Because we could both eat the whole pizza, but we share, slice for slice.

Because you are the smartest person I know, and you still want to learn about everything.

Because you make the bed every morning now, just to make me happy.

Because you make me get out and walk, even when I'd rather stay home.

Because you are still a puzzle.

Because we've gotten through the hard part. And it's still hard. But we're still here.

I'd say yes, over and over.

Happy Anniversary.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
ps::off on a tangent, but I love this.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Me, mom::Second

Me, mom:: how I sign my notes to my daughters.

Me, mom:: Callie and I, taking pictures of our days.

Mine on the left, Callie's on the right.

And a little something about us, each.

Callie:: favorite songs right now, Mr. Brightside (The Killers); Full Moon (The Black Ghosts); Eight Days a Week (The Beatles).

Tara:: favorite songs right now, No Light (Phineas and the Lonely Leaves); Visions of Johanna (Bob Dylan); anything by Jose Gonzalez.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dinner, Part One

I have been putting off writing a post about dinner for quite some time now. So long, that at this point, I've spent as much time thinking about why it's so difficult, as about the actual post.

We are all really busy, you and I. We have kids, we have jobs, we have homes, friends, foes, foibles. Lives.

Dinner, in any big family, is complicated. But as with just about any other subject, dinner in a big, blended family, is extra-complicated.

Perhaps it's been hard for me to tackle this subject because it cannot be separated from so many other things, which make for difficult writing at the least, and complex reading, to be sure. My most palpable fear is that what I have to say will be taken the wrong way, as some sort of manifesto, rather than what it is: simply, how we do things.

So, if you will, I proceed with part one: dinner with kids.



We have kids here But, with varying schedules, where some kids are coming home from school, going out to activities, coming back from practices, going over to other houses for the night, and stopping off briefly (I'm talking thirty minutes) for dinner, before going to the next thing, (and remember, this is just some kids, some of the time: some others are home, or coming home, or four, and waiting for someone to come home); dinner with kids could be a total crapshoot.

But, it's not.

Dinner with kids is eight plates and cups and bowls and napkins, around the table Tim's mom had in her house in Santa Cruz. It's and hour or two of prep work for thirty minutes of shouting and laughing and whining and "would you please put your bottom on your chair" and a million other things.

But it is not a crapshoot.

It is me, planning, choosing, buying, preparing, setting, cooking, drinking, (oh! did I say that out loud? but seriously, do you think I'm doing all this without a glass of wine?) and putting out, so that when the last girl is home, the last one has changed her clothes, and done her homework, and put her bike in the garage, and charged her iPod; when the last girl has brought her violin up out of the front hall to her room, filled out her reading log, cleaned up the scraps from collage-ing; when they've all at the very.last.minute come back from the neighbors' trampoline, and we've shuttled out the door any kids who are not ours (sometimes); when they've all washed their hands: we can eat.

::Tim makes pizza: we buy Whole Foods organic pizza dough for $1.49 each, white or wheat. We make our own organic tomato sauce ($1.19 a can), fresh mozzarella (really expensive, but essential), basil (fresh and free, all summer in the yard), sometimes peppers, rarely other toppings. We're light on toppings, but big dippers: hot sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (sometimes all together). The crust is that good. I should really just be writing a whole pizza post.

::We make burritos: flour tortillas, black beans cooked with salsa and lime juice, brown rice, shredded cheddar (no cheese for JoJo, if you recall), hot sauce (again, always) and grape tomatoes halved with lime juice and cilantro. (I suppose it's the lazy version of fresh salsa.)

::Our girls are big salad eaters, as long as I have the right stuff. I wouldn't buy iceberg (although I love it, don't get me wrong), but I do buy romaine hearts ("the crunchy kind.") when I can't get good, fresh mixed greens from the market. They fall into two camps: ranch (one girl stands alone, here) and vinaigrette. But we've made whole meals out of "salad bar", where I put out everything from roasted chicken, shredded, and nuts, cheeses, sunflower seeds, etc...and they make their own.

I find anything that they can customize works well: salad, baked potatoes, tacos, omelets, etc...

::Pasta of course is my favorite thing to give them. I feel that if I've cooked a homemade sauce, good garlic bread, and a fresh salad, I'm pretty much done. I directly attribute this to a book I used to read to my nephew about Elmo's first sleepover, at which this was the meal that comforted him at his friend's house. At the time, I was a childless twentysomething and took this to be "what families with kids eat." I still think "they" were not far off.

::We grill often, year round: Tim grills all sorts of things: burgers and dogs (organic and nitrate free-easily found and not all that expensive), pork tenderloins and the occasional steak. Tuna steaks are a huge hit, but man, are they a budget breaker. Really good though. And make excellent tacos the next day. He's even been known to grill burritos.

He has that "man make fire" thing. You know what I'm talking about, right?

::I love to make things in casseroles: lasagna, real mac & cheese, chicken pot pie, this pasta dish with vegetables I made up one day, in Maine last summer, that I still can't believe the kids like as much as they do.

::No Knead Bread. Always.

::Milk, and then bottles and bottles of water.

Oh, is one of you still awake? I'm sorry, I know this is probably tedious. But this is exactly my point. It's endless. Tedious. Complicated.

Dinner. For eight. Over, and over again.

But you know what? It's really my most favorite thing to do.

It's not always my favorite time. I'm tired. I've just spent hours preparing what they are either complaining about, or devouring in an instant, loudly.

But they are doing it right next to their sisters. Across from their mom and their dad. Playing out the end of whatever mood they were in for the day, and trying out all sorts of ideas about themselves they can't dip their toes into anywhere else. Playing off of everyone else at that table, knowing that no matter what, we will all be sitting next to them the next time, asking them to pass the whatever, and loving them, all the same.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.


ps: breakfast, lunch, and snacks, here.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Road trip::Woodstock NY

Road trip with a purpose: to bring back the work for Bill Mead's next eyebuzz show, starting May 14.
Years ago, in Provincetown, Bill was making paintings with a vessel motif: mostly teapot shapes. They became so admired, coveted and sellable, that he was turned off from making them any more.

Until recently. He has come back to the abstracted still lifes of vessel shapes, with much success. His next show at the gallery will be made up of recent works in this theme.

Here are some shots from Bill's current studio outside of Woodstock, NY.
We also had a tour, with a very cute guide, of the "green" house Bill has been building for the last year or so. We look forward to the next studio visit, when the "fours" are almost "five", and the "new house" is home.

::Jennifer Judd-McGee's show will run until May 8.
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday morning words of wisdom

On the trees, in Woodstock, seen on our Sunday road trip (more on that later).
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekend dispatch::joy edition

A weekend is best when it includes:
Lots of time to sit and think. Sit and talk. Sit still.
Friends. Food. Footsie.
Park tennis. (No net needed.)
Surprises. Presents. (No birthday needed.)
Salad. Cheese. Chocolate.
Hugs. Kisses. A little bit of crying.

Bonus: a road trip. More about that tomorrow.

Enjoy. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Happiness

Welcome, Friday. Weren't you just here? Wasn't that yesterday?


It's a little grey and rainy today, and thank goodness for that. I need a day where it is less compelling to take a walk, than it is to fold the laundry.


I have two books on my table to devour today:

My fellow Tarrytown mom, Lynda Fassa's second book: Green Kids, Sage Families. This is a thought-provoking, invaluable and entertaining guide to all the small changes we can make to raise healthy, happy kids. There is so much enlightening and important information in this book, and at the same time it is down to earth, and real-life inspiring.

Lines and Shapes journal FEAST: this is a small jewel of a book, with evocative pictures and simple drawings. It moves me. I hold it like a bird. I may sleep with it under my pillow.


I am in thrall to the trees. I am in love with dogwood. I am mesmerized by the redbud. I am inebriated with lilac.


I am counting the hours until the first Stone Barns Farm Market of the season, today.


I don't think the laundry stands a chance, after all.
Enjoy the weekend! Thanks for reading.

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