Archive for April, 2007

Mixed emotions.

Monday, April 30th, 2007


That’s our Zagazoo, at about a week old, passed out on my arm after some yummy mama milk. He’s been an avid nurser for 23 months now – and no signs of stopping. I’ve heard of folks expressing the opinion that when your kid is old enough to ask for milk, they’re too old to still be nursing. I disagree, and not only because Zag’s been asking for milk with his version of the ASL sign since he was about nine months old, still just a wee babe. Now that he’s so verbal and grown-up, having him ask for milk and enjoy it with such evident relish is very gratifying for me. It’s the payoff for all the months when it was taken for granted, back when he was tiny. Now he appreciates it, and so do I. (more…)

Interesting… but exhausting.

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

My friend Dylan has started an interesting thread on her Anglicanism blog. She’s asking liberals/progressives and conservatives/”reasserters” (that’s new terminology for me… apparently I haven’t been keeping up) to write in and contribute to a list of beliefs we *do* share. She’s collected quite a list of responses so far. A lot of folks, left, right, and center, have written in with good intentions, genuinely trying to contribute to the conversation – heck, just being in that conversation is a remarkable thing in our church right now, regardless of any outcome. A few progressives wrote in to say, ‘Hey, interesting project, but I’m not sure I’m with you on the Jesus = Lord thing, or the bodily resurrection,’ or whatever. And a few reasserters wrote in to say, ‘This is a stupid project because we disagree so fundamentally and even if liberals say the right things, you know they don’t mean it.’ (more…)


Thursday, April 26th, 2007


I finally finished the icon of Rigoberta Menchu that I was making for my friend in exchange for some child care this semester. I still think I got the sweet end of the deal! – but she very graciously insists that she is happy with this barter arrangement. I had fun making this one – Rigoberta wears bright colors and lots of patterns, which was a challenge but interesting. (more…)

What makes a thrift store good?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I stopped by my neighborhood thrift store today, a small church-run shop. It’s about three blocks away, but I’ve been there no more than five times in eight months of living here. When we lived in Carrboro, NC, our back door was about 150 feet from the local PTA Thrift Shop, a big place that I checked in on at least twice a week. I haven’t logged those kinds of hours at the shop near me now because it doesn’t meet my Good Thrift Shop criteria. And a bad thrift shop, any bad thrift shop, is just sort of depressing and tiring. I’ve gone into bad thrift shops before and found things I would actually like to buy, but been so bummed out or irritated by the atmosphere that I put stuff back and leave empty-handed. I’m hoping to volunteer at my neighborhood shop this summer, because I’m interested in the concept of church-run thrift shops – I want to run one someday! – and I’m sure I can learn something from them… who knows, maybe I can bring some good thrift shop energy their way, while I’m at it. (For the record, I got a very nice summer hat and a bag of random but interesting beads there today, both only somewhat overpriced.)

So I’m taking this occasion to write a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, on what makes a thrift shop good, in my opinion as an avid and fairly experienced thrift shopper. (more…)

Just how weird is this bird?

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

OK, Jen, here we go. Six weird things about me, in no particular order, and with no guarantee that these are actually the six weirdest – really, I think I’m probably the person least qualified to assess that matter. Tilt has declined to be surveyed. Maybe Baba Yaga will, as threatened, weigh in. Hey, everyone could pile on! It would be interesting to know what others find, uh, distinctive about me… Anyway, here are my picks, after thinking half-assedly about it for a couple of days.

0. I’m not really going to count this, because this is the kind of self-conscious, chosen weirdness that doesn’t quite belong on this sort of list, but plenty of people find my and Tilt’s parenting practices pretty odd… the fact that I’m still nursing our almost-two-year-old and have no plans to wean; the fact that he still sleeps in our bed and we have no plans to move him out; etc. We’re so alternative… sadly.

1. If you type my name into, you come up with two hits. (more…)


Thursday, April 19th, 2007


Isn’t she beautiful? I love this photo, just love it. I especially love that she’s knitting – with very small double-pointed needles, no less. I wish I could tell what she’s working on – I’m guessing something practical.

The Episcopal Church’s calendar of quasi-saints, as contained in our book Lesser Feasts and Fasts (helpfully indexed here), chooses July 20 to honor four great leaders in the 19th century’s struggle of women, white and black, for liberation. Since EDS isn’t in session then, and it seems a shame to miss that feast, we honored them this morning at our Community Eucharist, four months early.

Sojourner Truth was an eloquent preacher and passionate advocate for the rights of black and white women alike. Harriet Tubman risked her own life repeatedly to lead others to freedom. Amelia Bloomer (don’t giggle, it’s serious!) was a gifted journalist who recognized that women’s oppression was made material in their restrictive clothing. And Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a courageous and outspoken leader in the feminist and abolitionist movements. We have few leaders of their calibre or courage today.

I’m working my way back towards normalcy (with a lingering undercurrent of sadness) since my last post. Perhaps by tomorrow I’ll be ready to attack the question of which of my many peculiar traits are the six weirdest, as requested by my friend Jen.


Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Tilt and I lived in Carrboro, NC, from August 2002 to February 2005, while I finished my anthropology degree at UNC. In Carrboro we became part of a circle of thirtyish couples, most with one or more partners in grad school. We met as neighbors, or by being in the same department, or by joining the Carrboro Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group. I met my friend Steffi through the knitting group, and through our mutual friend bugheart. Steffi is a sweetheart, a pale German beauty with a keen intellect, a gentle sense of humor, and a warm smile. We got to know her husband, Jamie, too, through Stitch ‘n’ Bitch meetings, a couples Game Night at their house, and other casual intersections. Jamie seemed like an utter dear – funny, smart, progressive, kind. Ponytail and glasses – I like that in a man. Tilt remembers that Jamie was the instigator for a Kitsch ‘n’ Bitch series, for the husbands of the Stitch ‘n’ Bitchers to get together and watch bad movies – martial arts, he thinks? – while the ladies knitted. He was one of those people you don’t know well, but can tell you’d really like if you did, you know? And he and Steffi seemed so well matched, so happy.

The summer Zag was born, Steffi and Jamie moved up to Blackburg, Virginia. She’d finished her doctorate and been offered a job there, at Virginia Tech. They talked about what a nice quiet town it was, how easy it would be to bike to work, the beauty of the mountains. We wished them well, and figured we’d get back in touch if we were ever in the area.

Yesterday morning, Jamie was killed while teaching a German class at Virginia Tech. I just found out half an hour ago. I thought of Steffi right away, when I heard about the shootings, but the early reports that the site was an engineering building calmed me down. I thought, it’s silly to worry about particular people, on a campus that big… Then this evening I heard something about a German professor, and started to worry again. I searched on Steffi’s name – and found that not she, but Jamie, had been the victim. I didn’t know he was teaching German there too – but of course, he spoke it fluently – and his students apparently loved him.

I hoped maybe blogging about this would help me figure out how I feel. I can’t even begin to think what it’s like to lose your sweet, funny, long-haired, geeky, 30-something husband. I don’t even dare start to think about it, to be honest. I don’t know whether to try to reach out to Steffi, or how. I hope she knows how wide the circle of friends and acquaintances is that grieves with her, but I wouldn’t want to butt in – I might seem to be seeking self-importance, or an opportunity to demonstrate my pious concern, on the basis of my admittedly distant association with this tragedy. I’m even a little ambivalent about writing this post, taking up airspace with my little feelings when so many others have so much greater claim on our attention, our sympathy, our prayers.

But here I am, writing about it anyway. Jamie deserves the eulogy, however incomplete. I didn’t know him well, and I hadn’t thought about him in two years, but I’m really, really sorry he’s gone.

Dragons for Mom.

Monday, April 16th, 2007


After complaining in my last post about never finding/buying anything fun and quirky when thrift-shopping, I had to pick this up when I spotted it at the Central Square Goodwill this afternoon. The item is a wooden tray, storebought but hand-painted, black around the outside. Here’s a detail of the decorated area, so you can get the full effect, complete with little pink birds and a green lizard balancing on a very small planet. (more…)

Shoeing the Zag

Saturday, April 14th, 2007


Y’know, I thought I’d post about thrifting more. I love it, and I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about it. But it seems like posts on thrift shopping should be headed by some photo of a great thrift-shop find, and a lot of my great thrift-shop finds are kind of dull. I’ve been to the Davis Square Goodwill twice in the past week, and found good stuff both times. Trip 1: a much-needed pair of jeans for Tilt, a pair of capris for me, a cool stuffed pig puppet (just realistic enough, and with a hole in its mouth so you can actually feed it stuff), and a Vivaldi cassette for Zag’s big red plastic tape player. (We had no other cassettes in the house, and he’d disembowelled his previous cassette some months earlier.) Trip 2: a pair of jeans for me, a cute maternity skirt for a friend, and a pair of summer sneakers for Zag – boring, but good quality, and good for playground wear. All good stuff, well worth the trips and the money, but not the kind of cute and/or odd and/or vintage stuff that’s fun to put up on your blog… I still spot that stuff, and enjoy it, but I rarely bring it home anymore.

All this boring thrift shopping has, however, resulted in shoeing Zag for the summer, for around $35 – the price of one pair of the little designer kid shoes I was lusting over a couple of weeks ago. (more…)

Please don’t let me be misunderstood….

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Our Zagazoo, six weeks shy of two, is getting more verbal all the time. I don’t know if it would even make sense to count his words anymore, since he adds them constantly. Today he figured out that the consonant at the end of “Out” is a T – before, he said “Ouk!”, which of course we thought was adorable. (However, he still says “boop” for both “book” and “boot”.) We also love the way he says “hot” and “happy” – both very precise and almost over-enunciated, with a breathy little h at the beginning. (more…)