What is wilson silverleaf? We're organitarians; it's best for our bodies and the planet. We cloth diapered Nina for the same reason. We drive a hybrid car & wish we could afford solar panels on our house. I'm a strong advocate for homebirth, full-time mom, & also a movie junkie. We don't have a tv though; we watch dvds on our computer. We love contradancing. I garden & knit; Larry's a puzzle lover & plays fantasy football.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

before & after

If you know me at all you will know that while I sometimes exist in the midst of chaos and disorganization I really really dislike being in that state. I love to organize and I love when everything is organized. Parts of Nina's room have been bothering me for a while, so I spent some time and money at IKEA yesterday.

Here's what was bothering me so much (the other two people I live with consider this to be tidied).

And here's what it looks like now:

I found a super cute cotton rug that goes with the other stuff in the room so I got that too.

And while that cardboard box in between the chair and drawers isn't super nice looking, it is holding artwork that was all over the room and taking up all three drawers. I will ask Nina to go through all the artwork in the box (I didn't throw any away) and pick some to keep.

And yes, the balloons in the "before" pictures are from Nina's birthday party almost two months ago. I got rid of them, it was just time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

meanwhile, back at the hall of justice

Also known as South Florida...

Here is a window into what Nina and Larry were up to while they were gone.
Nina and her cousin Wil.

Uncle Joe, Milt, Nanny Eve, Granki, Nina, and Wil.

Larry, Gina, Wil, and Nina.

Friday, December 26, 2008

hair fully let down

So, with Larry and Nina far, far away, I decided to have my second annual party. I spent the day prepping, and I thought I'd share with you what the table looked like in the afternoon. I had to string up another garland to hang cards from, we were blessed with a bounty of them this year.

Bottles are so pretty...

What happens at the party stays at the party, but here's a lovely pic for you (taken by the lovely and talented Karen).

I asked everyone to bring old yearbooks and boy did we have a great time reading what people wrote and seeing what we all looked like. Of course there was the obligatory karaoke; if you haven't had the Sara karaoke experience, all I'm going to say is that you are missing out. Seriously. We also did a secret gift swap--the gift giver had to write a limerick about themselves rather than just tell who the gift was from, which was super fun. Here's mine (I drew Natalie, who was very hard to get a present for, but also very fun):
There once was a girl from Peru
Who thought she had so much to do
She drove herself crazy
And called herself lazy
But really she was just a Jew.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

who knew?

The other day, Nina said "The day after Chanukah is Eid." To which I replied "HUH?" "Eid," she said, pointing to the calendar she brought home from school. It took me a minute to figure out that she was pointing to the crescent symbol arbitrarily on the calendar on the last week of school with some other representative symbols (a reindeer, a menorah, the crescent and star, and Buddha). Now, to be completely fair in the telling of this story, Eid ul Fitr was in October this year, but they had obviously been talking about religions and and Nina had recognized the crescent next to the menorah on the calendar. I am glad to hear that they are talking about religions (emphasis on the plural), as I get especially christianed out this time of the year.

white christmas...

It was a nice clear, dry day here. Not very cold, either. But as this picture illustrates, I can often see snow from where I live. In fact, people who live here often drive their kids to play in the snow.

a funny story...

So, I had all the holiday cards stamped and ready to go. I put them in the car to take to the post office, even. And in case I got thirsty I threw a bottle of water into the bag. Imagine my surprise when I went to drink from that bottle and found it empty. So I spent hours last night drying out the envelopes that could be salvaged and re-addressing and stamping the ones that couldn't. The cards themselves were fine after a little drying, thank goodness, and they will all be at the post office ready to go later today. Ah well, I had good intentions of getting them out a few days earlier but at least I did them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

alone again, naturally

Last November Larry and Nina went to Florida without me, leaving me alone for a week to be blissfully alone, which is one of my favorite things ever. This year Larry decided to go in December, which worked out just fine, since last year they went away for my birthday and that was a bit sad for me.

It was hard to drop them off at the airport, though. I lingered with them and took pictures, including the obligatory self portrait. Sometimes we don't get all the way in the frame.

A typical Nina face.

Such an amazing little girl.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

so sweet

Nina used to fall asleep in my arms in the glider all the time. Both Larry and I have spent nights in it reclined with a fussy baby. But that was years ago now and I have to admit I miss it. She has a bit of a cold right now and is willing to let me cuddle her more than when she is well. So when she started to look sleepy I started rocking away, her coltish legs folded up all around me, and soon enough sleep overtook her while I whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Amazing.

I love science

First, it was a validation of my love of cashmere, now dark chocolate. What's next?

Dark Chocolate Is More Filling Than Milk Chocolate And Lessens Cravings

ScienceDaily (Dec. 23, 2008) — New research at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at the University of Copenhagen – shows that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening our craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. In other words, eating dark chocolate may be an efficient way to keep your weight down over the holidays.

Full text here.

Monday, December 22, 2008


My friend Michelle and her family come to visit her in-laws in the San Diego area once a year, which means I get to see them! Unfortunately, they usually come in December, which is one of the only months we actually get a lot of rain. I inevitably apologize for the weather and say "it never rains here." Ah well.

So this year we decided to go bowling, even though I can count the number of times I have been bowling on both of my hands. It was Nina's first time, and was super fun, even though one time she didn't give the ball enough of a push and it stopped, then came back!

my famous non-vaxing friend

My friend Sybil's kid goes to the school that originated the measles "outbreak" in San Diego last year and has become a bit of a spokesperson for us non-vaccinating parents. She was on This American Life this week, you can listen to it here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a little holiday cheer

So much holiday merry making going on these days, with many holidays intersecting in one week! Here is a pic of what our friends are getting this year. The out of town people get the cards on the left and the people we see often get the hot fudge sauce and shrubbery ornament. If you want a holiday card let me know, I may not have your address.

I love shrubberies with ornaments all over them and presents underneath. But since I wasn't born into that particular tradition, I decided to have my own similar setup. I put a string of glass ornaments in our window and hung more from that. Since the hanging ones are plain glass I asked Nina to decorate them with permanent markers. I think she did a fantastic job.

And it also provides a wonderful place to display holiday cards.

Here is the holiday still life. You can see the bulging basket of gifts (mostly for Nina, she is making out like a bandit this year). The flowers are a hostess gift for the solstice party we are going to today.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

why we do what we do

And why I believe children raised with love will change the world.

I would love to know if this child was Attachment Parented.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

cute overload

Nina had her holiday concert for preschool tonight, and I almost perished from the cuteness all around. It was her first performance of any kind and I think she did really well.

Sorry for the initial shakiness, I was getting comfortable.

We borrowed the outfit that she has on and it looks like the waistband wasn't comfortable, which is why she keeps adjusting it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

tea party!

One of my friends started a tea club, where we try different kinds of teas, talk about them, and hang out. It's super fun and a fantastic idea. So we thought it would be nice to include the kids for a holiday tea party, It was super cute and fun to watch the little girls (and Henry) drink their tea and play in Sabrina's awesome back yard.

Here's one of the ends of the table--doesn't the cute slay you a little?

Speaking of cute, Anya is always good for a dose of it.

Simply gorgeous Lily.

Three little ladies having tea--Nina's dress was a birthday gift from her great grandpa Hy and is gorgeous on her.

Here't the whole table; Alex and Sabrina did an amazing job with it.

Monday, December 01, 2008


The workouts have resumed. It's just my nordic track in the garage, but at least the weather has cooled enough to do that! I did 15 minutes today (short because I'm a little sore from the yoga I did yesterday).


I love horses, always have. I took western lessons when I was young and also before I had Nina.

Self portrait

My favorite color horse. I wish I had hair this color.


Mom again, wearing the awesome t-shirt I got for her a long time ago

We cantered a lot, which mom was good at because she knows how to post. I don't and couldn't stand in the stirrups because they weren't short enough and I don't think my saddle was cinched tight enough. But a super fun (bumpy) time.

After we went to GTM where I scored a linen shirt for 3$ and lots of cereal for the carb hounds in my house, then to Red Sea for a lovely Ethiopian meal. It was a lovely day, thanks mom!

fairy party

So on Friday the 22nd we went to a fairy party playgroup. Some of the mamas were painting faces, toenails, etc. Nina got hooked up with a horse and some hearts.


I'm going to try to catch up today so I can start blogging in real time again. I totally failed at NaBloPoMo, despite my best intentions, but there's definitely a middle ground between rocking the above and just slacking completely. Right? Please say yes.

Nina got so many cool gifts for her birthday, but the present opening was super haphazard this year with no list for thank you notes, so I'm going to do it here. Thank you so much everyone. The list of fantastic gifts includes (but is not limited to) a great new wardrobe of hand me down clothes from her friends, a fun hemp and wooden bead jewelry making kit, shadow puppets, a Nina Ballerina wooden doll, some more clothes, and, like I said, more fantastic stuff that I'm forgetting because I'm only halfway done with my coffee.

After lovely visits, my sister and her friend left on Sunday and my inlaws left on Monday. Giving me two days to put the house back in order and have co-op unpacking on Wednesday night and pickup on Thursday. And pack to leave Thursday afternoon to visit my sister in the bay area and go work at GreenFest. I've written about that already, but suffice it to say that it was funfunfun. And I would do it again in a heartbeat (thanks, mom, for taking care of Nina). I got home on Monday, Tuesday had an ICAN meeting at my house, Friday had a birthday party at my mom's house with my book group after. Saturday morning I got up and went with my mom to Lakeside where she had arranged for us to go on a trail ride, which was so much fun that I was sore afterward. Sunday was my birthday and a harvest party our friends have annually. We celebrated my birthday too.

Now for some pictures...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nina wrote a special message for her Granki and Grampa. She reads it to me in this video.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nina asked for an octopus pinata...so we made one together from paper mache and a baloon. Simple streamer for arms and...ta-daaaa! I don't like the mad rush that happens when it gets busted open where some kids get more or less than others so I stuffed the pinata with little waxed paper bags. I put in wind up toys, stickers, tattoos, and a couple of lollipops; Nina and I had fun putting those together too.

Apparently the vegan cupcakes were a hit!

You can see more pics in the set if you are my family or friend on flickr.

Oh, and I'm fully clothed, Jill.

Nina's birthday party!

It was such fun, though a little stressful getting ready for it. I made two kinds of cupcakes, gluten free and vegan. Not many were left, I have to admit!


Can I blow out the candles yet?

Arwyn & Rochelle

When you've got a balloon and a lollipop, what more can you possibly need?


Nina and I both love bubble machines. I have been trying to find one but it seems they are only sold in the summer, even if you live in a place where it's bubble weather almost all the time.

Luckily someone was willing to lend us one for Nina's party.

We used it before, though, and had a pretty good time with it!

Oh, and yes, she does pick out her own outfits. Can you guess what her favorite color is?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

my birthday

Was spent with good friends and good food, always a fantastic combination. Here's the pumpkin pie that I made (super yummy).

And three special girlies having a moment together.

peter yarrow

Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul & Mary fame) was at our local Barnes & Noble performing and signing his children's books (all of which come with cd's). We got this one, which has some of my childhood favorites on it. You may recognize my mom in this pic, I called her and she was able to come join us.

He was a fantastic performer, funny, improvisational, and personable. He kept asking people to sing along and telling funny stories. Here's one you might recognize, acoustic style.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

blog lag

I'm on a serious delay here. But I really do have some good reasons, the first being that when we came home from two months in DC our home was...if not trashed, not exactly livable, either.

We had asked out house sitter not to leave the dogs in the house when we weren't home and it's obvious (and she admits) that she did exactly that. And both of the dogs need to lose weight because she doubled their food intake as well as giving them biscuits (when I give treats, I use freeze dried liver). And the toilet was running the whole time we were gone; our water bill was over 200$ each month. When I got the bills I assumed she had been zealously watering my plants, which was definitely not the case. When I went to do my first load of laundry it was apparent to me that the lint filter hadn't been cleaned often (if at all). Which is a major cause of house fires, in case you didn't know (obviously she didn't). And my lovely expensive faux-down pillow is missing; I had splurged on it because it was so comfy. I suspect that an unsupervised Sugar ate it while lounging inside. And the furniture was re-arranged (fine, but put it back before you leave, ok?).

And the ick. The house was FILTHY. Here is what my glider is supposed to look like:

Here is what it looks like after 3 dogs have been rubbing against it for two months(she has a rottweiler):

It came clean, but...seriously. My purple velvet couch was in the same shape. And didn't come quite as clean as the glider.

When she moved the futon frame out of my office she gouged the (brand new) cork floor all up, this is not the best pic of it.

And because all the cabinets looked like the inside of this coffee cup, I had to clean them and every single dish I own before any of it could be used.

This is the floor in the bathroom (she must have washed the dogs inside, I do it outside):

And see that one lighter colored tile in the upper middle of the pic? That's the one I washed for contrast. It took me 3 hours to clean and it still didn't really come very clean.

To add insult to injury, my mom offered to help her clean before we got back. She declined. And she left me two huge dog beds (placed conveniently in front of the couch) and a passive aggressive note telling me how good the dogs were inside and how much they loved being groomed. The dogs have beds that I spent a lot of money on, one in the kennel and one in the dog house, and I do know how to and do wash them regularly (sorry, brushing isn't in the cards very often). In fact, I can't imagine that I have an amazingly healthy looking (everyone comments on it) 11 year old german shepherd because I don't know how to take care of him. It will probably take months to get both dogs down to a healthy weight (as an aside, they don't nees as great a quantity of food when you buy high quality food, which I do).

My sister wants me to confront this woman but I don't really see the point; it's not exactly as if we will ever use her again (and I am willing to give out her info if you email me so you don't either).

All this when I had 6 days to prepare for Nina's birthday party. And the arrival of my sister, her friend, and my inlaws.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jury Duty

On Monday, I was called to jury duty. Here in California, you go for one day and if you don't end up on a trial, then you are done for at least one year. If you do get on a trial, once that ends you are done for at least three years.

Lorien was still out of town, so I took Nina over to Mima's at a little before 7. I then parked at the nearby Euclid Station and took the San Diego Trolley downtown. It was my first time riding the trolley. One drove off while I was still buying tickets, but the next one came 15 minutes later. I was a few minutes late for our 7:45 reporting time and they had actually started the introductory video. The tickets were $5 for a one day pass or $2.50 each way. I think we were paying less than that to go from Silver Spring to downtown DC, but maybe just because we weren't going during rush hour. The parking was free and there was enough at about 7, which was really nice.

The day itself was fairly dull; I read and did some word puzzles (thanks to Mima and Mom and Dad for the magazine subscriptions). My friend Joel from work was also there; he had been called for the Monday before but forgot and took advantage of the generous come anytime within two weeks of the day you were called policy. During the hour and forty-five minutes for lunch, we walked over to the central library and got lunch. The central library does have children's books in French, like the library in Silver Spring, but they were mostly too advanced for me. I really liked that we could get them so easily in Silver Spring and wish the Mira Mesa library had them. Of course, under Mayor Sanders, I should just be glad that the library is open ever.

Joel did get called to go to a courtroom the third and, it turned out, final time they called for people. They hadn't gotten enough people for the jury when they quit for the day at 4, so he had to go back this morning. They asked everyone to come at 8:30, but the judge got tied up, so they twiddled their thumbs for an hour and a half. Then, an hour later, they had enough people for the jury and Joel was one of four people who hadn't been interviewed, so he got to come to work for the afternoon. Lucky him, huh.

One cool thing about jury duty is that they have someone from the Grand Jury talk about what the Grand Jury does in San Diego. It is apparently a roving investigative body with subpoena power. It seemed like a really cool thing to get involved with, but the time commitment is 9-3 M-Thursday every week for a year. Most of the members are retired. Last year's Grand Jury wrote a report on climate change. You can find it, plus responses from San Diego County, the Mayor's Office, the City of San Diego, and others, at http://www.co.san-diego.ca.us/grandjury/report07_08.html.

if Nina ran the zoo

This is what the animal enclosures would look like. I think it's a great use of our pillow furniture.