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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

my body is amazing

And yours is too! Yet another reason to let it do its job and not let the medical system, agribusiness, etc. mess with it.
Here is a study on how breastfeeding transfers immunity to babies. So do it as long as possible, folks. Yeah, it's a pain sometimes, can be frustrating, etc, but it's worth it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

kombucha fad

It's official, kombucha is now a fad. Pete(r) was drinking a bottle of GT Dave's on Private Practice last night. They didn't show the label or anything, but it's really the only drink out there with that shape bottle. Ah well, at least it's a healthy fad.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm really looking forward to getting back to my front loader washing machine; I love that our apartment came equipped with a washer and dryer, sparing me the lugging of laundry and quarters. But I can see the wear and tear on our clothes and the fading of the colors in just the two months that we've been here. I'm glad to know that the front loader was a smart decision.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Didn't see Barack Obama today

At 5:15 today, Barack Obama spoke at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Nina and I were sitting in a nearby IHOP, learning the letters. Harrisonburg is a two and a half hour drive from Silver Spring, and I decided this morning to take Nina to hear Obama. The doors to the Convocation Center at JMU were to open at 3:15. Given that the weather has been so cold (for a San Diegan, anyway), I aimed to get us there at 3:15 and hope that that would be soon enough to get a seat. Unfortunately, we got a little bit lost and didn't get there until about 3:45. We were walking down the street towards the Center when we saw people walking back towards us and they gave us the bad news that all the seats were gone. Nina said, "But I want to see Obama" and sounded really sad. She was looking forward to doing the workbook I'd brought for us to pass the time between arriving and the talk, so I figured we'd find a Starbucks and sit and do it. We drove around for a while and didn't find any coffee shops, so we ended up in the IHOP. With hot chocolate for me and orange juice for her and the workbook for us both, we managed to have a nice afternoon together anyway.

more lizard ridge

I had brought two balls with me to Maryland and then Anne gave me two so I had to get knitting. It was fun to get back into it; I think I have a few at home that I haven't blocked out yet so it's possible I have all the panels I need now...

This is #194; I don't love it but Nina says it's her favorite of these four.

#88; I don't love this one either; I was shying away from the ones with a lot of dark colors because I was afraid they would look muddy and I think I was right.

#213; I do love this one, though, the colors developed beautifully and harmoniously, I think.

#139; this one is stunning, I think, and reminds me of the fuschia flowers in my yard.

Here's a view of the back of it before blocking.

stair machine

455 calories in 35 minutes. And I didn't even have my little almost 4 year old conscience around to make me go to the gym this afternoon!

head shots

I took some cute pics of Nina on the train the other day:

the mall

On Friday Nina and I got a late start (I wasn't feeling well and was moving slowly) so we decided just to walk around the mall. We started just before the Washington Monument and walked to the Lincoln Memorial, Nina walked all the way and was a real trouper. For some reason photos are loading in reverse order on Blogger still, so here's a pic from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Inside the Lincoln Memorial--though there were signs in there that said to be quiet and respectful, there were teens yelling, running around, and being silly. I was disappointed because it should be a place for contemplation and, well, respect. I made sure to tell Nina that she had to be quiet, I only wish that the other adults there had been as thoughtful with the children they were responsible for.

Nina at the World War II Memorial

When we left the Lincoln Memorial I was still not feeling well so Larry left work early and met us at the Archives. I had wanted to go there and see the Declaration of Independence but the lines and crowds were too much for me so we left and went to the International Spy Museum instead. It was fun, though I would have spent more time reading and exploring the interactive exhibits if I hadn't had a tired, by that time of the day easily bored, almost 4 year old with me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

stair machine

400 calories in 40 minutes, pretty good!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

zaproot again

This one addresses bottled water, high fructose corn syrup, and big corporation ownership of organic and "natural" companies.

beginning of the lasts (kombucha)

For some reason I cannot get these pics to load in the order I want them to...

We have a week and a day left here, so it's the beginning of the "lasts," as in the last time I will bottle my homemade kombucha here (it takes about a week or so to brew so it doesn't make sense for me to brew any more).

It's so delicious and bubbly I just had to share some pics with you.

Keep reading, I'm gonna give you a recipe so you can make it too if you want to.

You need a few things to start with:

  • A jar; the top should be as wide as the bottom. I use this one.
  • A culture, either in the form of a scoby or a bottle of unpasteurized, unflavored kombucha (my favorite to use to make a scoby is GT Dave's).
  • A largeish pot
  • A piece of cloth that is tightly woven enough to keep away fruit flies and bigger than the lip of the jar
  • 5 teabags organic plain black tea or you can use loose (about 5 tbs), I have also been adding one of these, I think it is what makes all those great bubbles.
  • A rubber band that will fit around the lip of the jar
  • Fill container with filtered water but leave 2 inches below the shoulders of the jar and then pour into pot (this is solely to make sure the amount of water corresponds to the amount that will fit into the jar).

  • Boil water

  • Turn off heat and add organic black tea (5 teabags) or loose, plain is best (probably 4 or 5 tbsp)

  • Add a cup of organic sugar, stir until dissolved

  • Cool to room temperature, covered

  • Remove tea bags and pour tea into jar, then add mushroom or bottle of GT Dave's and 1 cup (or whatever you have) of kombucha (if you have used loose tea, strain it; you dont want tea leaves in your brew)

  • Cover with cloth (but not cheesecloth, its too loosely woven) and place a rubber band or twist tie around the lip of the jar; dont use glass lid

  • Let brew in a dark place with even temperature for 7 to 10 days. If you are using bottled kombucha to make your own culture, the first scoby that you get will be thin and may take more like 14 days to form.

  • Start all over again.

I would love to hear about it if you make kombucha from my recipe, questions are also welcomed.

recumbent cycle

I did 300 calories in one hour on the recumbent cycle today. The heart rate monitor doesn't work if you go over 15o so I don't know what exactly it was the whole time.

no gym yesterday

But I did carry Nina on my back for about an hour and half so she could sleep while I walked around DC. And Larry and I went contra dancing last night and according to one source it burns about 500 calories an hour. I ended up waltzing with someone who is very good at it, so I had to concentrate and work really hard while he whirled me around the floor expertly. Whew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

no art for you, little girl

So we finally got out of the apartment today (Monday and Tuesday were stay at home days for us). Our plan was to go to the National Gallery of Art; we love looking at art and talking about it together. I usually put Nina in the Ergo to do this because otherwise she really can't see the art as it's usually hung at adult height. We went through the Small French Paintings gallery and enjoyed it very much, chatting quietly about the paintings and talking about how you have to practice a lot to be able to paint that well. Nina said that in this painting the woman looks like she is in the ocean. I think she looks remarkably like Anne Hathaway.

With that positive experience under our belts, we proceeded to walk across ground floor of the building to see more, only to be accosted by two of the security people barking at me that I couldn't have Nina in a backpack in the museum. Actually, I had been told that by someone and had completely spaced it but seriously, it's not like I was trying to get away with anything, they could have spoken to me nicely. In fact, every single interaction between the security people and museum guests was like that--a barked command to stop doing something or that xyz is not allowed. The last time I heard it, a security person said rudely to a young girl "miss, you can't lean on the wall." And then proceeded two minutes later to lean on the wall herself.

So apparently fine art is not for little kids (I had thought that it was a good idea to expose young children to art). I suspect that there has been a problem in the past with someone wearing a backpack, forgetting, that there is extra bulk behind them, and backing into artwork. But I think that they'd be better served by just asking people (nicely, I would hope) to be mindful of where their bodies are. But we are a nation that overreacts by making ridiculous rules to compensate for a handful of people who aren't mindful, it's sad. So much could be accomplished if parents would just teach their children to be thoughtful of other people. It always shocks me how many adults will wait for an elevator and stand right in front of the doors, making it impossible for people to get out of the elevator. Anyway, I hope that rant is over. Suffice it to say that I am dismayed at how un-child friendly the National Gallery of Art is to children. No wonder arts funding has dropped in this country, since it's not made a priority to make it accessible to children.

Of course we went to the Museum of the American Indian for lunch...yum. And then saw some of the exhibits. The beadwork exhibit was really fun for Nina because there was lots to see and do. To the right of this picture there were drawers that had more specimens and lots of beads in lighted drawers that Nina had fun opening and looking in. And there were touch screens with information about the specimens that Nina had a lot of fun looking at. Sorry about the blurry pic, I was going without a flash.

a little Nina fix

For those of you suffering from withdrawl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

finally caught up

When I lived in St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) I made a lot of fun friends and fair weather friends. But I also made a good friend named Jeremy who is and was an archaeologist. We had a lot of fun but also made a real connection when I really needed one. We kept in touch for a few years but then somehow managed to let it go. And then a couple of weeks ago I remembered that he lived in this area somewhere and googled him (I had done it a few times and come up with nothing I could contact him with but this time I found a phone number).

And on Sunday we made the trek to his lovely 18th century home, which is the oldest inhabited building in his county, a dream home for an archaeologist with lots of outbuildings too.

He and his partner have restored it beautifully with antiques, some reproductions, and just enough modern touches that it doesn't feel dreary. It's an amazing home and it just felt right to hang out there with an old friend.

They even have a victrola, which we listened to while having lunch.

Nina got a halloween goodie bag complete with creepy bugs and silly glasses.

Love you, old friend, I'm looking forward to more great afternoons with you and Tim.

vote no on prop 8

As you probably know, there is a proposition on California's ballot that if it passed would limit marriage rights. I don't understand why anyone cares about two adults getting married--how is that threatening to anyone?

Monday, October 20, 2008

stair machine

350 calories in 33 minutes, 10 resistance, heart rate between 165 and 175 consistently.


It might be overstating it a little to say that Nina is head over heels in love, obsessed with cousin Wil. But only a little, she loves him.

I managed to get one of him smiling! He is just starting to chuckle too, it's so cute.

Sunday the 12th

We had a leisurely breakfast (real oatmeal) then headed out to Gina & Joe's house, where we took a little hike in the woods.

Leaf miners can make beautiful patterns in leaves.

Nina, Gina, & Joe. Nina's a good little hiker.

Cousin Wil LOVED the Ergo; he felt so light to me after lugging Nina around!

Then we went to Larry's Great Aunt Sylvia's house to visit, she is super fabulous. Gene and Anne hung out for a while too (Sylvia is Gene's mother).


On the 11th, after Nina's Capoeira class, we packed up the car and headed up to upstate New York to see Larry's family. His sister and brother inlaw, grandfather, father's cousin, great aunt, and cousin all live in the town his father grew up in so we got a lot of family bang for our buck.

The drive up was so gorgeous--but let me digress from that a little as I give a little shout out to you Battlestar Galactica fans out there. Heehee.

Oh the foliage, each scene unfolding more breathtaking than the last. A point and shoot camera simply does not do it justice when wielded by me or Larry.

Nina's cousin Wil--sleeping babies LOVE it when you set off the camera flash in their eyes.

Nina had fun playing with Larry's cousin's fiancee.

For dinner we had an amazing chicken risotto and home-smoked salmon. Yum. And Anne baked a fantastic wheat free apple cake. Double yum, not too sweet, perfect topped with a little cream.


Last weekend we went to visit Larry's family in upstate New York (will post about that very soon, pinky swear). We stayed with his dad's cousin and his wife in their lovely, perpetually gourmet food filled home. And Anne, the wife, is a knitter who unloaded some of her stash on me.

She gave me this yarn to make a scarf for myself but at some point I started to see a poncho for Nina instead. After much searching I found this simple pattern and started working feverishly (obsessively) on Thursday and finished it yesterday. I love it and I think it came out really well.

The nice thing about the pattern is that it's knit top down so you just stop when you run out of yarn. The yarn is fingering or lace weight and I plied two strands together on all but the last few rows.

I haven't washed this poncho yet but the process (called fulling) will pull the stitches together and make it look better and fuzzier.

It's very soft, and I'm very happy with it; I think next time I will do a roll neck instead of a ribbed one. Anne also gave me some gorgeous multicolored super soft merino which I will use to make myself a felted cloche like the one I made and gave to Susan. And she gave me two skeins of Noro Kureyon to add to my Lizard Ridge afghan (which is close to done).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

two more favorites

Nina rode this plane ride at least twice and loved it.

The three of us rode this one the first time and then just the two of us while Larry filmed it.

There were two thing I talked her into that she didn't like. The first one was one where we got wet, though we dried fairly quickly. The other was the kiddie roller coaster. It was too jerky and she kept saying "this is not a good idea, I do not like this." Sorry, Nina, I didn't like that one either.

I kind of wanted to go on one of the really scary roller coasters but not alone, so I ended up deciding not to. It was a fun, full day, that's for sure!

and then...

We had two free tickets to Six Flags...not somewhere we would typically go, but it seemed free. Until it came time to park ($$) and then it turned out we had to pay for Nina ($$$). But we had a great day anyway. Nina enjoyed it a lot.

The carousel was fun.

But nothing compared to the teacups...

Papa loves them too.

The swings (I went on the adult version and it was super fun)

catching up...

Which I usually do on the weekends but I was totally involved in a knitting project (pic to come).

So on Sunday the 4th there was a street fair in Takoma Park so we took the train over (it's only one stop). For a couple of weeks Nina had been pestering me to try to get to the first car of the train to sit behind the driver (conductor?) and I had been putting her off. Finally with Larry around we made it. And of course Nina was right, it was super cool to see the driver and the tracks in front of us.

I try more often now to get to the front; the other day the driver waved and said hi to Nina when we got off. Definitely worth the little bit of extra effort.

The street fair was fun, too, lots of cool vendors (the local co-op was giving away lots of sample freebies, I love that). I got my mom a cool nautilus fossil for her birthday (which is today so it doesn't ruin the surprise).

Friday, October 17, 2008

head over heels...

The Funny or Die version:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, October 16, 2008

museum of the American Indian

We had lunch at the Museum of the American Indian. I had heard that the food there was amazing--we didn't get to find out though because I only had 5$, they don't take cards, and the ATM was broken (we ended up with french fries). I fully intend to go back, though because the menu looks amazing; it's all native american foods like buffalo roast, fry bread, wild rice, etc.

The entry way has prisms, Nina got caught in one.

And here's the capitol from the front of the museum.

more flower pics

This is a trumpet flower, we have a lot of these in San Diego (some wild, I think).

This was in the medicinal garden; I don't remember the name but it looks a lot like the dutchman's pipe I used to grow in Florida.

This is a passionflower (not named for erotic passion, but rather the passion of Christ).

Hyacinth beans.

One more globe. There was one (why didn't I take a picture?) that was made all of shellacked seeds (like lentils, barley, beans, etc).


Trivia: I was calling it the Botanical Garden, which is not right because I guess it's called The Botanic Garden.

This guy saw me taking pictures of Nina on this bench and offered to take one of the two of us together. She wasn't too into smiling, unfortunately.

I took some of us too.

This is what I call Nina's Wallace & Gromit smile.

This flower was so pretty Nina insisted I take a picture of her with it.

I don't typically like succulents, but this flower in the succulent garden struck me as particularly pretty.