27 November 2008

Once Upon A Thanksgiving, I Think

happy thanksgiving easter bunny

There's a lot going on in this picture, I know.

I mean, besides the out-of-focus bit. (But I find that charming, actually. The fact that such a staged photo should end up looking so spontaneously taken. Like the moment was rushed and unexpected.)

That is plainly an Easter lily back there. And I am wearing what I will casually pretend was my Halloween costume. (Though, if you are pressing me for honesty, I am obliged to admit that I wore the Snow White dress my mom made for me nearly every day.)

But: I do see mums in that wheelbarrow. And a pheasant -- or possibly turkey -- figurine hanging out in there too, so I'm calling Thanksgiving. And I'm calling it good.

(I miss my grandma's backyard. It was a place of beauty.)

Which brings me to: Happy Thanksgiving!

Travel safely. Eat well.

See you later. xo.

26 November 2008

The Day Before Is A Day Of Yearning

The nicest Thanksgiving I have ever had was my first in Seattle. Rick and I had just moved there the month before, and we knew no one. No one except for the nice people at Victrola coffeehouse. And them only to the extent that you can learn about someone while they pour your coffee. You know, “oh, you’re from somewhere else too,” “oh, you have a kid,” “oh, we graduated from the same college” – small stuff like that. Little nice things that get stuffed into collections of three minutes at a time.

Someone behind the counter invited us to her house for Thanksgiving that year. We were stunned and grateful and too lonely to say no. We showed up with nothing but our sparkling wit. (Actually, no. We showed up with just nothing. We must have looked so bedraggled and worn standing there on that doorstep, waiting for the door to open. More like lost children than engaging guests.)

I have never in my whole life been so warmly received.

Nearly the entire Victrola staff was there. Also, nearly the entire family of our host. And the most charming little boy I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

There were four or so tables set up for everyone. White tablecloths. Wine glasses. Cranberries tossed in sugar. Pumpkin pies baked with honey. And after all the eating was done, we built a fort and pretended to be – I don’t quite remember…animals? cowboys?

It’s one of those sepia-toned, Vaseline-on-the-lens memories I keep. Of how Thanksgiving should feel. And I bring it up now because I am feeling nostalgic and petulant.

Because I am filled with the urge to clean my house; build a tent made of sheets in the living room; eat turkey sandwiches while perched on big, squishy pillows piled on the floor; run my fork lazily through a pumpkin cheesecake; and fill the room with the scent of apples baking in cinnamon and clove.

Instead, this year will be full of car trips and family, bustling and strangers, and maybe even snow. I am excited for it. I am happy about going to grandma’s. Happy to potluck with the people who fuss over and care for her everyday, like Rick and I would if she were near. Happy to bake a chocolate zucchini cake to share. Happy to drive and to chatter and to hug hello. But I feel shy and kind of sad to trudge off into that world outside my front door.

Make warm. Make warm. Make warm. It pulses in my head. And it seems to be all I want to do: me, Rick, and Lila shut up snugly inside.

But maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe warm isn’t something you make on your own. Maybe it’s something you give. And receive.

I hope so. I hope that is the lesson of Thanksgivings past.

25 November 2008

What I Learned Today

Pears are related to roses.

24 November 2008

More Soft And More Yellow

Because it is Monday. Because it is November.

22 November 2008


Impossibly Red

My geranium.

Looking impossibly lovely in the fog.

21 November 2008

Just Checking In

Hello there.

Can you tell I had a paper due this week?

I've slept now, at least. And that is a start.

Tired is all I've talked about all week. Unless you want to throw in all the jabbering about pre-Civil War American history. If you include that, this week has been full.

There are other things going on around here, of course. Outside of pre-Civil War America. There are cellos and books and bellydancing. Fabric for Christmas projects. And yarn. Lots of yarn.

They are coming up. They will be here soon.

But for now, just hello. Hello and a squirrel.

Happy Friday.

18 November 2008

Yarn Lust


Yarn Place
45% Tencel, 55% Merino
3100 yards (!)

I have no idea yet what it will be when it grows up. But I couldn't possibly have left the LYS without it.

15 November 2008

Kitchen Chiaroscuro

green eggs:


and ruby pomegranate:


14 November 2008

In Unexpected Places

By now, my increasing love of the semicolon is well documented. I have waxed poetic (or pitifully attempted to); I have harangued (I link despite my ardent desire to put that one behind me).

Though you might reasonably imagine this two-part collection of words would suffice, I cannot resist just these few more:

Click here to read a charming account of a semicolon sighting.

(Does my semicolon infatuation verge on obsession now? Just wondering...)

13 November 2008

Visions Of Sugarplums

(Or, The Mother Of All Christmas Craft Lists)

I am not, in general, a list-making person. First, I am nowhere near that organized in my approach to things. Second, I hide the first by teasing that making a list takes as much time as actually completing the items on said list.

It is rather a flimsy argument. But I cling to it with gusto.

Bucking this trend, I present a to you list. But before you send your congratulatory, welcome-to-the-world-of-people-who-get-things-done emails, I interject a cautionary disclaimer: this list was Rick's idea. This morning, as he patiently clicked links in what must be the twelfth or so 'great ideas for Christmas' email I've sent him, he paused and sweetly suggested I compile all these flashes of brilliance in one place.

I think what he was (very gently) trying to get at is that I have rounded up an awful lot of these crafty suggestions. Maybe if I saw them all in list form, I might feel appropriately daunted and suddenly emerge from this experience with revised, more-realistic expectations.

Were that to happen, I would think myself very clever. But I have a sneaking suspicion that reason will not win out in the end. At least not here, not now. And that I will recklessly regard what follows as a strict to-do list. Because crafters have very big hopes.

That, I'm afraid, is just how it is.

But I will try to be sensible...

Holiday To-Dream List
(see, that's better; right?)
Too much?

Um, yeah. Okay. I concede.

Which doesn't mean that I won't try to cross as many off my list as I can. I will just try not to panic about all those I won't have time to get to.

Because I'm like that. With the panic, I mean. Or: making frenzy -- whatever you want to call it.

ETA: Can you think of more? Let me know.

12 November 2008

Full Of Thought And Care

I am often too impatient in my process of making to remember that the truly special things are created in layers, one careful detail upon another.

Here's to perspective. Here's to taking time.


(for the finished versions, click here, here, and here.)

10 November 2008

Open Door


If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

-Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends


At lunch today in one of the conference rooms I overheard a guitarist and a cellist rehearsing. Which is an extraordinary thing enough in itself; I work in an office with cubicles and TPS reports. But it struck me especially because Rick has a yearning to take up guitar (again). And I have a long-standing love affair with the cello. It just never occurred to me to put them together.

So, if I needed permission – if I were waiting for a sign – this is it, I guess.

Yes to yellow. Yes to cellos. Yes to dreams. Yes to aspirations.

I welcome you all.

Come in!
Come in!

09 November 2008

Our Home In The Trees


Tree House

A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.

A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all --
Let's go live in a tree house.

-Shel Silverstein

(I am quieted by the gentle splendor of these gardens. And by the meandering pace of my home on a Sunday.)

08 November 2008

Me & Him


So you haven't got a drum, just beat your belly.
So I haven't got a horn -- I'll play my nose.
So we haven't got any cymbals --
We'll just slap our hands together,
And though there may be orchestras
That sound a little better
With their fancy shiny instruments
That cost an awful lot --
Hey, we're making music twice as good
By playing what we've got!

Poem by Shel Silverstein.

07 November 2008

But I Don't Know If I'm The Oak Or The Rose

my sister, a long time ago

The Oak and The Rose

An oak tree and a rosebush grew,
Young and green together,
Talking the talk of growing things --
Wind and water and weather.
And while the rosebush sweetly bloomed
The oak tree grew so high
That now it spoke of newer things --
Eagles, mountain peaks and sky.
"I guess you think you're pretty great,"
The rose was heard to cry,
Screaming as loud as it possibly could
To the treetop in the sky.
"And you have no time for flower talk,
Now that you've grown so tall."
"It's not so much that I've grown," said the tree,
"It's just that you've stayed so small."

-Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic

(My sister and I are feuding now. Which thoroughly sucks.)

06 November 2008

The Bridge To Somewhere

I don’t quite know why, but this morning I woke up thinking about Shel Silverstein. I thought today would be just the day to share a silly little poem with everyone. But I’ve been flipping through the pages of A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends all morning, and I haven’t found a silly poem yet.

So I have decided two things:
  1. This week will be Shel Silverstein week over here on odd pear. The poems I pick will relate to what's actually going on in my life, but the words will be all Shel's.

  2. I hadn’t intended to be political today, but sometimes things just find you. So I hope you are either equally inspired by Tuesday’s results or feeling particularly gracious. In both cases, thank you for indulging me.
I dedicate this first entry to all the grassroots efforts spawned or invigorated by Obama’s candidacy. We are not at the finish line, but rather the beginning.
This Bridge

This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see:
Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there –
The last few steps you’ll have to take alone.
Obama can only do so much by himself. We all have to take our own steps to make it happen.

Change the world? Yes we can.

05 November 2008

The Sanity Project

Phew! It’s over.

Which is a fact that is only slowly sinking in. And mostly because I am just too exhausted to comprehend it. Is anyone else tired too? Feeling like the last year was actually much longer? Like a thousand lifetimes were packed into these last few months?

I had no idea I’ve been so obsessed with the process. But here I am: elated (obviously), emotionally tender, inhaling and exhaling deeply for no apparent reason, and in serious need of hibernation a nap.

But I am here to report that the strain of the last week has yielded a new coping mechanism: sewing. Because sometimes knitting is too quiet to drown out all the head noise. You know? But the good, gentle hum of the sewing machine? Well, that can make everything right again.

So, maybe a little inspired by the rain, I made a frog. Or -- I don't know -- maybe more of a tadpole. If, that is, by tadpole you mean fully formed adult frog with no stuffing (remember: very tired over here).

Henrietta VandenFrog

Anyway, her name is Henrietta. She is full of happy and sass. (Someday soon full of beans too.) And I am already quite taken with her.


04 November 2008

Moments: The Small Kind

It may be true that a person is defined by the size of his dreams. But it is equally true, I think, that his life is nonetheless measured by small moments. The Monday - Fridays, birthdays, anniversaries, lost teeth, skinned knees, pots of tea, bowls of soup. The certainty of these moments offers comfort. And since it is to all of those moments and that sort of comfort I dedicate this blog, I wanted to share these pictures with you.

And this one, my favorite:

(My heart screams when I see these worn-out shoes. And I can't help but think "Yes. This is the man. The one I want to have work for me." You know? Soles like that make me think he really will.)

They were all taken by Callie Shell during the primaries. She has a wonderful eye for the small and the quiet. There are several others, of course, and all worth a look. On this site she's included brief captions about how and when each picture was taken, making the experience of viewing that much richer.

But these just speak to me. With or without context. Maybe a little because I'm curious about the lives of people with very big dreams. Maybe because I have a voyeur's hunger to know what they're really like when the spotlights are turned away.

Or maybe it's just that I'm tickled to discover their small moments look very much like my own.

03 November 2008

The Most Wonderful Time Of Year

warts and all


for pretty

orange, purple, green


I have watched it happen slowly. But now, it is raining. And the stalls at the farmer’s market have gone purple and gold, dark green and white. And I get to show up an hour later. But the clock still tells me I’m right on time.

What a lovely coincidence, rain and standard time all on the same weekend. I feel like I spent that extra hour a thousand times yesterday. Sleeping in, meandering through stalls of flowers and produce, lingering over breakfast, laughing, sewing, napping, gulping warm cider. I took pictures, stitched froggy beanbags, and crocheted poinsettias until it felt late. And then, it turned out, it wasn’t late at all. So I enjoyed myself some more.


This marks it. My conversion is complete. You can have all your July Fourths and New Years. Christmases, Easters, and birthdays. Even Halloweens and Thanksgivings too.

My new idea of the perfect holiday? The end of daylight savings time. For the simple joy of those extra sixty minutes. And all the possibility they bring.