We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Jan 31, 2007


It's been another snowy day in Denver. That used to be a fun thing now it just means it's cold and the roads are crappy. I had the day to myself today so I went out to get some writing done. The fates were against me. When I finally could settle myself down to write my nose kept running and I kept sneezing. Then two guys had a meeting right next to me.

Normally the meeting would not have bothered me but since I didn't bring our CD player, yes some of us still use those outdated contraptions because we can't go spending a months groceries on an iPod, so I was privy to a conversation about a compilation of essays about (this is what I got from the conversation) Judaism and Homosexuality with a focus on the bible and religious practice. It was an interesting conversation to listen to but it had little to do with Hannah's discovery of the photo of her great uncle or Eli's day at the settlement house preparing for his play. Yes they are Jewish characters and one might even debate Eli's sexuality however they were not enhanced by the conversation.

So this brings me to a completely petty section of my brain. The part that goes around saying, I want I want I want. Luckily there is another part that says, now now now you have to wait for that. But in honnor of feeling icky I'm going to tell you all about the list of material wants that float around my head.

I want an iPod, so that I don't have to listen to other people talking while I write.

I want a CD player for our car, or at least a working cassette player.

I want a DVD player that doesn't stop playing movies in the middle.

I want to be driving something other than a minivan. I love Rosy but well I don't want to be a minivan driver.

I want to go out for sushi at Japon with Kevin and not share a plate.

I want a bike trailer so that I can bike with Alder, although with all this snow that isn't too useful right now.

That felt good, it was totally selfish and yet didn't at all harm or inconvenience anyone, sort of a anti cold venting. I promise I won't do that again, for at least a year.

Jan 30, 2007

Out with the monkeys

Last week Annalouiza and I took went wandering with Lucero and Alder. They were both "monkeyed out" I got a few pictures for those of you who are picture hungry. Note: the first picture is not Alder it's Lucero his partner in crime, Annalouiza's daughter.
From Alder and Luc...

From Alder and Luc...

From Alder and Luc...

From Alder and Luc...

Jan 28, 2007

What is it About Cooking in the Winter?

I'm at it again. I've been cooking and baking all week. I can't seem to stay out of the kitchen. We've had stews and curries and tons of veggies. Each meal is becoming a narrative, a story that I tell myself as I cook. Some are just reconstructions of the day in others I am cooking in an eighteenth century farm house as the blizzards rage outside. The cutting and measuring has become the crafting of sentences; the braising or sauteing character development. When the meal is finally on the table it is the tale that I had been creating.

This literary turn of thought sent me to the library to find books about food. Not cook books but narratives. There are lots. I picked up "Dirty Sugar Cookies" by Ayun Halliday and "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell. They were both satisfying and motivating. I think I might write a piece on one single meal and its creation. But the author who I really need to pick up is MK Fisher, the grand dame of food writing. She was more of an eater than a cook but her writing pulls you to the seat next to her and hands you a plate.

Bread has been coming out of our kitchen fast, but not, it seems, fast enough for those of us who are eating it. I've given up on the original french bread recipie that I have been using. It has begun to taste like plain white bread. Instead we've had a Potato Whole Wheat bread that was so good that we finished the two loaves in as many days never even bothering to make sandwiches. Alder was a big fan of gnawing on the heel of that one.

Yesterday I tried a Pugliese. I liked what making a starter first did for the flavor. It gave it a strong wine taste to the bread. However, the amount of rising time as well as the various methods for each step were tiresome (I started at 3pm and finished at 11pm). The theory behind all the care put into the rising was to enhance the size of the holes in the bread. Wonderful, but honestly when I put effort into my bread I want it to be for the flavor or for it's height. As it was the bread never even reached three inches, its not supposed to.

Do You Ever Feel Like Your 15 Again?

So after I wrote the last entry I got two phone calls from relatives telling me that we were being too hasty in our decision about Hudson. I know they are right that we need to do more research but there was something solid about knowing where exactly we were going. So instead we've just narrowed it two four places: Hudson NY, Albany NY, Pittsfield MA, and Bennington VT.

I wish sometimes that people would stop pointing out how to be sensible.

Jan 24, 2007

Reaching Towards Change

Well unless the earth is found to be flat, or rental rates are well out of budget we have decided to move to Hudson NY! Kevin has decided that he is willing to move out there site unseen as long as I do a bunch of leg work when I go out for my 15th High School reunion. The ease and comfort which we reached this decision with has the same feeling as many of the good choices we have made in the past. Like moving into this house instead of tying to buy that other place there is an obviousness about it that feels right.

The choice has to do with economics of the community, how the city is laid out, connivance to New York City and Plainfield as well as being very close to the Gunks and not too far from the Adirondacks (I can finally finish my 46er's.) This sounds so dry written like this but I'm sure over the next few months I'll elaborate.

For me making this choice, really any choice, is good. I don't feel like I'm just hanging on loose strands of cob web waiting for the spider to come along and attach me. There is a next step to our lives one that I can start to organize and daydream about.

It is important to note to those of you who doubt his feelings about this move to know that Kevin is the one who came up with this idea. Not to think about Hudson but to actually move there without spending so much time wandering about the general region trying to find a place. He likes big things in life to be simple (details can be elaborate). My description and pictures from my and Amanda's visit as well as showing him things on the web helped. To be honest I think one of the big draws to him is the proximity to the Gunks with all their climbing.

What does this mean practically? Well I can now really start to carefully plan the business. By knowing where we are going to be I can find out specific city and state requirement as well as start pricing what things would will cost there (I was not looking forward to writing up three different plans for three different states). I can also start actually contacting people about rentals for the business and a home. I am such a planning geek.

The other thing this effects is the Eli and Hannah story. I am going to have to do all Colorado research in the next few months, especially work on the writing of the places. Oh darn I guess that means I'll have to take a trip out to the western slope soon, research ya know.

Who would have ever thought that I'd go back to being a New Yorker?

Jan 20, 2007

On Being Domestic

The kitchen captured me today! I've been cooking and baking all afternoon. I baked four loaves of bread. I like this recipe for it's ease but I'm getting a little tired of the flavor so it's time to branch out. Still the act of making bread is one of the most centering in my life. I love how it smells like bread as the gluten forms and how it sighs when I punch it down.

It wasn't just bread that I made to today. Decided to make a nice dinner for Kevin, since he made homemade pasta last night. Stufato di Agnello alla Vino Blanco (lamb), Saffron Couscous, a Fennel and Onion soup, and bittersweet choclate pudding. Sounds like a lot of work but it actually only took an hour, except for whisking the pudding. Not bad for throughing something together with what is around the house.

Cooking, like reading, is something that I approach as a completely personal experience. I may be cooking for a group of friends or myself; either way it is the act that is satisfying. Back when I lived by myself I would make nice dinners for one, now that I have someone else to offer it to I give it as an act of love.

The comparison to reading is far reaching. Like cooking no two people read the same written piece the same way. As a child my father read to me the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books every night. I loved the sense of adventure and place that Tolkien created. In high school I discovered that most people I met who had read the books looked at them in a very different manner they saw them as magic and war oriented. Neither view was wrong.

Cooking is the same way, many people may make a soup but none bring to it my expectations of both the outcome and the experience (I'm guessing most don't think this much about it). I on the other hand revel in the soup. I love the chopping of the ingredients, watching the onions turn from white to transparent, listening to the pot ask for more liquid, and the smells that infuse the house. I love knowing when to push the heat and when to use time. Of course I love the eating of the soup but not as much as creating it.

I watch other people cook, ones who enjoy it, they follow recipes milligram to milligram, or they have different spices. The experience seems nothing akin to mine although they still love what they are doing, their enjoyment does not seem to come from the same thread as mine. Then there are those rare occations when I meet someone who approaches the kitchen the same way I do, my husband included, and I feel as though I have found a soulmate.

On a seperate but equally domestic note. I don't usually get giddy about inanimate objects except art and books but I was down right giddy yesterday when Kevin came home with Alder's new cloth diapers. We've easily spent the cost of the new diapers on disposable ones in the two months we've waited for them. Yes I love them for environmental and economic reasons but my main reason for love is that disposable diapers give Alder a rash. He's been in the new diapers since last night and the rash has vanished. So while I can where my Earth Mama badge again for having him in them I'll know that I'm also making the little bug more comfy.

Jan 19, 2007

Back in Denver

We're home!!! It's a nice feeling to be back. I didn't realize how much I missed Kevin until he left for clinic the day after we got home. I really like our little family unit and while I love my extended family a lot I am happy to have my own to come home to.

Alder was an easy baby for the flight. He cried the first ten minutes and then slept the rest of the 3 1/2 hours on the plane. My toes were a little numb by the time I woke him up but that's nothing.

Yesterday was a good reintroduction to Denver. Rather than sitting around the house brain dead we visited friends and went to the Botanical Gardens to hangout in the tropical rooms. It was freezing outside but we all regretted not wearing t-shirts at the gardens.

The trip was a little wearing on me, I slept 13 hours last night.

Jan 17, 2007



Rosebeth with her husband Randall

No words of travel or Alder today. Just a note to honor the memory of Rosebeth Miller (Caplan). She passed away yesterday at Canterbrook. My heart goes out to Randal, Annie, Daniel, David, Rowan, Irene and Joel.

Take a moment today to give you love to a parent or child today with her spirit in your thoughts.

Heifer International has a list of pledges in her honor.


Jan 16, 2007

Design and the Changing World

For a final day in New York my Dad, Alder and I went to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum for Design Life Now, the peoples choice triennial . Alder amazes me in his ability to stay calm for long periods of time. We spent over an hour in the exhibit and I only stopped once to feed him. His patience allowed me to really enjoy the exhibit.

While there were many pieces that I liked as well as many I didn't what really excited me about the triennial was the breadth of what was represented. It really spoke to the the ways in which our culture is changing and being changed by technology. Years ago the Triennial focused primarily on objects and architecture but with the advent of the Internet and the new focus on individuals designing for themselves the exhibit has grown to include video games, communal blogs, and magazines such as Ready Made and Make. Because of the interactive nature of design of today forms are now becoming more accessable and in many cases more whimsical.

The piece I found the most disturbing was a training "game" for the military but I understand why it was included. "Today, with much of the U.S. military’s work, such as peacekeeping missions, happening away from the battlefield, soldiers need greater skills and training in diplomacy and decision-making. To accomplish this, ICT creates synthetic immersive experiences that are so compelling, the participants often react as if they were real." The similarities to the new Will Wright (creator of SimCity) game Spore
was eerie. Life and fantasy are coming closer and closer together. Not a reasuring idea when it involves our military's orders in Iraq.

Jan 15, 2007

Mass MOCA, and Our Own Performance Piece

Sunday Sarah, a friend of hers who came up for the weekend, and I went to Mass MOCA in the rain. I enjoyed Ahistoric very much.

"At a time when the very idea of history seems under siege - by governments grown forgetful, by media which assaults already shortened attention spans with ever tighter news cycles, and by historians themselves, who are provocatively re-interpreting long held truths - artists are exploiting the material of history to shape and give new meaning to the present. Ahistoric Occasion spotlights the growing interest in historic reenactment and revision in contemporary art.

Artists include: Paul Chan, Jeremy Deller, Peggy Diggs, Felix Gmelin, Kerry James Marshall, Trevor Paglen, Greta Pratt, Dario Robleto, Nebojsa Seric-Shoba, Allison Smith, and Yinka Shonibare"

The other exhibit was a retrospective of Huang Yong Ping's work. Like most retrospectives that I have seen I am always a little overwhelmed by the quantity of work from one perspective. Mass Moca was an appropriate museum to house the exhibit it because the amount of large works in the show. Of all the pieces the Traveling Guide for 2000-2042 and his 108 Cards were the pieces I felt most connected to. The House of Oracles, both the name of the exhibit and a specific piece gave me a different sort of thrill. The piece included a shepard's tent as it's location and I fell in love with the idea of a studio in a canvas building; where the light and the weather is both immediate and kept away. While I enjoyed some of his pieces I felt as though I was looking a remnants from a lot of performance pieces.

We headed back to the house in Plainfied for my father's ribs. Iris, Richard, AManda and Margret had babysat Alder all day while we were at the museum and when we arrived he was asleep on the floor in the midst of all the noise.

Our neighbor Irene and her son David came over to meet Alder, I haven't seen Irene in a few years and David in almost twenty. I remember when his son Daniel was born, now he's married. I forget how much I love talking with Irene. When we usually come to visit I'm too rushed to sit with her and talk. She always tells the most interesting of stories about growing up in ALabama and her life as an opera singer. I need to remember to visit her when we are back in April.

Eating ribs at my dad's house is a performance piece of it's own. The meal always starts with people trying to be polite about how they are eating. It's a battle of wills quickly won by the ribs themselves. Those who attempted to use silverware to eat them quickly revert to the finger method. As the meal comes to an end everyone takes their bones to the fire place and throws them in and we watch them burn.

Weekend Adventures

Alder is asleep on my parent's bed while I type. We've had quite a weekend, in retrospect it was too much social time fore Alder. But it was a lot of fun and we did quite a bit.

Amanda picked us up on Friday in New York and we put the baby seat in her car and headed north to Hudson for lunch. We found a small lunch restaurant to eat at and asked the waitress and the one couple that was in the restaurant why we should move there. They were more than willing to tell us the reasons why Hudson was a good place to live. When I told them that my husband was an acupuncturist the waitress said that most people were currently driving to Kingston for appointments. In fact the cook came out to ask if she could put her name down on a list for an appointment nest Autumn.

Hudson is a small city, 7000 or so but very urban. You can tell that it is an old river city most of the houses are brick or clapboard and are all very close together on the small grid along the river. Down from the restaurant was the Columbia County Council on the Arts. I went in and talk to them. The woman was very helpful and talked to us about the town and all the artists in the area. I'll admit Hudson is sounding better and better from what I saw from our brief visit.

Saturday was a lazy lazy day we stayed at the house in Cummington all day cooking a feast for dinner. I taught Sarah how to bake bread while our stew stewed. The whole meal was a communal effort. Four of us cooked while Iris played "grandma" with Alder. I haven't stayed over there intentionally in years (we got iced in last Thanksgiving) and it was really nice to be there when I woke up with everyone already there.

My dad and Pat came over for dinner that night and we had a great family dinner that lasted for hours. Somehow Alder lasted through the whole thing. Even though he had spent most of the day working on his crawling skills, backwards.

Jan 11, 2007


When I'm going out for the day in a city, be it Denver, New York or someplace I don't know as well I prefer to just get started and then figure out where I'm going. It seems that otherwise planning ends up taking most of the morning. With that in mind Alder and I boarded a 1 train this morning. We decided to go to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Annie Leibovizt exhibit.
I never thought that her photos were exceptionally artful but a lot of people had been talking about the exhibit. I was surprised that when you got past the Rollingstone cover art her work was great. I would have liked to stay longer and look at one wall that was covered with snapshot sized pictures, a time line of her work but Alder was more interested in the larger work, I don't think he can really conceptually grasp photos when they are that small yet. But we did spend a half hour in the exhibit which is pretty long for a baby. Of course most of the time he spent flirting with women who had come to see the exhibit.

The other special exhibit was Ron Mueck's sculptures. I had seen a small one before but this exhibit had both small and huge. I'm not sure I liked them as art work but I loved the disconcerting feeling I had being around these life like sculptures that seem to be in mid-movement. I expected to see them exhale or move slightly. The rest of the museum was disappointing, but I don't regret paying to see the Annie Leibovitz show and the Ron Mueck one also.

After the museum we walked through Prospect Park to Park Slope to wander a bit. In high school a lot of my friends lived there and I love wandering around there, but I haven't been in fifteen years so it was all new to me. The last time I was there it was still a little rough around the edges. Now it's like the Upper West Side was in the early eighties.

The park itself was great, the trails were more wandering than those in Central Park or City Park even though all three were designed by Olmstead. There is even the last remaining forest in Brooklyn in part of it. More than either of the other parks this one has hills and winding paths, much of it reminded me of the Brambles in Central Park. Alder's opinion of the park probably focuses on the swing in the play ground and the fact that I stopped him from eating the rubber mats that cover the ground (some how eating the playground itself seemed like a bad idea).
The Park Slope neighborhood felt so comfortable to me. Not that we could afford it but all these different areas of Brooklyn that I've been to lately is making me think that I might add Brooklyn to the list of possible places to move to. I'm not sure what Kevin would say but I can at least put it on the list.

On a side note Iris Amanda and Dan came over for Vietnamese food tonight. This was the first time Dan has seen his nephew.


New York Day 1

Amanda and I took Alder on a long wander on Tuesday. We took the subway down to Canal Street and wandered through China Town and the East Village. We had high hopes of finding some funny junk to pass along to friends but we talked so much and only glanced at the street stalls. We did eat some great Indian food. Alder had his first saag and nan, he loved both of them.

That evening we left Alder in the hands of Grandma and Grandpa and headed to Brooklyn for a cousins dinner at the Good Fork. Ethan and Dan's loft in Willamsburg reminded me of a college dorm. It's in an area where most of the buildings are either artists studios or factories. You can smell the wantons being baked from their door step.

The Good Fork was amazing. The food was amazing and the space is great. Everyone kept saying that you felt like you were in a boat it does feel that way except the wood glows in a way that makes you feel as though you are out in the sunlight. There are details to the building that make me know that it's Ben's handy work. In the bathroom the door is weighted with roped wine bottle, it reminds me of the 'talking tube' he and their upstairs neighbor had growing up.
As for the food it is as good as the reviews. I had the duck but I could of had anything else on the menu. Dinner was filled with a few extras that Ben brought out. It felt really good to be some place that amazing and to know the people who are making it happen.

Talking with Sarah, Ethan, Amanda and Dan is so comfortable. We are all doing such different things but still we connect. Of course there was a lot of joking around and drinking of wine. Pictures will be posted soon.


Jan 9, 2007

Travel Day

What a long day getting to New York yesterday was. I didn't want to get stuck in traffic so we left at 7:15 in the morning. Kevin pulled away from DIA at eight in the morning. I figured we had about an hour and a half until we loaded. HA! The plane didn't load until after 11am. Alder and I got to know a certain patch of carpet by the windows.

Rather than asking for all parents with young children first they called me by name, Alder was the only baby on the flight. He was great, first he slept for the first half of the flight and then we just played for the rest. There was a brief period as we flew over Lake Erie that he was cranky but that soon turned into swells of happiness. I feel bad for the woman in front of us whose seat he kept kicking. When we got off the plane we were given many compliments about what a good baby he had been.

Grandpa met us at the baggage claim and we were out of there in a half hour from the time I landed, impressive since we waited until everyone was off the plane to get up. Usually on the ride in from La Guardia I love watching everything roll by but with my Dad and Alder in the car I was focused on what was going on in the cab. Arriving on our usually windy block I almost took the door off of the taxi getting out. I forgot that our block is one on the windiest in the city, it had been windy all the way in so I should have expected the way Alder almost was lifted from my arms. I'm sad to say that the elevators were changed in the building (more on a different post).
Pat and Cynthia stole Alder as soon as we walked in the front door. It's only been a month since Pat has seen him but Cynthia has never met Alder (more later on this too). While they played, cooed and observed I wandered the house like a drone, making sure everything was still there, supposedly I used to do this when I was just crawling every time we went away for a weekend.

Alder is bored so I'll finish this later.


Jan 7, 2007

On being a nervous mother tonight

I used to get stressed out the night before I traveled anywhere. I'd stay up all night organizing and doing random stuff. Luckily I got over that when I moved out here and started driving across the country. Except now I have the same nervous energy now that I'm going with Alder. While I'll miss Kevin while I'm gone that isn't what is making me nervous. It's the flight. Three and a half hours in a seat with Alder is a long time. We've practiced a little, we sat for an hour and a half in a chair the other day. But this is tighter and who knows who will be next to us. I'm also worried about his ears on the accent and decent. I know he should be sucking on something which shouldn't be to difficult to get him to do, but what if it isn't enough.

Jeeze! I sound like a nervous mother... oh wait I am one, at least at this moment.


The Big Trip

Well Alder and I are packed and ready to go. We're leaving for ten days to New York to see family and friends. Kevin isn't coming so I've promised him a daily photo journal of are trip on the blog. Ten days without Papa I hope Alder will remember him. Stay tuned for updates (insert theme from 1010 news)


Jan 4, 2007

The Evil S Word

From Sippy cup

We went out to return something at a baby store and in exchange got a pack of cups. That got me thinking about something I wrote about four years ago (see below) it seems different now. I don't ever think we'll be parents like they all are but I've had more than my fair share of baby conversations. I don't think you realize before hand how babies change you. The changes aren't compromises just adjusting to a new life.

My life has been reduced to sippy cups please save me!!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I am utterly jealous. While the Bloomfield’s are wonderful people I found myself discussing sippy cups and bedtimes with them for almost an hour!!!! Please tell me that I am not crazy that these were not the discussions that I grew up around. And that seven pm was bed time for four year olds. I would have rather been enjoying spare ribs (why are they spare… if they are spare can I have the spares) and talking about things that have more meaning than sippy cups. Even if I had been reduced to old ways, like hog tying cousins it would have been more comfortable than being around all these perfect people. I revel in difference and they are not different.,, okay so that isn’t totally true, Karen and Kevin are within our realms. So we did have fun hanging out with her. But Roger, who really isn’t so normal, puts on a good face for the relatives. I mean how many 60 year olds do you know who climb mountains solo n the snow? But I am digressing from my sippy cup dilemma. I while I am not currently actively looking to be pregnant I am aware that it is something that will be in my life in the next five years. I feel that I need to work on all of my anti-sippy cup mechanisms. It is bad enough that Kevin and I, through our friends, know a great deal about toddler videos. But at least with Luke (said baby) our enjoyable time with his parents was focused on arts and music, not SIPPY CUPS. I am afraid that this may be an epidemic of sorts. Any help that you can offer on reducing my susceptibility to the afore mentioned would be very much desired…. Stacey

Jan 3, 2007

Alder Pictures

Just thought I'd share some more baby pictures.


Jan 2, 2007


I just finished reading Job Hopper by Ayun Halliday. She was the woman I always wished I could be. I'm sure I have had as many jobs as she has but I was never as brazen about my slacking during work. I always tried to put on a good face. In retrospect I could have probably enjoyed some of my jobs more if I hadn't been so concerned about either the people I worked with or my bosses.
The book got me thinking that I should make a list of all the jobs I ever had. It got more and more amusing as it went on so I thought I'd share it here.

Middle School:
Mowed golf course in someones backyard
Washed Cars
Baby sat (I some how became the babysitter to a lot of Israeli bankers in our neighborhood, they would usually just hand me a fifty and say they didn't have change).

High School:
Day Camp Counselor
Museum Art project teacher
Preschool Aide

Camp Counselor (Camp Treetops, still the most amazing place on the planet)
Cook at campus pub
Dean's Intern for Women's Issues
Mat Cutter for Art History Department
Women's bookstore clerk
Capital Children's Museum, general slave

Since College:
House painter
Envelope Stuffer (I did that on and off for 6 years Nick Wolf was one of the best bosses)
Telemarketer (I lasted one call)
Ticket Checker (Purgatory)
Snow Removal (Purgatory)
Ski Boot fitter (purgatory)
Adaptive Ski Instructor (trade for ski tickets)
Teacher of:
7th grade Special Ed
6th-7th Reading
High School Sociology
High School Design
Substitute Teacher
Multi Age Elementary School class (K-4)
Middle School Geography
Middle School Girls Studies
Life Skills Specialist for Developmentally Disabled Adults
Primary Care Giver for Developmentally Disabled Adults
Assistant Manager of Day Program for Developmentally Disabled Adults
Barista/ bookseller
Coffee shop/ bookstore manager
Shipping and Receiving
Nonprofit Director

That means that I have had 37 jobs since I turned 10. Of course some of them have been at the same time. Someone once told me that the average person changes jobs seven times during their lives. I've already surpassed that by nine times. I'm not sure what this all means.