Saturday, July 24, 2010

We shall not be moved

Music for small children as far as I can tell is an interesting mix of some new songs and A LOT of old and older songs and nursery rhymes.  On account of this, Liam comes home singing some interesting choices.  Lately, we've been hearing a lot of  "We Shall Not be Moved."  It's pretty interesting; it's an old, old song that has been picked up and used so well by so many.  As a spiritual, as a civil rights anthem, as a call to action for fair treatment of all kinds.

Here's a part of Liam's version:

And here's a completely beautiful version by Mississippi John Hurt -- really, you should listen to this, it has some of the sweetest, simplest finger-picking guitar you'll ever hear.

The classic Mavis Staple version, used here as a soundtrack to documentation of the people fighting for fair treatment and elections in Iran.  Striking.

I gotta say, I think he could be coming home singing worse things.

In other news: the next new music we're going to buy for Liam is this CD right here, and I don't know about him but I can't wait to hear it.  In the TMI department, if I could pick anyone of all time to sound like when I sing, it would for sure be Nathalie Merchant.

First Peach

If you're lucky, when you return home from a long day east of the mountains, after a 4-hour drive, you will find that the farm-stand just outside of Cashmere sold you some perfect peaches.  And you will get to introduce your 3-year old to eating a perfect peach -- leaning over the counter, juice dripping.  And after that, you can wash up and go straight to bed.

We've got colds here -- I think Will had it last week, Liam and me now, so we may be a little quiet.  Nothing too bad, just a summer cold.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why we buy toys. . .

I do not know.  Really, a pillow and an imagination is all that is needed.  This photo is from a few weeks ago (when we were still having our cold, cold, rainy pre-summer).  I can't remember who Liam was pretending to be -- he likes to be "Pilot Joe" who drives the seaplane that lands occasionally at the dock across the channel from my parents' house or assorted other people from his daily life -- only that the pillow was the funniest of hats, ever. 

Lately, still, he is being a bat, wearing a blue hooded puppy-dog towel "my blue bat fur" and flying around the house with his mouth open catching bugs. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go to sleep

Stay tuned. . .we're working on a project.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Table

When Auntie Chris was here at the end of July, one of the many things she did was build us this remarkable patio table and benches. I've had the plan for this table "sturdy picnic table in a weekend from dimensional lumber" torn from a Sunset Magazine for at least 10 years. I can save stuff -- no fooling.

Auntie Chris made it very beautiful. She chose all the wood -- ceder -- carefully for straightness and interest. She sanded everything a lot. She tried out different combinations for the table top to get one that made the best use of the grain and knots. She finished the top so it will stay clear and the legs to let them weather to ceder gray. She patiently, patiently encouraged Liam to help her set the pegs in the top.

It's built like a bomb shelter and now officially the place we're all going to run to when the next big earthquake comes. (It's only a matter of time.) Takes two grown-ups to lift, our table.

We love our table and love the love and skill with which it was made. We inaugurated it this weekend and the only sad part was that Auntie Chris was back at rocket-scientist school and couldn't be there. We can't wait to eat lots and lots of meals outside for the next 50 years. Hopefully most of them with Auntie Chris in attendance.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to see bats, sort of

To see bats, you have to live in a place where bats also live. Luckily, bats live in most places. We have a big colony of bats around here. Then you have to get the notion to go look at the bats. This happens when Mommy reads in the newspaper that the local bat researcher gives talks about the bats once a month down by the lake and carries around a little machine that slows down bat speech so it can be heard by humans. Get really excited about the idea. Get even more excited when Mommy says that GoGo (grandpa DH) will meet us there to see the bats too.

Stay up to way past your bed-time before you even leave to see the bats. Finally, about 8:45 pm go down to the lake. Park the car. Wait for the bats to come out.

Talk with a lot of people while you wait. Tell all of them that your are going to see bats. (They know this already because they also are waiting for the bats to come out, but most people play along really nicely.) Have I mentioned that our little town is also the state capital? It is.

Keep waiting. The bats are kind of late tonight.

More waiting. It's not clear the bats read the newspaper article about the bat talk. They may not be coming.

Check out the bat habitat while you wait. Bats eat bugs. Bugs fly around over the lake. Our bats fly 16 miles round trip from where they (mostly) live to the lake every night to feed.

Get really tired. Look at Mommy like she is crazy when she tries to show you a bat flying around. Smile and agree when Mommy says they are really small and really fast. Pretend you see the bat so you can all go home.

In the car on the way home admit that you really didn't see a bat. But Mommy did! Which is very good! And you can look at videos of bats on the computer. Decide to try again in September when dark comes earlier.

PS -- Liam has been being a bat ever since this (sort of lame) outing on Saturday night. He runs around the house "going really fast" and has learned to swim his arms in the air just like bats fly. He demands to be addressed as "bat" as in "that's really fast, bat!"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Water play

Liam and I stopped and bought a sprinkler on the way home from school/work today. He was super-excited about the idea of running through it, but turned out to be not totally happy that he had to get wet. He'll grow into it I guess. Happy weekend everyone. Boy those 4-day work weeks seem long for some reason.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I love you; I love your hair

Liam turned 3 a few weeks ago. A summer baby; born on the eve of the solstice. At three he is still a sweet, sweet little boy -- not a baby, he'll tell me, as if I could forget. But also trying to figure out people and what works and what doesn't. He likes his candy-flavored vitamins (what a mistake) and will tell me "I need an extra vitamin; I'm having a rough day" or "I need vitamin to help me." And the fit he has when I explain for the 147th time that vitamins are medicine and he can only have one a day, well, it's something to see. But he rallies and will then try: "Okay Mommy, how about chocolate cookie." Sweet boy; sweet tooth.

The baby boy at three also says, for reasons I do not know: "I love you; I love your hair." He says this most often to Will: I love you Daddy; I love your hair. He repeats things he hears; puts them together in new ways.

He wants to swing high and higher on the swings and will say "I want to remember that this is an airplane." He wants to be friends with Mollie the dog; he wants her to play with him. He starts swimming lessons next week and is beyond excited, although today before bed he said to me "GoGo will stay with me at swimming, right Mommy?" (A: yes, he will be with you the whole time.)

He has decided that he wants to be rocked to sleep again. When he asks for something he thinks I'll say no to he whispers. So when I say: how do you want to go to sleep tonight Liam? He whispers "rock, rock." I don't mind. He's figured out a way to tuck his little head up beside my arm so I can feel it pressing against my lower ribs just where it sat pressing for the whole last trimester of our pregnancy. He snuggles in and sighs and goes straight to sleep.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Auntie Chris leaves us tomorrow and we're already sad. Actually, I haven't told Liam yet because I'm afraid he will cry and I want to give him as much time as possible not worrying about what he can't change before we tell him. Three is tough that way; so far I think of it as the age of obsession with every little thing, especially worrisome or unwelcome things.

Besides making every single thing nicer and more pleasant just by being around Auntie Chris (with help from Grandpa SuperDave): put in a new sink and new toilet in the bathroom upstairs, replacing the 1902 models (no fooling) that came with the house; powerwashed and primed the fence (Grandma and I helped with that too); assisted with the big yard makeover including all the skilled labor (wisteria trellis; pea trellis) and much of the unskilled; and, all by herself, built the most beautiful patio table and benches ever (photos of this later). She also thought to buy the perfect fireworks, just the right speed for a three-year old, that even got his father out of the house to enjoy himself for a little while.

She never stops helping out in her good-sported-way. As I type she's over at Grandma and Grandpa's helping them let off fireworks with Grandchild K, an only slightly pre-teen boy visiting from California for the week.

PS - yes, Liam's shirt says "next stop, mars." In her spare time, Auntie Chris is a helicopter pilot and a rocket scientist. No fooling.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


We've been doing a lot of this lately. Auntie Chris made Liam a swing as part of the great yard makeover. She was in charge of all the skilled work. I moved dirt, and wood chips, and gravel.

Happy three-day weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well, that was strange. . .

I didn't mean to be gone from this space and from blog-land for almost a month. We've been busy, taken on a big yard clean-up project. Other projects. Work. My sister has been visiting for the past few weeks. At any rate. Hi. I'm going to try to be back here a little bit. I have lots of pictures stored up to share.

Today, as a little gift to you all, I submit the perfect egg to milk ratio for quiche. I made these relatively recently for a friend's spouse who was just dx with breast cancer. (Stupid cancer.) It's easy. You should have a stack of these in the freezer for the next time you don't want to cook.

I believe in all butter pie crust, use your favorite one. I use the Martha Stewart one and it always works. Put it into the tart shells and put them in the fridge to chill while you prepare the fillings. I like tomato, rosemary and feta (pictured). Also bacon, pepper and a little cheese. Other things are good too.

Get the oven ready. You want a 375 degree oven and with a sheet tray large enough to hold all your mini-quiches in the oven heating up. For real, the hot sheet tray is important.

Mix up the eggs and milk. The best ratio is 1/3 cup milk to every egg and mix it up good. I've used a lot of egg to milk ratios over the years, and this is the one that always works. Use 2% milk or better. I use whole milk because we have it on hand for Will. It's not diet food, this stuff. Pour the egg mixture over the fillings. Then, quick, quick, get your filled cold mini-quiches onto your hot sheet pan in the oven. Cook about 30 minutes or until they're done. Don't under cook.The hot sheet pan ensures a brown crispy bottom of the quiche. Essential if you're going to pop these out of the little pans and freeze them to take one-by-one into the office for lunch, which I recommend.

They freeze like a dream and can be thawed in the fridge overnight and heated in a toaster oven or thawed/heated in a microwave.

See you all soon.