Here and There

Sunday, December 20, 2009


2 out of 4 of our chicks were fellas. Thanks to Craigslist we found Astro a new home and today we'll say goodbye to Mercury. Hopefully to a good home too. Or maybe he'll be the best fighting bird since little Jerry Seinfeld. It's hard to say when someone from Craigslist calls you on a rooster posting.

So now it's just Rhoda and Sunny, the lovelies. Rhoda is friendly and Sunny is funny-lookin'. They were the pair we were supposed to have I suppose and I can't wait for 6:45 tomorrow morning and NOT hearing a cockle-doodle-doo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Sometimes, this happens when you cook together. The gingerbread house falls down.

Then immediately afterward you cook "together" (which is when kid is in the room but not on the counter) and get the most delicious results: Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake. I made this last year when SK originally posted the recipe. This time it turned out even better. Maybe my favorite coffee cake ever.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cultivate Quiet

I didn't hear the sermon because I was teaching Godly Play but I heard that somewhere in there was the suggestion (instruction?) for advent, for this week, was to cultivate quiet. I want to do this. I could be doing this right now, both children are asleep, but I am here on the internet thinking about doing this. Stupid.

Teaching Godly Play on the first Sunday of advent was meaningful and I felt myself entering the mystery of Christmas.

As I was preparing for the story I invited my own self to journey to Bethlehem along with the Holy Family, with the angels, the Magi, the prophets and all the rest. I was reminded of that riddle about all the people on the road to St. Ives. All the wives and kids and cats. I'm sure everyone was making a racket. The journey to Bethlehem then and now is noisy and crazy too. But if I stop and notice it, there are indeed moments of calm. I don't have to make them happen, just notice them.

We're on the road to Bethlehem and something incredible will happen there. It's night and no one is crying, no one is screaming or grabbing. There are stars. Look up! Nod and feel that bizarre connection--like a magnet, between your quiet right then and that huge timeless quiet of the skies.

Quiet. Quiet. Be quiet. Be still.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ah, comfort through poetry.

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

--Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm adjusting to life with two kids. It's different than I had thought it would be. Funnier, crazier, WAY harder. Up all night off and on with the baby doesn't really mesh with the hours of a toddler. As someone who only feels fully competent with adequate sleep it's a struggle for me to wake up at 7:00am, only 15 minutes or so after actually falling asleep again after caring for Maggie. I have to pretend like it's normal and natural instead of hideously wrong. Lily breezes in: "Good morning!" and I reply, "Good Morning!"

But then Lily will say something like "What a LOAD on baby sister's bottom!" in amazement and again: "What a LOAD!" and I will laugh and forget that awful "Can it really be morning?" moment...for a moment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Sister

Magnolia Ethle Gidlund is here.

We are all quite taken by her!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autumn time

Baby sister and big sister.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"We are young, we run green..."

I've been thinking a lot about this particular memory of Gid and I when we were young(er than we are now). Carefree day on the beach in Capitola, watching the sun set from the little deck of a lifeguard station. Me in some cute Abercrombie and Fitch campshirt and jeans. This was before Abercrombie and Fitch got racist and the catalogs had become (too) racy. They had some really cool things back then.

There's a stark contrast of so many things about today and that day. At first, when this memory popped into my head I was a little sad for it. We were the young couple on the beach. We'll never be the young couple on the beach again. Because I have kids I'll never be as "carefree". Even when the wheel turns again and we're back on the beach, kids grown and gone, it won't be the same. Sitting together, watching the sky, that quiet won't be full of fascination and butterflies. I was looking in my mind at us there and just so nostalgic for that day. Just misty for it.

But I love how that day we didn't know we'd be a family, we didn't know how sweet it would be to depend upon each other instead of date. It's almost too lovely to look at, that day. But it is also marvelous to think about how now: instead of holding my heart closed and opening it to show dazzling glimpses, the way we do when we are getting to know someone we are smitten by, it's all open, it's all there. We know each other, we rely on each other. Less independence, fewer butterflies, more deep quiet water, more true love.

I could also just be reminiscing about wearing jeans. I miss that. But I will wear jeans again... someday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nesting looks like Sewing this time around.

We bought this plain brown hoodie from Target for $7. It was a boy's sweatshirt, but the only thing that looked boyish was the number 15 in a tan box on the lapel. I remembered that Dana had given me these patches a long time ago and thought it would be perfect. So I hand-stitched it to the red scrap while sniffling through Pete's Dragon and then did a quick machine stitch around the scrap. Hopefully it will get all unravelly after a few washes and look "distressed" around the edge.

Of course this morning, Lily wept with grief that the "abc's" got covered up. That kind of pissed me off because I worked so hard on it, but then I grew up after I had a cup of coffee and hung it on the coatrack...maybe that's where it will live forever, oh well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Favorite Cheese!

The other night I sampled--meaning I ate a lot of--a goat's milk gouda from TJ's that was SO good. I ate it by itself, on buttered french bread and in fresh tomato soup. And in french onion soup.

Today, I got some Popcorn Bisque soup from Berkeley Bowl--really tastes like drinking the freshest sweetest corn on the cob...enriched with cream--and I really wanted more of this kind of cheese. But they only had the fancy kind. But I bought it anyway. It's called Midnight Moon! The TJ one is way cheaper and tastes really almost the same. But I'm going to savor--meaning enjoy most of my smallish wedge in one sitting--my spendy Midnight Moon Goat's Milk Gouda!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Free is sweeter

These berries are from a vacant lot by our house. They were the sweetest berries I've eaten all summer. Infinitely sweeter than the berries we paid to pick in Pescadero!

Update on the unnamed chick. The youngest Reed came to see the peeps and called her Mercury. After the planet. I had to go with it because it's cute and clever and it made Peter think "I don't want to eat that one!" Also reminds me of the Kathleen Edwards song Mercury...which I love. (I wish I could just post songs like pictures. That's against the law (I think.) and I wouldn't know how to do it.)

Of songs, the season is turning again. It's true. Discovered "Easy Hearts" by Whiskeytown is a perfect transitional melody and sounds great in the car on these dusty afternoons.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The baby chicks!

Today we got 4 chicks, with the high hopes of our backyard turning out all the ingredients for the home grown omelet: tomatoes, zucchini and EGGS! Peter is almost finished with the coop, and these little ladies were just born on Wednesday, so the coop will be ready and waiting by the time they're old enough to move outside.

Lily peeks at her new peeps.

Excited to hold one.

But it somehow ended up down here.

Now, meet the girls. Peter doesn't think I should name them, or call them the girls. Because he wants to EAT them when their egg-laying days are done. But I already love them and we will go toe-to-toe on this one!

First up, meet Rhoda. She's a Rhode Island Red and definitely the friskiest of the bunch.

Here's Sunny. She's an Auracana. She'll lay pretty pale blue eggs!

This one is Astro. She's the biggest right now, and she's a black Austrolorp.

And here's #4, she's another Auracana without a name. She has all sorts of colors and kind of looks like a squirrel or an owl. Any suggestions?

Here they are, just hanging out. I don't think I've ever held a chick before, and I thought it was weird. But it's so fun! They just stay in your hands and go to sleep!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I made a few of these plastic bag holders based on Martha's pattern. She suggested using a dishtowel, but I used fabric from my little stash. I love how they turned out and love that they're so fast to make. I hung them in the garage, one for the clear plastic bags and one for the regular ones. It's already made it easier for me to reuse the bags I have. In the same day I also made a nursing cover from this pattern, but made it bigger. That was not such a fun project. Too slow and too much thinking. I prefer the sewing projects that are fast and simple and you can make a bunch of them and feel pleased with yourself. But if you were a more advanced sewer, it probably wouldn't be such a big deal at all.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Six years of marriage. Some of that time was spent eating chips.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New piece of the picture

At church I had an amazing new picture of Jesus in my mind that I never really had before. The passage (John 1:37-42) describes a couple guys going with Jesus to the place he was staying and staying with him for the day and then in the evening, bringing one of the guys' brother over. Jesus basically looks straight at the guy and changes his name, naming his destiny.

I never really thought about how this all might go down and as I let my imagination go I pictured where Jesus was staying, in a house with thick walls, open windows with a courtyard in the middle. There, in the courtyard, in the growing darkness with lamp or two lit, I pictured him sitting with not only these two guys but a few other people. Kind of like the outdoor party ideal that so fascinates me. Jesus is sitting in the warm circle of light, quiet, listening and enjoying the talking. Maybe sipping some wine. Peter comes in and sees him and gets introduced. Jesus may have been "despised and rejected by men" in general during his life, but I imagine from his encounters with the disciples and the woman at the well that there was something irresistible to people who could see it. Attraction, curiosity, wonder. I saw in my mind's eye this picture of Jesus hanging out all day and into the night and it seemed so real to me. It kind of made me want to approach him, like at a party and see what he would tell me about my own self. I can't tell you how pleasant the whole setting and situation were.

I love that this new picture will be a part of all the little movies and snapshots of Jesus I've made in my own head to create who Jesus is to me. And that everybody has his or her own.

John 1:37-42
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer at the Gid Kids'

I love looking at FAIL BLOG with Peter and laughing so hard he gets hiccups for 2 hours. A nice example of the entertainment: Children's Dental Aid Fail

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Berry Picking

We went to Phipp's Farm over the weekend and picked some berries. They got kind of smashed on the way home but that didn't matter; I made a cobbler that made for good breakfast eating for a few days.

This summer has been rolling along. So much good food--peaches, corn, cherries have been the best this week. I've been reading War and Peace, trying to be ready for next week's page 600 check in. I've got to read something like 40 pages a day to make it...we'll see! It really has become like a security blanket. I take it everywhere, hoping for a chance to read a few pages, not necessarily because I LOVE it, but because I just have to keep going! I will say I didn't like it very much at first, but now I am liking it, seeing more in it, feeling more a part of it.

I am enjoying the slow pace of this season for our family. Savoring it, trying not to waste it by thinking too much about what we should accomplish while we have time. Turning around a lot of Netflix: mainly Entourage and The Sopranos--I am so OVER this show! Too gross! Too violent!

Lily definitely has an opinion about Baby Sister's name. We liked Eleanor and we're trying to sell it to her: "What about Eleanor? Baby Eleanor?"
"No, just Baby June. Not Eleanor."
"Eleanor is pretty, Baby Eleanor?"
"I don't like Eleanor."

Alrighty then.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I don't know what to name our baby on the way. I am stumped. We have been thinking "June" but I just don't know if it's right.
I'm trying to figure that out. And read War and Peace, work, welcome summer, etc.
I don't think there's anything nerdy about Les Miserables, it's only one of the best musicals EVER. So I borrowed the soundtrack and am enjoying it this morning.

This is John Hancock's gravesite. I took this picture on my trip to Boston with T at the end of May to see dear M. Notice the bird, very Keith Gidlund of me.

First backyard strawberry picked on June 1. Haven't had another one since. Hmm.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Night Prayer from The New Zealand Prayer Book

it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dolly and Me

Or should I say, Darya Aleksandrovna and me. I've been leisurely re-reading Anna Karenina this spring. I pulled out my beloved college copy, and dove in. While reading it in the background I've covered a lot of other ground book-wise: American Rust, When You Are Engulfed In Flames (which I could swear after reading the whole thing that I've read it before, but not until finishing could I say with certainty. Hmm.), all the Moffat Books and All-Of-A-Kind Family books (just for kicks), and most of The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd. I think I always need a background book, it helps me feel anchored and have options. Starting today, it will become War and Peace, thanks to new "Slow Book Club" starting on Tuesday. 100 pages at a time--I will read War and Peace!

Anyway, during the course of it's stint as background book this season, Anna Karenina has been through a lot. I now hold it together with a blue asparagus rubberband and for the last 200 pages of the book, have been pulling out what Peter calls my "pamphlets". Little sections that have stuck together despite the book itself falling apart. I pull out "707-742" and read it, put it back and pull out "743-757". Some pamphlets are much small than others. That's what happens when a stupid leak-proof sippy cup leaks in your purse and your beloved copy of Anna Karenina gets soaked...and then you keep reading it and toting it around until it actually breaks.

But, really. The point of this is that this time around, instead of annoying me endlessly, the character of Dolly has been like a bosom friend to me. It all started when Lily started biting and pinching and hitting anything that came withing biting/pinching/hitting distance. I was embarassed and horrified. The day that (looking back) I consider the "height" of this behavior, I was reading during her nap and came across Dolly seeing her kids fighting and hitting, feeling the exact way I was feeling:

"Something snapped in Darya Aleksandrovna's heart when she saw this. It was as if darkness had swooped down upon her life; she felt that these children of hers, that she was so proud of, were not merely most ordinary, but positively bad, ill-bred children, with coarse brutal propensities--wicked children."

It was just exactly it. Irrational, fleeting, but that was the feeling when your kid does something like that.

And now, today I am leaving for Boston, for a weekend with dear girlfriends. And as I read a couple nights ago, Dolly leaves her family to visit Anna for a bit. As she's travelling she thinks of the things she's free from as she travels...the children, the household, all the family worries. Then as she is there at Anna's she begins to find it strange, the absence of children in the daily life and starts to miss her own family so much. When she returns, she finds everything "particularly charming"!

Ah, Dolly. So complex, and here I am doing basically a very narrow "close reading" of her as solely a mother. But that's how it goes with art oftentimes. You find something that looks familiar and cling to it.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I'm lovin' it!

Sewing: Went to my first sewing class and learned how to make a drawstring bag and use a sewing machine. Very new to me. Today I definitely did something that should help me avoid Alzheimer's. Weird coordination-wise for me and I felt like I was the slow learner of the group, but I left with an itch to sew more...and more!

Dreyer's Slow Churned Mud Pie Ice Cream: I am terrified that this is a "limited edition" flavor. I have never felt this way about an ice cream flavor before. Even after having my relationship with Hagen Dazs renewed a couple years ago, nothing compares to how much I love this ice cream.

It Ain't Me Babe: Back on it, can't get off it! Love the song, just can't stop listening to it. That and Raffi's "Le Zombies a la Loup-Gerous".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Warm days in the garden

The girl's hair is so pretty outside.

First beets. I burned them in the oven!

Fat peas. All kids seem to be totally charmed by the novelty of these and eat them like candy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Neko Case!

Isn't she pretty?

First artist recognition shown by Lily. I've been listening to Neko Case's new album Middle Cyclone constantly. I thought for sure Mates of State would be the first band I'd hear her say the name of when I play music, but I guess Neko has had more airplay at the time of developmental readiness.

I love this album. It is beautiful lyrically and musically. I'm no music reviewer, I'll leave that to Gid. But I am so enjoying "Magpie in the Morning" and "Don't Forget Me" (There's a piano ORCHESTRA in that one people!) Also loving the line: "Never turn your back on Mother Earth."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Cicely, Alaska

This is a picture of Joel when he got hit with a tomato. It is tradition to throw tomatoes at white people on Thanksgiving. Joel considers himself a person of color so is offended by getting hit. What?! See, aren't you dying to know more!

We've been watching Northern Exposure on DVD for the past few months. I remember watching this show in syndication very late at night during the summer when I was a teenager. I remember hearing the opening music in the evening when it was on and my parents watched it sometimes. But I had no memory of how good it was. This show is virtually flawless. Similar to Winnie-the-Pooh characters I think that everyone can identify with one of the ensemble. I think Gid is a Chris/Holling combo. I myself identify with Ruth Ann. I wish I knew more Shelly Tambo types.
Anyway, not only is the show funny and silly and beautiful, it is filled with these surprising insights about community, religion, art, and human nature. I wish we had a "Chris in the Morning" to read us The Call of the Wild and Thanksgiving dinners shared by our whole community (CWOW thanksgiving would be so great!) but we don't. So I am completely charmed by this tv show and tickled by it.
I'm sure I will be sad when it ends, hopefully I won't cry like when we finished watching X Files. (I was so sad about William for months!!) Watching TV on DVD is a funny thing- it's hours and hours that would be spent naturally over the course of years- 6 years in the case of Northern Exposure, NINE in the case of X Files, condensed into a few months of nightly immersion. It is amazingly comforting and addicting.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I didn't realize we had any special daffodils until these started coming up in the back. Planted them thinking they were regular old daffodils, come to find out they're so fancy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thank you, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Last night we saw two great things on PBS. One, a great Ken Burns American Story about women's suffrage, Not For Ourselves Alone and a documentary about women soldiers in Iraq called Lioness.

I recommend both features wholeheartedly! Totally fascinating, mind-opening stuff.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New Little Gidding

Sometimes you are surprised by life. We're having another kid. Pregnancy puts me over in the contemplative camp I guess, so I've been looking around, staring at the curtains, listening to music, driving, all the while, thinking.

Feeling nauseated about 22 to 23 hours a day, watching Northern Exposure (thumbs up!) , reading Prodigal Summer (thumbs down.) and eating are activities I do best at this time, all the while, thinking.

Most books that feature a pregnant person attempt to describe this kind of absent, dreamy confusion that kind of takes hold during this time. It's hard to nail down exactly what it is. It's weird. I'm thoughtful, but not focused. I know it won't last, so I'm just contemplating it while I'm in it.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I was going to save this picture for Valentine's Day, but I couldn't wait. It's so smooth and pretty. You can imagine what those leaves feel like. Lily was curious and ripped one which was so embarrassing. But I understand how it was irresistible to touch them. I did, but I was more gentle.

I picked up Prodigal Summer for book club from the library and also picked up a copy of Blue Iris, a book of poems by Mary Oliver. I was driving to Pleasanton on a country road a few weeks back and heard her on City Arts and Lectures, which I never listen to by the way because it doesn't sound very friendly initially, but she was enchanting! So I wanted to read some more, and for myself.

I'll let you know how it is. Enjoying all the rain, drinking tea and eating animal crackers.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Blast from the past!

Action Jackson...keeps popping into my today I wrote a post. I have two more in the chute. So maybe get it back on your google reader folks.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nothing but Flowers

After months and months of listening to the Talking Heads CD we have, I finally "heard" song 18: Nothing but Flowers. You can watch the video on YouTube, and that's interesting, but what's been most interesting to me is tossing around the words.

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
you've got it, you've got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you've got it, you've got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I'd pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it's nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we'd start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle

I'd like to live more like it was "paradise", eating food I grow, watching flowers bloom and listening to birds. But it would suck to not have toilets, or dishwashers...I'd miss the symphony, GAP, road trips, scissors, books, feminine products, Diet Coke, candy, etc. So how do you do both? How do you use the modern world and enjoy the natural world? I know I need to do more of the latter to start.

The picture is from the Conservatory of Flowers when we went last week. You can't see all the colored light that shone through the stained glass, but it sure was pretty.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some nice things

Shell I found on Ke'e Beach.

When I saw it, I just saw that little silver ring above the sand, what a treasure to unearth!

Yearly paperwhite picture. These were blooming when we got back.

Eating shave ice in my homeland. Seriously, I think this is my ancestral home gauging by the way I feel when I visit this place.

I sure like this guy. I put the jaunty little grasses in his hat.

Violas smelling sweet on the window sill, friendly with the sea glass.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's been a long time...

I haven't been able to blog because our computer was sick for awhile--but now it is better and this will hopefully be the first of many posts in the next few weeks. It's good to be back!

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year, but I did set a little goal of getting a chicken or two for the backyard. I will have to see if this is cost effective and if it is too crazy to take care of a chicken or what, but I want one. And I want to name it Lucy, so P. Dana aptly suggested the breed should be "Rhode Island Red". I looked for images of RIRs and as I was looking at all the pictures of chickens I will admit, I was a little grossed out. They have beady eyes and some of them didn't have the full feather coverage that the proud girl above does. But that's reality, not all chickens are pretty.