Sunday, April 25, 2010


So, folks, I've laid out the design for Baby Shashi's quilt. Will you do me a favor? Will you look at it and tell me if there are any aesthetic changes you would make? Like, does it look unbalanced in color or texture. Would you move the bottom right square to the second row from the top? Does the orange block need to be replaced because it won't fit? It looks right to me but I love the fabrics and can't see the forest for the trees. Feel free to click on the image to see it better.


Babies, babies, everywhere.

This is my view this morning.

As my sister-in-law went out the door, she said, "Oh and her pants are on backwards if you change her."

I feel so lucky to get to be alongside she and my brother as they do these first few weeks of parenthood.

Although I'm somewhat amazed at what they don't know about babies and what they don't expect about parenting, (I'm kind of a whore for babies and I have gathered a lot of information over the last 30 years or so as payment for my diaper-changing, cry-soothing, oh-I-don't-mind-feeding-her services) I am awed by their good instincts and their general ability to live out this amazing change to their daily lives with grace, humor and pragmatism. I will not be that good.

As I talk about Baby Shashi, other people talk about the babies in their lives. Two days ago, a woman told a story about the baby blankets that her children took to college with and I remembered that Daniel and I both had blankies about which we felt the same. Shashi's maternal great-grandmother crocheted her a blanket but I had not even begun dreaming a quilt.

So, I began dreaming. I have taken large blocks of my favorite fabrics and found a way to put them together. Actually, I'm still laying out the design on the floor but I'll show you more as I go along.

Until then, I have been knitting loads of baby hats. The one I made for Shashi was the only small enough for her tiny head so I have gotten to see her in my creations already. For the most recent one I have made, I grabbed the yarn on the fly and didn't realize that it was denim cotton until I had started it. I had bought it for $.50 at the resale store and thought I'd just make another fruit hat, like I often make as evidenced by my friend's sweet baby here: However, the idea that this hat would wear with washing just like jeans was appealing to me. I decided to knit the whole hat out of one yarn and to stitch on a couple of rough squares that I cut out of an old t-shirt. I made this hat for a couple at church, who are expecting a boy. They had one of the best baby showers I have ever been to. It was more of a baby party. They held it in our church, inviting friends and family, put up a slideshow of their own baby pictures, served Sultan's Market, asked the Chinese grandpa to say a Buddhist prayer and our pastor to say read a Christian psalm, provided craft projects for us to contribute to and a Costco cake. What could be better? I had a great conversation with their midwife and we got to hang out with our church friends.

Someday Jacob and I will have a baby (not yet!) and I hope that we maintain our sanity like my brother and sister and that we can celebrate in our community like Andy and Jessi.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

accordions, lace & petite chablis

One of my favorite mix tapes from high school was when my brother had his stereo hooked up to the VCR and I had Han Solo responding to the anonymous rebel fighter's suggestion that "Your taun-taun will freeze before the first marker!" with "Then I'll see you in Hell!" I believe that I followed that with "Time Warp" from from Rocky Horror Picture Show which I had not yet seen but my brother had the LP and all my theater friends quoted it all the time. Actually, I had the chance to watch it on the tour bus for our choir spring break trip but I averted my eyes because it felt dirty and I didn't want to sully myself.

It's weird to think about who I used to be.

However, I still like making mixes.

So, when A. asked which of her readers wanted to do a mix CD swap, for nostalgia's sake, I jumped on the chance, even though my life is totally overwhelmed right now. I've made it as part of my sabbath rest day and it has given back my life force to be a compilation artist again for a few hours.

My mix recipient blogs at and gave me a blank slate upon which to download, writing, "I'm pretty omnivorous, and I love being exposed to new artists/genres that I don't usually listen to. My own collection runs heavily towards folk and indie rock (Dar Williams-ish)." Investigation on her blog let me know that she was a little sassy but the high frequency of references to computer gaming left me without much poetic inspiration, although I cheered when she wrote about how much she liked Snow Crash, one of my favorite books.

So, since her blog is named after a type of wine grape, I typed, "Wine" into my iTunes library and began the mix with a Tom T. Hall song called, "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine." Then, I used the technique I used in high school listening to one song (as it recorded onto the tape) and using that as inspiration while I search for the next. That guarantees that each song is related to the last but that the overall mix stays varied. I tried to throw in a few other songs about drinking, just to set a theme and used lots of strange covers and slightly obscure artists or recordings, like I always try to do when making mixes as gifts. No sense handing someone songs they already have, right? I also included a Vance Gilbert song since he is my favorite folks/indie rock artist and I love introducing people to him.

If you're interested in hearing snippets of these songs or purchasing any of them, I made an iMix and it is available by clicking on the tite of the mix below below. It's accordions, lace and petite chablis.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REal human beings trying to follow Christ given the immutable boundaries that we are all handed in some form or another

There is an interesting article in Christianity Today about a Christian musician's journey and the part of her journey that has involved being gay. Read it here.

Her name is Jennifer Knapp and although I have no idea who this woman is, I like what she says. Even though the header for the article calls it a "lifestyle choice," I feel like she shrugs off that label very well and speaks with her own voice but using words and illustrations that her Evangelical audiences will hear.

For instance, when describing her pursuit of a same-sex relationship, she responds the interviewer's question about whether she was "struggling" with that while recording one of her albums that was extremely confessional. "It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a 'struggle.' The struggle I've had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I've been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I've always approached my faith."

I really appreciate her willingness to be vulnerable on such a large stage, knowing that it will lose her market share for the new album.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Air and Sun and Noodles

We praise God for the healthy delivery of Baby Shashi. She is 6 pounds and 4 ounces. She has my brother's blue eyes and Meena's nose.

Because the cord was wrapped around her neck, they needed to deliver her by c-section. All are healthy and well and already nursing.

I swear this baby was like a celebrity with everyone clamoring to have their picture taken with her.

This is my first niece. The first child of one of my brothers. I was just holding her for a little while like I hold all babies and then at some point I let myself actually think about who this baby was.

I had this very powerful emotion and can only think of the lyrics to a Vance Gilbert song to explain it to you.
There is a hope
That's been expressed in you
The hope of seven generations, maybe more
And this is the faith
That they invest in you
It's that you'll do one better than was done before.

Yesterday Daniel protested that he will fight for the right for his kid to live out the status quo.

Somehow, I don't believe he'll need to.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Off the wagon

I'm taking a break from the vegetarianism to use up some of the kosher chicken stock that we have in the freezer. This stuff is expensive and Jacob worked so hard on it that I don't want it to go to waste.

So? What to do? Matzo ball soup made with homemade schmaltz. I only had one piece of the gribness. Jacob burned his tongue eating all the rest. I am using the recipe I used last year for my successful Seder. (Someone remind me why it seemed OK to host my very first Seder with my in-laws while trying to finish up my Master's Degree and plan a wedding.) So, here's hoping a little extra animal fat in my diet will be worth it.