Wednesday, March 30, 2011

after-bath treat

and while they splashed about
in that over-sized bathtub all together,
i busied myself in the kitchen
glazing the after-bath treat:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


six years and two months ago
i found myself
in the food emporium
in front of a posting for an apartment switch:
new york city with paris.
um, excuse me?  yes?  where do i sign up?
alex was working for himself at the time,
and we had absolutely no reason
not to transfer ourselves to paris for a month,
just for fun.
we craigslisted our own apartment,
craigslisted one by the eiffel tower,
packed our bags and our baby
and spent a glorious march in paris.

now i find myself saying goodbye
to yet another march.
this time a march in moscow,
which has left me sorely disappointed
at what it had to offer
as far as spring is concerned.
in a nutshell, snow, coats, wind,
temperatures below freezing, and more snow.
there have been many a time
that i have checked the temperatures in paris,
just to make myself feel worse.
60 degrees?
who needs it, anyway.

and so we've been resolved this march
to visiting paris in our dreams.
the girls have insisted on the playlist francaise
as of late.
it's growing larger and larger.
and here i share some of our favorites:
des mains de femme, by yves jamait
avril et toi, by les ogres de barback
un petit peu d'air, by felipecha
les amoureux de passage, by charlie
emmene-moi, by les tit nassels
(the girls play this over and over)
port coton, by zaz
la cigarette, by melanie pain
tout vu tout lu, by benabar
soixantes millions de. . ., by les tit nassels
petit caillou, by amelie-les-crayons
de fil en aiguille, by felipecha

so now, if you also find yourself
dreaming about that 60 degrees in paris--
can go speeding down the boulevard
as we do,
singing emmene-moi!
at the top of your lungs!

Monday, March 28, 2011

worry less, love more

and as we stood there
in their kitchen
following that warm sunday afternoon supper,
we began to admire the photographs on the wall
of their gorgeous family.
their 6 children,
then their grandchildren. . .

and as we began to talk about
and how it does funny things
like allowing you to bear and raise six children
in just the blink of an eye,
they told us how it seemed to them
almost like a dream.
and to young, naive parents like ourselves,
we stood in awe and admiration
at these seasoned parents
who had given so much,
who had done so much,
and who now stand in such a different phase in life
than ourselves--
looking back on the days
they were in our shoes.
and as we began to picture ourselves
also one day in their shoes,
they shared with us one thought
that his aunt had told him years ago.
and that was,
if she got to raise her children
all over again,
she would have worried about them less,
and loved them more.

those words
were immediately etched into the minds
of both me and alex.
if only we could remember them
every second of every day.
certainly our children
would be much better off.

and so those words
then made it into that empty frame
that was hanging amidst the others on the wall--
hopefully to be at least a daily reminder
of what they need the most.

Friday, March 25, 2011


is perhaps my favorite of the jewish holidays
that we celebrate at the school.

the kids wear whatever they want
for the entire week--
all culminating on friday
when they have a big show
that they've been long in preparation for.
the jewish history is so rich,
and their holidays always based on
incredible stories of suffering and triumph.

this year milla was picked to be queen esther
and did a smashing solo dance
for her part,
even if she did have a worried look
and furrowed brow almost the entire time--
the result of 80 pairs of eyes all on her. . .
but we were the proud, smiling 2 pairs in the front row.

while afterward
avi got her own few minutes in the limelight
as a little fairy
doing a dance about making hamantaschen.
with the stirring, the shaking,
the pouring and the brow wiping at the end,
it was almost as cute as it gets.

and already they are in preparation for the next holiday,
which reminds me,
easter is almost just around the corner--
and we are already excited.
even if there is a blizzard outside
and spring feels about as far away as anything.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3-4 hours

and this, my friends,
is my view
for a good 3-4 hours a day.

the agonizingly painful process
of getting food into this little tummy.
why were some children born
without an interest in food?
if he even sees that spoon coming his direction,
it doesn't matter what's on it,
both arms go flying up across his face
in a self-defense move.
our offense has been to empty out
the cooking utensils drawer
or the box of cookie cutters--
we have found that if he is thinking about something
other than what you are doing,
i.e. banging that tablespoon
against the garlic press,
he doesn't even seem to notice he's opening his mouth.
although even when you think
you've finally had a victory,
then he lets it sit in his mouth without swallowing
for minutes.
and i watch the minutes of my life
slipping down the drain. . .

for heaven's sake,
my girls were spoon-feeding themselves
by 12 months.
this little guy as of late
has even quit finger-fooding.
and in an unprecedented move this evening,
he even started throwing his once-favorite raisins
on the floor
when i wasn't looking.

just like i tell him all day long,
for other reasons like
his unwinding the roll of toilet paper (again),
or eating the red marker,
or throwing the tart tins in the trash--
you're lucky you're so darn cute, little guy. . .
or i could be out of my mind by now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

жигули #2

there are several unfortunate things
about having to rent an apartment.
chief among them though,
is having to live with someone else's choice of style.
and even before we sign any papers,
i make sure they are willing
to remove just about everything
that can be removed--
the last thing i want
is to feel like i'm living in someone else's space.

now if you remember,
for some time
before the landlord came and removed it
(not too long before she removed us)
but that little number i picked up
at the antique shop
never did get hung in its place.

and so when we moved into this apartment,
i had high hopes for his finding a new home
hanging above our heads.
those hopes were dashed
as i was making my obligatory inquiry
about which light fixtures we could replace
with our own.
and i was told
all but the living room chandelier--
which happened to be
(almost as expensive as, and)
even further from my style than the жигули.
what's a girl to do?

i was a little hesitant
about letting the ball throwing get
too out of hand--
but let's just say
it must have been the hand of providence
that caused the thing
to snap all on it's own.
it is a good thing we had just left the room,
because it very well could have fallen
on our heads,
or burned us, as it did the floor a bit,
with its sparks and who-knows-what-the-heck-happened to it,
but after all was said and done,
i was ecstatic
that my chandelier was going to find a home
with us after all.

Friday, March 18, 2011


медленно минуты уплывают вдаль,
встречу с ними ты уже не жди.
и хотя нам прошлого немного жаль,
лучшее конечно впереди!

(slowly the minutes float away,
don't expect to meet them again.
and even though we're a little sad to part with the past,
the best, of course, is yet to come!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

jessie m. king

today i am loving
19th century painter and illustrator
jessie m. king
from scotland

lovely inspiration
for both my watercolors
and the walls of the girls' room.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

craft du jour

and you see
that this is one of those crafts
that requires more of my time
than her time,
but nonetheless. . .
it still made her day
to wake up to the finished product
sitting on her nightstand

with the introduction of the "extra help"
for which they can earn a few coins
here and there,
they were in need of a place to store
their little treasure.
the little money purse
turned out stained-glass style--
they cut the felt pieces in whatever shapes they wanted,
then we arranged them to fit the backing,
felt glued them on,
sewed it together,
and attached a little button.

Monday, March 14, 2011


thank goodness my children
don't (yet) come up with long, elaborate, exotic
christmas lists.
the year before last
they each asked for one thing from santa.
milla "a princess sticker book,"
and avi--"ice skating."
i'm not sure how or when
the idea ever entered her head,
and it was hard for santa to pull off
emptying that one from his sack christmas eve,
but we made sure to take her soon after christmas.
and let's just say,
it was a fun 10 minutes,
before they were ready to pull those darn blades off
and go swimming instead.

and so, just over a year later,
we decided to give it another shot--
but not without fairly low expectations
as for how long it would last.
i decided to bring the (finally) toddling baby
and watch from the sidelines,
since we were pretty certain
it would be another 10 minute run
and a waste of $40.

were we wrong?
we were wrong.

these little figure skaters
couldn't be cajoled off the ice.
of course, they were aided by
(a master hockey skater father and)
a pair of construction cones--
but they were eating it up.

milla was so proud to be working up a sweat,
cruising back and forth,
back and forth across the rink
(notice avi in the background
and one of her less graceful moments)

and they haven't stopped asking to go back
to the rink
ever since we left it.

Friday, March 11, 2011


and so one of our favorite games
as of late
is one we gave to milla on christmas:
children's pictionary.

now i consider avi a very good drawer
for a 4-year-old.
it's a good thing she's easy-going,
because let's just say,
there are easier things in the world
than playing pictionary with a 4-year-old.

and she tries so hard
and she's so cute,
and i love to watch her draw so slowly
and so intently.
and she won't ever tell you that you've guessed right
until she's done drawing her picture.
and so you're naming things
and naming things,
trying your hardest to make sense
of her little picture,
throwing everything out that you can think of,
while she ignores most of your suggestions,
and says no to the rest--
and once in awhile we can guess it right,
but the other times we have to throw up our hands,
and say,
avi, you're doing such a good job,
that's such a great drawing,
but we give up.

and that's when she loves to say,
ice skates!  he's on ice skates!
and that's when we say,
we said that, avi, we said that many times!
and you said no!
and she loves to say,
well, i wasn't done drawing yet!
and we say, okay,
because she'll do the same thing next time, too.

but we just can't kick her off the team,
'cause she's too darn cute.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

polenta & asparagus

now anytime i find a dinner recipe
that i can whip up in under 30 minutes
that is delizioso,
uses all fresh ingredients
and gets a thumbs up from the girls,
i am quite pleased with myself.
came from herbivoracious--
a newly discovered site i will be returning to.

i cooked my polenta in vegetable broth
for added flavor,
and i used instant polenta,
because hey, i'm not italian.
and as far as the aged balsamic goes--
mr. natkin certainly knows what he's talking about,
and you will agree with me
if you've ever tasted a real aged balsamic,
which is thick and sweet,
and dee-vine.
you can pull off a similar effect
if you want to make your own balsamic reduction,
but whatever you do,
don't go splashing just any vinegar
over the top of this dish.
i used ponti's glassa gastronomica
balsamic glaze
which worked just fine
in the absence of the real stuff.

give it a try.