Friday, April 11, 2008

The End of an Era

This week we mourned the passing of Vicki the Fish. Many of you who are parents can relate to the trauma caused in households of small children when a family pet dies, even as mundane a pet as a goldfish. This fish, however, has been a remarkable pet for two reasons: first, this fish was at least 14 years old. Second, this is the last fish whose presence has frequently given us reason to tell this story, which has grown in these years to legend-status in our home:

When Matt and I were in our junior year of high school at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, the decorating theme chosen for the Junior-Senior Banquet was supposed to reflect an "oriental" mood. To accomplish this, the dedicated banquet committee chose to furnish the tables with goldfish housed delicately in ivy bowls. Surely it was unanticipated that as the tables were excused to go through the buffet line, pranksters from other tables took to skewering these live decorations with the toothpicks from the appetizers so that the students would return to the grisly sight of their run-through and now deceased fish. (Who ever thought up high school, anyway??)

Matt saw that this was going on and wanted to protect the fish at their table from an untimely end. He took the fish in its well-appointed ivy bowl through the buffet line and kept it outside with him during the fire alarm portion of dinner. (Anyone else remember that? I think I was in the buffet line and we decided to ignore it...) At the conclusion of the dinner, Matt mooched a plastic cup from one of the cafeteria ladies to further house his charge and at the end of the night he took the fish safely home in the cup holder of his mom's Miata. (Other versions of the legend have this being a plastic baggie carried home in the ashtray - no one is really sure anymore) Then, some weeks later, he and his mom bought three friends for the banquet fish. Vicki (so named by Cymbre when she was 2 and named *everything* Vicki) was the last of these friends; the banquet fish and the other two friends having died at various points in the last 10 or so years.

And so ends an era. Cymbre has finally stopped crying and now wants a new fish that looks like Vicki... and I am celebrating here one man's desire to save a helpless creature from forces bigger than himself.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I have been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a sort of memoir about her family's undertaking a "local food project" and all that it entailed. Not only has it been a fabulous read, thoughtful and practical, it's really got me fired up about gardening this year.

After last year's disappointments and difficulties (between the drought and my pregnancy I really didn't grow much of anything - other than the baby, that is) I feel a renewed vigor to grow food again. But more than that, I'm feeling a desperate yearning to have a real spot of land and be somewhat more solid and sustainable in this shifting and wild world. However, since we have tied ourselves to this place, I shall be content with my small garden plots and avail myself of local farms and our fabulous farmer's market to as great an extent as I possibly can.

Today the weather was so lovely that I weeded half of my veggie bed. I was happy to see my chives poking up in their little corner and some swiss chard sprouting out of the stalks of last year's plants! I plan to seed lots of early spring veggies tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

My new sling!!

I love slings. That may be obvious. I find carrying my babies to be a satisfying as well as practical way to keep everyone happy.

Last week I finished a sling that I have been wanting to make since I was expecting Allegra (in 2005) - the Mei Tai. This is an Asian-style baby carrier featuring a soft body (seat area) and waist straps as well as shoulder straps (which I made waaay too long, incidentally). I am very pleased to find
it quite comfortable for both front and back carries - and just in time for Shiloh's
glorious spring and summer as a baby, during which much yard and garden work needs to be accomplished.

I was very proud of my handiwork on this sling and in my impatience to get it posted, I turned over the camera to my apprentice. These pictures were taken by Cymbre and are her first published shots. =) Note how neither Shiloh nor I have our heads cut off. That's what I call progress!