Friday, February 27, 2009

ATC Kids Swap

Impulsively, I signed Mr. Tenzrelli up for the ATC Kids Swap, thinking it would be fun for him to send and receive mail. Of course, not 3 days after signing up, we got a sticker club chain letter from my cousin's daughter. So it is the month of mail (late winter needs that kind of pick me up, doesn't it?)

I think when I signed T up, I was thinking of myself as a 5 year old. My mom tells me if she needed some time, she would simply lay down a stack of scrap paper and some crayons, and I would sit and color until the paper was used up. I still get a shiver of excitement over fresh art supplies nd a stack of paper! Tenzarelli... not so much. 3-D art is his thing. Give the boy some cardboard, scissors and a roll of tape and he will build you something. Legos are his life. Painting he enjoys in smaller time blocks and drawing almost only under coersion.

Naturally, painting was the medium of choice for this project (ATC sculpture sounds much more difficult to mail!) He eagerly began the first one (the rainbow) and then declared he was "done". I pleaded with him to make more, and he said "tomorrow". So easily I forget that words are empty to a 5 year old. Setting the example is key, for imitation is their work, their art.

So, I put Jampaloo on the floor with his basket of silks and toys and painted quietly on some extra pieces of trading-card-cut-paper (how long will I have to be a mother before I will get this? this is what to do! PAINT! Not plead with him to paint!) Within minutes, Tenzarelli had left his legos and rejoined me at the table, and began painting away. My favorite is the cowboy (bottom right corner - very impressionist - no?)

These five little trading cards are sealed and stamped and off to his swap partners. We had fun looking at the names and places they would go to, and trying to choose which painting would go to who. The cowboy went to a little girl from Texas whose card we already recieved with a bonus - stickers celebrating her state. A child in Austria, Tenzarelli determined, was most suited for the rainbow painting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tibetan New Year

Today is Losar, Tibetan New Year. My family will be at Deer Park today, and we wanted to leave some butter lamps lit here in this space for those still suffering in Tibet.

In a posting entitled "Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased," the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:
“...let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

baby friends

I don't mean to become a "look, my cute baby!" blog... no... but...

look, my cute baby and his cute baby friends!

Last weekend, we finally visited this little boy, along with his beautiful big sisters and lovely parents. He is two months old and still in that beautiful dreamy newbornland that already feels so far away from my little boy who plays peek-a-boo with his blankie.

His mama and I were two bumps on the couch, cooing at the babies and picking up the long silk thread of conversation that we've had going since we met about 6 1/2 years ago while the big kids were in happy playland and the husbands were cooking and going out.


Yesterday, our little Glo-bug girl came over, to Jampaloo's delight (as you can see). That little sweetie will be a year old already next month. Was it really almost one year ago that Tenzarelli and I came to see her day old face, Jampaloo all snug in my belly?

To complete the circle of my best girlfriends all having babies in the same year, I can't wait for Little Bean, the baby friend still growing in his mama's beautiful belly.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The boys and I went to visit a friend in Cedarburg about a week ago and she took us to this amazing bakery where, of course, Tenzarelli couldn't resist the elaborately shaped, oh-so-tempting, beautiful Brioche. It was awesome. Pala and I got a few stolen bites of it, and we were all crazy to have more. But Cedarburg is 45 minutes away. Too far for weekly visits!

So, we got out the Vegetarian Epicure Cookbooks and found a recipe. She gives the way with "lots of energetic beating" or "the easy way" in the food processor. I am all about my food processor so this was an easy decision for me. It was all going great, warm milk, eggs, etc, frothing away in the Cuisinart... then I added the flour and the blade slowed suspiciously, with a dull sound and the faint waft of burning motor smell. In a panic, I dumped out the gloppy dough and the blade went back to normal functioning. So, finished it off in the mixer with a dough hook (I felt that the dough hook could probably beat more "energetically" then me, right?) So, a word of caution to the other Epicure fans - she has led us astray in suggesting the food processor for brioche.

Then comes the painful 2 hours of rising, 6 hours of chilling, while your mouth is already watering with expectation. Then the joy of shaping. With no brioche pans in the house (yet) we used a popover pan and a pie tin... 2 more hours to rise and then into the oven!

As you can see, Mr. Tenzarelli couldn't quite wait for them to cool (or be photographed).

We also discovered that brioche and marmalade are just lovely together.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jampaloo's Julia

There is a special young man in our family's life whose family moved to the east coast just before Jampaloo was born. He, his twin sister and two younger brothers grew up with parents very involved in Waldorf education. When he and his sister were little, they each received a special doll and those dolls were both named Julia.

The Julias were so well loved they even needed passports and a going away party to be shipped over to Germany to get new hair from the lady who made them.

As I got to know this lovely family, I enjoyed so much the tales of the Julias and spending time holding the one that was the most loved of all, the one belonging to the boy who became our godson. That particular Julia doll had been loved up so much, it seemed like the story of the Velveteen Rabbit - this doll seemed real.

Well, that special young man gave me a big surprise when they came over to say goodbye just before they moved. He made Jampaloo his very own Julia. He copied the style and details of his own special doll, and used one of his tie-dyes shirts as the clothes. What I love most is that Jampaloo's Julia has the same somewhat floppy, really loved feeling that the "original" does. This doll just radiates the love and care he put into making her.

Now that Jampaloo is SIX months old, and getting more engaged with using those little hands to hold and grab and play, I am not surprised that he often carries Julia and holds her little arm - I wonder how long it will be before she will need a passport to fly off to the boy who made her for some new hair?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I've had a notion to make marmalade for a few years... a fun food/canning project for the middle of winter - when it's been months since pickles or applesauce.

PLUS it uses ALL of the fruit, including the PEELS, so if we are going to be naughty and buy produce that is non-local, we can at least really get the most out of it!

So Miss Monday came over and we made two kinds... I had chopped blood oranges, grapefruits and lemons the night before and did the beginning stages of cooking and chilling to make "traditional" marmalade inspired by (yes) Martha. Meg brought more fruit, a vanilla bean and pectin to make a all-at-once version (no need for an 8 hour chill) so we could do the whole process together and try two varieties.

What could be better than having a girlfriend over to stir a pot of simmering citrus? She even brought already made bread dough to bake from her test baking side job.

A little bit of sunshine to take the edge off the winter...

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I've been witness to a week of events that has me musing about commitments...

Pala made a commitment, in the form of an oath, to become a citizen of the United States of America.

(that's him - all the way on the right)

About 70 other folks from 17 different countries made that oath with him. All for different reasons, I am sure. Pala, as a Tibetan who (until Wednesday,) had Nepali citizenship, didn't necessarily feel like he was "renouncing" a piece of himself by taking on this allegience to the US. I am sure he would have felt differently should he have the option of maintaining a Tibetan citizenship that would be recognized internationally. But for those who were giving up the citizenry of their ancestors, I imagine that would feel like a pretty significant commitment.

Today I was witness to a different group of folks trying to sort out where exactly their commitments and allegiences stood. In this case, it was a group of people, who again each had their own reason for choosing to be there, in an effort to start a Waldorf high school in SE Wisconsin. It was the first meeting I attended, and in a conversation I had with another member of the group several months before, she had noted the similarity to commiting to a new school initiative and having a new baby. For me, as for everyone else in that group, it is a big decision to take something like that on. Really huge. I feel like I saw a little glimpse today of just how difficult it can be for us, as adults, to put aside our egos for a common goal (for "the baby," the school that is to be born) and at the same time, I saw how much could be gained and become so beautiful should we be able to work together and allow it to incarnate. I saw people and ideas I would love to work with, and people who I was not so excited about co-comitting with. I do hope that I will be able to post progress down the road.

The thread running through all of this of course, is my commitment to these three boys standing here with me. Pala and I both have been trying to take a close look at all of the places that call to us for our energy and keep the commitments we make in line first and foremost with what is best for our family.

Here's to the striving and the intention!