Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Dan asked me why my mom was coming during one of our craziest weeks of the spring - Ani's birthday, rehearsal and concert week for the women's choir I sing with, and the first week of an intense rehearsal schedule of the inaugural show for the theater company for which Dan is the founding artistic director.  I looked at him, like, "duh. THAT's why." 

love love love

She is here to be in the thick of it, to absorb enough chaos to make up a smidgen for the distance we usually have in our lives.

We packed it in: games, reading, walks, nail-painting, strawberry picking, cooking, eating, talking, crying, more eating...Our time together is punctuated with, "Oh, have you read this book? Put it on your list!"

We had a potluck for Ani's birthday, and our friend M. came over for dinner another night, and mom just rolls with it, fitting in well in the circle of friends.  She might have also taken care of dinner - in and out - several nights as well as making the dish-fairy appear every day.

Thank you, Mormsie, for coming to be with us in our busy busy-ness, and for making it feel both special and normal all at the same time. We love you...

Eliza is pretending to be a sullen teen.

(why isn't there just a heart symbol on the keyboard? heart. heart. heart.)

Friday, May 13, 2016


I thought magicicada was someone's play on words: Magic cicada.  That would be fitting for these creatures, but no, it is the scientific name for the periodic 17-year cicadas that are emerging in Southeastern Ohio this week.  Ani and I got up early this morning to walk the neighborhood, looking for signs of their arrival. We didn't have to go far, and within a block found hundreds.

We found them in all stages of emergence.  The one above has just emerged from its nymphal shell, leaving behind its molt, and is hanging there drying. When it's done, it will have pigmentation, orange and black marks, darker wings.  It still won't be fully ready to start its vibrational love songs yet; it takes a few days to harden its exoskeleton completely.  We won't know exactly what species we have here until they begin "singing".

The photo above is of a nymph that has climbed out of its hole at the base of the tree and has yet to split its exoskeleton to emerge.  The one below has started that process, and hopefully will fully emerge before starting to dry and harden.

There are so many things that could go wrong.  Your wing could not fully develop; you could get caught in your former exoskeleton and die partially emerged; you could get eaten by an excited predator, and finished off by a voracious slug.

They are so delicate, so beautiful, and so gentle.  Their defense is in their astounding numbers - they don't bite or sting, are not toxic (though our local paper suggested refraining from eating them because they apparently absorb high levels of mercury from the soil during their seventeen-year hibernation. Ok).  

We found several that were languishing on the sidewalk, weak and upside down, and they willingly held onto my finger while I transported them to a more suitable spot on a tree. It made me think of this story from a few years ago, of Eliza rescuing a cicada from the water, when it began to purr in her hand.  We so often attribute human intentions or sentiments to the behavior of animals, but those animals are usually larger and furrier, with big wet eyes and tongues.  I feel those things with cicadas. Maybe it's the big eyes? The slow movements and grateful wrapping of a finger? 

Before my camera battery gave out (it doesn't take too long, and there were so many wonderful moments to record!), Ani and I saw this guy, and we both immediately felt pangs of empathy and tenderness, projecting our own sadness about letting go of the old even while in the throes of the new and beautiful.  It's ok, little buddy. We're here to witness your amazing transformation and welcome you to this part of your journey!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

parallel lines

Our little one turned eleven yesterday. Eleven. Parallel lines.

dutch baby breakfast, of course
Mormor is here to blow up balloons. Ani wanted lots of decorations. Thanks, Mormor!

Same cake every year - because it's SO GOOD - but this year she decorated it.

She wanted a family potluck, which is our favorite way to celebrate, and we brainstormed some games that the group of kids might play if the thunderstorms rolled through, as predicted. This one is like "pin the tail on the donkey," only I wanted it to be something non-competitive for the three years through almost-fourteen years spread, so I commissioned a "make Anika fancy" drawing from Eliza and it worked great!!

The articles - moustache, eyelashes, bows, hat, goatee, bracelet and name-tag - had magnets glued on the back, so they could play over and over...

Ok, so the 13 year olds didn't actually play, but it was a huge hit with the three and four year olds present. And Ani.

She imagines eleven to feel more full of responsibility and more autonomy.  I imagine she might be right - and we jointly declared today to be the best first day of a new year ever. Lots of love and good juju...