Sunday, May 24, 2009

spirit photos of a baby animal

a line i love from that funky wordsmith Ani diFranco says, "It took me too long to realize that I don't take good pictures cuz I have the kind of beauty that moves."  true, some images convey so much in their stillness, and some people have a magical gift of being "photogenic." but rarely is a single still shot the whole story.  life is not static.  some of my favorite photos i have taken are the technically "imperfect" shots that show movement.  many times i feel they show more of the essence of the person or subject than the still shot can convey ~ like a psychedelic capturing of the spirit.  
this hand-me-down brown bear hoodie, now too short, has been a favorite of mine in Anjali's wardrobe.  in a tame, polyester fleece way it reminds me of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan (for which i have quite a soft spot).  it also emphasizes for me the animal quality of Anjali that i cherish so firmly.  endearing as well as challenging, i wish to help keep that wildness intact as best i can.  and if you are to portray Anjali accurately, it is clearly in movement as opposed to still.  she is a girl moving ~ inquisitive, interactive, and tactile.           

Baby Animal Anjali.

she moves.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009


that's the number of posts i've written on this blog.  this makes 366.
a year's worth of entries over the course of the four years i've had this blog.  

i was 29.  i lived in Lexington, KY, and was working as a barista at Third Street Stuff.  my sister Misha had just passed, Mister Gemini and i were bringing to a legal close that seven year portion of our relationship that we spent as a married couple, and i was sorting my belongings to move across the continent to big ol' C-A.  running sometimes twice a day to calm my mind and spirit.  and drinking a lot of whiskey.

in the four years since: 
i performed and created costumes with my dream company Lucent Dossier (then Vaudeville Cirque, now Experience) in LA for the unequivocal performance time of my life. i fell in love and moved in with Sealion (and good friend Mackindaddy) in Sacramento, attended Burning Man for the first through third times. i auditioned for and got accepted to dance with a most auspicious (but now defunct) bellydance company, Ultra Gypsy, and passed on it.  followed my guiding star to study food ~ attending Bauman College's Natural Chef program, and then working extensively and finally apprenticing at Three Stone Hearth Community Supported Kitchen, began eating meat again for the first time since i was 16.  i ran a half, then a whole marathon (26.2 miles).  i married Sealion in the Black Rock Desert (then at the Sacto courthouse), moved to Berkeley, got pregnant, and had baby Anjali Sage after a week-long labor at home with a midwife that ended in an emergent C-section. 

right now:  i am a Mommy.  i am 33 years old.  i garden, sew, prepare and eat good food from the farmers' markets, walk and bike with my husband and baby, read, write and take pictures, and watch iTunes movies in bed at night with headphones.  i am cultivating a community close by.  each of my parents is retiring this summer.  my husband and i are investigating buying a house here in Berkeley.  i don't jog or dance nearly as much as i'd like to.  i drink close to a quart of  raw whole milk from Claravale Farm a day.  
(right-right now:  i'm eating a chicken salad sandwich while reclining in bed next to my sleeping almost-seven-month-old daughter, and my cat, Kitty, who is purring suspiciously close to that mug of raw milk on the nightstand.)    

i don't like to look back, nor do i revel much in past accomplishments.  i don't believe in "the good ol' days," preferring instead to believe that life can be lived in fullness any time we pay attention.  but i can't help but think i'd be hard-pressed to find a chunk of four years that are as dynamic as the past four.  there certainly were lulls and lows, but lots of highlights i left out of this little synopsis for brevity.  

this blog doesn't fully represent "me" the past four years, but it says a lot.  the silences oftentimes as much as the posts, what i leave out as much as i include.  it has evolved to be something i approach quite thoughtfully and mindfully.  i attempt to "put my best face forward" while at the same time being as authentic and honest as i can bare.  i hope to reach audience members who feel they can relate, and to help them not to feel alone.  and i would rather focus on the beauty of life as i see it ~ without airbrushing.  

when i was practicing dance in preparation for that big audition, i taped up a teabag wrapper for every time i practiced (as was my art ~ incorporating discarded items, pictures, and words in collage form, on fabric, butcher paper, on every surface and any wall).  this was to demonstrate to myself that, though the little bit didn't feel like much, bit by bit became a long line of green paper squares that extended across the wall, and rehearsals that led to a prepared audition.  these days, i don't have to tape teabag wrappers as i have a child who grows literally before my eyes.  starting out as a single cell inside of me, she has developed to be the 17-pound center of my life.  she embodies the idea that big shifts happen "day by day" and "minute by minute," as it's sung in one of my favorite Brett Dennen songs.  as quickly as Anjali grows and changes, i am urgently reminded to be present for each of those day-by-days.   

so, 365 posts later, here i am and here we are.  i am appreciative of the voice this blog gives me, and appreciative of those of you who come back again and again.  cheers!    

(ha!  i got quite link-happy here.   i think that's kind of a give-away of how contemplative this blog post made me, and how much later i'm awake than i planned to be. . i could keep going, linking words to previous entries, but ~ i'm sleepy.  gold star for anyone who clicks on every link.  or maybe a swat on the behind to say, "hey ~ close the friggin' computer and go outside!")     

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

mindful re-minder

(i could be frustrated and spend an hour trying to fix this font that blogger has dictated, but i'm going to let it slide and get on with my day. . )

I'm plenty cheesy, and I'm not above self-help.  I have read quite a few advice books and how-to books about happiness and fulfillment.  And over the years I have subscribed to various websites that send little notes to my inbox reminding me to choose my mentality.  So it is not surprising that I am seeking the advice of confident parents whose philosophies resonate with me.  Although Scott Noelle's daily blurbs, entitled, "The Daily Groove", are child-related, often I don't think they're parenting-specific.  The following one really hit home for me in my perfectionist tendencies.  Sealion and I have applied it with quite a bit of success in our daily life ~ one fraught with trying to "do it right", and many the heated conversation on the whys and why nots of parenting choices.  Perhaps it might speak to you in your life.   

I'd Rather Feel Good!

We've been conditioned by the agents of our culture — parents, teachers, the media, etc. — to believe that our success and happiness depend on being "right."

Today, let's question that...

When you argue with your child, you may be "right," but do you feel happy?

When you criticize your partner, you may be "right," but do you feel love?

When you berate yourself for making a mistake, you get to be "right" about your wrongness! Are we having fun yet???

If you feel stress today — even mild tension — ask yourself if you're trying to be "right" about something, and consider the potential relief of simply letting it go.

Just breathe... and tell yourself, "I'd rather feel good than be right!"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009


Anjali is developing a sense of humor.  Or at least has a joke.  She sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth with the funniest little grin!    

 Gramma and Papa were in town this week, and it became her game with Gramma, and then all of us, to stick her tongue out as an invitation for play.  So, initiated by Anjali many times a day,  we all had our tongues stuck out.  Hilarity.  Early yesterday morning the grandparents caught their flight home.  As Sealion, Anjali, and I were out and about town later in the day, she and I ducked in to a corner for some privacy nursing.  She popped her head up over my arm, locked eyes with Papi across the way, and stuck her tongue out mischievously!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

a moment of calm

parenting requires me to be "on" all the time.  if i may use a river rafting analogy, it seems that there are few still and slow pools, and more waves to navigate.  they may not all be Class IV rapids, but they require navigation, nonetheless.  so riding the waves with a bit of a gameplan perhaps, some clarity, and a light heart, feels necessary.  
things have felt stressful for me lately.  there has been plenty plenty of good and fun ~ even some easy, but .. some stress.   i took this photo because this morning i felt successful under these conditions.  my heart felt calm.  
 taking note of these moments in life is helpful.
note the highchair. . 
(i feel as if i look worn out in every photo i take of myself lately.  even ones that i take to show myself what i look like when i feel energetic..  but i feel it's important to show them.)  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

happy mommy's day

ooooh, thank you!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


the highchair!

what fun
we have in store!

Friday, May 08, 2009

wine and chocolate

when the chocolate bar runs out,
you make do. 

Thursday, May 07, 2009


It delights me that Anjali is a little animal.  I love how uncivilized she is.  That a wet diaper, any  random plant leaf, the floor, a pen, a magazine page, and dirt are all equally worthy of investigation via tongue. That she gazes lovingly at my breasts and only sees nurturance.  I love that she farts loudly while looking me in the eye with an earnestly straight face.  Through her, I think I really understand what it means to be "fresh."  
Oh!  To remain untamed!       

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


crafty, with friends ~ continued

here's an email i sent out today.

hi, friends!

i am SO excited about the response i've gotten to my invitation for creative fun!! i have received seven positive replies, with a few who have friends who might be interested. cool, eh?

as for scheduling, some of us have evenings free, and some of us have days free.
of the people who have shared availability, it kind of smears across the week (as we might have expected).

so i'm going to throw this out:
how bout every other monday evening, and every other wednesday afternoon? so 1st and 3rd mon eves, 2 and 4th wed afternoons.
how does that work with everyone?

as for where, i'm glad to meet here at my place, to meet at a park sometimes, weather and activity allowing. as for others' houses, i oftentimes don't have a car, so am limited to close walking distances right now.

books i have enjoyed about crafting:
The Creative Family, by Amanda Soule
Generation T, by Megan Nicolay
Bend the Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol

a book i'm interested in looking at:
Crafternoon, by Maura Madden

so here's a question for you to answer:
are you interested in organized projects that we all work on, or a bring-yer-own project kind of format?

ok! i think that's all for now. anything else you can think of?
fun is in store!!
~ Tiffanie

organizing this was a big step out for me.  honestly, for the past few years, i have spent a large portion of my time sad and/or hermiting.  the advent of Anjali has changed that for me ~ either out of necessity, as when I sought out prenatal meditation and yoga during pregnancy for stability and sanity, or just cuz that's the way it is.  i realized at the turn of March that this past winter was the first one in countless years that i haven't been blue.  wonder!  not saying i don't have a blue afternoon or day, but for the most part. . i feel upbeat, and like being social!  i'm so glad, because i also believe that we weren't designed to live insular lives in our separate little cubby holes ~ we're meant to have a tribe.  i'm tired of not feeling a community, and of my baby not having society.  she loves people!  i've been giddy the past few days coming up with themed dinners and parties we could have, and setting goals for having friends over for dinner: at least twice a month.  
but for now, i feel great about this first step.  and all the crafty fun we'll have!  

Saturday, May 02, 2009

crafty: pantaloons pour ma petite fille

Created these awesome pants for Anjali.   

From fabric that someone shared with me in a "free box" on the sidewalk ~ very lightweight cotton that will work perfectly to keep baby cool, but protect her fair skin on warm sunny days. Considering that I rarely use a pattern, my sewing is trial-and-error (-and-error).  I used a pair of pants that fit her as a template, and went from there.  The thing I haven't been able to get right yet is enough crotch room to accommodate her diaper-padded bum.  If she's going diaper-free, they fit beautifully.  And that lasts as long as I can manage to catch her pee-pees ~ sometimes hours, sometimes minutes.  So these went back to the drawing board with a couple more inches in length for the bootay.  But don't they look adorable in their original dimensions?  With their voluminous width, and delicious belly-button display, they reminded Sealion and me of bellydance pantaloons.  Of course!
 Let the shakey-shakey begin!

Friday, May 01, 2009

crafty, with friends

these are two emails i sent today.  if you live nearby, come play!  if you don't live nearby, i wish you did, and that you would.   

hey, sabine (who used to lead her own crafty club in the city: "crafty bitches and thrift store whores") ~

do you know any cool crafty folk in berkeley/east bay?  i have searched and searched online for moms groups who get crafty, and found one in tampa.  florida.  i attended only one "regular" mommy group where moms sat on the floor and pulled their babies off of each other and talked about pooping habits.  there has to be more.  i asked a woman carrying her baby at the fabric store the other day if she knew any crafty moms' groups, and she dismissed me, saying that moms don't have time to get crafty.  well, what was she doing at the fabric store then?!
if you have any ideas, i'd love to hear them. [sealion] and i are suffering from lack of "tribe".

~ tiffanie 

hi, friends ~

i want to get together with friends and create ~ play at an art project or make on a craft project, have pleasant conversation and perhaps nutritious snacks.  i would like to do this regularly ~ every week if possible for some, semi-weekly, or at least monthly.  i envision it being kid-friendly, but not kid-centered.  i imagine it happening on an afternoon that could bleed into an early evening.  i realize many of us are busy, and some very busy.  but if this sounds like fun to you, i believe that prioritizing creation with others has the potential to bless and nurture the rest of our lives.  no agendas or have-to's or shoulda's, nor competition, just some creativity amongst pleasant folks.

if this sounds like something you might enjoy, and/or you know someone who might be interested, please let me/them know.

happy may!
~ tiffanie