Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mom's House

Had Thanksgiving at Mom's house. My Mom is an Interior Designer. ASID Certified. She likes to remind people that she is qualified to look at your building plans and help rearrange walls and sinks and lights to make spaces work better. Mostly she does homes although she loves commercial projects.

I have been trying to get Mom to blog. Because she knows tricks for tight budgets and she knows where to shop with lavish budgets. She can take anyone's home and make it look amazing. Plus through Southern Dreamer and Smiling Sally I have bumped into blogging circles that are all about interior spaces. So she'd have some great people to network with. I haven't been successful yet but eventually...

In the meantime I was inspired to take some pictures of the main living area of her home. She lives in this really neat house by the York River. The floor plan is open from the front door, kitchen, dining and sitting area and then there is a bedroom and a master bedroom and a downstairs.

she is all about details:

last Christmas she came to my house and rearranged details and loned me furnishings (like a coffee table!) for my husband's big Christmas party at our house. We will be doing that again later this week. I posted pictures last year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

women, art, family

hmmm... I stumbled upon this Who does she think she is?
and I'm burning dinner so I'm just quickly looking at it and blogging it so I can find it later :-)
But I am sure it is going to stir up all sorts of things.
Go girls!

Monday, November 23, 2009

yay weekend!

I got to go out two nights in a row! woo hoo!!!
Saturday night was "The Auction" and we had a great time, raised good money for the preschool, and the hit The Corner Pocket until 1 am.

Sunday night was a girls at the Movie night.
We saw "The Blind Side" wow. Way cool movie. I wish I could pull of that character. I love Sandra Bullock anyway as I've said before - and here she is just fabulous. (and friggin skinny!) And the husband's character just cracks me up the way he just rolls with things. I have a dear friend from college who is from North Carolina who was/is exactly in one of those scenes. Leigh Ann is at lunch and her friend says "What would your daddy say?" and Leigh Ann answers. "Before or after he rolled over in his grave? Daddy died 5 years ago you know that. To make it worse you were at his funeral Chanel-ing that black hat thing." Ms. Hicks style. She owns moments like that.

I think it is amazing that Michael is a real person, and that he is so very open and forgiving. You watch the movie and see this huge, and so gentle guy. He is amazing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Book Thief

Read this for Book Club.
Missed the discussion meeting.

And so:

Read it.

The Book Thief is a beautiful book. I was concerned - a book about WWII - set in Germany - narrated by Death - how am I going to sleep at night forget like it. I need not have worried. This is a beautiful beautiful book and I can say "I am glad I read it. I will read it again. And you should read it too."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Chef's Kitchen

Enjoy a Traditional Cookery Class at the Chef's Kitchen, hosted by local celebrity chef John Gonzales. Take home two of his personalized cookery books and then practice your craft with this big bag of ingredients from Trader Joes (includes a gift certificate for $15)!

about A Chef's Kitchen:
Located at 501 Prince George Street in the heart of downtown Williamsburg, A Chef’s Kitchen offers the novel opportunity to learn how to make the recipes for a multi-course dinner while also being served the complete meal paired with "great find" wines.

John Gonzales, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, has been in the food and beverage industry for thirty years. His impressive resumé includes executive chef positions at the Watergate Hotel, the Jockey Club and the Washington, D.C. Ritz Carlton. John has also owned two of his own restaurants, written two cookbooks for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and been featured on HGTV, the Discovery Channel, the Fox Network, NBC’s Morning News Program in Washington, DC and guest speaker on nationally syndicated radio.

TOTAL OOPS! I meant to post this on the Preschool Auction Blog and accidentally put it here instead! Oops :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

white mom, korean kids, persimmons

I emailed the following to a few friends:

I was out with Bitsy in the stroller Sunday and several houses down my street live an older Korean couple. We don't know them but people say he actually escaped from North Korea during the war and settled in the United States. Anyway - I haven't sought them out as the woman is particularly un approving of my whiteness in regards to my Korean kids. (which I DO get. for the record. but it makes things awkward.) So they were out pruining a tree or something and I said 'hello' and waived and then on the way back I asked "what kind of tree is that" as my kids are always asking and I don't know. It is a persimmon tree. And she offered me some which I accepted and took home and we sliced and ate and on my(!) delicious. But anyway. The question. She said they dry them and have them on New Year's Eve. And this stuck in my head and I wonder if that is just her personal thing or if that is a particularly Korean treat? Do you happen to know?

Two answers:

from one friend:
This is not a tradition my parents carried out with us because persimmons were too expensive for my family when i was growing up. however, i can confirm this is a toss back to the mother country. new year's and the harvest/moon festival are the biggest holidays in korea. it's when we eat the most. korea was poor for so many years that they found ways to make these holidays more festive by finding ways to prolong their treats. however, i have no idea how the dried persimmons taste. the fresh ones are delicious, but i always feel like my tongue and mouth are dry afterward

and from another:
hello! that sucks that you get disapproval for adopting Korean kids. In any case, yummy persimmons! - its that time of the year. Koreans love persimmons. I found out later that the Chinese like them as well. The Japanese usually eat a different kind of persimmon - the Fuyu - which are softer and a different shape. As for Korean traditions, I'm not great on the knowledge - even though (hubby's name) and I are both Korean. we're just a bit too white to be very Korean :-p So, that's great that she shared them with you. I wouldn't worry about drying them. Too much trouble. The dried ones from the Korean market are so much better!

back to me:
I feel particularly lucky to have gone to the college I went to (Mount Holyoke College in MA) because it was small and all women and there were lots of identity questions going on - racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious, cultural - and because of this I feel like it is okay to send out a question based on race and culture to these women because they get that I'm not trying to be a dolt - I'm trying to broaden my and my kids's horizons. And that is a cool thing. Perhaps we will make dried Persimmons a part of our Holiday Celebrations from now on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shin Sa-im-dang Poppy Print

I saw this at Korean Arts
a place I browse sometimes. There are beautiful things there. Perhaps down the road I can purchase some of the celadon pottery, so pretty, but at the moment I am afraid it would be destroyed in the middle of a "Star Wars" battle or something...

This particular print is escpecially lovely.
described on line as:

Print of 'Poppy" an original work painted by Shin Sa-im-dang (1512-1559), a renowned female painter of the Chosun Dynasty. Shin Sa-im-dang is one of the most famous artists in Korean history and is known for her depictions of plants and animals.

Peter Beinart on U.S. China Policy

I find this article very interesting. It has bothered me to NO END that China owns our debt. That we have such a dependednt relationship with this country, and that manufacturers based in this country continue to create products that result in illness and death prior to recalls. I always loved foreign policy stuff and model UN in High School and then left it completely to paint away in college, but I try to keep an eye out.

Obama faces a new reality as he tries to reengage Beijing: from global warming to currency, Peter Beinart says the days when the U.S. can make demands of China are over.

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the problem with American foreign policy towards China is that we haven’t been paying enough attention. In the weeks and months leading up to the President’s arrival in Beijing, a bevy of administration officials implied that the Bush administration had become so preoccupied with the Middle East that it gave China free reign to expand its influence in Asia. Now, by sending Obama to the continent in his first year—after sending Hillary Clinton there on her first foreign trip—Team Obama is trying to signal that America is back in the game.

But here’s the irony: the Bush administration’s policy towards China wasn’t that bad—precisely because they didn’t pay that much attention. Before September 11, 2001, the Weekly Standard crowd had been all set to make the Middle Kingdom the next evil empire. When a U.S. spy plane went down over Chinese soil during Bush’s first months in office, Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan—with apparent support from Dick Cheney—began talking darkly about a new cold war. President Bush even ditched America’s long-standing policy of not explicitly pledging to defend Taiwan, a policy designed to prevent Taipei from declaring independence and thus sparking World War III. Before 9/11, the Bush hawks—and large chunks of the American right—were looking for an enemy. Had Mohammed Atta and company not intervened, Beijing might well have been it.

So when Obama administration officials say America needs to start paying more attention to China, they’re not talking about the American right. It’s only because the right’s attentions were elsewhere, in fact, that U.S.-Chinese relations—the relations upon which global security and prosperity depend—have remained so calm. And they’re not really talking about the American left either. Liberals don’t want to confront Beijing militarily, but many do want to confront it economically. Back during the Clinton years, the activist left mostly opposed “most favored nation” trading status for Beijing and demanded restrictions on Chinese goods until its government improved workers’ rights and environmental protection. Today, the left is also unhappy about China’s devalued currency, which makes its exports artificially cheap. The only thing keeping liberals from declaring trade war on China now is that China isn’t high on their priority list: health care, global warming, card-check, Afghanistan and various other issues all come first.

rest of article

Monday, November 16, 2009

Star Jasmine Tuberose

I really really like this product line - only available in the Fall
Did you see the little scent compact? So very pretty and yummy smelling too! Yes I have one. I love it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


After days and days of rain it is beautiful out today. So I strapped Bitsy in the stroller and took the dog for a nice walk around the neighborhood. Up the street our neighbors were in the yard pruning their tree (I thought) when we came back an hour later they were still there. I asked them, "is it a pear tree?" my kids always ask me and I don't know.
It is a persimmon tree.
They dry them and have them New Year's Eve. Do I want to try some?
I never know how to answer this question. I was asking because I wanted to know not to receive something. But Yes, my kids and I would love to try a persimmon.
She hands me four. You peel it and slice it.
OH MY! They are really good!

check Perimmon Fruit Facts
also try this link for Persimmons
stark brothers even has trees to order

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday the 13th My son's 9th Birthday

table all ready for birthday breakfast of waffles & ice cream - and you get to open your presents at breakfast. Start off the day with a BANG!

around 1 PM we had friends over for cake. The original party plan involved an obstacle course outside and target practice with a bow and arrow (the toy version) but it has been raining for three days so... we did hot potatoe (crazy they all like it) and musical chairs (they love that one too) and then hung a pinata from the railing of the stairs.

I am not one of those moms who knows how to decorate a cake. I squeak by with using toys... this is supposed to make you think of Frodo, and Legolas and Gandalf and a nasty ring wraith...

like I said, it has been raining a LOT. Places are flooded. People don't have power. So... some of the guys at DataXstream (my husband's company) decided to come hang out with us for a while since they were amongst the "don't have power" and we are in the "do have power" grid. They brought the birthday boy "Lego Rock Band" which was incredibly cute and fun. And then they hung out with the small people until Clone Wars came on the Cartoon Network. After which the small people went to bed and the grown ups played Lego Rock Band until about midnight.

That is Matt, basis admin, gettin' into "The Final Countdown."

Oh and the cake came from:
You or your friend requested the recipe below:


1 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter, oil, and sugar (I melt my butter and
shortening in the microwave). Then add eggs, one at a time.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. Then add milk and
vanilla. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Pour in a
greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for
about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.


2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 or 4 tbsp. milk

Cream above ingredients until smooth and spread on top of
cake when it is cool. The topping will be thick on top of

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We buried Eddie on Wednesday.

It was actually very healing for me. The priest was lovely and loving and he chose to speak about Jesus crying from the cross "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?!" Which was such a good reminder as we sat there mourning my young cousin.

My Uncle composed himself to speak, and did so, reminding us of the my cousin as a very young child, shy but always smiling. A happy boy. He was. My Uncle reminded those in attendence, especially the young people who had come to honor Eddie, to live with love in their hearts.

My Aunt & Uncle opened up their amazing home to us all and then stood there and did more consoling of others than they did receiving consolation. They are always like that. Immeasurably gracious.

We left and my husband noted; "your Aunt looks amazing. She's grieving and she looks amazing." And she did. I will have to remember to tell her that later on.

I am grateful to my friends, online and in person, who have left me such kind words. Thank you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We received a phone call today around 1 in the afternoon. My cousin Eddie has died. It was not expected. He is young. A teenager. His mother found him, or so we heard. Arrangments are being made for services and we will hear abut them when there is more information.

I believe when someone dies it is important to stop and say their name and remember them.

Eddie I will remember you.

I hope Ross and Ian were there on the other side to guide you on to the next place.

"Death is not the end." I believe Gandalf said. "But a beginning."
I need to look it up. He says it in the city of Minus Tirith, to Pippin, before they go into battle.
I think this is true. I hope I'll meet you there one day.

And a Birthday

My love was born November 1st. All Saints Day. He reminds me REGULARLY that he is a Saint. uh huh.
Well, it has been a bit of a mad house. And we've been seriously distracted by other things for the last few weeks and so the birthdays (there are two at Halloween) were a bit, well, not the usual. I didn't even remember to buy the guy a cake. And I am the sort that like to make a cake, but he is an icecream cake guy and he is unusually stressed so I have been under the gun as far as "making a mess" is concerned (nothing sets my man off faster than a messy house.) I did get his waffles and icecream ready in the morning for breakfast - that is tradition. My mom's family are waffle on your birthday people. My mom always did it with ice cream and strawberries. My husband really likes this particular tradition.
And we had a good dinner. And then he and the boys went out and picked out his icecream cake.

Like I said, its been a bit disorganized and uptight - so I didn't have candles...
and then we played EA Games's "Lord of the Rings" for hours. 4 of us at a time. That was great.

Yellow is bewitching

Halloween Photos again
because they are so cute

My yellow witch was so darn pleased with herself. It was wonderful. And we did up her make-up so under that floppy yellow hat she was all pink and pretty. Nobody believed I made it-
My pretty little witch:
and here she is posing
yellow witch

Thursday, November 5, 2009

busy, busy, shockingly busy

Can you tell me where this song is from?

I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You've no idea what I have to do
busy, busy shockingly busy
much, much too busy for you!

anyway - I find myself in the regular dilemma - start from the now or catch up? but I'm so very linear in thought: beginning, middle, end.
I had bragging to do:

lets begin with sewing.
I promised I'd sew for Halloween. I mean, where do you find a yellow witch, a purple wizard and a blue wizard? really?
and then well...
a series of misfortunate events...
and so on Saturday Otober 31st I sewed. And sewed...

and then Tiger said; "thanks mom. you really made my Halloween special." a trophy. an absolute trophy.