If there is one thing that annoys my mama the most, it is being “sneaky.” She would scream at us when we were little if she found us hiding/lying/doing anything shady. She always said she wanted to hear the truth, even if it hurt. {And I swear to you, I can hear her words ringing in my ears screeching, “The truth will come out anyway!”}


She really wasn’t screetchy very often, but this did seem to set her off. My trigger point has more to do with being taken advantage of. The older I get, the more I understand why people feel like they need to lie or be sneaky. It’s never right, but it most often has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own issues.  That said, who hasn’t said a white/gray/charcoal lie before and then thought, “Huh. Where did that come from?”

It isn’t in my nature, but it’s happened. I remember a time in college when my friend Emily and I were being introduced to a new group of people. We were each going around and saying our names and majors. Somehow, mine came out as electric engineering. I was an electronic media (journalism) major. Emily’s head popped up and she stared at me from across the group with this look of, “are you going to correct that?” Once I said it, I didn’t know what to do. It was out there. So I figured if anyone asked, I’d pretend they misheard me. I didn’t even know where the math classrooms were. They would be wrong. Not me.


It is definitely my nature to be too dramatic. I add numbers on when telling a story and make a mountain out of a mole hill for effect. If I think it doesn’t really matter, I’ll elaborate like the best of them. I’m not sure when this started, but it is again something I’m becoming more aware of. It isn’t genuine and while I can at time tell an entertaining story, it would be better to tell a funny and true story. And let’s be honest, my most hilarious tales are those I couldn’t make up if I tried. Like the time I made friends with the tranny at the Hillary Clinton rally. Or the first time I rode Ruby and managed to cycle right into the crotch of a man getting off a bus. Or the time I nearly flashed my OBGYN in the waiting room because I mistook “pick up your script” for “lift up your skirt.” Yep. That really happened. And yep, I nearly died of embarrassment as I strode through a sea of eavesdropping pregnant women laughing so hard I thought someone’s water might break.

See? The truth can’t be beat.

That said, these photos? Sneak peeks of upcoming fabulous projects lingering around the house waiting for final touches. I’m sneaky like that.



A very sweet woman from my church passed away last night. She was nearly 93 and had been attending Asbury for more than 50 years. She and her husband visited Israel on vacation int he 1970s and brought back a date as a gift for the church. Today, the palm looks like this:

Asbury UMC Community Garden

Asbury UMC Community Garden

I have to think the palm is very symbolic of Thelma’s life. Its bounty of dates (old photo; its limbs are heavy with golden fruit at the moment) will be shared with many.

She was kind beyond belief and would always give me a baby powder-scented hug. Without fail, she always wore pearls, a short gray bob and a large, sincere smile. We sang her happy birthday last year and as she stood next to me swaying back and forth and looking around at everyone, she finally leaned over to whisper, “Honey, I didn’t put my ears in this morning. What are we doing?” That was Thelma. Smiling first, asking questions second.

May God bless and keep you, sweet T.


We All Want Love

Tonelli Wedding, 10/10/09, Chicago

I’ve been reminded several times in the last week of how quickly life can change — how picture perfect can morph into a nightmare without the benefit of waking. There are daily headlines that should serve as ample reminders to this thought, but news becomes tedious and easy to ignore. Children are starving, bombs drop on wedding parties, people take out their anger and confusion with guns, horrific medical news can land in your lap at any second.

We recently had a medical scare in our group of friends. A diagnosis arrived in an emergency room while I watched one of my best friends buckle with the news. We surrounded her for the moment and promised the news could be wrong. We kept a stiff upper lip until her mother could arrive and we could leave to gather the troops and supplies necessary to tackle this latest challenge.  (Those supplies would mostly come in carbohydrate and Blockbuster forms. Sudden stays in the hospital seem to make us all want to feed others and be fed. And if you can watch a good movie to pass the time, then so be it.)

It wasn’t until we reached the first steps outside of the emergency room on our way to gather these supplies that we let the emotion of the previous hour take effect. I wailed. I stuck my arms out to my sides, threw my head back and let out a scream that would have impressed an orthodox Jew in Jerusalem at the wall. Tears poured down my face and I only stopped my dramatic performance because I couldn’t figure out what the noise was coming from a few feet away. Through my sobs, I heard my companion wailing even louder. We were stunned.

Thankfully, a few days later, we would be screaming shouts of joy as the diagnostics revealed a far less serious situation. One that can be treated. One that isn’t life threatening. One that I wouldn’t wish on anyone but I was praying for with all my might considering the other options available.

It doesn’t take a few days in the hospital for me to realize what a unique group of people are in my daily life. And yet, I can help but marvel at our strength when we rally. By the time our friends left the hospital, their car was overflowing with food, gifts and notes of goodwill. They’d arrive home to find another casserole campaign underway, to help them get through the next few days. While I wasn’t the recipient of these great acts of kindness, I couldn’t be more thankful.

We live as though we are under deadline. We have to do lists and carpools and bills to pay and library books to return and calories to burn and coupons to cut and board meetings to organize. And yet, when you are sitting with your best friend in the emergency room, all you can think of is how completely meaningless this nonsense is. If the bed isn’t made, the garden isn’t watered, the dog isn’t brushed, the car isn’t washed, the report isn’t completed, the gym isn’t visited, but your friends and family know how much you love them? You are living a life well lived.

This journey for me needs to be less about deadlines and more about living. Already a bit of a sentimentalist, I’m making a point of reaching out to my loved ones this week to remind them how very much they mean to me. I hope you’ll join me. If there is one thing the last week has made clear — you can’t have too much love.




Bhutanese dancers

COAR Fundraiser

The organization I work for had a fundraiser last night; it gave me a chance to do what I love most — dress up, be girly and be a bit bossy, all in the name of charity of course. We hosted 75 people at a beautiful home in Paradise Valley for a bit of African drumming, dancers from Bhutan and wine from Sonoma. It was a lovely night.

COAR Fundraiser

COAR Fundraiser

Rocking out with the drummers

(Photos by Bryan Lewis)

We not only raised more than a month’s overhead, but we also had a lot of smart, well-connected, community driven people talking about refugees. A man from Bhutan spoke of how he lived for 17 years in a camp before being resettled in Arizona. We were transfixed by the emotion, the horror of life so hard to imagine from the comfort of a luxury home. Refugee students now in college wandered through the crowd talking about how our mentorship saw them through high school graduation. Board members explained to their friends why they enjoy being involved.

After six hours in heels, my legs are tired this morning. But my heart is happy. I hope the passion was contagious!




I saw Ree Drummond at Changing Hands last night. She spoke a bit about her new cookbook. Beforehand, over drinks with girlfriends and the cookbook, we talked about the incorporation of family (especially children) into such projects. Is it okay to put your kid’s photos online? We agreed that in this format, it was fine. She and her husband must agree and the truth is, the cookbook isn’t just recipes. It is a gorgeous view of their family and their way of life. She has so much to be proud of.


As I watched the masses swarm to hear Ree speak — truly more folks came to hear her than Jimmy Carter or Madeleine Albright’s recent visits — it dawned on me  one of the reasons she and Dooce are so incredibly well received in the blog world is because they are willing to be so vulnerable. They talk about the details of their personal lives and while I’m sure they don’t reveal all, they are comfortable taking us into their homes for a glimpse.


I’m not entirely sure where my comfort level sits on my personal life and the blog; there are times I’ve revealed enough to get a phone call from my angry little brother in Colorado (who magically must have just happened to read my “stupid blog he never reads” that day) to say, “Too much! Stop talking!” There are other times I’ve handled  crises and changes without mentioning a word because I just didn’t know how to broach the topic.

I love what this blog has provided me. More than anything, it is a daily challenge to be creative, positive and proactive in my writing. It pushes me to carry my camera nearly everywhere and to document my life in a way that previous generations would have certainly deemed vain. C’est la vie. Life changes and my skin is a bit thicker than it used to be. I can hear my friend Mini’s voice saying, “Dear, you can’t please everyone” each time I open an email or receive a comment bemoaning my views.


The title to this entry is a bit tongue in cheek. A man I had been spending time with of late recently told me I was “too domestic.” He hurled this at me in a moment of anger, one in which I wish more than anything I’d had the chance to remind him that without such an interest, he wouldn’t have eaten about a dozen requested chocolate cakes. Alas, I sat there slack jawed thinking, “Too domestic? That’s a new one.” It stung for about two seconds until I remembered I’m much better off being exactly who I am — a woman who loves to play house as much at 30 as I did at 5.

And yes, I’d say domestic is an apt description. When I went to download photos for this entry, flowers, a future quilt and three dozen cookies I baked yesterday came up as options. While I dislike being pigeonholed into such specific descriptions, people will think what they want.  (And those people will not get cookies. Or cake.)



October 2009

A bit late on this one, but better than never. I read this verse the other day and I’ve been thinking about it as I try to get back into a more disciplined routine:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” — II Timothy 1:7

Now, if I could just remember to say this to myself as the alarm goes off, the guacamole and chips come out, the wine is poured, the running shoes sit idle…


Media Mix

My current mix tape  looks a little like this:


Movies recently watched and loved:

Holiday — Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn “Is this where the club meets?” Yes, any day. Such chemistry!

Arsenic and Old Lace — Cary Grant again, what can I say? I know what I like.

War Dance — beautiful documentary on the children of Uganda and their national music contest

TV show currently watching and loving:

Brothers & Sisters — tv simply doesn’t get better for me than this program. I want to be a Walker.


Ug, still stuck on Blindness. I need to get past this. I’ve got Lacuna waiting for me, and the Pioneer Woman in town tomorrow night with her new cookbook! Not to mention that giant new stack from friends. Something tells me I need to spend less time with my new boyfriend Cary.



Two words — Norah. Jones. My goodness, this woman is magical. I could listen to her albums back to back for the rest of my life and feel like I’m not missing out on a single thing. (And while we are at it, how fabulous are that dress and dog?)


I need some new suggestions. I’m back to being a gym rat (this time of year greatly reduces my courage to run alone around Tempe Town Lake. It’s dark. And scary.) So, I’ve got 6-8 hours a week of podcasts I need to load to keep myself entertained and not feeling like a spandexed hampster on a wheel. (The new gym is an anthropology doctorate waiting to be written. Let’s just say as I roll in with one eye still shut and my hair in a giant messy bun on the top of my head — truly lucky if my socks match — there are super stylish women in the salon downstairs getting “blown out” for their workday and others sipping on $6 protein shakes in the cafe across the way. Toto, I don’t think we’re at the YMCA anymore.) So, as I huff it in my high school swimming t-shirts and stretchy shorts, I prefer to feel like I’m learning something in lieu of joining the masses in watching FOX news on the giant TVs. Suggestions? Podcasts you love? I’m hooked to Splendid Table, The Moth, This American Life, Speaking of Faith and my buddy JO.

C’est tout,


CRAFT November

Halloween details

Dear Finny,

So glad you selected our sweet Lori for the October winner. You know, Lori has been one of those interweb friends (just the term makes my father twitch with discomfort) for years.  She is so kind and I love how she routinely stretches my idea of creativity. Plus, I know if I ever stumbled through Kansas, she’d be one of the first to offer me a seat at her kitchen table.

Brava Lori and that delicious pumpkin pasta!

This month’s challenges that you’ve selected are a fun mix. The t-shirt scarf, the chocolate beet cakes and the scrappy wallets? Like the gumbo of the craft world. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly making my holiday lists and checking them twice. Lots of crafty happenings, including the purchase of a snap press. Have you ever used one? I’m also thinking of hosting another “Advent of Craft.” Any interest in participating/helping?

Miss you Fin. More than I can say, I really wish you were here this week (and not just because my garden is dead.)


Boutique Sounds A Bit Snobby

Modest Mom

There are some kinks left to be worked out with the software, but my first shop update happens today!

Products listed include, onesies, ribbon blankets, large Minky-backed blankets, custom purses in three sizes, the Modest Mom (a breastfeeding cover) and of course, the project that remains the most searched reason people land at — the Nudu cap and pattern.

Modest Mom

Thank you for your overwhelming support at this endeavor. You’ll notice most of the items are custom orders because it really is far more important to me that you have a handmade item you love than something that looks like a dozen others.  I want to share fabric I’ve collected from my travels and the notion that handmade truly is better.

Modest Mom

The details:

Shipping is standard first class domestic and international

Custom order projects will take at least one week to post

I’m happy to gift wrap the item and include a card with details provided


I’d love to hear your ideas for other projects! Thank you again!