Friday, December 28, 2007

black swan green

I just finished the David Mitchell book, Black Swan Green, and my mind is still humming with dreamy pleasure. He weaves the bittersweet realities of life as a thirteen-year-old boy with childhood wonder, capturing the character so well in his first-person narrative. Matt and I read a review of the book last year in the New Yorker and our interest was piqued. I haven't read a really great book of fiction in some time so this was refreshing. Here is a quote from the book where Jason is describing how his stammering problem began:

"Miss Throckmorton'd been playing Hangman on the blackboard one afternoon with sunlight streaming in. On the blackboard was NIGH_ING__E. Any duh-brain could work that out, so I put up my hand. Miss Throckmorton said, "Yes, Jason?" and that was when my life divided itself into Before Hangman and After Hangman. The word "nightingale" kaboomed in my skull but it just wouldn't come out. The n got out okay, but the harder I forced the rest, the tighter the noose got. I remember Lucy Sneads whispering to Angela Bullock, stifling giggles. I remember Robin South staring at this bizarre sight. I'd've done the same if it hadn't been me. When a stammerer stammers their eyeballs pop out, they go trembly-red like an evenly matched arm wrestler, and their mouth guppergupperguppers like a fish in a net. It must be quite a funny sight.

It wasn't funny for me though. Miss Throckmorton was waiting. Every kid in the classroom was waiting. Every crow and every spider in Black Swan Green was waiting. Every cloud, every car on every motorway, even Mrs. Thatcher in the House of Commons'd frozon, listening, watching, thinking, What's wrong with Jason Taylor?"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i love carbs

I just listened to The Splendid Table on NPR and heard an interview with the authors of this book. I, of course, had to order it right away here. There is nothing like good bread to round out a delicious meal. Amazingly, this bread requires no kneading but still holds up to culinary scrutiny, with perfect crust and crumb.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

baby hank

I stole this picture from my sister Liz's blog, because it captured the exact look baby Hank had on Thursday when I stopped by to kiss his sweet face. Doesn't he look like he is just about to say something very wise and profound? Maybe something like: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." If you guessed that last quote was from Yoda, correct would you be.

Liz had an emergency C-section, four weeks early, due to the baby's worsening heart problem. Because I deliver babies at the same hospital and she has been seeing another midwife in my practice for her pregnancy, I had the priviledge of being in the OR, taking pictures as little Hank was born. He's been doing great since they were able to correct his irregular heart rhythm, and now he is home and breastfeeding like a champ. Liz says he always latches on perfectly when I'm around just so he can show off to his midwife-auntie how smart he is. I've always loved my nieces and nephews on Matt's side of the family, but there is something about my own sister having a kid . . . the love is automatic.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

To me, Perry Como IS Christmas, and until I hear his voice the Christmas season hasn't begun yet. His Christmas record was the background music to all my childhood Christmas memories.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

first snow

I left work this evening and drove home in real snow! Here is our poor little Japanese maple, bracing for the winter.

Oh, and here is a picture from last week of Matt preparing Thanksgiving delicacies the day before.

something silky

I was walking through the new Urban Outfitters at the Gateway a few nights ago and stopped at this shirt. I love something silky, even if it isn't very practical for a cold winter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

of montreal: best show 2007

I'm shedding tears right now for those of you who missed this show last Friday night. I'm still on a post-concert high. If you have not checked this album out before, do it now (Of Montreal "Hissing Fauna: Are you the Destroyer); it's not too late--you can still ride the cool wave of awesomeness. BTW, I think I'm in love with Kevin Barnes--Don't tell Matt.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

freaks and geeks

Matt and I recently borrowed the entire season of Freaks and Geeks, a short-lived tv series from 1999, produced by Judd Apatow (of Forty-year old Virgin, Knocked up, fame). The show follows the lives of a handful of fictional Michigan high school students. It is so skillfully written and acted that I often find myself chuckling (or cringing) in self-recognition from my own high school experiences.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

shine like the top of the chrysler building

Because my call schedule is different every week, it is impossible to have much of a routine. Housecleaning always seems to be the first casualty of my busy schedule. This time I really let things go too far: dust bunnies lurking in every corner, laundry piled high above the basket, and at least a month of grime in the bathroom. Yesterday I rolled up my sleeves and decided to reside in filth no longer. I worked all day, scrubbing, vacuuming and polishing. It is amazing what cleanliness can do for the psyche; I now feel so much less stressed out about work things that are screaming for my attention. I know I won't be able to maintain this de-cluttered existence, but I'll enjoy it for a few days and then the cycle will happen all over again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

baking bread

I felt close to my Mema this morning as I baked her famous whole wheat bread. I even used her old tin, two-cup measure to measure out the wheat flour. We'll be eating it tonight with homemade chicken noodle soup. I love having something useful of hers in my everyday chores to remind me of her.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

shake shack snack

While Matt and I were in NYC last week we made a special trip to Madison Square Park to eat at the Shake Shack. Matt and I had read rave reviews about this burger stand since we left NYC three years ago, and Matt, being a self-proclaimed burger conniseur, has often lamented how we missed the opening of this place by a month. We stopped by on a chilly Sunday afternoon and the line wasn't too long. It was so delicious and definitely exceeded expectations!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

poking around sleepy hollow

On our last day in New York, Matt and I went poking around the Old Dutch Church and graveyard in the town of Sleepy Hollow on the Hudson river. It filled my spooky-need plenty. We didn't see the headless horseman, but we did spy some very suspicious squirrels.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

contemplating sankofa in florida

I was in Clearwater, Florida at the Midwives Alliance (MANA) Conference for the past 5 days. Of course, the morning I woke up for my flight from Utah, the ground was covered in snow. It was pretty difficult to decide what to wear that would be appropriate from take-off to touch-down. I ended up with lots of layers that I had to immediately strip off when I walked off the plane in Tampa. This was my first experience in the state and let me tell you: the humidity is like New York in the middle of the summer, underground, in the elevator at the 168th street stop (those of you lucky enough to have been in that elevator know that it is like a ride down to hell). To top it off, I had an instant frizz-fro.

I've been to the MANA conference in the past and I always have such a great time. It is a chance for midwives and traditional birth attendants to gather from all over the world, as sisters and share our wisdom. I love learning at the feet of these grey-haired wise women midwives. The theme of this year's conference was Sankofa (see picture above). Here is an explanation from the conference:

The concept of Sankofa is derived from Adinkra of the Akan people of West Africa. Sankofa is transliterated in the Akan language as “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.” Literally translated it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Sankofa is used today across the pan-African world to promote the idea that African people must go back to our roots in order to move forward. Visually and symbolically “Sankofa” is expressed as a mythical bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth. This symbol is used for our conference to mean that, as midwives, we “must go back to our roots in order to move forward,” without losing what is precious and powerful in birth.

Amid all the soaking up of wisdom I also managed to soak up some rays. Here is a list of my favorites from the trip:

1) Floating on my back in the Gulf of Mexico, watching a pink sunset turn the water pink, feeling tiny clear jelly fish squish through my fingers.

2) Late night chats and laughter with my sister-midwife Jen in our hotel room.

3) Lying on the edge of the pool, on the warm concrete, in a downpour.

4) A half-day at the Safety Harbor Spa

5) Yeshi Neumann's inspiring lecture on her Homestyle Midwifery practice

6) Stone Crab season (yum!)

7) Wearing my favorite Birkenstocks one last time until next summer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

in rainbows

The new Radiohead album was released yesterday. You can download it from their site and pay them what you think it is worth. We tried to download it yesterday, but the site was so busy with traffic that it kept timing out on us. Matt was finally able to get it today. I know this may sound like I'm overzealous, but I think Radiohead is the Beatles of our generation. I can't get enough of their albums; each one seems fresh, melodic, complex no matter how many times I listen. Sometimes distorted, sometimes operatic Thom Yorke's voice is transcendental (see Matt's blog for a discussion on transcendentalism here). Check out some songs from the new album, "In Rainbows":

Monday, October 8, 2007


My beloved "Mema," died last week. Her funeral was on Friday. She was not only a wonderful grandma, but a great friend. We did a lot together: going out to lunch, season tickets to Ballet West, Sunday dinners. She was a truly great lady and I already miss her. I feel so lucky that Matt and I have lived close to her for the last three years. There are so many things I love about her so I think I will list some of them:

1. we have the same nose
2. her cozy flannel quilts layered under down comforters in winter
3. receiving her handwritten cards with tender thoughts
4. how she always signed her notes "love Mema and Papa David" eventhough my grandpa has been dead for over 27 years
5. her homemade whole wheat bread recipe
6. taking my hands and shimmying to big band music
7. her stubborness
8. the very distinctive lilt of her voice (ask me and I'll imitate it for you)
9. how she pronounced the days of the week: Mon-dee, Tues-dee etc.
10. her style and class (she loved fine clothes)
11. her unconditional love

You can read about her life and the comments of those who loved her here.

anticipating the darjeeling limited

I am so excited for the new Wes Anderson movie . . . my heart just raced watching the preview. Thanks to Lane for her probing questions and analysis on the movie. It won't be coming to Utah until late Oct/early Nov. There will be a free screening at the Broadway on Oct 23. We'll be out of town but I encourage anyone around to check it out.

By the way, there is a short prequel film by Wes Anderson that is being shown before "The Darjeeling Limited" at the festivals called "Hotel Chevalier." Unfortunately, Fox has decided not to release it with the movie for the general population. If you would like to see it before the full length film, you can download it for free from iTunes for a limited time. Word to those who avoid nudity: don't watch as you will see Nathalie Portman au natural.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

first snow

Matt and I went hiking this past weekend in the Wasatch. It was a surreal site to see the first snow attempting to cover the bright fall colors. We got pretty chilled as the sun came out and the snow started to melt and plop on us in the pine forests. The sound of cracking, shivering and plopping was all around and made for an exciting, albeit wet trip.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Matt and I saw The New Pornographers Wednesday night and they were amazing. The last time we saw them in concert was five years ago in Brooklyn and the show rocked then, but I think they've definitely improved with age. All the bandmates were there including: Neko Case (the pipes), Carl Newman (the brains), and Dan Bejar (Bob Dylan on crack). It is pretty remarkable that they were all together---each of them have had very successful solo albums in the last few years. They played a great set for almost two hours. Maybe it was the combination of not having slept for two nights before, but I was delirious with pleasure and danced the whole time (with two of my favorite fans: Bea and Karin). I don't know about you, but a really good concert can sustain me for months. Check out "Letter from an Occupant" from two albums ago:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

greatest album summer 2007

Now that the summer is officially over and the verdicts in, I can announce the greatest album of summer 2007: Of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer." Check out two songs from the album below. My favorite tracks on the album are actually 5 and 6 but these are the only ones I could find on the net. Truthfully, the entire album is awesome. And they are coming to town in November---see you all there!

Monday, September 24, 2007

first week of fall

I had such an enjoyable week! It included all kinds of fall-y moments. Here is my favorites list:

1. Canning peaches with my sister, Liz, for the first time.

2. Meandering at the farmer's market and purchasing the following delectables: large tub of frozen sour pie-cheeries, wild chanterelle mushrooms, and four organic grass-fed beef tenderloin cuts.

3. Partaking of Matt's saucier skills, especially his delicious chanterelle/sherry sauce.

4. Unearthing our winter down comforter from the back of the closet.

5. Waves of nostalgia after visiting my sister Becca in her BYU dorm.

6. Enjoying my Spanish-speaking patients in our Centering pregnancy class this week (we practiced labor positions and had a lot of laughs).

7. The smell of rain while waiting for the bus after a long night and two great births.

8. Not fall-related but fun nonetheless: Live RadioWest broadcast at the Capitol Theater and Charlie Chaplin film.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

king of kong

I just heard about this documentary last week and am determined to go this week. It looks awesome and very nerdy (two attributes I revere in a documentary). Also, check out the goldmine of nerd hair-dos in the trailer.

Monday, September 3, 2007

chronicles of public transportation: chapter 1

I overhead a snippet of a phone conversation while riding tracks last week and hurriedly dug through my bag to write it down. It went something like this:

And he said, "I don't care if you do," and I said, "Well I'm going to come by and steal your petrified wood, then."

Do you think he really was talking about petrified wood or was it some obscure euphemism? From the looks of him I would have to guess that he was really talking about petrified wood.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

my sister lizzy has arrived

There have been many times in my life when I have really missed having a sister around. For example, I hate watching movies alone and there are certain movies that Matt will just refuse to watch. The following movies can only be watched with certain sisterly female companions:

A Room With A View

Pride and Prejudice (A&E version, with Colin Firth)

Dirty Dancing

Reality Bites

Empire Records

Legally Blonde

Troop Beverly Hills (yes, that's right)

And this list doesn't even get into the sleazy television shows that I can only watch with a female companion (Sex and the City, What Not to Wear, the OC etc.). I love how you can call up a sister whenever and not feel wierd about it. If you want someone to go with you on a long shopping quest for a certain pink dress required by a certain brother's wedding, a sister is the perfect candidate. Or if you just really feel like going out to lunch at your favorite sushi place, she is always up for it. Maybe you've had something really crappy happen to you; Who do you call? Your sis of course.

I am so happy that my wonderful sister Liz has moved out here (yeah!) as of yesterday. It makes living in Utah much more bearable.

Monday, August 27, 2007

bathroom re-do

Matt finished the bathroom remodel, and just in time too as he started another school year today. Here are the pictures; notice the surprise eggplant color. Unfortunately, we never took pictures of the old bathroom to compare. For those of you who had to see the original, I'm sorry. For those who have never seen the original, just imagine cheap wood paneled vanity and wood paneled perma-crooked mirror and you'll get the idea. Believe me, it's a huge improvement.

Friday, August 17, 2007

goodbye, alessandra ferri

One of my favorite ballerinas of all time just retired this summer. You can read more about her career here. As a young dancer in New York, I remember being amazed along with my classmates (at the School of American Ballet), to find out (amid all the dancer gossip) that once she became a principal dancer, she never took a ballet class with the company again. When I saw her first perform Romeo and Juliet opposite Julio Bocca at ABT, I was blown away by their passion---they were so REAL---complete with passionate groping/kissing---it caused my fourteen-year-old mind to implode. I was so inspired by her. Here is a clip from Romeo and Juliet with another heartthrob, Angel Correra (he was drool bait for us baby ballerinas when he would drop by for the mens class--sigh).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

are you hot?

Matt and I borrowed the Best of SNL TV Funhouse Cartoons from the library the other day and I couldn't stop laughing at this segment. Robert Smigel is a comedic genius. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2007

house projects

My husband, Matt, is a high school teacher (and a darned good one). One result of this is that he has most of the summer off and becomes subject to HOUSE PROJECTS. Being that we live in an old house, the projects never end. For this summer his three projects were:

1. Paint the outside of the house (trim, windows, eaves, foundation etc.)
2. Re-do the bathroom (replacing the vanity, mirror, and paint)
3. Install lighting over the living room mantle

As of now, he has finished #1, and is very close to being totally done with #2. I don't know if he will be able to finish #3 before the school year starts but he has often surprised me with his ingenuity in the past and whose not to say he might do it again.

He painted the bathroom yesterday in a surprise color. We had been looking for a week or two at paint samples trying to decide what would complement the "eagle gray" eighties tile in our bathroom. Would it be yellow? off-white? greenish? Nothing seemed to work and the beautiful golden yellow we had thought would work ended up looking like puke and casting a sickly hue on any person who dared look in the mirror. So yesterday he called me and said that he had painted the bathroom, that it looked awesome, and that he would wait until I got home so I could find our for myself what mystery color he had chosen---EGGPLANT! And it does look awesome. I will post a picture of the bathroom when all the finishing touches are done so you can see for yourself. For now, here are before and after pictures of our house.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Escort's "All through the Night"

I found this courtesy of I think it is so clever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

garden update

So our garden is out-of-control. Remember how small those tomato plants used to be, here? Well they are over 8 feet tall now! I've never seen tomatoes grow so tall. There must have been some good dirt in that side spot, I guess. Right now we are trying to keep up with the zuchinni production.
8-foot tomatoes:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I just caught my 200th baby last night! I can't believe I'm at this milestone already. Now I just have to think of some way to celebrate . . . maybe a good nap will do. Here is a picture of my latest cutest nephew, Finnegan. His smile captures my feelings exactly.

Monday, July 16, 2007

yellowstone and teton country

We ended up going to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Not too far from home but far enough for great vacation. Here are some pics. By the way, that is a moose in the last one.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

mystery vacation

Matt and I were going to go to the Outer Banks, NC next week, but we have had to change those plans at the last minute due to family happenings. Now we are left scrambling to schedule a great (but inexpensive) vacation that doesn't involve pricey airfare. Does anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

my summer reading list

Matt makes his high school students create their own reading lists based on research they do using books they already like. For my birthday (in Jan) I asked Matt to make me a reading list (as I have very little time and hate doing the legwork). I didn't get the list until last month, so I thought I would post it. I have already started in on the first two books. If any of you have an opinion about any of these, please post them and we can compare notes. Or if you have something to add you think I would like, my list is eternally growing.

Travels in West Africa by Mary Henrietta Kingsley

One Last Look by Susanna Moore

King Solomon's Mines by Tahir Shah

Empress by Shan Sa

The Botany of Desire by Micheal Pollan

Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteeth-Century England by Daniel Pool

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

Howard's End by E.M. Forster

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls

Letters to a Spiritual Seeker by H.D. Thoreau

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

Carried Away: A Selection of Stories by Alice Munro

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Sunday, June 24, 2007

la belle et la bete

Since I'm on the subject of films, I want to share a clip of "La Belle et La Bete" (Beauty and the Beast). This 1946 Jean Cocteau classic was restored and re-released this month. Matt and I saw it a few weeks ago in the theater and I found it mesmerizing. You can read more about Jean Cocteau here. The scene I've posted below takes my breath away.


Matt and I went to a matinee of "Once" yesterday, and I loved it. Now I need the soundtrack.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

favorite salad

I promised my co-workers that I would post the recipe for my favorite salad that I brought last week to a goodbye party for one of the midwives I work with. I also made it last Thanksgiving (for those of you lucky enough to have partaken of Matt's smoked turkey extraordinaire at our traditional Barlow feast). Here it is:

1/2 sliced red onion
2 avocados sliced
strawberries sliced
gorgonzola cheese
mixed greens

(you can also use pears, craisins, peaches, etc)

Top with sugared almonds:
1/2 c. sliced almonds
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp butter

(Cook almonds in frying pan until golden and carmelized--be careful not to burn)


3/4 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
1/3 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. grated onion
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp mustard

Sunday, June 17, 2007

moab family reunion

Matt and I just got back from the Thomas family reunion in Moab, UT. I had never been to Arches National Park (a traditional Thomas family destination growing up). The colors of the desert were so beautiful: sage green, dark green, beige and the deep pinks and reds of the earth. We had some great hiking in Arches, as well a great hike to the Morning Glory Arch---not in Arches but in nearby Negro Bill Canyon (Matt prefers to call it African American William Canyon). Here are some pictures.