Friday, May 27, 2011

Art therapy

Yesterday morning my daughter came into the office while I was trying to squeeze in some work time before getting the kids off to school and she asked if I always knew how to draw. And I told her that I always liked to draw and I did it a lot when I was a kid. And she got big tears in her eyes and said, but I can't do it like you. My drawings aren't pretty. 

And the truth is they're not. Neither of my kids are prodigies, let's just say. Both of them mostly scribble. And I vacillate between being fine with that and being disappointed. How awful, right? But true. For a while my son talked all the time about how he wanted to be an artist. But he almost never decides to just get some markers and draw. He'll get them and write a letter about something or write his name with ten exclamation points. But drawing doesn't come to mind when he's bored at home. He'd rather write memos in his organizer. I'm not kidding. And when we sit down together to draw in the afternoon most often both kids want me to draw something for them or want me to decide what they should draw. Aren't kids supposed to be naturally free and expressive in their visual creativity? The whole exercise makes me irritated. Mostly because I know it's my own fault. I'm probably what's stifling them. I stifle myself sometimes too. The truth is I'm not great at drawing. It's hard for me to just draw a chair or a person or a piece of fruit. Which is why I don't draw those things. Play to your strengths, I say, which for me is color.

So when my little girl came to me distressed about her own abilities all I could think was that I wished I had something I'd drawn as a kid. A few paintings from kindergarten to show my kids that this is how it starts. A scribble. A stick figure. No aspect. No proportion. Just color and love. And outside the lines. Maybe we should go see a Jackson Pollack or Mark Rothko exhibit so they can see that even famous artists scribble and make a big mess.

That afternoon I decided to try something new. While my daughter was napping, my son and I tried some still life drawing and we both drew southpaw. Except he really is left-handed and I'm not. So it gave me an exercise in letting go a little which gave my drawings a kid-like quality. He liked them and liked how his pictures turned out too.  It was positive all around. Then he asked if I wanted his drawings and I said absolutely yes. That's when he showed his true talent. He turned on all the charm and replied they cost $2 each. I might hire him to be my agent.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Bridge Ketubah
Bridge Ketubah

It's not a title typo. I actually completed a ketubah a few weeks ago that was half in the traditional Aramaic and half in Finnish! Soon after I did a name print for someone in Hebrew, English and SANSKRIT which required an act of God, Vishnu and Buddha to get the font to work on my Mac.  And my most recent multi-cultural expression was this Turkish/American ketubah, complete with a New York skyline, the wooden fence along the Jersey shore, Libra scales, the bridge over the Bosphorus or the San Francisco Bay or the East River (take your pick), the Sultan's signature, the Turkish flag, three evil eyes, an Istanbul skyline and a plethora of pomegranates (the name, in Turkish, of the groom's ancestral home). They've actually asked to change the sky to more of a periwinkle, which, thanks to the Photoshop magic wand, I can probably do. And then I'll finally be finnished too and ready to welcome a baby into this vibrant, connected world we've created.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One more coat Aba

Bubblegum polish

Thirteen years ago I was doing an assignment for Fodor's in Sharm El Sheik Egypt and Mr. Rosen came along as my heavy. Well he came along to stay in fancy hotels for free and generally hang out at the beach while I wrote about accommodation and dining in the Sinai. In this post I mentioned a big fight we had had over the color of my toes. I had just returned from the United States with bubble gum pink toenails and he was appalled. They did look appalling, but in a fun, summery way.

Take note of above picture. This is what having a daughter does to men I think. Makes them all squishy and devoted. Mr. Rosen only has one daughter and by the looks of it, that's all he's going to get. Which is fine because frankly I don't think he could love another little girl any more than he does this one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's a race now to finish up on these last orders and commissions before I can breathe a little easier and relax a little until junior arrives. I'm almost done with a commission from the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. They had purchased twelve of my animal prints a while back which now hang in the Bass Center for Childhood Cancers and Blood Diseases. And about a month ago they called again to commission fifteen sea creatures for their pediatric surgery waiting room. FIFTEEN NEW ANIMALS. So you can image I've been feeling a little underwater, but nothing like the home stretch of pregnancy to light a fire under your tush (that might also be the hemorrhoids burning). So I cranked these little guys out over the weekend and now I'm in the process of preparing them for print.

Two commissions down and one to go. The third is an original ketubah design for an American bride and a Turkish groom. Lots of interesting symbolism. We even incorporated the Sultan's signature! That's a first.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breakfast love champion

Breakfast in bed

Sunday morning my son woke up, went pee and then walked straight to the kitchen. My daughter and I listened as it seemed like he was maybe doing the dishes. Highly unlikely. But we heard him drag the chair to the sink and turn on the faucet and jangle around some glass and ceramic sounding things. A few minutes later he arrived in my bedroom with a bowl full of cereal, a teaspoon for my daughter and a tablespoon for me. And a giant grin. He made us breakfast in bed. He got the measuring cup out of the sink and washed it, measured the cereal so he wouldn't put too much, poured milk to almost cover the cereal and served us in bed.

True tale.

Mr. Rosen had decided last minute to go camping near San Francisco and then run the Bay to Breakers race and spend a day and a half by himself before he's on house arrest the baby comes. I'm all for these kinds of short breaks. For him and for me. So I was solo with the kids. Two nights before I had had a complete panic attack which included sobbing and hyperventilating in my bed. It was so bad that my daughter started crying and came to nuzzle and comingle our snot. I had just received my new macbook pro and was trying to migrate everything from the old machine and nothing worked and I was (am) sitting on a pile of orders, not to mention two more commissions, and a bunch more organizing before I deliver, so I just completely lost my shit. And I think it dawned on these kids that mommies sometimes have a hard time too. Even this mommy. So they stepped up in a big way which included breakfast in bed from a boy who every day of his entire life has woken up grumpy and walked into our room to whine for breakfast before he even says hello. Well now he says good morning half a second before he asks for breakfast, at my insistence.

But then on a random Sunday - not my birthday and not mother's day - he goes and measures cereal for a covert breakfast mission and all is made lighter. One gesture and being a mommy feels magical again.

ps. I have since figured out my data migration problem and the world, mine at least, is a peaceful place.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Everyone has a butt

It took every bit of restraint and good judgement to not post the picture of my daughter at age two wearing my knee high boots up to her naked tush. Instead a picture of her with her cousin with their Saba.

These conversations never get old. The ones about vaginas and penises that you have with a four year old. And when you're pregnant and pretty explicit with your kids about how baby comes out, then conversation returns to this topic very often. The other day I was driving my daughter for her ear check-up and she starts in about how only girls have vaginas and only boys have penises. And our baby has a penis because he's a boy. But everyone has a butt. Then she listed everyone she knew who has a butt.

Ben has a butt.
Jonah has a butt.
Sienna has a butt.
Aba has a butt.
Mommy has a butt.
Grandma has a butt.
Shalev has a butt.
Saba has a butt.
Savta has a butt.
Saba has a butt.
Talia with the long hair has a butt.
Dr. Murray has a butt.
Aunt Jenny has a butt.

So we're all the same in the back! (her words).

How awesome is that? Why can't we all just get along since we all have butts? I'm going straight to the UN with this revelation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Am I the only one


Or are there other mothers in the world who want to be alone on Mother's Day? Well not completely alone. I want to sleep in while my thoughtful husband prepares a giant yummy breakfast for me and I want my kids to adorn me with all kinds of noodle necklaces and popsicle stick frames and flowers from our garden. And then I want them to leave me alone for the rest of the day to do whatever I want, which in the case of Mother's Day 2011, was finish up some work, take a nice long shower, go get coffee and then Pinkberry, take a nap and loaf around. And that's how it all went down this year.  Total perfection.

And this beauty of a mid century teak chair in need of re-upholstery was my gift. I found it on Craigslist on Saturday and Mr. Rosen went to pick up for me. It was $25. Here it is with a few swatches from the Outside Oslo collection by Jessica Jones although I might go with a chartreuse naugahyde instead. Something that pops a little. I have to decide soon because I'm redoing my nursing rocker at the same time with the same guy and something tells me that the little gopher who is burrowing a hole to China via my pelvis might be on his way sooner than we think.

And speaking of which, there are only three days left until my ETSY shop closes for the summer. Maternity leave starts at midnight on Friday May 13th. You can still find plenty of goodies in the shop for 20% off when you use the code MATERNITY at checkout.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No rest for the nesting

This sparkling oasis is not my bedroom unfortunately. 
It's from the May Anthopologie catalog.

I am officially in crazed nesting mode. Running around buying new pillows. Reupholstering my nursing chair. Desperate for a mid century walnut credenza. And my god if I don't find just the right fitted sheet I might die. This is what brought me to Anthropologie this morning. A single-mindedness so sharp and a belly so large I could only be one thing - a woman in her ninth month.

Unfortunately a woman in her ninth month does not have all her wits about her as she is too focused on putting the final touches on her baby - some more lung tissue, longer eyelashes, a few more feet of intestines and, in our case, seven more inches of hair. She cannot be bothered to remember trivial things like the fact that her husband's bike is strapped to the roof of her car.  For instance.

I pull into the lot and find the closest spot to the entrance because we are having a heat wave and my feet have suddenly swelled to twice their normal size. And this spot is especially lovely as it is under a shady tree. A very low-branched, shady tree, and now with fewer branches, as I plow Mr. Rosen's bike right through it. Oops.

I reverse and pull into a different spot further away, get out and examine the damage. The bike is on its side now, but seemingly intact. With no alternative I hoist myself onto the roof of my black wagon careful to avoid scalding my hands and knees and try to unhook the back tire so I can realign the bike and resume my mission. The wheel does not budge and no matter how I fidget with the strap I can't get it off the back tire.

Do you have an image of what's going on here? There is an eight month pregnant woman in a tank top on the roof of her car wrestling with a mountain bike. And it's me. Hi. So I get down and call Mr. Rosen who is home sick today with a high fever and the sweats. He explains what to do but says he's coming over anyway to be sure my water doesn't break on his mountain bike. Because that would be HORRIBLE. For the bike.

But I don't have patience so I get up there again and follow his instructions, get the bike vertical and strap it on. Now I'm covered in bike grease and shiny with sweat but the bike is back on and I have exactly five minutes to spend at Anthropologie which is exactly how long it takes me to peruse the three items in the sale section. I emerge from the store to find Mr. Rosen tightening the straps to protect me from future harm. What a guy.

Tomorrow I will attempt to re-roof our house. The end.