Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top Secret: Baby's Gender

This will blow your mind: Parents Keep Baby's Gender a Secret.

While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.

The only people who know are Storm’s brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year’s Day.

"When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’" says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.

"If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs," says Stocker.

Storm's parents believe that children can make meaningful decisions of their own from a very early age, and they find the phenomenon of parents making decisions for their children to be "obnoxious." Storm's parents are intentionally raising Storm in a gender-ambiguous fashion to allow Storm increased freedom to make decisions about Storm's identity and personal preferences that might otherwise be influenced by the expectations of others based upon Storm's gender.

“We thought that if we delayed sharing that information, in this case hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messages by the time that Storm decides Storm would like to share," says Witterick.


When my in-laws were visiting a few weeks ago, the subject of hipsters came up - probably in a discussion of the block of Boylston St. in downtown Boston next to my grad school. There's a nice cafe there that is Hipster Central. Of course, the in-laws wanted to know what exactly defined a hipster.

Well, dear friends, if you too are wondering what a hipster is, or perhaps even how to be one, look no further. Thanks to Sam's blog young people in love {CUTE BLOG ALERT, by the way!}, I've come across a step-by-step tutorial. Here it is:

How to be a Hipster, Chapter 1: Appearance
How to be a Hipster, Chapter 2: Interests

[With more chapters yet to come, so stay tuned to verbal vomit if you're committed to this.]

My personal favorite mandate from Chapter 1 is this:

"Dig through the stale-smelling clothes and find some trousers. Then put them back on the rack and find some three sizes smaller."

{I venture that this is even more important for hipster guys than for girls, who can wear baggy pants, men's pants, or a variety of old thrifted skirt styles while still remaining true to the essence of hipsterdom.}

From Chapter 2, I love it that Joanna Newsom is on the list of required hipster listening. She's from my hometown, and I grew up playing in youth symphony with her sister, a cellist.

{I don't have a personal taste for Joanna's music, but then... I guess I'm not a hipster.}

I do like Sigur Rós...

{In limited quantities.}

And the usual suspects of hipster-friendly FILMS? I like some of those movies.

{Like Garden State and Royal Tenenbaums.}

Anyway, while I am not a hipster, I am a killer thrifter, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Life of a Dandelion

I know dandelions are really just weeds.

{But I still think they're beautiful.}

Sunday, May 22, 2011


This afternoon found me walking through Rockport with my friend Cara, while we waited for our respective husbands to rehearse for the "Celebration By The Sea" program honoring the retirement of President and Mrs. Carlberg from our alma mater, Gordon College. Rockport is very scenic, with lots of colorful buildings and quaint details everywhere. Not to mention gorgeous waterfront views.


Cara and I both received cameras as gifts from our respective husbands this past Christmas. I think it's safe to say that we're both enjoying them.

After strolling around the little streets of Bearskin Neck, Rockport, we attended the performance.

{Both our husbands were wonderful, of course.}

Friday, May 20, 2011

One Lesson in May

Recently my seven-year-old student Teaghan came to her lesson and eagerly told me, "I taught myself to play the beginning of Silent Night on my violin!"

I smiled at her. "That's great! What made you think of playing Silent Night this time of year?"

"Well," she said - as though it were the most normal thing in the world - "I was lying in my bed early this morning, hoping my parents wouldn't know I was awake yet, and I kept thinking about Silent Night, and wondering how you'd play it on the violin. So I got out my violin and tried playing it really quietly, and it sort of worked!"

So I taught her the rest of Silent Night.

Yes, in May.

Why not?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Montessori School

Earlier this week found me at a nearby Montessori school demonstrating the violin to a classroom full of students. After playing for them and talking a little bit about the violin, I allowed each child to come try a smaller-sized violin.

I high-fived a girl named Sarah for having my name, and spelling it the same way.

I enjoyed watching a third-year boy be surprised to find that he liked the violin, after initially declaring loudly to the class that he didn't want to play that instrument. I exclaimed what a naturally good bowhold he had - and he really did.

Luna giggled as we made the "Statue of Liberty" pose going from rest position to playing position; I said, "I know the Statue of Liberty isn't really holding a violin... but it would be cool if she was."

A girl named Juliet smiled when she played the first seven notes of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

And another student declared, "This is fun!"

I stayed and chatted with the music teacher a bit afterwards.

And she asked me to start a violin program there.

And I think I will.

{Even though I am already so busy.}

Because I think that children learning to play the violin makes the world a better place.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Have you seen pinterest? Browsed photos? Become totally addicted?

Never heard of it?

It's like the virtual version of that bulletin board you have above your desk, where you pin pages you've torn from magazines with stylish outfits or gorgeous homes that inspire you. You pin them there and you say to yourself, "I will make myself look like this. I will make my home look like this. And then my life will be perfect."

Oh, maybe that's just me.

But anyway, pinterest is really fun. You can check out my pinterest page, and browse the various boards I've created. Like the one I titled shoes are for lovers, where I've got quite the collection going of his and hers feet and footwear. Like this one:

[I just like photos like that, I guess.]

If you create an account (free, of course), you can re-pin stuff other people have already pinned, or pin anything you come across on the vastness of the entire worldwide web. I know, crazy, right? My friends, this is the future.

On Illness, a Recital, and the Wonders of Tylenol

This past Sunday was my studio recital. An event involving 22 of my students performing their [hopefully] well-practiced pieces in recital, accompanied by my clever husband Nathan, to a room full of proud parents and grandparents and friends. And then followed up by four ensemble pieces played by groups of students, two of them played by absolutely everyone, from the littlest Twinklers to the high school students.

So of course, Saturday night I came down with a raging fever and sore throat. Nathan was so great; he offered to make me any thing I wanted, and I requested honey and lemon juice in hot water, just like my Dad used to make it. Of course, I had to describe [painfully, because my throat hurt] each step of the process, like where to find the mugs, and how to squeeze juice out of a lemon, and where the honey was, and what the honey-to-lemon ratio should be. But nonetheless, he did it. And the end result rivaled my Dad's honey and lemon.

All Saturday night I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. I'd doze for a few minutes, dream about accomplishing my lengthy to-do-list before the recital [print programs, organize all books of accompaniment parts, gather paper plates and cups for reception, etc.] and then wake to realize that I hadn't done any of it yet, and that I felt sicker than I had ten minutes ago.

I felt so sick that I moaned and whimpered throughout the night, I am told. Well, okay, I'm not proud of it, but there you have it. But when I curled up towards Nathan, he held my hands in his. Strange how that can make everything seem better.

By Sunday morning I was sicker than I remember being in years. Standing up made me dizzy. I was alternately sweating and shivering. My throat burned. Every muscle ached, and every inch of my skin hurt.

Nathan had gone to church, but when I texted my friend Melissa and asked her to pray for a miraculous recovery so I could make it through the studio recital, she promptly drove to my house bearing juice, cough drops, and Tylenol.

OH TYLENOL. Being a non-drug-taking quasi-hippie, I did not fully understand what Tylenol can do for a miserable person. Two extra-strength Tylenol plus four Ibuprofen (hush with your cautionary judgment now; I was desperate!) brought me back to the land of the living. I could stand up. I could see clearly.

I took a shower. I drove to the recital location.

Then Melissa and my brother-in-law Andrew helped get everything set up.

And Melissa helped me tune all those little violins.

And the recital happened.

There were lots of people there.

And I was proud of my students.

And I was thankful for a good husband and good friends who can help a girl out when she's down for the count.

{Oh hey, here's a picture from last year's recital! My how the little ones do grow.}

When I think back on the weekend, I'm glad my students played well. I'm inspired by the positive feedback from students, their parents, their grandparents, and their friends. And I'm grateful for the beautiful flowers a parent gave me.

But it's strange, the strongest memory I have is of being just so very miserable, and having Nathan take my hands in his own as I was trying to get some sleep Saturday night. And then feeling that everything would be all right.

And it was.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Dear friends,

You like to buy used things, right? You love the bargain factor, and you like to do your part in saving perfectly good stuff from going into landfills. You're doing your small part to fight against consumerism. Why pay $50 for a wood chair from Target when you can pay $5 for one at a yard sale, or sitting in a thrift store, or listed on Craigslist? And that $5 chair will have way more character and charm, anyway.

Well, I'm here to make your life easier. At least, the Craigslist part of your life. I came across a helpful little tool.

Look no further than CraigsEasy. Stop clicking through to each listing to see the pictures - just browse the pictures to begin with! Genius.

Now when I browse Craigslist ads, it looks like that.

Easy as pie. Free. One click. Seriously. Do it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Trashy Party Idea

It takes a seriously cool mom to toss aside her pride and throw a garbage-themed birthday party for her two-year-old, but that's exactly what this mom did!

Her son was apparently quite obsessed with trash, trash trucks, and the like, so Annika of Cakes Like a Party decided to go with it. She decorated with garlands of garbage, served food in tiny metal cans and cardboard boxes, and of course, made sure there were "dirt cupcakes" for everyone. The birthday boy and family even dressed up in waste management jumpsuits.

I bet that is just so cool if you're a two-year-old boy.

{Who am I kidding? I think it's cool.}

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Motherish Things

I read quite a few cute, funny, or sweet posts about mothering around Mother's Day, but wanted to point you to two parentally-themed posts in particular:

1) Amy at angry chicken talks about the best gift her mom gave her

2) A humorous anecdote from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam entitled "The Smell of a Man" [Need I say more?]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


So a couple of weeks ago, was running this too-good-to-be-true promotion where if you were one of the first 10,000 people to "like" them on facebook, you could get a pair of free glasses. That's a lot of free glasses they gave away. And one of those pairs came to me! And I can see out of them!

[So, not too-good-to-be-true after all. Nice.]

Now I get to decide if I like them. Because if not, they're even allowing one freebie exchange to try a different pair.

Nathan said, "You look like the girl next door who would be hot if she'd take off her glasses."


The word "hot" was in there, so we're good to go, right?

[Selective hearing, lalala!]

What do you think?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Young Victoria

Nathan's family was here visiting over the weekend to hear his first-year master's organ recital. He was terrific of course (pictures to come soon) and afterwards, back at home, I baked a "mother's day cake" (if there is such a thing) and we watched The Young Victoria.

Okay, some might say this is more of a chick flick than the kind of movie to suggest for your brother-in-law to enjoy, but if you like period dramas about the English monarchy (and doesn't everyone?), then this movie is for you. It was my second time seeing it and I'm already hankering to watch it again.

The cinematography is great, the costumes are sumptuous, the scenery is gorgeous, and the acting is excellent; I've enjoyed Emily Blunt's performances in other films (eg The Devil Wears Prada) previously, and this one certainly didn't disappoint.

And the music! There's a grand and glorious bit of Handel's Zadok The Priest; this was the moment at which Nathan decided the film was definitely worth watching.

[He's partial to that piece of music, perhaps in part because of the quite loud mention of "Nathan the prophet!"]

And if you are perhaps of the persuasion that mustaches on men are nice for fathers and grandfathers but not what you might call, well, "sexy," Rupert Friend as Prince Albert will probably change your mind on that point.

In short, you should probably watch this movie.

[It's available on Netflix for instant viewing.]

Friday, May 6, 2011


My student D's mother is a violist with a degree from a prestigious conservatory, so it was with the teeniest bit of trepidation that I took him on as a student this past fall when he was looking for a new teacher.

I cannot tell a lie; I was a little pleased when, at a recent lesson, his mother said to me, "Congratulations, Sarah. He is sounding so much better. He has already come so far under your teaching."

Of course, he's the one doing all the work.

But I can be proud of him, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Yesterday it came to my attention that it was Audrey Hepburn's birthday.

It got me thinking about how I adore her. [And most of the actresses and models that I admire today remind me of her in some way.]

In fact, I like her so much that a week or two ago I texted Nathan, quite out of the blue, and asked him, "If we ever have a daughter, can we name her Audrey?"

[He was not in favor of the idea, sadly.]

"The imprint of Miss Hepburn is absolutely, totally present. Like it or not, she will be the most important look of the twentieth century."
- Manolo Blahnik, designer

"There was never another movie star like her."
- Issac Mizrahi, designer

"'Moon River' was written for her. No one else has ever understood it so completely. There have been more than one thousand versions, but hers is unquestionably the greatest."
- Henry Mancini, original composer of the song

"After so many drive-in waitresses becoming movie stars, there has been this real drought, when along come class; somebody who actually went to school, can spell, maybe even plays the piano. She may be a wispy, thin little thing, but when you see that girl, you know you're really in the presence of something. In that league there's only ever been Garbo, and the other Hepburn, and maybe Bergman. It's a rare quality, but boy, do you know when you've found it."
- Billy Wilder, director Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn was known to say that "happy girls are the prettiest girls." She also once said, "Paris is always a good idea," which sounds like a good idea to me. [I've never been, but I want to go someday.]

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once."
- Audrey Hepburn