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Showing posts from November, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Handmade and Hand-Me-Down Baby Gifts

I'm feeling very grateful this Thanksgiving! First of all, I'm grateful that Nux Gallica, my immediate family, and I are all in good health. Unfortunately, many of my relatives and friends' relatives are not doing so well right now. Their struggles help me keep things in perspective and appreciate family and wellness.

31 weeks pregnant, right before my shower

32 weeks
And on a lighter note, I'm grateful for all the cute baby stuff that continues to shower upon me and Mr. G. Our material needs for this new baby are met, and then some.

One way we made it easier on ourselves and our friends and family to provide for the new arrival was to welcome handmade and hand-me-down items. It's fun to get bright, shiny, new things. But it can also be extra special to keep or acquire things with history, or with a hand-crafted touch.

We received a huge stack of handmade baby blankets, which are all incredibly soft, washable, and nontoxic. And they're one-of-a-kind! Some clever …

The Last Good War

Today is Veterans' Day, and in honor of the survivors of World War II, I've written this piece of creative nonfiction about my family's history.

My Grandpa Frank served in the Last Good War.

My husband’s grandfather is a ghost. "His name was Aleksander," said my husband's Grandma Sophie. "He was a Russian guard. They shot him in front of me." Nothing more.
Grandpa Frank's family were Roman Catholic Germans who farmed in Canada.

Grandma Sophie's family were Orthodox Catholics who milked their cows in front of rabbis. They came from the eastern steppes of Russia, where they used to ride reindeer and eat mushrooms and use magical herbs for healing. They were unlucky nomads, always moving to the wrong place.
Grandpa Frank was a gentle boy. He did not want to go and fight in his ancestral homeland. He turned back toward the farms in Canada, but in the end he had to go. The War was just.

Grandma Sophie's mother died giving birth to her, the…

Bright Baby Room

My baby shower is coming up this weekend, and the nursery is ready! Little Nux Gallica will sleep in a bassinet in the master bedroom with me and Mr. G for the first six months, but right away the nursery will be a place for nursing, playing, dressing, and reading books.


So, welcome to the baby room! We decided to go with a bright, sunshiny color scheme and a nature theme. Although the colors are vivid, we were able to purchase them in low-VOC paint at Sherwin Williams. We also painted while the weather was warm enough to have the windows open, and we had help from my parents to get the job done quickly. The curtains are homemade.


The birds on the wall are removable latex decals. Both they and the birds on the windows (with real feather tails) are sold at craft stores like JoAnn Fabrics.


The decorations in the entrance area are all handmade Mexican works with animist symbolism. The jaguar is a wise guardian spirit.


The futon will be a comfortable place to nurse, or for Grandma to s…

Do you want to see the bed in flames?

So who's writing a story that contains romance or sexuality? Or even reading one? I'm curious to know if others feel the same way I do about "love" in books. It is rare that I find two main characters, whether in the romance genre or elsewhere, who have a relationship that is believable, healthy, and interesting. Any one of those qualities is easy; combining them, apparently, is not.

Mr. G and I in our luchador Halloween costumes
I understand that conflict makes for a good story. But I also like a little bit of real, you know, romance in my romance stories. "Romance," for me, does not involve sexual coercion, raging jealousy, or any kind of abusive behaviors. It also doesn't do it for me if the male lead is some kind of namby-pamby lonely-lady fantasy who does not come off as a real man. I think finding a balance, and keeping the story entertaining, is difficult.

In this retro flashback from 1998, Rammstein sings "Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen…

Writing Space

Welcome to my own little Magic Nutshell! In the spirit of supreme writerly laziness, this is a repost from a few months ago. But my writing space is still there, in real life.

There is a huge variety of spaces where writers get their work done. I think the most important thing is that we do have a place comfortable enough, and free enough from distractions, that we can fall into the groove of our stories for a productive stretch of time.

My own writing space is a teeny tiny nook off my living room.


This architectural oddity in my living room has the feel of an old-school library carol. I have just enough space for my computer, stereo, files, relevant books, and paper and pens. Nothing can distract me here... except, of course, the internet with all its enticing blogs and Wiki pages.


I've filled the space with (almost) nothing except items that are relevant to my current work. I've got my history books, mythologies, collections of fairy tales and medieval folklore, holy books w…