31 October 2013

Be Creepy.

aesthetic fauna // haunted air
If you're like me and crave weird all year long, you can order the book immortalizing these, and other, marvelous late-October parenting decisions. (David Lynch wrote the introduction, so it's professional-grade creepy). Centering this bad boy on your coffee table should precipitate interesting conversation, or awkward silence, depending on whom you've invited over for (red-dyed) earl grey and (corpse-shaped) shortbread cutouts.

Happy Halloween, people. Let your inner freak run free today.


p.s. Can we just, for one second, imagine sending our kids to a party in one of these getups, in a sea of princesses and frogs and pumpkins and sheet ghosts and pirates? Baaahahahahaa.

28 October 2013

A Separation

aesthetic fauna // ruthie
Despite being steeped in unseasonably luminous sunlight, this past week has weighed heavily upon our home. On Wednesday we bade farewell to Ruthie, maven of mischief, devoutest disciple of affection. Her humor buoyed us for over a decade. And, oh, those ears. I could write an ode to their softness.

Adieu, best good dog.


22 October 2013

Darling and Dear Always Wins

In an attempt to not pass along my marrow-deep fear of spiders to Julian (totally legitimate), I have been overcompensating by smiling maniacally at the horrible demons hanging between shrubs on our walks, singing songs about them at lunch time, encouraging him to point his Fisher Price camera at them, and drawing pictures of them donning various accessories on the chalkboard. Now he's half terrified, half obsessed, and I'm not sure I've taken the right approach; he's either going to end up with a full-fledged phobia, or a career in arachnology. Yes, that's a real thing. All this time devoted to thinking about a class of invertebrates I've spent my life avoiding has been making me feel jumpy in bed, and any time I feel a hair tickle my neck.

21 October 2013

The Results Are(n't) In

As the grown-up version of a kid who had panic attacks during more than one piano recital, I'm generally not into entering contests. Submitting work to literary magazines causes me digestive problems and lost sleep. But in a sudden rush of impulsiveness, most likely caused by long-term absence of quality REM sleep, I submitted an entry to Expatica's "I Am Not a Tourist" blog competition, fourteen minutes before the midnight deadline on Friday.

And if scrolling to the bottom of that very long list is too much for you, you can just vote for the first one you see; conveniently, it's in alphabetical order. 

Bedankt/thanks/gracias/merci/etc. etc. etc.!! 


Sleep with me.

gilded bed
I must confess. Lately, another mama friend and I have been fantasizing about sleeping together. 

20 October 2013

Quickies: Barcelona

I'm taking a break from scaling Mt. Laundrypile, which has been slowly accumulating and procreating in every corner of our house, to give you some more EspaƱa, this time the margin notes to our brief adventure in Barcelona. I like thinking of iPhone photos that way: complementary, not entirely necessary, but as a lens to better understand a broader experience.

19 October 2013

Butter, Baby.

I was commissioned by the mister to bake for his colleague's baby shower. Totally awesome; I am always happy to quantify my love in flour and butter, even if for a roomful of strangers. Since the context was a high tea, I settled on shortbread. Bummer. (Not.)

Following my tradition of joining flavors in ambrosial matrimony, I went with three, hoping at least one would be exactly what the almost-mama was craving: glazed lemon + earl grey, double chocolate, and pumpkin topped with gingered chocolate.

16 October 2013

1 Tsp. Barcelona

On Friday night we landed in Barcelona, and our flight out was exactly three days later. Although it was hardly any time at all in a city of almost five and a half million, we squeezed enough in to go home happy and well-fed. The main objective of the trip was to get the mister behind the wheels of some fancy shmancy cars at the F1 Circuit de Cataluya (an embarrassingly overdue 2012 Father's Day and birthday present). It's a good feeling watching your better half from a distance, knowing his biggest quandary so far in the day is having to wait a little long for his Ferrari.


15 October 2013

Slacker Smoothie

Most days, I skip showering without realizing I'm skipping showering. I wearily grab the day's outfit out of the nearest laundry bin of clean but unfolded clothing. This morning, after a confusing conversation in which an elderly woman at the supermarket asked if I was okay, I pulled out a compact and realized I'd slept with mascara on and not consulted a mirror before leaving the house. It was an all-time low for me: pushing a double buggy around with raccoon eyes. Bad ones. 

Maybe this is the beginning of Letting Myself Go. Maybe it's a short-lived phase. 2010 Jess (before kids) would have been curled up in a ball for the rest of the afternoon, completely ashamed. No, wait, this NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED to 2010 Jess, under any circumstances (unless we're talking natural disaster or imprisonment). October 2013 Jess is too tired to care. She shrugged, said "Nee, dank u wel.", cleaned up with her hoodie sleeve, grateful that the hoodie, too, was black, and walked off mostly unfazed.

14 October 2013

aesthetic fauna // eat me

Because it's Monday. Because sometimes you just need to watch a kid dismantle an eight-legged unicorn cookie.

xxx+o from Barcelona,

13 October 2013


This one's kid-heavy, people. Grandparents and the child-crazed, rejoice. The rest of you may want to sit this one out. 

I basically have just been doing the following things, and only the following things for the past month: 
1. trying to shower twice per week
2. taking pictures of mostly my kids, then getting SUPER EMOTIONAL that I'm not taking nearly enough. (Still playing the hormone-blame-game.)
3. neglecting doing dishes
4. trying to pull off sweatpants with oxfords and a leather biker jacket, amongst other sartorial abominations. 

So, I guess you might want to stick around, at least to make fun. And in case you missed any recent installments of Quickies, you can catch up here.


12 October 2013

Thing Love: Modern Himmeli by HRUSKAA

succulent planter
As much as I like to lust after things I don't have, I also love the things we own, especially those purchased since our move from Den Haag to Amsterdam; in going from fully furnished to completely unfurnished, we were able to start with an empty living space and fill it with thoughtfully curated items that would make someone else's house feel like home.

11 October 2013

Grow Forth and Multiply, Vertically.

I believe in regeneration, in regrowth, in the power of healing. Metamorphosis. Reincarnation. Wait. Don't get all theological on me, now. I'm talking about plants. (You should have gone with your first instinct and known better.)

A few months ago when my mom was visiting, we went to the infamous floating Bloemenmarkt on the Singel Canal, in search of succulents, which are scarce at best in Holland. I've had little luck finding them in physical shops, and ordering plants on the internet feels funny, in the bad way. I get all touchy feely when it comes to things like plants. Fortunately, at the market resides van Zoomeren, boasting an impressive selection of carnivorous plants, cacti, and succulents, an odd duck in the sea of tulips. I walked away from the market with 24 plants and big plans. And a week later, I stumbled across a random rack of huge Sempervivum clusters at the neighborhood flower shop; thus, my flora stock grew considerably.

10 October 2013

A Public Service Announcement to All Babies

Go The F*** To Sleep 
It's totally one of those Do as I say, not as I do things; Frankie's inner troll comes out during the hours of 11PM-7AM. And during most napping hours. 

In case you somehow missed the reference, watch this. Unless you're offended by profanity, in which case we should probably part ways now, and permanently. It'll be better that way.

Okay, seriously everyone. Close those peepers and get your REM sleep pronto; don't let the dark rings under my eyes stop you. 


09 October 2013

An Affable Muse: The Juggler

It's both wonderful and heartbreaking to write about sad, lonely times 
and have readers say, "me too." -Pete D.

Okay, so Pete Derk's not a juggler, really. But I couldn't come up with a classification to squeeze him into (the best I did was The Heartfelt yet Ironically Snarky Intellectual, which didn't feel right, either). I'm talking poems, fiction, non-fiction, comics, a radio show, screenplays, and probably more that he hasn't yet unveiled, like inventing time travel or solving the Jacobian conjecture. You see my quandary; juggler is the best I could do.