Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Changed for Good

My friend Laurie lost her grandmother, Lila Parker, to lymphoma the month before Laurie's daughter Katie was born in 2007.Laurie with her "No-No."

This year, Laurie is fighting back by serving as a Relay For Life team captain. (All Relay For Life monies support the American Cancer Society's research and patient programs). To raise support, Laurie's team is making these inspiring (and super cute!) bracelets. They feature inspirational words (Hope, Inspire, Friends, or Family) in Relay's signature color: purple.

If this is a cause that speaks to you, you can visit Laurie's Relay page and click on "Donate" to make a donation. Then you can e-mail her directly ( with your bracelet order and address. (The bracelets are $8, including shipping, and all proceeds go to Relay For Life.)

Or click here to join Laurie's Relay team: Changed for Good. Cobb County Relay For Life is being held at Miller Park in Marietta on May 8-9.

Just wanted to share Laurie's story and this opportunity. It's good for all of us to get outside of our little orbits once in a while and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sweet Somethings

photo of "cupcake pops" from Bakerella

After my recent pupcakes adventure, my sister hooked me up with the most awesome sweet-treats blog ever: Bakerella. After reading through the creative cooking posts and browsing the delicious photos, I want to go inhale a ton of something cakey and gooey.

Which makes me think it's only fair to issue a little warning...

WARNING: Bakerella will cause intense, unignorable cravings for chocolate cake, frosting, and sprinkles and an unexplainable desire to craft high-calorie miniature bits of edible cuteness.

You can satisfy your craving with the recipe for the cupcake pops, above, courtesy of the Martha Stewart show (which featured Bakerella queen, Angie Dudley, last April).

And look at her adorable little Hello Kitty cake bites! And you guys thought my pupcakes were cute.... I ain't got nothin' on these. Nothin'.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Since Bug loves our very patient Westie, Munson, we decided to honor their sweet little relationship in Bug's second birthday theme.

The party was at Gymboree, where Bug could be his buggiest.
The invitation (sans dogs) came from a wedding kit (go figure) I found at Michael's that included the cute little striped sleeve that moves up and down. I added the puppies with help from my crafty neighbor Sandy.

The food was great fun to make: just think like a little doggy!

We had dogwiches, dig-up-the-yard pudding cups, puppy chow, fruit (for vegetarian doggies, of course)... and...PUPCAKES (in honor of Munson). Got the idea from this YouTube video.

After partying hard, Bug was plum worn out. Dog tired, you might say.

Friday, March 6, 2009

true story

I see you. You who think you are invisible. You who did not want to follow your father to a strange new world so far from the hiss of tortillas in the iron skillet. You who walk to school trailing a tangled kite string of too many brothers: Jose, Luca, Esdras, Rogelio. You who slink into my classroom every morning and sit, gray and still, like a chameleon hiding against the cinder block wall. But I see you.

You resent this harsh new language that sounds to your ears like clinking marbles in a rusty metal pan. You tighten your jaw when I speak to you and reluctantly get out pencil and paper. You never turn in homework or finish an assignment, and you ask in your new tongue (now the marbles are rolling around in your mouth) what age in America allows you to quit school. You begin to count down two years.

Months fade, one season melts into the next. You despise the cold of winter but love your hoody sweatshirt, a personal retreat of fleece where two worlds colliding can't reach you.

You stare out the window as your classmates diagram sentences. You pick your nails as those around you read Voigt's Homecoming. World history is an oxymoron; this is not the history of your world, the one that is fading from you too fast, like your warm breath on the frosted window as you turn away. Because you are sharp, though, you begin to learn. Syllables crack open to reveal the flesh of meaning. But still, your hard shell remains.

And then it is spring. I stand before the class and write poetry on the board. I ask for a definition. "Boring," "babyish," and "boot-legged" echo back to me from groaning students, a few of whom you're suddenly beginning to like.

But as we read Angelou and cummings, Pablo Neruda and Langston Hughes, something in you zings like heat lightening. Poetry gives you a chance to experiment with this new language, to roll the marbles around in a velvet-lined box, if you want. You put pen to paper and a poet is born. Your colliding worlds cease their banging and begin to intertwine like fingers folded in prayer. Words, old and new, flow from you. As a final chunk of stubborn ice slides down the classroom's window, something in you--the part that has been silent and silenced for too long--finds its voice.

One day you bring me a stack of poems you have written. You apologize that they do not rhyme but explain that you like them better when they don't. So do I. I read and try to mask my unbelief at the beauty of your words, the shiver up my spine at the depth of your thoughts.

At my suggestion, you sit on a stool at the front of the class and read your poems. The chameleon takes center stage. The hoody sweatshirt is replaced by a jaunty black beret (a beret!), the sullen eyes replaced by soulful ones. You read and your classmates are not as good at hiding their shock. They gape and exchange glances. And then they begin to applaud. Their applause mirrors your voice: hesitant at first, then growing stronger. You duck your head, but not before I see the grin cracking your shell in two.

Mario, welcome home.

And welcome to what you would later call a milestone moment in your life, and what has surely become one in mine. One that guided me as a teacher for almost a decade. Every year, as I wrote poetry on the board, I would look around at my small sea of groaners and wonder: which of these chameleons has a poet lurking inside? At least one always did.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Familiar Face

Bug is now officially two! For his birthday, he received many great cards, gifts and generosities in the mail, which were all met with much delight. In one of his cards, he found someone QUITE familiar on his five dollar bill. Watch and see...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kitchen Inspiration

Hunk and I have been talking about economical little ways that we can improve our kitchen (which would make Mama very happy) while not causing too much strain on the ol' budget. Keeping in mind that we will inevitably outgrow our home within a few years and (if the economy is behaving itself by then) move, we don't want to do anything too...radical. But I'm in the mood for a little sprucing up in the meantime.

So, I took to blogworld for some much-needed inspiration. And I got it: beadboard! Check out the beautiful little beadboard backsplash in Heather Bullard's kitchen. (Her entire site is peppered with inspiration landmines. Watch where you step or you may find yourself blown to DIY land for a year's worth of weekends!)

Here are some more photos for my inspiration files:So pretty, right? And since installation would really only require a can of paint, some caulk, and a nail gun, Hunk approves!