Sunday, June 28, 2015


I have not posted in this space in 2 years. Life got busy and I stopped writing it down....but lately I have been just wanting an outlet, a place to record, or talk about what has been happening to us.  My boy is still my boy, but he is having a rough time and so is his Mama.

On December 15th 2014 my 8 year old child was shoved into a table and handcuffed by two NYPD officers while attending PS 414, Brooklyn Arbor. This has been traumatic for all of us, but especially for my son.  I am tired this morning and don't feel like writing down the long story, and this is only a sort of public place, but each week seems to bring a new consequence from this event.  When it happened we pulled B out of school immediately, but I was very involved in the school.  I headed up the events committee, I volunteered, I showed up at every event, every PA meeting, every parent teacher conference, his Dad or I volunteered for every single field trip, etc, etc.  As the weather has gotten warmer we have begun to run into other families. I struggle with how to respond to their questions, they only want to know where we went....but what do I tell them? public school is a toxic and dangerous place, and until their is a huge overhaul of the system which concentrates on actual research and best practices instead of a billion dollar curiculim and testing industry; starts remembering that we as a society are responsible not just for reading and writing, but teaching social skills and conflict resolution to our children; stops looking to blame children and starts looking at adults to teach them, it will continue to be so? this seems dramatic, but it is true, and until more parents stop saying it is good enough, what do we expect and start a real revolution in education practices it won't change.

We have also been dealing with the onset of Epilepsy (B) and side effects to medication. On the great front I have a new job that I love! I design little tiny rooms at IKEA. Not only is it my favorite job ever, but it also gives me great health insurance and paid time off, which has made all of what is going on with B doable (along with a GREAT amount of help and support from my family)

Life is what it is, and I believe that this year of struggle will lead to great things.  My son is fantastic and amazing in every way. We are definitely struggling right now, but I wake up every, single morning and look at his face and wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sad Love Songs

I think these are the only love songs I believe in...songs of ending and mood lately.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I love this cover of this song....the original U2 album came out when I was 18, enduring my first heartbreak. I have listened to this song again at different times, and as I got older it has said different things to me.  Johnny Cash sings it at the end of his life, and it resonates with all the love, experience, loss and hope life can give.

Love is a difficult thing, a fickle thing, and I think I still don't know what it is.  I think it has nothing to do with romanticism, but the lives we build with others, friendships, brothers, sisters, lovers and what we do with those relationships. We will disappoint and fail, but we love, regardless. It has been years since I have listened to this song...but today it speaks to me, perhaps from the grave of long ago relationships that have taken a little bit of me as they disappeared into the past.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

These two

Sometimes life is not as you planned, but no matter what happens I have these two. No matter what the nature of my relationship with my son's father is, we have this smart, charming, beautiful little being in our lives, and we are in it together.....and this boy loves his father.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Poop jokes

I am walking along with the boy who is just spouting poop jokes and was reminded of a time we were with BFF a few summers ago in Central Park. The boys were 4...
Bowie: Hey M....
M : What?
Bowie: poop!
Hysterical laughter from the boys for the next several minutes, like roll on the ground, tears streaming from their eyes laughter.
Breathless from the laughter, M hits Bowie on the arm and says "good one Bowie"

Just didn't want to forget that.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Home Sweet Brooklyn expands

I'm excited to announce the opening of my Etsy shop, Home Sweet City. Mostly I am excited because I sat down and accomplished something (that was really quite easy) that I have been talking about for a long time.

I often find that I am an idea person , but not so much a get it done person, so here is to getting it done. The shop (well if I sell anything) hopefully takes me out of hoarder territory and into shop owner territory. I have a longer term business plan that the shop is part of, but baby steps first :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Hunt is on!

B is enjoying the Easter loot from Grandparents and the Easter Bunny, but we still can't find the last egg that nefarious bunny hid!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter eggs

Having a nice afternoon making eggs with the boy and his papa and our new egg spinner.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ode to BFF

These two boys melt my heart.  BFF's mother is my best friend from college.  I remember being in my 20s and sitting around and discussing our plans to raise our children together.  I couldn't ask for more than that dream to have come true.  These 2 boys love each other so much, they have long discussions holding hands and walking together, they make up elaborate games and write little dramas together.

My fondest wish is that they are always this for each other, even as they grow into teen-agers and men and have children of their own.  I know that my life is so much richer for BFF's mother, and I can't imagine anything more valuable for my own son than to benefit from such a deep and abiding friendship.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Statistical Improbabilities

B's Dad is teaching him to play poker. They both drew two cards and these were their hands.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snow! In March!

One of the most vivid memories I have is of it snowing several feet on my fourth birthday. It was so unusual for it to snow by March 1, my mother had made me a light blue seersucker dress and I had brand new white Mary Janes. I flat out refused to wear anything else, even a coat, so my dad bundled me up in his and carried me everywhere that day.

No predicting anything about the weather these days (thanks global warming) but the snow filled me with wonder this morning. Now, if only NYC DOE were a little more liberal with their snow days.....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cat meets Boy

My almost 14 year old cat has basically been in a stand off with my son since the day I brought his wee infant self home. They have found ways to coexist though. For example, my son has made up an elaborate game and set it up on her favorite chair, rather than knock it off she has carefully settled in.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine leftovers

There are some crafty mamas at B's school and they set up an awesome valentines day event for the kids. This is the leftovers of 200 kids crafting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Prep

Just finished the sweet/looooooong task of making valentines for everyone in b's class. I was surprised, he got really into it and didn't complain even once about all the writing he had to do....and he gave everyone a personal drawing.

We are only in bed 20 minutes late....but skipped homework. Oh well, probably got more out of making valentines then he did out of a worksheet :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Museum of the Moving image

Went to see the video game show, really cool! B is still getting over strep throat, but nothing like a sweet BFF rubbing your back and a great BFF little bro who keeps you company when you lay down on a bench to make you feel better.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Luckiest Boy in the World wins giant Christmas Stocking!

We have a new little market, Freddy's, across the street.  I have to say, though they are on the to pricey side, the huge assortment of organic and healthy food and ease of dashing not even a block away has made life easier.

For the holidays they held a drawing for this giant stocking.  B went in everyday asking when they would be giving it away.  Finally, the 23rd came, and low and behold he WON! You have never seen a more delighted kid.  Look at that thing! It is taller than him!

Christmas came early for the kid.  Thanks new grocery store!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

School Design May Affect Child's Grades

A new study in the UK says just that.  My background and obsession with design says that environment and design affects everything.  I mean look at product packaging.  Why do companies spend so much money figuring out what package will get our attention, and then stores spend even more money figuring out how to layout and optimize sales for that packaging...why wouldn't we expect children to be affected by their school layouts and design?

Waldorf, Reggio, and Montessori all have design built into part of their philosophy.  They are all different, but they all stress natural materials.  These systems have proven effective for about 100 years now, and I think more attention should be paid to why!

Final rant on subject:  fluorescent lighting, cheap, economical, bad for the eyes, the flicker is headache inducing and if the bulb breaks the stuff inside is poisonous.  I want to study the effects this type of lighting has on the millions of children subjected to it's blaring brightness everyday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Past, Present, & Future

I haven't written in this space in over 6 months, I even missed writing a birthday letter to my beautiful six year old boy.  That's him, of course, on his sixth birthday (which also was his first day of first grade this year)  Gorgeous thing, isn't he?  Smart and funny too.  I have a hard time being a mama these past few months.  I have not loved my boy less, but I have been struggling to find my way, with work and life, and balance.  B sometimes shows me a path, and sometimes I stumble on it.  We are getting there.

I came here today, because I wanted to remember something....B is learning about past present and future at school and he had to draw a self-portrait of each period of time.  This is how he described his portrait:

For past I drew me in your tummy, and for now I drew me writing (laughs) because i was writing, and for future I drew me as a ninja (acompanied by ninja pose)   (Pensive silence)  Evil is coming someday.  (longer silence)  I just hope it doesn't come before I am a ninja.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

:-( LOL

via imgur

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gold Flatware

For the first several years of our lives my sister and I were the only grandchildren.  This was a situation that came with many perks....heaps and heaps of presents for Christmas; multiple easter baskets with giant chocolate rabbits; Saturday nights spent with my Grandma Brown at the bingo hall, being tucked into my own cozy twin bed at her house; and countless hours of enthrallment as my Grandma Reifsteck taught us about makeup and style and being a lady at her special dressing table; but one of the biggest perks was being included at the grown-up table for holiday dinners (a privilege which I fear I will never regain as the cousins have become numerous, and we all seem to be having our own children...making the idea of all being at one table very improbable!)  My Grandmother Reifsteck had a special set of gold flatware, she only had a few place settings, but my sister and I coveted them.  We would beg her to show them to us when we would come over and she would open the special drawer they were stored in, and take out the special felt bag they were wrapped in and unfurl it to reveal the sparkling fairy beauty of those special utensils.  We were never allowed to touch them, but then....then at holiday dinners my sister and I would arrive and find our places amongst the Aunts and Uncles because the gold flatware was just at ours, and joy of joys, not only did we get to touch them, but we got to eat with them!

This Almaco Gold Flatware is a beautiful modern take on the traditional set I loved.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Healthy Cookies

Bowie was watching over my shoulder while I was writing that last post and wanted me to also report on the cookies we made today. He also wants me to tell Aunt Sarah that we are saving some cookies for her, and he wants to make sure that she reads about our dinner. So I hope you read this Aunt Sarah, or I can just tell you about it when I see you later.  Anyhoo....these cookies are [cane] sugar free (though I do add honey, and of course the nana) and gluten free as long as you use gluten free oats.  They are based on this recipe from 101 cookbooks. We have made them several times, with varying degrees of success. I always add more salt then she calls for and I just put the cinnamon in willy-nilly.  I like the flavor the honey gives them, though next time we make them I am going to try it without again. The recipe also calls for shredded coconut, but we were out. I did add some ginger and I have to say this is the absolute best these cookies have ever come out for us, B agrees!

PS I use treats as a bribe in BB's lunch.  I put veggies on one side of a lunchbots tin and these on the other side.  If B doesn't eat the veggies as well as the cookies he doesn't get the "treat" the next day.  Since all of the treats I pack are good for him I never really worry about him eating them....I'm just trying to get him to eat variety, even when he is not with me.  90% of the time this trick works for him.

PPS One day B asked me to send extra treats with him to share with his friends. It was the first and least successful batch of these cookies (good, but bland, and the bananas weren't quite ripe enough) but I sent along extra anyway.  B shared one with everyone at his table.  That evening I asked him if his friends liked the cookies....he said "not really" so I asked him if they ate them, and he told me that mostly they threw them into the trash.  I don't think they would toss this batch, but they certainly are not the sugar laden treats I think a lot of kiddos are used too (I believe his lunch partner usually gets candy for dessert).  I guess I am that mom (and proud of it!).

PPPS As long as I am reporting on our food this weekend, we also made this dip courtesy of another fave Pinterest discovery, Raising Foodies. We ate it with blue corn chips, but B said the lemon made it a little too spicy.

"This is better than jam on toast!"

Sesame Noodles with Scallions & Roasted Broccoli
That's what B said about tonight's dinner.  Sorry for the bad phone pic with a few bites already gone, but I had to do something to preserve the memory of this historic dinner.  It came about as a series of happy accidents and odd substitutions. Friday I made Chicken Satay or Chicken on a Stick as B likes to call it.  I used this recipe because it seemed simple.  I made some liberal changes.  I'm not so sure it can even be called "satay" since I really just grilled the chicken without marinating it (I wanted to make some avocado chicken salad for myself).  I also discovered that I didn't have any soy sauce, so I substituted Worcester sauce (dark brown, salty, anyone?) but stayed true to the other spices.  I haven't been keeping any sugar in the house, so I used honey, and they say not to use natural peanut butter (?) but I ignored that and it seemed to work just fine.  However, this recipe made a LOT of sauce!

B liked the chicken all right (and I liked the salad okay, not great, no crunch, next time I am trying Martha's version) but when I tried to pawn off the same meal on him the next day for lunch he said the sauce was way too sweet (which it really was after sitting in the fridge overnight) but I had all this sauce to get rid of!  I froze half of it and then picked up some soba noodles today and made another batch of the marinade (still with the Worcester), and added it to the left-over peanut sauce with a little water to thin it out.  I also tossed some broccoli that was starting to look a little wilt-y in the marinade and then roasted it while I cooked the noodles.  I chopped up some green onions, which B likes ever since the kids from his old school discovered them growing wild in the park.  The kids all munch on them like candy....not sure what is in the soil of that park, but it really can't be worse than what's in the pipes at the house......I digress, back to the meal.  B loved it, he said "Yum!" a few times, he asked for seconds (I don't remember when the last time that happened!), he ate all of the broccoli, and the ultimate compliment, I already mentioned.  What's more I loved it!  I think this is the first time in B's lifetime (or at least since he quit nursing) that we both enjoyed a meal equally.

We are definitely making this fact I still have some sauce left over so another night this week.  I am still planning on the creamy avocado pasta for tomorrow though.

New Blog Crush (es)

Creamy Avocado Pasta by Tina Jeffers

Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest?  I am sure there are copyright issues, and I hope I am not putting up anyone's pictures who doesn't want them used this way (please tell me if I have! and what I can do to fix it) but all of that aside.......this site inspires me.  B and I have been cooking all weekend (as I type this I am dehydrating sweet potato chips) I am cooking because there are only like a gazillion things I want to eat on pinterest or on blogs I discover through pins, and 99% of them are really pretty healthy.  I have a few new total blog crushes, the above picture is from Tina Jeffers at Scaling Back and I seriously want to make just about everyone of her recipes.  I pinned the link for this creamy avocado pasta and within hours it had been repinned over 70 times, and it is still getting repinned.  I mean CREAMY AVOCADO PASTA!  We are having it for dinner tomorrow (with quinoa pasta, my new favorite thing, since B and I are trying to go gluten free)  Can't wait to see if B goes for it.

Tina also posts at Blissful Blog, which is another new discovery for me. I love, Love, LOVE Mrs. French's style picks (her I heart Monday posts are the best)  I also found Fig & Sage, which makes me want to try out about a gazillion products, and I love that they all look safe.  (I am a bit of a product junkie, though lately I have toned it down a lot.....broke and trying to only use natural products)  I want to try everything from Vapour, but especially their skin perfector (only question does it have any SPF?

Anyhoo...these are all the things wasting time on Pinterest has led me to this weekend.....I'll keep you updated on that pasta!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goals for my 38th Year

I was looking for a picture of me to post, this one at 19 sitting on my friend's bed in the dorms at Barnard, but I can't find it right now.  That picture is me before my life began really, before I found what being an adult really was, but  I had an idea of what my life would be, and an idea of how to get there back then....I have to say about 75% of that plan went awry, but the two most important things happened.  I am a designer and I am a mother.
I turned 38 a few weeks ago, and while there are a few things I am happy with (my delicious son!) I am not so happy with my life.  I spend a lot of time stressed out (especially about money and my relationships) and feeling insecure. I would like to stop doing that.  The big difference between me at 19 and me now is a plan.  Even if some of my plans failed I was moving forward.  Lately I feel so paralyzed by fear of my past mistakes that I can't step forward.....There are a few goals I have for this year and I thought if I wrote them down it might help me get there.  I want to write down things like "lose 20 lbs" or "make more money" but those don't seem very concrete, so I'll start with a few small things that will get me going. Here goes:

Enroll B in a school he likes.
File for sole proprietorship & get my resale #
Post at least one project on line per month
Jump rope at least once/week.
Do Tracy at least once/week.
Drink only 2 cups of coffee/day.
Stop eating after 8PM.
Wear sunscreen everyday.
Have B pick up his toys every night before bed.
Do the dishes before bed every night.
Listen to NPR every weekday morning.
Send before and after shots of Caribou to Design Sponge.

I might give some updates on this as I go along, but here is what I am aiming for. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

B-Boy lost his first baby tooth!

Unfortunately he seems to have lost it while eating peanut butter on a rice cake and I think it is now in his belly.  B seems unfazed by that, but was a little upset he wouldn't have a tooth for the tooth fairy.  I told him the tooth fairy would accept notes of explanation.  We have to write one ;-)

Pesto Madness

At the end of every week I open my fridge to find unconsumed leafy greens.  I have been turning it all into pesto, or at least some version thereof.  Last week it was almonds and cilantro, the week before I had tons of parsley left, and this week I had cashews and arugula.  Throw it in with some garlic and olive oil and it makes everything good for the week:  eggs, love 'em (especially how I had them this morning over a baked sweet potato left over from last night); veggie burger, devoured; quinoa & roasted veggies, went back for seconds.  Seriously, it all tastes better with pesto!

(Of course B hates it.  Oh well, you can't make everyone happy)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

rubber toy storage bin

That is what I just googled, this is where I got.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vintage Eames Rocker

Like this rocker, wondering if it is not overdone, or if the vintage fabric makes it a more original idea?  Or does the discoloration on the fabric just make it look dirty? Hmmmm

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What I did today:

Do you think mid-February is to early to take down our Christmas tree?  I know this is so sad, but I just stopped noticing it was there.  I think this is earlier than I got it down last year.

B was sick all day.  I don't think he got out of his bed except to go to the bathroom, poor guy.  He seems to be feeling better, but I just read him books and tucked him in.  I had intended to do laundry, go to the grocery, clean house, but instead I sat around in bed with B and played on Pinterest. I did make these cookies.  Delicious, not too sweet.  They were inspired both by my sweet tooth and lack of butter (or just about any other groceries in the house).  This is one of the reasons I love the internet, anything you want, any question, any recipe, any ingredient, any product.....a well-worded google search and you have your answer!  This method of research suits my lazy, home-body ass perfectly.  Also, due to our lack of groceries, I made a very bland veggie soup with everything that was about to go bad, including some bib lettuce (probably part of why it was bland).  I'm going to freeze the rest to use for stock, but I served it over some quinoa, with a little bit of grated Romano and the last of some parsley pesto I made last week and it wasn't half bad.  On the other hand I am truly out of food, if we were for some reason trapped in our house for any long period of time, we would starve after the vegetable stock runs out.

I hope my wee son is all better tomorrow, but it was a rather nice day of cuddling with him in bed :-)

Poor B-Boy :(

B had a great time this weekend at his first sleep-over (without Mommy) play-date at BFF's place.  Unfortunately he is a little sick today so we are just hanging out with the bed folded out in our little living room watching netflix.  I'm still obsessing on pinterest.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Real or Replica & Pinterest

Pinterest has renewed my love of surfing the net, it is a way to organize stuff that I GET, which seems to have also renewed my desire to blog.  Just another quick note about est, the real or replica is a regular feature.  I'm on the second issue, and I am not certain that I absolutely love the magazine (the interiors are a little stiff for my taste) but if it has features like this every month I will eagerly await each issue!

Est Mag

I used to be a design mag addict (Domino anyone?) and I still am, but I don't have to spend an arm and a leg on all of the European Mags I used to get (and the only ones worth looking at anymore!)  I can spend that money on local, organic fare for my wee son (gees that stuff is expensive some days) and get my fix for free online.  A new discovery for me is Est Magazine.  I liked this feature on the Eames classic shell (the DAW chair, who knew?).  I spotted the real one right away, but you know I wasn't quite aware exactly why it was real.  This was brief, but super informative; also, loved their styling of the Eames chair.  Check it all out here.

Symmetry in an unsymmetrical world

I am always on the look out for clever ways to deal with odd doors and windows since almost all of my work is in New York City, and every space is small and quirky. Enter this room from Susanna Salk’s summer cottage (via Rue). While not exactly my style, the beautiful mustard curtains behind the sofa and low slipper chair dividing the entry from the living area and then echoed on the other side of the room, give this room a cozy symmetry and sense of depth, despite the architectural detail.

Daily Candy

Photo by Robin Blair Riley
Daily Candy Conference Room.

I am trying to start putting up some of my own work here.

Designed in 2004.  All of the furniture in this shot was painted/altered by me (except the chairs)  I had my carpenter build the structure above the conference table to suspend a series of IKEA lights from, and lower the feel of the ceiling to make a small room with a tall ceiling feel a little more intimate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My love/hate relationship with the experts

I recently have changed my son's diet, we are now trying to go sugar and gluten free, totally.....We are struggling with some things at school, and I am looking at a lot of different perspectives to figure out how to best help my boy.  Here's the thing though....there are so many things, opinions, expert opinions, trends.  Sometimes, I am exhausted.  Is it just me, do I lack trust in experts, am I so pretentious as to believe that I know better than everyone?  I do sometimes, do I really think I am that smart?  No I don't, but when I have different experts telling me different things, and well-meaning educators trying to help, but ignoring the substance of what I am saying, I am left standing on a precipice trying to figure out where to go and what is best for this tiny person I am responsible for.  I know this wee one better than anyone, which doesn't prevent others from having insight, but when they lack insight and I am left alone to find the answer I feel mired in information.  Is gluten free just a buzz word?  will it really help my son, or am I just torturing him?  I've seen the effects sugar has on him, they are immediate and can be disastrous, but how do I fight that in a world that shoves it in my child's face?  He has been stealing candy from a candy bowl that the teacher keeps as a reward.....of course my sweet boy tells me all about it, but I have to tell him that stealing the candy is bad....when will that lead to him no longer telling me what he does?  I want to tell him positive things.  I want to help him with the things that matter, right now that is learning to control his body, but instead I am stuck teaching him why candy is bad, which I don't even think it has to be bad, when given in moderation and not filled with artificial junk and coloring, and not at school as a reward.  This is a pointless, rambling paragraph, but it goes along with my head and my son right now.  I can't fight every battle for him, but right now I am sending him somewhere every day that is a battle for him.  He is being teased, and I am dismissed when I say that is happening.  He is left alone in the hall, and even though I know this is bad, beyond any reason, his teachers are insisting that it is the only solution and a good solution.  He doesn't trust the grown-ups there to listen to him, because they don't.  They don't listen to me, why would I believe them when they tell me they listen to my boy?  My son has some heavy stuff on his plate right now.  I just want him to be happy, to learn to love learning, to make friends.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caribou Design in the Press

vintage wood crates eclectic
Jen from The Haystack Needle posted about the vintage soda pop crate wall display I designed for Caribou over at Houzz, beautiful photos! Thanks for the design shout out.

Small Furniture Crush

Always on the hunt for great, small space solutions and I love this bunk from AVA Room!  At 63.5" long and only 53.5" high it would work really well in a low ceilinged room.  I also like that the ladder is contained within the frame of the bed so that it doesn't take any extra footprint. Of course I don't think it is available in the states, le sigh.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


People think that B looks like me...and then they see him with his dad and they realize it is just the blue eyes.  I think that B is the best of both of us. 
What is a family anyway?  Sometimes I think that the only 2 choices are to be a couple, or to be a bitter ex-couple with your child in the middle.  I refuse to believe that these are my only choices, they are certainly not the choices made by my parents and step-parents for my sister, brothers and I.  I believe that A and I made a commitment to each other and our son the day we had him, and that commitment has nothing to do with our status as a couple.  We are a family.  Our future may be our own road, but it will always end in us being a loving family.