Cabin fever

Hurricane Sandy was a non-event in Charlottesville, but the whole city shut down anyway, so we had the whole day yesterday to read, lounge about, drink tea, and watch inordinate amounts of TV. I’m not complaining. I started writing our Christmas cards and painted my nails and finished two books. A productive hibernation.

Thinking about my fellow East Coasters who were not so lucky. Hope that power is restored soon and that you all remain warm and safe!

Saturday night, we attended the latter half of a Halloween progressive party. (A party that progresses from house to house, not a party that supports liberal politicians in costume.)

We went as Emily Dickinson and Mitt-ROM-knee:

The poet and the candidate

We also saw “American Gothic” (faithfully recreated by Hannah and Ethan):

American Gothic

50 Shades of Grey and Rosie the Riveter (Celeste and Emily):

50 Shades of Grey and Rosie the Riveter

And your middle-school yearbook photo (Casey):

Your 7th-grade yearbook photo

We have creative friends.

First party success

(No photos, because hostesses don’t have time for such things.)

Last night, we hosted our first party at our new house. As Cate said, “You haven’t really moved in until you’ve thrown a party.” And so now we’re official. We gathered in the backyard to celebrate Guion’s birthday AND his amazing cobbler-making skills. I announce it freely: My husband is a way better cook than I am. It’s taken me two years to admit it, but there it is. Pyrrha did amazingly well with the whole party, considering we had 20 new people swarming her yard. By the end of the night, she claimed the picnic blanket as her throne and watched us, mere minions, flit about her.

Caleb is with us this weekend, having made his annual summer sojourn to Charlottesville. He is helpful and funny and speaks Guion’s language in a way that few other people do.

I am reading this oft-mentioned article right now and have been pondering its many ramifications; poor Caleb got an earful when he was helping me with the dishes. I need some lady-friends to talk to about this. I need those long, rambling nights with Rose, Cristina, Emily, Kathryn, Catherine

A party on the lake, moving, our future dog??

Whew, what a week! But a good one.

To start the week off, we attended Maddy’s surprise party on a lake. Photo sampling below:

Maddy’s surprise party on the lake.
The party planner and the birthday girl.

It was really marvelous and such a peaceful, happy gathering. More photos on Flickr.

We are in the thick of packing and moving right now, and my brain is too distracted for many eloquent words (I haven’t read a book in a few days, which feels very strange), so this will be brief. We also may have met our future dog on Friday night. But more on that later!

Monday Snax

That is one fresh baby.
Welcome to the world, Leah Catherine! Dear friends Tara and Andrew welcomed this sweet baby on Saturday morning, just in time for Tara's first Mother's Day!

We had a full, busy, and sunny weekend and it was just perfect. I spent most of my weekend around dogs, which naturally made it a wonderful one; I had my volunteer orientation at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, which I loved. I can’t wait to go back there and walk some more attention-hungry puppies! After getting home, I took a two-hour walk with my beloved Bo. The next morning, I walked our rector’s dogs with Mary-Boyce and then we all went to go see the newest addition to our community, Leah Catherine! Such a sweet baby and SO much hair! Tara looked amazing and we are just so excited to get to hang out with her and watch her grow up.

Snax with a bowl of perfect strawberries:

The Princess Party. This is about a week late now, but I just wanted you to appreciate all of the gorgeous details from Cate’s royal wedding-watching party. Didn’t it look amazing? I feel very privileged to have received an invitation. We had such a good, thoroughly girly time! (The Charlotte)

Rainbow Gatherings. I have an abiding fascination with off-the-grid living communities and I love photo series of these groups of people. Photographer Benoit Paillé spent a series of years with people from the Rainbow Gatherings, which happen all around the world. The people are so haunting and unusual; so many of them look like they might have lived a thousand years ago. (Behance)

Super-Secret War Dogs Are Basically Bionic. This is crazy. Titanium teeth!? Headpieces with microphones so they can hear and respond to handlers’ remote commands?! (Daily Intel)

A Mother’s Day Report Card. A day late, but this is still hilarious. “Helping me with math homework: Average.” (Passive Aggressive Notes)

A Mother’s Prayer, by Tina Fey. A hilarious but heartfelt prayer from the funniest woman alive.¬† “When the crystal meth is offered, may she remember her parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.” (Peonies and Polaroids)

Best Countries to Be a Mom. Is anyone surprised that Scandinavia rocks this list, too? #1, Norway. Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are also in the top 10. The United States is not. (The Hairpin)

Around the Farm. I’m not going to lie: This is kind of our ideal life. Fairytale, dreadlocked children in a tractor? Homemade biscuits? Chicks in a bin? Bring it on. (Farmama)

House G. A sweet house in the Netherlands that was once an old barn. I’ll take it! (Wolf Eyebrows)

The Art of Disney Animation. A collection of sketches and proofs from old Disney films; makes you appreciate the artistry behind those chirpy little films you watched as a child. (Where the Lovely Things Are)

The Man Repeller on Makeup. Ever since Catherine told me about The Man Repeller, I’ve been hooked. Here the main Repeller herself shares her favorite makeup products. I love her. (Into the Gloss)

Gypsy Queen Marina. The strong brow and the devil-may-care attitude! I feel like she wears whatever the heck she wants and manages to look fabulous all day long. (Tales of Endearment)

This Is How We Do It. All I want is to be invited to one of Brian Ferry’s dinner parties. How magical. You can almost hear the sparkle of conversation in his photographs. (Brian Ferry)

A Beautiful Hair Story. A photographer documents the daily regrowth of her hair after cancer treatments. (Design for Mankind)

Meet Riggins. My friend Megan just got a tiny kitten and named it Tim Riggins, after the Friday Night Lights rebel heart-throb. Well done. (Thoughts from a Nest)

Monday Snax

We had a very festive weekend here. It was super. Two parties, two houseguests, lots of fun. New photos on Flickr. A small sampling below:

Angela came for a visit! The prettiest.
Annual Christmas party at the Blue House. Cutest Tiny Tim I've ever seen.
Also spent some quality time with the North Pole and Chestnuts.

Um. Can you believe that next Saturday is CHRISTMAS?? I can’t. Snaxy snax. Lots, to make up for sparse weeks:

Two challenging TED talks I watched this week:

Women, Wartime, and the Dream of Peace. This talk is from Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi woman who established the non-profit Women for Women International. Salbi speaks about the terrible burden of war on women–80 percent of war refugees are women and children–and the utter lack of women at the wartime negotiating table. Women are the ones left behind to rebuild, she says, and yet they are ignored and sit on the “back line” of war, despite being on war’s front line at home. It’s only 17 minutes long; do watch. (TED)

A Call to Men. Kelsey, I’m thinking about you and your class with this talk. Tony Porter is internationally recognized for his work to end violence against women. In this 11-minute presentation, he challenges our notions of “acting like a man” and how men have to move out of culturally mandated roles to end the epidemic of violence against women. Important–and so refreshing to hear from a man. (TED)

And now back to your regularly scheduled program:

Christmas gift tags. A present from my favorite Swedish artist, Camilla Engman! Enjoy this PDF of printable Christmas tags. Totally cute. I already printed off some for my own use this season. (Camilla Engman)

Miss Modish Muses: Snow Bunnies. These cute/sophisticated/funny vintage photographs of women in winter certainly get me in the mood for the holidays, a la “White Christmas.” (Miss Modish)

Iseeyou: Michael Wolf’s Voyeuristic Views. Hong Kong-based artist Michael Wolf has a new show of his photos of 21st-century voyeurism: see-through skyscrapers and intimate moments captured on Google Street View. Really interesting. (Flavorwire)

Photoshoot by Sarah Doyle. A dreamy and yet strong model; I can’t find the right words to describe my impression of these photos. Aggressive and yet delicate, maybe? (Silent Storyteller)

Fragile Wings. Loving the red lips and the braids! (Snail and Cyclops)

People of Turkey. After becoming a fan of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, I’ve developed a growing interest in this interesting and complex country sandwiched between Europe and Asia. I enjoyed this collection of photographs from this super-adorable (and super-privileged!) couple who is traveling the world right now. (Mr. & Mrs. Globe Trot)

Stenelux. A glimpse into a beautiful–yes!–taxidermy/natural history shop in Amsterdam. I’m not sure why it’s so charming to me; I think it’s because it makes me think of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” or something. (An Apple a Day)

Sisters. Another charming post from my Danish girl crush that I linked to last week. Ida Nielsen shares some photographs of herself and her sister. Makes me miss my own! (Ida Nielsen)

Mr. Tomkins, Wait! Because you can’t have too many pictures of a fawn licking a cat. (Cute Overload)

Steve Wozniak Wonders Whose Altar We’re Worshiping At. Interesting thoughts from the co-founder of Apple. Are we indeed prisoners to our personal machines? (Daily Intel)

Dear Brussels Sprouts. I generally don’t read food blogs that much because 1.) why read about and look at food that you can’t eat? This mirrors my perspective on the Food Network too. I’d rather watch football than Ina Garten. And 2.) they’re usually not interesting. But Diary of a Locavore is an exception. This woman writes like a novelist, but about vegetables instead of people. Here is her heartfelt epistle to the much-maligned Brussels sprouts. I’m thinking about trying them again myself. (*Professor Cloud, I will always remember how to spell “Brussels sprouts” for the rest of my life, because I once spelled it “Brussel sprouts” and lost 50 points on that paper for you because of it.) (Diary of a Locavore)