School Projects: Ring & Bowl

So the way the first-year metalsmithing class worked was that complex projects were assigned for completion, and you pretty much worked on your own to figure things out. It was VERY self-directed and extraordinarily challenging.

The hollow-form ring pictured above was the second project, and I was more or less clueless for the duration of this one. I was still struggling with the &^#$!@ saw, which you can see in the flame cut-outs, and I honestly didn’t fully understand the end-product concept while I was working through the various steps to build and solder this thing. A big shout-out to substitute teacher WanJin (who studied at Cranbrook and Parsons) for help with the impossible soldering! BTW, locals, you should take Wanjin’s Crafts class at MoCo. She really rocks.

FYI, everyone’s rings were gigantic, that was the point of this exercise. When it was all done, I understood what I’d been through and felt I might be able to do it again more skillfully. That said, the number of man-hours to make something like this is absolutely mindboggling. Anyway, not a thing of great beauty, but fun, and I learned a lot. Now on to another even uglier object!

Another project to struggle through, hammering a flat piece of 18g metal into the shape of a bowl, and then affixing a base. OMG people!

I was all but ready to abandon this thing but b/c the bf somehow really liked it, I finished soldering the base on the last day of class, filled it with candy, and gifted it to him for Chanukah. I think what might have been hard for me to love about this one was that there wasn’t really a lot of self-expression built into this project and it just wasn’t a form or functional object that truly intrigued me in any way.

Of course I suppose one could turn it upside down and wear it as a hat… (runs to take bowl back from bf…).

A Few of My Favorite Things #14

So, maybe it’s too late to handcraft gifts yourself for the holidays… OR IS IT??? With Julie Jackson’s wonderful, and mostly beginner e-z cross stitch kits, you too can join the handmade revolution. Trust me, I’ve got several of these completed goodies around my Home Sweet Ironic Home… and if I can, you can too.

Over at Julie’s shop, Subversive Crossstitch, you’ll find snark for any occasion, including some hilarious R-rated stuff.

The ornate baroque frames are also available at her shop… and if you ask me, it’s a not-to-be-missed part of the joke. Happy @#$^&*ing Holidays people!

A Few of My Favorite Things #5

Although my taste tends toward the baroque, occasionally something very simple and elegant grabs ahold of me and won’t let go. I pay a lot of visits to Sarah Robinson’s shop: La Chica de los Anillos, which Yahoo’s Babelfish site translates from Spanish to The Girl of the Ring.

I’m struck by the quietude of these pieces, and yet my favorite ring (the one I want to be the girl of), pictured above, carries a lot of emotion. I don’t want to try to attach a particular “story” to this object, but for me, there is one, evocative, poetic, beautiful, a little dark.

All of Robinson’s reasonably-priced handcrafted rings are beautiful; above is another favorite. I love how the prongs are an emphasized design element, highlighting a concept of capture. The stone turned upside down is just a wonderful bit of humor, turning the idea of a diamond ring literally on its head. Rustic, organic, subversive, lovely.

Jodi’s (alleged) Fountain of Youth

I posted this photo to Facebook this morning and a friend asked: Jodi, how do you stay so young [looking]? I tossed off a quick facebooky answer but have been thinking about this excellent question all morning. First of all: I’m as old as the rest of you! I have wrinkles and lines, and a chicken waddle that makes me wish I liked turtlenecks (HATE them). My metabolism is sluggish, my joints ache, I go to bed way too early, &tc, &tc. All of that established, here is a more thoughtful answer (and this is really personal, not a prescription… this is sort of me talking to me, if you will), and it really has nothing to do with putting a lot of weird colors in one’s hair, although that can be a fun diversion, no doubt. In no particular order:

1. Learn something every single day.

2. Have sadness, anger, frustration, grief but don’t let them have you.

3. Break a sweat, daily if possible and stay hydrated.

4. Vegetarianism and foods as close to their natural state as possible. Favorite pleasure/junk food(s) occasionally!

5. Rock ‘n roll music (or insert your choice of tunes here).

6. Forgive your parents, your ex’s, your kids and YOURSELF. And I mean really forgive, no matter what. This does NOT mean condone.

7. Be an expert at: Looking backward, treading water, moving forward. Cycle thru each mode many times daily.

8. Gratitude. For every little thing and every big thing. Freedom. Fresh food. Choices. Toothpaste. Loved ones.

9. Face cream, a good haircut, good dentistry.

10. Wear something a little outside your comfort zone, stylistically.

11. Choose your life every day and take full-on responsibility for the results you are (or are not) producing.

12. Have a young person in your life. Respect that they may well be smarter than you’ll ever be. Listen to their music when they offer, even if you don’t like it much. Ask them for fashion advice but don’t always heed.

13. Ask for help when you need it and find an expert. Give help when asked.

14. Have no expectations and thus, no disappointments. And, good luck with this!

15. Fail. Try again. Repeat.

16. Be the best and the worst at something (anything) and laugh at yourself for both.

17. Laugh. If you can’t make yourself laugh, surround yourself with very funny people.

18. Be high-tech and low-tech.

19. Fall in love with a cat, dog, horse, cow, chicken. Spend time daily adoring this creature and spend at least a few of those minutes really trying to see the world through their eyes.

20. Go outside. Notice things. A bug. A building. Shift your focus between large and small.

21. Try a week of saying yes to everything you are asked of others. If you can’t say yes, renegotiate so that the other person is satisfied.

22. Fight the good fight, and don’t let it make you old. Let it keep you young.

23. Even during the worst day, find joy in something(s). If you can’t, make sure you do so tomorrow, non-negotiable.

24. Consider harmlessness.

25. Be childish, once daily at least but NOT when you should be being adult!

26. Realize that some of these ideas might become part of your life immediately, others take a lifetime to master. Fall off the wagon and jump back on.

26. Excellent posture! No slouching or hunching. Shoulders back, open your heart to the world!

28. Open heart, open mind.

Anything you want to add? Please do! I’d love to know what keeps YOU young.

South Beach Vegetarian: Summer Lunch P1 Variety is the Spice of Life

Oddly, I seem to be on a Mediterranean kick this week, even though the theme of this post is variety… especially regarding salads. I’m the only one in our family of 3 eating this way, and I just can’t get to the grocery more than once per week. This leaves me combining some of the same things in different ways in order to not be tossing out piles of rotten veggies, yet I don’t get bored if I vary it enough.

Today’s lunch salad seems easy enough right? But the secret to making this especially flavorful and not just your lettuce/tomato kinda thing is the addition of two ingredients. First, feta cheese, allowed on Phase one, and so tangy and yummy. Keep a variety of cheeses on hand, always buying low fat if available. Second, chick peas, canned variety, which will last pretty long in their packing juice in your fridge. Chick peas add a different texture AND, very importantly, another boost of protein.

Of course there are endless varieties with this… add some sliced black olives (sorry, I hate them) or some sliced veggie pepperoni (YUM!). Try arugula (you can buy it washed and bagged now) or fresh spinach. Anything goes, just try to consider complimentary ingredients and remember that variety is really key. Mix it up to dazzle your tastebuds.

I like to keep several bottles of tasty low-fat olive oil-based dressings on hand for variety’s sake too. Don’t forget the fresh ground pepper! Bon appetite!

South Beach Vegetarian: Summer Lunch P1 / Crunch Your Veggies

This is my second time using the South Beach Diet as a vegetarian, and I’m feeling so great about it that I thought it’d be fun to share some ideas for success.

First of all, don’t let the name fool ya. I know, they all say this, but SB is less a diet and more a way to eat. I think it is about the best, most healthful, practical, delicious and easiest way to go to lose a little or a lot of weight, and to keep it off. If you are not familiar with this system, buy the book and READ it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but the more info you have, the better. The main take away is: maintaining a MUCH more even blood sugar level. And how this is done is by eating only the right carbs & fats, and in reasonable amounts. IE: goodbye refined, white foods.

Second, come on people… it has nothing to do with South Beach! You know me, I’d rather hang out in the Mission District in San Francisco or the East Village in NY, than South Beach in Miami… any day of the week. This is about looking good, yes, but also feeling good (make that great) and being super healthy, nutritionally.

Phase 1 of the diet itself is strict and you will eat no carbs except those found in the allowed foods. Yep, it’s tough. The first few days can be really tough. But you’ll get through it and you will lose 8-13 lbs without being hungry. This phase is designed to boost your weight loss, but even more importantly, to put an end to the cravings for blood sugar spikes produced by super high-carb refined foods. It’s only two weeks, and it is worth it.

Now, being a vegetarian is an even greater challenge to some extent and there just isn’t much out there on creatively adapting this way of eating. Welcome to this and hopefully many more posts!

My lunch today, above, was truly delicious. I’m full, satisfied and not spiking/crashing from carbs. The secret to this one is BAKING some of the vegetables so that they get a little crispy. Any sanctioned Phase 1 veg will do, I used summer squashes (green and yellow) and two different varieties of ‘shrooms, including those weird curly ones, which are DELISH!

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly spray baking pan with olive oil spray. (NOTE: the olive oil, a good fat, plays a role here, so don’t eliminate it). Slice veggies thin, about 1/16-1/8 inch. Not too thin or they’ll burn, not too thick or they’ll stay soft. Spread on pan and give a very light spray of olive oil on top of them. Sprinkle with ANY seasonings… even just salt/pepper. But also try bay seasoning, garlic salt, oregano, anything. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown, flipping once to brown other side. Serve with chilled tomatoes and/or cukes and a nice heap of hummus (I like the Sabra brand best) and enjoy. Remember, make a nice sized serving (which at first will look like it will NEVER fill you up)… eat and wait 15 minutes to see if you really want more. You may not, but if you do, have a little more. Crispy veggies go soggy in fridge so only make what you plan to eat. NOTE: In Phase 2, toast a half of a whole wheat pita and cut into small pieces to go with your veggies. To drink: sugar free ice tea.

Even during my Phase 1, I modify to have dessert twice daily (instead of once as recommended)… and you will know if this is something that helps you be successful or helps you to fail. For me, having a little sweet taste at the end is important and doesn’t make me crave something truly evil. My downfall is more about salty/crunchy than sweet/gooey. You know best on this!

Vegetarian purists, this is Jell-O brand and I don’t *think* it’s really veg, sorry! There are veg versions of gelatin, so go for it. This is the non-fat, sugar free version in kiwi-strawberry. I keep a variety of flavors on hand during Phase 1 since I can’t have fruit. I’ve put some Cool Whip on top, also not allowed in Phase 1 but allowed in Phase 2/3. So, the dessert is really a Phase 2/3 dessert. Cool, sweet, satisfying. A small handful of fresh berries, with or without the Cool Whip, is also a choice for Phase 2 and definitely healthier than the Jell-O thing. But…. NO fruit in Phase 1.

I went from 122 to 116 in Phase 1 (two weeks–including 2 small cheats–and excluding exercise which I had to table until I started having a few carbs in Phase 2). This small, but otherwise impossible weight loss, took my BMI down toward the lower end of the normal range for my height. During Phase 2, I’d like to get to 110-112 and stick there, a very comfy weight for a short (5’1″) small-boned person like me. The interesting thing is really not so much the weight loss, but the feeling of just being leaner and firmer, without being even a little bit hungry and without missing refined carbos. More soon…


Au Revoir Paris and SEE YOU AGAIN SOON.


Everything must come to an end and thus concludes my Paris blog. This will serve as a simple photo essay with captions; the images I love that didn’t fit neatly into the other posts. Above, night walking in the City of Light.


View from the bedroom window of the apartment on Montmorency. Soundtrack: A Flock of Pigeons.


Molly was wowed by Notre Dame. Very cool at night… those gargoyles… and were there (perhaps) vampires hanging about?


This. Is. Paris.


Belle Epoque Carousel, beautiful and fun to ride.


My favorite piece at the Pompidou Centre. It just made me laugh! Love the irreverence of this one.


Can’t you see the BF on stage in that pink suit? Window shopping at Gucci.


The window of an autograph shop. I think Man Ray would like this…


Drizzly dusk in the courtyard of the Louvre. The I.M. Pei Pyramid is fantastic!


Apres rain. Really, does it get any better? A freaking rainbow in Paris! This almost makes me believe in god. Or fairies. Or something.


Kids are crazy everywhere you go…


Lover’s locks on a chain-link fence over the Seine. On our last night we left some with our initials on them. And so we say au revoir Paris, and we’ll be back someday.

Quite Possibly the Most Wonderful Bookstore in the Entire World


The BF is a serious student of the early 20th century lesbian art & literary salon society of the Left Bank area of Paris and has read many books about the likes of Natalie Barney, Kiki deMontparnasse, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes and founder of the best bookstore in the world, Sylvia Beach. Shakespeare & Company–the colorful history of which reads like a history of modern 20th century art & literature–opened in 1919 and was located at 8 rue Dupuytren. In May 1921, Beach moved the store to a larger location at 12 rue de l’Odeon, where it remained until 1941. The shop was often visited by artists of the “Lost Generation,” such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray and James Joyce among many others. Closed in December 1941, due to the occupation of France by the Axis powers during World War II, it was allegedly ordered shut because Beach denied a German officer the last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. The store at rue de l’Odéon never re-opened.


In 1951, another English-language bookstore was opened in Paris’s Left Bank by an American, George Whitman, under the name of Le Mistral. Much like the original Shakespeare and Company, the store served as a focal point for literary culture in Bohemian, Left Bank Paris. Upon Sylvia Beach’s death, the store’s name was changed to Shakespeare and Company.


Jeremy Mercer, of the Guardian writes eloquently: “George Whitman has been running what he calls “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore” for 50 years. His store has long been a literary hub, attracting the likes of Henry Miller, Richard Wright and William S.Burroughs. More importantly, George has been inviting people to live in his shop from its very first days. There are now 13 beds [sic] among the books, and he says that more than 40,000 people have slept there at one time or another. All he asks is that you make your bed in the morning, help out in the shop, and read a book a day. After living here for five months, I was inspired to write my own book about the place.”


The shop is every bit as magical as it sounds. The tiny rooms (nooks and crannies, really) are crammed from floor to ceiling with an incredible selection of books and although the store is small, I had the distinct feeling that I could spend a lifetime there in blissful discovery of worlds unknown to me. History and greatness seem to seep from the very walls as one notices book after book to add to one’s must-read list. My favorite nook is pictured above, a dusty blue old velvet chair that calls me to curl up forever… reading and dreaming.

earrings earrings earrings + shoes


I’m just crazy for earrings these days. I love making ’em. I love wearing ’em. And I even love photographing ’em. The pair pictured above feature handblown Venetian glass hollow beads with circus stripes and glittering copper aventurine. Copper findings make these really special.


Another favorite recent pair, in a very limited edition due to the availability of supplies. Cloudy blue faceted semi-precious beads with extremely rare dusty pink enameled floral findings. Glass pearls and brass leverbacks. These are truly gorgeous.


And my little French alter ego, Madame Eclore, has also been cooking up tiny earbob desserts. Made with hand lamp-worked wedding cake beads from China, India and Venice, these are just delicious and very fun to wear. Check the site again soon as Mme. E. has acquired some very rare vintage wedding cake beads to be included in upcoming work. They are just sweeter than sweet.


You are not tiring of my endless pictures of my shoes are you? I didn’t THINK so! Above, my new absolutely killer acquisition, a genuine pair of Doc Marten’s brothel creepers, circa 1980’s and Made in England, yo! They rock so hard I’m not sure I’m cool enough to wear them. But I’ll try to live up to the task. Scored on Etsy, where else?

Podcast Heavn’: EMERGENCY PANTS, or Top 5 Reasons I Love Bridget & Shane

So with the gift of this amazing iTouch for Chanukah last year, I’ve finally come around to the world of Podcasts. Until last week, my favorite was The Moth, brilliant live storytelling that has made me both laugh and cry (mostly laugh), and is a must-listen. Recent Moth faves: Michaela Murphy on her family’s obsession with spying on the Kennedys, and Jerry Stahl on heroin vs. crack. Free on iTunes and not for kids.

I still love The Moth, but am now podstalking a crazy couple of midwestern kids–Bridget and Shane–from Omaha, Nebraska, the young geniuses behind Emergency Pants (also not for kids). How I connected with this far-more-obscure content was through the snarky embroidering community on Flickr. I’ve been posting some of my weird projects (above) and Bridget also posts her cool stuff there (below).

Anyway, what IS Emergency Pants? Two friends. Talking. Laughing. Gossiping. In-jokes and out-jokes. The kind of podcast that generally makes me bored, impatient and annoyed. Not this one. Here are the top 5 reasons (out of too many to list) that I love these guys and you might too:

1. THE FRIENDSHIP: If I’ve got this right, Shane & Bridget have known each other for.ev.ah. Like 15-17 years or so. Their enduring/endearing friendship provides this sweet and easy communication that flows like a giggly river. Maybe you had a friendship like this many moons ago. Maybe not. If you did, you probably don’t anymore because you grew up and got serious, moved away, joined a corporate cult, or just somehow stopped finding life funny. Here’s your chance to plug in again.

2. THE CONTENT: Like Seinfeld for the next gen, this is a show about nothing. Nothing, as is observed by two very funny people, whose often dark and/or ironic/and or self-deprecating/and or juvenile/and or sweet sense of humor is just my cuppa tea. Sometimes potty humor (the pooplosion, illustrated above), often hilarious workplace stories (including, somehow, horse semen), a meatloaf cookoff. You will laugh in spite of your jaded self, and if you don’t, well, you are a hopeless human being. And, of course, it’s not really about nothing, but you knew that, didn’t you, smarty (emergency) pants?

3. BRIDGET’S LAUGH: Some people have the MOST horrendous hyena laughs, other guffaws are regular and mundane. Bridget has an unrestrained musical giggle, a laugh that could be bottled and sold for its healing properties, but that she so generously chooses to give away, people, free of charge, each weekly episode. Ten seconds in or less, and there’s the laugh, genuine, warm, and more infectious (and fun) than swine flu.

4. SHANE (+ THE ACCENTS): Shane is a funny funny dude. Geeky, smart and the boyish yang to Bridget’s girly yin. Like a really cool IT guy that you’d actually want to be friends with. (Wait, he IS an IT guy!) And, did I mention Omaha? Well, with my admittedly idiotic sense of geography I actually had to google a map of the US to see exactly where Nebraska is situated in this great land of ours. Because if it’s west of Illinois, other than California, it’s something of a blur to me (sorry! really, I’m sorry!). Both hosts have those flat, broad sort of midwestern voices with just a twinge of Fargo… like the comfort food of regional accents.

5. THE MUSIC: Three words: Men without Pants. Yes… WITHOUT pants and featuring Russell Simins and Dan the Automator. Why Russell and Dan don’t have emergency pants is not for me to say. But anyway, a snippet of their rockin’ tune, When the Girls Go, opens and closes the show. Searing, trashy, silly and ass-kicking.

6. THE COMMUNITY (sorry, can’t keep it to 5): When you become a fan/stalker of the show, you will find other like-minded silly souls. One of them, Jamie (ie, Mr. Xstitch), a manbroiderer from the UK, runs a blog that showcases the best and the brightest alterna-stitchers the world over. (Above image from Jamie’s flickr photostream, courtesy of Stitch Out Loud). There’s also partner-in-crime and oft-guest, Tony (if that’s his real name) who drags the kids a wee bit further into the gutter with his hyperactive, campy, and biting humor. Finally, the E-Pants blog will provide you with links to additional content that the kids know you need, threatening to basically hijack your life (as it obviously has mine).

So yeah, check it! And remember: When life gives you lemons, you put on your Emergency Pants.

Tutu Factory

At our house, the crafts are always flowing, and one of our favorite materials is TULLE. We just can’t get enough of the stuff… it’s so darn girly and fussy and fun.

With help from some of her super creative friends, Molly has been making the most beautiful tutus! Some of them are traditional princess-style, some (above) have a more goth appeal!

And, these tutus are for sale! You and all of your loved ones can twirl around like princesses, popstars, fairies, and Cyndi Lauper. Available in an array of fantastic color combinations and made to order!

All tutus are made of strips of tulle painstakingly cut and hand-tied onto a fabric ribbon, so the size is entirely adjustable, and they are very poofy and dramatic!

We are ONLY selling locally right now. To order, please get in touch with me, Molly’s Mom, by email or phone. We can talk about available colors and timeframe. NOTE: If you are under 18 you MUST have a parent get in touch as there is no kid-to-kid selling allowed without parent’s permission.

Pricing as follows, pick-up available in the evenings or weekends by appointment:

Toddler: $15

Kid/Teen: $20

Adult: $25

MORE Custom Work


I love this custom bracelet and I love the woman I made it for… Jen, a Rebel Mom, not unlike yours truly. With some email communications and a photo or two for good measure, Jen and I were able to make her charm bracelet dreams come true in black and blue!


Sterling silver charms, soldered into place for permanence, plus a vintage earring, and some of my favorite glass beads (new & vintage) in denim and onyx.


A special hand-crafted sterling silver Defy charm for Jen’s “question everything” MO. Love ya, girl! Mwwwwaaaa!

Welcome to Jodi’s World of Imperfect Food


I think there are plenty enough blogs out there showing off the glorious creations of all the would-be Marthas in the DIY crafts/cooking world, don’t you? I know that you do! And for that reason, my friends, I welcome you to my world of poorly prepared, often neglected, but lovingly presented (note the wedding china, did I rock that settlement or what?!) inedibles.

Above (and below, because one picture isn’t enough) please find photos of what happened to my “toasted” bagel breakfast on Saturday morning while I “popped downstairs” for just “wee little” shopping on Etsy. OOPs! And, doesn’t macro RULE?! You can almost smell the blackened charcoal-toasted sesame seeds.

Have you heard enough about my 5oth birthday yet? I didn’t think so. So, last week, my buds Brad & Amy surprised me at my office with a birthday cake! Amy had suggested stopping by Whole Foods to pick up something organic and pretty and fancy (and expensive), but Brad told her about my absolute favorite of all cakes, the chain-grocery-store-bakery white cake with white icing + endless gobs of pink swirly frosting, roses, etc. Complete with a candle per decade and nevermind that the whole affair got a bit lopsided and smooshed on the subway on the way up here… it was DELISH!


And, doesn’t macro RULE?! If you look closely below, just north and east of the flattened rose, you can see little droplets of cake-sweat! Mmmmm, mmm, mm.


How Do You Fair?


The Ohio State Fair is a sacred holy place for me. I grew up in Columbus and worked at the Fair starting at age 14, in the James Cox Fine Arts building. Days were spent counting attendees on a clicker and trying (unsuccessfully) to keep the sticky fingers of fairgoing kids off the art. During our lunch break we’d walk through the Poultry & Rabbit building across the street, looking for fallen tailfeathers from exotic birds (yes, there are some mighty exotic chickens) with which to make jewelry or tie in our hair. Working at the Fair, I met and fell in love with one of the most influential people in my life, a young surrealist painter who took me to see an Andy Warhol movie at the drive in, taught me about anarchy and challenged everything I thought I knew about art. Fair nights were spent laughing on the midway, eating deepfried mini donuts, and screaming all the way down the Giant Slide which was conveniently located just behind our building. There’s more, so much more to tell.

Thirty-five years later I find I must return to the Fair and have been three times in the past 5 years. My viewpoint has changed, and despite my sophisticated ironic attitude, there is a part of me that loves this place. For real. And although it’s possible I’ve seen (and photographed) it all, walking through the giant gates (pictured above), I am still filled with heart-pounding excitement at the thrills we will find within.


Charlie the Clown greets us as we enter this year’s Fair.



We did not eat the Beef Sundae. We did eat deep fried pickles, free Mentos handouts, free ice cream and loads of candy.


Molly stands at the gates of heaven.


Inside we are not disappointed, although later we are to have a candy disaster (read on, my friend).

Best of show in Youth Arts & Crafts. By Tiffanny (with two n’s).


I am not sure why the judges didn’t pick this as Best in Show. This piece gets my personal award for Best in Show, so there.


I had to seriously talk myself out of stealing this award-winning cake. It was just sitting there. I wanted it soooo bad.


Molly always makes me go on rides that seem fairly innocent, but are somehow terrifying all the same. This one gave me a stomach ache, a mid-level anxiety attack, and a pending sense of imminent doom. It was fun though! I got Molly back by making her go on the Rock & Roll ride (which used to be called the Himalaya). Another seemingly innocent ride during which we screamed bloody murder and gave up our atheism for about 90 seconds. At least the ride designers (who HAS that fantastic job and where do I apply?) had the good sense to picture The Godfather among the graphic representations of great musicians (below).



This is my favorite of this year’s photos. It somehow depicts the glory and terror that is the Midway.


The sheep building is a very fragrant place. Sheep are terribly cute, but incredibly stinky. Second only to goats.


A person could spend an entire day looking at the bunnies. Who knew there were so many adorable, strange, wonderful varieties. Some were for sale; as pets and also as food. Most of the bunny exhibitors are young girls who are happy to talk with you and tell you the bun’s names, personalities, breeds and anything else you want to know. We spent the beginning and the end of our day at the fair visiting the bunnies. Unfortunately, due to being so utterly distracted by the largest bunny I’ve ever seen (“Tiny,” pictured below, weighing in at 15 pounds), we left our 6 pound bag of bulk candy in Poultry & Rabbits as we suddenly realized time had escaped us and we’d be late for our friends picking us up.

There’s always next year.


Last Night Iggy Pop Tried to French Kiss Me While Michelangelo Gave Me an Awesome Back-Scratching


Yes, it was quite a night.

Oh, not Iggy the rockstar or Michelangelo the artist… what kind of girl do you think I am? I’m talking about Iggy and Angelo, our two new family additions and the sweetest, most adorable, most funniest kittens on the planet. Pictured above is the entire litter; Iggy is in the middle demonstrating his “all toys are mine” punk rock ethos, and Angelo is on the far right, twice the size of Iggy (and smart, very smart) but a much more pensive laid-back sort of Renaissance cat.

Molly and I adopted these babies last weekend in Adams Morgan at a MetroFerals event we stumbled into on Saturday. There were so many lovely kits that needed good homes, and after pondering it for about 5 minutes that evening over Chinese food, we decided we had to go back the next morning and choose from the “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe” litter, as they’d been temporarily named. Needless to say, neither of us could sleep that night from the pure excitement of it all.
The scene at the foster house on Sunday was a loving four-ring circus! The litter had been so well-cared for by David and Norm (the Cat Whisperer) and we sat on the floor while the tiny ones dashed around the small bedroom in a gray blur of kitten energy! It was sooooo hard to choose.

At first glance the foursome looked completely identical and we wondered how we could ever tell two of them apart from one another. But Angelo quickly stood out as the grayest of the bunch, really beautiful, with no white or beige markings and the only one with a super stylish black nose and black pads on his paws. He was the biggest and super friendly so Molly picked him first.

Iggy and his two look-alike brothers were another matter. But Ig was the tiniest — the runt of the litter — and I’ve always had a soft spot for runts (Rosebud, RIP, was the runt of her litter too). We loved Iggy’s assymetrical white facial markings, and his too-adorable-for-words pink nose and pads, not to mention his joyful and reckless rock and roll personality. Sadly leaving the others behind, we made our way home with two furry creatures in tow.

I’m happy to report, the kitties are doing splendidly. They are really bonding and are sequestered in my bedroom until they feel a bit more secure. It’s been such fun hanging out with them, although I am getting tired of sharing my bathroom! Litter on the floor in the middle of the night and a perpetually knocked-over water bowl… not such fun. But more than worth it!

Iggy and Angelo have been keeping me awake at night too with the loudest purring I’ve ever heard, in stereo, along with this other simultaneous weird chewing/sucking noise that is also quite crunchy and loud! And it’s true, last night, Iggy really was trying to stick his tiny #4 sandpaper tongue into my mouth (ewwww, I love you but where has that tongue been???) while Angelo gave me a seriously awesome back-scratch with his tiny claws.

Kittens just rock, you know? I will try to get additional pics soon and before they grow up (kittenhood goes by SO fast), but thusfar, it’s all just a blurry mess of kitties in motion!

A Photographic Essay on Jersey Shore Cheese Fries. In Reverse. Or, How to Feed Five Hungry Children a Nutritional (Remember, Potatoes ARE a Vegetable and Are You Questioning My Parenting??) Lunch (Breakfast & Dinner Too!) for Under $5!


7 minutes and 45 seconds into today’s cheese fry experience (yes, this is daily, sometimes twice daily) we have evidence of total decimation. Now let’s back up shall we, and see what happened. Who is responsible? How did they do it?!

For Ethan, it’s all about quantity, dude.


Bess, a bona fide cheese fry connoisseur, takes a serious approach to savoring the cheese. And the fry.

Alex, youngest but possibly boldest cheese fryer of the bunch, mixes a little sand in (see chin for details) for that truly optimal beach cuisine experience.

The olfactory angle must not be ignored, as shown by Molly. Remember, sniff your fries!


Jake, a Jersey Shore cheese fry expert, knows that licking the grease and salt from one’s fingers is mandatory.


With 5 hungry kids on deck (you’d be hungry too if you were digging giant holes in the sand all day), you can’t grab those fries fast enough.


Ahhhh, the goods. A gooey box ‘o fries (the CHEESIEST ), piping hot and fresh from the Snack Shack, Ocean City, NJ. Yum yum!

Rosebud G. Kowalski, RIP

Our beloved cat, Rosebud, died yesterday at our home, after several months of a serious, gradually debilitating, but undiagnosed illness. She is lovingly survived by her mom (me), her sister, Molly Bess, Molly’s dad Glenn K., and many friends who loved her. The painting above, by the incredibly brilliant and talented Carrie Mitchell of San Francisco, CA, serves as a deliciously ironic and cherished memory of Rosie in the bloom of her health and plumpy devilishness.

Burial was held on the grounds at Darwin Avenue in Takoma Park, behind Rosebud’s favorite pink azalea bush… beneath which she spent many beautiful sunny days, and quite a few summer nights in peaceful contentment (but with one eye open). A bouquet of roses was provided by our neighbor and a proper gravemarker is in the making. Rosebud was buried with her favorite feather toy, and a small bag of Meow Mix, in case her next incarnation is again feline. If you ask me though, Rosebud’s spirit will return to this world as a dangerously beautiful super model.

Rosebud (nickname: Rosebud Scissorpaws) was a very special kitty. She was born on a farm in Pennsylvania and came into our lives 16 years ago during a Sunday trip to the Takoma Farmer’s Market. We went for tomatoes, and came home with a kitten. Never fully a domesticated housecat per se, Rosebud remained fiercely independent throughout her life, a quality that could be frustrating, but which we ultimately admired greatly. She came to love and trust but a few humans, and those of us she allowed into her circle were treated to many hours of playfulness and snuggling, along with the occasional bite or scratch out of sheer orneriness. Rosebud was in charge and she never let us forget that.

Some of Rosie’s most awesome accomplishments were: Protecting our house from other cats, viciously fighting them off with pride and valour, shredding a valuable antique 1940’s cut-velvet sofa to smithereens, hunting prey–mice and moles, primarily–and depositing these gifts on the walkway to our home, as well as occasionally on the floor by our beds, and maintaining her undeniable beauty well into old age without the assistance of expensive products or surgeries! For these things, and so many others, Rosebud will be fondly remembered in our thoughts and hearts.

Rest in peace, dearest Rosebud… and see you on the catwalk!


The Lord Has Chossen (sic) You as a Vessel

When I stumbled to my computer this morning, pre-coffee, can you imagine just how very excited I was to find the above-referenced email from one Agnes Samuel there in my inbox? If you can’t, let me tell you, I was soooo happy.

I know this will come as a surprise to some of you out there who don’t know any people of the Jewish faith… but we are not a “Messianic” group. Yes, this means we really do not accept Jesus as The Savior, or the son of God, or anything, and really, please stop wasting your valuable prayers on us; it’s not going to change our minds. We are a stubborn people!

Some would say we are a patient people. See, while most of you are awaiting your second helping of Messianic pie, we await our first. Some of us are more bogged down by this whole waiting-for-the-Messiah-thing than others, and I admit to not being one (of the bogged).

That said, imagine my surprise and delight to find this email (amongst all that Satanic porn spam), as titled above: The Lord Has Chossen You as a Vessel. I hadn’t had my jolt of java yet, so I had to do a bleary-eyed double take… but yes, it appeared that I had indeed been selected. To be. The Lord’s Vessel!!!!!!!! Holy, um, mother of GOD! SHUT UP!!!! Me? Really? Are you, like, yanking my Jewish chain or something?

While I was envisioning a night of hot hot sex with the Lord (you know, so I could be the Vessel and my people could finally be alleviated of all this Messiah stress), I clicked open the mail to get the deets. For example, what would the Lord prefer me to be wearing on this night of our passionate love, etc? Or (and I’m crossing my fingers, please Lord say it ain’t so) is it going to be one of those boring immaculate conceptions? BUMMER!

But wait, this had nothing to do with sex or the messiah at all! Turns out, Agnes (of God? With such spelling issues?) it seems, only wished for me (a God-fearing Christian or maybe even a Moslem [sic]) to accept a tidy sum of $27.6 million dollars which her late husband has somehow managed to get hopelessly tied-up with “the Security & Finance company.” She is indeed ready to deposit this sum into my bank account and only awaits hearing back from me with my account info.

Sex be damned, I’ll take the money! And with that, I bid you adieu, as I must hurry and write to Agnes before she makes this incredible offer available to some other Vessel.

Who knew getting rich could be so easy?!

BTW, as Vessel of the Lord, I shall be hiring a secretary who will answer all of your emails concerning the above Blessing.

Thank you.

And SHUT UP!!!

Why They Call Them Hermit Crabs


I am not, in general, a fan of caged pets of any kind… be they rabbits, gerbils, birds or whatever. It never seems right to me, and living with such a situation would keep me awake at night wracked with animal-rights guilt. So why on earth did I ever agree to become the landlord for a sad-sack bunch of crustaceans? Answer below.

Despite my own moral/ethical dilemmas, there are a few things I end up doing just because the look on my kid’s face will wrack me with worse guilt than having caged pets in my home. I suspect this is the reason most caged pets end up living out their sad-sack lives in suburban homes and backyards all across America. Which doesn’t really make it any better does it?

Such was the case last summer at Rehoboth Beach. Dear readers, I’ll spare you the whiny details, the begging, cajoling and PhD-level manipulation that lead to my purchasing not one, but three crustaceans, and not some dinky mini handbag-sized cage, but the full-on super deluxe Hermit Crab Condo, complete with Egyptian pyramid (a wise decision) and various hippie-dippie hand-painted shells the crabs could move into when they felt inspired to do so (hasn’t happened yet), plus peripherals: hella-bright dayglo stones (something tells me that whoever conceived of the idea of Hermit Crabs as pets was, you know, “on something”), 2 jars of specialized food, spray bottle, driftwood and a Hermie Hut which turned out to be a yet another handpainted hippie-affair, a half-coconut shell with door cleverly carved into it.

We have since cleared half this crap out of the Hermit condo because there was no room for them to walk an inch, but that doesn’t matter really. Because all these creatures do is sleep (see title of post). That is, unless you rudely awaken them (they spend 100% of their time hanging out in the freaking pyramid) which you must do daily in order to spray them or they’ll dry out, and that is just too hideous to imagine. After you bother the heck out of them they will “enjoy” a period of wakefulness for about 7-10 seconds before lumbering back into the pyramid for more of what they love best: Hermitting, Hermitage, Hermittance. I hate waking them up. But it’s the only way to make sure they haven’t kicked the bucket.


The death of a hermit crab is something you never want to experience. One of the three we brought home only lasted about 10 days. I hesitate to share this in any great detail. It was gross, slimy, stinky and sad. It depressed me for weeks. It depresses me just thinking about it and will haunt me for the rest of my life. I suppose an argument could be made that there is something dreadfully wrong with me. I’m TOO SENSITIVE to own pets. Even, or especially, crustaceans.

The fact is, they are extremely fascinating critters and despite everything, I sort of love them. They have this one freaky bigass claw in front, the cutest eyeballs, and you can actually have fun watching them haul butt across the floor or carpet. They move surprisingly lightening fast. They are comical and pretty sweet, unless they get become agitated and pinch you. This produces mad pain and will find you racing for the nearest sink to run your hand (or god forbid other body part) under cold water… the only way to make them raise the white flag and let go. After this happened once (early on, before I understood the limit of their desire for acrobatics) Molly decided she’d pretty much had plenty enough of caring for the crustaceans.

They now fall solely under my jurisdiction. They can die in 10 days or live for 20 years. Parents, be warned.

Nancy was So Minty Cool


Living here in DC means living at ground zero in so many ways and when I’m feeling superficial (which as you know is quite often), fashion tops the list. Fashion in DC pretty much sucks. Unless you like sensible pumps and Ann Taylor Loft. (Ok, so I actually did buy something there recently, guilty as charged! It was a very low shopping moment indeed so please, I beg you NEVER to mention it again).

For example, have you ever noticed the totally hideous colors worn by political women, be they elected officials or wives of same? At last night’s televised State ‘o Union soiree, it was just the usual dreadful sea of garishly over-saturated reds, blues and a spattering of other silly crayola hues that I’ve heard described as “jewel tones.” Is there a meaning to this? Is it like some patriotic thing? Does bright red from head to toe mean you’ll kick some ass if anyone messes with you (or your husband)? ICK!

Yet there, in the midst of all the scary bright predictable hues was Nancy Pelosi. Along with being a superhero, she’s super attractive (note I didn’t say “for a woman her age” b/c we women of a certain age are sticking together, right Nance?) with a smile that can light up the Hill, and that’s saying something; trust me on this one. Watching her up there on the old podium made me feel so proud and hopeful, politically, and fashionistically.

So, to get to my point… I think it was verrrrrrrry purposeful, savvy, and quite gorgeously hip that Nancy opted out of that whole Power Red thing, selecting instead a very pretty, minty cool, palest green suit.

Can you say: Breath of fresh air? Yeah, dudes. Nancy is so minty cool.


Subtitle: An Everyday Washington, DC Experience

Speaking of cake (see previous post), winter finally arrived here in the nation’s capital and with it came the annual hoards of right-to-lifers-I-mean-fruitcakes, having descended upon our sweet city in order to celebrate-I-mean-protest the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I happened to be on the subway on my way to a client meeting, having what can only be described as a pretty blue Monday, when what should I see but dozens and dozens of fresh (if incredibly blank) faced youth and their leaders… a couple of priests in fully bizarre regalia: Those black religious looking coats with the white nehru collars… what do you call those? AND… strung around their necks these horrific life-size fire-engine-red stop sign-shaped placquards, which read in big white lettering: STOP KILLING BABIES.

I wasn’t sure what to do. Feeling the heat rise up my neck and into my face, with a sick feeling sloshing around my stomach, a weird suffocating sort of claustrophobic and hard-to-breathe feeling, which I suspect is the way it naturally feels when one’s freedom(s) is/are threatened, I began to formulate many brilliant, if illegal, plans for counter-insurgency ranging from quiet argument (is this what you think Jesus REALLY wants you to be spending time doing?) to loud argument (F-YOU, YOU FREAKING IDIOTS) to vandalism (with magic marker, how about: YOU STOP MAKING BABIES?!) to outright violence (ugh, I am loathe to admit and will thus spare you the details, simply call it: Welcome to Jodi’s Abu Graib).

In the end, I just sat there, feeling sick and smothered and hot and itchy-scratchy in my wool coat. I tried to think about people in my life who I know feel the same way as the protestors, people who I love and to whom I want to express nothing short of complete tolerance, and upon whom I wish no harm (yet, can’t I still keep my freedom to choose? Please?).

So, I kept my big fat atheistic secular humanistic Jew mouth shut. Of course that didn’t make me feel so good either and only served to make my stomach REALLY hurt.

A lose-lose situation if ever there was.

Happy Happy Blog Blog

Birthday DetailHere’s a sweet piece of triple layer strawberry chocolate kiwi cake from one of my latest works of jewelry art to welcome you (and me) to My So Charmed Life, ahem, the blog. I don’t know about you, but cake just makes me feel better when I’m nervous and this whole blogging thing has me all twittery and jittery and excited. So… here goes… I’m bloggin’ on with my bad self. Cake and all.