Pronounced Wife and Husband - Salisbury, CT

By Casey
The invitations were printed on a press built by Christopher. The mulberry jam was hand pulled by Gabriella and Christopher in the late summer.

The invitations were printed on a press built by Christopher. The mulberry jam was hand pulled by Gabriella and Christopher in the late summer.

There are people in my life whose persona is poetic. Maybe if I live long enough I'll see the poetry in everyone, I hope I do and will. My dear friend Christopher, who is, moment to moment, unpredictable to me yet as a being makes complete sense, got married to Gabriella on a beautiful hill top over-looking the endless undulations of the New England Autumn. The brass band played and the arranged chorus of friends read Edward Lear's The Jumblies and the cold and misty air brushed our shoulders - it was spectacular.

I met Christopher in architecture school. 

One night, after many all-nighters, I turned to him and in a desperate tone asked, "Chris, how do we answer their questions? What are we suppose to make?" Chris replied with his sincere confidence, "I don't know! But, a teacher of mine once said, 'What ever you make just make it beautiful.' So, the world needs more beauty, make it beautiful." Christopher has made things that seem impulsive, spontaneous, are unpredictable, but always beautiful. I've never seen more beautiful things made than those made by him. It is amazing that an event, in all of its simplicities and complexities, can be such an elegant expression of a couple. 

Cooled down hot cider with rum and flowers picked in the fields by Gabriella's sister earlier that day.

Cooled down hot cider with rum and flowers picked in the fields by Gabriella's sister earlier that day.

Christopher, Gabriella, the officiants and the brass band.

Christopher, Gabriella, the officiants and the brass band.

The Jumblies

BY EDWARD LEAR
I
 
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
   In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’
They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
   In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 
 
II
 
They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
   To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
‘O won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
   In a Sieve to sail so fast!’
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 
 
III
 
The water it soon came in, it did,
   The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
   And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, ‘How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
   While round in our Sieve we spin!’
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 
 
IV
 
And all night long they sailed away;
   And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
   In the shade of the mountains brown.
‘O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
   In the shade of the mountains brown!’
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
     Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 
 
V
 
They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
   To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
   And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
   And no end of Stilton Cheese.
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 
 
VI
 
And in twenty years they all came back,
   In twenty years or more,
And every one said, ‘How tall they’ve grown!’
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
   And the hills of the Chankly Bore;
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And everyone said, ‘If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,—
   To the hills of the Chankly Bore!’
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.
 

 
 

The First Day - My (Dis) Orientation

The expression - eyes squinting, confused and in pain, aching - the non-verbal response of a mother as her child recoils, into the opening arms holding her. The moment was rehearsed, but one cannot prepare for the vulnerability felt on this day. Please let go. I feel the confinement of my skin.

I step through the threshold and leave, as I start to molt. My small concentric being is in that room, behind the closed door, up those stairs, past the security guard, on the other side of the courtyard. Mothers become tender in the moments that turn us inside out. 

The moment passes and I am in a new place. The reflection firms my loosened self. Out on the street I watch another mother, the light changes, three beats pass and she starts to cross. I pause thinking about her delay. The first day of school is different to all people. It’s different with the older child and different with the younger child. When I was thirty-two my strong sense of orientation was focused in my body’s center, above my belly button below my rib cage. Then, my first born was conceived and my center created a beautiful new being, always a part of me and soon apart from me. It’s all so simple, it’s all so easy, the separation we all do, I tell myself. 

The connection I have with my children and myself fluctuates, and now as I recall my self I sense an odd appearance in a familiar mirror. I’m not always so disoriented, but days like this occur more often than I ever would have thought. 

Walking back into the class room, to his smile and, “Can we get lunch?”, we continue our day together.  

At Home in Brooklyn

The next few entries are a study of our domestic spaces and the neighborhoods surrounding us. Claire and I thought this might give context to our posts and offer viewers insight into the places we find familiar. 

Being a mother with two small children, and working from home, much of my time is focused in and around the home. My husband, children and I have a small apartment, 780sqft in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. We love the neighborhood and chose this 1.5 bedroom on a beautiful tree lined street, walking distance to playgrounds and parks, shops and purveyors, and dear friends over a more sizable space in another location. It's a challenge, no doubt about it. I question my decision often, but when I walk though the neighborhood I feel fortunate to be a part of the fabric.

This is our home. Welcome!

At Home in Brooklyn.png

Clockwise from top left corner:

1. These door knobs were part of a larger lengthy consideration. We renovated our apartment this time last year and decided to have a material palette of dark iron and white, reminiscent of early Modern design. The door and cabinet hardware throughout the apartment match in character. 
2. This is our sweet little succulent and handmade pot from Tula.house in Brooklyn. Christan, aka the plant lady, is the best.
3. This soapstone backsplash and shelf above the kitchen sink is part alter, junk collector, reflection center, story of my life. The framed photos of my grandmother's plates are part of the "Memory Photograph" series I started a few years back.
4. This is my husband's belt. It's also our spontaneous solution to a handle for the murphy bed we sleep on every night. We wanted something that could be tucked away so to completely conceal the murphy bed when not in use. Voila! 
5. This is River's baby quilt. When I was six months pregnant with River I took an evening quilt making class at Purl in Soho. It was the perfect craft to take on while expecting my first child. I signed up with the intension of making a baby blanket for him and this is it! It felt so good hand stitching while daydreaming of my baby. So much love went into this, more than any other piece of artwork I've ever made. The blanket has a nautical flag theme, which Riv just caught on to and really likes.
6. Cha Cha Cha Chia. These were gifts from my mom, Gram, to the boys.
7. My most loved piece of furniture, over 30 years old, lived in hiding for 25 years in my family's furniture store until 10 years ago when I eyed it and took it home with me. I think it's beautiful.  
8. Last week's visit to the Children's Museum of Art in Tribeca culminated in the creation of Luc's rocket, my rocket and River's airplane.
9. This is our front door with three paint options. I love all three but in the end I think white is best for this location. I also kind of like the look of the paint samples, so they're still here. Oh, and our peep-hole cover is missing. 

Do you have a favorite moment in your home? Is there a detail that speaks about you?

Fort Tilden with Babes

This was my husband Kumar's first time planning a weekend excursion since we... well... since before we had kids! It was a complete success - good job, love! It really meant a lot to me that he took the initiative and figured out the logistics. I think the last time he planned something without my involvement was when he proposed to me six years ago, coincidentally, at the nearby Breezy Point. 

Fort Tilden + Jacob Riis Park is nicknamed the "Beach for the People" and it is. It's located in South Brooklyn, and is free to the public with basic amenities. I like the many means of transportation one can take to get to this beach - ride a bike, drive, subway to bus, ferry, and if you're comparing it to the time it takes to the Hamptons you could walk from my house to the beach in a little over 4 hrs. It feels very democratic. We took a cab and caught the ferry at the downtown pier. Kumar asked if we wanted to go to the beach at 8am and by 9am I was grabbing Starbucks, Kumar was with the boys getting tickets, by 9:05am we were on the ferry heading out into the New York Harbor, beach-bound. NOTE: The ticket line can get long so give yourself 30mins to purchase ferry tickets. The ride was relaxing and offered all of us just enough points of interest to keep us looking outward the duration of the 1.25hr ride.

Once we got off the boat we followed the crowd and the only once did we have to give any thought to where to go, when the strollers went in one direction and the polyamorous crowd (rumors of NC-17) with fancy grocery store prepared foods went in the other. I did anticipate this moment. Alas, we brought a stroller, the other beach for another time, we took a left toward the public beach and I not so silently wondered if the galavanting beachgoers we'd just left would be having a better day. Nope, our beach was very PG, welcoming, with bathrooms and also exceptionally good food - it was perfect. 

We strolled the length of the boardwalk and I recognized buildings we'd passed on our walk to Breezy Point that early morning six years ago. I love the brick and tile architecture of the old bathhouses. If you imagine a movie scene set on a beach in the 1940s, you're probably close to the Jacob Riis Park Boardwalk. 

Our preparedness was right on point. We brought a stroller, 2 diapers with wipes, 1 bottle of water, bathing suits, small beach blanket, 2 towels, our bag of water toys, sun screen, and snacks bought at Starbucks. I was expecting a Little Italy street fair lunch, but to my surprise the food options were very... New Brooklyn, healthy seeming and exceptionally tasty. 

After four hours we packed up the stroller and headed back to the second to last ferry back home. We were welcomed by many parents of half-sleeping children. We stayed inside the boat and the boys slept the whole way back. It was a calm easy going day, a great place to bring babes or to go on your own. More of these days are in my future. 

The ferry is a fun ride for the kids and adults. Drinks and snacks are available on board and the deck is a perfect place to see unexpected views of familiar sites - Staten Island Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, to name a few.

The ferry is a fun ride for the kids and adults. Drinks and snacks are available on board and the deck is a perfect place to see unexpected views of familiar sites - Staten Island Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, to name a few.

I spy the Coney Island Cyclone.

I spy the Coney Island Cyclone.

Six years later and two more wonderful guys in my life, we return to where he proposed to me.

Six years later and two more wonderful guys in my life, we return to where he proposed to me.

Luc, getting use out of the Mardi Gras cups.

Luc, getting use out of the Mardi Gras cups.

Lunch: Salmon tacos with pickled red onions, fresh guacamole, peppers, tomatoes, cole slaw AND a side order of beet hummus! So Good!!!

Lunch: Salmon tacos with pickled red onions, fresh guacamole, peppers, tomatoes, cole slaw AND a side order of beet hummus! So Good!!!

This was a great day trip from our home. Do you have a favorite staycation spot in NYC?

Directions to Fort Tilden and Jacob Riis Park: http://www.nyharborparks.org/visit/jari.html

A Wreath of Roses

For the last year I've been imagining and wanting a floral hair wreath, one with an abundance of femininity, evoking of prairies and dry rolling hills. Fortunately, I arrived at a reason to have one made - Jenny's baby shower! The baby shower, in honor of Jenny and baby Rose, was an intimate brunch in Fort Greene, at Maison May Dekalb, a beautiful garden level restaurant with a local and sustainably harvested menu. It's a beautiful venue for a group event and the new coffee shop, Maison May Vanderbilt, around the corner, is a welcomed compliment to the established neighborhood restaurant. 

A couple days before the shower I dropped into Stem, a favorite local flower shop owned and run by Delgis, a kind and talented Brooklyn neighbor. We discussed the seasonal flower options and she took it from there. She met me at the shop on their day off, a half hour before the baby shower. I watched over her shoulder as Delgis finished weaving in the last few trigs of rosemary. It was more beautiful than I had anticipated and perfectly suited for a mamma and her beautiful Rose.

Thank you Delgis. Stem is one of my favorite neighborhood shops to drop into. Sometimes I walk in just to feel lifted by all of the colors and variations. My boys like to choose single stems to place in the bud vases in their room. When you walk through Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Stem is at the heart.

The hair wreath was thoughtfully designed and crafted by Delgis, neighborhood mother and Stem flower shop owner. We discussed flower options, colors, and general appearance and Delgis took it from there.

The hair wreath was thoughtfully designed and crafted by Delgis, neighborhood mother and Stem flower shop owner. We discussed flower options, colors, and general appearance and Delgis took it from there.

The flowers chosen will dry nicely and decorate baby Rose's nursery. 

The flowers chosen will dry nicely and decorate baby Rose's nursery. 

Beautiful Mamma, 35 weeks pregnant. She is now home with her health new born baby and beautiful four year old.

Beautiful Mamma, 35 weeks pregnant. She is now home with her health new born baby and beautiful four year old.

I really really would love one, although I'm not sure, it might bring out the princess, folk singer, flower child, greek goddess, super feminine side of me... I think I'm ready for it. 

Jenny looks wonderful. For this occasion the wreath was perfect, pregnancy is an ideal time to celebrate the power of our femininity.

What do you think? Have you made something for a friend recently? I'd love to hear about it!

Stem: (718) 722-4767; 112 S. Oxford Street (btwn Lafayette Ave & Fulton Street), Brooklyn, NY, 11217
Maison May Dekalb: (718)789-2778;  246 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205

On Friendship

Love is (beautiful, messy, unclear, camouflaged, unsettling, healing) infinite. 

Friendship is the worldly nature of love, often grounding and contextualizing. 

 

In sixth grade, on the first day of school, I met Claire. Our initial interaction was, as Claire describes it, my orientation of the classroom and short bios of the twenty-four students, a run down of twelve year old habits and quirks. We soon realized our phone numbers were only one digit apart, 2206 and 2806. It took an hour to find her home for the first time, a mile drive from my house but with no real landmarks to distinguish drive ways. Neither of our parents let us have sugar yet we both had a sweet tooth, we had long brown hair and matching eye color, our liberal backgrounds challenged our friends’, and we both had rampant daydreams that enlivened us and unhinged our expectations of ourselves. 

In 9th grade we got kicked out of European History class for throwing invisible energy balls across the room, at each other. The next year when we transferred to the local public high school, curfews became negotiations, we dodged reprimands from the other’s parent, felt the constraints put on us by our families and each other. Our friend circle grew. Jumping the fence and swimming in the out-of-town neighbor’s pool, we laughed and floated through the summer. House sitting, Andygator, dancing in a room full of records on the back porch with the ceiling fan cooling the humid air. 

Claire’s siblings went off to school and her mother’s illness became apparent. Our late nights took us to different places. We heard the other missed curfew and paper notes gave coded explanations. We lost contact. The early morning after graduation we drove together to the Holiday Inn pool and the sun rose as we swam and talked about the directions we were headed. We remembered. In Boulder we watched movies over Thanksgiving dinner. My mother called and told me tomorrow she would find out if she had this or that, that was painfully familiar, Claire’s mother also had Multiple Sclerosis. There was no longer a safe remove from what I had seen Claire and her family go through. 

We convened in New York City, I worked in a firm and Claire studied. When she left for California I was shocked, it was such an obvious choice that I didn’t expect her to make. She came back with her fiancé to stand with my family in my wedding and a year later I, pregnant with my first child, walked in her wedding. River was born, her first son Arlo was born, my Luc was born and her Avery was born. Motherhood took preference over our creative professions, and the challenges of being creative makers within a new set of expectations and demands can be isolating, even within our active and engaging cities. Distance felt great and we decided we wanted to collaborate on something that would bring us together. It feels good to prioritize friendship, again.

My tea fortune

My tea fortune

c. 1993. Claire and Casey at 8th grade graduation.

c. 1993. Claire and Casey at 8th grade graduation.

c. 2008

c. 2008

September 25, 2011. Wedding in NYC.

September 25, 2011. Wedding in NYC.

Claire is present in her smile.
Claire is aware of other sensitive beings and desires to nurture them.
Claire expresses herself through movement and engages in a playful and joyous way.
Claire says my thoughts are five or six months ahead of her but I think she's nine years ahead of me.
Claire's deep understanding of herself makes her spontaneity deliberate and beautiful.