Tag Archives: Cold


2 Mar

A few weeks ago, when the weather warmed up and it felt like spring in the middle of January, we began taking Isobel out in the backyard again. It had been a really long time since the late summer and fall afternoon ritual of spending an hour or so outside. It was like Isobel suddenly remembered those times, and she began asking to go outside with gusto on an hourly basis. I’m still not sure if taking her outside in January was a mistake: it’s been terribly cold (by our standards), and there’s nothing quite like your fingers icing over from holding a plastic bottle of bubbles, soap dripping on your hand, while your one and a half year old yells more bubbles please!

When she does get the chance to go outside she inevitably looks for ants. She has a fierce love-hate relationship with ants. She loves them because to her, anything moving or animate has the possiblity of being a “friend.” But she truly hates them because the banana experience as taught here they are EW EW YUCKY.

Here she is greeting the ants, with a hello and a friendly wave.

Then she just starts shouting baby obscenities at them.


We love going outside with her, but even dressed in my down jacket I cannot stay warm enough. Isobel seems impervious to the cold, like it’s not a Thing and it doesn’t exist and don’t you realize there are flowers that need picking?, and she runs through the yard, stiffly bundled in the two layers of coats I insist she wear.

Her fingers become tiny icicles, stabbing into the palm of my hand when she hands me a flower or poking into my legs so that I can lift her up and wave to an airplane. I’m surprised she can even move them and yet she insists, demands even, to go outside so she can do the following activities:

Race – this game consists of us standing at one end of the yard, counting down, and running to the other end. She usually gets distracted partway through and we must coax her to finish.

Coloring with Chalk – she’s bored of coloring the ground of the patio, but will gladly color the house, the fence, or the thin strip of cement outlining our flowerbed.

Blow Bubbles – Isobel can actually blow her own bubbles on a semi-regular basis, but really this boils down to me blowing bubbles, and her chasing them down and popping each and every one. She’s the Bubble Gestapo.

Those ants never seem excited to see me for some reason.

Picking Flowers – by “flowers”, we mean weeds. We still don’t have a lawn in our backyard, just weeds that are occasionally mowed into place by our neighbor. This was an ideal situation for a long time, and everyone should be so fortunate to have a neighbor that does lawns for a business, but he’s been going through some hard times and we haven’t seen him lately. So our ‘lawn’ is extra impressive, and at spots comes up to Isobel’s chest.

Our yard’s kind of a wreck, and each time I go out there I’m reminded of everything that needs work. But I guess we’ll be spending lots of time out there this summer, so I should get to it.

You would have loved the Sandra Lee jokes

21 Feb

I can’t wait to tell you about my weekend. It started on a high note (cleaning and organizing, duh) and only got better: dinner out with friends in San Francisco on Saturday, and then seeing Anthony Bourdain speak last night. And he signed my book and even let me get an unflattering photo. Needless to say, we are now BFFs, and I totally call him “Tony”  and I’m adding him to my chain-email forwards list. He’ll thank me when something good happens to him after he forwarded an email full of ascii art to all his friends!

Today, however, is devoted to chores. Anthony and I (my husband Anthony, though if Tony Bourdain wants to come clean my house he’s more than welcome) need to go grocery shopping and prepare for next week. Also, I have a raging cold! Again! I know! Isobel and I have been sick practically nonstop January 1st, so when you picture me in your head please just assume I’m constantly breathing through my mouth and leaking snot everywhere. It’ll save so much time.

Earlier in the week, Isobel got very upset about something. I don’t remember the details because it was one of those times when Isobel wanted something that was most assuredly dangerous and Anthony had the gall to say no. She toddled into the library crying and asked to sit on my lap. She was still pretty upset when she saw the camera sitting on the desk. She emphatically asked me to take her picture so I said, “You’re the boss!” (not really) and snapped these pictures. She looks so cute, yet so sad. These photos break and warm my heart at the same time.