Nothing inspires a bout of extreme gratefulness like being sick. Grateful for being able to drink water. Grateful for my loving family. Grateful for a cozy home to recover in. Grateful for my usual health. Grateful for the return of liking the smell of food... The list could go on forever, so it feels very appropriate that this is the Thanksgiving week.
Alex and David's father and other brother are coming to visit tomorrow. Alex Sr. from Chicago and Mike from LA. We have been spending the day tidying up the house and yard to prepare for them and it feels invigorating. Why is it that having guests motivates a spruce-up like nothing else? I guess you stop to see it from their eyes?
Right now Alex and David are outside putting together our new trampoline, and we just put down a new layer of wood chips on our paths. My goal is to make the bathhouse a little more "guest friendly". We have a composting toilet and I know it (and the outside bathroom in general) is a little scary for guests. I wish we still had flowers to pick outside... I like to think that sometimes a vase of flowers can distract someone out of feeling completely out of their element. I think I will at the very least make an occupied/open sign for the door so no one is worried about others barging in on them. All these things that probably should have been done years ago... but, better late than never!
I hope that you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and are finding it hard to count the blessings because there are just so many.
The view from above our land looking out over the Piedmont. (Our roof is the one to the far right that you can see)



This weekend officially ended my 12 year no-barfing streak.

Lili got the stomach bug too. As did Ema, Nim, and Noah (and Gita last weekend). So far Alex and David have been holding down the fort. I had asked Alex when we had heard Gita was sick last week "One year olds can't throw up can they?" and he just looked at me. Right, dumb question.
And I found the answer to my question the hard way. Poor baby...
Alex has been so sweet to us. He came and put rotating cool wash clothes on my face, and gave Lili a bath, and changed the sheets, and did laundry. All the while taking care of both of us.

I reread my last post about tantrums. (Thank you for your thoughtful comments by the way) It is crazy how life sends you what you ask for. I asked for perspective, and after being sick, tantrums now seem very insignificant.

I am too down and out to have any pictures to share, but go to Ema's blog here
if you want to see a cute one of our dog.



Lili and I woke up this morning to sun and snowflakes.
Alex was already gone. He had gotten up before dawn to milk the goat and go wash windows with David (David has a window cleaning business). They ended up having to turn around due to the snow, and so now we are having a peaceful family day. Peaceful that is except for Lili's fits. I started to feel depressed about it this morning as she whined and cried over and over and over. I set her down? tantrum. I won't let her hold the glass jar in the fridge? tantrum. Have to put on a diaper? tantrum. I I just thought tantrums happened in the terrible twos...
*sigh*So I asked Ema- my first and foremost mothering adviser- and she pointed out there has been a lot of upheaval in the last week. That was a good point. And then I spent Alex and Lili's afternoon nap calming my nerves by cuddling up on the couch, drinking chocolate goat milk, and trying to gain some perspective. The mothering.com website has been invaluable for this sort of problem.
I do feel much better now. I feel reassured that I am not doing anything "wrong" and I am armed with some good gentle discipline approaches to handle her fits. Thank God for all of the other mothers out there who can offer me peace of mind!



I am in the middle of making something look good.
and then I think of a way to make it better.
but it requires a complete overhaul of everything I have already started.
so I start again.
and this drives Alex crazy.
and since my studio is in the middle of our home, he sees it all.
especially since he has no work and is at home trying to
exist amongst my scraps of paper, cups of glue, scissors, and paint scattered about.
he is logical.
he knows I only have a
snippet of time to work.
Sometimes I catch it in his eyes- the frustration of my process- but he tries to be respectful.
if I had my own space I would not let him see this unraveled side of me perhaps.
that's not true.
I would come back from my personal studio and talk his ear off about the pros and cons of this color or that. to frame or not to frame. this size or that...
and he would sigh.
Luckily I don't think it's me that drives him crazy.
it is just the process...

today's idea was:
I have been painting my sides of the boards I mount my paintings to black, but then I realized today that I could wrap them like a book cover instead.
saving time. making the framing into a smooth
but all of the boards already painted... what to do with my paintings with black sides? It isn't that I don't like them, it's that they don't match my new idea.
but see how good it looks?
I need to amend my process.
two steps forward
one step back.


More Nicaragua Pics

Highlights from our trip that I seem to have forgotten to take pictures of:
  • The full moon trip that many took to see hundreds of sea turtles laying their eggs... (I didn't get to go on this trip)
  • The pirate party-rehearsal dinner-pig roast, in which everyone was dressed like pirates.
  • The all-day boat ride in which I started with a round of beers at 9:00 am. We ate an BBQ lunch on a remote beach, swam in the warm water, and picked up trash that had washed to shore.



The resort we stayed at had a mini zoo with a few animals that they rehabilitated but were unable to be released back into the wild. These two monkeys were love-hungry cuddle-bugs.
and here is Carrie loving the monkey cuddling up to her... It was all incredibly sweet until the monkey started to pee on her- and then when she tried to hold it away from her- it bit her.



I wanted to write a quick post to say we are back safe and sound after a long days travel. We had an AMAZING time... The wedding was BEAUTIFUL, and Nicaragua was too... So much to think through, and so much to share.
We woke up at 4 am this morning Nicaraguan time (I never did figure out if that is 1 or 2 hours behind EST...) and made it home after a 2 1/2 hour bus ride, 3 1/2 plane ride, a 2 1/2 hour customs/entry into the US leg, and a 4 hour truck ride. Lili was a trooper through it all, and slept a lot of the trip much to our delight. I can't believe this morning I was on a bus that was beeping at a woman carrying a giant bowl of bananas on her head, and now we are back home in NC where there are no leaves on the trees anymore, Alex and Lili are tucked under a down blanket, and furthermore it may snow. CRAZY.


Lili walking!

We are about to drive to Atlanta to leave for Nicaragua! I thought I would say goodbye with this video I took this morning of Lili walking. Lili has been slowly walking more and more lately. She has this wonderful walking style in which she waves both hands above her head as she staggers forward. You can get a little glimpse of it here, and a little glimpse of her asking to nurse at the very end. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!!

ps. I know there were many requests to see my great dress and yellow shoes, but they were already packed so you will have to wait for the wedding pics. (Now if it were just me going on vacation we all know that I wouldn't have packed until this morning as I was rushing out the door. But now that Alex is in my life- well, we were packed almost 24 hours early! Novel huh?)


Still in progress...(and a shopping tale)

Here are the two paintings I have been working on this week. They need to be glued and sewn to the border paper before I might call them done. I feel very happy with them both. I only wish I had better pictures of them for you. Soon I will buy a scanner to get a proper picture that does them justice. The rocking chair one reminds me of the room in the house I grew up that we called great-grandma's room. It was yellow with a floral pattern. I guess something about the wallpaper reminded everyone of her. (The same great-grandmother who made me the stool) I should paint that stool into one of my paintings... hmmmm....

Completely unrelated: Ema and I dropped Lili off at Becca's this afternoon (Thanks a million Beccer!) and went in search of a dress to wear to Christine's wedding this coming week in Nicaragua (remember this?) Now keep in mind that the beginning of the holiday season and winter is not the ideal time to find a dress for a poolside, 90 degree wedding. After searching through endless racks of sweater-dresses and thick, velvety, black dresses at Ross and TJ Max, Ema convinced me to go to the Dillard's Outlet. And...It was like a movie- or maybe from my dreams. I typically hate shopping because I never feel like I fit in anything right. But I found score upon score with Ema cheering me on the whole way. All of these already marked down cute dresses (between $10-$18) were 60% off that price! My problem was not that I couldn't find a dress, it was that I had to narrow it down. What a problem... sigh* I settled on this cute, sassy, bold dress with a taffeta layer underneath that Ema brought into the dressing room at the last minute. Then I bought these slightly gaudy (but totally cute at the same time) yellow shoes to go with it. It was a shopping victory. The only downside is that I will clash with Alex. Oh well... It can't be too perfect or that would be boring.


separation of church and state

I feel honored to say that my paternal (and possibly maternal...hmmmm....) family descends from Roger Williams. My favorite part about him is that he was very set in his religious views and yet he stood out as a light of tolerance and a provided a safe haven to people of all different religious views in a time of widespread intolerance. How wonderful is that? Here is my quick bio of this great man:
Born in the early 1600's in London. He was extremely smart and was awarded a scholarship to Pembroke College at Cambridge University. He later became a chaplain but came to the colonies (just 10 years after the mayflower) to escape the controversy surrounding him and his ideas on freedom of worship. He encountered much of the same resistance to his ideas in America though. One thing idea that he ended up being tried for was that he believed they needed to buy the land from it's rightful owners (the Native Americans) before it was an official deed. Before he was banished back to England he fled southwest out of the Massachusetts Bay area. He befriended the native Americans, learned their language and eventually set up a trading post with them. He bought land from them and founded Providence Rhode Island. He and his companions founded their new settlement upon the basis of complete religious toleration and it soon become a refuge and safe haven for all whom were prosecuted by the puritans. Although he was headstrong and rigid in his theological views, he was simultaneously extremely tolerant. One of his many contributions was his conviction that church and state should be separate. I like this quote from the Quartz Hill School of Theology: "Willaims wanted Church and State separated so the Church would not be corrupted by the State. Thomas Jefferson entertained the opposite conviction, fearing that the State would become contaminated by the Church. (Alpheus Thomas Mason. Free Government in the Making: Readings in American Political Thought. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 55)"
So I have just one more political rambling, and it concerns tolerance... and it is this: California just passed Prop 8, which would amend the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Regardless of whether you believe homosexuality is perfectly normal or morally wrong, I am wondering something. Why is it that marriage is tied up in both the state and the church? I can't help but wonder if both Williams and Jefferson's fears are coming true with this co-mingling of the church and state. Why don't we have civil unions for any couple wishing to make a commitment and get all the legal rights that come with marriage, and then separately anyone wishing too could also get married with the church and take the spiritual vows of marriage? That way the church would be responsible for determining it's definition of what "marriage" is, and then the state could be left out of that sticky mess and grant basic legal rights to people wishing to legally join together. I just don't understand why this isn't talked about more as a viable option. Any thoughts?



I won't name names, but I was getting feedback that there weren't enough Lili sightings on my blog to satiate the hunger. Sooooo, I decided just to go ahead and give Lili her own blog. I don't know if that is the best way to share my photos of her or not (maybe Flicker?), but I will start with this and move from there. You will find her blog in my blog list and I will try to post as often as I can. She will, however, still be a major player in this blog as my life pretty much orbits around her. Lucky me!


Dear President-Elect Obama,

I am awash with emotions.
I was in awe last night of Senator McCain's gracious and humble concession speech.
I was moved to tears by your acceptance speech. I believe you.
I believe in you. Does it sound naive? Does it sound like I am placing every scrap of hope I have for this great country on your shoulder? Perhaps.

I believe in the integrity and the collective generous spirit of the American people.
Yet somewhere along the way I feel like things got depressing. Things like Monica Lewinsky, and Hurricane Katrina, the 2000 election, the donkey and the elephant duking it out in nasty, un-respectful, underhanded ways, the questionable Iraq war, affairs, lies... Events like these have led us to become cynical and numb. We are all exhausted of forced smiles and fluffy speeches that don't say what is really going on.

I believe we want the hard news. We want to step up. We want to sacrifice and work to make our country strong and viable. We want to continue to be a beacon of hope and democracy around the globe.

I was terribly sorry to hear of your grandmother passing away before she got to see you achieve what you have today. I hope that you are aware of your grandmother's spirit watching over you every time you make a decision. I hope you are thinking: would Grandma approve? I hope you will be calling on your faith, and other areas of intellect on which to base your decisions, and yet I can see how conjuring up your grandmothers face and watching her response could be a true marker for authenticity and solid judgement. It appears to me that many high-ranking officials are oftentimes in desperate need of this sort of basic advice...

I want my daughter to grow up in a country that is actively trying to make the world a better place.
It is a simple wish, and yet it is a mind-boggling task.
Environmentally, financially, and socially- all these areas are in need of innovation and imagination and determination. But I believe as your rally-cry goes: Yes we can.

Here is my list of hopes for America in the coming years:
  • That we do more to help the poor. Especially the hard-working loyal poor.
  • That we reign in greed.
  • That we become more financially stable, and stop incurring debt.
  • That we feel, and truly are, safer from terrorism.
  • That we support and lead the global effort to end genocides and terrorism.
  • That we are able to find sustainable ways to harness energy from our Homeland.
  • That the education system enables both teachers and students to become intelligent, creative, and passionate learners/teachers.
  • That we willingly are able to make personal sacrifices for the greater good of our precious earth, and that we have a leader who is unafraid to ask this of us.
  • Everyone in America to have affordable access to health care.
I loved it when you said: "This victory alone is not the change we seek--it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you."

I am proud to be an American.
I believe. I am hopeful. I am ready.
Thank you for this new day.

Kelcey Loomer


In Progress...

I have just snuck home from an election-night get-together next door to put Lili to bed and make a cup of tea. While I am waiting for the water to boil I thought I would share two pieces that I was working on this morning. (Today was my first day of having childcare so I could paint!!!)
They are part of my "rest" series. I started this this series a bit ago, and this solitary chair has become a symbol to me. It has become a reminder to take a moment for yourself- to quiet your busy body and mind and rest. To create a space of rest... These past few months have felt full and hectic and overwhelming at times, and these chairs have brought me comfort.
The words underneath these two paintings are pages from Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Farmer boy". They are from the winter chapters- and I love to glimpse these well-loved wintery words behind the chair...
Well, I am heading back to the Carmona's. (We have a monitor that reaches that far- how cool is that?) Many people in our neighborhood have gathered there to watch the results trickle in on their nice TV.
Keeping my heart and fingers crossed...