Thursday, January 28, 2010


So I teach ESL to homeless adults.  My students are mostly women just leaving abusive husbands and learning to do everything for the first time -- drive, work, go to school.  Only one of my students is happily married.   Except her husband and 10 year old son are stuck in a refugee camp in Nigeria, and she's only seen her son 4 times.

We'll call her Nahla.  Nahla's from Somalia and, until my class, had never set foot in a classroom.  Although her spoken English is pretty good, she'd never learned to read -- not in English, not in Somali.  She's incredible, one of those Glinda the Good people who travel in their own pink happiness bubble.   The one thing that's holding Nahla back is being separated from her family.  She's tried and tried to get them over here, but they can never get a visa.  Even worse, because her husband's a refugee, he isn't allowed to work, and her son isn't allowed to go to school.    A few years ago there was a refugee round up and her husband and son were jailed.  She had to muster together several thousand dollars to get them released.  Her 10 year old son was JAILED in Nigeria.  The mind boggles.

But that was when the economy was good and she had a job; now she worries they'll be jailed again and she won't be able to get them out.  Which is why she's so desperate to pass the citizenship test and become an American.  That way she can bring them over.  Her son could actually go to school for the first time.  Nahla had been eligible to take the test for a few years, but had always been too frightened because the English is really hard. (Seriously: what is a non-native speaker supposed to do with the question "which of the following is not one of the constitutional requirements to be eligible to become president?"  The questions are insanely difficult, even for someone who speaks English and knows American history.  Quick: "what INS form is used to apply to become a naturalized citizen?")

Nahla recently decided that she could start to study for the test.  The test is so hard, I was doubtful she'd be able to make any headway, and for several weeks, she didn't.  But then all of a sudden something clicked and she could remember questions and memorize answers for literally the first time in her life.  She attributes it to God; she fasted all daylight hours in December in preparation for this test.

She takes the test tomorrow.  If you have spare prayers/ meditations/ positive thoughts, could send them her way?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

rope jewelry

Jewelry's on my mind.  I'm tardy to the rope party, but found these great pieces I wanted to share anyway. 

For $230, Sabrina Dehoff has this divine 4- strand rope:

Here's a great necklace from Munted Kowhai (though I would probably change the necklace's name).  I bought earrings from this store and love them.  The necklace is only $35.
Image of Peen Fok

Greedy Girl, a must-read blog, had a post today about wonderful The Vamoose.  This knotty nautical bauble is $29.
the sailor's knot necklace

I couldn't pull off this necklace ($65), but I know some of you who could:
Image of Convertible B.I.G. Braid

These bracelets smell like sunshine! And they're only $4 a pop.
Image of Medium Sailor Knot Rope Bracelet with Satin Stripe

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

valentine jewelry

We covered Valentine's Day cards; now for jewelry!  As Mae West said, "I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself."

 Geek love.

Loving Naomi Murrell's cheery necklace -- I'm on a big wood pendant kick.
Image of Love Necklace ~ Rock Maple Wood & Sterling Silver

Hourglasses are crazy romantic; is it the  "gather ye rosebuds while ye may" subtext?
The golden hourglass. Old world 2010 collection.

So charming, my favorite color combo, and people! That's velvet frigging ribbon!
Comet Necklace

Understated and adorable.   If I had a brother who had a girlfriend, I would nag nag nag him to buy her this.  (Good thing you're off the hook, brothers mine.)
little rose ring

Because hearts are fantastic.  And girls love sparklies. 
 fool's heart, gold

Tooth-achingly sweet
little love note

Monday, January 25, 2010

letterpress valentine cards

Letterpress cards make my heart beat faster.  Here's a roundup of my Valentine faves.

So you love a geologist?  Mazel tov.  Get this card from egg press.

Scallops, diving bird, pepto-bismol pink, cute murderous infant -- that's amore!
Letterpressed Love Note - Fallen 

Because nothing says "you light up my life" better than a Mexican wrestler.  Or two.

 I adore Zeichen Press, and also this "strange and wonderful" card.  (Also adore the word "trilobite." If that is in fact a trilobite.  Not sure.  Still: trilobite.  Trilobite trilobite trilobite.)
Image of You're strange and wonderful.

Simple and gorgeous. Possibly gorgeous enough to work as a "what the what? Was yesterday February 14th AGAIN?" card.
 I Love You Roses Card

When you know exactly what you want for Valentine's.
Valentines Day - Besame Mucho - 4bar Letterpressed Card and Envelope

For the Pandora aficionado: juxebox love.

Hate Valentines Day?  Or suffer from low blood sugar? Either way, here you go.
Passion Haiku - GingerDead Goth / Alt Greeting Cards w/ Envelopes (5 PACK)  - Valentine / Anti-Valentine / Love

Thursday, January 21, 2010

favorite recent blogs

Since I've been, um, embarrassingly incommunicado for a while, I have billions of links and movies and books to share.

Top Three Recent Fantastic Blog Discoveries

I only found this blog a few weeks ago, but already it's becoming a highlight of my daily Google Reader ritual.  It combines impeccably curated finds and a lovely, restful layout: be still, my heart! 

 Along with the eponymous store, this is a treasure trove of boho sensibility.  The store carries hand-blocked sheets for the little folk, but a line of grown-up goodies is rolling out soon.  And in the meantime, the blog is a great source of eye candy.  Like this wonderful Australian store, Fenton & Fenton.  


Word of advice: run to the bathroom before you start reading this collection of real, live, whacked out passive aggressiveness.  As a veteran of, wait for it I figured this out one time, 67 roommates, and a former cubicle dweller, I can totally relate to these.

this is why your waitress is cranky by passiveaggressivenotes.

you can do it, frankie! just liiiiive!

House Of Frankenstein Revive

Well guess who's still alive.

Top Three Reasons I'm Back to Blogging

1.  The power
2.  The prestige
3. It makes me happy to write every day
   3a.  and by "every day" I mean . . . three times a week.
   3b.  cause that's reasonable, right? as a starting point?