Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Daughter

I can't say that I prayed for you with every stitch.
Sometimes as I knitted, I was listening to you expound on a book you were reading or on a creature you recently learned about.
Sometimes I was watching a basketball game with your brother.
There were times when I just needed to decompress and knit mindlessly.
But much of the time, I was praying as I knitted for you, dear Daughter.
Here is what I was claiming for you.

That every time you cloaked yourself in the silky softness of this sweater, you would feel wrapped in luxurious love.
 I prayed you would internalize the truth about your identity.  You are wonderfully made, unique for the purposes God has in His mind's eye just for you--plans with your very name on them.

As surely as that name is inscribed on the palms of His hands, He will never abandon you.  
You are indeed His favorite.
As I constructed lace and diamonds, I prayed that you would know the symbolism of being robed in purple, your favorite color.  You walk in royalty, elegance and refinement.
Lest those attributes weigh too heavily upon your ten-year-old heart, you should know that lavender is the girlish version of the stately purple.
I asked that you would have the freedom to be a child.  That the femininity and fun of lavender would be evident in your laughter and thoughtfulness, your innocence and playfulness, your ponderings and piercing questions.
May you grow in grace and serenity--secure and confident and capable.
So now, as you wear a visible expression of my love, you might remember these prayers of my heart for your heart.

And if you don't, it's ok.
I will.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

So Many Jasmines

Costume parties have always been Calla's jam.
Never one to shy away from drama or excess when it comes to celebrations, she opted for an Arabian Nights theme to ring in her birthday this year with 30 of her closest friends and family.
We spent a few hours on preparation.
Or maybe a zillion.
For sure, we commented that no one was going to be as obsessive about costuming as we were.

 But with the first shrieks of guests' arrivals, I knew we had underestimated our friends' over-the-top capacities.
While Calla and I had merely altered old skirts and t-shirts with bling and fantastical trim from the bazaar, some gals had burned the midnight oil two nights in a row sewing shiny harem pants and Jasmine wigs from scratch.
It was a fanciful start to a magical evening.

And now I invite you...
Come along on a magic carpet journey to a Central Asian Arabian Night.

Costume optional, but you could grab a towel and make a quick turban.

We dined on dates and figs and falafel.
Baklava, hummus, roast chicken and couscous.
 We danced in the candle-lit darkness.
(Some skillfully belly-danced like they'd practiced.)

 There was swordplay.
And ginger lemon tea drinking.

 There were the best of friends who happen to be colleagues.

 Musical Magic Carpets
 Some people cheated.  But no one cared.

 Real tulips topped the homemade cake by our Italian friend.
I think the onlookers are enjoying it as much as the birthday girl.  Perhaps she's enchanted them?
We topped off the evening with Aladdin on the big screen.
Then we all flew to our own pillowed palaces.  Shining, shimmering, splendid...
It was snowing like crazy which is unusual for Arabia in February.

 My sultan and I were honored by your presence.
The belt buckle though.

Monday, February 10, 2020

I Can't Cook Small

You can buy eggs a lot of different places in Kstan.  The supermarket, the bazaar, the little shop just down the street.  If you patronize the latter, you can purchase two eggs for your recipe and be on your way.  Or 30 if you're expecting a crowd.
But we have connections with a producer, who just happens to be everyone's friend.
Theo called him this morning since we were dangerously low.
"Hello, Ergash Aka?  We need some eggs.  Yes, five cassettes."
Theo likes eggs.  
Ergash Aka brought them by this afternoon.
Size discrepancies always have me thinking about chickens' self esteem. 
 I got inspired by all those lovely orbs and by the spinach Calla had found at the bazaar.
I started figuring out who might be coming for supper and how much I would have to multiply my souffle recipe by. 
Then I doubled it.
I may have quadrupled it.
Because, hello, you don't want to be short on souffle.
 Calla pulled the third one out of the oven and I snapped double perfection.
How does she look this cute after a long day at work??
 All those years cooking for nine people have stretched my recipe elasticity to no-return.

Just thinking about baking a single batch of anything makes my measuring hand twitchy.
I might need a support group.

In the meantime we'll be eating fallen souffle for awhile...

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Weekend Doings

Friday afternoon kicked off our weekend with a notice from the post office.  Actually a guy rode his bicycle to our house to announce that we should come and pick up a package at Pochta #1.
 It was apparently too large for a bicycle delivery.  So Theo and I made our way through mosque traffic (Friday is holy day) and the mobile circus traffic to reach the illustrious postal building.
 We were excited; we don't receive many packages.  (Like one or two a year.) It's clear why that is when you see the postage my mom forked over for this one--over 60 bucks.  Yikes.
What fun surprises were inside though!
Then yesterday, Curt and I found ourselves suddenly childless.  The other household members made for the hills to ride horses.
You can bet we took advantage of it.
Date Day at the new Stroi Park!  
Stroi Park is like Home Depot, Menards, Lowe's and Versailles all rolled into a giant mall in Jbad, KG.
We needed a couple new faucets.  But we found SO MUCH more.  

  We exercised great restraint.
We bought two faucets, two light bulbs, and one fiddle leaf fig.
We also visited not one, but TWO grocery stores, and we ate steak and kebab at the local fast food joint where Curt's knees got stuck under the vertically-challenged table.
We are high-rollers livin' life in the carpool lane.

Meanwhile the kids were breathing clean mountain air and trying to stay in the saddle.  Save Zadie, who was riding bareback, holding on to Calla for all she was worth.

This morning, Calla and I stared in wonder as the sun pinked up blue mountains.
 The horse riders moaned a bit about sore muscles and other body parts, Curt installed the new faucets, and I looked up how to care for my new plant.
Turns out, they're rather finicky.  Great.  A fussy Fiddle Leaf Fig.
In a flurry of positive thinking and blind faith, I decided to make a rope pot for dear Figgy.  Just to give him a reason to live.

 Now there's a rousing game of Dutch Blitz playing out on our living room floor and Kombucha making going on in the kitchen.  I'm munching dark chocolate and willing Figgy to stay strong.

You too, fellow weekenders.
Mist yourselves, enjoy bright but not direct sunlight, and stay clear of drafts. 

Hemp rope optional.

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