Most who read this blog know that our daughter is a tomboy. The genuine article. Dyed-in-the-wool. Unadulterated. Though I did secretly hope for a tomboy, I did not press her to be one. The love of ball sports and daredevilry, along with the utter disregard for anything frou-frou, frilly or sparkly (she actually denies it fervently every time I tell her she's cute, and doesn't even dignify the word "pretty" with a response), was hardwired into her from the get-go. It is none of our doing. So it is pure comedy to watch her "shave" next to her daddy. She used to try to do it with his razors, until we were forced to buy her a plastic "shaving" kit with kid-friendly (Spiderman brand) shaving cream.
She climbs up on the toilet lid so as to be able to perform her ablutions flank by flank with her dear old dad.
The girl really is too much, don't you agree?
The one compliment that does not make her frown and shake her head is "You make mommy laugh!"


We spend a lot of time walking when we're in NYC. It's one of the great pleasures of that city, along with the food, the museums and the street style.
It feels good to start at one end of the city and end up, after much zen meandering, on the other.
We made a point of passing by the public library on this trip in order to visit the legendary library lions. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, Q was fast asleep in her stroller and we didnt' have the heart to wake her, foiling our second attempt in two years to introduce her to these noble beasts.
Ah well. There's always next time. Myself, I am floored anew by their beauty each and every time. Somehow I forget, from one time to the next, the power they wield in those haughty gazes. It's no wonder, I suppose, that they have such a far-reaching mystique.
We also stopped in to Chelsea to visit a blog friend, the illustrator Kate Neckel, whose edgy surf/skate inspired style I've admired since first discovering her blog. Q had the chance to visit with her lovely kids, and discovered that she shares a Spiderman fixation with Kate's son.

A couple of Kate's illustrations:

Back to the hotel, where Q very much enjoyed roaming around the beautiful lobby.
Sharing the gilded sofas with the pair of bunnies that our friend Johnny presented her with the day she met him for the first time. They were her constant companions throughout the trip, and now share pride of place at the end of her bed.
Our little Eloise in the making.


I can't really list this post in my "favorite things" category, since this is a product I have not yet tried. So I'll have to designate it among "intriguing things", which it most certainly is!

One of my blog readers tipped me off to the WienerBlut (translates as "Vienna blood") brand of scents created by her brother.

I looked it up and was instantly intrigued. The website has the feel of a multimedia installation you might find at a contemporary art museum. The eerie, whispery soundtrack with undertones of ghosts from a bygone era. The scratchy arthouse visuals that smack of old projectors and musty rooms. Clearly not your typical perfume company. There's something edgy and extremely contemporary here, a departure. Again, I have not smelled these scents myself, but you can read about them here and here. WienerBlut founder Alexander Lauber based his scents on the 19th century tradition of handkerchief perfumes. They are handmade in Vienna. Klubwasser, his first (unisex) scent, employs essences of oakmoss, hay, cumin and coriander.

Now, I've mentioned before that I'm picky about scents. I have a strong aversion to nearly all traditionally feminine scents, and I usually resort to either men's scents or very clean, woodsy unisex scents (my old standby being Hermés Eau d'Orange Vert). So I am attracted to the elements of this scent. Hay, oakmoss, and spices...these are things I can get behind. Because, quite frankly, things like rosewater, vanilla and (heaven forbid) gardenia make me gag.

Now, here's the catch: WienerBlut's first scent, Klubwasser, is at present only available at Collette in Paris, Breathe in Berlin, and Campomarzio70 in Rome.

So, uhm....anyone tried it yet? I'm dying to know what you think!


Just a bit more about the butterfly pavilion...
Because between Q and the butterflies, there was just so much loveliness to capture.

I love beetles, too. Do you? They're just such wonderful little pieces of natural architecture. I always want to draw them.

Look at this flagrantly virtuoso display of nature's artistry. Did you ever? It really takes the breath away to see all the varieties together like this. Simply miraculous.

Oh, and then?...
...there was the zipline.

I didn't want you to think that, because she's a little squeamish about bugs, the Q has entered a timid phase. She is the same sporty, thrill-loving, daredevil tomboy as she has ever been.
So we should not have been surprised that her first encounter with a zipline was epic.

She took one look at it, and there was no hesitation in her face. Of course, she had daddy with her for support. She knows how to hang, thanks to her weekly gymnastics practice, but her little arms are still tiny.

She must have done the zipline six or seven times in succession before we dragged her away (kicking and protesting).
The look on her face was priceless. I have never seen her shiny little face glow with such broad, unfettered glee. It won't be long before she's doing this on her own, I know.

Oh, our little thrill-seeker. We can't protect her forever, but for now she still allows our sheltering arms to keep her safe.


Lost, the final season...
All your questions will be answered...
Q and the Butterfly Pavilion (in which none of your questions will actually be answered).

So, clearly, it's not actually spring yet. But it is that borderline between February and March, the seasonal hinterlands where I get bogged down in some sort of vague seasonal disorder each and every year.
It's always a rough season for me, and so it was the perfect time to visit the warm, boggy greenhouses of the local butterfly pavilion. Not the first visit for my husband and I, but the first visit for the Q, which makes it a landmark, hence a banner opportunity for many, many photos.

Q is a little bit afraid of bugs (one of the very few things she is afraid of) so butterflies were a bit marginal for her. She wasn't freaked-out, but she was a bit subdued.

A Dr. Seuss flower.
Many, many Dr. Seuss flowers.
Yet more Dr. Seuss flowers.
And then she found her confidence and cut loose.
A small girl visiting with one of the local denizens.
Q making friends in the faux jungle.
This is Rosie, the resident tarantula. My husband is not a fan of tarantulas. But I myself have been eagerly anticipating the day when I might have an excuse to let Rosie tickle my palm with her furry little feet.

Because I AM a tarantula fan. When I was small and spending half of every year on our ranch in Southern Colorado, my father was the champion of tarantulas in our region. Tarantulas, coyotes, and rattlesnakes, actually. My father was their best friend. When everyone else in the area considered them all pests, and would do their best to run over them when they happened to have the poor judgement to cross the road, my father would actually stop the car, leap out, and run into traffic in order to save the life of whatever "pest" was in danger.

I saw him save the life of many a tarantula during my early years, so that it was hardly a surprise the day that he came home from an errand with a gift for my 10-year-old self: a wild tarantula carefully cradled in a box of nails he'd just purchased from the hardware store in town. He had saved it from being run over by a malicious local in a pickup truck, scooped it up on his shovel, and carried it home to his only daughter.

For several years, I had been an avid (if temporary) collector of ants, garter snakes, waterbugs, gophers and field mice. So it was that we already had an easily-adaptable container in which to keep our new friend. We adored him (or her) instantly, though the feeling was not entirely mutual. The tarantula apparently (and understandably) loathed us, and would throw its furry, russet body violently against the roof of its container every time we set a fond finger there in order to stroke it through the mesh.

As a result of its evident distress, we released it into the peaceful and automotive-free wilderness of our acres just a few days later. I have always remembered that spectacular spider with fondness.
Q shows the same propensity for loving animal life as I had as a child. I have a feeling that, like me, she will understand that, while we have a strong desire to come in contact with other species, they are generally far better off left to their own devices.
Corner view: street photography

I've been posting a lot of NYC street shots lately, so for this corner view I thought I'd revisit some of my favorite China street photos, since I'd have to say China was my favorite place for street photography.
We traveled through three different cities in different parts of China, and there were seemingly endless wonderful street scenes to photograph.
These are just a few of my very favorite.
I've posted them all before, so forgive me if I'm being redundant, but I feel like it's been a while, and some of my newer blog readers will have fresh eyes for these.
Perhaps because I was on the verge of becoming a mother myself, I never tired of seeing parents with their children.
These two boys might just rank as my very favorite.
In the Forbidden City.

For more corner views from around the world, swing by Jane's pad.


I'm excited to finally find myself posting our photos of the beautiful Highline park on Manhattan's west side, built from a long-abandoned section of an elevated freight of the best things to happen to NY in recent history.
I'm looking forward to seeing it in summer, but I have to say that winter did not diminish its beauty (we also had a spectacular January day on which to enjoy it).

I particularly love these deck chairs taht they've attached to a section of the remaining track.
What a beautiful way to literally rise above the hustle and bustle of the city and spend some meditative time enjoying an entirely different perspective.

Is this building not straight off the set of West Side Story?
Q and I enjoying the view.