Snow Ollie


Both of my dogs were flabbergasted by the snow that made its way to our house in Southern California a few weeks ago. The first time Ollie touched it he jumped about a foot in the air. Do you see his tongue? Is that not the cutest thing ever?


Murphy did not have such qualms. His terror quickly dispelled to anxiety that someone was going to touch his snow. It was all his. And he could not traipse through it fast enough to explore and guard it. The snowgnome threw him for a loop, though.


Once Ollie saw Murphy jumping through the terrifying whiteness he became a little more brave. He wanted to explore, but because of his love of cars, we had to put a leash on him lest he decide to go give a car a hug and become an unfortunate victim to his love.


I decided to take a few pictures with him in the snow just for fun. I had purchased this dress on a popback from Anthropologie for $30, so it is sold out now. It is all one piece. Anthropologie’s Layered Shirtdress is also a layered more work appropriate one piece dress and I wrote about my favorite layered one-piece last year. Free People’s Lily Dress is a sweet design in a similar vein. I guess I like the ease of an all-ready-put-together ensemble. Although I will admit part of me feels like a child in this. Perhaps it is the pigtails?



Look at that face. It is pure love right there. Ollie looks pretty happy, too.


Do you own any easy pieces that look like more but are actually one item? Do your animals like the snow? Ollie spent about five minutes in it and then he was done. Murphy, on the other hand, would have stayed outside all day in it if we would have let him.

But we didn’t.

I don’t know if his little heart could have taken the harsh reality of the sun melting all of his icy treasure. I think he is still looking for it. He probably thinks Ollie ate it all.

Which would not really surprise any of us… Except Ollie.

P.S. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has made me as happy as this Instagram account in a very long time. It is Matilda_and_Kiki. The owner is documenting her newborn bulldog puppies several times a day. Sometimes with video. It is my family’s new favorite thing to check on the internet. The cuteness is heartwarming and I want to just grab two of the puppies and rub them on my cheeks!

The Girl With Three Thumbs


It is funny the memories one’s mind chooses to hold onto. A smidgen of information about childhood formed in a handful of brief flashes. I cannot recall to mind the first day I started school. Nor the last. I cannot remember the shape of the dining room table we ate at, night after night in those early years. But I can recall with a vividness beyond what should be, the formation we sat in in our kindergarten class.

Our names written on masking tape marking the spot on the ground where we were to sit. The first few days, the letters meaning nothing and then over time, they became as part of the every day as the nose on my face.

I was Jenni. This was different than the other Jennis in class. We also had a Jeni and a Jenny. My mother was always adamant that my name would end in an “i.” And so it was that it became and so it was that it is to this day.

We would sit quietly on the mat. Our legs criss-crossed, and called a politically incorrect term. One of the first things taught to all of us children was to sit upon the ground with our legs folded. A formation that continues in our current schools with a slightly different name.

I have no idea who sat to the left of me. It was not one of the Jennis. I do not know if it was a boy or a girl. I do not remember our knees touching or our shoes colliding. My focus was entirely upon the girl to my right. I do remember her name, but we will not use it here. I shall call her Charlotte. For reasons only I will know.

I am sure while we were all sitting on the ground with our knees in salute, our teacher must have been teaching us something. But the entire time I sat there, my focus was upon one thing. And it had nothing at all to do with school. My mother had always told me that it was impolite to point. I am sure she also taught me that it is impolite to stare. However, a five year old stumbling upon something from a fairy tale seated right beside her, could not help oneself.

I was mesmerized.

Charlotte had two thumbs. Oh, yes, I know. We all have two thumbs. However, Charlotte had two thumbs plus one. Upon her right hand, she had two thumbs. One was much thinner and smaller than the other. A shriveled twin to its functioning sister. I loved it. I was insanely jealous of her gift. For to me, it was a gift. An abnormality to be sure, but so different. So wonderful. I had no idea that nature could go awry. I did not know that human beings could be created differently other than in books.

Because Charlotte’s thumbs were upon her right hand, and I sat upon her left, it was at an awkward direction that I would have to turn my head to stare at her appendage. Thankfully, in addition to crossing our legs, our teacher frequently also had us cross our hands. And so I could gaze down at Charlotte’s wonder with ease whenever our teacher felt we were in need of structure.

Sometimes this would be difficult. At the time, I was Charlotte’s only friend. She was a quiet girl who whispered answers and even then it would take much prodding for her to do that. She had long coarse black hair that curled at the ends. Even though it was long enough that she could sit upon it, she never did so. She took to putting her head down at such an angle that her hair would almost completely cover her face. Hiding in its stringy shadows, she could escape from inquisitive children and ignore curious eyes.

This actually proved to be beneficial to me, because I could stare at her hands without her noticing. Although looking back, she obviously knew what I was doing. I probably provoked her into her solitary cave of hair with my rude envy, but I did not think about it at the time.

Every day I would sit next to Charlotte. Charlotte with her wonderful thumbs. I never asked her about them. To me, they were simply there. She had more than the rest of us. She had extra. And more is always better. And extra did not need to be explained.

One day I went to school and Charlotte was not there. You would think this would mean I finally paid attention to my lessons, but alas, that was not so. With Charlotte gone, her name sat all alone on the floor. The tape peeling at the corners, collecting bits of black fuzz and countless specks of dirt. I would stare at the letters of her name. She had more than I did. A different variety. The girl seemed to be blessed with an abundance that the rest of us were lacking.

Charlotte was gone for a week. I was relieved when she finally returned. I had begun to pay attention to my lessons and there was no fun in that. She sat down on the floor beside me and that is when I noticed she was different. On her right hand, she had a white bandage. It covered where her small, innocent extra thumb had laid. I stared at the gauzy covering with alarm. And for the first time all year, I felt eyes upon my own. I looked up and Charlotte was staring back at me. Her stance was defiant. Her mouth was set. And I knew in that moment that she did not like my attention upon her hand. That she never had. I felt the heat of embarrassed shame creep up my neck and I averted my eyes from Charlotte’s penetrating accusation to our teacher’s back.

This did not stop me from stealing glances each day at the hand. I was not sure what was under the bandage, but I had a heavy sick feeling in my stomach that I knew. I was terrified of the gauze being removed. I did not want to see what mysteries it held.

But as the saying goes, time does heal all wounds. And one day, Charlotte came to school without a white bandage.

I nervously looked down at her hand. Instead of the dainty, precious appendage that had once lay next to its stronger, more useful digit, there lay instead an uneven furious red jagged scar.

It was appalling.

The hows and whys were too numerous for my young soul to count.

Why would someone remove a perfectly wonderful abnormality?

What happened to it?

Where did it go?

I could not bear to look at the empty space where a miracle had once existed. After that day, Charlotte began to wear her hair clipped behind her ears. She still whispered when she spoke but did so more frequently. She became best friends with another little girl in class. A louder girl. They became inseparable and the last time I saw either one of them had been at our high school graduation. I was not invited into their fold. And if the truth were to be told, I did not want to be.

For Charlotte’s differentness had never scared me. I found it fascinating. I found her an enigma crawling with unanswered questions of the universe. But from the moment she removed her special, she alarmed me. It made me unexplainably angry. She became just like the rest of us. Which as an adult I imagine was greatly to her relief and exactly the reason she had her surgery. But to me, the odd child searching for the eclectic among the mundane. Hoping that the tedious normalcy I had begun to view in the everyday world was a deceptive barrier from the truth. I wanted the fantasy of magic. The wonder. The infinite answers. To be more. Charlotte had had more and she chose to remove it. What did that mean? Why would one choose to be normal when you could choose to be more? Charlotte once had two thumbs plus one. Eleven appendages upon her hands. Twenty one digits to count with. One more finger than all of the rest of us.

At the age of five, I grieved for her loss. And for my own. I had never had the opportunity to hold her hand in my own. To stroke the small little marvelous irregularity. To ask all of my questions and dance in the happiness of the unknown. I hastened to try to make sense of what she had done. And I couldn’t.

Charlotte had once been The Girl With Three Thumbs.

And now she was minus one. Just like the rest of us. Just like me. Just.

Vintage Kantha Ensemble


Two years ago, Anthropologie came out with a dress made from vintage Kantha fabric.

At the time I had just lost sixty pounds (I would go on to lose more) and I had very little clothing that fit me. It felt like a miracle to find this dress that seemed like it came from my dreams.


The dresses were by my favorite designer, Vineet Bahl.


Each one was different and unique as they were made from vintage fabric.


I paired the Vintage Kantha Dress with these kantha clips I purchased this year from Free People. I love that they match the dress perfectly.


I own four of these dresses.


Yes. Four! Each one is more amazing than the next. The inside of each dress is done in a different vintage Kantha fabric. This one has a purple Kantha inside. I have been trying to figure out how to wear them inside out, too.


These dresses are my favorite pieces of clothing in my closet. If I had to choose one item to personify me, this would be it.


The coin necklace seemed like a good fit on this day (similar here).

Look at that detail on the dress.

I just love it so much.


I cannot wait to share the rest of my Kantha dresses. They are so special to me. I own them in orange (shown here), pink, maroon, and green. I would buy more if they were available.

I bought mine on a discount. The maroon one was a steal. But, regardless of price, they are the pieces of clothing in my closet I would save in the event of a fire (after family, pets, documents and art, of course).

What one item in your closet personifies you? How long have you had it? Do you own more than one?

Opossum, My Opossum


I remember the first time I saw an opossum, the elusive creature dramatized in books by their climbing and playing dead skills. I imagined they were sweet and cuddly. The perfect fantasy creature. In high school, we went on a field trip to a college. I do not remember anything about the campus. The teachers. Even the name of the school escapes me. What I do remember is looking up from the bus window and spotting the creature of my dreams.


I always associated college with opossums after that.

Then we moved further South in Southern California. And I would see opossums everywhere…As road kill on the side of the road.

I did not see a live one until my daughter was in the first grade. There was a mother of a child in the class who thought it would be an excellent idea to bring in a wild opossum in a cage to show the six year old children. She had caught it in her backyard.


She loved it.

So, she brings out this cage covered with a towel and sets it in the middle of twenty children. Then she excitedly pulled the towel off of the cage.

And the hissing commenced.

The creature I had built up in my head was beady eyed with sharp claws and pointy teeth. It was terrifying. I think I was more scared than the children.

The wild animal gnashed its teeth and hissed continuously.

The teacher tried to make her way to the cage as quickly as possible.

“No! Don’t put your fingers in the cage!”

“Don’t touch its tail!”

“Stop screaming!”

This was directed towards me.

The creature thrashed.


A liability nightmare.

The teacher quickly got the situation under control. The cage was recovered. Sent back home with its bewildered momma.

What do you mean this was a bad idea?

After that, I was terrified that we would get an opossum in our trees. I would check for rustling in the bushes. Peek behind the trash cans.

Last week it happened.

My husband saw “the biggest one I have ever seen,” in our front yard.

I blame the carrots.

Just another reason to not go outside at night. You never know what might be lurking.

If you happen to see one…

Just play dead. Turn their own little trick against them.

And then let me know how that works out for you.

In the meantime, I will be making a phone call. I think I know someone who might want a new friend.

*When doing some research to see if, indeed, while we were feeding the bunnies. With carrots. In our front yard. If perchance, we had attracted the opossum. I googled “opossum eats carrots” and found the best commentary in a forum, ever. My favorite new quote, “define mauled.”