Some Musings from June 2024

At this time of typing, I am 32 weeks pregnant with baby #2. I was feeling great just a few days ago, then suddenly overnight, as if the baby had gained 3 pounds, I can barely get to the other side of the room without needing to lie down in between. Hard to believe there are still 2 more months to go. And speaking of sudden changes, Naomi, my almost 3-year-old, slowly and then all at once, lost her baby looks. Just yesterday when I looked at her from a distance, I noticed (with a tear in my eye) that she looked like a proper yapping little girl. Of course, she still likes to be babied and lights up when I reassure her that she will always be my baby. Children are precious.

More natural dyeing

On the other hand, there are so many things I want to wrap up before the baby is here. I’m currently working on a baby quilt (never quilted before in my life). To make things harder for myself (I have a knack for doing that), I am hand-dyeing all of the fabrics from natural ingredients. I have already completed most of the dye. Just a few more dye baths to go from food scraps that I have diligently saved over the years…avocado pits, rotting blueberries, and expired oolong tea.

Speaking of dyeing, I recently made an indigo noren (curtain) using the traditional Japanese itajime technique and I really love how it turned out. Indigo dyeing is fairly new to me, but it’s thrilling and addictive. There is something so immersive and raw and magical about a) creating the indigo dye vat (from the sweet aromas of the boiling bananas to make fructose to the earthy aromas of the indigo) and b) seeing your fabric oxidize from green to blue before your eyes. And don’t get me started on the beautiful colour of indigo itself. I could weep. It’s almost unfathomable to think that before industrialization, people sought far and wide for specific colours. Colours from natural materials just show up differently. Even though my natural dyeing journey began only a few years ago, I have no doubt this will be a lifelong pursuit. If you’re interested in dipping your toes in natural dyeing too, I have taken a course from Maiwa, which was very comprehensive. I have also purchased educational content from The Dogwood Dyer and from Kayla Powers, who continues to be a muse.


I want to highlight a few books that I have enjoyed recently, starting with everything by Deborah Levy. I blew through 4 of her books in succession (Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living, Real Estate, and Hot Milk). She is one of those writers whose point of view and sentences I JUST want to lick up and savour. She paints the mundane with a shimmering, otherworldly quality, which makes me want to look at my life through the same lens.

A quote from Hot Milk that I liked: “I waded into the sea up to my belly button, which is the oldest human scar.

I also recently read the hot new title All Fours by Miranda July. I liked it for its sharp observation of the conflict of the self of a mother and a creative. “As a girl I fantasized about the perfect dollhouse, now I fantasize about the moment when I would finally reveal what I’d been making in the garage and be suddenly seen, understood, and adored.” Admittedly, very relatable. “Extended trips, school holidays, a child being too sick to go to school, these things run a chill down the spines of working mothers whose freedom is so precarious to begin with.” Also relatable.

And now I am making my way through I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself by Glynnis MacNicol. On the surface it’s about a middle-aged, childless single woman seeking pleasure (food, sex, beauty) in an empty Paris during the pandemic, but there is a deeper level of self reflection that questions her existence, her visibility (or lack thereof?), and her right to pleasure. The writing is good and it makes me nostalgic for Paris.

There is definitely a theme of what I gravitate towards these days: words from older, wiser women who have gone through their tumultuous early adulthood. I want to know what it is like to be on the other side of the “battle” as I contend with aging and a sudden change in identity post-motherhood. Is there joy? Is there pleasure? Their thoughts and perspectives have surely fermented over those decades – what are they like?

House update

It’s been 5 months since we’ve moved in. Hard to believe because we had people working in or outside the house almost everyday, but all the major stuff has been wrapped up now – the driveway is paved, the landscaping is mostly done, and all the deficiencies addressed. Just a few more odds and ends, like curtains and shutters. Alex from Bespoke Woodwork recently installed a shoe cabinet that was modelled after the Japanese genkan and it’s brought a totally different vibe to the entry way. I am obsessed.

a preview of the photoshoot of the genkan

The interior photo shoot was wrapped up recently so I am excited to share those soon! I will do a proper review of the experience and design once those photos are out.

Career pause

I am on a career pause as I wait for this baby to come. After leaving my corporate job with the arrival of my first, I have not returned to work for multiple reasons, one of which is because I had decided to go back to school. However, being the primary caregiver, progress on my courses has been frustratingly slow and I am having doubts about ever finishing the masters program. It’s obscenely expensive and quite frankly a little useless? Even though I made the choice to walk away from proper “work”, if I am being honest, I felt like I couldn’t manage both the job (which is specific to my situation) and primary care-taking in a way that I wanted to. I skipped a whole semester of school because Naomi was sick for 2.5 months straight. As Miranda July aptly put it in her All Fours book, “without a child I could dance across the sexism of my era, whereas becoming a mother shoved my face right down into it.” I like to lament about this, about the motherhood gap, about how afraid I am of perishing without proper “work”, to Sam every other week. After reading this book, it occurred to me that my creative work of late has been home-making. I have been busy making our home from the ground up, the last year feeling almost like a full-time job – finishing this house, getting it to a lived-in state, injecting it with beauty, and putting hot food on the table. Yet there is enough self-loathing over that label for me to not want to touch it with a ten-foot pole. That’s my own baggage. Because on the other hand, I practically kneel before the gods of domestic art – weaving, sewing, cooking, baking, mending, decorating, etc etc. Those subjects are such a core part of my creative interest and pursuit that they feel akin to a person’s life “work”. I don’t know what it all means yet and what shape my career will take postpartum, but right now I’m working on not feeling hot shame when someone asks me what I do for work. The more I think about all this identity stuff and whether or not I have any right to complain, the more I spiral over the absurdity of it all. But you know what’s not absurd? Music. Poetry. Art. Comedy. And with that, I want to share a poem that I have been reading and re-reading this season.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches by Mary Oliver

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky—all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

for more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then—open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.