Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

February 25, 2008

the candle's lit!


Liza's in labor! Liam's coming today! So I've lit the candle Suzanne gave me to signify this wonderful event. Prayers and thoughts go out to one special little family.

Baby Liam was just born! It was about 8:15 pm when I got the call. Mama and baby are doing fine, which is all I need to know. Teresa and Maya are running around in circles, singing, "Liam's birthday! Liam's birthday! Liam is born! Liam is born!" (Later on, at bedtime, they would all sing several rounds of prayers for Liam. Very sweet to hear.) Hooray!

And here's the candle, completely exhausted. Which is probably how the proud parents and that sweet baby are feeling about now after their journey. That's pure conjecture, of course. I know one woman who said, as soon as she had given birth to her first child, "Let's do that again!" I've never heard of that before or since, though. In any case, lots of love to that great mother-heroine, Liza!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2008

the origin of the perfect pancake companion

(Georgia and Maya getting in a little bird watching before the tour started)

Well, we finally made it out to the sugar maple grove (actually called a 'sugar bush') in time to see the sap flowing and to learn everything you can imagine about maple syrup. It was a little bit like a boring class fieldtrip (and Maya and I had to play hooky at the end and go eat chips in the car) but I did learn a lot and Georgia was totally engrossed.

Here are the things I thought were interesting:

Provenance: They claimed that maple syrup is totally North American and that no other continent produces it. I wonder if that's true.

History: In protest to slavery, maple syrup was used instead of cane sugar (produced with slave labor). I think that gives maple syrup a certain awesomeness even beyond the obvious.

Origin: Native Americans discovered/invented it (of course) and kindly taught the skill to the Europeans that encroached on their lives.

How to make maple syrup: The making of maple syrup has changed very little since it's invention. You just boil the sap to evaporate the water out of it. Here's what the Native Americans used to boil their sap back in the day: a wooden trough with hot rocks stuck in straight from the fire. Makes a great hissing, roiling sound, a big cloud of steam, and a smell like caramel corn cooking. Some nasty ashes in there though.

(Our guide had just told us it was time to move on to the next station. Before this moment, everyone had their heads in the steam, but there was so much of it that you couldn't see the trough.)

Iron pots eventually replaced the troughs and then this evaporator was invented maybe in the late 1800s and the design hasn't changed much even today.

Here's one in the 'sugar shack' where we heard about hydrometers, warming tanks, etc. and tasted sap (not very sweet at all, vaguely plant-y).


How to get sap from a maple tree: Maya and I ran away for this part, but apparently you just walk up to any unsuspecting sugar maple tree, drill a hole in it, shove a spile in it (that's the little spigot thing), and hang up a bucket under your spile. That's it. Here's a volunteer hammering in a spile:


And here's Maya tasting the sap that came dripping out:


The best part: For the first time in my life I have a reason to not want spring to come. See, there's only a small window of time in which maple tree sap can be collected and that window closes as soon as it gets warm enough for the buds to swell on the branches. Last year in Illinois the time between when it was warm enough for the sap to flow and when the buds on the maple trees swelled up and got ready to leaf out was only two weeks! With that little time for collecting, Funk's Grove was out of syrup by late summer. (But what can you expect? They only tap 7000 trees!) Usually here it's more like three weeks, and ideally four. In colder places the season's longer. Only two weeks to collect that 40 gallons it takes to make each gallon of amber goodness. Come on mushy 40 degree weather! Let's make it last! I want my syrup.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:01 PM | Comments (3)

February 20, 2008

now and then

Angeline and Kia's quilt

I spent an absolutely wonderful weekend with my oldest friend, Angeline, who's getting married next month, and her sister Badieh and her family. She's very modern and fashionable (as well as being very loving and tender-hearted) so I made her a quilt in a (hopefully) modern style using the colors from her wedding invitation. I always try to learn something new with each quilt, and this time there were many new things: hand cutting the angles on each piece to try to make them all different so that to look funky, using colors that are to someone else's taste but still trying to make it look good in my eyes, machine-quilting paisleys, and generally trying to make it look fashionable in that updated 70's way. It was well received but if I did it again I would probably reverse the color scheme so that it would be more subtle.


As always, I really enjoyed my time to myself. To actually get to complete a sentence without interrupton while catching up with friends was so great. Just like old times. Except we're all so much older now! It's really weird because we're still the same people but we're not thirteen any more. Kind of hard to reconcile because I don't feel much different than I did then.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:49 PM | Comments (7)

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!


Here's a picture of sisters being loving to one another for your valentine's day happiness.


Here's one of the 'out takes'. But look, a rare Georgia-smiling-for-the-camera-moment just barely captured.


Here's what happened right after the above pose was dispersed. Teresa crowed like a rooster. It was pretty great.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2008

Great things the girls said today

Teresa: There are no mo dryers (blow dryers) in the world. The world is a sweet place. The world is so sweet, I'm going to lick it.
Georgia: Daddy, did you know that without salt there would be no mummys?
Maya (to Georgia): I only want to play school if I can be in college.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2008

check out chile

Here's another good thing: my wonderful aunt Jane and uncle Michael have started a travel story weblog about their recent trip to Chile. It's called "Chile: Cultural and Geographic Encounters". I love stories about far away places that make you feel like you've been there. Plus pictures, of course.

The address is: http://encuentroschile.blogspot.com/.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2008


I can really feel the days getting longer! It's so nice to wake up to a sunny morning. More good things about February: Liam's going to be born this month!!!! Also, it's maple syrup season and time for me to book a tour at Sugar Grove (www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org) so we can go see how it's done. I usually don't think of this in time because what could possibly be harvested in February? But this year, I'm all over it.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:04 PM | Comments (3)

February 05, 2008

an excess of water and fame

The backyard is a lake today. You can't drive into the park across the way, the creek's too high, maybe it's come up to the bridge. Pretty exciting weather for February. A few daffodils have poked through, thinking this was a spring deluge. Go back! You're gonna freeze!

When I drove up to our local polling place to vote in the primary, I saw Dan Keding getting into his car. (He's our local famous person, lives up the street and is a world famous story teller.) I got all excited and pretended like I would actually go up to him and ask him to tell the kids a story while they waited in the car with Khalil. Like I would even say hi. Celebrity makes me so nervous, I tend to shun anyone I think is famous. It's kind of silly. Billy has the opposite reaction. He talks to anyone famous he can find, just like they were anyone else. He doesn't want them to be lonely just because they're famous. Much more in line with the idea of the equality of humanity, I guess.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2008

playing on the ice

Here's something beautiful: Billy taking many girls out to play on the ice in the woods and taking gorgeous pictures of them playing.


(I'll put a couple more up soon. I'm having trouble adjusting to working with pictures on the laptop.)

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2008

me and her

It's February! Yeah! Another winter month has been slogged through. And this next one has a few fun things in it. A bridal shower, Ayyam-i-Ha, Valentine's Day, new glasses for my eyes, a weekend for myself.

And I've got my eye on the Fast (where Baha'is fast from sunrise to sundown for 19 days). I want to get myself ready for it because last year was the first year in a long time and it was REALLY hard. I have a theme to think/pray about this year during the Fast. It's women at war/women at peace. When I think about what it might be like to be me in a country that had a war going on in it, trying to get the things done that I do every day, my heart just gets all bursty and my problems just get all trivial. It makes me want to invent some huge art installation that shows how connected I am to that woman, how she is my sister.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)