Sweet Juniper's favorite albums of 2006

Posted by jdg | Sunday, December 31, 2006 |

Wood and I got together and agreed upon our favorite ten albums that were released this past year. That means we each had others that we liked individually (I loved Destroyer's Rubies and some louder, angrier stuff; she liked some album by some guy who used to be in IN*SYNC) but these were the ones we agreed on. I have included some mp3 downloads, with the usual caveats (for sampling purposes only, will be removed after a week) and if any copyright owners want us to remove them, please let us know.

Jolie Holland- Springtime Can Kill You Crush in the Ghetto (Mp3), the first song on the album, is probably our favorite song on any album we heard this year. It is such an exuberant and sexy song about that feeling of being newly in love; she takes the phrase, "look what you've done to me," which has so much negative potential and turns into an expression of pure joy. Plus I love the idea of depicting a place where so many people can only see only ugliness with a casual sense of its true beauty.

Calexico- Garden Ruin I haven't liked too much of this band's output---on past albums there has been to much -exico and not enough Cal- for me, but I really, really loved this one. Listen: Cruel (mp3).

The Essex Green- Cannibal Sea Wood's absolute favorite from 2006. We've probably listened to it more than 100 times. Our favorite song was included on her summer mix, but we also really like Rue de Lis (mp3).

Sparklehorse- Dreamt For Light Years In the Belly of a Mountain Am I only one who realized a new Sparklehorse album came out this year? Am I the only one who thought it was really good? Listen: Please Don't take my sunshine away (mp3)

Nina Nastasia- On Leaving Wood used to listen to a lot of girly music like this before she realized that most girly music like this is really, really bad. This album, however, is really, really good. Listen: Our Day Trip (Mp3).

Midlake- The Trials of Van Occupanther This one is on everyone's list. Because it's that good. Roscoe (Mp3) is the first song, and a great introduction to the feeling of the whole album.

Guillemots- Through The Windowpane These songs are so catchy. Made-up Love Song #43 (mp3) was on our autumn mix, but here it is again because it's just so good.

Belle and Sebastian- The Life Pursuit I was hanging out with some friends from college last night and one of them put this album on and I realized I had been listening to the songs all year on shuffle, but had never sat and listened to the entire album as a whole. We really loved Dear Catastrophe Waitress and this album is almost just as good. Another Sunny Day (Mp3) is the most traditional "Belle and Sebastian" song on an album where the band breaks from a lot of their own traditions. But that's not a bad thing.

Bishop Allen- The EPs
This is really cheating. I started to like this Brooklyn band last summer, but they didn't put out a single album in 2006. Instead, they ambitiously tried to release an EP every month for $5, and they made it to October. All the EPs are good, and the May one is really kid-friendly too (ukuleles! songs about the Chinatown bus!). September's EP had the excellent song Fireflies (mp3).

The Terrible Twos: If You Ever See an Owl This one would be Juniper's choice. It's some former emo kid turned alt.country guy turned kid's musician; the music ranks pretty high on the tolerability scale as far as kid's music goes. The band is the same as the New Amsterdams, and the songs are clever and not condescending. Juniper loves it. Her favorite song is Smickey (Mp3), which is about being polite after burping and farting. She just likes the "baby" who talks during the song. I always play it when I need to stop all the goddamn hollering.

Enjoy, and if you're in the mood, share with us some of your favorites from the last year in the comments. Happy New Year.

It's pretty pathetic that the only post between street urchins this week was one measly Christmas roundup that I conjured from the bowels of uninspired desperation. Snooping through my urchin collection this morning I came across these guys, and had to post them. I love the dreamy look on the guy on the left's face, and the way he and his friend frame the cozy fellows behind them.

Wood has had half days all week like a kindergartner, so that cut into her prime writing time. On Wednesday night I rattled off all the funny things she could have written about her family over the holidays, like the time her mom ripped a loud one and Juniper totally called her out on it ("Grandma fah-ted!") but Wood looked at me with disgust and said, "Christmas is so last week." I had already written about the time we celebrated New Year's in a Chinese brothel. Plus last night Wood's mom was in town so we called up Melissa and Logan and we all went out to the bars, thus destroying any chance I had to cross my own threshold last night without stumbling like a vaudeville drunk, let alone get anything written.

It must seem, for those who read a parent's blog for enough time, that one can almost watch that blogger's child grow up. In our case, any readers who've stayed with us have seen Juniper go from an adorable little squirming shitbag on whom we projected all kinds of behavior to a talking, whiny toddler that we like to think is potty trained until she pisses on something important. I assume also, that any of you who read this site and Suburban Bliss have watched while a real friendship has grown out of the weird circumstances of the internets. We really love those guys in real life. They are so much fun, and only awkward when Logan drinks Irish whiskey and creates suggestive Venn diagrams on cocktail napkins. Even though we are different from those two (suburban/urban; metrosexual/hairy), we get along great. Last night Logan was going off on one of his diatribes, this time about how much he loves jazz. I had to tell him the truth: I fucking hate jazz. Wood concurred. He looked so wounded, and I said to him, "It's okay Logan, I like hanging out with people who have totally different tastes from me. In fact, I prefer it. I hate hanging out with people with the exact same taste as me." Logan looked at me and said, "Yeah, well, I hate hanging out with people who have the exact same taste as you, too."

So on that note, later today Wood and I will be posting our favorite albums of 2006, with representative MP3s from each album.

"Dad, why are Grandma and Grandpa wasted?"

Posted by jdg | Wednesday, December 27, 2006 |

I remember believing as a kid that the absolute worst evening of the year came on Christmas day. Seeing my parents sitting on the couch at the end of the holiday, so silent and still next to the Christmas tree amid neat piles of clothing boxes and tins of planter's nuts, scraps of uncollected wrapping paper, and molded plastic from the inside of toy boxes, that was always one of the lowest moments of my year. Christmas gifts always made me feel too guilty to truly enjoy them, even when I was very young. The pleasure of receiving gifts was always tempered by the stories my mother told about the families she encountered through her work, parents so poor the only gifts they could afford were hand towels with the names of their children hand-embroidered neatly along the bottom. There were families who exchanged single pieces of fruit; families whose only holiday pleasure was a charity ham; homeless kids who were happy just to get their own toothbrush. Occasionally my family would forgo exchanging gifts altogether, and instead collect boxes of canned goods to deliver to the gospel mission. That was always a lot of fun. I'd like to say doing good deeds made me feel like a better person, but spending Christmas morning watching a bunch of schlumps dressed like lepers get excited about baked beans just made me feel like more of a privileged little shit when I went home to my own bed where there was a minimal chance of being ass raped by a syphilitic hobo with fleas.

The pleasures of Christmas as a kid for me were all in the anticipation, the pageantry of decoration; the strange magniloquence of the carols, sitting in the car at night on the way to grandma's watching the way the snow looked while it fell through the beam of streetlights, or, on the way home, hurtling into the headlights like galaxies. On Christmas night, all that magic was unplugged along with the strings of lights. Christmas night was always heavy with the knowledge that there was no day further away from the next Christmas than that one. And then there was the guilt of all the gifts, the strange dissatisfaction of having all that longfelt desire finally satisfied.

I've been doing my damnedest to instill some of my own holiday neuroses in Juniper to fuck her up as much as me. You know, like only giving her gifts hand made by squeaky-voiced hipsters wearing cat-eye glasses and silk scarves while listening to The Hold Steady in their Ukrainian Village apartments. And hiding half the gifts her grandparents bought her in the basement until July. And for years I have taken it upon myself to give my family "deeply-meaningful gifts" even if that only means it's a helluva lot more work for me and they would have been much happier with a Target gift card anyways.

This year, at Thanksgiving, we visited my parents and during the meal my mother told me her doctor had ordered her to drink a glass of red wine every night, for her heart. This was intriguing, because I had never known my parents to consume any alcohol, except for the one time my dad disappeared after we had driven to Colorado when I was ten (my sister and I had been complaining about everything for two hours before we reached Estes Park, and when we rented a hotel room and complained about it he stormed out and returned smelling like a lite lager and smiling like he didn't give a fuck about anything; it was equally scary and awesome at once). On Thanksgiving Day this year, my father actually gave a delayed encore: he'd thrown his back out the day before Thanksgiving and before we ate dinner he tried a couple Vicodin for the first time in his life. I have never hung out with my dad while high, but after seeing him loopy on codeine I imagine it could actually be kind of fun. My normally-sober father spent Thanksgiving talking like an enthusiastic frat pledge pumped full of elephant tranquilizers. It was weird. Then, that night, true to her word, my mother had her glass of red wine. I caught her pouring about six ounces of cold Franzia merlot from a box in the fridge into one of those red plastic cups you pay five bucks for at college keg parties.

So for Christmas I bought my mom a case of different red wines that came in bottles (bottles with corks). And a wine key. And stem ware. For my dad I bought an eight ball from some guy on the corner of Livernois and Burlingame. Who says you can't go Christmas shopping in Detroit?* Unfortunately, we chose to exchange gifts while my grandmother was there. My grandmother is a wonderful old Dutchwoman who says "catsup" rather than "ketchup" and "crick" rather than "creek" and hangs out with her friends at the retirement village all day discussing what they think heaven is going to be like. Seriously.

When my grandmother saw that I had given my mother alcohol as a Christmas present, the look on her face was the same as if I'd told her that Jesus Christ was nothing more than a new name for the pagan Attis or Mithras, and that elements of the Christ myth could be traced to Dionysus, Zoroaster, and even Osiris. In other words, she looked deeply confused, as though my simple yuletide gesture shook the very core of her beliefs. My mother tried to explain the health benefits of daily red wine consumption, but my grandmother just shook her head and said, "I've never tasted wine." I think Wood did a perfect spit take when she said that. When you go to her Irish-Catholic family gatherings, you can just walk around for 30 seconds with a pint glass and by the time everyone is done happily pouring you a shot of whatever's in the 750-ml bottle they're drinking from you've got yourself a pretty decent long island ice tea.

I'd like to say this story ends with me getting my 80-year-old grandmother drunk on her first glass of wine ever, but unfortunately that didn't happen. At one point she glanced over at the basket of wine I'd brought and told my mother, "now you be careful with that" as though the basket contained twelve slithering vipers with bumblebees in their mouths and scorpions riding their backs. "Remember Grandma," I said: "Jesus turned water into wine; and he drank wine himself at the last supper." This only seems to further her confusion. I think the Dutch Christian Reformed Church censored those parts of her Bible with a black permanent marker, and just ripped out the whole Song of Solomon. On Christmas night after Grandma left, my mom chucked her box of cold merlot and popped off the cork of a bottle of Charles Shaw shiraz. "Wow," she said, sipping some from an actual wine glass. "This is good. It comes from California, huh?" I didn't tell her that in California they call it two-buck Chuck. She drank four ounces, giggled a little and fell asleep on the couch next to the Christmas tree.

Wood and I shuttled back and forth between our parents during the holidays, emptying our tiny car of the gifts we'd bought and then filling it back up again with the gifts we were given. Our Christmas Eve and day were so fragmented by shredding paper and travel and naps and hugs. We felt lucky to have this much family, to have this much stuff. On Christmas evening Wood, Juniper, and I drove home to Detroit, opened a few small gifts we'd saved for each other and sat down together in the glow of the Christmas tree, and I felt so wonderfully loved and at peace with the world, and only a little bit guilty. But the most glorious feeling of all came from the knowledge that it would be 364 days before Christmas came again.


*I didn't really buy my dad an eight ball. I bought him about twenty different kinds of mixed nuts. He just called to tell me that he mixed them up together in a giant 5-gallon tub in his shop. He was super excited about it.

Thursday Morning Wood

Posted by jdg | Thursday, December 21, 2006 |

From: Wood
To: Dutch
Date: 12/21/2006
Time: 9:20 a.m.
Subject: pee pee potty?

that baby is probably going to need to pee real soon, if she hasn't done it already. she had a lot of juice at breakfast. FYI.

From: Dutch
To: Wood

Date: 12/21/2006

Time: 9:24 a.m.

Subject: Re: pee pee potty?


just went!


From: Wood

To: Dutch

Date: 12/21/2006

Time: 9:28 a.m.

Subject: Re: pee pee potty?


really? did she go on the floor first, or straight into the pot? big or little? did you ask her if she needed to, or did she come up with it on her own?


From: Wood
To: Dutch

Date: 12/21/2006

Time: 10:17 a.m.

Subject: pee pee potty?


yo, write me back.


10: 45a.m., Wood calls Dutch's cell phone:

Dutch: Hi.

Wood: Hey, what are you guys doing? I just wanted to hear your voice.

Dutch: Here it is.

Wood: Sooooo? Did she pee in the potty on her own?

Dutch: She did, into her little one. I told her she did a good job and then asked if she wanted to wear big girl pants. She said she did, so I put them on her.

Wood: Wow! That's awesome! I'm totally going to owe you $100 if you have this kid potty trained by the new year.

Dutch: An hour later she peed all over the couch. There was a lot of pee. A lot.

Wood: Oh. Sometimes they forget when they're wearing the big girl pants. At least it wasn't your fancy chair.

Dutch: I've gotta go. I've got the couch cushion cover stripped off and it's all wet and I'm using your new hair dryer to dry the foam inside. She's watching Elmo's world while I clean it up. I think I only have a few minutes before it's over.

Wood: You're letting her watch what?

Dutch: I think this Mr. Noodle dude is totally high. Look at him, he's on the pot!

The other day Wood told me that an abandoned building on her way to work was being torn down. "Which one?" I asked, because she walks past probably a dozen abandoned skyscrapers on her way to work. "I don't know," she said. "A white one."

I once spent several hours standing in a forest, watching a mighty tree crack and slowly fall after an ice storm. I was not going to miss this demolition. Juniper and I went with Wood yesterday morning and walked around and around the Detroit Commerce Building in palliative appreciation of its gentle arches and modest ornamentation: this was a building in its final days, thirteen stories that had stood since 1925, sealed off since 1997, now just standing in the way of a parking garage planned for the soon-to-be-restored Book-Cadillac hotel next door. We watched a wrecking ball slam into what had once been one of the largest department stores in a city where everyone once had good jobs and where the city was the place to shop. This building also held dozens of offices and law firms over the years. Those who've been inside it recently say many of the old files and furniture are still in there. That is not unusual. When they demolished a building that once held Motown Records' downtown offices to "beautify" the city before last year's Superbowl, they did not even save Marvin Gaye's desk---some guy exploring the building before it went down found some of Gaye's signed receipts and even a letter to his wife in the desk drawers. Juniper and I spent yesterday morning watching another building and its contents go on its way to nothing more than piles of brick and concrete and a twisted mess of rebar and wiring.

I've been doing this stay-at-home dad thing for about four or five months now, and I have to say it really agrees with me. I have intentionally not written much about it, because I have really been waiting for a day when I could complain about how boring and miserable it is. See, back when I was spending all day away from my kid and sitting in my office gasping for air as all the the sentimentality gushing out of me threatened to drown my be-khakied ass, I figured once I was at home getting a taste of how miserable stay-at-home parenthood actually is I would finally be able to write nasty things about how much being around my kid all day sucks. You know, so I wouldn't sound like such a sappy sonofabitch all the time.

But this lifestyle suits me. I am basically living the life of Riley here, folks. First of all, I don't do a lot of housework. I know that's a real disservice to all the other SAHDs out there slugging it out for equality in the homeplace, but I just don't make "doing dishes" or "picking up" a huge priority every day. Second of all, as far as childcare goes, there's only one of them around here. We play for most of the day; we go to the zoo or museums. She is my buddy. Even without television, she is so easy to distract with all the gewgaws and gimcracks that lie strewn about our house when I have to get something done. Plus, because I am so much bigger and stronger than her, she basically has to go wherever I want her to. I can just scoop her up and carry her around and there's little she can do to stop me. That is the third and most important thing: I love being able to go and do whatever I want. Lately that has meant taking advantage of the warm weather and walking around Detroit's central business district, which pleases us both. She jabbers on and on about the holiday decorations while I think and learn more every day about the city where we've chosen to live. I can't help myself: sometimes I find myself staring at her in my arms, after she's made a funny, smiling face on one adventure of ours or another, and think, Dear God this is exactly what I want to be doing with my life right now. Gag, I know. But bear with me.

When I was growing up, my own father worked from home. He ran his own auto body shop and restored antique automobiles in a building he built in our backyard. He had dozens of his own cars out there, too; most of them arrived in cardboard boxes and left fitted with shiny brass lights and 'uh-ooga' horns, sold to wealthier men who sputtered out of our driveway in the cars my father lovingly restored. I spent my childhood not going on vacations, but going to antique car shows and swap meets around the Midwest, sometimes driving 30 mph for many hours down blue highways in a 1927 Franklin or perhaps a bit faster in a 1931 Buick Phaeton. My dad worked on Packards from the 1920s and Ferraris from the 1960s, but he also repaired dented fenders on Cutless Supremes and Ford Tauri in the eighties when customers asked him to. His favorite era of the automobile was the 1910s through the 1930s, and as far as his personal tastes were concerned there wasn't a car manufactured after 1937 that mattered much. He raised me to respect the curve on a Duesenberg the way some fathers teach their sons about sports, or women. My father taught me that an Auburn automobile is a work of art, and he showed me that he himself was an artist who could turn a heap of rust into a gleaming canvas of steel.

But more than that, one important lesson I think I learned from my dad was to uncompromisingly pursue a life doing exactly what makes me happy. He never said that in so many words, but he showed me by doing what he did, quitting a job he hated to strike out on his own, creating beauty in unexpected ways and always being there when his son and daughter came home from school. I hope that as she grows, Juniper will learn that same lesson from my own life, and from the things we do together.

I have been driving with Juniper past the ruins of old automobile plants, most notably the sprawling Packard campus not far from our house. All around this city there are vacant lots and vacant buildings where other great factories once stood, places where cars were built with names that mean nothing to anyone except people like my dad: Hudson, Lozier, Rickenbacker, Hupp, Reliance, Graham-Paige, and so many others. I sometimes think about those cars when I look up at the empty buildings downtown Detroit; I think about the lives those factories sustained that kept those buildings full of working men and women. But I have been training myself when looking at ruins not to think about the past but to think about the beauty of the ruin itself. This is the city we inherited. What lessons might we learn from these stones?

I like to think they remind us that we are alive.

You might as well start with the truth

Posted by jdg | Monday, December 18, 2006 |

I never would have been cool or sexy enough to write for Nerve, but just by virtue of having impregnated my wife thirty months ago I am now apparently good enough to write for Nerve's new website, Babble, alongside my friends Metrodad, Dad Gone Mad, CityMama, Girls Gone Child, Jay Allen, Alisyn Cobb, Patti Nichols, and two people I've never heard of.

Today my first post is up at Babble's Strollerderby blog. It probably singlehandedly reveals that I am not cool enough to write for that site:

I must have also enjoyed screaming in people's ears and nodding in feigned comprehension at their screamed responses, because I sure spent a lot of evenings doing that, too. And I must have freakin' loved screaming at bartenders and then shelling out fifteen bucks for my wife's well martini and a pint of Anchor Steam four times every weekend night, because that's where a substantial portion of my take-home pay went during the years we spent under the tyranny of obligatory nightlife.

Thursday Morning Wood

Posted by Wood | Thursday, December 14, 2006 |

Juniper's recent vocabulary explosion has unfortunately coincided perfectly with the holiday season, meaning that she's able to identify and convey her total and complete enthusiasm for every single scarved snowman and stuffed Santa that we encounter. And she wants us to sing her Christmas songs. Over and over. And over. We walked into a Hallmark store yesterday to get some giftwrap and her tiny brain practically exploded at the sight of ten thousand tiny statues and stuffed versions of every holiday character she has suddenly decided she loves so much. Dutch said, "That's it. After this stuff is long gone she's still going to whine about it so much we're going to have to take a drive up 75 to Frankenmuth, where it's Christmas 365 days a year. I hope it can be appreciated ironically."

After we left the Hallmark store, we wandered around the rest of Detroit's Renaissance Center, which is a massive, confusing, postmodern structure that always manages to make me feel lost. Dutch never gets lost, though, so we spent our time walking around in there with me making suggestions for which way to go, and Dutch getting progressively less tolerant of my navigation suggestions until he finally said: "Just stop talking. Follow me."

Right after he basically told me to shut up, we came around a corner and found ourselves staring right at Santa. A perfect, chubby whitebearded Santa, sitting in a big green chair amidst the shiny new GM cars in the Rencen's circular showroom, each with a gigantic red bow on its roof. Santa was all alone except for two middle-aged lady elves. There was no line of excited kids, not even another child in sight. The elves beckoned us over, waving their polaroid cameras excitedly, and practcally begged us to let Juniper pose with Santa for a picture. They had the desperate look of adults wearing goofy costumes for the benefit of children when there are no actual children around. We could legitimize them simply with our presence. Although I knew that Juniper would never willingly sit on Santa's lap, I was eager to give them a reason to justify those costumes. Also, it was free, and that meant Dutch was pulling at my sleeve, muttering that the GM Santa was "way better than one at the fucking mall" and that free is way better than "$14.99 for two 3x5s!" and so I acquiesced, despite being fully aware that my child's hypersensitive stranger anxiety would doom the encounter to a Christmas cliche.

Her full-scale freakout did not disappoint my expectations. Somehow she knew that we wanted her to sit on Santa's lap even though we never made one motion towards doing so. Not wanting to turn away what may have been the only child they'd seen all day, Santa and his elderly elves came up with an elaborate plan: we were to wave goodbye, slowly walk away, and while our backs were turned, Santa would hide behind his large green chair, biding his time until Juniper and I returned and got comfortable in his chair ourselves, at which point he would pop out for the picture. I was pretty sure that it was a surefire way to give her a lifelong anxiety about fat men in red coats with fake white beards springing out from behind every chair she'd ever sit in, but we went along with it anyway. The pictures speak for themselves:

Once we left and she had stopped trembling, she clutched the two small cardstock envelopes with the pictures of her with Santa that the elves had given her. Dutch tells me she stared at them for the entire walk home. When I put her to bed last night, as I gave her the last hug and told her that I loved her, she said, "Juni see Santa. Santa nice." Our child is extremely weird.

Things Done Changed

Posted by jdg | Wednesday, December 13, 2006 |

When Wood was staying home with Juniper, I would usually arrive home from work in time for her dinner. At that time, dinner involved a strenuous effort to convince Juniper to open her mouth for the various hashes and succotashes we prepared for her with tofu, eggs, kale, peas, cheese, black beans, garbanzos, hot dogs, ketchup and other ingredients in combinations that under ordinary circumstances no adult human would ever consume. But after going through the effort to cook it on the stove (we didn't have a microwave in San Francisco) Wood inevitably felt compelled to eat some of the scorned leftovers on Juniper's high-chair tray. I always found this absolutely disgusting, and never failed to let my wife know it.

Two days ago I was walking around with Juniper on my back in one of those emasculating backpack carriers and I stopped at an Indian restaurant downtown to grab some takeout from their lunch buffet, and while I was filling the to-go container to maximum capacity, Juniper dropped a chunk of the brownie that she had been gnawing on for at least ten minutes. It bounced off my shoulder right into a steaming vat of mutter paneer. By reflex I snatched it up with the tongs and dropped it in my palm. There was no trash nearby, and the proprietor's back was turned, so I popped the drooly and gnawed-up brownie chunk covered in dripping pea-and-cheese curry sauce right into my mouth.

I didn't think much about it until we went to bed last night and I told Wood what happened. She laughed and said, "What the fuck's wrong with you? That's absolutely disgusting." I nodded, but was thinking to myself that it didn't actually taste that bad.

405 more reasons not to shop at Wal Mart

Posted by jdg | Monday, December 11, 2006 | ,

For over a year now I have been contributing to a website called Blogging Baby, where I get paid to find, summarize, and add commentary to news stories that are at least tangentially related to parenthood or children. Occasionally my posts rouse some discussion, but most just slip under the radar. Last Friday afternoon, I spent about three or four minutes summarizing a story about an Oklahoma Wal-Mart where a bag of cocaine was found in the toy aisle. I titled the post, "One more reason not to shop at Wal-Mart: cocaine in the toy department," and then added a picture of Juniper crying in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

In the past, I have lamented being such an elitist asshole for judging the good folk whose beautiful downtowns and cities across America have been eviscerated by the big box monstrosities that have sprung up along the highways. I was all romantic and sentimental in a way I am prone to be before somebody does me a favor and knocks me upside the head. In this case, it was AOL's front page linking to that Wal-Mart Cocaine story and suddenly 50,000 people who still haven't figured out how to access the internet without the help of America Online were reading the story, with pissed-off Wal-Mart supporters leaving more than 400 comments. They started getting really nasty, so after about an hour Wood made me take down the picture of our daughter.

The basic outrage behind 98 percent of the comments was that (1) the cocaine could have been left anywhere by anyone, i.e. it wasn't our beloved Wal-Mart's fault!; (2) Wal-Mart is great!; (3) Wal-Mart shoppers are not all trailer trash; and (4) You, Dutch are a terrible father. I felt I had a duty share with you the best comments from the finest minds gathered to defend the honor of Wal-Mart from a simple headline. Here they are, verbatim, mostly in the order they were received, each with the best I can come up with as an appropriate response.

James Adkins: You are conveying the idea that Wal-Mart put that mess(cocain) on the shelves and condones drug use. It might have been put there by a Sears or Target spy. I am not a vivid fan of Wal-Mart, but come-on. This accusation is reduclious. But then everybody wants to bring the Big Boy down, so have your say.

In high school, my friends and I totally brought the Big Boy down once. We took some pictures of him in funny places and then dumped him back on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. That was awesome.


Rena: What gave you the right to sit your daughter down in middle of the parking lot with the WalMart sign behind her and her crying That was very cruel to her just to get a picture.

And I suppose you'd prefer I'd take pictures of her in front of graffiti on abandoned auto factories in the silent streets of northeast Detroit?

kim beasley: It is not walmarts falt that edyits and crack heads are so stupid they put stuff like that were some pressus gift from god can get a hold of it and harm them self so stop blamming it on walmart the only thing they can do is drug test the people that work for them and clear ther employers and there name
. . .
ea if this guy is sooooo smart to he slammes walmart then why tha he--- did he put his baby girl s life in even bigger danger by letting her seat in the parking lot and cry great dad stupid when a baby is cryingf you are supose to hold her and let her know its ok not walk away and take a da--- pic for the puter you are f----ed up parent
. . .
i see dad that put this on the puter you r bad parenting is getting better feed back then your slamming walmarts name so not only is your bad judgement on haveing bringing a gift from god into this world and i do pray hard for little girl and hope you dont get her killed before she gets 18 it is all bad that you indangerd your blessing from god you my man should be casterated

Kim, we're looking for a part-time nanny to take care of our little blessing from god. If you happen to live the the Detroit area and are looking for work, please e-mail me (sweetjuniper @ gmail.com).

justin: Just because one WalMart had some cocaine in the aisle, doesnt mean that all of the wal marts are hiding cocaine for kids to get. More than likely, it was a simple deal gone bad between employees switching shifts. If you want to look at the other side of it maybe. people make too big of a deal out of everything. Plus, there are too many people on the planet as there is! and what would be one less kid running around anyway if they did eat the cocaine? one sad family, but people die everyday for unknown reasons. It is God's way of saying that earth is getting way to overpopulated with people. So he is slimming it down a little. Go God!

You sound just like me during my "the unabomber was right!" days.

Jeff: Your comments and picture are absolutely dispicable. Whether it was an employee or customer losing a gram of cocaine, (no one who uses the stuff is going to "plant" $100 worth of their habit)what difference dose that make? Do you really think a drug user planted it so someone career struggling left tilted journalist like you has Internet fodder?

And as for the moron that calls WM shoppers trailer trash: Aren't you just holier than Art Thou? I'm really impressed with your idiotic comments.

While you're right I am certainly holier than Art Thou (that unholy bastard Art Thou!), I do actually really believe that a drug user planted the cocaine so a career-struggling left-tilted writer like myself would have internet fodder. But get it right, Jeff: I'm a blogger, not a journalist. No legitimate print publication would ever hire me, and besides, I have no ethics to speak of, journalistic or otherwise.

Donna B: I'm with the reader who pointed out how you endangered your child by sitting her in the middle of the parking lot. Have you ever paid attention to how people drive in parking lots? Some one could have easily been speeding through and what you thought would be a "cute" picture could have so quickly turned into the most tragic event of your life. Maybe you need to be a bit more careful in pointing fingers.

Todd Phifer: By the way, the photo of your child is completely tasteless and it has nothing to do with the story. You should be investigated for child abuse for leaving that poor child on the pavement in the parking lot crying while you took the opportunity to take a photograph. Have you seen how some people drive in those lots!!!

ash: im start off by saying that i hate walmart im not a fan! but maybe if they actually did their job at walmart someone would have found it i been in there a few times and you can never find and employee! thank God someone found it before a child did! also that was horrible to leave your child sitting in the parkinglot like that ppl cant fu**ing drive for s**t!!!!!!!!!

I actually agree with you Donna, Todd, and ash, there's absolutely no place more dangerous for children than our nation's parking lots. That's why we live in Detroit instead of the suburbs.

Jose: I have walked around wal mart to kill time before. Many times I've seen people who are high on drugs walking around because it is something to do where they can see a lot of different people while high. Who knows, maybe a cop was getting some deoderant before his shift and the person with the cocaine was going to get caught. Who knows, but drugs could be found anywhere in any store. Wal mart has cheap things that are good.

Dude, Jose, we have to hang out some time.

J.J.: why would u put your baby in the parking lot while she is crying, for a photo? i think it was your coke they found! your not very smart lady!

J.J. you can say what you want about me and my cocaine habit, but watch what you say about my lady friend. She very smart lady!

Yo Yo [Wood could not even read Yo Yo's comments, because she thought they looked like spoken word, and nothing scares Wood more than spoken word]:

How does the media know that maybe the cops were on
to him,and he went into wallmart and put in on the
shelf and acted like a good citizen and turned it in?
How old was this dude? What kinda cigarettes?Cause
I guess whatever brand it is you people are going to
crucify the to maker of the cigarettes anyway
stop with messing with Wall-mart?????Get em both!
You bleeding heart Idiots!!!Dont foreget to sue the columbians!!! Cause they make good coke!!! Just like
you green piece people! I dont get it!You send your
kids too school with a pencil and paper right??You have
wooden furniture a fire place and burn wood!
. . .
Mom,Must be a coke hound or doesnt care about the
little one,Must have spent too much time in the toy
aisle with the dude that found the dope..You probably
spoil the crap outta her and didnt buy her a toy!
The looks of that pic,I would put a foot in her ass!
The little girl rules her mommy,Instead of mom ruleing
her..I bet your ole man tells her no,and you tell her
yes..She is a BRATT.

Yo Yo Yo, if Kim Beasley doesn't want to be our nanny, can I give you a call, girl?

sharon nieft: I am not happy the Wal=Mart is anymore either. It not Sam Waltons vision any longer. The CEO and the walton family is slowly ruining it. BUT i shop there because it is the cheapest place for groceries and etc. Maybe you people who dont shop there with the rest of us so called Trash dont have to budget your money. If so good for you but dont run down those of us who do.

I appreciate your commitment to Sam Walton's vision, sharon, but I think you might be being a little sensitive. The only folks being run down are babies in the parking lot.

Lee: As far as the baby on the floor of the parking lot, I'd be more concerned that her mother named her Juniper!!

Fuckin' hippies!

Chris: ......if my kid was that damn ugly I wouldn't post her picture on the internet. Such a lovely photo, a crying, screaming, spoiled brat acting up because she didn't get what she wanted. Ah such are the scenes all over the malls and stores. Ruins shopping for everyone.

You're right, Chris, from now on we're going to chain her up in the basement like Sloth from the Goonies: "You've ruined someone else's shopping trip for the last time, you little shit! Now eat your Baby Ruth and shut the fuck up!"

Nick: Juniper is your daughter's name. You must have done some "crack" you found down food aisle.

Before Wood started smoking crack during the pregnancy, we had chosen either "Makayla Trinity" or "Katelyn Mackenzie" to be our daughter's name, but every time we got high those names just sounded a little too fancy. So one night Wood smoked like three rocks and as she puffed out that last smoke she was like, "Juniper" and that's how we came up with it. But Wood had to give some guy named Tyrone a blow job to get the crack, we didn't just find it in any food aisle.

F. Sober: Stupid Story...anyone who has been around drug addicts or alcoholics knows they would NEVER lay down the one thing they value above all other, and then walk off and forget it! This was obviously planted. Conveniently, probably moments before it was "discovered" by the story writer, who in all liklihood was the one who "planted" the drugs. If not the story writer then someone (not a Walmart shopper) who had a bone to pick with Walmart. Bottom line is that why would we shop at a store (Target, etc.) that has employees or customers who would plant drugs in a competitor's store to get a fake story, while thereby endangering children. The story writer is again the most suspicious suspect since they already demonstrated their disregard for the safety of children by putting their own child down in a parking lot with cars driving though it.

I have never been the most suspicious suspect before.

ELISSA BRUNETTE: AS FOR THE WRITER LEAVING YOUR KID CRYING IN THE PARKING LOT TO GET A PIC WAS TOTALLY SENSLESS AND STUPID WITH A CAPITOL S. ANYONE COULD HAVE RUN HER OVER, ESPECIALLY THE GUY WHO IS GOING THROUGH WITHDRAWL CUZ HIS DRUGS WERE NOT LEFT WHERE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE OR THE MAD DEALER CUZ HE IS OUT HIS MONEY CUZ THE HONEST MAN TURNED IT IN TO THE COPS. KUDOS TO THE HONEST GUY, AND I PRAY THE REST OF YOU GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. OH ONE MORE THING USING THE WORD TRAILER TRASH IS PUTTING DOWN A LOT OF GOOD PEOPLE. I AM PROUD TO LIVE IN A TRAILER. I WORK FOR A LIVING, AND AM A DECENT TRAILER TRASH WHO DOES NOT DO DRUGS, I HAVE GOOD VALUES AND RAISE MY CHILD TO BE THE SAME WAY. AND I DID NOT MAKE HIM SIT CRYING IN A WALMART PARKING LOT JUST TO GET A PICTURE.

A zen koan: how does one "capitolize" a letter that is already in ALL CAPS?

DDiggler: Yes it's pretty sad that some loser had to stash his coke in Public on a store shelf but it could have happened anywhere. The bigger issue is the moron that started this, setting his child on the parking lot while crying to get this picture!! Very crappy parent!!

That could be our new tagline. Sweet Juniper: A very crappy parent blog!!

FISHMATIZED: IF WALMARTS DROPPING PRICES EVERY DAY CALL ME WHEN COCAINE IS FREE!!!!

Word.

Robert Love: I see the message quite well, ANCIENT ROME'S LAW, in full affect! Such element that is being used here is beyound what the average individual can understand here. What has been said is just a smoke screen for what's not being said! The system is simply applying a subliminal message in which it is once again demostrating its evil! What evil? The same evil in which is responsible for the globals racism that both unconscious and conscious Black people, African Americans and now the newly found racism in which the government cooked up for our Islamic brothers. Im quite sure that if my statement got far enough, one would use the same tatics to do the same to me, which I welcome whole heartedly! If that same dose of crack which we must all be able to assert that is possible, was in some goverment official office, or white house, we wouldnt of heard a peep of it! Then suddenly, some of the witnesses would be resigning! I'm not upset with Walmart! Actually I like the place and have been to the store at locations from Flint, Michigan to Georgia, in which just the other day was my first time actually doing some grocery shopping for myself! The comment, issue, and article is all bogus and Walmart must of pissed someone off. It's all politics. For those who dont know how much politics affects us personally, You better start paying attention because its gonna be getting worse! One Love Walmart!
P.S. All this media play just reminded me that: You still owe me from some stock that I purchased in 1993, which I will be coming to get my share. I'll accept countless shopping sprees at any location around the world!

Holy fucking shit.

Nicole: The author of this article not only wrongly accuses the store, but has apparently posted photo evidence of her own child endangerment/neglect. I mean Parking lots do have vehicles than drive in them don't they? But instead of concerning herself with her own childs safety she would rather take the time to provide a potential jury with evidence to convict. especially since, in her apparent opionon, Walmart parking lots must be filled with drug crazed lunatics!

I hope Nicole never finds my flickr account.

Thelma Davidson: Uh I am the woman in the picture walking behind your screaming brat and would appreciate you taking this picture down immediately, as it offers no value to the article and you are featuring my image without my permission.

Bitch, you old. And ugly, too.

Duch2: Tell you what [Dutch]: If you want "one more reason to not shop at Wal Mart", then go ahead, you stupid ass! I'll continue to shop there, so I don't have to pay the high prices for crap at KMART, and I don't have to make the French rich by shopping at TARGET, and so I can continue to keep another "poor" union worker from strongarming a company in order to get a huge salary for little to no work, which in turn makes everything cost more! Go buy yourself a hamster from PETSMART, and shove it you know where!

Sorry, I only buy my ass hamsters at mom-and-pop pet stores.

louis calderon: An oppinion from a recovering - saved - old school vato! When your doing dope, regardless of what kind. Your mind is not right. your litterally a day late and a dollor short..... Wether it was the stocker over night or a valued customer, the fact remains true. (The drug it self is the problem) Someone forgot there stash was in the carton and tossed it or set it down and the fool will never understand the pain he or she could of caused, because when your HIGH logic does not exist......As far as the comment of "Another reason not to shop Wal Mart" Grow up! I'm a low in come father of Seven beatiful children, been there & done it....Wether its wally world, target or k-mart, saving a buck to create a smile or just live in comfort helps a whole lot...

Aren't those the lyrics to a lost Curtis Mayfield song?

Tammy: Ok Ill speak for the children in this situation. Im so thrilled that our Father in Heaven protected many children that are in Walmart everyday and he used this Father to find it, instead of a child that couldve and died. So i say Thank you God for his merciful hand. Although I did not see the picture,everyone can make foolish mistakes. So to the Wal mart critic just thank God he used you to save innocent lives, and maybe thats why your child didnt get ran over in the parking lot. God bless

Thank you, Tammy, for giving those innocent little mutes a voice. But my child not getting run over in the parking lot had nothing to do with god. It had more to do with the fact that it was 7:30 in the morning and there were hardly any fucking cars in the parking lot.

The Insight: What a self-righteous loser you are. You proably hide in the closet and turn the light out so the Lord can't see you take a drink. I feel very, very, sorry for your little girl.

I only hide in the closet and turn the light out to masturbate to thoughts about my lesbian fifth-grade gym teacher, Ms. McPhee. She looked kind of like Alice from the Brady Bunch. I am quite open about all the drinking.

TRISH: Hi, I am glad that it was found. But this is no reason to discredit Wal-mart. I Love That Store. P.S. Bring Back The LAYAWAY!!!!! PLEASEEEEEE!!!!!

Fuck yeah! Bring back the LAYAWAY, bitches! PLEASEEEEEE!!!!!

Billy Den: Hey [Dutch] You sound like a right wing paranoid moron. And since you removed your daughters picture...don't you have any common sense not to post a picture of your daughter in the first place? Sounds like some parenting skills are needed. You are a right wing hypocrite.

Okay, now I've been called absolutely everything. But a right winger? That is too much. You, sir, have just thrown down the gauntlet.

carl.pfeifer:

i.believe.that.drugs.should.not.have.enterd.the.store

it.is.againest.public.safety.law.to.have.drugs.

in.this.country.any.one.are.any.person.who.

carries.drugs.in.prseshin.is.going.to.be.arrested.
by.the.policeand.fbi.and.dea.officers.of.the.public.safety.thank.you.carl.pfeifer.

carl.pfeifer.are.you.a.robot.or.are.you.just.some.kind.of.awesome.autistic
dude.who.puts.periods.between.every.word.thank.you.dutch.

Tim: That's SCARY!!! If Wal-Mart decide to go big with this product line they will crush the "Mom and Pop" cocaine dealers.

Wait, that's actually kind of funny. And not in a "I'm so depressed at the state of humanity I wish a totally hilarious plague would wipe all of us out" kind of way. Thank you, Tim.

Melvin:
I really love wal*mart but will not have my oil change
there anymore. For some reason they have a hard time with the chassis lubrication components. I have three cars and
when i tell them, it's makes them mad. I do all my oil changing myself. No grease=worn parts. I haven't been back in a year. But you must get under your car and inspect. The store in in Lewisville, but may be others.
Oh, make sure they put the oil cap back on too.

That oil-change department at the Lewisville Wal-Mart is just chuck full of bad seeds.

amber: hi I just thought you should know that I work at a walmart not this one but a supper center walmart in another state and i work in toys. it gets realy bussy in there Some times you dont get to clean the department. alot of times we are dealing with up to five customers at a time and im the only one in that department freqently and its part my job to clean the department but its hard to do that when you have about 30 people in your department that have all diffrent needs. we go out of our way to help customers from spending two hours just looking for one thing for one person in pallets in the back rooms that just came in on order that are stacked to our sealing. we realy try to watch every customer but we cant always do that when I wish we had six of me this time of the year but we dont have enoufe money to hire more people. But we do have cammeras so that person will be cought we never ever let a situtation like this go they will pay the price. and hoildays are hard shoping days for customers please understand we try realy hard to prevet this and happy hoidays. Thanks Angel for finding the drug that could of made a childs familys christmas sad!

Patsy Miller: SOUNDS LIKE HE MIGHT HAVE PUT IT THERE. HE IS TRYING FOR A MOVIE DEAL HA, HOLLYWOOD WOULD BE CRAZY.WAL- MART TRYS VERY HARD TO MAKE THINGS SAFE FOR THEIR COUSTOMERS. I HAPPEN TO WORK FOR WALMART AND WE DO EVERY THING TO KEEP OUR CUSTOMERS SAFE. THIS MAN SHOULD BE TICKED FOR PUTTING HIS CHILD IN HARMS WAY TO TAKE A PIC.TO YOU SIR HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Sandy: I'm sorry that most of you all feel that way about a company that provides jobs for alot of decent people. I for one,need my JOB and I do get bennifts and my pay is real good,I am not aloud to work off the clockeverything we do we have to be on the clock,so I don't understand how people come up with this bull.I have been with the company 23 years and never been miss treated or anything.And as for the joker that thinks that only WHITE TRASH shops there will you must that yourself or how would you know if you have never shopped there!I was rasied in good familey with good vaules.Anyone could have but that mess there even the person that found it just to get notice so to try to sue WAL_MART I hope you can live with yourself and hope you can tell your child when she gets older that you were a jerk for sitting her down in parkinglot just so you could have T. V. TIME and NEWS PAPER SPACE thanks for letting me tell the WAL MART the way it really is.

Holy shit, do Wal-Mart associates just have to sign their job applications with an X, or what?

Walmart Lover: Especially with the comments about the picture of the little girl. She is adorable and if anyone is a parent they know that pictures of a temper tantrum are the BEST. And who knows what was going on behind the camera. Who is to say that the child's parents or grandparents are not right there blocking any form of traffic that may harm the girl. PEOPLE OF THE WORLD get a grip and stop jumping to conclusions and feeling that you are the best person to give advice. JD, I love your writing style and please comtinue posting pics of your adorable little girl....Next please feature the one where she is playing on the train tracks and the train is coming...you know that one right?

Wait, do you mean this one? Because that's one of my favorites.

Ja-Neen Elkins: In January 2006 I was injured when I fell at Wal-Mart in Indiana. They Said it is not their fault. I can't get an Attorney to take My Case. They should be responsible, I have been in Pain , have Permanent injuries, The Attorney's I have talked to Says Wal-Mart always wins. This is not right, That I have to go thru all I have gone thru. People don't realize when they go into Wal-Mart, they are on their own. Not even an Appoligy to say they are sorry. All they say it is not their fault and Attorney's so far will not take case, as they Say Wal-Mart always wins. Something needs to be done about this. Just in July 2006, a little boy lost his life in their store because they were Negligent, I hope that Attorney will win the case, and wake up the World, at how we the Public are being treated.

Ja-Neen, I think I might know just the attorney for you. He's really lazy and has the shittiest beard you've ever seen and he really needs a haircut, but he also really hates Wal-Mart, and he'll take any client that can spell the word 'negligent.' E-mail him: sweetjuniper @ gmail.com.

A: it is not walmart fault,,
a person did that and blame to walmart,,
walmart is innocent store,,
don' t blame walmart,,

Is this some kind of weird Japanese poetry style I've never heard of?

Barbara Loden: why would you put a picture of your daughter on the post? Why would you want her picture on the web? That certainly is not good parenting.

Barb, I think you're on to something.

elegy for a father

Posted by jdg | Friday, December 08, 2006 |

All week my mind was on unmarked hills of sweet cicely and twinberry bushes bunkered down for the winter, all shaded by Pacific silver furs where everything was wet and cold from dripping springs down canyon walls. I could not get my mind to stray from the man I knew was out there following water, knowing, perhaps, that it takes the quickest path out of the mountains, down to where people have carved their existence into the wilderness with concrete and poles strung with wire, a place where he could send someone to his girls.

On learning that the woman and the two little girls were alive after a week of burning tires and breastfeeding, I wondered how those days were spent before he left, all speculation, and worry, and waiting. This is America. How much longer before some unsuspecting farmer cuts across this godforsaken road in his beat-up truck? When will they start looking for us? How frustration must build out there in the silence, without enough juice in the car battery to capture a radio signal that would say, hang in there; we're looking for you. All of America wants you home. How long can a man wait before he takes matters into his own hands?

I only met you once, James Kim, we stood awkwardly in your store not long after it opened, with my infant in my arms and your 2-year-old Penelope running around behind you. The old Shins album was playing, back when it was new. You were sweet while we discussed how we came up with the names for our girls. We returned there many times; we appreciated your good taste. One of the last things I bought in San Francisco was a glass vase from your store to hang on our wall in Detroit. I still haven't hung it, but when I do I doubt I will ever be able to look at it without thinking about you. You were young. You were just like us. And bad things don't happen to people just like us. At least we thought they didn't.

We sat in warmth, refreshing our browsers over and over to see if anything was new while you struggled through the cold. The reporters made a game of hope, suggesting you were leaving clues, teasing us with scraps of clothes and bits of map, like we would find you at the end, cold and hungry and crying at the news of the daring helicopter rescue of your family. Your father paid men to drop sacks from helicopters throughout the forest. Each sack contained more hope: warm clothes, and food, and a letter to tell you that your girls were safe and well-fed, that you just had to stop searching to be found. Each sack of hope thudded against the ground where it was dropped, onto the silent floor of forest. It was all too late. Your death, at least, was cinematic: the back of your head against the creek bed, the shaggy arms of fur trees hugging the vista of sky, the sweet gurgling of the stream against your ears.

Perhaps, also, the sound of so many helicopters in the air, sending you the peace we all wanted you to have: they found your sweet girls.

It breaks my heart to think of that moment, 7:45 a.m. last Saturday, when you parted from your family. I am reminded of Hector, standing with Andromache at Priam's gate, his infant son there fearful of his horsehair plume, knowing his duty as a man, but also knowing he might never see them again. He spoke these words to ease her sorrow:

Fix'd is the term to all the race of earth;
And such the hard condition of our birth:
No force can then resist, no flight can save,
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave. [transl. Pope]

Your ultimate failing, James Kim, is that you were too brave of a man. More time, in this case, would have rewarded cowardice, but time was one of many resources of which you didn't have enough. Your perseverance led to your doom, that and your frailty as a creature of temperature. I will not, as others have, call you a hero. You were above all else a good father. You did what any parent would like to think he'd do for his own, what we often say we'd do but never have the chance to prove. You died so that they might live.

Part of your legacy, beyond two daughters who will grow up forever touched by the unending love you had for them, will be that for a few days in December, you brought millions of us closer. Millions of husbands were hugged by tearful wives, millions of children were adored a little more for what miracles they were. And you reminded us all of how much we have in common.

Because I haven't had to deal with a real winter in years, I never put up any street urchins in winter photos. And I have so many great winter street urchin photos to use.

Oh, and goddamn it's cold here.

Given her lack of interest in playing with anything that wasn't one of my wife's breasts, last year I didn't really want to buy my 11-month-old kid anything for Christmas. We decided that instead of spending the money that most new parents spend on electronic talking baby leapfrog computers and Baby Einstein videos, we'd just get her some clothes and accessories from local designers. We found so much good stuff around San Francisco that last December I published my first "Holiday Shopping Guide for the Indie Sonofabitch Parent." Even though Juniper will probably have some plastic gewgaw wrapped up for her under the Christmas tree this year, I decided to update that shopping guide, because I believe supporting these kinds of artists and craftspeople is a really good thing.

Little did I realize how much the DIY/Crafty baby industry had grown in the last 12 months when I sat down to start working on this last week. There is no way this is a comprehensive list, and I imagine I will be updating it with your suggestions over the next few days (please feel free to let me know in the comments about all the great stuff I missed). I don't think this list treads too much of the same territory as Liz and Kristen & Co.'s shopping guide over at Cool Mom Picks. But you should check that one out, too.

I have focused on designers who have started businesses selling kid's toys, clothing, and accessories. I believe almost everything listed here is hand made. Many of these people are work-at-home parents supporting their families through their creativity and handiwork. I have intentionally left out Etsy sellers. Etsy hadn't really taken off for children's products last year, but now it is indisputably the best place to go for great products in extremely limited production. Where else can you find ridiculously cute handmade stuff like this or this? I love Etsy, and would encourage anyone who likes this kind of stuff for their kids to peruse all the children's categories, particularly clothing, toys, and accessories.

Almost every seller on this list has their own online store where goods can be purchased and shipped anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. I have done my best to divide the sellers into categories, but this first batch sells so many different things that they sort of defy categorization:

  • Abe Jones- One of our favorites; beautiful clothing, truly unique tees, lounge sets that make great gifts; they have a wonderful collection of long-sleeved shirts and blazers, skirts and dresses.
  • Attach the Baby- baby carriers & slings, blankets, nursing necklaces.
  • Cherry Momma- tees, dresses, blankets, loveys.
  • Dishy Duds Designs- Monster tees, hats, blankets, girls' dresses, and lots of other cool stuff.
  • Go, Goose, Go- A great collection of unique and interesting items. I love the long-sleeved tees and the western pants.
  • Hazel and Melvin's Room- Retro-feel boppy covers, crib bedding, diaper bags, sock monkeys, and sock monkey clothing. Handmade in Minneapolis.
  • JackC Designs- We used to see these at Lavish in San Francisco's Hayes Valley; great onesies, blankets, and even A-line dresses that include the necessary matching underwear.
  • Kokoleo- stuffed creatures, kid's clothes, bags, and personalized kid's stuff.
  • Lucky Dog Designs- blankets, burp cloths, bibs, diaper bags, toddler aprons.
  • Luna Lou- Great long-sleeved tees, baby blankets, bags, paper goods, and slippers.
  • One Little Monkey- lounge sets, shirts, skirts, dresses, shorts, diaper bags, bibs, blankets, diaper bags and really cool toddler totes.
  • Out of the Box- true to its name, this is a really great collection of stuff that falls out of the traditional etsy-crafter paradigm: tasteful kid's room decorations and paintings, pillows, bibs, baby booties, drawer handles and mobiles. Great online store for gifts.
  • Tricky & Titch- screenprinted sleepwear, t-shirts, onesies, blankets, and hats.
  • Zoomzabebe- hand-sewn rompers, hats, t-shirts, onesies, blankets, and bibs.
  • Zoe B: Maternity clothes, customized wall art, baby tees, blankets and customized onesies.

  • The Creatue Co-op- A really great source of high-quality stuffed creatures, with very reasonable prices. All handmade in the USA. They also sell hats and minis.
  • The Monster Factory- Another great, very professional creator of unique handmade plush toys, also reasonably priced. They do a great job of creating fun and interesting characters for all their stuffed creatures. My favorite is Mr. Munk. He'd go great with one of the Little Executive tees from Xenos Designs.
And while you're at it, make the world better for all these new characters.



  • Ramonster Wear- This goes first, out of alphabetical order, because these cowboy clothes for kids are so awesome I want to travel back in time to 1999 and pretend I like Merle Haggard and Lone Star beer and argue about whether it was Jeff Tweedy or Jay Farrar staying most true to the genius that was Uncle Tupelo. They do custom work, too.
  • Amelie Muse- That yellow coat could almost get my cheap ass to buy it.
  • Atomic Mama- Clothes made from retro-looking fabrics
  • Beqi clothing
  • Cranky Pants- hand-knit pants with great faces on the bum.
  • Delilah Crown- Kristina De Pizzol's gorgeous, handmade children's clothing were always a big splurge for us whenever we'd visit her little boutique in San Francisco's North Beach. She made my favorite dress in Juniper's closet, and continues to make the most adorable clothes. Apparently she also has a habit of making me write like I'm totally gay.
  • Go Baby Ponchos
  • Hand Picked Pumpkin- Custom kid's clothing
  • Innies-n-Outies- I am blown away by the quality and design of these clothes. They are a bit pricey, but if you have the means I can't think of many better-looking kid's clothes out there. Besides, everything is reversible, so it's like you're getting two outfits for the price of one. Every one of their lines if what Tea Collection wishes it could be. And unlike Tea Collection, these clothes are handmade in the U.S.
  • Knuckleheads Clothing- Not sure if this is handmade, but it makes up for a lack of good boy's clothing among the DIY set.
  • La Loma Studios
  • Llamajama- lovely woolens: pants, sweaters, suits, and shorts.
  • Lilliputians NYC- tons of nice handcrafted clothes
  • Monkey & Me- All kinds of kid's clothes: jumpers, tees, onesies, dresses, pants. Nice stuff.
  • Robot Parade (Massachusetts)- Really cool recycled jackets, also plushies
  • Skipping Hippos Ponchos- Juniper would have frozen by now without them.
  • Tartlette- Still one of my favorites.
  • Textile Fetish- This is some seriously wonderful kid's clothing.
Did I miss someone? Of course I did. Let me know who in the comments.