Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More from "Wise Women" - enjoy!

This is a page from my new favorite book-Wise Women byJoyce Tenneson. I wanted to publish a page with the original post but my computer would not co-operate that day. The whole book is beautiful.

Am I crazy? Do I dare?

Am I crazy? I just think this "angel" my daughter brought home is the very coolest thing!

She's in first grade. She told me she didn't want to make the arms at the top so she just made presents. Well, I think I just may have to steal this idea from her art teacher! I am, maybe, if everything goes well, going to be teaching some art classes at a local gallery. Now I could just teach paper mache' and call it good but.... ya know.... there's just something else I think I want to do as well. A little something near and dear to my heart.

I don't think I have made it a secret that I am on this creative journey to let loose my inner artist. But did you get the part where I yearn to answer that age old question- "what is the meaning of life, but more specifically what is the meaning of my life?" "Why have all these 'things' - some horribly difficult- happened and how did they not destroy me? Sure, I may be crazy- in that cute, chic, ever so clever crazy way of mine but still- I'm here and functioning and even.... reaching for more than mere existence. I want. Yes, I want. I want meaning and I want proof that I matter and that I make a difference. I want answers. And chocolate.

Don't a lot of you want the same thing? I think so. I think women my age have come into a time where they understand that all that crap we used to worry about- friends, approval, men, approval, weight, looks, approval- is just crap. We've had that, we've lost that, we've gained it back-or not but either way it wasn't enough anyway. That approval or what ever you want to call it wasn't ever going to be 'enough'.

So what now? That's the question that I and a lot of my friends are facing up to. Well, I just may have some insight. Or maybe just questions. Or maybe, because I love my friends even the ones I don't know yet, I want to hash some of this out with them so I can be there to tell them- no matter what you aren't, what you are is good enough for me and I love you for it.

I wish to find some way (venue) to do this. HMMM....well, I can do art....maybe not as well as Leonardo or Michelangelo, but I think most women would be OK with my level of what's that called, anyways? Self discovery through art? err...sounds a little like masturbation...umm, I know- art therapy! Yeah! Oh, no degree or training- could be a disadvantage, what if someone comes to me with a serious problem and I prescribe a beer and a box of candy in front of a good movie and it doesn't solve the problem....OK, so ...what?

I want to offer and perhaps lead (gulp) a class that helps women identify themselves in a more positive light. I want to inspire women to reach out in new directions. I want to inspire women to reach out to other women and bring them 'up'.

I don't know what to call it but this little angel that my little angel brought to me has me intrigued and I just know there's a project/lesson in there. I'm thinkin' the student creates their own angel that represents themselves- what they believe in, what makes them who they are and why or how, what they aspire to, etc. And, just like Brooke's angel is imperfect theirs could be as well. Then, they take it home, put it in a place they'll see it and let it remind them of who they are and who they want to be. And the world is a better place because of it.

Soooo, my brain is working on this angel project. Its a long way away from completion. I would love your comments and thoughts to help me along....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This is my new book. It is filled with gorgeous photographs of beautiful women. I think it may just be my new source for artful inspiration. I have been creating (mostly in my mind and then as concept sketches- oh why do I have to work?) mixed media clay and paper mache sculptures of ladies for about a year now. Maybe my next one will have grey hair and some wrinkles. What do you think?
What is it with me and old ladies? It is that I hope to be one one day? Is it that I am torn between my old soul and my inner tantrum throwing inner child? Right now I am hero-worshiping Sharon Tomlinson from the blog "all Nora's art". I want to be her- creating art in her studio almost every day..... ahhh... fabulous.....and her talent for creating these intriguing women....go see her at
I will continue on my struggle with my alter egos!

"Always" and "Never"

I vow to wear nothing but pig-tails and pajamas- Always!

I am not quite sure who to site for the following material but I take my best guess as Daniel Goleman who authored the book Emotional Intelligence. I found it as part of another compilation of material.

There are two words which the emotionally intelligent should excise from their vocabulary because they are dangerous, destructive lies. They are "never" and "always". No one is "always" or "never" anything. People have irritating habits, destructive vices, bad traits which surface from time to time, prejudices founded on ignorance, but they are people, not monsters, for all that. "Always" and "never" turn criticisms: "That is a thoughtless act" into insults - "You are always thoughtless"; and insults , because they cannot be answered with reason, are nothing short of violence, which breeds violence in its turn. "Always" and "never" do violence to the person who thinks and speaks such nonsense, because in time, he or she begins to believe it, and his or her head becomes crowded with mythological monsters .

Why I felt this was blog material is- well because-its my blog. I must take every opportunity to remind myself of lessons learned. I am very forgetful and while I try to be the best self I can I easily slip into what I could call "darkness and angst". If we, and believe me-I do try, live in the "light of the truth" then life should be relatively calm and free of angst. I do try to be honest with myself and the best way to do this is by keeping things simple. Truth is simple. Truth can never be more or less than truth. In that essence it will never let you down. You can screw things up by putting your own slant on the truth but that is you. Nope, truth will not lead you down a path of misconception. It actually won't lead you anywhere- it can't. But seeing and knowing the truth gives you the ability to make appropriate decisions, have appropriate reactions, have appropriate attitudes. I believe that you can't get anywhere emotionally in life if you are not starting from a point of honesty with yourself.

Does that make me a perfectly happy person? Absolutely not! Why, I would never insinuate such a lofty ideal! I always present myself exactly as I am! Honest, I do, I wouldn't lie about it!

"Always" is a lie. "Never" is a lie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Check out these weirdos!

Get a load of these two! You know how sometimes- well maybe you don't- you have an idea in your head that won't leave you alone??? I've had projects like this before... the end result not at all like that germ of an idea in your head, many the times you thought "eh, I should scrap this and start over! " But you can't stop and before long things are so far along that all you can do is try to find a point when you can call it done and walk away. Sounds like a love story gone wrong. Or a relationship with Tiger Woods. Sorry. Talk 'bout mucking things up! Oh wait, I would never have a relationship with Tiger Woods because he's married! And so am I! Is it really that hard people? Right and wrong, they are simple concepts- if you can keep them from getting mucked up!

Man, these guys remind me of of the baby nursery fiasco that I had to be talked down from. Chinamommy knows, she was there that long 3 or 4 months that I walked around our carpet store pretending to work but really was possessed with the need to create the perfect and I mean perfect nursery. I was sure it would include the colors pink and orange and green and yellow. I shopped all the stores. I wanted fun flowers and friendly bugs.
Now I suppose as a designer I should have gone for shabby chic toille. Tone on tone cream and soft faded pink. Nope, I wanted color, and not just any color but pink, and orange and yellow and green. Maybe I wanted some jungle animals, too. I had the cutest yellow giraffe and felt pretty strongly he needed to be included.
Actually I felt pretty strongly everything needed to be included- flowers and bugs and jungle animals and the colors- pink, orange, green and yellow. I hunted for the perfect fabric that would include those colors and found it after many trips. I went to every store I could travel to and back from during my lunch hours. Came up with some pretty believable reasons as to why I was late coming back, yet again! Joanne's Fabrics had a cotton seersucker with hot pink, light pink, yellow and orange flowers on it. I made curtains that were pink with yellow trim. When I say I made the curtains it really means I bought sheers, tried to dye them darker, poly does not take dye so that was a waste of my energy, and added yellow ties to them. I made a cover for the changing station that had yellow ric rac sewn in a diamond pattern over soft pink fleece outlined with a dark pink fabric and trimmed in the afore mentioned fabric that had flowers in two shades of pink, yellow and orange with of course green leaves. This may seem ordinary that a pregnant woman would sew some pieces together but you have to understand that me operating a sewing machine is like-me trying to slow a run away train by riding atop of it and yelling "STOP!" I made that sewing happen by sheer will power and grit. It was not pretty but, again, I was a woman possessed.
Did I mention that I painted the room twice or more because I wanted the softest shade of butter yellow but ended up with school bus yellow? That I bought white bread baskets and screwed them to the walls above the changing station to hold diapers and lotions? Of course they were lined with the appropriate fabric. That I didn't like the flowers on the comforter I bought so I painted them with craft paint which held up in washing but was never particularly soft? Yes, this project had some cute aspects when it was all finished but to this day I can remember the look on my friends face when she tried reel me back the way you tell a person maybe they have a problem with the bottle....ready to take a quick step backwards if needed.... yeah, go ask Chinamommy about that....I should see if I have some pictures of that room....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why is it?

Why is it that when someone says to me
"Do you want to....?" I say yes. Have since I was just a wee thing. Unfortunately I had a tendency to say yes to all the naughty things as well as the not so naughty things.
But why is it that when some says to me
"You should......"
My first response is "Really? I should?....with a raised eyebrow and absolutely no intention of doing "that" unless I already was doing "that" because, of course I was smart enough to know that already, Thank you very much.
And if someone wants my full and immediate attention all they have to say is
"Have you ever...?"
Everything else stops in my world until I check my internal log of all the things I have ever done and then the sublist of all the things there are actually witnesses to and if no witnesses exist whether or not I want to admit to having done the "thing". Also, if the answer is no, I will need a moment to process whether or not I want to do the "thing" so forgive me if there seems to be an awkward pause while I stare unblinkingly at you-I am not seeing you but rather every and all possible consequences of doing the "thing". It is, indeed, sometimes painful to be me and I imagine sometimes painful to know me.

Now, if someone says to me
"You know you want to!" the statement will illicit a giggle. Even if I never wanted to do the "thing" I am rendered helpless at the thought of doing the "thing" because somehow I just know I shouldn't and so of course I just might and that makes me giggle behind my hand that flew up to catch- but didn't- the giggle.

Once in awhile this very annoying person in my life likes to say-
"Well, you wouldn't know this but...."
Which makes the hair on my neck stand up because how in the hell would you know what I do or don't know? Have you seen a televised version of my life? I've been places, I've seen all kinds of things you don't know about, done that and been there, lady! Take it from me folks, starting sentences with phrases like that will not endear you to many. Can you imagine answering that statement? "You are so right, of course I don't know that until you, Goddess of All Knowledge, tell me that, thus enriching my lowly life" Yeah? Puke! Arrgh!

Here's the short list of my responses to all opening statements- these are involuntary to me they just happen.

"Can you......?" "Well of course I can but it doesn't mean I will!"
"Will you ......?" "For God's sake what do you want from me, now?"
"Can I........ ?" "NO!"
"Can I Please.......?" "Didn't I just say NO!!!???"
"What if....?" " Well, I don't know! What do I look like the answer queen? Figure it out already, I'm burning dinner!"
"Can I sometime....?" "Uh, Uh, the answer is still NO!"
"You know you want to......? " "****giggle****"
"Do you think........?" "Are you really asking me or just sucking up to make me think you actually care what I think? I wasn't born yesterday- as you keep reminding me!"

Now that I have explained all that to you-
Any questions????

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Update on "done by Christmas?"

Here they are! So far! And may I say I have so much to learn about painting faces? It shouldn't take soooo many tries- right? I should be able to get it done in one attempt? right? Not the case here! Anyhow I can live with these faces although they are nothing like I intended. I have to live with them- my room is not quite ready at the insane asylum yet- I requested a lighter shade of pink on the padded walls to contrast better with the lovely aquamarine I designated for the floor.
Can you see the writing? I have to make the image resolution smaller to get these to post- darn dial up internet! They are quotes from my writings or random thoughts I have had in regards to those little girls of mine. Nick-names have been included for posterity- sorry girls! The blond doll has a charm in her hair that says "angel" and the brunette will have one as well. My intention was to include several charms and some very old beads that lived in my mother's attic for much of my child hood. As that involves unearthing them from storage it may or may not happen.
The top photo is a craft project for my niece Mackenzie. She is the same age as my girls, cousin to Brooke. She lives on the other side of town and misses her cousins terribly. The idea here is that now she can sleep with her cousins every night. That's right- it's a pillow case. I used an iron- on transfer picture of the girls- inserted a picture of Mac in the middle. I did some writing and the girls added drawings and messages. We intend to fill this up with all kinds of drawings, messages, doodles- what ever! This is one of those projects that can't go wrong- its for a kid- created by kids. Fairly inexpensive, too!
Ok, have to go now. Hubbie has invited friends over and is furiously cleaning the main level. He thinks I'm down here cleaning, too!
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Done by Christmas?

This was a great idea I had one morning on the way to work. Some of my clearest moments are in the morning which surprises me to no end as typically I am such a rotten human being in the early hours of the day. But if I can be alone- sometimes- I have very clear thoughts about life and my place in it. I sometimes write in the morning. Sometimes its just a passing thought that I reach for and try to hold onto long enough to record it for later development.
This sometime I was driving to work and a little idea wiggled into my head. A doll for little girls given to them by their mom- or someone who loved them with all the love a mother could have. A doll with all the messages that Mom's want to pass along recorded on its very body for imprinting on those little girl's psyche. A way to imprint the wisdom that adult women have gained unto the small females they are entrusted to care for. Maybe it was a vision of a solemn, tired little Brooke, reading one last message from me before she fell into her dreams. Maybe it was all my worry for uptight, own worst enemy, trying to shape the world into what she thinks it should be-Kayla. How to protect them? How to prepare them- for everything they have to learn for themselves? If I could just shape them a little now- so that when the time comes they are open to the messages and hear them correctly the first time! How can I help them become all they can be with the least amount of pain? This is my wish for them- not a life without pain, as this is not possible, but a life with enough joy to pull them through the dark times. Not a life with out trouble, as this is not possible, but a life suited with a solid platform of pragmatic confidence to stave off deep falls into self doubt, confidence to trust their decisions. Not a life of seeking perfection but a solid understanding that they are enough as they are now. If only, as every parent wishes, I could keep them from making the mistakes I made!
So, you are thinking- Wow, this is a lot to ask out of one little doll. My original image was that the doll be covered in writing. I pictured almost a graffiti effect. I struggled for days on end with how to accomplish this doll as I can not sew. I found a pre-sewn doll form but no clothes that were suitable for "writing" all over- at least not the so very important messages I want to impart. Paint is the answer, I will paint her clothes and use marker for the text. Then I remembered those pens my mother used to draw flowers on the edges of pillowcases as she, too, could not sew. Guess what? They still make those paint markers! So what you see in the pictures is merely the background. I will sand it away a little more to ensure it doesn't compete with the foreground. They will have hair although not that shiny dolly hair- yuk, and their faces will not be the traditional as I have already informed the girls. No, these will not be your average dolls with the average price tag. My messages have far more value, at least to me, than the ones you order and have charged to your card.
Now, if only I could find that list of all the affirmations I wanted to write on the dolls! For the life of me I cannot remember all those sweet things I wanted to say to them, especially after the weekend we had. Did I mention that Kayla took my birthday money I left out on my dresser and went on a shopping spree at the annual book fair her school puts on? Seems she was confused as to whether it was her birthday money or mine. Lets just say I am not enjoying my rainbow coloring book and set of matching markers and HelloKitty bracelet that I didn't know I wanted for my birthday.
Will keep you posted as to how they (the dolls and the kids) turn out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So this is what I have been up to artistically. Now, I have to add that I won't finish any of these (except for the drawing) until after Christmas. Obligations such as teaching have to take the forefront now.
The bottom picture is of a sculpture I call (for now) broken vessel. The lady is from a sketch that has been nagging at me to make 3-d for some time now. Recently, we recieved an order of accessories into the shop and one clay pot arrived broken to smithereens. I reached in grabbed this piece out and knew it was time to get to work on her. I figured I'd get her to this point and then put her up for awhile. She won't let me rest for long.
The next is a sculpture I call bug parade. I made a wall hanging for a boy's nursery and wanted to do something that would work for a girls or boys room. Or grown ups room- if you like bugs! This one should be fun and rule- breaking.
Lastly, I started this drawing last Christmas, I think. It can be hard to capture a person's features in a way that also expresses their personality. I have struggled Kelly's smile for many hours. Kelly and Kyle are the grown up children of my friend from work- Linda. I watch her struggle to find a way to gracefully let go as they enter into adulthood. I hope I do as well as Linda when the time comes. I have a lot of learning to do in that area. Its understandable as my original plan was to keep my children locked in a closet- away from the world and close to me. I'll get there.
As these projects come into full form I'll continue to post pictures. Just wanted to share the in-between, also.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Isn't this so very cool?

My friend Misschell (Chinamommy on Etsty) gave me this awesome necklace for my birthday. Of course every interior designer needs to wear a chair! I love boxes and things that open. Really- anything that opens, closes, latches, hooks, unfolds etc. intrigues me. So this pendant is really fun for me. Love how one side of the necklace is "coffee stained" lace. Anything that breaks with convention is cool with me. Who'd of guessed that one? So Thank You, Chinamommy, you're the cat's pajamas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Today, barely able to stop bouncing, my daughter shot me a grin. " That's it!" I said, "You are too cute, I am getting the camera!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Park place anyone?

Yep, said I wouldn't but who can resist the temptation to peel back those tiny, shiny pieces of laminated paper? Who can resist daydreaming for just a short while of what bills could be anhilated and what could be done with what's left over? How would I outfit my art studio? First with lots and lots of windows, lots and lots of supplies, and lots and lots of me. Maybe even a mini studio with in the studio for the girls. Maybe boarding school for the girls? Who knows, after all, I have to think of what is in their best interests!
I'm keeping this post short. I know the last one was wayyyy too long. But, I had to get there, you know? And, it was a long and winding road getting there. Sorry!!! But if I can't digress in my own blog than what's the point of having one? Have a great and Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Puttin' on my diapers.

Don't mess with me- I have skills.

Striving for balance
I have to say that if ever I had a goal towards a healthy (thinking brain, here, not body) life, that goal is to achieve balance. I do work towards it. I yearn for it as the answer to all that is wrong in my life. I know that balance is an essential ingredient in any person's makeup but for me- I need it. Now, working towards it doesn't mean I have it. Needing it doesn't mean I am guaranteed it.

Problems almost always involve fear-
When I have a fear I force myself to ask the question- is that a reasonable fear? What is the worst thing that can happen in this situation? Sometimes the worst part of the situation is that yucky feeling I get from being afraid. So if I can solve that part of the problem with a little tough love directed at myself then I'm on my way. Being someone who trained themselves to think "worst case scenario" (a device I created as a way to predict any and all possible outcomes so to prevent or circumvent trouble) I realize I have created a device that can quickly turn into a monster. So when my heart starts to pound harder in my ribcage and my breathing feels tight I force myself to ask another question- is that envisioned, disastrous result likely to happen? And most often odds are in reality that the problem won't go that far. It's at that point I have to tell myself- "Settle down! This fear doesn't help you solve the problem! So how's about if we skip all this yucky fear and get to solving the problem." That's what I refer to as putting on my big girl panties and being a grown up. You can get a lot of useful advice off cocktail napkins and that's where the phrase "big girl panties" came from- a package of napkins in the grocery store, who knew?

Feeling yucky is yucky-
I don't think I am right all the time. That certainly does not seem realistic or balanced. I like to think that when I am wrong I can figure out what to do to make things right. One thing that I am terribly bad at is saying I am sorry. Probably why I try so very hard not to do things I have to say "sorry" for. I'm polite. I'm respectful. I'm thoughtful. I'm also just o damn clever that I am obligated to share my thoughts and opinions. But sometimes my cleverness might just be perceived as sarcasm. Sometimes, I realize I need to apologize. Sometimes, I just think I might have offended someone and I worry about it. Then it becomes this big thing in my mind. And pretty soon its all I can think about and its such a huge weight on my shoulders and dark cloud about my head that I know I will have to apologize because its the right thing to do and I am all grown up now so I should do the right thing. But saying "What I did was wrong (bad) is hard. Saying "I hurt your feelings" means "I'm a bad, bad person" and it feels- yucky. Literally I am not a squeamish person, but I would rather throw up than have to apologize.

A balanced approach would be to acknowledge that I am human, I am awesome but I am far from perfect so I make mistakes. And, repairing a damaged friendship builds a stronger bond. And, apologizing to someone can make them feel so much better which in turn makes you feel really good about yourself-good medicine all the way around. Probably why people hug after making up. Not apologizing just leaves the hurt behind to fester- on both sides. The other party feels wronged and resents you and themselves for not being bold enough to demand an apology. You know you are wrong and resent that you are so weak that you have to hide behind a false front of denial. Neither solution is easy but one leaves you feeling stronger about yourself. The other erodes at your self image and undermines your personal code of ethics. In the long run it is easier to do the right thing up front, right away. In the short term it takes guts and courage. I hope it gets easier but somehow for me I don't think it will. Maybe...I should just try to never make a mistake...I'll let you know how I do on that one.....

So, we have established that I have fears. But I know I have fears and do not, for the most part let these fears shape my actions. I decide, based on how I want to live my life, what my actions will be. That's pretty balanced right? We have established that I am aware of my short comings, and believe you me, there are plenty of shortcomings. But let me also tell you that I have a strong healthy ego. Basically I think I am wonderful on a regular basis and I enjoy being me. I get that I am pretty dang talented at a lot of things. And I like it that way. But, realistically, its a good thing I am talented at these things or else I would be pretty frustrated as my interests directly correlate to the things I am good at. In other words, I hate football. I suck at anything to do with football and its torture to even be in the same room with someone having a conversation about their favorite team. Really- who the hell cares? It's the same game its always been, two teams, one wins, one loses, how interesting could it be? So for me- my talent is not that impressive. I am result driven in my art and my own worst critic. It's pretty hard to be overly impressed. I would much rather be challenged and inspired by other artists than look at my work. Yep, healthy ego grounded in the reality that many other people are better artists, better designers, better mothers (do we not remember the last daycare incident?), much better wives and lovers but I'm OK with that. I am doing my best most of the time and you can't expect much more.

She can't take criticism!
I have a way of skating out of the harsh spotlight of criticism. I hide a lot more than people realize. I keep myself very busy. Never too long in one spot. I'm here, I'm there, I'm gone again. People know of me, they don't really know me. I like the polite conversation but am not really sure how to carry on past the niceties. You can hide that fault when there is an agenda to the conversation, say, like- as in teaching- I can talk for hours. I can have a lengthy conversation with a client at my firm-after all, its all about them, right? Basically I have learned the right things to say. If I am not sure or quite comfortable I can always use my technique of turning the conversation towards the other person and therefore giving them the difficult position of being on the platform. I just nod at the appropriate times. Feel free to use the technique, I didn't invent it- some other talented but stunted individual did.

So you might see how it is hard to criticize a moving target. And for the most part, I do try to do well at every endeavour I might be held accountable for so its not like I am being criticized often....

So forgive me for whining!
In the process of teaching a class fairly new to me and rather challenging I received a comment. I was made aware of this comment by my superior. In a kind, appropriate, direct, non-anything manner my superior told me a student had made the comment that they did not find my class very challenging. And why should they? We were in a review period, I explained. My purpose of that review period was to catch every student up to the same level before moving on to new material. I also explained that I was considering shortening this period and inserting a new assignment in the spot created. Sounded appropriate, she thought. She also recommended that I consult with one of the other professionals teaching this class. The ARCHITECTS. (arghh, I am a designer, I know different things than they do, what if they find me woefully inadequate and reveal how woefully inadequate I am therefore turning me into an inadequate failure!) Yes, I said, that would probably be a good idea. Now I should also reveal that this was the second time I had received the comment, the first was in a student review from the first session and at that time I had been the one to bring up the comment to my superior, spiritedly disagreeing with the student. Now that we'd heard it twice I wasn't feeling so spirited. BUT WE ARE IN A REVIEW PERIOD!

So my nose was out of joint.
Of all the comments- that one echoing the other comment? But the first comment was at least towards the end of a semester! This one was clearly a student taking an opportunity to share how superior their intelligence, skills and talents were. Unfortunately, evidence or what may appear to be evidence can throw a bad light on someone, even someone with the best intentions. There I was, in the bad light. The big bad spotlight, forced to defend myself, wounded ego and all. Which I did, I think. I pulled upon all my acting skills to not visibly appear anything less than cool, calm and collected as I gave due consideration to the comment in front of my boss. I knew it was important to handle myself well, I wanted a good score in the category of accepts constructive criticism. I want to be hired back for future semesters. Mostly, I just don't want to leave as a failure!!!

But I was miffed.
I have had relatively few negative comments. People like me. I make sure of it. And, I deliver what I say I will. So had I failed? Maybe, but not yet! Nope, this was someone just being a stinker. And I didn't like it. It didn't feel nice at all. I wanted to hide. At least until I could wrestle this situation around to a side I liked. A side I could handle and well, manipulate to come out to my advantage. But, I just couldn't see how I was going to do that, I had been wronged! And it wasn't fair. And I didn't like it!

Well, I sure didn't like this petulant, spoiled little brat that had erupted from my balanced, centered ego very well either! I gave myself several stern talking to's. Did I really think that I could get through life with out being called out on the carpet for my performance? Did I think I was that perfect that I could set the standards to which I was held? I should use this as a growing experience and learn from it! I should put on my big girl panties and deal, right?

Well, several days later I started to realize why I wasn't feeling any better. I had put the "situation" aside, thinking that I would get over it all. That is a technique I use quite often to deal with "things". Put it aside and see if it looks different on a different day. Usually this works well for me as I am a pretty balanced individual and realize that what may not occur to me day of, eventually will.

What started to occur to me was the question I kept asking my self- why does this hurt me so much? Why does it bother me what one person thinks? Am I really that fragile? Is my good self image really false? Can I not handle it? Who am I?

But self (self is a good friend of mine who quiets the shouting voices) said to me "Settle down! Even balanced people get hurt feelings! It wouldn't be balanced if there weren't two ends of the see-saw! You have a strong ego, that doesn't mean it can't ever be wounded. So maybe for a little while you take off your big girl panties and put your diapers on and suck your thumb. It's alright to explore your hurt. Get to know it, understand it, acknowledge it. Its part of you, but only one part. You'll move on, you always do and anyways, it sure isn't fun here, so why stay?"

Man, self is smart. I followed her advice. I put on my diapers and played with my toy blocks. I stuck out my tongue and gave that person, and their comment, all kinds of raspberries. I feel better now. I think I will tuck my diapers away in a dark corner in case I ever need them again. They came in handy. As far as "that" person...they like me now, I made sure of it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lesson learned!

I drove through the golden arches to grab a cup of coffee this morning and the ever-freindly recorded voice asked me- Would you like to order a such and such to get a monopoly game piece?

HA!!!! NO thanks McDonalds! You might have sucked me into Monopoly last year but not again! Nope, not stringing me along this time. Not collecting tiny squares of vinyl coated paper. Not allowing myself to imagine myself on the billboard jumping with joy at having won a million dollars. Not collecting saturated fat pounds on my hips, nope, and this year....I spare my gallbladder the vicious onslaught of grease. I will remain poor but victorious in my restraint.

Take that to the fat farm, McDonalds!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'll be back, I promise, unless I'm dead!

So busy, tired, old, barely the strength to type this note...
yep, overbooked again.

Between the two classes I teach and the two young ones with their homework, the other job, the house, the laundry.....I'm too tired for sex, oops, thought you were the hubby, I mean, I am too tired to be creative! I don't have time to have a thought in my head let alone have a thought do that thing...that thing where it wiggles and jiggles, takes tiny nibbles of my grey matter until it becomes bigger than the other thoughts on the roster, so big and loud that it just has to be let out before the top of my skull pops off. Or itchy, somethimes they are itchy thoughts that have to be scratched open so the questions, opinions, conclusions ooze out.

Nope, none of that going on right now. 'cept for that one thing. The comment made by a student of may need adressing, not so much the comment itself, but more the reaction it stirred in my black little heart and injured, wobbly ego. But another day, hold on, I'll be back.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to know if you have a mental defect.

I recently made mention in an e-mail of our deceased puppy named Bailey. I was quoting my very prolific husband who always feels the need to sum up Bailey's personality by saying "dogs like that don't come along every day, she was a good dog!" Usually I take the time to point out that for the first two years of her life I seriously wondered if she was insane. I used to call her jaws on a stick, thinking of those wind up dinosaur heads on a stick that you could buy for 50 cents a couple of decades ago. Which, in turn, always makes me think of those creepy- claw hand- back scratchers you could also buy but never would because they made you think of your Grandpa, not the nice one, but the mean one who yelled at you and your brother so badly when you busted in on him in the bathroom that one time. Everybody has one of those Grandpa's don't they?

Yep, Mark always says that about Bailey, (our second dog) who loved him faithfully but came to me when she was hurt or not feeling well. That dog knew who was Daddy, and she knew who was Mommy. The last time he said that I thought- really? They don't come along that often? Well, they could! Don't you remember that stint I went through in my early thirties where I started picking up stray dogs I would see on my way home from work or your parents house? Or my parents house? Or the library? Don't you remember you telling me I had better not bring home one more dog..... and you probably thought for once in our marriage I was "listening to something you said?" But really it was because I was fairly certain that I had some sort of mental problem, especially after I picked up that last dog- the third one that "looked just like Casey", and it could have been Casey(our first dog), somehow getting out of her pen and making the 25 mile trek from our house to Grandma's house (because dogs can do that, look at Lassie and Rin Tin Tin and especially Benjie) because after all, this dog was on the road to Grandma's house, and after I forced it into my car, realizing it was not my dog but certainly should not be out and about on this private drive and it must need to be rescued by me.

So, I took it home. It was Friday. I dutifully called animal control. No answer. The dog stayed with us all weekend. It was fed and loved. On Monday, starting to get a little afraid I might have to keep the dog, and feed the dog and take the dog to the vet, I dutifully called Animal Control again. Yes, a dog fitting that description had been reported missing and the owners were very worried. "Oh, they'll be so happy!" I thought. They will be so grateful I found their dog and saved it from a sure death by car. I mean, even if Animal Control had picked up their lost dog they would still issue them a ticket for not controlling their dog, right? I took down the number and called right away to quiet their worries. A girl of about 16 answered. I was right. She was worried, and so very relieved to know her precious pet was safe and well cared for over the weekend. I told her I had to come to Fremont anyways and would be happy to drop the dog off to her home. What was her address?

That was when I realized I might just be suffering from some sort of malady. Turns out the dog was on his street. The street he lived on. The street his owners lived on. Turns out I hadn't really "saved" him. Turns out a better description would be that I dog-napped him. I wondered if anyone had seen me forcing him in my car. I told the young girl I would be dropping him off shortly and perhaps she should get a tag for his collar with his address on it. She said she would.

That put an end to that period of dog rescuing. I suppose I could include the story of how it started years before and how the very first instance of "rescuing" taught me that it was a bad idea- the time I thought I saw the boxer that belonged to the guy I so wanted to date, walking along side the highway on a dark winter night, so I stopped and forced the beautiful brindle boxer into my car and drove it straight back to it's home, only to find out that it couldn't be his dog because his dog was right there on the chain and lo, and behold, it couldn't be the same dog anyways, cuz the dog I picked up was- surprise! a boy! Not being very old and not really sure I wanted to get between the two, I left. Later, when I found out the female was preggers I resisted the urge to say I might know who the daddy was and not to worry because I think he was purebred so the pups were purebred.

That's how you know you might have a certain mental defect. When you keep doing something that you know is probably going to badly but just can't help yourself....there's something not right there....

Chris- on behaving badly

To my co-worker:

I know, I know, don't think I don't!!!! I know when I have behaved badly- freaking out like some wack job but I'd like to point out a few things in my defense.

Hellllooooo! I'm havin a visit from Auntie Flo, Ok? Yesterday I thought my head was going to fall off my neck at 5:00 fffing am. I thought perhaps Mark had finally buried an axe in my brain but I couldn't see it cuz, well, things don't work the same way when there's an axe in your brain. Somehow, I dragged myself off the bed and made scrambled eggs because I know there's protein and relatively little flavor. Literally I sat on the sofa for 20 minutes and manged three bites. That was at 7:00 a.m. Amazingly- by only ten after 9:00 I had conquered nausea and was able to walk through the door at Gallery - amazingly- by merely putting one foot after the other. Let me just say, though, driving skills are compromised when you have an axe in your brain.

I managed to draft most of the morning even though the numbers and lines kept converging. By 11:00, I was fairly certain I would be able to keep some coffee down and the three bites of egg had dissapated so a coffee/bran muffin run was due. By early afternoon, three tylenol and three aspirin made light coversation an attainable goal and I was able to pretend to be human.

Friday consisted of "yeah! the axe fell out and now I am down to merely cramps that inspire images of corkscrews- but oh my god, what blood type am I, because I am most certainly going to need a transfusion." But while my anorexic boss had nurtured her eating disorder the previous day, I, on the opposite side of the fence am sporting cantelopes where my cow boobs used to be and a watermelon is sitting on top of my bladder and none, I repeat- none, of my clothes will fit atround it! My legs feel like spagetti but look like ravioli noodles. My face looks like a mouse has nibbled on my nose and cheeks overnight and for god sake! And, honest, I am not lying, somebody's kid got toothpaste on the hairbrush which of course I didn't figure out right away so I had to wash my hair twice this morning because, nothing, nothing gets toothpaste out of hair.

Now, normally, you should be worried about my children but let me re-assure you they are ok as I have not the strength to yell at them. Ok, I do not have the strength to chase them down and beat them. On an upbeat note, I think they may have a future in track- sprinting, most likely.

I refuse to change my life or take a sick day for a period. I can get through a day. I don't care what you throw at me I can get through a day. But maybe not the second day. Maybe, a sick day would have been the better choice. I don't know. But maybe, just maybe you can cut me a little slack because next week I will be the pillar of strength, the calm in the midst of the storm, the guiding light, the shining example of a positive attitude.

But not right now. Right now, I hate pillars of strength. Calm people make me want to hurl. Guiding lights- need to be extinguished, people with positive attitudes- well they need the air let out of their tires, figuratively and literally.

So I hope this sheds some light on my behaviour today. But not too much light as I intend to pretend it never happened.

Have a good weekend and remember, you are a designer, trust your instincts, not your co-workers who might be under the influence. Remember, hormones are chemicals, too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Public Announcement

Dear Children:

Due to the present economic and socio-economic situation I have been forced to re-evaluate my present position. Rising costs and time demand necessitate the need for an immediate restructuring of our family dynamic.

Starting immediately my rates as "mother" have gone up to 100,000.00 per day with a ten dollar surcharge for every ten minutes served after 9:00 pm or before 7:00 am.

This charge will be drafted directly from your allowance. If you do not currently receive an allowance a record of all charges will be archived until such time as you earn a wage.

Also, be aware the following services have been deleted-

1. Deciphering words from whine. (Please note the spelling as wine is still included in my daily routine.)

2. Repacking lunches to include a source of protein, fiber and something, just one damn thing that is green.

3. All Social Secretary functions have been suspended until further notice.

Thank you for your attention,



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Keepin' the kid out of Juvie

Today one of my very best friends announced she had won a prestigious award. An award highly coveted by many of the people who follow the blog- byebyepie. I have been to this blog. It is addictive. The mind behind this genius- a somewhat zany, kinda scary woman who I took to right away. "She's crazy!" I thought. "I like her!" Well, she was introduced to me by my friend Chinamommy who also has her own blog which is very funny as well. Yes, Chinamommy won the award of "cleverest comment of the week" for her comment she posted to byebyepie's blog regarding the lovely scent of lilacs and her associated memories.

Yep. HMMM. Well....Yeah. Nice. Guess what award I should win!?! For my recent adventures as mom ...... yeah, you get it...where am I going with this?

Of course my story involves Kayla. Now if you have ever doubted Karma- don't. Kayla is my consequence for that summer I spent sneaking out at night to run the town with my friends. Kayla is my consequence for all those quick little trips I took down the basement stairs to sneak a swallow of the blackberry brandy stored in that scary little moldy room. Kayla is the consequence for the time I stole the pumpkin from outside the Buy Rite in Hesperia only to realize that it was larger and heavier than it appeared and that theft should probably involve a get away car- something most 16 year olds of humble means don't have at their disposal. Yep, Kayla.

Kayla is going through a bad patch right now. It's hard for an almost eight year-old to figure out the ways of this crazy world. She's frustrated, all tied up into a tense little ball. She's taken to well- taking. Four episodes of recent add up to the reason for this post.

First- she stole a- oh hell, I can't even remember now, then she stole an ipod from my friend's little girl. Right out of her house! I should have been smarter than this, I should have questioned that odd little detour she took before we left and patted her down before leaving, but I was tired that day. Then on a walk through the path we made where our property borders the woods I found a hand held radio. Hmm, I already knew how it got there. Only, it was not a radio but, rather, some expensive little navigational device that formerly lived in my husbands dresser.

He was not happy. He doesn't even know about the ipod. I used my Motherly and Wifely discretion on that score and decided it was better all the way around that he not know. And then, last Thursday, I used the discretion again because some incidents are just beyond the comprehension of ordinary MEN, and because I don't have life insurance on my husband I didn't want his head to spin around on his neck until it popped off. Another day, perhaps.

Seems that our daycare, which I love- it is run by these energetic young Christian people who never run out of second chances for small delinquents, has been updating their security. Protocol set out by their administration required that they have certain equipment on hand in case of emergency. (and a frickin alarm at the door so that every day I have to settle the fight of who gets to punch the code in and then I promptly forget to punch the green exit button on the way out so an alarm goes off and I have to yell "sorry" at the top of my lungs so these very same Christian Youths don't come running to stone me to death, have I mentioned how much I am loving being a mother....) but back to the supplies-

Somehow in between the unpacking and the logging in and the decision of where exactly to store it- a large can of Mace went missing. Yep. "Missing."

The perp apparently took the can of "pepper spray" as she later called it and I still to this day don't know how she knew to call it that- and hid it in a room behind the curtain. The next day this same perp, on "free time" retrieved the stolen article and took it in a bathroom to spray large amounts of it. Then she quickly exited the bathroom, allowing a cloud of chemicals out into the general area. A couple of children coughed, workers descended on the bathroom, children were ushered outside for yet another recess. The director of the daycare who had just left work was called back in to assess the situation. All this time I am at work, working away, thinking it's just another day at work.

I'm always a little suspicious when the director approaches me looking me directly in the eyes. It hearkens memories of previous discussions of Kayla daring other children to bare their bottoms or other such situations. I fought the urge to look the other way and then bolt into the bathroom. But today, Ms. Director was quick. I had no chance of a get away. So instead, as she said that she needed to discuss a "situation" with me I went right to whining. "NO, Please- it's been a long day- I don't want to hear bad things, can't you write it down, give it me all folded up and ask me to call you tomorrow and I promise by the end of the week I will call you?"

She laughingly assures me that everything is "Okay-now" which to me means uh oh, this was a bad one- I hope it doesn't involve nudity. Then continues on to tell me the story which I only hear parts of as I am thinking "OH MY GOD! What the hell? Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse? Were the police called? Am I being sued by some parent of an asthmatic child? Is this it? Do I have to find a new daycare or can I solve the problem by taking the kid directly to Foster Care? Really, you got called back into work? That would really piss me off, good thing you are so young and Christian hearted- you're amazing! Can I buy you a beer? Cuz, God knows, I could really use one right now!"

She was at the point where she could see the humor in the "situation" as she explained how she handled Kayla. She told her that everyone at daycare still loved her but that they were disappointed in her choices. She would have to miss the next field trip outing. Kayla tried to negotiate terms as well. She begged Ms. Director not to tell me. She swore that she would tell me herself and that would be "OK". When Ms. Director kindly but firmly told her that would not be happening Kayla threw herself on the floor claiming "They're going to send me to Juvie, they will, they will!" Kayla is a fire sign, I have to face it, there is at least ten more years of drama in front of me.

Ms. Director assured her she would not be sent to Juvie. I assured Ms. Director that it was probably my husband who put that thought in her head after she stole his "Garmin Satellite navigator". He means well. But back to does sound like a possibility at this point.

As the story unfolded I could tell I would have to do some thinking on this one. I was so very tempted to drive right over to the State Police Post and ask if they could give her a stern talking to and show her the inside of a cell but, as I always try to think of every possible outcome to every situation- was a little concerned they would take down my information and report me to social services for being so very inadequate as a mother. More thinking.

I came home with very docile eight year old who took me very seriously when I told her to be quiet and sit still as I had some thinking to do. The other child was also quiet. Somewhere in her little heart I know she was gloating over her cousin's situation. But, this child has always known when to stay "small" so as not to have any trouble attach itself to her.

On my answering machine was a call from a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile. She cheerfully apologized for not keeping in touch but if I had a moment would I call her as she had a "decorating" question. Sorry, Friend, I currently am only trading free decorating advice in return for advice on how to keep my kid out of Juvie.

The next morning at work I was quickly trying to execute my newly hatched plan of asking Kayla's karate teacher for help. I put Kayla in karate earlier this summer because I hear that it helps with focus, discipline, respect, self esteem, blah blah. It's had it's ups and downs but I have faith that karate may actually help her over time. So why not ask her big, very large hulking, eighth degree, three time world championship karate teacher to help? Because of my pride, that's Why! But desperate times (what could be more desperate than the evacuation of an entire daycare center- I ask you- what???)

I'm awaiting the reply to the plea for help I sent the night before. I pull up my e-mail at work, and what appears but three, not one but three e-mails from Chinamommy sharing her giddy glee at being chosen as "winner of the cleverest comment of the week".

Typically I would be happy for her. Happy and jealous in a good way. Today, only chagrin. What could I ever have done to deserve a problem named Maria (oops, sometimes I break into lyrics from classical musicals) I mean what the hell did I do that was so bad that I have to deal with daycare disasters and delinquent eight year old thieves! I could go on about how I feed and clothe her, take care of her when she's sick but then the other voice in my head has to pipe in and say "yeah but you yell at her all the time- no wonder she needs negative attention so much" so I will skip this. But, let me say chagrin was all I had for my friend at the moment. I was like- "Really? Decorating advice last night and now another friend winning an "Emmy" could someone just throw a pie in my face and GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY! I get it- my life sucks, you win. Now shut up as I have to grovel to a karate guru who already gets 130.00 bucks a month from me!

So I wrote back to said friend and told her I was mad at her-but in a funny way so she wouldn't be mad at me-but spent all weekend thinking how wrong that was until I felt so guilty that I e-mailed (didn't have the strength to actually call and say it) her an apology to which she laughed at and told me to chill out.

Now, the karate dude? That's another story. I'll get back to you with it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blissful Morning to Write

Ingredients for a blissful morning

I was right to refuse a 9:00 appointment with Margie Fuller. Here are my recommended ingredients for soothing start to the day. Just when you thought I could never be calm or balanced see, it really isn't me- it's my life! Oh, oops, sorry, no more whining.


Several cups of coffee consumed on your deck on a warm sunny morning. Close all windows and doors to the house that let out the sound of your children or Spongebob. Listen to the sound of the breeze and the various birds. Read a little, write a little.

Here's what I wrote-

With first an explanation; I have been trying to concentrate on "boys" a little. My artwork and writing is always girls. I don't really like boys. They are loud and clumsy and destroy things for fun, then they turn into men. But I am trying to "like" them better. For so long I have concentrated on the things I don't like about my husband. Now I am trying to appreciate more the things I do like about him. There are many, I find. Plus thoughts of my brother have been hanging around my head. I miss him. I miss the brother I would have had as an adult. Sometimes, I even wish I had a little boy of my own.. but then my period starts and other equally crazy thoughts take over. So here is what I wrote this morning and I don't really know what inspired it.

"I don't know you" she said peering up at him from under heavy lids covered in crepe paper skin.

He leaned over and put his hand on her arm which seemed to startled her. Her shoulders lifted slightly and then settled back into their familiar slumped position. She turned her head slightly away as if his presence was just too much for that moment.

What thoughts passed behind those clouded eyes, he wondered, how do I reach into that world she stays in? "I know you, Grandma" he said softly, "I came to visit with you awhile."

She looked at him now, fully. First his shape looming over her and then his tan skin stretched over taught muscles. Then his thick hair growing unabashedly over his collar. His sideburns were unsuitably long and he hadn't seen the sharp side of a razor recently.

But those eyes- those beautiful eyes hadn't changed since the day his toy plane flew out the kitchen window of her house and dropped into the lemon meringue pie she'd set outside to cool. She'd seen it happening and when he looked around to see if he'd been caught she was standing there with her hands on her hips.

"Looks like your pilot is in a bit of trouble." She said as his eyes turned large and tears held tremulously on lower lids.

"I'm sorry, Grandma, I didn't mean it..."

"It's alright honey. We'll call it 'decoration'!" And that's how they served it later, plane and all. Everyone laughed and it became a family story.

"I meant, I don't know you since you got so grown up! So big and tall. And handsome!" She put her hand over his,and looked him in the eyes, and smiled that familiar smile he'd been looking for.

This was the world she lived in. She'd done her work, been a child who became an adult, raised a family, been a part of proper society. But now she rested, done with obligations, she visited her accumulation of memories. While others watched game shows and did crosswords she re-ran episodes that in total had equaled a life. A good life.

"Do you remember..." she plucked at his hand, and of course, he did. They had the conversation they'd had the last time he'd visited, the conversation that would become part of his accumulation of memories he saved for later. For dessert.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is this immature? Well, I don't care!

My husband has a cold. He doesn't know it but I do because it's the same ornery cold I had last week that involves a killer headache and over the top- orneriness. I didn't tell him because apparently it's a bad thing if you catch a cold and pass along the virus- after all, one should be able to control these things. If I hear, one more time in my life, "I've caught YOUR cold" in an accusatory tone- well, it will just be one time, too many. If nothing else, my husband has mastered the fine art of blame, passed on from generations of polish people before him.

So I didn't tell him that he may be just a little extra ornery for the next five days. That he should take a tylenol and shut himself away in a room away from innocent bystanders. Nope. Didn't tell him. So I suppose this really is my fault? Probably. Don't care.

After he decided to insult me in five different ways within the first hour of our joyous daily reunion, I removed myself from his presence. He made dinner. I ignored him. I ate peanut butter and jelly and wrapped up his feast and put it in his sandwich box, in the fridge. He went to bed and I settled in to my time alone.

But I was unsatisfied. He really pisses me off. That's all I can say. Life is crappy. I am not happy at work. My kids turn me into a screaming ninny. I have no money. I have to stay up late into the night to cultivate my inner artist so that I don't feel the need to jump off the top of my house. So I really just don't need this person giving me crap, ya know? And, I am not a doormat- I will not accept bad behaviour as routine.

So to air my dis-pleasure I decided to fill his lunch box with rolls of toilet paper. Yes, I am 40 years old. Yes, it has come to this.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

hang in there!

I have been way too busy communing with my inner artist to notice all the wackiness the world has to offer lately. Ok, that's a lie, but I have been too busy to write it down. And, then there is the issue with my computer at home. The modem in my computer claims to be in use by another device. What device??? The blender? I don't know and used up all the minutes on my cell phone speaking with "kevin" trying to fix it at 1.95 a minute. Was it rude of me to tell him to quit with the social niceties and get down to business? He's asking how I am- I'm answering that I'm fine and so is my little dog and the meter is clicking away... shut up, Habib and fix my computer! But we ran out of time so here I sit at work typing away. And, with a memory like mine, well let's just say if it doesn't get written down while the thought is rolling around in my head- picture a funnel attached to the end of a slide- the thought rolls right out my ear, or nostril or tear duct, never to be evidenced again. So sorry. Which is probably why I enclosed all those pictures of the paper mache art I'm doing. Couldn't be that I am just so excited that they are turning out so well!!! Ok, have to go work, will edit for spelling later. After I figure out how to type on the blender.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Odd Moments of the Day

Last weekend I attended an opening for an art gallery. My daughter Brooke insisted she come along. It was my intention to stay only as long as needed to meet the owner, see what her gallery was about and check out (evaluate) the work on display. She and I have been communicating back and forth about potentially putting a couple of my pieces in her gallery. As of right now, I am almost finished with two paper mache' sculptures but also have no less than six loads of laundry waiting to be put away and no one in the house has undies in their drawers. Choices, it's all about choices!

So we found the gallery in an odd part of town, on an unlikely street for a gallery both of which piqued my interest immediately. What's the story? Why here? Does she own the building already? Is this part of town one of those funky destination spots that cool urbanites just already know about?

The interior is the typical for an old 1900's business. Really high ceilings covered in tin panels. Exposed brick walls. Long and narrow, front to back floorplan. Perfect for an art gallery.

My search was mostly for the owner so I was reading every name tag that came along. At the back of the store you could see a glimpse of sunlight. I headed towards that pulling Brooke with me while she tried to pull me towards the jewelry she wanted me to buy her. Her attention switched when she saw people with plates of food and like a blood hound she followed the trail.

Fine, I thought, I'll have a bite to eat with my daughter, that will be a nice moment. We sat on a concrete ledge that was part of the driveway we were in. I noticed a cute little girl somewhat younger than Brooke eyeballing us. Kids are attracted to kids like fireflies to light, I thought. The little girl sidled up to me and asked if she could play with my daughter. Of course, I said, but she has to eat first. The little girl assured me that she could wait. Patiently.

She sat down on the ledge next to us. Between bites I asked what her age was. Four, she said. We all smiled. Then with a coy voice she made a general announcement. "I'm the prettiest."

I chewed. I thought. I pondered the rudeness of her statement. Should I be offended? Sure, she was pretty. Was she prettier than my Brooke? Not in my world, not on my Mommy-planet. Should I inform her of her in-correctness? Should I let it pass completely as she was only four? How would the socially concious, politically correct mom of 2009 respond? I tried to form a comment in my mind something like-"I am sure, that to your mom, you are the prettiest" but kept wanting to add something else like- "when she's tossed back a few cocktails!" But instead I chewed and looked at Brooke to see if she had been devasted, if her self image and self esteem had teetered any. She was looking down at the ground so I wasn't sure but my distress was rising.

"YOU SHOULD...." she started to speak in that voice that children have when it's something important they need to share with you, the voice that starts on a high note at the beginning of each word and pulls out each syllable to match the importance of the message. I leaned in, anxious to be prepared to stop her if necessary or to mediate.

"YOU SHOULD....tell your mom to wash your shoes, THEY'RE DIRTY!" Brooke said to the little girl.

I sat back up and took another bite. "Well played, Brooke, well played!" I thought.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Morning Coffee

So there I was at Starbucks, counting out change to pay for my coffee.....

Odd Moments of The Day

This is a new category for my blog. Most every day something I observe strikes me as odd, intriguing or as a sign somehow. So just to educate you on how I view the world I am sharing these "collectible" odd moments of my day.

Today, I found treasure in my tub. Serioulsy. No, this isn't some pornographic bit where I explore previously unexplored facets of my persona or person. There I was, soaping up the ole' noggin when a glint of something caught my eye. I should explain I am blind. Almost, not quite, but let's just say the one day when I couldn't wear my contacts and realized I had left my glasses at work and drove myself and my mother 15 miles to Fremont to get them before we continued on another hour in our journey, let's just say I won't ever be driving without corrective lenses again. It was that day I realized that "faster than the speed of sound" can be segwayed over into "faster than the sight of a very nearsighted girl who shouldn't be driving a moving weapon as she can not see the other cars on the road until it's too late." Oh, the things my mother let go by...

So this morning when something glinted at me I squinted back at it, reached down to move a wash cloth out of the way to find- treasure! Many, many coins of the assorted shapes and colors were laying on the floor of my tub! Secret message from God? Secret message from a loved one who moved to another realm? (They supposedly leave things around, like coins, things easily moved. Well, they had better start leaving Post It notes because with my girls there's lots of little trinkets laying around!)
Well most likely, Kayla or Brooke had decided to wash their stash of cash, coins to be exact, so that they could glisten even more brightly. Of course, in this house we never finish anything we start (they get that from me)so after the washing the coins were left there in the tub half covered by a washcloth. Now that the "oddity" of finding a cache o' coins in my tub is explained we are only left with the dilemma- Do I make them get the "damn money out of my tub!" or do I keep it and buy myself a coffee tommorrow?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Update

Even though her phone message says that Wednesdays are a paperwork only day and that messages will not be returned until Thursday I recieved another message later on that same day, rescheduling my appointment from 9:00 to 2:00PM.
One may think that I am jumping up and down with joy at this victory but, you see, the battle is not over. (the worst part begins- trudging through all that paper, filing- bleh! finding records of all our assets to prove we are poor enough to recieve benefits except that we automatically are qualified to recieve them because we care for someone else's child and even if we were millionaire's we would be eligable to recieve these funds but go ahead, waste the precious hours of my life because why not? It's not like I have other stuff that I am behind on as well- I hate you- State of Michigan for making it soooo very difficult to do the right thing!!!!)
But now here is the part of the battle where I go to the meeting and make Margie Fuller my minion by making her like me. Yes, I am evil. But I won't have won until she thinks that she is glad she rescheduled to a time that suited me. I won't have really won untill I get a genuine smile out of her. Don't think I won't know a fake one. I won't have won until she looks at me and sees a real person and not just a case file. I won't have won until she shares a little something of herself with me. Then, I will have won and the battle will be over. The planets will re-align and I will walk out of the building, throw all the paper I collected in the front seat of my car, vowing to make copies and keep them in a sacred spot so next year I can take some of the work out of the process. Then I will go buy myself a present to soothe my ego and in the remains of the day I shall swab my self with alcohol and bleach to make sure I removed any living parasite I may have picked up in the waiting room of the Department Of Human Services.

False Alarm

Earlier this week I had experienced an alarming moment when picking up my girls at daycare. They were playing outside as usual. I like to observe them from outside the fence as it's chance to get a little synapses of how they interact with other children. I was, however, a little surprised to see my daughter, Brooke, being approached by two boys, taken by both arms and led into a closed in area of some playground equipment. I thought perhaps I should alert some government agency or maybe even Margie Fuller, that human trafficking was occurring at my daycare. Quick to respond, I jumped the fence and ran over to Emily, the playground attendant. Always careful not to expose my paranoia I casually said "Hey, my daughter was kidnapped by two boys- they're over there, in there with two other boys making it a total of four boys and one girl." "Yes," she said, "we've had a lot of kidnappings lately but luckily a lot of escapes have occurred as well."
"Oh," I thought, "how cute, the small humans are practicing wedding rituals!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I came to work this A.M. to find the only message on our machine was Margie Fuller telling me she had scheduled an appointment for me next Monday at 9:00. OH No, Mrs. Fuller, I actually have a 9;00 appointment (with my coffee) in Muskegon, an hour away- but am available from 12:00 to 3:00. You see, Mrs. Fuller, during the winter I work two jobs to help make ends meet as we have two girls to feed and these days jobs don't pay enough to make it on one. So, you see, Mrs. Fuller, I am a little backed up on things like- Drs. appointments, paying bills, dentist appointments, hair appointments, filing paper work, cleaning my house, cleaning my car...You see Mrs. Fuller, I am not actually available at your whim even if you are with a government agency. Not that I don't respect the very difficult job you have, not that I don't understand that at least once a day you have to deal with someone who is trying to cheat the system- I get that. But it's not me, I am not cheating. and you see Mrs. Fuller, I will do this yearly determination because I understand I have to but, Mrs. Fuller, it will be my way. I will win.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear Mrs. Fuller,

First- a couple of things to go over-
1) I have an appointment to (don't know if I will keep it or not) take Kayla to be evaluated for placement in a karate class. She needs something to harness her powers for good not evil. Do you question the decision to give her the ability to beat me up? I do.

2) I hate my job. It's like having a boyfriend that cheats on you, lives off of ya, wrecks your car and makes you feel bad, but- you are afraid of hurting his feelings because that, too, would make you feel bad so you stick with him. I am probably NOT going to be laid off. Why? because then my boss would actually have to come to- and stay at- work! I am so sorry for all my friends who have to listen to me bitch all the time while choosing not to actually do something about the problem. I think it's why I bought not one but two astrology books. So I can hide my head in things that are not real to make up for not doing anything about the things that are.

OK< on to business- I am on the run, on the lam, on the down lo, sneakin' out the back, Jack, from Kayla's case worker. It's THAT time. Yes, it's time- for the State of Michigan to re-evaluate and determine whether or not I should receive the 150.00 a month I get to house, feed and clothe her but more importantly whether or not they feel I should receive day care benefits for her, thus making it feasible for me to work and take home a small paycheck. Now, maybe just maybe I am a petulant, spoiled, ungrateful citizen but you have to understand that filling out forms with accurate information is not my strong point. I don't like to do it- it's yucky-FOR GOD"S SAKE- I AM AN ARTIST! Or at least I am trying to be, but for sure, I have mastered the flighty, unreliable, part of being an artist.

You also have to understand that for the most part- I am a trooper. All the things I rant and rave about on my blog are true and have happened. Every day, day after day, I get up and wrestle my way through the morning. Every night I go to bed with self- recriminations echoing in my head about how I could have handled the day better. Intent to do better weaves it's way in and out of my crazy dreams, along with all my other to do lists that manifest themselves. The other thing you have to remember is "HEY! I didn't sign up for this!" Not my kid! Not an easy kid! But I do it. I do it because, I love her and I don't want her in the system. It's the right thing to do and that's the thought I exhale on- it's the right thing, for her and me. But I don't do it gracefully.

So, I get a letter on a Thursday informing me of my meeting the following Monday. I'm like "umm, yeah, I don't care which government agency you're with, CIA, FBI, NRA- unless you are going to go to work in my stead, pick up from day care, shower, feed and wrestle my kids to bed- this ain't happenin'. It has nothing to do with you Mrs. Margie Fuller- it's just not possible, kinda like me climbin' the clouds to the moon isn't possible." And then I contemplate the piles of papers waiting for the day I feel attuned to the task of filing them after one of the hardest semesters of teaching I have ever had, in which I ditched the task of filing any piece of paper, realizing this has to be done- before I can even physically reach the documentation needed to fill out the forms.

Then I think of the last four years that I have gone to the appointments in which the case worker says- oh yeah, you're a guardian, no problem- we just have to see the paperwork. Then they stamp every side of the papers without looking at them and then we chit chat after which I go home, jump in the shower and delouse myself- yes folks, the Department of Human Services really is that creepy. I am not germaphobic, it would not serve me well to be so.

So, that following Monday I was getting ready to make the call to a one Mrs. Margie Fuller to explain to her that I would need at least two more weeks as this one was completely devoted to the situation currently at hand of my mother-in-law having a six hour surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Bonus to me, but not Norma, that this was true. When...drama building... the phone rings. I choose not to answer it- it was before nine, before my second cup of coffee and fully into the onslaught of cramps.

It was the aforementioned Mrs. Margie Fuller explaining to my answering machine that she would have to cancel our appointment for later that day- but- she had an opening on Wednesday. This is important- she said Wednesday. I ran to the phone, barely remembering to pretend I had just entered the room to hear her on the machine, and started blubbering about how today was just awful for me as well- I only just got the letter late last week and could I have two weeks to prepare for the meeting. Well, no, she couldn't "give" me two weeks, that was too long but she had an opening on "WEDNESDAY" of this week. Well, no I can't do Wednesday- my mother in law is having surgery. She says- and I quote- "What time is her surgery?"

At this very moment my brain split in two- because as I was realizing I had mis-spoke and her surgery was actually on Thursday and realized also that I no longer sounded "truthful" as I stumbled over the words- I don't know- it's either Wednesday or Thursday and we'll know the time the night before" I was also realizing

THIS WOMAN HAD ASKED ME WHAT TIME THE SURGERY WAS -AS IF- in between the anesthesia and the recovery room I could just bebop down to her office to get the meeting out of the way!!!! THE UNMITIGATED GALL OF MRS. MARGIE FULLER! Well, of course I couldn't be at her office! I had to work that day and be available (by phone) for OTHER family members to give me updates. REALLY- MRS.FULLER- Who do you think you are dealing with?

So, we made a date for the following Monday and I figured I would find some way, some way, between visits to the hospital and showers for six year olds that I would get the filing done by then so I could find the information to fill out her forms. But here's the best part- Friday- I get a call from MS. Fuller- obviously going down a list- as there is no sign of recognition in her voice for the woman who's mother in law may or may not have been having a life threatening surgery- she has to reschedule as her office is being moved to another building the day of our (re)scheduled appointment.

So Mrs. Fuller- I want to know- what hours will you be moving your office????

Currently, I am enjoying a rousing game of phone tag with Mrs. Fuller and am still awaiting the cosmic forces to align themselves to create a day wherein I will feel compelled to file all that paper downstairs.....or be an artist- one of the two. Good Day, Mrs. Fuller.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

seriously, God, really??

OK, sorry, rough day in Mommy land with kids who are calling you from the nurses office, making everyone think they are dying but really just need to visit the john, and cars that overheat as you are driving 80, to the dr. with the kid who's not really dying, so that you can get back to the very same school you just left, in time for a 6:00 kindergarten graduation, so you can paste a smile on your face as you work the room trying to make play dates for your other kid who is overly shy and who, you are hoping turns out normal rather than Columbine massacre re-make kid, hoping all the time that your deoderant hasn't given out, because remember the car that was overheating and your dad's advice with a car that is overheating- turn on the heat and the fan so the fan draws air over the engine to make heat for the car- thus cooling the engine, which it did, on the very first day that the temperature crested 88 degrees, there I am bumper to bumper on Plainfeild at 5:20pm, sweat dripping between my shoulder blades, bloodshot eyes tearing up from the sweat off my forehead and remember this above all else- I do not like to sweat, it's yucky. But, there I am, taken back to those old high school days when I would grit my teeth and get in the old maroon Volare' station wagon, willing to hedge a bet on my personal safety just to get the hell out of my parents house. Oh, what I learned about mechanics from that old beast. I know the smell of burnt oil and frozen up calipurs. I can tell you when your car is leaking coolant by the smell of the steam. I know how to get just a little more juice out of a dying battery. I know that you should never ever mess with the timing of a carbuerator and if you run out of gas you might just have to poor a little gas in that very same carbuerator to get it going again. I know that when you drive into a snowbank with a little help from your friends that if the very same friends jump up and down on the bumper it won't really help you get un-stuck and it won't get the snow out of the grille so you may as well come up with a good cover story rather than just hoping no-one notices...yes, I learned a lot from a station wagon...we won't go into the fold down back seat....I think I feel a blog coming on. and, and, what the hell-

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chris's list

Chris's list (similar to Craig's list but without the scams)

Ok, maybe not so similar. My friend sent me one of those e-mails where you answer questions about yourself and then send it on and all your friends do the same and you all learn new things or confirm old things you already knew and understood about each other. I don't know what is so appealing about those but each and every time- I participate. Well, this last one had the interesting challenge that you were supposed to answer every question by using just one word. By the way, Rhonda, that was one word- you failed miserably, but thank you for participating, anyway.

Which got me to thinking about lists. Personal lists. Top ten lists. What do I want to do before I die? Find a way to live forever....that will surely defeat that whole "you're going to hell" prognosis... by the way, that "theory" was forever embedded into my psyche by my mother that fateful night I thought I would have an intelligent, mature conversation about going on the pill. Yeah, the night I decided I would finally run away, which I did for about an hour until I thought, perhaps, I should have brought a coat and perhaps conquered my fear of the dark and maybe, just maybe, have a plan of action in place say as to where I would live, sleep and eat. So I slunk home only to find the back door locked because, even though we were the poorest family on the block in a town where no one, I mean no one, bothered to lock their doors, my father was sure that we would be robbed if he did not perform his nightly ritual of locking every window and every door. So there I was- cold, knocking on the door, going- Yeah, that's right, I'm back, the whole running away thing...didn't really mean it, if I did I would have done it much better, so can we please, not ever speak of this momentary glitch ever again?

But, back to lists-

Really, what would I like to do before I die? Top five? Not including sappy things like seeing my daughters get married.
1. HMMMmmmm-
2. Ummm,
3. Yeah, I'm gonna come back to this one.
4. Oh, go to Europe, especially Italy

Wait, let me start over-

1. Well, like everyone else in the world I would like proof that I mattered. That I made a difference by being here.

But what does that mean? Did I clean up a highway? Save an endangered species? I think I have made a difference in the lives of some of my students, not that drafting skills are that elemental to one's survival- but rather in small ways- the questions I have posed, the challenges I put to them, the times that I have said "hey, what is up with you? Is there a problem I can help you with?' and they have said "well, yeah,..." and together we worked through an issue that may or may not have related to my class but rather the incidental relationship we developed by simply being in the same place at the same time repeatedly. I never imagined the power I would have as the leader of a group, the influence and the opportunity to make a difference and the responsibility that would come with that.
Such small instances, though. Could they be enough to prove my validity and value as an adult human on this planet? Maybe it is a ripple effect. The small change I made in some one's life caused them to grow in a way that they could make a change in someone else's life- the pay it forward- concept.
Is it enough? Combined with what I do for family and friends, is it enough? Let alone, does it accumulate enough to offset my deficits? I really have to stop yelling at those kids, really! I guess the answer lies with me, is it enough for me? Will I ever be enough- for me?

Question #2

What do I love/hate about people?

1. I love the way humans fill in. When someone needs help other humans rally. Not always right away. To be sure there are always unseen victims and there are always areas where we are woefully inadequate. We were slow to help Katrina Victims, but we did, and we kept on helping. People open their hearts and homes to victims of fires with donations of clothes, food and shelter. There may be many people that turn away to those in need but there is always some number of humans that will help, even the most unsightly, even in the most uncomfortable situations. Someone helps.

2. I hate when people fabricate untruths about other people. Sometimes it's to achieve an end goal. Sometimes it's a reflection of their own pain manifesting in jealousy. I don't care what the reason is- if the person didn't say it, didn't do it, didn't mean it that way- then don't, what ever else you do in life- DON"T LIE and say they did. People believe stories and lies like this. Why wouldn't they? We all want to believe that we are being told the truth. We all want to have that basic faith in honesty and good will. I have been around just a very few people in my life that would say something about a person that isn't true, didn't happen or didn't happen that way. I have found them to be miserable, tortured and deluded. Don't be that. Lie about why you are late to work. Don't lie about a fellow human.

Question #3 What is my greatest downfall?

1. You thought I would say procrastinating, right? Close. Fear. Yep, that's right. I try to be very aware of my fear. I have discovered that it motivates a great deal of my actions. Not always in a good way. I don't want to live my life around fear. Sometimes I confuse fear with worry- "I'm worried that she won't like me." Really means that I am afraid that if every one doesn't like me ...well, what? I don't know. The world would not stop revolving if someone didn't like me, I know this. So why worry? I am smarter than this! But smarter doesn't make the fear go away when it's disguised as something else, like- worry.

I think fear is the root cause of most every negative behaviour. Envy and jealousy especially. So I practice. I practice tough love on myself. "Self," I say, "why are you jealous? Can't you be happy that so and so makes is successful and makes twice as much money as you?" Self pouts a lot but eventually tries to rise above the pettiness. Actually, self has a lot of work to do but as long as Self knows that, I think we are OK.

Basically, when I am miserable (and I don't want to be one of those miserable, mean, people) I try to break the problem down until I get to the truth. What starts out as "how could that person do that" turns into "it really bothers me because-" and then eventually "and that really bothers me because it means-" and because turns into "but I am afraid that...." at which point I know I am at the root of the problem. So I say "Self, straighten up, fear is nothing if you don't let it be something!" But Self is immature and usually crosses her arms, turns around and stomps away. Just like my daughter, Brooke.

Question #4 What do I value (besides my children and family, blah, blah)?

Well, I do value my family. Above all. My family has become a filter through which I view the rest of my world. Even on the Murkiest days I have to appreciate the way my husband fills his role as father, homemaker and provider. Good job or bad (he needs to stop yelling at those kids, too!) he is there, day after day. The way that our girls orient their world from us makes us the most important people in their world, at least for now, and that's a whole lot of proof that we matter. That's a whole lotta' responsibility and it's making us old, fast. What they give us in return, though- a chance to see the world with new eyes, a chance to be the smartest person in the whole world, a chance to be a hero, a wizard, a king or queen or even just a little kid again- yeah, this, all of this, I value the most.

Question #5 What has happened in my past that I would change?

It sounds trite to say "Nothing, I am who I am because of my past". To some extent that is true. I have made mistakes and like most, I punish myself more than anyone else ever would. But I learn and move forward. Bad times have left their mark on me but I know, I know without doubt, that I have a better understanding of the world I share because of those times. I have spent years- uncomfortable being me, until it became painful enough that I had to let that go. And let it go, I did. Now I try to convince others to do the same, hopefully sooner than I did. Without some peace about the past I would have no peace in the present. While I am not content I do appreciate what I have now and will make sure that I always take the time to appreciate what I do have.

So that's it, that's my list for today. I think I am PMS"ing- so if tomorrow I blog some terrible rant about some awful, evil person or circumstance you will have to forgive me. I'll blame it on my "self".