This lady blows me away.
Happy New Year. Take care of yourselves out there.
I finished something today. I feel like I haven't been able to say that in a hundred years.
It's a quilt. Some back story... (yes, a quilt can have back story). Earlier this year, I bought some bamboo furniture that didn't have any cushions (see here). The cushions I eventually got for the love seat and chair were actually floor cushions from Cost Plus World Market. They are covered in this sort of teal, all-over circular pattern (see here). Not too long after that, I found some Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies that had that same freaking pattern. No kidding. I was totally stoked. What can I say, I'm easily pleased.
Now, if you're not familiar with Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies (and who is?) they are hand block printed or batiked or sometimes tie-dyed and can be used as wall-hangings, tablecloths... really, the sky's the limit. But they are usually referred to as bedspreads, which is a stretch because they are just a single layer of cotton -- slightly thicker than a sheet. I usually use them as wall-hangings, usually over beds (see here and here). Anyway, I got one twin size one to use as a tablecloth and liked it so much I thought I'd get two more. (I set up three tables for Thanksgiving and Easter, so that would give me three matching tablecloths.)
Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention when I ordered numbers 2 and 3 and I got full size instead of twin size. I spent about a day being upset with myself because the full size ones really are just too big to use on my tables... don't question it, I'm crazy and it would have bothered me, and I didn't want to bother with sending them back. But then it occurred to me that I could use the two full size ones as the front and back of a quilt to use on the futon that would match the bamboo furniture! So I got some cotton batting to fill the quilt and put the Indian Cotton Bedspread Thingies and the batting in a box. Where they sat. For months.
The day after Christmas I decided to get my ass in gear and I went up to my mom's house to sew. (My machine is posessed by my dead neighbor.) I assembled the front, back and batting on Sunday, and today I went back to do the quilting. Holy shit! A project, actually finished.
So here it is, draped over the back of the futon, ready to be used by either an overnight guest or a chilly kid (or mama) while watching TV.
Oh, and that chair (center frame) is a kid sized chair that I found at an antique shop yesterday when I went out with my mom. We hadn't been out just the two of us since her birthday in February and we had such a nice time!
And speaking of crazy, I cleaned off the coffee table (yet another craigslist find) just to take that picture and now it looks completely unnatural. Usually there is a train set or a pile of books or dirty socks and god only knows what else on that table and I am having to resist the urge to stage the table as "normal" and take the picture again. Crazy.
In need of some armchair travel, I picked up a copy of Sunset magazine's current special issue, Amazing West. It is full of some really beautiful photographs of the places that make the western U.S. special.
This photo is from Sequoia National Park. Look close and you will see people at the bottom of that photo. Extrapolate from that the size of that tree center frame. I seriously just cannot get my head around how huge that thing is. I've never been up to see Sequoia, but it is a dream of mine. Some day I'll get there.
No major water related issues at our house (knock on wood), just the minor annoyances of mud tracked into the house by wet, stinky dogs and kids that are stir crazy from not going outside. OUTSIDE OUTSIDE THEY NEED THEIR OUTSIDE.
Ironic that in a place where it "never rains," we were in the middle of several days of rain when a lunar eclipse happened on the winter solstice for the first time in nearly 400 years. Not that I would have been up that time of night anyway. I'm allergic to the dark. When the sun goes down, I fade fast.
Speaking of fading fast, the best thing I can say about the solstice is that the days can only get longer from here.
I had been sick to my stomach and generally out of whack. Tired. Thirsty. Bitchy.
Pregnant? I spent a week thinking… nah, I better not be. I can’t be. I might be. I think I had a period at the beginning of the month. I did. It was lighter than usual.
After driving myself crazy and trying to decide whether I was sick to my stomach because I was thinking about it so much or because maybe, just maybe, I could be pregnant. Or you know, it could just be stress. Freaking holidays. My mother-in-law died just a few weeks ago. Stress. Overthinking every possible "symptom". Time for a test. Just so I don't go crazy. Crazier.
So I’m not. And I’m relieved and sad too. Why is that? I know that deciding to have another baby would be irresponsible on my part. It would be good to eventually get on my feet financially. We have a small house and no intention of moving any time soon. I am already blessed with two beautiful children, a boy and a girl, no need to “try” for one or the other. And the not so small fact that both the children I have are what is referred to as “special needs” (tell me, what child isn’t?).
So I’m not. And that’s good. I have everything I need. My family is complete. And I know that part of it (a big part) is “just” hormones. My body knows how to make babies. That’s what it’s “supposed” to do, what it’s programmed to do for the propagation of the species. I know that. And the sadness will pass.
No. This does not mean I really want or need to have another baby. It just is what it is.
This lecture/animation is really interesting to me. I don't necessarily agree that people are past, present or future oriented exclusively, but they may have tendencies to each to some degree or another.
My daughter and mother are planners much more than I am. I think I could be qualified as a present hedonist but I do like to have sort of stock plans waiting in the wings... if X situation arises, I will be ready to do Y. I say I am a present hedonist because I would rather spend money than save it and I would rather eat food than be skinny.
I didn't completely follow the bit about family dinners - which time perspective that fits into, but eating dinner as a family, at a table, is a big priority in my house. They talked a lot about Sicilians being mostly past and present oriented, and I would think that Sicilians have sit down dinners - so maybe sit-down dinners tend more toward the past/present perspectives. But they also talked about sit-down dinners being on the decline in the U.S. and that kids in the U.S. are increasingly present hedonists while U.S. adults have tended to be future oriented.
Maybe the secret to happiness is to be more of a past positive kind of person. But I think that may be a slippery slope. It's one thing to remember the good times and keep them in your heart, but I don't like the idea of seeing the past as better than the present. That makes me think of the take America backs and such. I don't think as a society it's good to be past positive focused because that means (I think) it will be that much harder to make progress in the areas of gay marriage and environmental issues. (Of course, what I call progress isn't what others (like tea-partiers) might call progress.)
I guess like with so many things in life, it's about balance.
If you watch the video, do you think you tend to be more past, present or future oriented?
We couldn't decide what to eat for dinner last night, and we ended up driving two towns away to go to Dan's favorite place to get a philly cheesesteak sandwich. It's a little tiny place where you can talk to the owner through the pass-through into the kitchen while he cooks.
There was a cute blond with a little meat on her bones sitting at the counter and Austin was instantly drawn to her. He went over to sit next to her and introduce himself and told her how much he likes Spider-man. She looked at me and laughed and talked to him a bit. After she left, he took to welcoming customers as they came in, even shaking their hands. He didn't eat one bite of his sandwich until after we got home.
A few days ago I moved a box that I had gotten from my mom’s house and noticed mouse shit in the bottom. Was the mouse shit from her house, I wondered. Surely one of us would have noticed when she handed me the empty box, just as I had noticed first thing when I picked it up this time. But I don’t have mice in my house, so it must be from her house.
Two days ago, picking up dirty clothes in the kids’ bathroom, a little bitty baby mouse shoots across the floor after I disturb its napping place. Eeeeeek. Now, I am no chicken, normally. But I DO NOT like mice IN MY HOUSE. I jump into the bathtub and holler for Dan to come quick. I tell Dan not to kill him, but the little bugger scoots through a tiny hole under the toe-kick of the vanity before Dan can grab him with his gloved hand.
Last night, watching a movie, my furry little friend scuttles across the living room floor as if to say, “hi there, don’t mind me, just going to find some nibbles. Cheerio.”
Today, one dead [pregnant] mama mouse in an old-school, snap-their-necks trap. I’m thinking this electric lovely may be a worthy investment. This isn't the first time we've had this problem, and it won't be the last as long as we live here.
Observant onlookers may notice that there are *two* trees inside. We've been using an artificial tree for years, but this year I got a bug up my butt to get a live/potted tree. Maya was quick to claim the artificial tree for her room. So, yeah...
It finally hit me tonight. Why all the Christmas music has been bothering me so much. It was Silent Night that made me realize.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace...
All these freaking songs about the baby Jesus are making me think about Garrison.
He was that pure promise of hope and love that all babies are, or should be. His mama held him the same way Mary held Jesus. But then I don't know what happened.
Tonight, as Austin was falling asleep, as I read his favorite book to him, a fly was buzzing around his head. He fell asleep just as I finished the book and I went to get a fly swatter. I didn't like the idea of that fly in and around his face all night. I stood over Austin with the fly swatter, waiting for the fly to light so I could smack it (somewhere other than on Austin of course) and it occurred to me that if we woke up and saw me standing over him with a fly swatter, he might be startled. And do you what that made me think of? I wondered whether Garrison was asleep when Lori [allegedly] attacked him. I had never wondered that before. It had never occurred to me that he might have been.
So now I'm trying to reframe my perspective. I'm trying to think about Garrison sleeping in heavenly peace. If I allow myself to, I question whether that is possible, but I hope that it is. I don't know what happens to us after we die, but whatever it is, I hope he's free.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to NOT crap all over my kids’ Christmas, ‘cause I’m just SO not in the mood. I pretty much bit Maya’s head off the other night for trying to turn my car radio so she could listen to Christmas music so, yeah…
So I’m trying to remember what I like about this time of year.
First, it’s the lights. String lights are so lovely and we have a tradition of decking our house out in lights pretty damn well, I think. And on Christmas Eve night we drive around town admiring all the wonderful light displays, especially in the richer neighborhoods.
The tree thing is pretty good too. If memory serves, that actually comes from pagan traditions, so even better as far as I’m concerned. If not, whatever. I like trees. This year I want to get a potted one and plant it outside after the holidays are over.
Buying stuff and spending money is pretty much tops on my list the rest of the year, and this time of year I have an excuse! I am trying to find some balance here though because we really do have too much stuff already, all of us. So we’re focusing on a few things the kids really want, not just buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. I’ve already bought for my parents and a couple work people, so there’s really not much left to do… I think.
And this is no small thing… I actually LIKE to spend time with my family. My aunts and uncles and cousins are some of the funniest people I know. My grandparents are treasures to me in ways I don’t have words to describe. My kids make me crazy sometimes, but mostly they make me happy. Same goes for Dan.
Then there's the laughing and drinking. Who doesn’t like that? And a week off from work!
So that just leaves the music and religious stuff to contend with. (If I am brutally honest, I’m just not a Christian. But I am surrounded by them, not the least of which is my daughter.) So I just better suck it up and deal. For Maya’s sake if nothing else.
The other night there was a Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special on TV. Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies… what can I say, I like cartoons. And pandas. Anyway, I was skeptical about it because I don’t think they celebrate Christmas in China, for the most part, so I was curious how they were going to approach this in a holiday special intended for American kids. I was very pleased that the special centered around a Winter Feast with traditions like sun lanturns. I have less than no idea how accurate it was in terms of actual Chinese customs, but it did remind me that many cultures have winter time celebrations, and that I can participate in “Christmas” stuff in a way that works for me.
Steph(anie) - the mama
Dan - the man (met 1995)
Maya - girlchild (born 1996)
Austin - boychild (born 2006)