Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh no you not

Me: "on your mark... get set... GO!"
S: "No, mommy, you NOT say go, I say go. Ready... GO" and takes off.

H, singing, "a,b,c,d,e,f,g..."
S "NO H! That MY song. You NOT sing my song"

H, sitting in car, looking out the window.
S, "NO H, That MY window. You NOT look out my window."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Multiples

There are few things I enjoy more than a studio overflowing with editioned prints. I had forgotten that. I finished this print (better picture of single print to follow- I'm just so loving the herd of prints right now.)

This print will be part of the Southern Graphic Council portfolio exchange- and will be exhibited (venue to be determined) in March.

I spent the entire day preparing paper, ink, printing. Its been a while... this size, a predetermined 16x20, is much smaller than I usually work, and I usually do tiny editions, 10 tops, but usually 5. This is an edition of 25- It felt great to be back in the saddle.






My favorite Christmas present

We have seemingly survived another Christmas. I again did all the things this year that I swore last year I wouldn't do, and I am swearing again not to do them next year. I am striving to take the insanity out of Christmas. I don't think feeling on the verge of a nervous breakdown is anyway to celebrate anything.

This year, after the traditional gift giving time line that starts with me deciding I'm going to go minimal with gifts, then deciding I'm going make all the gifts I'll give, then realizing I needed to start way earlier in the year so one person will get a made gift, and who will that be... My daughter H planted some simplicity.

With out telling anyone, with out asking anyone to spell anything, without asking where the tape was, where the paper was, where the markers were, made and wrapped her own gifts and put them under the tree. We opened them last, they were small and the first things placed under the tree. Once again, I sat with tears in my eyes. Amazed at my daughter.

One of H's presents wrapped





Friday, December 18, 2009

The purple spoon

I was expecting my neighbors to stop by, one by one, holding a purple spoon as an offering to the demon child who screamed for one for an hour this morning. I am quite sure S's screams and demands could be heard for miles.

I could have just washed the purple spoon.

That would have been much easier. We had been awake for mere moments before the demands started. I negotiated getting dressed. I compromised about lemonade. Then I was sick of it. No. No purple spoon.

H, who used to love the purple spoon too, has relinquished it because her sister has such a fit if she doesn't have the purple spoon. Its not even about the purple spoon. S will act the same way with whatever color H chooses. The turquoise cup, for example. I fight this battle becasue I know it goes way beyond the color of cups and spoons. It is wearing me down. I know its for the greater good.

There must be a color stealing villain in some story somewhere- I imagine myself to be said villain. No! No color for you! I threatened once, when H was going through a similar color insistance, to replace all the colored place settings with white. No more colors! I yelled. H, not impressed at all, quietly said, "White is a color too."

H sets the table and will go to great lengths to find "not fighting" place settings. "Look!" she says excitedly, "both pink plates! No fighting!" I am at once impressed by her peace keeping skills and annoyed that she needs them.

S refused to eat breakfast with out the purple spoon. I am not exaggerating the hour long screaming. We had to take H to school, I had to drag S out to the car, couldn't get her coat on. Didn't care. S screamed half way to school then finally stopped.
"Look at the birds" she said.
I told her I saw them.
"NO" she said. "I talkin to H."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nebraska

Its really too bad I have no time at all to write, because there is so much to write about. Since I should be working on a print, or trying to get the Christmas cards out before February, I will nutshell the last week. Trip to Colorado, then Nebraska then back to Colorado. With photos.

First of all, I was very concerned about being away from the girls for 5 days. Not so much for them. I knew they'd be fine. What I didn't know was how fine I would be. I missed them, I was ready to come home, but it was very nice to have a break. And it is only a mother of small children who would think a funeral sandwiched between 5 hour drives sandwiched between 4 hour flights would be a break. But it was. So be it.

Nebraska.

This was the view from the hotel where we stayed. The whole town smelled like cows- which I loved.

My sister, M with my father. We were at a restaurant that was also a bowling ally. There was bud or bud light to drink and chicken gizzards on the menu. Along with 30 kinds of steak. I love a steak and have reached my quota for the year I think, as all I ate for breakfast lunch and dinner was steak. My sister K was there too. Shes a vegetarian. She ordered the iceberg lettuce. With a side of potato.

The day of my grandfather's service was appropriately grey. And very cold.



After the service, which was just us, and not really a service, more of a gathering, we all went to lunch. My father, his cousin from Colorado, my sisters, my nephew and the Nebraska contingency of our family. Representing Nebraska are Uncle Jerry, my grandmothers brother, his wife Caroline and my fathers cousins Mike and Steve. Uncle Jerry farms- cattle, corn, soybeans- Steve and Mike run the farm now that Jerry's older. I don't know them well, anymore. Lately we've been together at funerals, I haven't been back to Nebraska for 10 years. We saw each other more when I was young. We'd visit Nebraska and ride horses, 4x4s, and ride around off road in Uncle Jerry's pick up truck for a tour, which included pointing out where marijuana grew wild.

Uncle Jerry, Steve and Mike are smart, witty, and love to make you squirm. They have big tractors and shoot big guns. One of them (I wasn't in the truck at the time) once ran over a rabbit because my vegetarian step mother was in the pickup asking them how they could be cattle farmers, and had they seen the movie 'babe'. As long as you accept their way of life, they'll accept yours. They backed right off the Obama jokes, and were very kind to K for being a vegetarian. When I'm with them I have such awe and respect for their lives and how hard it must be to be a farmer. I can't believe we share a bloodline. I imagine they feel the same way when they look at me. Less awe and respect, more how am I related to that crazy liberal?

The farm. K's car in the distance, driven by my father driving like a manic trying to make sure we all take note of his mad snow driving skills.

Another picture of the farm. Steve rebuilds old tractors. This is tractor purgatory.

Sunflowers that didn't make the early frost

Frost.


Colorado. Which, yes, was more colorful. But the sun was finally out. It could have been that.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A trip

I a getting ready to go on a trip. A trip that has all the makings of the kind of dysfunctional family movie that comes out at this time of year. I am flying to the state one of my sisters lives in so she and I can drive 5 hours, possibly through a blizzard if the weather remains as predicted, to the state where the service for my grandfather will be held. Where we will meet up with our sister and nephew. And our father who makes us all crazy, but who we have come from all directions to support in his time of need, which is ironic since he knows nothing about time of need. There will also be assorted family members who I can't identify in photographs and only barely know the names of.

This trip came about quickly, and part of me can't believe I'm going. I hate to fly. The most I have been away from S is over night, and H 2 nights- each of those was one time only- I am about to go for 4 nights- 5 days. I am torn between loving the idea of a break and being completely frantic about not seeing H and S for that long. I'm not worried about the day to day, although it will be trying (to say the least) for J. I am trying to concentrate on seeing my sisters, and being the only person I have to worry about, something I haven't done in 5 years. (There are those who say I have never done that. But that is my goal. Looking out for number one.) But then, wait a minute, theres a funeral in the middle of all this. I expect it will hit me that my grandparents are gone- although I do realize I am fortunate to have known them as long as I did. I have not been to my grandmothers grave site, and I am bracing for that sucker punch.

Right now its the minutia. Its always the damn minutia. What food should I make sure is in the house? What should I pack thats warm enough but takes up no room because I don't want to check luggage? Should I print out that knitting pattern? Should I buy new pens to draw with? Should I write the girls a letter they can open every day that I'm away? Is that ridiculous? I don't care, I think I'll do it anyway.

And when is this christmas shopping going to get done?

My grandfather

My grandfather died last week. I'm not entirely sure how yet, and it was unexpected in the way that he hadn't been sick, but not unexpected in the way that he was 89. At least I think he was 89- in our family one doesn't discuss age or money. I work hard to buck that trend in my immediate family, but my grandfather was deeply entrenched in that non talking philosophy. In fact, he and I had a running joke where I sent him a happy 40th birthday card every year.

I am sad. I am sometimes surprised by how sad. I am sad for my father, who has had the misfortune of already burying his sister and his mother. I am sad that with the passing of my grandfather, my grandmother feels really gone.

My grandfather worked setting type, later owning his own of typesetting company. His obituary, written by my father, calls him "a pioneer in the development of computer typesetting." which I will have to ask him about. There is a strange genetic printing connection in my family, my father worked for Xerox- neither my father or grandfather are artists, but some times I wonder if my love of print is genetic.

My grandparents were married for 60 some years. They were both flew planes, they spent a lot of time ballroom dancing. When they updated (its all relative) their home, a log cabin (first bought as a vacation home, that had no electricity or running water. The outhouse still stands.) they made sure to include a dance floor. I always loved the image of the two of them dancing on their dance floor in their log cabin.

My grandmother died, 6 years ago, prematurely after a fight with cancer. I was with her when she passed, after somehow flying out to Colorado to see her that same day. Despite being told my by father and grandfather that things weren't so bad and I shouldn't come. I watched my grandfather- a man who would have you believe he was made of steel and leather and had rocks running through his veins, crumble. Lost. His fingers, bent with arthritis, shaking. Everything I knew to be true had been turned upside down. Now, that man, that bad ass motherfucker, who softened with age but never gave in. Still traveled, still danced- who was more free with his words of love and appreciation in his last years- is gone too.

This is a picture of my grandfather who evidently asked my father to pull over at 14,000 ft, so he could make a snowball. The fact that he wanted to, and the fact that my father actually did pull over is proof that people can change.

He has no regrets, he has said. Which I guess is all you can ask for.

Friday, December 4, 2009

MamaCita Holiday Party & Show

If you're in the area tomorrow night, stop by:


There will be a lot of great art by a lot of great mamas!

I'll be there with some fused glass jewelry I've been playing around with.



That is a 2 year old hand, by the way, throwing off the scale. The rings are big, but not *that* big!


I'll have some prints, too. Some of the monoprints I'll have there are pictured below.

I have been working on printing with glitter, and am excited to work this into woodcuts as well.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My street this week

Pianos that have been left out in the rain. Why?


Two chairs getting it on.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Priorities

What S brought home from school last week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Charades

A few nights ago, I taught H how to play charades. I am on the side of loving charades- It seems its one of those things you either love or abhor- H loves it too.

After a bit, H was having trouble coming up with new things to charade (well, she had no trouble being a cat 1000 times, or a tree 1001 times, but I saw the desperate need for some new material) I suggested we each draw some ideas and put them in a bag, and pick out an action when it was our turn. I loved her drawings so much- here they are:

fly like a butterfly
look in the mirror

stir soup

draw a picture

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The little things

I had this dream that thousands of tiny birds where flying packed together so tightly that they made a big mass. I stood on the ground looked up, thinking how strange they looked. When the mass flew by, I could see that they were all carrying something, I could see feet. They looked like human feet. Someone, who was next to me all of a sudden said, see- its true, The birds have taken to eating the raccoons. That's how bad its gotten. But I knew those weren't raccoon feet. When they got up high, they thing they were carrying broke free, and was suspended in air. The birds came together to form a large creature and swooped their prey up again. Then I woke up feeling like a human/raccoon that can't escape the little things.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The query

This morning, while adjusting the fractured driver side mirror on my car with duct tape, I thought, everything is just falling apart.

I went to meeting for worship at H's school this morning- the whole school gathers every Thursday for 1/2 an hour for Quaker meeting. I usually can't go because on Thursdays I rush to S's school after dropping off H. Today J took S to school so I could go to meeting. Today was the kindergartens turn to do the query, (the Quakers use the term 'query' to refer to a question or series of questions used for reflection and in spiritual exercises. Thanks, wikipedia, for those words)

Each kindergartner stood and said what they were thankful for. H was thankful for her friends. They went down the line, each standing and saying what they were thankful for- the earth, mom and dad, their teachers, the turkey. When they were done, one of H's classmates stood and invited everyone to share what they were thankful for. One by one, kids of all ages stood and said what they were thankful for.

I'm thankful for my mom
I'm thankful for spiders
I'm thankful for DNA
I'm thankful for food
I'm thankful for my teachers.

One girl stood and said "I am thankful I have everything that I need."
The cynical side of me I work so hard to keep muzzled broke out- " yeah? How do you know what you need? Your a kid!" I got it releashed, punished it for breaking out and remembered that I have everything I need too. And duct tape to fix the rest. I am thankful to that girl for reminding me.

Yes, everything is still falling apart. I wake up overwhelmed. I go to bed overwhelmed. Everyday feels like a race, and I know there will be tasks that are benched until tomorrows game. I am trying to be ok with the possibility (probability) that it won't all get done.

Thank you, kindergarten, I will remember to be thankful.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Synchonized tantrum

Just when you think you've figuring it out, is all goes sideways.
Case in point, S's tantrums.
I am being yelled at because I don't want any popcorn.
"NOOO!! You WANT COPCORN!!!"
"No thanks, I just had some. Would you like some more popcorn?"
"NO! YOU! WANT! COOOOOPPCORNNN!!!!"
I am getting a little concerned at the control freakishness that is growing and growing with no end in sight.

***
Last night, we had a fantastic duo tantrum. S wanted a tissue, but what she started screaming about was that I wouldn't let her get in the refrigerator. H was freaking out because she wanted to print. Its a bit out of context if you don't live in a printmaking home like we do, but yes, she said she wants some ink. Right now. And no, I don't condone talking to me that way- which I have mentioned time and time again. But I do understand wanting to print and not being able to, so I let it slide.

video

This is just a drop in the bucket- the entire video goes on for a while. This was taken at the end of the day, right before dinner. The craziest hour in this house. I was all tapped out of patience and words, so decided to record the mayhem. To step away from the situation, documentary style.

I think the tantrums dissolved earlier than they might have. I played it back for H, do you see how silly? I asked? I'm not sure she did.

(And just so you know, I did listen and explain why we couldn't print at that precise moment, but that we could after dinner, and why we couldn't hang out inside the refrigerator, but that I'd be happy to remove something from the refrigerator and present it on a plate. No children or animals were harmed, I promise.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I not runnin?

We live a few blocks from a park. I take my kids there, take the dogs there, every so often I take them both there at the same time. H and I walked to the park nearly daily when she was younger. These days, I am so often on my way to or fro somewhere that I find myself driving S to the park more often than not. It was a rare day yesterday when I felt I had not only time to walk to the park, but time to encourage S to walk too, instead of strapping her into the stroller and hurrying some more.

We did stop to pick flowers of each color, and leaves, and grass- but when we weren't collecting nature we were running. S with her arms chugging, shoulders hunched up around her ears- an animated run. We got to the park more quickly than I expected, I was planning on more of a dawdling stroll, not the bolt it turned out to be. After we were there for a while and lunch time was drawing near I had a brief panic about how I would get her to leave the park with out the restraint of a stroller or car seat. I talked myself down and did reverse bread crumbs all the way home (lets walk to the gazebo, lets walk down the hill, lets walk to the silver car) we were half way home before S had her "hey...wait a minute, we actually ARE leaving the park" moment.

S wanted to run the whole way home, and was annoyed with me for holding her back at the street crossing. Once we crossed the main street on the way home, we hit a steep uphill. S asked if she could run, I said she could. She geared up, got her arms ready and gave it her all, started running up the hill. She stopped, frustrated that the hill was slowing her down, looked at me and demanded, "Why I not runnin?!"

I tried to explain the physics of running up hill, and tried not to laugh too hard, S is very sensitive to being laughed at, or even with. Though boy can she dish it out.

J and I were talking last night, after the girls were in bed, about the many things we're working towards, the many things that overwhelm us. He said, "Why I not runnin?" and we laughed again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Exploring new dimensions

My 3 dimensional self has been awakened. I have always been drawn to working 3 dimensionally, but its been a while since I indulged the urge.

I released the hounds this Halloween, making costumes for the girls- had a lot of fun.

in progress

Unicorn

Cat

I used to do a lot of costuming and set work- for friends, mostly. Some were successful, like the giant Dionysus puppet I made using found objects, (such as the crutches I had obtained earlier that month after spraining my ankle jumping off a wall after a run away cat- who I did catch, at least) for a production of The Bacchae. Some not as successful, like the giant rib cage made from fallen branches I built on stage for my friends senior thesis in dance- it collapsed during the performance, but she's such a master it looked intentional. Or the meat dress I made for the same friend that nearly made me a vegetarian.

Here are some small things, in varying stages of progress- none done yet:



Not sure where I'm going with this yet- but am enjoying the ride.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big dummy

In the car on the way to school yesterday, H was talking about all the things she'd do at school that day. Art, Music, nature walk.
I said, "I wish I were going to school. I love school"
H said, "How do you know if you never tried it?"

Its hard to be 2. So hard.

My 2 year old is not the boss of me. My 2 year old is not the boss of me. My 2 year old is not the boss of me.

S is screaming right now because her doughnut is in 2 pieces. Doughnut! I know! We don't eat the doughnuts around here very much. You'd think the doughnut existing on her plate would trump the fact that it dare split in 2, but sadly that's not the case.

If anyone were to walk by my window right now they may wonder, why is that mean mean lady typing while her 2 year old boss is writhing and screaming on the floor? Clearly very unhappy about what certainly must be extremely important? Why isn't she caring for that poor tortured child?

I have gone down the route of yes, I understand. How frustrating it must be for you that you have two pieces of doughnut. Do you want to talk about it? Yes, kick the floor. Let it out. But try not to eat the doughnut while your lying down crying.

This is the part where I feel like a trained monkey. When I get up, go to her- manage to pick her up through the flailing, and sing twinkle twinkle little star about 20 times. Then give her the other half of the doughnut that I had saved.

The joke is on S. Her doughnut was broken to begin with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall

Me and my girls

Pumpkin scooping

the winged unicorn

The artist cat at work

Another one bites the dust


Another lunch box casualty. (See this and this for more tales of lunch box demise)
This time, S hung up her backpack and lunch box on the hook by the door, on her own, so I forgot to put the lunch box on top of the refrigerator to safety. We came downstairs this morning to find the above lunch box in shreds, the hook PULLED from the wall, chunks of wall the hook brought with it, and the hook itself bent. All for some peanut butter sandwich crusts.

S is very attached to her lunch box, and was very sad. I am very sad that this seems to be a milestone in my house. I picture the girls out with their friends when they're older. "So how old were you when the dog first got your lunch box? What? that never happened to you?"

This time I had a spare lunch box. Again, I wonder on my way to present the new lunch box to the sobbing S- who has a pinch lunchbox? I do. That's who.

J reattached the hook by the door. It doesn't lie flat anymore, since it was bent off the wall- but we're back up and running for the most part.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trickle down bossing

Some things S has said to my* dog in the last few days:
1) "Mayo, you NOT watch my TV!"
2) "You NOT go in H room. (door slamming) Ok? Mayo?"
3) "Mayo! you NOT eat my geegies." (raisins.)
4) "No Mayo, that MY mommy!"
5) at McDonalds, where there is no dog in sight, tears and pouting:
"Mayo eat my french fry..."
and the constant "Not YOU Mayo. NeeeOW."

We have 2 dogs, S only yells at Ruby when she's on the couch ("Ruby! You NOT go on foh-fah! OK?")

She will occasionally attempt to boss the cat, but I think shes realized, as all of us must sooner or later, that theres just no bossing a cat. With Maxi its less about bossing and more about controlling. As in direction the cat is walking in, hysterics when its the wrong direction. A cat can have fun with this.

Meanwhile, my littlest tyrant is keeping one of the dogs in line. And that dog is getting a little jumpier and I swear I've notice more white hair on his face.

*I guess I could say our dog, but he's my baby. Which I believe is the main cause of the bossing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A little less hair

As I was doing one of the many picking up junk around the house tours over the weekend, I noticed a chunk of dark brown hair. It was on the floor, right next to the drawer where the scissors are kept. The girls were both out with J when I found it- I honestly couldn't tell whose hair it was. I suspected S, but that was pure profiling. She is totally the one who would cut her hair.

Later, at the dinner table, I said to J, " you know, I found the strangest thing today- some brown hair on the floor. Right over there!" We watched as H turned her face away from us. Her body language suggested she'd like to be swallowed up by the floor. J and I kept going pretending not to notice, and trying not to laugh. "I know its not my hair, was it your hair?" Then we looked a little closer and saw that H was very upset. We felt awful to say the least. She finally looked at me, her face all wet- "it was an accident!" then she was sobbing.

I am a little troubled about where my mind went at this point. I was more concerned that she didn't cover her tracks. What does it mean that she is so upset to be found out but does nothing to hide the evidence? Growing up, that was my sister, K. It used to make me crazy that she would go into my room, go through my things, and not even pretend that she hadn't. She'd deny it, sure, but she'd never put anything back where it was. Then again I took great precautions not to be discovered. I would lay single hairs across my drawers to see if they'd been opened, and make sure to notice which direction the label was pointing on a bottle of shampoo that belonged to one of my sisters so I could put it back exactly where it was and they wouldn't know if I'd used it.

As a mother, I am happy H didn't hide the hair she cut off- I would never have known about it otherwise. Was she upset about it already, and we just brought it out by talking about it? Or had she forgotten all about it? She has said she wishes she had short hair- was it really an accident? I am so torn by all of this- I always wished I was the kind of kid who cut her hair all off, but as far as I ever got was as far as H got. I was always too responsible. I never wanted to let anyone down.

My mother did let me get the short hair cut I wanted- I was in 1st grade, the woman who cut it asked how I wanted it to look in the back. I had no idea. "We'll give you a duck tail" she said. "Do you know why they call it that? Because the back of your head looks like a ducks behind!" HA HA HA. I was horrified, even at 6. All my new short hair did was cause everyone to think I was a boy, since I was always a bit of a tomboy anyway.

So there- that is a lot of my resisting H getting her hair cut. I don't want anyone to call her head a duck butt. Besides her hair is gorgeous. Thick, luxurious. Perfect. And what does she say to me? "Mom is there anyway my hair can look like yours? Your hair is so shiny! Like gold." I would gladly trade with her if I could, but that is so not the lesson to be learned in all this.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the rain forest and the bathroom

There is a rain forest sale at H's school today. The 5th grade makes baked goods and crafts and sells them through out the school to raise money. There were lots of questions- whats a rain forest, why does a rain forest need money and so on. Mostly, H is excited for the sale. She has 2 dollars to spend. In the car on the way to school after riding in silence for a while she asked "Are we allowed to get something for our sister?" Of course! I said my eyes filling with tears. The rest of the way to school, H was saying to S, "do you want to have a treat after school? H will get something for us", and so on. H often speaks in the 3rd person by the way. J and I call it twitter speak. I was so proud that H thought of getting something for S on her own- in fact the thought hadn't even occurred to me.

S loves her sister dearly, but so far doesn't go out of her way for her the way H does for S. There are some instances of S looking out for H, the other day they were playing with balloons and H's balloon became a casualty of our evil popcorn ceiling, resulting in H lying in a crying heap on the floor. S offered up her balloon- but for the most part she looks out for number one.

****

In other news, S is getting the hang of the potty. Yesterday the girls and I went to get a pumpkin, or rather 2 very large pumpkins and 3 very small ones. As we pulled up to the farm, S announced she had to go to the bathroom. No cute potty talk for this one. "I need to poop. I need a bathroom." The potty? I say, as if I don't know what a bathroom is. She sighs, yes. The potty. Luckily,the farm where we were had a very nice potty, and even better I knew where it was. S sits on the potty (in the bathroom, sorry) tries for a minute, and then looks at me perplexed, "Its not workin!" H now has to use the bathroom, and is jumping up and down holding herself. I tell S we'll try again later, let H take her turn. 3 minutes later, S takes care of business in her diaper, and I feel awful. I try to exlain how proud I am that she knew she had to go. She just looked at me and nodded. But.. we're getting there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

rock and roll and acorns

S has a rock collection. She picks up rocks where ever we go and lines them all up on the bookshelf. I put them all in a box the other day, thinking she wouldn't notice, my plan was to slowly ease them out to the garden. About half an hour later I saw S frozen at the bookshelf- her lip out, her eyes big and wet,
"My wocks!"
"Here they are", I said, showing her the box.
The relief flooded over her face. I guess the rocks will be with us for a while.

S also has a nature collection. She has acorns in her pockets and scattered through out the house. She brings in other various seed pods with disperse their seeds once inside. I am wondering how long it is going to take for us to lure the squirrels in from the cold.

S brings acorns and rocks with her when we go out, they are tucked into the folds of her car seat. She looses it when she drops them, which is often.
" I dwoped my ACORN!"
" I drowped my black rock!"
(Most things have a color description, for example:
"S, what are you doing?"
"I takin my purple pants off")

The rocks and acorns make their way into my pockets. I find myself crawling under booths at restaurants looking for them. I admit I never planned to crawl around retrieving anyone elses rocks- but I will confess to my own rock collection. I...um.. still have some of the rocks I collected when I was younger. When I would kick a rock along and see how long I could keep track of it while I walked. If I still had the rock when I reached my destination I would put it in my pocket becasue I had... grown attached to it.

So yeah. It looks like we'll have S's box of rocks for a while.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More adventures in forgetfulness

Today I went out to take the girls to get their flu shots- I set out having decided I would not do the H1N1 shot and definitely didn't want any flu mists, but ended up leaving with one girl H1N1 misted and one H1N1 needled- neither one with the flu shot I set out for. The whole thing is nerve wracking.

The doctors office was crazy, lines snaking around all over the place- everyone texting, people negotiating on the phones, babies crying. The girls were great, S who got the last shot there was in the office, didn't cry, or even react, and H, while a bit manic, did really well with all the waiting there was to do. We were all starving, and they were out of the stickers every kid who has ever been to that doctors office has come to expect, so we set off to McDonalds for dinner.

And then my phone rang. It seems my mind has reached an all time low. I left the house with a dog still out in the backyard- I know there are many dogs who spend their lives in a back yard, but mine think they have it rough that they can't sleep on the couch all day anymore. They have to sleep on their beds with blankets. Mayo follows me around all day, I know exactly where he is at all times. Ruby has been sleeping upstairs a lot more now that we're trying to take the couch back. It was one of my neighbors on the phone, who told me that another neighbor had come to her house because Ruby was outside yelping. In the rain, did I mention the rain? I rushed home, promising the girls still McDonalds, just a different McDonalds. I got home and still another neighbor jumped out of their house and wanted to make sure it was just Ruby that was out, and apologizing for not taking her inot his house, but he didn't know how his dog would like that. Anyway- neighbors were thanked, cell phones exchanged, and duplicate keys will be made. Poor Ruby. We brought her a cheeseburger. Meat AND bread- the carb queen just may think the whole ordeal was worth it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

my dumb yellow hair

My hair. As much as I don't care most of the time, every now and then I get obsessed.

I seek solace in the form of hair dye. I was drastic at 18, fire engine red, peroxide blond. Over the years I have gotten less drastic, more sort of natural although I never cared about that. I do the coloring myself not because I am a genius colorist, not at all, but because I can't sit still for the 3 hours it takes to have my hair colored anywhere but home. That and I hate to pay a lot for my hair. BUT this last escapade has me almost surrendered.

Yesterday, after dropping H of at school, at 8 am, not the best time to ponder ones hair color, I went into the drugstore and came out with something called bleach blond the lightest you can go good luck with that or something along those lines. After submitting my hair to the abuse of this product, I saw it starting to turn yellow. Like a gold finch. It is the classic bad dye job, and the worst in all my many years of messing around with hair color.

I panicked, called my sister. I thought about not taking S to her gymnastics class. Then I posted my picture on facebook and said to hell with it. I am going to own this bad dye job.

After parading about town with my yellow head and receiving some compliments and some eye aversions- I became obsessed with getting this yellow, this brassiness, out of my hair. To stop looking like Johnny Rotten.

I consulted my sister, the most professional un professional colorist I know. She told me what to get. I couldn't find it at the drugstore and there are no reasonable beauty supply stores close enough to me- so I went to the fancy expensive salon attached one that is close. I checked their website, they had my coveted product, it was reasonably priced.

When I got there, dragging along S, in the rain, the self important guy who worked there (and who was bald. What does he know from hair?) sold me on their version of what I was looking for. I didn't ask how much it was- but quickly learned it was more than I would have paid had I been in my right mind and not my obsessed mind.

The moral of this story- if I had just gone to get my hair done at a salon, it would have taken less time AND less money. And it would probably look better too.

But it's all about the journey, right?

And now on to more important things.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who ordered all the soup bones?

Last week was such a forgetful week. At the end of the week, all family members, human and animal were accounted for- so I thought I was coming out ahead. I had a cathartic week end that I though would put my forgetting to rest, or at least to pause.

Today started out with a quick trip to the grocery store with out my wallet. Not entirely a forgetting problem, more of a dog problem. I still felt like an idiot at the check out with a cart full of groceries and no wallet.

The dogs are in the habit of going through my bag at the end of the day- when I'm asleep, they have gotten brazen, but they still wouldn't dare attempt this while I'm awake. Anyway, they take everything out, lick the graham cracker crumbs, some times get lucky and find some peanut butter sandwich crusts. They don't rip anything (anymore) , and I don't even mind that much as all the food crumbs get removed from my bag and its one job I don't have to do.

But, now its gone too far. Next they'll be charging things. Holding my wallet ransom for walks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Morning

This morning H jumped out of bed and got dressed, brushed her teeth and then came in to get me. It was 5:30, my alarm not scheduled to go off for another 1/2 hour. After which, on any given day, the snooze button would be employed for another 15 minutes, then I would I jump out of bed and run around half doing things and forgetting the rest. J was up insanely early to go to NY- I think he had to be there at 8:30. I suspect this is what got H going so early.

This morning, I shuffled downstairs, poured H some cereal, turned on the tv, and the coffee pot, which is programed to turn itself on, but not for another half hour. I headed up to the shower when S woke up. "Do you want to get up?" I asked "NO!" H wanted to lie down with S (Will she lie down with me for 5 minutes? No.) S didn't want to get out of bed.

"Do you want to lie in H's bed?"
" NO."
" In Mommy-Daddy bed?"
" NO."
" On the couch?"
" NO."

H wanted to get into S's crib. I had visions of it collapsing, so I said no. Got H back downstairs, told S she could stay in bed until I got out of the shower. As soon as I am all wet, H comes into the bathroom and asks, again, if she can get into S's crib with her.

It was too early for such existential dilemmas- if I say yes, I'm not being consistent, if I say no she'll probably do it anyway. I decided to reward her for asking and not just going into S's bed anyway- especially since I was in the shower and powerless to stop her. "Fine", I said. "Go ahead."

When I got out of the shower I heard H reading to S. They were looking at alphabet books, H was pointing out the letters and S repeating them. Everyone was happy. S grinned, 'H weedin to me!' H had her proud half smile. S even got out of bed willingly after that. And the crib didn't collapse.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The train has left the station

I nearly cried for the loss of my mind this morning. I should have cried- but I was trying to focus.

I am developing some kind of amnesia. Take this blog for instance. What blog?

My sister texted me moments ago, "um.. you need to update your blog."
I have been thinking of things I want to write, pictures I want to post, as I run around a la chicken with no head. I must recollect my head, and stop scurrying. I will walk calmly from place to place with my head attached. And that will solve everything.

So, about that amnesia.

Yesterday morning, J took H to school so that S, who also had school, wouldn't have to wake up so early to sit in the car for an hour. I unlocked my car so he could get H's car seat out and off they went. About an hour later, I set out to take S to school. I couldn't find my car keys anywhere. I planned to meet a friend for breakfast after dropping S off, her daughter is in the same class. At 8:30, when we the girls should be at school already, I called her to say, no I wasn't canceling, but that I couldn't find my monkey flipping keys and therefore was running a bit late. She, who knows me better than I thought, I guess, told me she was coming to pick S and I up. At breakfast, I remembered I had taken S up to her room as soon and J and H had left. As soon as my friend dropped me off, and made me promise to let her know if I still couldn't find my keys at pick up time, I found the keys in S's room. I had looked everywhere else, including the freezer.

Today, I remembered at 11:15 that I signed S up for a gymnastics class that started today, at 11. We bolted down there, enjoyed the last 20 minutes of class. It was time to head home and I had barely caught the breath it took to get there.

On the way out the door to H's school this morning, S took a bite of a granola bar and choked after yelling at Tamayo to leave her cereal alone (he was no where near it) I thudded her back and did some weird hymlec motion. Now I am determined to sign up for a CPR/kid safety class that I will undoubtedly forget I signed up for.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beauty rest

I have often seen behavior in the girls that makes me wonder about their teenage years- today I saw something in S that I hadn't yet considered.

The girl does not wake up well. Or I should say, is not woken up well. If she is roused from a nap before she's ready, she needs at least half an hour to glare at anyone who dare exist in her vicinity- except for me, I am required to drop everything and play the role of couch. Its in everyones best interest it I do. Everything else needs to wait 30 minutes.

Today I learned what it is like to wake S in the morning before she's ready to get up.
She is usually up at 6:15 on her own, waking me up (and I don't wake up well either) but today, I had to wake her. I tried gently rubbing her back. Nothing. Turned the lights on. Furrow. Sent H in, who is the most morningest person you ever did see. S flipped over and gave H her back. I tried again, S slammed her legs down and yelled 'NO!' I said I'd give her 5 more minutes. I went up and down a few times, and was met with the same leg flailing and "NO" yelling. I tried the stern approach, I tried it all.

Finally I signed and said "You're just like Mommy, aren't you? I don't like to get put of bed in the morning either" She smiled ear to ear and said "yes." She let me pick her up. I told her the story of when I still lived with Yo Yo (what the girls call my mom. It fits, believe me) and I would do the same thing she was doing. Of course I was in high school, not 2 years old. Maybe she just needed to commiserate that it was way too early to be awake. And it was.

In high school, I slept through my alarm, my mother would come in and yell at me- she'd get our 5 dogs to jump on me, she'd sic my sisters on me, drop cats on my head. She even dumped water on me a few times. She eventually started bringing me a cup of coffee in bed. That worked. I really miss that. I most certainly will be paying for the years I made my mom heard me out of bed.
No, I will not be bringing S coffee in bed quite yet. I have a feeling I will be eventually.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No thanks, not yet.

S has a new phrase- "not yet." It is said with a hint of irritation. It is said often- anytime she doesn't want to be interrupted which is always. I usually say ok, well, finish up because we're doing so and so in 5 seconds, she does go along, but I am very aware of the tug of war. Loud and clear, "because I want to not because you told me to."

This happened when H was about this old, too- I found I subconsciously changed the way things happen to avoid confrontation. Both girls have learned that "no thanks" works much better than "hell no"- but what I forget that I need to sometimes say "hell no" to "no thanks".

Case in point, S has been not wanting to get out of the bath- ever. She spent the first year of her life loathing bath time and making me wrestle her clean- well now I have to wrestle her out of the bathtub. Until a few days ago when I asked H to pull the plug and then let them play until the water ran out. H was thrilled for the time to sing loudly underwater, and S was happy splashing around- but when the water was gone, S looks at me with her big brown eyes and mournfully asks where all the water went. H laughs maniacally because they're in the tub with no water. This scenario is three for three.

I am not sneaky about the unplugging, I ask H loudly, to pull the plug (because i can't reach the plug with out getting in the tub in our idiot bathroom) I feel badly that S is so sad to be left high and dry in the tub. It all just makes me wonder if there isn't enough "because I said so".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dog park and health care

I dropped the girls off at their respective schools this morning, came home fully intending to have 3 hours in the studio. The dogs looked at me, and I received their telepathic massage that it has been ages since we went for a walk together. So I relented.

Once at the park, I ran into a guy I used to see all the time with his German shepard. I wasn't sure it was him at first, he had lost a lot of weight, the shepard had put some on. We got to talking- turns out he's been in the hospital. "I thought I'd be one of the lucky ones and not get sick until I was really old" he said. I wanted to ask, but read his mentioning the generic 'sick' as he didn't want to get specific. And really, it doesn't matter. We talked about our kids, his are older, about to go to high school. We talked about the economy, his company laying off 20%. We talked about his health care bills and how screwed you'd be if you didn't have health care. He said they told him at the hospital not to loose his coverage, because the sick he has is an ongoing condition. "Do you think Obama will get it passed?" He asked me. I told him I hoped so.

The dog park connection is a strange one. In some ways the most honest way to get to know people. You learn a lot about someone from how they treat their dog. We have stood together in the snow, in the rain, in the hot sun with gnats. We've talked about politics, dog food, hockey, kids, cats, TV shows... before you know it you are friends with people that you often have little in common with aside from a willingness to brave the elements for your dog. People who you may have known for a long time only as their dog's name.

The small talk adds up. The kids that come with the dogs get older, the dogs start to get gray, the dog owners get older and you realize that you've been standing in the field with these people and their dogs for years. Watching the time go by.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The commute

I haven't had a commute farther than a staircase in about 10 years. When I did commute outside of my house, it was via the L train, or sometimes the J- which has its issues believe me, but while less comfortable that a driving commute- being packed in a subway car like a sardine, and me with my nose at armpit height- at least you could check out mentally. Now I have a driving commute, and obviously I need to pay attention. If everyone is as tired and as in need of that 2nd or third cup of coffee as I am in the morning, its a miracle any of us reach our destination.

This is the second week of driving H to school- I am getting used to it, but am kind of amazed at how much time it eats up. For instance, J drove H to school today, and look! Here I am- its been a while and I've been writing posts in my head during the commute to kindergarten. A clarvoynat blog peppered with salty thoughts toward some of my fellow drivers.

I drive H to school- (I should point out here that its only 20 minutes away, its just that her pre-K was 5 minutes down the road. Its all relative.) because the city I live in doesn't bus kindergardeners. Well, thats what I say, but the truth is I don't think I'd put her on the bus yet anyway. I am going to learn to love the commute. It seems to be a good place to interogate her about her day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ER

Its inevitable, that first ER visit- and I guess I am fortunate that it was with my second child and not until she was 2. That didn't make it any less earth shattering for me.

S rolled down the stairs- all 12 of them. The stairs themselves are carpeted, but the landing- where she, um, landed- is not. S was lying on the top stair- I don't know why. I also don't know why I didn't notice she was lying on the top stair, I was right there. (this is sounding like 'There was an old lady who swallowed a fly'...) When I finally noticed she was lying on the stair, I ran over to her yelling "S! Don't roll!" At which point she looked up- and rolled. As I helplessly watched her roll all the way down the stairs, all I could do is say Oh God, oh god, oh god. She hit, she cried, she held her head- I picked her up, after seeing she moved her arms- trying to remember all the move/don't move rules. I saw a bruise forming right away, and thought, maybe its not so bad- but then the blood started.

I called J at work and told him to meet us at the ER, and then scrambled around trying to assemble S's shoes, my shoes, an icepack- I grabbed a bag of frozen soybeans. I couldn't find S's monkey, and eventually grabbed a kitty and left without him. I kept asking S if she was ok, "Yes" I told her we were going to the doctor- "Ok." She says. After what felt like the slowest drive across town ever, behind a trash truck, a bus, and more than one idiot- I got to the hospital, and saw J on the corner.

We took S in- she was smiling at everyone. Laughing, looking a little crazy with her blood soaked hair. She sat in the hospital room with her kitty on her lap, eating frozen soybeans and not flinching while the nurses cleaned up her cut and glued it up.

Once we came home, I tried hard to get her to sit still which she was having none of. We kept her up the requisite 6 hours after the fall- which was just a little bit past her usual bedtime. Right back to business as usual.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Really?

Last week I mentioned in passing that our water heater gave up the ghost. Yesterday we noticed a big water stain in our second floor hall way. We have a leak. And a third floor, so probably a major leak.

Thats all I got.

I need more coffee and a big deep sand hole in which to stick my head.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School girls


And breathing out... almost.
The girls we very kind to me and didn't cry, or even resist going to school this morning. The slightest hesitation from either of them may have sent me sobbing. H couldn't usher us out the door faster- J and I kind of stood there feeling unnecessary for a bit. S, who I expected to resist her new class or school in general was fine after about three minutes of holding the shoulder of my shirt with white knuckles.

I wasn't alone as I had booked J for a breakfast date- and then I still wasn't alone after he had to go back to work because I had the company of the plumber I had to call to come replace our hot water heater which decided today was a fine day to go. What with all the attention focused on going to school surly know one would notice that the poor underappreciated hot water heater just couldn't take it anymore.

Now is when it feels weird to not have H here- I have picked up S from her school, where I'm told she had a great day, and smiled even. That "she doesn't talk much, but she sings a lot." Tomorrow will seem stranger, I'm sure.

On the ride home, S said with a big grin, "I love school" She loves a lot of things these days- her new favorite phrase.

Kindergarten, for me, is not all the way sunken in yet- but I am very proud of my big girl who makes friends easier than I ever have, who is undaunted by the new and different. I am hoping she remembers to tell me everything (when I said this to her last night, she rolled her eyes and sighed "but WHO will remind me?") I will. I will remind you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

T minus 1

Kindergarten tomorrow. We are getting better at being up early, but not ready early. Although I haven't attempted that yet- who wants to be up and ready to walk out the door at 7:30 when you have nowhere to go? I have been good at getting the girls to bed early, but do you think I can get myself to bed at a decent time? No. Every morning I have a little chat with myself about how I must go to bed before midnight- but every night I just need to get one more thing done...

H is excited- but is having some anxiety about kindergarten. Well, I hope thats the reason she's become an insane tantruming freak. The other night at dinner when she didn't want to eat what I made- she threw herself from the table, with a raging "I QUIT!" and stormed out of the room while J and I turned blue in our attempts to not laugh. She's been picking and poking at all of us and then bursting into tears when we say ouch quit it. Last night she asked to sing the alphabet song at bed time.

S is starting school tomorrow too, although her 2 mornings a week are getting overshadowed a bit by H's full day full time school. I am feeling her starting too- although I reacted to her school starting when she started in the summer. I'm hoping she'll be ok with staying now that she's had a taste of school, although on her last day in the summer she was luke warm at best with the idea.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. Besides me dropping off the kids wearing giant sunglasses while biting my lip.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Potty

Today S peed on the potty for the first time. She was proud, I nearly missed it, we were all excited. H, however, was over the moon. I have never seen anyone as excited. She was ecstatic. We were confused. She made me get the camera to take a picture of S on the potty. Which I did, and which I was planning on posting, but I just can't. Even with the black bar I photoshopped on where a fig leaf should be- its just wrong. After documenting photographically, H ran to grab her crayons and settled down to draw this:

That, on the left, is S, sitting on the potty (which is aqua, blue and yellow) which is on the floor next to a red chair, and on the red chair is a cardboard box which is temporarily housing the microwave kiln (since I'm using it too much to put it farther than an arms reach away)

H had been on my case all week, asking multiple times a day if I'd gotten the potty out of the basement for S yet. This made me feel like crap, causing me to ask such questions as "What is wrong here that my 5 year old daughter has more interest in her sister being potty trained than I do?", and "Why haven't I gotten the potty out yet, anyway? Why do I need to be reminded by a 5 year old?" And, I know this isn't a question, but "I'm the mom around here, I decide when its potty time."

So, I guess I finally decided it was potty time- brought the thing up, cleaned it, tried not to dwell on the fact that I maybe could have been a touch more thorough with the cleaning when I put it away for the last time 3 years ago. S wanted the diaper off, tried to pee and got up 3 times only to sit back down again- she was determined. I left the room for a second, and she peed. H came running over excitedly, "I think there's some pee in the potty!" It happened so quickly that I even accused H of putting water in the potty. Another proud moment. S was peering into the potty, studying her work.

H yelled "Now can she have underwear?"

Friday, September 4, 2009

The war with my house

I am trying. It is trying, but I am trying.
Today I, and by "I", I should say "we" cleaned H's room. Actually, "I cleaned" is accurate, the rest, being H and S, and the freaking dogs who refused to stay out of the way, mostly conspired to slow me down and rescue things from the trash- things I had to convince myself to part with in the first place. Until I employed my latest time builder, a streamed netflix movie on my lap top upstairs. All day long up there, a huge garbage bag for each the trash men and the salvation army, and it doesn't look like anything in the way of cleaning took place up there.

Then, I had to come downstairs, which looked- looks- horrendous as I had spent the day upstairs and thus not tending to the downstairs.

This microwave kiln is making it at all the more dificult to clean and achieve the organizational nirvana I so desire when all I want to do is melt glass, and figure out how to print on glass.

Also I'm getting a headache, and sore throat, and when I turn my head it feels like I have to wait for half my head to catch up. Not a good time to be feeling like crap- with kindergarten T minus 6 days and counting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sleepless

J and I made a pinky locking pledge, this morning before I was awake, that we'd be in bed by 9 tonight. I resisted in my half awake state.. you can't go from going to bed at 1am to going to bed at 9.. but I pledged anyway and now feel like a failure and a not promise keeper. 10:38. J's in bed, although he just went up. We are trying to get ready for the school starting schedule- that will be a slam to all of our systems.

In the meantime, I have not learned all the way to crochet, but did take how to books with me on vacation. Instead I found myself taking a class on microwave glass fusing and purchasing the 'supplies available for purchase' after the class. I am having a great time fusing glass- piece by piece by piece in my tiny fake kiln which is only making me covet a larger kiln. And I'm already getting ahead of myself as usual, planning my conquering of the world by melding printing and glass fusing.

Going to bed at 10:43. Its not 9, but its not 1 either.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Re-entry

We were away last week on vacation. Sort of, I mean, I guess it was vacation. It was getting away, which we severely needed to do. Now I am in limbo, we're back, but not really all the way. My father is going to come visit for a few days- he gets here tomorrow night. A visit from my father always sends me way out into orbit, and I have no time for it now.

We spent the week rushing around from one fun activity to the next with the girls grandparents, Aunt A and Uncle T. The girls who usually go to bed 7ish were up until 10, at least, every night. It took me a few hours to get S down to sleep every night. We would come in the door and she'd be so tired she'd lie down on the floor, but the second she was in bed she's be instantly energized, 'I want PWAY!' I want DRAW!' All week long because she was so fried, she'd do this thing where all of a sudden she'd look stricken, her eyes would fill with tears, the lip would pout out and she'd say, through held breath.."MOmmY.... MommY!!" and then sob uncontrollably.

Today was actually really good, for a first day back. We did nothing. Well, we did a lot, but we didn't leave the house. It is some kind of insanity to not leave the house over here. I didn't even get S dressed today. She's about to go to bed and she's still wearing pajamas. J and I cleaned our room. We put up the girls' tent on top of our bed, set up my laptop with a movie, and set them up with plates of snacks and piles of books. This was a huge undertaking. I have cleaned my side of the room and J his but we haven't done a through cleaning together... possibly ever. In fact, when J was cleaning he found his stack of thank you cards for wedding gifts we received 9 years ago that he had written and never sent. We split the thank you card writing- Maybe I wrote them and he was just supposed to send them. I don't remember. I'm sorry, those of you who may have gone un-thanked. I thank you, 9 years late.

I am far from innocent in the keeping stuff forever category. I tired repeatedly today, but it turns out I can't throw away buttons. I tried a few times, but dove into the trash bag enough times that I gave up and allowed myself to have the buttons. I did throw away a NY Yankees shirt I've had for as long as i can remember. Seriously, I may have been 10 when I got it? That hurt me. I gave it a little garbage bag funeral though, put it in a shoe box casket. Said a few words. Its was time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

bad photos of new work

I never claimed to be a photographer, and should pester my photographer spouse to take pictures of my work before I post them up here in not their finest. Perhaps I will re post them, but anyway, here they are. 3 versions, one 3 color reduction, one 2 color reduction with silver leaf and one black and white. It was refreshing to work this small, these are 9x9- I usually work much bigger.



Friday, August 21, 2009

My very own tomato festival


When they finally ripen, they ripen in droves. These are the tomatoes I brought in yesterday. There are many more out there ripening on the vine. I need your best sauce recipes. Stat.


Is that beautiful or what?




They both wanted to, but neither of the dogs ate the tomatoes I made them pose with. I tried for a ridiculous amount of time to balance a tomato on their heads, and they were very patient with me.

The girls both ate their tomato props. I bet I could have balanced tomatoes on their heads. I don't know why I didn't think of that until now.