Thursday, April 30, 2009

My neighbor's cat

Today has been crazy- everyone- kids, animals, me, we've all been off. Quick to freak out. We all have hairline triggers today, and thats just not good. Actually, I've been like this all week. A real peach to be around, I know it.

As I was saying, today was crazy. It started when my neighbors cat came inside. It was a little after 7, the girls were eating breakfast, I heard a meow on the porch. I knew it wasn't Maxi, but thought she might be in a frozen growling standoff with another cat as she is totally intolerant of any other feline exisisting on her planet. I opened the door, and the neighbors cat, Sam, came right in. This is my across the street neighbor, why did this cat come to my door? Do I radiate 'sucker'?

Maxi was not outside after all. She puffed up, yowled a battle cry and jumped on Sam. Sam tried to run outside, but the screen door had closed. Maxi chased him all around the living room. I was yelling for J to come downstairs and trying to convince H to be a human barrier as I noticed both cats were avoiding people. She intelligently refused. I don't know why I try to involve my 5 year old in a cat fight. Its how I was raised, is all. The dogs did some half hearted cat chasing, but they are scared of Maxi, and they weren't sure which cat to chase, so they just kind of stood there. J came down eventually and was able to get Maxi to run upstairs. Sam was freaked out, I knew I had to pick him up, but theres that crazy cat thing where the most friendly cat will tear your eyes out if you try to pick him up in the midst of chaos. He let me pick him up, and sure enough tried to flip on me, but I was ready for him.

He must not have been that freaked out, because he tried to come in all day. Finally, around 3, I remembered I have a key to my neighbors house, so I went over and put him in his house. I think this breaks the protocol of the having a key incase of emergency thing, but Maxi is one hard core bitch when it comes to other cats. It was for his own safety.

Heres where Sam the cat read me right- I am a sucker. I wanted to let him in and have a kitty visitor all day. I was annoyed that Maxi can't play well with others. I know its crazy and that thou shall not catnap or covet thy neighbors cat, but still. He's nice, He has big feet. I am a sucker for a big dogish cat.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer in the spring

Because of this bizarre weather that is just wrong for April, and because I'm having the kind of day where I look at the clock and can't believe its only 10:30 am and I've already exhausted all the tricks up my sleeve I had and I just want to be done but theres still a gazzillion hours to fill. Because of that, I turned on the sprinkler. I look at the sweet sticky faces of the girls and know, KNOW in the words of H, "I KNOW THAT" eye roll, sigh I know these are fleeting moments, I know I'll want them back, but I just needed a BREAK today. So I turned on the sprinkler. In April. Which meant bathing suits. I was slack jawed looking at H in her bathing suit this afternoon. God she was beautiful. The modest bathing suit I found (which was the only modest bathing suit), turned out not to be as modest as I thought. Something about the bottom of it being black. Its a grown up suit in size 5, and she'll be getting another one for public use. Her hair, long and thick, wet from the sprinkler, with just enough curl to it. Her freckles scattered across her nose. She took her towel away from me to lie down on it. Since when does she lie down? The future came hurling towards me, I saw her as a teen, as a woman. It made me want to lick her face just because I can now. Soon she'll be holding me at arms length and wishing her arms were longer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Its her party and she'll cry if she wants to

H helping a sister out

Smiling on the inside

Behind the scenes. Mayo really wants a taste.

Before and after

The anticipation... a gift from mom and dad... they always get it right...

Scary. Not what I wanted.

Two and elephants

S is 2. She hated her birthday party. She wouldn't open gifts, ate cake only when fed to her in a quieter part of the house. Held back tears as we sang happy birthday. I think I put her down all of 5 minutes all day. During those 5 minutes I could hear her sadly mewing "where mommy? where mommy?" It was all of a sudden August in April- in the 90s, humid. I was torn between my original plan to have us eat outside and the fact that it was uncomfortably hot. I mistakenly ran this indecision by my mother, who will choose to be outside even if its 150 degrees and humid with a chance of fire and brimstone. Yes, that acorn falls right next to the tree. I made the party, which had already started to feel more like a hostage situation, sit outside. Of course, I was not outside uncomfortable because I was inside trying to finish making the lunch. Of which S had none of. S also refused to sit outside, even once I was able to join the rest in hell. Those there who did not want to be sitting outside (I think it was 50/50) projected their discomfort onto S, "She's just hot." It took me a while, but I eventually figured out, she was just trying to escape her party.

Once we released the hostages, many hours later, S perked up to her usual self, enjoyed the gifts, chattered non stop, and ate everything in sight.

S did receive a couple of elephants for her birthday. Have I mentioned the scary elephants? S's elephant phobia has gotten out of hand. It freaks me out that I can narrow her fear down to a species. The other day S was hiding from me, a new favorite game, she went into H's room and closed the door. Then she shrieked. I opened the door and she was crying pointing at a plush elephant on H's shelf. This scene has played out different times with different elephants (I had no idea I had so many elephants in the house) I'm trying to address the fear with out supporting the fear. I hate to think of S tip toeing around our elephant laden house waiting for them to jump out at her at any moment, but I know I must apply the dog in the thunder storm theory of not rewarding the fear.

The whole thing makes me feel like I really screwed up. The other day on the phone with Lefty I had an epiphany, well, she had the epiphany, I am an epiphany plagiarist. I was lamenting over S's fear of elephants, and then segued into S's general fear of DVDs, and continued babbling about how I thought the DVD fear was a result from S watching Horton Hears a Who. Lefty quietly, patiently said "Horton's an elephant." Right. Add this to the mounding list of things that are all my fault.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The weakest link

Ok. I think I have rewired myself, licked my wounds of overwhelmtion and kept my head in the sand long enough. My littlest baby turning 2 and a critique of my work on the same day proved to be all I could handle. That is pretty pathetic, and it wasn't the physical part that got to me, but the amount of head space required for me to give each of these things the attention they deserve is nowhere to be found. If it exisits at all, I'm not sure how to tap into it. It felt like Sophies choice.

I spend the day guilty because in my head I wasn't doing enough for S's birthday. Even though the other side of my head knows thats ridiculous, that I did plenty and that it doesn't mean I love her any less. (Oh sure, the head space is plenty big enough when it wants to be! All kinds of conflicting shit can fit in there, but art and kids together? Oooh... no room for that!) We are having a party tomorrow, but I am usually in excess birthday celebration.

On S's birthday I had planned to make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. The night before while shopping for her birthday present (yes, The night before. I suck.) I saw a box of doughnuts and said to myself "Chocolate chip pancakes. Right." and bought the doughnuts. Then the present itself. S loves Yo Gabba Gabba, I found some plush figures from the show and got her 2 of them. One eyed Muno and unibrowed Brobee. H was with me, and arguing that I should get Foofa, the pink flowery girly one, that would be the one S likes, she said, but I actually said to H, "these are cooler." She disagreed, as she should have- and then somehow convinced me to buy her Foofa. S was excited by the presents, and began unwrapping Brobee but stopped suddenly when she caught sight of him, threw him across the table and said "SCARY!" and refused to open her other presents. But guess which one she likes. Foofa.

As for the critique, it was what it was supposed to be. I realized once there that I didn't so much want to know the direction I should go in with the work (yet) I just want some ideas of what the hell to do with it now. But that is not what a critique is for. The main reason I went was to meet the curator who was doing the critiquing, and for that I'm happy I went. It was also nice to spend time looking and talking about art. There were some great artists who showed work, and that was inspiring to see. Although part of me being inspired these days is to feel completely inadequate and a bit like a fraud as I spend most of my time cleaning up after kids and dogs and not every waking moment contemplating my art. Right now, for example, I am trying to contemplate contemplating art, and H is yelling at me about her puzzle box:
"Its made out of cardboard, which you can recycle, but we're still using it"
"WHAT? IS THIS MADE OUT OF RECYCLE? IT HAS THIS" Pointing to the recycle symbol
"right, but you can't make something out of recycle. You can recycle glass, plastic, cardboard..."
We seem to have lost the volume button on H's 5th birthday.

Its been a long week. Fun, but long. We went to a carnival last night, tonight H has a birthday party. Tomorrow H has a t ball game and then we're having the family over for lunch for S's birthday. Somewhere in there I have to figure out my art game plan. Wouldn't it be nice if I could finish my website? And also make a birthday cake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ruby, update

Ruby is just fat. I am just relieved. I am also right, its a limpoma. I shouldn't be encouraged to self diagnose (and yes, I consider diagnosing my dog as self diagnosing) Its hard for me to take myself, or mine, to the doctor, or the vet. I swear my vet referred to the area where the fat bulge is as 'the brisket'. I just looked up where one would get brisket. Yes he did. He referred to my dogs brisket.

I love my vet. So much so that I drive far. Via the highway I hate. His office is by the airport, in a less shiny part of town, near a lot of auto part dealers. On the way there, every time, I wonder why I go, tell myself I'm going to find a vet in my own neighborhood. On the way home I know why I continue to trek to see him. He's funny, he knows what he's doing, he doesn't do extra tests, he tells it to you straight. He let me come into the back room and watch him suture up Mayos foot after he gashed it on a piece of glass. He didn't use anesthesia to X-ray Rubys legs because he knew she'd just lie on the x-ray machine if I told her to. He doesn't give me shit for letting my cat outside. He once offered, when the time comes, to bury my dogs on his ranch. He'd help dig, but we'd have to wait until his wife is out of town as the idea of a pet cemetery freaks her out.

I drove not only Ruby, but Tamayo, Maxi to the vet today. S came with me too. Picture me walking 2 dogs, carrying a cat carrier, a bag full of coloring books and alluring snacks, and pushing a stroller. Now picture me trying to open the door to the vet office. Hilarious. But everyone was good. The dogs didn't pull, Maxi didn't even yowl- this is unheard of. S wasn't afraid of the vet. Unheard of. The dogs acted like they spoke English, I love it when they do that. I can say, 'hey, wait your turn' and they do.

Usually, when things have to work out, they do. I get such a rush when everyone does what they're supposed to in a hectic situation. This whole having to work thing is on my mind. If I can apply the this is the way its going to be philosophy to the rest of my life, instead of just the fretting about what doesn't happen- I may actually get somewhere.

Monday, April 20, 2009

All in a days work

On Saturday morning we were preparing for a busy (and fun, dammit) day outside. H had t- ball practice, and from there we had planned to go a bike festival/fund raiser for some trails in the woods we often ride. The family bike ride sounds innocent enough, but it involves packing up J and my riding gear: shoes, gloves, helmets and in my case shorts as I was NOT wearing riding shorts to T ball. Packing up H's 'bike' that attaches to J's bike making them a tandem, and S's chariot type attachment which attaches to my bike making us a rickshaw. Hoisting the bikes on top of the car. Transferring car seats to J's car which has the bike rack. Making us all fit is a circus act. Luckily for me, the loading up, unloading and assembling once we arrive at the riding location, the disassembling and reloading the car once we're done riding, and the unloading of the car, the putting away the gear and relocation of the car seats once we get home is for the most part J's job.

This particular bike ride also required catering, which is my job. I packed lunch and snacks and water for all of us and carried it on my back for the ride. Towing S. I had an irresistible urge to write "sherpa" across my shirt, and might have if I had time to iron it on. Even in irresistible urge mode I couldn't deal with the aesthetics of marker on my shirt. Once we got to the park, we ended up not eating the lunch I packed, but instead the pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad offered in order to properly contribute to the fund raising. (Yeah that's it). The pulled pork was from an entire roasted pig. A pig that had cherry tomatoes in its eye sockets. A pig whose head was later positioned on a stick, a la Lord of the Flies. H only wants to eat vegetables lately. Coincidence?

On the way out the door for our t-ball, bike riding, meat eating adventures- it was chillier than I thought, so I ran up stairs to grab a sweatshirt. When I got into our room, I noticed Maxi, our cat, staring at J's closet. Tail twitching. I had seen her there earlier, when I got out of the shower, on her hind legs looking at J's shirts. The fact that she was still there was not a good indication of there just being clothes in the closet. I reached in and shook one of J's shirt sleeves at random. A mouse fell out. I screamed. What is it with mice that is synonymous with screaming? I have had pet mice, I really don't mind mice. Still, I screamed. Even though I wondered if a mouse was in the closet, I didn't think there really was, didn't think I'd find it if it was in there. The fact that I chose the right shirt sleeve out of the 20 or so that are in there shocked me. The mouse landed in a crumpled up shirt at the bottom of the closet. I ran to S's room and got an empty diaper box, scooped up the crumpled shirt, mouse and all, and took it to the back of the back yard. I saw the mouse frozen still except for the fact that it was breathing so hard it looked like a balloon, so I know I got it out. For once I was glad for our crumpled shirt empty box lifestyle that facilitated the mouse removal. It struck me funny that this seemed all in a days work. It was quick, I had remembered to grab my sweatshirt (and made sure to shake it out!) Jumped in the car, and we were off.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows. They just don't live long enough. I have been worried about Ruby for a few weeks now- and can only begin to address it now. She has a lump. A bump. Some lovely lady humps. I suspect its fat. Limpoma, according to my spotty research. Which is not as big a deal as say the ever prevalent C word that seems to strike every other dog I know these days. There I go exercising my superior veterinary knowledge. I don't know fat from tumor, I am not to diagnose my dog. I do have an appointment with an actual vet on Tuesday. And I am every so slightly dreading it. Even though I suspect she's ok. I can't help it.

I took Ruby and Mayo swimming today- which is one of my favorite things to do. I love watching them. Ruby swims so gracefully, hardly rippling the water- her head looking like the lockness monster. Her tail is a ruder, and she effortlessly swims in circles- just to swim. Mayo can't stand the water. He'll get his feet wet, but then jump back as if he's standing in acid. He wants to participate, but doesn't understand the appeal. Today the dog swimming hole was crowded, the usual labs, I think 4 today, 3 goldens, and a few mutts. Some teenagers drinking beer. Some preschoolers running around. Some guy trying to fish just down the creek.

I watched Ruby, who just turned 9, play bowing to all these young dogs- egging them on, chasing sticks. When it was time to go, I watched her back legs give a little. Mayo still trying to wrestle with her, she was right there with him, but I held her back. 9 is not that old for a dog- but Ruby has been turning white since she was 4- she looks ancient now. She limps. She can't keep up with herself.

The hike back to the car was a little slow. Once we got to the car, she gave it her all but only her front legs made it. I had to do the same heave I've had to do to help her into bed more nights than not lately. Since we've been home she's been sacked out on the couch, only occasionally hobbling around, and shes stiff.

She is such an integral part of this family. It was on the way to J and my wedding that I stopped and visited Ruby when she was just a few weeks old. She wouldn't be able to leave her mom for some more weeks. After the wedding, the honeymoon, close to my birthday, we brought her home.

I have met a lot of friends through Ruby. She is loving. She remembers everyone and makes people feel special. People I never met would to come up to me and ask 'is that Ruby?' I started down the road of helping her be a service dog, able to visit hospitals. I got side tracked by kids, and life and all that I want to get done. But she'd make a great service dog.

She's been biking with us. She's jumped off a 10 foot cliff into water. Shes fallen through ice. She's chewed up a lot of shit. Many shoes. She once brought the contents of my jewelry box down stairs, took out every piece of jewelry and had me do a panicking inventory with my hand on the phone ready to call the emergency vet. There was a time where she'd destroy the last thing I touched before I left the house. A remote control. My sunglasses. The toothpaste. She's had her stomach pumped after eating a whole box of cocoa powder. I came home to find her panting, saucer eyed on the floor, in a pool of chocolate vomit. She's been bit by something that made her nose swell up like a balloon that prompted the student vet to ask if we had snakes. She whines until you put a blanket on her. She still gets into the trash and goes through my bag every night checking for any of the girls snacks for the day had been left in there. Which they usually are. She loves the girls and has helped both of them learn to walk. She watches over them like they were her pups.

Shes a very good girl, and I hope she's just fat and not sick.

Neat freak

Must make a note of the fact that S just insisted on wearing mittens so she could eat hummus with her hands. Must note the fact that I didn't care as she was sitting quietly and not rolling around screaming. Must launder the mittens. And yes. Hummus for breakfast.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

productivity issues

My stolen computer time has been lately split up between writing here, and working on my website otherwise known as the bane of my existence. And, ok, some facebook.

The website thing is making me crazy. I don't get it. I get it more than I got it, but only just. The way I get things is by jumping in, if I take the time to read the manual I'll get discouraged. Does this make me an idiot? Possibly. Especially since I think I have to re-get and redo what I got after reading the instructions after already doing it the way I thought it should be. And that takes more time that I don't have.

So thats the first problem, and I could conceivably work on that one. Slow down. Know what you're doing before you do it. Is that so hard? Well, yes. For me it is. But I have the instructions to make it work.

The second problem is much bigger. I can get all I want about how to make a website (and when I say 'making a website', I should be clear, I am uploading files to a template someone else has made. I know this is hardly 'making a website' but it doesn't take much for me to be confused and pulling my hair out about this stuff.) it doesn't make any difference at all how much I understand anyone else's template if I can't get past this feeling that I don't have enough work. I am trying to keep the blinders on and look at the work as files and not work- as in this is a whole body of work? I look at other artist's websites and see all the work they have, and all the shows they have had, all the future plans they have. They have news sections. I don't think I could pull off a news section right now, and I find that slightly depressing. This is where it gets dangerous and requires back talk on my part. I am so quick to go into the whole hand to the forehead why do I bother dramatic soliloquy.

The constant dilemma. I yearn to throw myself into this, do work all the time, promote it all the time. (but do I really? I think so. I don't know.) To apply for grants, to go do residencies for weeks at a time. Yearning or no yearning, I can't throw all of myself into anything due to the nature of my situation staying at home with the kids and all the hat changing that requires. I really do like it that way, want it that way. But. But. But.

I know I will bang my head against the wall re-reading this in the not so distant future. H is starting kindergarten in the fall and will be gone. all. day. I can't think about it. S is starting school 2 mornings a week in the fall. I will probably write about how I wish I could work but am paralysed by my babies not needing all that they need me for now.

The un-clean

I have stepped in a lot of crap in my life, but never the poop from a human in my own house. Evidently, the poop fell out of the diaper on to the floor while I was changing S this morning, and I stepped in it.

I proceeded to walk around thinking I was cleaning the house, while in reality I was just canvassing the whole upstairs with shit.

I kept thinking, wow, that diaper really smelled. That smell sure does carry. Maybe the smell comes through the vents, I thought.

It took Mayo, my urban pointer, to finally alert me to the crap all over my shoe and the house. He was following me around even more than usual and had his nose glued to my shoe. I didn't think this was abnormal, and in itself it really isn't. Then he pointed at my shoe, as if my shoe were a duck. And I finally saw what I had smelled.

Do you see how futile it is? I clean and clean and come right behind myself filthying things up.

Rose colored glasses

There had better be some serious May flowers after all this rain.

Maybe from going to bed late, being up all night and then getting up too early. Maybe from the trip to the post office to put all our money in the mail box addressed to the government. Maybe because it won't stop raining. I am in a bland washed out mood. I know this is nothing compared to lots of places, its only been a few days. I don't know what I would do in the pacific north west.

I am in a better mood than when I woke up, so there is hope. I finally got my one pair of jeans that fits washed, so I am no longer wearing one of the arsenal of clown pants jeans I have that fall down all the time. That is positive mood inducing.

S and I went to the post office to mail the taxes after dropping H off at school. There was no line, plenty of parking. S insisted on wearing sunglasses, even though as I mentioned it won't stop raining. They are rose colored glasses. Maybe I could learn something here.

I had tried all morning yesterday to write the tax checks, and prevent them from getting yogurt, coffee or markers all over them. I surrendered after about 2 hours of being interrupted. Finally at S's nap time, I revisited the pile of papers on the table that I had been threatening the life of anyone who touched. H wanted to do some kind of craft involving small plastic pieces that you cook in the oven to becomes larger stuck together plastic pieces. I told her we could do that after I finished up the taxes. There is nothing more joyous than doing taxes and hearing "Are you done yet?" Looped over and over. H eventually decided to do a puzzle to pass the time- she shoved all the tax papers over to make room- and then began her constant puzzle humming.

During this exercise of extreme patience on my part, H switched from humming to questioning. "Will I have to pay taxes when I grow up?" She looked scared. I tried to explain the good side of taxes. They are used for libraries (except a lot of our local libraries will be closed soon) Used for parks, to fix streets (our neighborhood pools are closing, and our street has 5 potholes at last count). I didn't mention war. I didn't mention how the taxes don't pay for us to go to the doctor. It was the Pollyanna tax talk. We talked about jobs. She asked what my job was. I told her it was my job to take care of her and her sister, to take care of the house, to pay the taxes. H said "You have a lot of jobs" I thought, you have no idea. Then she asked if I send out bills. No, I told her I don't get paid for my job. To this she said " You should get a job with the government. I'll take care of Stella. Then Daddy can come home and play with us."

I'm going to borrow S's rose colored glasses for the rest of the day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holiday triathalon

I have not recovered yet from our insane Easter whirlwind. We spent the day yesterday driving from meal to meal, relative to relative. Feeling hurried. It was fun, but holidays feel like triathlons now. I should vow to not complain as I have yet, despite my threats, taken any action to stop the holiday nomadic thing we have going on. At the very least I should train for the holiday.

In a nutshell, H and S slept over at their grandparents house Saturday night. J and I drove down to meet them, go to church, go to lunch, drive home, see what the Easter Bunny brought for the girls, let the dogs out, go to my grandmothers house for dinner.

The girls had fun at their sleepover- it may have been a little much for S, though. J and I got there early Sunday morning (not rested at all. Ridiculous.) S gave me the most horrible look when we walked in the door. A blank up and down stare. As if to say "Oh. Look who it is. You think you can just walk in now, do ya?" No reaction. I put my arms out to pick her up. Her look said "if you insist." A few seconds later I looked at her, she was biting her lip to keep from crying. She is scared of things that visually don't make sense, like someone in an Easter bunny costume, for instance, but she is tough tough tough about things that get to her emotionally. She played it tough until a few minutes later I was standing on the other side of the table and she couldn't get to me right away. Then the lip pouted out, the full on tears.

The church service was very heavy on the death, in my opinion. It is Easter, J said. I suppose. Today, as suspected, come the questions from H. The life/death questions. But also "who was the first person? Was God the first person? How did God make people?" I started down the rocky road of evolution, don't ask me why, and ended with "God made evolution. People changed over time to be able to live in their changing surroundings. From which evolved the question "did I change to wake up smart today?" Don't ask me why I am trying to explain evolution to someone who thinks yesterday was last year. We met my mother for lunch and I begged her for a life boat for this conversation. She said "thats when you say 'the bible says Adam was the first man and Eve was the first woman'" On the drive home I confidently delivered this fact. "Oh." H says. "And who came next?"

We went to lunch with J's family after church. This restaurant has been there close to forever, and their family used to go a lot. I've been a few times, but not in a long time. I am not sure how the absurdity of this place escaped me. The whole place looks like it came from the twilight zone and merged with cracker barrel. From the people working there with their bright blue eyeliner and huge broaches to the taxidermy all over the place, including a 2 headed calf. The kids food comes in buckets and frisbees. There are stain glassed windows. Only stained glass windows, so its dark. Apparently can have a window inscribed in the memory of a loved one, the way you can a park bench, but the shape of the windows, the darkness of the restaurant make the windows look like tomb stones. Somehow, even though the whole place is dark and cemetaryish, there manages to be a good vibe about the place. You expect the Addams family at the head table being all together ooky. Yesterday the Easter Bunny was there.

S is not a fan of people in animal costumes on a good day in a sunny place. The Easter Bunny in this context was creepy. The costume was dingy, the head wasn't all the way tied in back, you could see human hair coming out of the easter bunny head... all in all it was wrong. The bunny passed our table, she looked at it in fearful disbelief from my lap. She looked up at me, "Ska-wee...". But she was ok. Later we took a walk to the bathroom and passed the bunny. S stopped short and slammed one hand over her eyes, and grabbed my hand hard with the other one. He passed us by, thankfully not stopping. Then S screamed. I almost cried- it was a scream of true horror. She seemed to get over it quickly, but she did seem easily spooked for the rest of the day.

S and H did enjoy their baskets at home- especially the part where the Easter Bunny lapsed on the usual environmental 'grass' and just went for the plastic static stuff that sticks to everything.

I will be cleaning this stuff up forever, and I am finding it in all sorts of unique places- totally worth it to see the girls having so much fun rolling around in fake plastic grass.

Lastly, H excitedly told her dad about the candy slippers in her basket.
Peeps. Who am I to argue? They do look like slippers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

We are dressed

Sitting here listening to the girls play a fishing game with their grandmother, while J touches up his photographs with H's markers.

H and S are being whisked away to their grandparents house today. J and I will meet them early tomorrow morning. I love and hate when they go overnight. Tomorrow is Easter, so I feel further conflicted. Then I realized I don't really care so much about Easter. We'll be there in time to translate church and cover their ears at anything too literal. H has already had 2 egg hunts at school, will have one at each grandparents house. An Easter basket from her grandparents, and because I insist on participating in this way over board too much at any given holiday, they'll be getting an Easter basket from us as well.

I am so unorganized. Stop laughing. I waited until the last minute to get Easter dresses. 1) I hate buying a dress for one day, and was trying to find a dress that could still be worn through out the summer 2) they already have dresses like this, so I got some accessories 3) My in laws usually buy them dresses, 4) there was a sale last night, where I planned to give in and buy Easter dresses anyway.

My mother in law said they got them dresses. This has annoyed me every single year in the past. I have varied my responses but they all end at thanks but they're not wearing them. This year, though- I was surprised to find myself relieved.

In my true fashion, I got accessories with out knowing what dress they would go with. H has some pink polka dot shoes. And lime green tights.

My mother in law said she wanted to go to the sale anyway. I went and bought dresses. Even though they are not going to wear them. Even though I said from the get go that I wasn't going to buy Easter dresses. They were pretty cheap. And very cute. Maybe we'll need a costume change. And I wonder where the dramatic flare comes from. Oh! Its almost time for dessert! Where is your dessert dress?

This is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that I wear black most of the time. I do branch out and wear gray, or brown- but I usually feel like I'm dressed as backdrop to my brightly dressed children. Do I know what I'm wearing to church? Of course not.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gourds and goals

I must be feeling better because now my mind is spinning with all the things I want to do in addition to all the things I have to do. S and i just planted pansies. S is a very neat, everything in its place kind of kid. She was very upset at first about taking the pansies out of their six packs, and spent some time trying to put them back in. After she recovered from the horror of getting her hands dirty while trying to put things back where they GO which seems to be her mission in life right now, I managed to convince her flowers go in the dirt. She was skeptical, but gave in.

My mother taught me well, when you are overwhelmed by things that need attending, go out and garden. While not the most productive teaching, in terms of accomplishing things that need to get done, it sure does wonders for the mood. Which for me is half the battle.

The gardening can backfire. Last spring, I noticed a bunch of things sprouting from wherst I had laid the compost. I was curious and let the sprouts develop to plants. They got bigger, flowered, fruited, and then I wondered how many I could grow. This competitive streak can backfire, too. I grew gourds last year, is what ended up happening. Many gourds. Because I could. Becasue they just happened. After a pretty cool fall display, giving away gourds to anyone who would take them, and experimenting with the gourd drying process, I now have 20 dried gourds taking up space in my universe, ready to become bird houses like their mother, or whatever else it is gourds want to be when they grow up.

J asked the other day, "is it time to throw the gourds away yet?"
"Throw them AWAY?!"
"Well, what are you going to do with them all?"
"I don't KNOW. I have PLANS..." (don'taskdon'task...)
He dropped the subject. He knows me. He loves me. Maybe he'll get a gourd hat.

Yeah, I don't really have a gourd plan. The gourd plan is not as important as say, for example, the tax plan. Our taxes were just delivered via mail man bearing dog treats. I heard somewhere if you are overwhelmed, it helps to break up what overwhelms you into smaller steps. Today my goal is to open the envelope the taxes came in. Maybe thats too lofty. Maybe my goal can be to bring the envelope inside. And I've already done that. I reached a goal! See? I can too reach my goals.

Back to the gourds. I thought about painting them, but can't decide if they should be red or blue. I thought about making wind chimes out each of them, and hanging them all together. Might not be a popular choice for the neighbors. I thought about stringing them together and making candle holders out of them. That is probably a fire hazard. Any of these gourd plans take take longer than I have to spend on the gourds. I have already spent longer that I should thinking about the gourds, and now writing abut the gourds.

Weren't gourds currency at one time? Can I use them to pay taxes?

And today

Lets see if I can pull off writing this with out making it into a to do list. Doubtful. I am once again in a state of overwhelmtion. Everything once again needs doing. To add this I have finally signed up for the web service i plan to redo my site with. It is kind of user friendly, I suppose, if you know anything at all about the web, which I do not. All my file preparation "knowledge" is outdated, but also based on preparing files for print. I've been basically taking everything I know and reversing it. The trick here is to remember what I know so that I can reverse it.

I am also just a small tiny little bit sulky because I am missing getting together with a friend who is in town once or twice a year. I am missing getting together with her and the girls because I need to drive J to the doctor to have eye surgery. I feel like a shit head for sulking, because I am not the one who has to have their eyelid flipped over and scraped while conscious. I can't even bear the thought of putting contacts in my eyes. I have been telling him to shrug it off, it will be fine. Hey, maybe you won't notice! But yeah. I can't think about it with out wincing. Which makes my shrugging it off not convincing at all. And my sulking all that much more annoying. I'm only fractionally sulking. I know he'd do the same for me. And probably sulk the same amount if he was missing something fun.

In addition to not understanding web stuff and sulking, I seem to be having some kind of age crisis. Which I refuse to call a mid life crisis. I can't get past the idea of putting aqua streaks into my hair. This has been 3 weeks now? I thought it would pass. No. I still want the aqua streaks. I am so not 15. But I want them anyway.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tamayo at bedtime

Tamayo at bedtime. He does a pretty good job of staying as out of the way as a large dog who has to be with you all the time possible could. But at bed time, he is right in the middle of everything. He sits on pajamas. He gets in the way of picking out books to read. He insists on worming his way in during story time. He suffocates teddy and monkey with his body and refuses to get off. He does it all with a very serious, almost noble look on his face. When My friend N was here over the weekend she said it was if Mayo thought it was his job to be there for bedtime. I'm not sure if he thinks he's assisting me, or if he's the one putting the girls to bed, but he's there. Right in the middle of it all. Which means all poking prodding and teeth investigating is fair game.

S checking if Tamayo brushed his teeth

Monday, April 6, 2009


Well that was fun. To have my friend here, after not seeing each other for 2 decades. It was so not weird that it was weird.

Dropping her off at the airport felt like I was hurling her into outer space, though. I had a bit of emotional whip lash. I don't know when and where we'll see each other again. Its so rare to know someone in different phases of your life and be able to have the same connection, even though everything has changed five times over.

Its also surreal to all of a sudden hear your child say a name of a friend of yours while playing go fish with said friend. You flash back to some party you and the friend were at in the 80's and wonder if you ever in a million years would have pictured this moment. The 2 of you hanging out playing go fish with your kids. No.

Its nice to make people feel welcome, but my house is like affection quick sand. The inhabitants of my house go to great lengths to create the illusion that they don't get any attention, and they need it from you or else they will wither away. H, S, Ruby, Tamayo and Maxi all trap the unsuspecting visitor and hunt them down. They work together to charm and compliment. They do a variety of kid and animal tricks. They exhaust their prey until the only option is to sit on the couch and play go fish while covered with furry bodies. Again and again.

Friday, April 3, 2009

20 years

Whats 20 years between friends? I'm about to find out.

I am so excited to see a good friend I had lost along the way. We hadn't seen or heard from each other in 20 years. Then we emailed novels back and forth to catch up on what we'd missed. To interpret events we went through and compare memories. Its a crazy thing to feel so open with someone you used to know, but it was like flipping a switch for me. We picked up where we left off, and in some ways ahead of where we left off.

Now she sits, stuck on a runway, on her way to see me. In fact, she just called to let me know her plane was delayed, and that was the first I'd heard her voice in 20 years. I was nervous about hearing her, which sounds crazy, but even that felt like we had just spoken recently. Everything changes for everybody in 20 years, its a long time. Isn't it every 7 years your cells regenerate and you're a whole new person? So I'm 2 whole new persons since them. Almost 3. And there have been countless non cellular transformations for both of us.

So, as I wait for her plane to take flight I am actually giddy. Even though I have a cold that has landed in my eyes making me look like a St Bernard, the drains have all decided to become slow right in time for a house guest, and I am not really sure what we will be doing together. There is still dog hair all over everything. That is one thing that hasn't changed in 20 years.

H on the way to school asked what my friend looks like. I started to describe her, and then had to stop myself. I don't know, I told her.

Things keep on ticking over here as I wait.

This morning I had to do a hostage negotiation to regain control of the catsup. Which by the way had nothing to do with breakfast. I think S wanted the catsup for breakfast.
"I'm going to count to three, and then I need the catsup... One.... two.... put down the bottle, S... and.... thrr......I need the catsup now,please... EEE. Give me the catsup."
No. I had to pry the catsup away from her which very nearly resulted in the catcupification of the couch. Luckily S ate so much catup for dinner the bottle was nearly empty.

Right before we were headed out the door, S got a hold of a container of yogurt. Whether she got it herself of H gave it to her to sabotage me, I don't know. I am seriously considering outlawing yogurt. A lot of my troubles these days start with yogurt. It seems to innocent, the yogurt. These girls would bootleg yogurt. I'm sure I would just end up legalizing it, to avoid a speakeasy in the bathroom.

Better start getting the yogurt (already!) from my yogurt baby, and get to the airport. Ugh! Delayed again! Rain, rain go away!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I HATE PANCAKES. I love to eat pancakes, but I really hate making pancakes. I am a decent cook, I like to cook- but for the life of me I can not make a decent pancake. They are usually burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. I always smoke up the whole house which caused major alarm this time, with fire safety week so newly behind us.

My mother in law gave me pancake molds. She made pancakes using them, the girls liked them. Hearts. Butterflies.

H really wanted pancakes in the middle of the afternoon. I told her I wasn't going to make pancakes then. "But what ELSE can I have may-kel syrup with?" I told her I'd make them for dinner. Its been that kind of day, where you want to eat breakfast for dinner. Its rainy, gray. Horrific tantrums looped from dawn to dusk.

Anyway- my butterfly and heart pancakes? Not so much. Very DalĂ­. Surreal pancakes.

H, warily looking at the smoke in the kitchen:
"Mom? I smell gas.."
"No. No you don't. You smell smoke."
"Why is there so much smoke?"
"Because that's how I make pancakes"
"Does it smoke when Aunt K makes pancakes?"
(WHAT? My sister is many things, but in our family we like to harass her for not cooking. She should appreciate H busting her out of that family stereotype. Which I did not perpetuate, Aunt K. You will appreciate.)

Then H asks why the shapes didn't work when I made the pancakes. They worked when Dado made the pancakes... Yes, yes, I know. I had to level with her. Here's the thing, H. I'm not very good at making pancakes for some reason. I need to keep practicing. Here, this one sort of looks like a butterfly.

She tastes it. "Mom, these are so delicious, it doesn't matter if they don't have shapes. You should try one they're very good!" She's so good to me, sometimes.

They were pretty good. Flat, a bit spongy, but not raw or burnt. Progress.