Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is the first morning in a long while I've had to finish a cup of coffee sitting down. As opposed to the usual chugging while running out the door. My mornings have been crazy hectic and will continue to be for the foreseeable future- but what a difference it makes to be able to sit and think before jumping into the day.

Our family is divided in half; 2 morning people, 2 non morning people. The morning people have left to go to school and work. S and I, the non morning people, are enjoying a few more minutes of a nice slow morning.

Here we go, Wednesday. I'm ready.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Yes, its been ages. I am standing, boot straps in hand, stiff upper lip, reaching for the oil can.
Starting over. Or at least picking up where I left off.

An egg seems like a fine metaphor for a new beginning. Being that I am so thrilled with these eggs you'd think I laid them myself, I am always looking for an opportunity to show them off. Its new, this egg laying. The first eggs came on Halloween. Trick or Treat! Actually, yes both trick and treat- as 2 of the first 3 were laid in a nest of thorns.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Witches

The witches are keeping me up at night. H is having a very hard time getting to sleep and a harder time staying asleep. Everything in her room is a witch. The pile of clothes on the floor that never did make it to the hamper despite my multiple pleas. The curtains, the doll house- all witches.

I go up dozens of times after I am officially down stairs after bedtime to stage light different corners of her room and rearrange things that make disagreeable shadows. She can't sleep with the light on either, so then there's that.

Last night she (eventually) went to sleep in our bed- after I rearranged our room and cleared the shadows. We've had a standing agreement that Fridays the girls (although S usually prefers to sleep in her own bed) can go to sleep in "mommy-daddy bed" and J and I transfer them back to their beds when we turn in. Our very narrow hallway is making it increasingly difficult to maneuver a sleeping H through. Last night, however, was Wednesday night. This whole Friday night agreement came to be during a period of time when H couldn't fall asleep in her own room- but the nightly transfer back to her room began to wear J and I down. Last night my justification of amending the only on Friday rule was that she'll be at her grandparents house on Friday so she may as well sleep in our bed on Wednesday. Here we go with the back slide.

Once she is asleep and back in her bed she has been inevitably boomeranging back to our bed at 3 or 4 in the morning. She calls instead of just jumping in- so that jolts me awake- and then she sleeps like a windmill causing J and I to switch into defensive sleep mode, blocking punches.

I do feel for her. I STILL get scared of shadows at times. J hangs his shirts up to dry around our bedroom and they make very imposing silhouettes- so I get it. I make the dogs come with me to the bathroom after watching a scary movie. I spent many a childhood night awake wide eyed in my room frantically thinking good thoughts until I somehow fell asleep.

I am hoping this witchy business is short lived and it is making both of us- all of us- exhausted.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Progress

Some beginning stages of the 20x20 piece for the Mamacita (W)Holon show.
I'm down to the wire as always, up against the deadline- but that's how I roll.

This piece ventures further into the block as finished piece concept that began with the 4x4 holons for this show. It feels a little strange to post these stages with out having finishing - A little like that dream where you're in school and realize you forgot to put any clothes on.

The sketch

Drawn on wood

Starting the cutting


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Studio

Here we are in the middle of July and I feel I am just starting to get the summer underway. I haven't done work in so long I don't know who I am anymore. I was away for a few days and although things were hardly 'slow' they weren't nearly as fast paced and scattered in all directions as I have become used to. I felt the first glimmer of inspiration which nearly brought me to tears as every time it gets hard I am sure I'll never be inspired again. I get caught up in the running around trying to keep my head above water. I tell myself, my tragic circular flaw, that I can postpone making art- never is a good idea. I know its like eating to me, and I always wonder why I feel like I'm withering when I haven't worked in a while.

With that said, some new goals about spending time in the studio are in place. One day a week when the girls are with my mom- which starts tomorrow- and is a given for studio time. Also H and I will spend the 2 mornings S is in school in the studio. This is not all that productive for me, although I do love to make things with H- but it helps to be in the space and I find I don't get to the studio nearly enough. I may have mentioned in the past how insane what I let pass as being productive these days. Coffee and the newspaper? Productive if I'm in the studio. I will need to edit what passes for productivity- but for now I'm sticking to it. Next goal will be the night time studio hours, but I need to be immersed in something for that to happen. I am hoping to be immersed soon. (Does anyone else make goals to have goals? Perhaps this is part of the problem)

Anyway- as usual, H had a quite productive morning in the studio. I got some thinking done here and there, but mostly I was her assistant. She wanted to make a stuffed animal. Yesterday she drew out the pattern and started sewing, today she finished. She did the pattern and all the sewing- chose the eyes and nose. I cut the pattern out (of some fabulous yellow velvet my mother gave me ages ago from her fabric stash) and sewed on the face. (And untangled, re-threaded and patched some holes.) We are both quite thrilled with the outcome- see for yourself.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chickens in the house

The chickens have been outside for 4 nights. Every night so far I have had to put them to bed. No, I'm not reading them stories or rocking them- I have been shoving them in their hen house to safety. They prefer to pile up like puppies right up against the gate of their run. Everything I have read, and witnessed- says chickens put themselves to bed inside at dusk. Not these girls.

I don't think I have any chicken eating anything roaming around here, but I'd sure hate to find out the hard way, so into the house they go.

My sister K was here last week, causing our family to gather more frequently than usual, dinners together most nights on my porch- in view of the chickens not going to bed. I found myself chicken wrangling with an audience. And a peanut gallery. I grew less patient nightly, and last night in the heat of taking things personally, groused about how the chickens hate me.

This I have noticed in my brief study of things chicken: I understand why the term 'chicken' is used as to describe one who is fearful. I don't think chickens are afraid- quite brave in certain circumstances- but their reaction to things outside of their norm is with a large degree of skepticism and a dose of jerky comedic gestures. Oh. My. God. Anewwaterdispenser. WHAT.DO.WE.DO?

Tonight I watched. Hopeful as they were going in and out of the house during the day. At dusk they gathered in front of the door of their house and milled about. Calling to mind outside the church before the service starts. One popped in, another followed. One popped out. And so on. Eventually they were all in. I went down and shut their door- they just purred a chicken pur and I imagine cursed me for closing the door on their view. They still sleep in a pile- not a roost as its been suggested they should- but they're in the house. Doing what their supposed to for the most part. Which I find ridiculosly thrilling.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kindergarten. Check.

Its taken me a while to write about this- the end of Kindergarten. I was so emotional at the start of kindergarten- but I didn't know the full story then. That H would finish kindergarten and that I would find myself equally raw emotioned about that- watching H become even more of herself. H has so much more growing to do- shes doing it so well, I am so proud of her- but what a free fall this growing up is. My heart swells with pride until it aches- I realize I am helpless and along for the ride. I am so proud of my bigger girl and can't wait to see her transformations but can't help clutching her at every step of the way and wanting to bottle her at each moment and keep her forever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

getting bigger

The chicks are 5 weeks old- and continue to grow insanely fast. They are mostly feathered, and So ready to be outside. We're all ready for them to be out. Soon. I am working on menace-proofing their home. They have us all figured out and have gotten less jumpy- they are very excited to see H as she usually has a special treat for them. These girls seems to be into junk food and have a big appreciation for french fries and pizza crusts. They just get samples of these delicacies- much to their dismay. I am not ordering pizza for them. Everything in moderation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The block- holon

I am really excited about this show.
Members of Mamacita are contributing artwork done in 4x4 squares to form a larger collaborative piece. The show is titled Holons. A holon is something that is simultaneously a part and a whole.

Here are my 4x4s- I am not used to working this small- it was fun. Kind of addictive. I decided to treat the block as the finished piece this time- I always love the block which kind of takes a back seat to the printed paper usually. I like taking the block out from behind the scenes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The co-exisiting

They're here. We have chicks. I wasn't sure how the dogs, or our cat, would welcome them. I grew up co-existing with many types of animal, mostly harmoniously- but its been a while since I tested the circle of life in my house.

Maxi, our cat, doesn't care anymore. She looked at them with her eyes wide and her tail twitching for a while, but now she doesn't give them a second glance. She passes by them often because the chicks are in the laundry room where she and dogs are fed. (No- not lost on me- slight concern the dogs and cat will want to eat the chicks, put the chicks in the room where there food is kept...good idea?)

The dogs have been funny. Ruby doesn't care at all. She has shown no interest at all. She has a slight air of "here we go again" about her. Tamayo is very excited by the chicks, some cautious tests lead me to believe his insistence is due to the fact that he can't bear to be left out. This is the dog that runs into me when I stop walking, and who is the biggest mother hen there is. He is not to be trusted alone with the chicks of course, but he doesn't want to eat them. I am fairly certain. Or at least he won't while I'm around, which is enough for now. This is not to say he won't play them to death if given the chance.

I am working on us all getting along. I'd like the chicks to be unfazed by the dogs, and be friendly with people. I'd like the dogs to think the chicks are not for eating. (Also not lost on me: the fact that I have bird dogs. Theoretically they will just point at the birds.)

Hopefully we can all just get along. We're off to a pretty good start.

You see that dog, right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I am a bit surprised at how this poultry acquisition is going so far. It was seeming too hard, too much money, too much.. more. I was about to give up on the chicken dream for the time being when I found an ad for a coop that was everything I was looking for. Perfect in function, visual appeal and price, being sold by a really nice chicken friendly guy. When does that happen? Even with the coop, I thought maybe I'd hold off on finding tenants for it- but then I found a woman selling chicks- not just chicks, but the kind of chicks I was looking for, and she lives 5 minutes from my house. I live in the city! So- it was meant to be.

The perfect hen house.

Tomorrow is J and my 10th anniversary. I have yet to convince him that for the 10th anniversary you give poultry (Tin? I thought it said 'hen'?) We are dropping off the girls and the dogs with my mom and getting out of dodge to celebrate- so the chicks are delayed in their homecoming. They will be a week old when we pick them up on Sunday. I tell everyone that the girls are counting the hours, but really I'm the one counting down until chick time. The girls are excited, don't get me wrong. H has plans to read to each individual chick, and has even cleared a spot near our fort Knox brooder for books to go. I told the girls they could each name a chick- H chose Lorelei and S's will be named Layla. Which is a fine optimistic name for a chicken.

Fort Knox brooder.

Its finally safe to say chicken around here. J knew from the get go that chicken resistance was futile, and did half heartedly argue the sanity of my decision. He held his hands up, had a glint of standing on the train tracks with a train coming in his eyes, claimed no part of this what so ever and threw the idea on the table that I should sell all the eggs and put the money into his (currently non-existent) Porsche fund. Then he drove with me for 3 hours to pick up the chicken coop. I love that he's on board, even if its on the edge of the board right now.

10 years, baby. The poultry anniversary.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Well rounded

On the slide at S's birthday party

At T-ball.
These pictures of H were taken hours apart. I love all of her worlds.

Catch up

Yes, yes- I know I've gone missing. There has been a lot going on over here. I forgot to post last weeks ode to poop- but its up there now.

S is now doing what one should do on the potty, and for that I am thankful. She still refuses to use a potty that doesn't look like one in a house- like the ones that are in most restaurants, stores- where the bowl comes out of the wall- those have germs, she is convinced. Whatever. We're dealing.

S is also three. Three years old, using the potty and in a big girl bed. Where is my baby?

Here is my big girl relaxing towards the end of her birthday party. Her dance birthday party. She is rocking her choice of birthday hat. She is such a hat girl- I told her she could pick a hat to waer to her party- we were standing in front of the party hats at a party store- she turned her head, pointed to the next asile and said "that one" She had told me walking in she was looking for a purple hat.

S with her friend P. Note the tuxedo shirt. He brought her some awesome pink plastic flowers. Note that it felt like they were about to go to the prom. With a sippy cup.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poop. And now I'm done talking about it.

Perhaps you have noticed from my last few posts that my life has been dictated by poop lately.
I have typed the word 'poop' more in the last few weeks than in the rest of my life.
Poop makes me happy when its in the potty. Poop makes me sad when its not.
I contemplate human poop while cleaning up dog poop.
I just cleaned out an aquarium full of fish poop, stopping half way through to help S poop on the potty (yay!)

Poop, poop, poop.
Poop happens.

The cat poops too- but due to a grandfather clause that I am not going to mention out loud, J takes care of her poop. She's my 'get out of jail free card' of poop.

My mother used to joke that she was an engineer of poop, as she could tell which poop belonged to which of our 5 dogs (and this wasn't even the time when one of our dogs ate fluorescent green playdough and then pooped fluorescent green poops all over the yard) Once one of our dogs- the same one that ate/expelled the green playdough, ate and passed my mothers boyfriends sock. Which was laundered and returned to him, he none the wiser.

I am contemplating more poop in my life- of the chicken variety. I had chickens growing up, and always knew I'd have them again- something has snapped in my head recently (ok, a few somethings) and I am tired of waiting. Its chicken time. I am making myself wait a bit to be sure the time is now- I am already overwhelmed on a daily basis and am always scrambling around like a chicken with its head... never mind. Chicken post to follow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The potty and what goes on in there

S is working on getting out of diapers. She is doing very well at peeing in the potty. After a string of accidents, her solution to pooping is apparently not to. We are on day three of no moving bowels.

This is making me very anxious. In an 'expect it when you least expect it' kind of way. I'm afraid to leave the house. I am also concerned for S's well being. It doesn't seem to be bothering her at all, but really, how long can one be backed up? Last night I touched her belly (which is looking larger than usual) and I said "That poop needs to come out!" Well, what, was I born yesterday? This alarmed S a great deal. "There's POOP in my belly?!" No.. no, just food in your belly, I assured her. "What else?" She asked, about 10 times. Not the time to bring up what happens to the food we eat.

H is no help with announcements like "All that we eat turns to poop." I've asked her to keep these observations to herself until S has mastered the potty. With my luck, and how S is wired, she'd stop eating, too.

I didn't think to ask H to not talk about germs, however, and this is becoming an issue. At a restroom in a restaurant with their father a few days ago, H apparently went on (and on) about not touching anything that there were germs everywhere. Now,this is true, and there are plenty a public restroom that gives me the heebie jeebies- but when you got to go, you got to go, especially when you are just learning how to go. J put the exclamation on the germ observation by using one of those paper toilet covers. After that day, at a restroom at a playground (which was quite clean) S looked at the toilet as if it had ants crawling all over it, and refused to sit on it. "Where the paper thing?" she asked.

I am quite possibly the only mother in the universe who tells her kid in a public restroom, with a shrug of the shoulders, "Eh? Germs? There are no germs here." Then, because I can't stand to lie so blatantly, contradict myself with "That's why we wash hands."

The lying continues at home, S says while sitting on the potty,
"no germs at home."
"Nope", I say. "No germs at home."
"Where did they go?"
I resist saying "GERMany". No need to alienate an entire country in her mind for the purpose of my amusement. Instead I say "Germ-land"

S isn't convinced. But she deals. She is on the potty wearing her kitty costume.
"Hold my tail" she says. "don't want any germs on it"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Writing in the bathroom while the girls are in the tub.

A beautiful spring day, outside in the garden. I'm doing some weeding, the girls are re-hiding the easter eggs- which come to think of it are still outside. I turn the hose on- briefly, I'm hoping- to spritz the pea seedlings and some violas that I won't plant today. H wants the hose. To water her garden, she says. I know better, but give her the hose, set on mist and say just don't get me wet.

S and H are misting each other until S decides to turn the nozzle to jet, and then they're soaked. They are laughing, its warm, so I don't care. I turn the nozzle back to mist and continue weeding.

They are soaking the flowers, the brick, each other. I hear S calling H a poop hat, and am pondering that comment in my weeding zen. I hear S singing a song, "watering the poop, watering the poop" H says "Don't water the dog poop!" I, still in weed zen, think, how odd, I must have missed some dog poop. "Is that poop? Don't water it" I call out. Making a mental note of that sentence being one of the many I never thought would come out of my mouth.

The hose fun is winding down, H has fallen, turns aren't being taken or given- whining is escalating- I turn the hose off. Major crying. We go inside, I begin pealing their wet clothes off.

I remember S isn't wearing a diaper. She had been doing great since she refused to put one back on after lunch. We were at a restaurant with my mom, I didn't have a pair of underwear for her in my bag- so she was going comando.

After I get S's pants off, notice the poop trail down her leg-
"was that your poop you were watering in the yard?"
"Yes" she says.
"You're not a dog!" Says H
"No! I'm a hoppin bunny! S says, majorly irriated.
"Oh. Well hopin bunnies poop in the yard too" H, the ever logical says.

I took S back out side and hosed her off.

Dressed up

S in her Easter dress with her kitty tail. The tail was part of S's Halloween costume, and has become an appendage.

H in her Easter dress in my grandmothers apple tree.

I spent a lot of time in this tree when I was little. I used to think I was so high up.

Dying and finding

The colors make me happy.

S taking it all in

As soon as the eggs are decorated, H and S want to eat them all. Its become a tradition that they each eat an egg before the dye is even dry. I remember the easter eggs of my youth, my mother complaining that no one would eat any of the eggs.

Then again, my mother bought at least 3 dozen eggs to dye each year, and that is too many hard boiled eggs to be eaten by anyone. Then there were the number of years where the egg quality was questionable. (This surely to be denied by by mother.) For example the Easter morning when I dropped an egg and it broke on the floor in front of me revealing its uncooked status, my mom exclaiming something to the effect of maybe she should have let them cook a little longer.

Action shot

The Easter bunny brought the girls cute fluffy bunnies in their baskets. The Easter bunny was thrilled to find two bunnies just different enough to be told apart, but similar enough to be equal. This turned out to be not a problem at all as one of the bunnies has morphed into a cat.

S pins the ears on hers down with her hand and introduces her bunny as a kitty. When she asks "where my kitty!?" we help her find her bunny. This seems to be the way it goes with her- before we know it she'll have everything renamed and we'll be left confused and wondering how this happened.


S loves to cut. She'll sit for a long time with her scissors and some paper and happily make confetti. I've learned that she can cut tiny pieces of paper without cutting her fingers and so far she has kept her cutting to the paper she's allowed to cut. Better still is that with her neat freak gene I can give her a bowl when she's done cutting and she'll pick up all the pieces of confetti and put them in the bowl for easy recycling.

I have been using this love of cutting to my advantage- but until recently only for the time it provided me to do something else while S was busy cutting.

I was outside trying to clean up the garden, S was resisting and no amount of digging, bubbles or the usual outside antics were working. But THEN, I went in and got her scissors and we both spent some time getting the garden ready for spring planting.

The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This morning H and I were making our way through a parking lot on the way to a store. We looked down and there were many worms on the black top after yesterdays hard rain. Some were wriggling about, other had met their wormy maker.

H was at first disgusted. We walked towards the store, H checking the bottom of her shoes every 2 steps. Then she stopped, "We should help those worms." I took a breath to begin the explanation of why we shouldn't. How we couldn't possibly help every worm, how it would be out of the frying pan into the fire with all those birds waiting in the bushes. I stopped, and agreed. We walked back to the car, thankfully H had a select group of worms in mind to save, not the whole parking lot. She wouldn't touch them, but directed as I picked up worm after worm and threw them to "safety". There really was quite a bird feast going on in those bushes.

Finally satisfied that we had rescued enough worms, we headed back to the store. H smiled at me, held her hand up and said "high five!" All in a days work.

The gift card

One of the many gifts H received from her classmates was a gift card to Target. I was surprised and amused at first, it seemed a strange gift for a 6 yr old. Not looking a gift horse and all that, I was never for a second ungrateful (perhaps a little envious, as I am shameless in my love of Target) I just thought it was odd. Because it was not something I would have thought of.

H was excited to use her card- I refrained on more than one occasion from suggesting how she should use it. I told her we'd go shopping one morning that H was on spring break when S was in school, about 10 days since she got her gift card. No argument, no 'are we there yet', 'is it time yet',' when are we going', etc.

A few days ago, H whispered to me that she was going to use some of her gift card to get something for S, too. She wanted to get her a teddy bear, she was going to make a card and tape a lollipop to it. She was so excited, and I had tears in my eyes that she had this idea. I said it would be a very nice thing to do, but tried not to make a big deal out of it. It really would be ok for her to use her gift card on herself, should she change her mind. I wondered if she'd stick to her plan (although she has never NOT stuck to a plan).

H came home from school one day last week with a heart shaped card with rainbows and peace signs drawn on it "This is for S's surprise" she hiss-whispered spit in my ear.

This morning, we dropped S off at school and headed to Target. H quickly decided on a stuffed Maltese that came with the name Princess and its own carrying case. Then she found a very soft polar bear for S. (S often demands "where the polar bears?" then her eyes fill up with tears when you don't have an answer. "The zoo" and "the arctic" don't suffice.)

We came home and H taped the card and a lollipop (that I found in the bottom of my bag from a trip to the bank a while ago) to the bear, and took it to school to surprise S. H was so happy that S was happy, and I had to pinch myself to keep from sobbing at the warm fuzziness of it all.

Monday, March 15, 2010


H turns six today.

After celebrating all weekend, with 2 parties in one day- the actual birth day seems anti-climactic, but real. All weekend I wasn't thinking she was any older, because for me its all about the day. She was still 5 years and 363 days old at her party. No cause for alarm. But, now shes 6. (well, not until around 7 tonight. I guess thats pushing it. Fine. Shes six. I can handle it.)

I hadn't intended on having 2 parties, by the way. We invited 25 of her closest friends to a moon bounce party- which was great despite my freaking out about the number of kids- great also in that its 2 hours long, and then its done. Except for us, we had family over, dinner, cake again, and lots of presents. The partying continued into the night.

H is, of course, wonderful. And beautiful. And smart. I keep looking at her marveling at how she came from J and I- sometimes I see pieces of us in her, but mostly it's all her, and thats amazing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

S makes a print

I have been stuck. For what seems like forever.
Someones working- these pictures light up my soul in a way that can only be as corny as it sounds. The very best part is that I swear up and down I didn't put her up to this. She said she wanted to go to the tude tude (whenever S uses her word for studio, I get "going to a go-go" in my head and have to answer her with a Mich Jaggar-esque "Every-bo-tay..") She wanted to "Roll. Right there." And I lived vicariously through her printing. The whole thing was done in about 5 minutes- but it was a good five minutes..

She draws.

She rolls.

She rolls some more.

She contemplates.

She contemplates some more.

She uses the barren... (printing on the back of a print of mine)

A print. Is that beautiful or what?