Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This brother of mine:

  • Insists on starting every day with a bear hug. 
  • Has one dimple on his right cheek. 
  • Often has two radios and one music DVD playing simultaneously. 
  • Curls his toes under when he sits. Exactly how I do. 
  • Has certain sounds that mean he is happy, and certain sounds that mean he is unhappy. To the outside world they probably all sound unhappy. 
  • Weighs as much as a bird. 
  • Inherited my Dad's balding pattern. 
  • Tucks his chin to his chest, bounces his knee, and taps his chest, if he is REALLY having a good time. 
  • Is fascinated by people standing behind counters. 
  • Is a medical mystery. 
  • Wakes in the night to steal loafs of bread from the kitchen. 
  • Isn't supposed to be able to walk or communicate. But he does
  • Has become weaker and weaker lately. Even though all the tests say that he is okay. 
  • Could gaze out a window for 18 hours a day if we would let him. 
  • Thinks that watching me brush my teeth is the most hilarious thing in the universe. 
  • Cries when he hears a baby cry. 
  • LOVES coleslaw and diet Coke. 
  • May be losing his sight. 
  • Can make an oinking sound that we have never been able to duplicate ourselves. 
  • Is forced to let me cut his hair and shave his 'stache.  : ) 
  • Has the strongest fingernails I've ever seen. 
  • Refuses to wear hats.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Latvian Cheese Party!

So I've done some Fall cleaning around here and spruced up the look of the blog. I've just discovered that I can see statistics of who looks at my blog. Did you know that someone from Latvia viewed my page three times? And 49% of you browse my blog using Safari? Intriguing!!

One of my favorite contemporary artists is an awesome lady named Miranda July. In her movie Me and You and Everyone We Know she portrays an artist who is attempting to get her work into a galley. She doesn't expect the curators to watch her entire audition video. At the end of the tape she implores the curator to call the number she has written on a card, say "macaroni," and then hang up. If she gets the macaroni call then she will know that they have at least watched her entire video.

So in honor of my new layout,  Miranda July, and my one reader in Latvia... I ask any and all people reading this post to leave me a comment (it can be anonymous! ). Yes, that means you Mr.Closeted- Mommy-Blog-Reading guy in Ohio. In your comment simply state your favorite type of cheese. 

If you don't, my statistics page will still inform me of your presence. So there. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adventures in the rice paddy

I always try to be thrifty and creative with my home decor and clothing, but sometimes it just gets taken a hint too far.

 One night back in 2004 I attempted to make my area of a shared bedroom appear less cramped and ugly then was possible. At the time I was sharing a two bedroom apartment with approximately seven people. We were all performers for the same touring group, so not everyone was living there at the same time. People would ebb and flow out of the apartment as they made it on tour, or were left behind to join the resident cast with the other "not-good-enoughs" (like *ahem* myself). At the time my corner of the bedroom consisted of an Ikea twin sized mattress on the floor which we lovingly referred to as my "rice paddy." I also had a set of interchangeable shelving blocks that were used as a dividing wall between my rice paddy and my Pot-smoking Petite Oklahoman roommate's bed. That night I decided that my three-foot by four-foot area needed a little more pizazz. In an attempt to transform my area into a Canopied Moroccan Oasis, I tried to hang some blue tooling from a square made of  PVC pipes suspended from the ceiling. And I failed miserably. I remember wobbling on a stool with my Hot-tempered Singing Nebraskan roommate and trying time after time to get the stupid thing to hang from the ceiling. Time and time again it fell onto my rice paddy until my roommate and I had to lay down because we were laughing so hard. It is one of the only projects I've ever given up on totally. And that is probably a good thing. That night we kept singing the lyrics to some forgotten rap song that goes "keeping it ghetto, (echo voice) ghetttttooooooooooo." From then on whenever my roommates would catch me doing something that was patched together, instead of done the right way, they would sing those lyrics to me. 

Like all the times I stapled my pants instead of hemming them, or used safety pins on the inside of my ballet shoes, or repaired my black leotard with white thread and then used a black marker to color in the line- the list goes on and on.  

To this day I find myself singing those lyrics to myself when I know that I might be pushing the limits between creative and crappy.

And on that note- I can't stop buying vintage suitcases! And I never know what to do with them once I own them. Last week I had an eureka moment when I was sick of trying to fit my son's books and toys into our small living room toy box. I decided to leave the toys in the box and use one of my suitcases as a make-shift book shelf. I keep trying to keep the kid-stuff at bay in my living room. His belongings continue to spawn and grow in size and number until we had to move the kitchen table to make room for them all. So any attempts to disguise or hide the fact that a small child lives with me are imparative. 

So what do you think? Creative? or Ghetto? 

Or is it stranger to have a random suitcase hanging around, as opposed to books all over the floor? 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Current fears

Between trying to get pregnant the first time, and then again the second and third times, being pregnant, and then breast feeding for a year, it has been a LONG time since I've had my body all to myself. "Long" being defined as circa 2007. It's amazing how the brain reprograms itself to care for its offspring. In the past each time I wanted a glass of wine or needed an Excedrin my automatic first response was, "...but I can't because of the baby." Now when that automatic thought pops into my head the truth is I can, because he is no longer a baby. And that truth feels so extremely alien. I feel like I'm no longer being the best mother I can be if I'm not physically sacrificing my own level of happiness.

Can't drink a beer with dinner? No problem, because that must mean that I'm a good mom. Excruciating migraine that is making me cross-eyed? Bring it on. I earn extra bonus martyr-mom points for that one.

Now that I've stopped breast feeding I am suddenly riddled with guilt. I try to tell myself that I planned to nurse him until he was one, and I met that goal. So let go. But I can't. It isn't something that I can put to the side and then come back to later. Once I'm done, I'm done.  I will never nurse him again. I'm not even sure if all women can identify with this attachment. But it is hitting me hard. I think my fear is expanded because of the current state of my marriage. What if Lex is the only child I will ever have? I'll never again experience that incredible bond. Scary.

I need to find a new method of finding my value as a mother. That's a hard one...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The stories of my life...

Today we actually had about five hours together as a family-of-three with no other people around. It is a very rare occurrence that we are all three together by ourselves. We went downtown and ate at a locally famous hotdog joint established in 1933. Gus, the owner, serves up lukewarm water in a tiny glass the second you enter the door. The place is so old-school that they don't believe in highchairs. Which means..... Baby-Mountain-Goat spent most of his time attempting to scale the booth and perform prom king waves to the rows of booths behind us.

After brunch we happened across a pawn shop that is going out of business and snagged this retro shelf for $10. I just added a few sea-foam painted details and it was finished. And perfect. 

Do you spy a spotted weenie-dog? 

By nature I am a book-buyer instead of a library-goer. Today I collected books from around the house, happy to give them a spacious new home. I rescued them from their displaced lifestyle, saved them from the stacks in the living room corner. By the time I had acquired all of the necessary books, knickknacks, and photos, I had unknowingly created a three-dimensional scrapbook of my life. Seeing my hodgepodge articles lined up together made me strangely nostalgic. Maybe it is due to my changing hormones. I finished breast feeding last week and I've been feeling weepy ever since. 

There are so many memories crammed into that little three foot space. Each item tells a story that only I know, each holds a certain weight in my mind. At first glance my eye catches all of the objects on the shelf: the goldfish jewlery box we bought on Catalina Island on our honeymoon, the bamboo plant from our baby shower, the seashell paperweight that I used to marvel at for hours as a child, the rosary my grandma bought in Jerusalem. There are the child-sized boots that we bought on our first weekend trip away to Santa Barbara. Back when we were only dating. We spotted them in a thrift shop and just had to have them for our "someday child." There are painful items rubbing elbows with joyful memories. The ultrasound of the first baby we lost, the vintage radio which came as an unexpected Christmas gift from an old friend. 

And then there are the books, books, books. Perhaps the most telling clues of my life in the past ten years. They start out with classics like Charlottes Web,  Romeo and Juliet, a collection of works by Edgar Allan Poe, The Catcher in the Rye, The Poetry of Abraham Lincoln, and The Grapes of Wrath. The "required reading" type variety. There are just-for-fun books like Tuesday and Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter. My Bibles sit next to each other. The one from my youth with nibbles missing from the cover. The paper-bites were devoured by my free-roaming bunny who always pooped under my bed. Then the books shift to my Welcome to Adulthood (it sucks) books: Taking Charge of your Fertility, Catholicism for Dummies, HypnoBirthing, Bad Hair, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

And finally come the parade of books that become a little too personal for my comfort level: Babyproofing Your Marriage, His Needs Her Needs, When the Vow Breaks, Faith and Culture Devotional, The Five Love Languages, Wild at Heart, Captivating, and Financial Peace University. 

Staring at the reality of my book-life really makes me wonder what titles will line my shelves ten years from now...

But as a little omen of good fortune I keep my grandmother's wedding cake topper close by. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Bedroll

He wanted to make a bedroll for camping. I shrugged and said "Okay, we'll figure it out."

By the time we were finished, it was the first time in four months that he stepped forward to hug me.

He went out and bought the correct type of heavy-duty sewing machine needle.
(I would have just used the regular ol' one.)

He scoured the fabric store shelves for the perfect ultra-strong thread.
(I would have just used  the cotton kind.)

He carefully selected his heavy canvas and a warm fleece for the lining.
(I would have just gotten what was on sale.)

I showed him how to pin the fabric.
(I never do it that way.)

He painstakingly pinned with perfect accuracy.
(I wouldn't have taken the time.)

I sewed the fabric together.
(He watched over my shoulder.)

We never seem to do things in the same way. Even when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. He is always paying attention to every last detail, either doing an overboard job, or nothing at all. I usually just do a "nice enough" job so that guests won't notice the jelly stuck to the toaster, or the petrified cheese in the microwave. Yet, somehow our methods collide, clash, and ultimately gel into something that resembles "success."

I'm learning to let the clashing happen. I'm resisting the urge to do everything "my way," even if it takes four times as long.

We were recently taught to read the letters that we write to one another two times before we are allowed to speak a peep. Once is for the head and once is for the heart. I'm always rushing, rushing, everything. I've been cursed with the gift of speed-reading. I've been skimming over the paragraphs of my life for a while now. My heart always three pages behind my head.

But now I'm willing myself to look at all aspects of life once for the head and once for the heart.

Slow down, you.

Coincidentally, M. Ward singing this song live has been my all-time-nothing-even-comes-remotely-close top moment in the music history of my life. He drew this song out foreverrrrrrrr- melting each lyric into the next, putting the entire audience under his spell.