Monday, April 28, 2008

Ch ch ch changes

I gained consciousness sometime before 8 am this morning, looking for part of the coffee makes. The part that holds the filter and actual coffee. This was not a part of the contraption I could improvise easily; if I wanted coffee I needed that part.

I have not yet found the missing part of the coffee maker, nor do I imagine I ever will at this point. I have looked everywhere I can think of, re-organized our Tupperware/plastic storage container area, gone through cupboards and our pantry, our freezer (you never know!) and every drawer and shelf I can find. No love. And, alas, no coffee. I make a cup of coffee here maybe twice a month, but I know I am going to want coffee every morning from now on. CURSES!!

The craving for coffee probably has something to do with our desire to kill ourselves on weekends. I'm not sure how we manage to do this, but every weekend is more insane than the last one, the one we barely got through. On Saturday we drove to my sister in law's for a birthday party/first communion party for our nephew. It was a four hour drive that turned into at least 6 hours on the way there thanks to potty breaks (6 or7, I forget) the slowest Subway on the planet, and freak thunderstorms. By the way, did you know you can't order a veggie kid's meal at Subway? What a crock. Anyway, the party was wonderful. E had an especially wonderful time with her cousin Allie, and I got to hang our with John's new cousin (16 months?) Morgan. Morgan desperately needs a "Jackass" shirt. She would face-plant and then get right back up laughing. What a girl!

We lucked out and the drive home took only 4 hours and one unnecessary potty break. (We had a talk about when we ask to use the potty.Hint: it's not when we just want out of the car.) It was a gorgeous drive through spring woods and breath-taking country. I'd show you pictures but the camera is still in John's car, along with E's dirty clothes and some vegan brownies. Whoops!

The tired part came into play when E decided to wake up 1 1/2 hours into the trip home, and stay awake until nearly midnight. I was so wired from driving I couldn't sleep either, and I had to be up early Sunday to give the service again. I'm done with services for a while. I digress. We'd planned on a long, lovely nap on Sunday to get us ready for another family gathering in town, and the good news is that John and E slept well. The bad news is that two of our neighbors bought paint ball guns for their respective 14 year olds, and the battle took place right outside the window where E and I were napping. I chased them away. I was awake, though, full of adrenaline from the whole thing. So I read, instead.

i know i mentioned the book last week, but I'm going to mention it again. If you have kids, had kids, plan on having kids or know kids, please please please buy or borrow this book and read it. I'm still trying to find the right words to email Rob. I've been reading his site for a few years now, and he has such a beautiful way of making me laugh, or making me cry. The book did both, in nearly equal amounts. I'd read many of the stories included in the book already because of his blog, but it was still a fabulous read. I'll read it again, soon, probably. There are words to tell you how good this book is, how moving and true and important. But I don't have them, nor do I have the skill to explain. But please, consider reading it.

Final note: You know that little girl I've been trying to potty train here? Her parents dropped her off late today after getting some pictures taken. They forgot to take the diaper (the one we agreed she wouldn't wear once we started potty training) off, or leave any panties. I'm going to suggest we wait a month and then try again. Grrr, a little, but also ahhhh, I don't think she or her parents were quite ready. And being ready is important in life, whether it's for the potty, a project, a change or whatever. I'm glad she's got some more time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabric and projects and Friday, Oh yay!

Camera? check.
Fabric? check.
Daylight? check. And here are the results:

This (above) was supposed to be part of the quilt, but Becky found other fabric that worked a little better. Now I get to use it for a shirt instead!

Here's the butterfly fabric that is the main part of the quilt. It makes me very, very happy. I'm not really a butterfly type girl, but this was too pretty not to adore. I saw a quilt in Amish country made out of this material, and it was gorgeous. It was also one of the $1000.00 quilts, hence my making ONE quilt in my life.

Here's the nine square thing Becky figured out. I hope the rest looks as good as this-because Beck did this part and she has more talent/skill/practice/ability not to make things look like crap than I do. I honestly look at this little piece of quilt for long stretches at a time, imagining myself wrapped up in it watching a good horror movie and drinking mulled mead. Or reading a book. Or sleeping. The important part is the "wrapped up in it" part.

Last but not least, a really crappy photo of two of the other fabrics waiting to be made into shirts, or aprons, or anything. This was $3.00 a yard sale fabric, so I bought 3 yards of each. They are so pretty....

This is a Louisa Crabapple tree John and I planted. Last year it was just starting to bloom when the weather went into the toilet and everything froze. This year it's doing much better! It's a breathtaking tree, even if it is under 6' tall.


And last but not least, here's a sneak peek at a pocket organizer thing I'm making for the kids. I'm hoping to get the backing on during nap so that I can hang it today, take a picture and post it. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. The baskets I currently have to organize the kid's stuff just look to cluttered and messy for my sanity.

Hopefully this will resolve the issue. There's a real lack of organization tips for day cares out there. Everything I read about organization and the home or business puts all the things you need to organize directly into the reach of the children. Not good. So I'm trying, with my poor feeble brain, to figure out new and effective ways to get the job done. I've also started reading "The Creative Family," and if you have kids, or plan to have kids, or just love creative endeavors, get the book. It's wonderful!

Have a great weekend! And by the way, things keep getting better around here. Thanks for listening, I'm grateful you come here and read my ramblings. Namaste!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Par for the course

So, you know that necklace? The one I've been blathering on and on about? Yep, baby reached out and grabbed it yesterday, ripped that sucker right off. Tomorrow I'm going to a local jeweler to get it fixed. I was pretty upset until I realized I could actually do that; get it fixed. But that was just my day yesterday, and it's today now, so I'm moving on. Looking forward to having the necklace back, though. Not going to wear it around the babies anymore. Kind of a "duh" right there.


In happier news, I called our local Barnes and Noble this morning and put two books I've been waiting for on hold. One is Schuyler's Monster, and the other is The Creative Family. I've linked to the author's blogs, not the actual books, because I love these blogs very much. Check 'em out!

Tomorrow night one of my friends is "kidnapping" me for a few hours. We're going to paint some pottery at a local store, and then have some dinner at a neighboring bistro. Asian bistro. With Zentinis. I'm looking forward to both activities, but I can't decide which one more than the other. It's a great problem to have! Tonight is John's night out, so I'm going to take my little one out to dinner, and maybe to what we call "the kid pit." It's a play area in the mall full of big squishy wild animals for kids to run over, jump on and have fun with. I might skip that in lieu of a walk, though. She loves the kid pit, but it's just too nice to be inside.

I'm potty training one of the kids, so I need to motor. She crapped her pants 5 minutes ago, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have to pee again. You know, potty training is not the most fun. Ah, well, it's part of the job. I guess if I get to garden and spend my days outside with laughing little ones, I have to deal with the accompanying poop and jewelery destruction. Well worth it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Location location

I can't seem to get my camera and fabric, etc in the same place at the same time. There's a goldfinch (I think-need to get out the bird book) that has been visiting our new bird feeder and serenading us as she snacks. By the time I get back with the camera she's gone. Maybe I should leave the camera by the window? The fressia is planted, as are the buttercups. It's supposed to storm soon, and all night tonight.

Right now my daughter is throwing a huge fit. She is screaming and crying, refusing to do what she is asked. Two has been trying. The past few weeks she has tested limits so strenuously that I collapse into a heap when she goes to sleep. This behavior is so normal for the age, but it makes me wonder about the sanity of people who have more than 10 kids. How are they not deaf? And shell shocked? Perhaps they have a gene that helps them cope. I hate being so hard on my girl-I want to spoil and hug and treat her. Being strict with the other kids is wearing on me, too. I want this to be a happy place. I need a few fresh ideas. To that end, I'm going to the library Monday night. There are so many things I need to do, starting with the laundry mountain that is cresting by our bed, and ending with getting to bed before 11:30, with housecleaning in the middle.

Things I need to not forget:

I need to call the fencing people.
I need to set up that bank account.
I need to call PayPal and set up an account.
I need to make 10 things to whore at consignment shops.
I need to open my etsy shop.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SPRING!

So let's visit the world outside my door, shall we? It's 75. Degrees. Outside. There is sun. Thing are blooming. The kids and I have spent the last two days out in the fresh air, planting flowers and herbs and bushes and trees, putting down mulch and watering everything until mud flows like honey over the land.

One of the plants I'm most excited about is our curry plant. I don't think it's actually edible, but it smells like heaven! The sweet scent of Indian kitchens...I might gain 10 pounds because every time I walk by it I get hungry. John and I talked today about ordering and real curry-leaf plant, but we'll have to see if we can find one. I've heard it's difficult. If we do get a curry plant the next thing you know I'll be trying to cultivate cinnamon and cloves. Hopefully all the energy I put forth in the garden will balance out how much I'll be eating.

We still have some lavender, cilantro, rosemary, basil and geraniums to plant. Oh! And some Freesia. Then all the vegetable plants-but we need to wait a few weeks on those, because the frost-free date here is mid to late May. Last year I lost all my Brussels sprouts to bugs, and had no idea when to harvest my lettuce. I'm hoping this year to do a bit better. I also have my own compost going, so that's going to come in handy, I hope.

There's really nothing like growing your own food. Or like being outside and planting things that will grow and be beautiful all summer long. I have a butterfly garden that I adore, and I'd really like to get a fountain going somewhere. I feel such peace outside. I'm torn between the dream John and I have of living in a small city where we can walk anywhere we want to go, and living out in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. I likes me some privacy, but being able to walk to the grocery store, the movies, a restaurant, etc would be awesome. I guess we'll just have to see where life takes us, eh?

Proof my brain is on hiatus

I went to the shrink that can't prescribe drugs last night. It was OK, but I think it takes a few sessions to determine whether or not a therapist is a good fit or not. We talked a bit, I bawled because I have so much control over my emotions right now, and we talked some more. At one point he mentioned going to my family doctor to get an anti-depressant prescribed until I can get to the psychiatrist. And I started laughing. Maniacally. Because it never occurred to me.

I have gone to my family doc about meds before. I love her. She has been more helpful than a herd of other physicians. But this time it never crossed my mind that I could call her for help. Dear god my brain is scrambled right now. So in 5 minutes, when the doctor's office opens, I'm off to call and make an appointment. I'm taking a personal day next week to go, and then I'm going to spend the day with my daughter. I might take her out to lunch, or to a park, or we might do laundry and just hang out. I don't care. I'm feeling rays of hope here. Woot.

Now, I have a question for you. Do you have a charm? I have always had an ornament that I wear to make things OK. A bracelet, a necklace, earrings, all with special meaning to me. Right now it's my fabulous necklace, with petrified wood for clearing obstacles and a thimble because I love to sew and citrine for my daughter. (Dork! Superstitious dork, even!) And as silly as it is, this was the first piece of jewelry I have purchased for myself in years (aside from bracelets from Whole Foods, ones that are made by companies that donate to children) and maybe it's the fact that I did something nice for myself. Or it could be that I just really love my new necklace. Getting it right when I needed it was a wonderful surprise, and seemed like a small sign. (I believe in signs. Superstitious, remember?) I also talked to my best friend last night, and my Aunt called to tell me about her panic attacks, and to invite us over for some Vegan cooking.

I've got to admit it's getting better, getting better all the time... off to call the doc!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Little things

Today had been a bad day. The kids have been pretty good, except for the near constant screaming this morning of one or the other of the babies. We went outside and worked on the flower beds. We trimmed and pruned and played. We had our snack on the porch. We moved rocks. I was doing OK, screaming aside, until we got the mail and went inside.

Today's mail had a bill for my miscarriage. It had a $283.++ bill. I called the insurance. They explained I had another bill coming. I explained the situation again-I did not go to a hospital, my Dr's office sent this stuff to the lab, plus I wouldn't stop bleeding so I had to have a D&C. They people on the phone told me it had something to do with my deductible. And they repeated that again and again. I knew it was not the fault of the person on the phone. When I started crying I hung up. Because getting that bill and knowing another one was coming, it ripped me open again. I felt the tear start and just keep going. I went into the bathroom and sobbed while the kids refused to eat their mixed veggies. I came out, calmed down as best I could, and kept going.

I tried talking to John, but he doesn't know what to do or how this feels. I thought about calling my mom, or a friend, or just anyone. I'm really happy that I have and appointment with a psychologist tonight, because I'm starting to feel two steps from crazy and crying all the time. The psychiatrist's appointment still isn't until 5/29, but I need some help now. After nap I'm going to demand hugs and cuddles from the kids while I read them lots of books. (Outside looks like rain.) That will help a lot.

Please let me be clear here: I hate this. I hate feeling like this. I haven't had such a tenuous hold on my cry-control since we quit smoking, or when E wasn't sleeping for weeks at a time. Thank all that is good in the world that I have these warm little sweeties to gather around me and make me feel better...

The mail wasn't all bad, though. I GOT MY NECKLACE! Holly was sweet enough to send earrings, a cd and a matching ponytail holder and button for E and I! Thank you thank you! It cheered me up a ton. I also looked up the meaning of the gemstones. Bad Mommy-I forgot that citrine is E's birthstone (November) and it's supposed to help with depression. Petrified wood clears obstacles. Add a metal thimble and this really was meant for me. I urge irders from Mixtape. Thanks Holly! I'll post pics ASAP.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bought, sold and made.

I wish I could tell you I did tons of productive stuff last night. Instead I played with my little one, put her to bed, read my book for an hour and then made another apron.

Forgive the wrinkles, I'd been wearing it for an hour when I remembered to take the pictures. The bunny fabric is another great purchase from Amish country. The very, very nice lady who cut the fabric and chatted while she sold us the goods remarked at how the eyes of the bunnies are what makes the design. I agree. Too f'n cute. And! The tails!

I also treated myself to the necklace from Mixtape this morning, and I'm so excited to get it! I love the vintage metal thimble. Hopefully I'll have a shirt made by the time it gets here, and I can walk around feeling dorky and crafty and good. With my handmade shirt and handmade thimble necklace. Hee!

I also went to Montessori By Hand/Sew Liberated and bought the patterns for the Gnome Messenger Bag and the Emmaline Apron. (Apron pattern...what a good idea!) Sewing last night really calmed me down and made me feel better, so I want to do a lot of it in the coming weeks. At naptime today I think I'm going to work on the quilt...it's calling to me. Plus, I'm sober in the afternoon. At night that vixen Wine calls to me, and I don't trust myself to work with such beautiful fabric and be precise, even if I only drink one glass.

Well, folks, it's a gorgeous day. It's warm but not hot, the birds are out, the sun is out, it's Friday, I have a job and bubbles to blow, so I'm off. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. I might do a photo post of the fabric (I keep taunting you, sorry) and some outside life, but we'll have to see how crazy the weekend gets.

XO!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Post #110, and it's a happy one!

Well, that's enough of that. So I made myself an apron during nap today:




It's my "Cheer Up!" apron, and it's the first of a set of what will be my uniform for daycare hours. The next few will be full aprons, but I'm not there yet. This was quick, easy and fun. The main part is from a flour sack towel I bought over the weekend, with the intention of embroidering it to use in the kitchen. I have three more I can do that with, if I so choose. For now, I'm really happy with my apron!

Tonight I think I'll try my hand at a shirt for spring. Or maybe that quilt. Hmmmm...

To hot to handle...too cold to hold (Hammer!)

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but recently I was walking through the grocery store and I saw the magazine cover with Britney Spears on the front, and a huge headline about mental illness. My first thought was "Welcome to my world, baby." I empathize with the girl, but not everyone has the luxury of teams of doctors and endless time to heal. I hope she gets better, but so many people deal with mental illness while working and living and not having millions of dollars to throw about. We don't hear about those people. If they stop wearing underwear and start acting nuts, they just go to the looney bin. It's sad.

Case in point: Yesterday was a good day at the daycare. Yet. When John got home I was in the middle of a panic attack, and I couldn't shake That Horrible Feeling. He walked in, saw me, visibly slumped and said "What's wrong NOW?" When he came down from reading E her bedtime story I printing out a list of psychiatrists from our insurance website. I'm not going to get to the head shaving stage, no sir. When I need help I go and get it. I worry, though, about getting the help I need. Even if it's just a chemical imbalance, needing a mental health pro in our society has a stigma to it, and that's a shame. I've thought about spending a week with doctors to get my medicines/hormones/levels all straightened out. But I'd have to do it in secret, lest people be afraid to leave their kids with me. And the kids are helpful: they keep me busy, they make me laugh, and they challenge me. My problem is not the kids, the problem is that I feel worthless, I feel like the world is about to crush me, that something horrible is about to happen. All. the. time. And then I'm OK for a few days! And then I'm not. So I need some help, but I don't want to lose the chance to be with these kids because of that fact. Catch 22!

Marriage, or any long relationship, it takes so much work and understanding. John has put up with mood swings, depression, anxiety and more. After his initial reaction last night, he hugged me, reassured me, and we talked. Dealing with this crap takes a huge toll on him, too. I marvel at how he stays with someone who needs to take medicine or becomes a mess. I marvel at how well he deals with that mess, and for how long. Sad as it was, I was glad that he was glad that I'm going back to the shrink. Well, a shrink, my last one isn't covered by our new insurance. (United Health Care! You suck!) My appointment isn't until May 29, but I feel better knowing it's coming. I'm not sure if there are any medicines I can take while trying to get pregnant, or if I should put that on hold and just "get right" first. I need to talk to someone and figure a few things out. Until last night I thought I was doing a lot better, but the crushing weight of a sudden panic attack or depressive episode has taken it's toll for too long. John said I've been acting off since about October. October? Jesus. The man is a saint of patience and love.

The worst part is that I'm never sure where I stand on the crazy spectrum until it gets bad. Is this just a bad day or two, or is my brain chemistry all fucked up again? I could rally against the unfairness of having a brain chemical imbalance, or I can just deal with it. I'll move on now, because how many times can you hear about my crazy/my husband rocks without throwing up a little on your keyboard? I think this post is the limit. But before I go back to talking about crafty, please let me thank you. Thank you for listening to this again, thank you for coming here. Getting your comments makes my day, and knowing I have a place to go and vent, or just talk about making things to someone that isn't sick of hearing about it, it makes a big difference. So Dudes: You Rock.

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Tonight is John's free night, which means sewing for me! I'm going to work on my quilt. Last night I made an apron and ironed. Ironing makes me feel better. I'm a freak. Plus, I quote MC Hammer for no reason. 2 Legit! Next post, fabric pictures! And more exclamation marks!!1!!one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Status update: China makes (almost ) everything

Here we are in week 3 ish of our journey, and so far, so good. Shopping has become far less impulsive, which makes me feel like I've become a pre-made goods Vegan. It's been a little frustrating not being able to find cotton clothesline, but nearly everything else I can find an alternative for. Last night I went to pick up some pinwheels fro the girls, but they were all made in China. Same for the little rakes and hoes. But it just makes something I enjoy a bit more of a challenge, and I like that, usually. Ask me in 6 months about the boycott and we'll see if I'm still so chipper.

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Yesterday was a tough one, but today is going much better. Someone called me yesterday; a woman about my age. I watched her daughter for a week as a favor about a year ago, and she's thinking about opening up her own place. I'm so happy to giver her the info and help! She'd be great at this. To be fair, I also warned her about some of the drawbacks. On days like today everything is great! On days like yesterday, what was I thinking? It's the same with any job. The isolation of this one can be a little surprising, though. You're around people all day, but most of them can't really have a deep conversation. The ones that can want to get their kids home. We're still figuring out the kinks in our life here. Spring is a great help, though. Now, if it would break 60 again...

;;;;;

And our last mash of subjects: There is a necklace at Mixtape I will be buying myself soon. It has a metal thimble and petrified wood. It was made for me, I think, and I'm waiting until Friday to purchase it. If it's gone by then I'll find something else, but really, everything there either has an antique coin or key or something I drool over, so the chances are VERY good that I'll find what I want. I'm getting myself something pretty. I'll be buying some facial stuff this weekend, and some mulch and tools for dirt and cultivation in said dirt. Maybe even some plants, but I think those might wait a week or two. I'm gearing back up. It's like training before a tough event, I think. Lots of little prep work, slowly building until you can lift a 2 ton truck over your head while barely breaking a sweat.

I knew going into 2008 I wasn't very optimistic. I usually have a really good feeling about a new year, but couldn't find my way into any good feelings this time. I looked forward and just groaned. I knew I was going to have to put my cat down early in the year. Perhaps that's why I was troubled by 2008, knowing it would start with death by my side. This year so far hasn't really been full of wonderful luck and joy, so I've decided that I just need to accept it for what it is and hope I've seen the worst. I have a lot of trepidation about trying to get pregnant again. After the first two fails I was ready to try again and again. Now, like an old woman, I mentally scuffle around my brain, wary and indecisive. I want another baby. DO NOT WANT another fail. I feat that another fail will mean a trip to a quiet facility for a week. The doctor said we have a form of PTSD, and I guess that makes sense. John keeps telling me that we'll try when I'm ready, but as sweet as that is, it puts a lot of pressure on yours truly. I'm working for a discussion here, not a "when you're ready" sentence. Are you ready? Are you ready for me and The Crazy if this happens again? I know I'm taking a month or two off, but will time make this any better? I don't know, and can't know. But now it's out of me and into the world, which always makes things easier to think about back here in my head.

So, how do you deal with hard things that are out of your control? How do you handle it when they happen again and again?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dilemma

Here's how it is:

I have 2 infants in the daycare right now, about 8 and 9 months old, respectively. The younger one has been going through a high-pitched screaming phase. When I change his diaper it sounds like I'm skinning him. This has been tough.

The other infant, the older one, has a temper. He's a sweet kid all told, but today he gave himself a rash of burst blood vessels all over his face in less than 5 minutes, all because he was mad and having a fit. (I was changing a diaper and it was a messy one. Couldn't stop in the middle..) I can't drop everything and run to this kid every time he gets upset. I'd be dropping other kids! But I feel like I have to walk on eggshells with this little guy all the time. He's so sweet, and I love him. But I'm not sure if I can keep caring for him indefinitely. It makes me so nervous. Little yappy dog nervous. We don't go outside when it's cold because of him. I hate feeling nervous, I much prefer the laid back zen vibe I try to cultivate. It's the infants, man. I'm having trouble handling 2 infants. We do OK with everybody else, but if you're under 1 I think I handle you better if you sprang from my body.

My solution right now is to work on getting the hand made business off the ground. I need to make at least $700 a month through Domesticrazy, more to get where I want to be. That sounds like a ton of money from an internet shop, plus craft shows and the like. I'm going to ask my sister to help me figure this out when she gets back into the states, and perhaps a few friends for some advice.

This job is still head and shoulders above Corporate America. I'd still like to get people to buy my handmade stuff so that I won't have to 1) have so many kids here, and 2) have to keep doing this after my child(ren) are in school. This job is hard some days. Everyday has wonderful moments that make me laugh, bring me joy and let a little one have a great time. Lately, though, every day has been a challenge, too. I needed that vacation.

So, can anyone recommend a good book or two about starting a small handmade business? I can market once it's going, but I need some help on tax laws and the like, shipping (how to, through whom, etc) and other basics. I want to go and set up an account for PayPal this weekend at a bank different than where we keep our checking, savings, etc. I'm going to call PayPal to get things set up, because talking to a person is easier for me than trying to figure out the answers to my questions on their website. After those two things are finished, I'm going to create the store. I'm debating between Etsy and Big Cartel.

Why won't the babies sleep today? WHY?

Monday, April 14, 2008

This might break one of the internets.

That lady on the left? She is the happiest lady on the planet. She is also the luckiest, because she has a friend like the lady on the right.

I went up on Friday night, and was greeted with hugs and Moonshine. That's a good friend, right there. One who knows exactly what you need before you do. (I promised her one good picture to offset the following one, which I love)

On Saturday we piled into the car and went to Amish Country. We went to Granny Fannie's Fabric barn, and when we walked in I started crying. Just a little. It was like walking in and being given moonshine: just what I needed. Beck helped me to pick out some fabric for a quilt she's helping me make. I will only make one, they are insane with the math and preciseness. She gave me instructions on a "Child level" quilt, and helped me get it started. I also bought a ton of fabric for shirts, bags, stuff for E, and more. I walked around the barn and other stores, completely blown away by how beautiful all the fabric and handmade quilts were. I looked at the prices of two that I loved. Any guesses? $1,000.00 Which is why I am making ONE quilt (with lots of help.) And here is a picture of the following statement: "HEY! You got more than me!" Yep, honey, and thanks.
Becky even has the "Big Ass Quilt Driver 3000" machine.

Do you see the handles? I was impressed not only by the size, but also the speed of her machine. That and the fact that she does beautiful work on it!


This is one she's working on. I do not and probably never will have the patience for something like this. One mistake and I'd be all "Fuck THIS!" and I'd never think about quilting again. Wait, that's exactly what happened about a year ago!

She has some really wonderful art in her studio and house, too. You can't see the detail of this one, but it was amazing. (I don't know what happened this weekend, but my photography skills went to crap. I have at least 25 blurry shots. Auto focus, why have you betrayed me!?) Beck also introduced me to this song, which will kill me before it leaves my head.


This is Mike! He likes Hot Wheels. A LOT.


I have never seen so many little cars in one place. He knows everything about each one...like where it came from, what it's missing, etc. He was also nice enough to drive on Saturday (sorry about the fingernail marks in the back seat, guys. At least I didn't pee when you turbo boosted us around that pothole!) so Beck and I could have a "really nice time" at the Vineyard we went to.
I'm not doing the room justice, but you can get an idea. It was amazing.

So was the weekend. I knew I needed a break, and I must have thanked Becky and Mike thousands of times. We went to a cheese making place, factory, thing. I got to eat pizza. After the day out we went to Raven's Glenn Vineyard and I did my first wine tasting. The restaurant there was fantastic, and we had a wonderful meal. Back at Beck's place I watched Saturday Night Live...ignoring the skits and waiting for Gnarls Barkley to perform. There was so much else, talking and laughing and just having a great time.


Here's the girl at the baby shower last weekend. I love the size difference between her and the present table! It's every child's dream to have a table like that...


Here's the big banner I made. It was really easy, so I might sell them in the shop if I ever get the damn thing up. I made a shot and long banner, but with posting 4000 pictures this post I thought I'd just show the one. And a detail:

Diaper bag made the night before:



And a topless Bill Murray, because I love him. He's aging well, that one. Looks better now than he did in his 20's and 30's. Like fine wine....

Really, there's no good reason for Bill Murray here. But if I may get sappy for a moment, I need to tell you something. I have the best friends. They call me back even if they are asleep, just to make sure I'm OK. They listen. They hold me when I cry, laugh with me when I need to laugh and steer me back to right again when I'm two inches from crazy. The people I love, they love me back. Which is why I cried when I read this and thought about all the people I'll never be able to thank, or let them know I love them, enough:

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." -Carl Sagan (From the novel "Contact." I am a geek.)

Get ready:

I'm uploading pictures now. There are about 4 million, so prepare yourself for the onslaught.

I had the best. weekend. ever. Really! I can't wait to tell you about it, but I need to wait until naptime....besides, the pictures will be ready by then.

Thank you Becky and Mike! Lovely, lovely time. Even if I did sound like a dying gorilla every time I laughed...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Please tell me...

What do you do when every child within 50 feet of you suddenly gets possessed by some evil spirit and starts fighting and whining and crying all at the same time?

I'm going to make some coffee, no wait, TEA, and breathe deeply. Then I'm going to order lumber online and start constructing 6 soundproof rooms with padding. No wait, 7. I need one, too.

9:26 am. Jesus.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My first trip in years

This weekend I am heading north towards a large body of water to go visit my friend Becky. I was going to leave Saturday morning due to guilt, mostly, about leaving my husband to fend for himself and the kid for THE WHOLE WEEKEND. But Beck emailed me and asked me to come Friday night, instead. She has a big trip planned for us, including wineries and fabric stores, oh my! So I dutifully asked my husband about it, and he was all "GO! Take what time you need. We'll be fine. Have fun. Here's some money, too."

When I first met John we were in high school, and it was the first week of band camp. (The jokes over the years have been grueling, I assure you.) I was 13, he was 14, and because he is who he is he remembers exactly what I was wearing. I have very little recollection of this meeting. I do remember a very cute guy who was very funny and too cool to hang out with me (I thought.) John remembers thinking "Look at that beautiful girl! She'll never talk to me." And then I promptly walked up and said "Hi! My name is..." and that was that. We were best friends nearly from the start. I remember the first time he put his arm around me, and the thrill that ensued. We tried dating briefly in high school, but it soon became more like dating a brother, or so I told myself and everyone else.

I moved away, but we stayed best friends for 10 years. He eventually moved to where I was to go to college. (He says he didn't know, no one believes him, including me.) He tried all sorts of ways to get me to date him. I tried everything to get him to reconsider. "I'll be a horrible girlfriend" I said. "I'll cheat on you. I'll lie to you." But really, he was the only person I had ever felt like myself around. He was the only person I could depend on, and even though I didn't know it, I was terrified that I WOULD do all those things to him and lose him forever. John wouldn't give up.

Eventually, after I came home from college and we ended up spending all our time together, we decided it would be better if we moved into nearby apartments, and then in together. It wasn't that linear in reality. We spent most of time together drinking beer and watching pro-wrestling, listening to music and talking. It was "safer" for one of us not to have to drive home, plus the money we spent on gas, the phone (talking all the time) and etc, etc. John had always saved his money buying bulk hot dogs and cheap cigarettes and beer so that he could take me out. After one of these times I asked if he would consider what we had just done a "date" since he was so big on dating me. Eventually we got married and had a kid....

How the hell did I get so lucky? I've left out so much, like the fact that he cooks dinner 99.9% of the time, does the grocery shopping and supports everything I do. He is funny. He is cool. He remembers the strangest stuff, and is nearly unbeatable at Trivial Pursuit. He is patient, kind and one of the most understanding souls I have ever met. I will never be able to love him as much as he deserves, even though I am doing it as hard and as much as I can.

But Friday night I am flying out of here like a bat out of hell, and I am going to enjoy every minute I am gone. Because he said it was OK to. Best. Boyfriend. Ever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Black, white and shades therein

I don't make a secret of my love of horror movies and writing here, but I don't dwell on it, either. I run a day care, and many people assume that just because you appreciate a good decapitation scene in a movie or book that there is something necessarily violent about you. Not true. I like my violence where it is safe: on the screen and in words. I always have.

I remember the first "scary" thing I ever read. Oh, not the title or story or anything, just the author. Alfred Hitchcock. I was in third or fourth grade, and I wanted to challenge myself. I've always been an avid reader, and growing up I was reading stuff pretty advanced for my age. (The stuff meant for my age was insulting to all but the slowest of readers. Kids may need to be introduced carefully to some subjects, but they are not morons.) So I picked up something I knew would be scary, or at least challenging, and I dove in.

When I was done, I was surprised. No slithering corpses had come out from under my bed. No wailing banshees had taken my soul, no murderers slipped into my house and disposed of my family as I slept. Most importantly, I hadn't been scared. It was a book, like any other, and I had read it, enjoyed it, finished it and remained unscathed by the experience. I went looking for scarier books, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

I don't remember when I found Stephen King. I don't remember the first book of his I read. I'm not great at details; I mostly go on impressions. I suspect the first Stephen King story I read was "It" and that I fell in love instantly. Stephen King, to me, is not a good horror writer. He is a great writer, and horror happens to be his thing. I love horror, but I love well written horror. Movies are different; even a really bad horror movie is good. It's fun. But with written horror, only the good stuff is worth it. Writing is a craft, and it is one I appreciate, having neither the skill nor the imagination to do it well myself. Those authors who write not for the craft, but for the money, they are mental masturbation. I prefer a partner in the endeavor, if I can get one.

Not to say that a Stephanie Plum book isn't fun once in a while, but I can't stomach one after another. King, however, I can read again and again. It might be that horror, and King, are what fill the hole in my brain. I don't know. I love book of all sorts, and cherish finding a new author with talent, skill and range. Kate Chopin was a delightful find through blog-dom, Carl Sagan from quotes I've seen around. I adore Tolkein as long winded as he is, Poe and especially Lovecraft. But here we come round again to the horror. Perhaps it is as King says, that we all have a sieve and that different stuff gets caught in it for all of us. Horror is my thing. Fantasy might be yours. (Or Romantic novels, although I've never read a good one. It's probably that I haven't read enough to find a quality author.) I think it was Tom Robbins that cracked me up and made me think, and "A Confederacy of Dunces" was a work of, if not genius, something close. But when it comes to getting down and dirty and out of reality for a while I go for a good story with slithery, slimy, cold and creepy things in it. Some may think it's an odd place to keep a sanctuary. To be fair, I also keep a sanctuary in crafty-land, which is as far from the other place as you can get. But my home away from home is where the Bad Things Happen For No Reason. It's a safe place for me because it's not real, not in novels. I don't like the stuff that hits too close to home. But I'm not afraid of a hard ending or an unhappy one. As long as it's pretend. But I digress...

I have come to love Stephen King for another reason: he is flawed. We all are. Every person has a dark side, and how we choose to focus on or away from that part of ourselves is essential to who we are now and who we will become. I exorcise my demons in fiction, and focus on yoga, Buddhism, non-violence and love. But that doesn't mean I don't fuck up, or that I haven't seriously fucked up before, or that I won't again. King has written about his shortcomings, both through his fiction and non-fiction venues. It isn't always easy to read. But then again, neither is some of the stuff I read on my favorite blogs. Life is messy sometimes. King talks about drinking Scope, family interventions, blood-encrusted coke spoons and how "The Shining" came about. He talks about it honestly, as do the people I admire the most. I don't talk about my demons here, which is something I'm a little ashamed of. But then there's that day care thing, and some bits of all of us are best left in the dark. I've never struggled with alcoholism or gang violence or murder, but I haven't floated merrily through on a cloud of rainbow farting unicorns, either. Perhaps it all comes back to balance. King is a wonderful writer and horrible person? No, but he has his shades of gray. We all do. If it were as easy as black and white there wouldn't be anything worth reading in any genre.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Not even that bad, really

In the art of balance, the universe is a master. The panic attacks are gone; well, a few flutters here and there, but no bees in my body and can't breathe levels. I'm dealing with the "when do we want to try again" issue better, and my little one has been really good today! But, do you remember that lungs hurting comment I made yesterday? It wasn't from the smoke. I woke up last night with a sore throat and aching. All the kids found other places to chill at today, and that has helped a ton. Because I'm not up for 6 kids right now. 1 was enough today, and she has let me doze on the couch. My head feels really heavy and hurts, and the muscle aching makes me wiggle. I'm also a little puffy. Sexy, yes?

When J gets home I'm going to take a shower, eat dinner and go to bed early. I will try to either be profound, funny or post pictures tomorrow. You know, whatever easiest. Now, off to give the child some soy ice cream, because it's best for VERY good little girls and sick Mamas.

Monday, April 7, 2008

You tube embedding test

So much to do in the world:

Holy crap, it's the SUN!

There are buds on the trees, it went above 70 yesterday (after a week of 30's and 40's. The weather here is insane.) and there is a big, shining ball in the sky that is rumored to warm the Earth.

I think spring may finally be here. J and I cleared out four big boxes of trash and junk from the basement yesterday, and I cleaned and mopped and gathered stuff for Goodwill. (My car is now full of stuff we don't need. Hooray!) I did a sage rub/energy cleansing last night, drank a glass of wine and watched a horror movie. The panic attacks have slowed down considerably. It's getting warmer.

Things are going to be OK.

I helped a friend give a baby shower for another friend yesterday, and I have lots of pictures to share, but I still need to get them from the camera to the computer. My lungs hurt because we had two fires going in the metro park shelter we rented to warm it, but it was worth the pain. It smelled so nice! Our friend had a great time. She's had a rough year, and was having a really hard time getting excited. Too many worries. She got a ton of stuff that will really help her, like diapers and clothes and toys, all the stuff she needs, really. It was great to celebrate the baby that'll be here in less than a month, see someone cheer up, and to do something positive. There was henna tattooing, belly dancing, art and music. And lots and lots of food. E went with me and was such a good girl! She even wore her yellow party dress (couldn't talk her out of it!) and decorated onesies and bibs. J spent the morning giving the service I wrote on Klaus Nomi,and then met up with us, taking the kid home for a nap because she needed one. It was a busy morning!

There's really no point to this post, except to say things are better. Tons better. For the first time in weeks I don't feel like something is about to drop on me, and that's a really nice change.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ease of use

It often amazes me just how damn difficult it can be to take care of 6 kids at the same time. It further amazes me how much more difficult it becomes when 2 of the 6 are infants a month apart in age. More amazement, and wonder even, comes from the ease of caring for only 4 little ones, with only 1 infant present. It's brilliant! And yet, I still can't imagine being a single parent. One of the saving graces of the two parent system is the trade-off, so that one of you can be a person, alone, for a little while. We only have the one right now, and as much as I cherish the time I have alone with my girl, I also cherish the time I have to drool alone in a store without worrying about the proximity of the potty at any given moment. So imagining a life without that trade-off feels like looking down a very long tunnel; you can only see a tiny bit of the while picture, so you have no idea of the reality of the whole.

My Mom had me at 21, and she was a single parent until I was nearly four. She had a good support system with parents and siblings to help her out, but still, it must have been so very scary, and hard. My cousin is in a similar situation with 2 kids, one pretty fresh and the other just 2. Her fiance' went to Iraq twice and returned an asshole. (I highly suspect he may have already been an asshole and just came back more of one. This suspicion is based on the fact that he has fathered more children by more women than K-Fed could aspire to, and he has "White Trash" tattooed on the inside of both arms.) My cousin is very strong, very smart and very hooked on this guy, and she's carrying not just the burden of his inability to keep his pants on, but also raising his kids by herself. She also has a great support system, but she wanted to be a Mom and Wife, not Mom Alone.

I keep thinking about how brave and resilient single parents are. It doesn't matter why these parents are doing it alone. Divorce, death, just wanting kids and not having a partner, the reasons are irrelevant. To take the responsibility for raising a child on your shoulders, and your shoulders alone, it's huge. It's hard. It's also wonderful, because raising a kid, watching a child learn and grow, laugh and love and pretend, it's the coolest thing I've ever seen. I wonder, though, how these parents get the time they need. Do they just not sleep in at all for five or six years? At the end of the day, do they collapse into a pile and pass out in their clothes? Does anyone ever bring them a surprise, just to tell them they are doing a good job? I hope so. About the surprises. Maybe I'll go send my cousin flowers.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Life as a spaz

Day by day, things are getting a little better. I've been having overwhelming and nearly constant panic attacks since Monday, but those seem to be slowing down, and I'm hoping I can wean off the Xanax by next week. Being crazy sucks sometimes.

Something that helped me out today, though, was non-prescription. It was (once again) from The Owl and The Pussycat, and it's an article about Buddhism. Reading things like that really bring me back to the center. I wish I could do it completely on my own all the time. Maybe someday, if I keep working at it?

The panic attacks, they are horrible. I start twitching, I can't hold still and it feels like my body is filled with bees. It's been so bad this week that I haven't been able to get anything done, and I have a lot to do! It starts with the nagging thought that "nothing is going to be OK." It can be more specific, but most of the time it starts with that little thought and just spirals, quickly, out of control. I can't breathe, I can't sit still, I can't think. I cry and cry. And it's all chemical. I hope, hope HOPE that this gene missed my girl. I wouldn't want George W. Bush to feel this way, therefore anyone I like should be right out.

So thanks. Thank you to everyone who commented or called or emailed me last week or this one. You've made such a difference, and even if I couldn't talk to you right then, you really helped. (And Husband, if you should happen to read this, thanks for loving someone who feels so unlovable sometimes. I'd be lost without you.) If I keep my shit together for the rest of the day, E and I are going to go pick up my sewing machine from the shop, have some dinner and take a nice "Mommy Chuppie" in my big tub with good smelling bath stuff. Then I'm going to work out again (I've been doing 2 miles with Leslie Sansone a day-I now fit back into my pants!) and write my service for Sunday, which J is going to give because I have a baby shower. Which I need to finish my gift for. One hour at a time, girl. One hour at a time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dipping my toe in the water



I thought I was handling things pretty well, considering. Then the weekend was over and life started again, and it all just went to hell. The last two days have been two of the worst I've ever been, and for a person with chronic anxiety and depression, that's saying a bit. After several reassurances about several things, a good night of sleep and lots of exercise I'm myself again. I still feel a panic attack hovering around back in my head, but at least it's not a constant, and if there's a diety to thank, I'm thanking it as hard as I can.

Some dance moves for ya!



Sometimes in order to get myself back to myself, I need to do something. It used to be laundry or rearranging furniture. This week I'm daylight fasting. I eat breakfast before the kids get here,but I only have water or watered down juice while they are here. I eat dinner with my family, and catch up on a few calories at night. I'm only doing this for a week, to cleanse my system a bit. Honestly, I don't know why I'm doing it, but it has made me feel much better. Maybe it's just something to control.

So, to get away from me, I'd like to start a photo-heavy April. Let's begin with Easter and the day after, shall we?
My goof balls, they think.


Girl, with mop. A temporary still life.