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Thursday, April 16, 2015

thoughts on wanting more

I know, I know I haven't written in a while. 

So last week I went to a three day writers conference. It was really good, informative, all those good things a three days writers conference should be. I took a lot of notes and I got some cards and I met some people. 

And then I came home.

And I woke up the next morning, super early, intending to write. Instead I sat there staring out of the window drinking my coffee. And I pretty much had only one word running through my head, a constant stream over and over again. 

Fuck...fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Because I don't have time to have a writing career, like they said it takes. And I don't have the fancy degree. I don't know all the fancy people. I don't even know who the fancy people are. I don't have energy to do the creative writing. Not properly at least. I heard a writer on a panel talk about how they would spend three months writing a short story revising and revising and revising. Or how you might go through 27 draft to get a poem perfect. What???? 27 drafts??!! I can't do that! I have energy to get up in the morning do some laundry teach the kids sweep the floor do some gardening outside ... that's it. Maybe I might paint. Maybe I might make felted bunny. Maybe I might write for 30 minutes. Do a blog post.

So. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

And it's not just that I'm lazy, which I am. It's also that I am, you know, pushing THAT age. And here I am with no career. Not a career in the area in which I do have a masters degree from the fancy school. Not a career in the novel writing world which I kind of always thought, yeah someday I'll do that. Not knowing you should publish short stories and mingle and know people.

After a day of sulking I got up off the couch, did some laundry, hoed out some garden beds, weeded and raked and made a anti-tick/mosquito lotion and felt mildly better. 

So what if I don't have an MFA degree. So what if I don't know the fancy people. I can still write an entertaining story. I still have decent ideas. I'm a decent writer. 

Read more. Write more. Work hard. Etc. 

And I have had a little bit of a career. I've done things, I've taught, I've got plans for more.

But man. I was seriously paralyzed for two days. Dada was like, wasn't it great??? Aren't you psyched?? And I was like, no seriously, don't talk to me.

I don't know. Does it come back to the mama/career pull? I guess so. I want to have BOTH, excel at BOTH. And I mess up, and I yell, and get crabby, and don't handle situations right, but, I am a good mama. I try hard. Love hard. And those three little people, playing outside right now, are pretty damn cool. 

So, there is that. 

But I want to have meetings. I want conference calls. I want a reason to buy a suit. I want to be helpful, put myself out there, contribute my ideas to the world of stories. And I want to travel more. I want to travel again, rather. I want my kids to see me doing things that build the world, that contribute, that are meaningful to me. 

And and and...

Fuck fuck fuck.

And an old classmate from college announced she has cancer. A mama herself. And I think. Damn. I want a suit? I'm crabbing about not having a second fancy degree? 

And I suck. 

The pull of all that out there, necessary at times to acknowledge, can't diminish what is here. Staring me in the face. Early. Demanding I read a Dora book before I've had my coffee. (NOOOOOOOO!) 

And yet, but, it doesn't have to be enough, I mean right, I can be content with mama-hood and still legitimately yearn for more, right? Do they have to be exclusive sets of feelings? Does it have to be either/or? Can't they be interwoven, complex, each feeding the other, making each other better, stronger, more meaningful?

think so. 

Contented me, fulfilled, recharged equals contented mama. And I get a lot of that contentment on the Homefront, but also, from being creative, feeling a bit more out there, valued for my mind as much as my ability to make the perfect grilled cheese. 

So. My thoughts for today. 




Monday, April 6, 2015

please no adulting today

Some days. I just. Can't. 

Please, don't make me adult. 

I can't adult. 

So this happens. 


And baby girl is sick. So this happens too. 

And lots of this. 

And some of this. 

In case you missed it that's a little girl lying in the grass looking at a fairy. Ha!

But not really any of this. 
Or this. 
Although, soon, this WILL HAPPEN. 
Adulting. Bad. 
Beer and chocolate. Good. 

Happy Monday!! 
HAHAHAHAHA
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

updating a yoga-pants-wearing mama wardrobe

So, here is the thing.

You know those yoga pants I bought, the ones that started this whole blog, back in the day??

(CLICK HERE)

Those. Yes. Those.

So.

I threw them out last week.

I didnt even try to donate them, or save them for baby wipes (no baby butts to wipe in this house!)

Nope. I just straight up tossed them.

I know, right???????

This is big. HUGE.

Don't get me wrong. I still wear yoga pants, around the house at night, to bed, or GASP, to the gym. But, as an everyday staple? Nope. Not so much these days.

I KNOW, RIGHT??

I used to wear nice clothes. Like, you know, suits and button up shirts and pointy-toed shoes (back when they were popular - I have been informed by fashionista younger sisters that no one wears pointy-toed shoes anymore.)

But, lately, actually, for the past eight years, I have let things slide. And slide. And slide.

So. I decided, after hearing about this book (the "Konmari" Method) that I should take a stab at actually sorting and organizing my wardrobe. And, GASP, getting rid of things.

Yes, yoga pants worn to threads.

And t-shirts stretched out from wearing over giant baby bellies.

And other shirts worn out from tugging them down to nurse...for eight years.

These clothes. These "Why-Do-I-Have-These-Shitty-Clothes" Clothes,

And this is, apparently, the point of the Konmari method of simplifying, summed up by someone who actually read the book (not me!) "If it doesn't bring you joy, don't keep it."

That is big right?

I mean, how many items of clothing does a stay at home mom have that actually BRING JOY.

I settled for "Clothes I feel nice in" as the closest I was going to get, with a few for real "joy" items in there (including the pointy-toed shoes which I dont really wear in my present life BUT have such memories I cant let go of them).

My wardrobe is AMAZINGLY pared down now. Nubbly sweaters that are slightly itchy. GONE. Stretched out t-shirts. GONE. Thrift store sweaters I never really liked. GONE. Yoga pants with holes in the knees. GONE. That stretched out swimsuit I wore through pregnancy. GONE. That tiny bikini from college I will never fit into. GONE. And this one, I know you will appreciate this one - underwear that has irritated my c-section scar (yes it still hurts eight years later) that I still for some reason wore... GONE. Replaced with underwear that does NOT irritate the scar. Also yes, I did replace the yoga pants. With some cute gym ones and some, ACK, leggings (only to be worn under dresses or to the gym though, HA.) And I even replaced the stack of gross shirts (keeping a few for the garden.) With only a few so far, but I will do more as it warms up this summer.

Its kinda crazy. I can reach for anything in my dresser really and be like, oh yea, I like that shirt, those jeans are comfy- VOILA, OUTFIT!

Below. Pictures of my outfit making process. No, I cannot be the blogger who models her outfits for you. Back in the day I had a few people suggest I look into modeling (you know skinny tall blonde California teenager) and my response was always. Um. I am the most awkward person on the planet in front of cameras. Uh. No. (I have sisters who do this sort of thing though and its amazing to me!)

In any case. Here are pictures.



The final stack of clothes to keep. And yes, there are hidden junk sweaters and sentimental pieces in tubs in the garage...but...


...see this giant box???? I got rid of that! (Okay fine, its still sitting in my bedroom. Baby steps.)

So. Clothes. Am I so lame I still have this California teenager surf girl long sleeve shirt. I dug it out of a pile and was like, hey, I could wear that running errands! Also, paired with the best comfy grey sweatshirt and some skinny jeans.



My crazy cat, on top of some decent looking jeans and a cute sweater.

 A typical round town outfit. I wore this today! And yes, I wear this bandanna constantly through the summer.



A new grey t-shirt paired with a cute cardigan and skinny jeans, along with a hair scarf.

The wrinkly jersey knit outfit. SO COMFORTABLE. And, once the wrinkles ease up, it looks cute.

Skinny jeans and a cute sweater (that I have had for a really long time)
 More scarves and comfy jeans. These shoes are my go-to running errands, walking outside, everyday shoes. I love them.

These jeans, not so much. I dont really wear this outfit. But I should.

I've also had this sweater a long time. And these shoes. I LOVE these moccasins (from Steger Mukluks...)


Another cute little sweater. I typically wear it with a long sleeved black t-shirt.

These cords. Not so attractive all wrinkly like this but SO comfortable. I have them in olive green too. And that black wrap thing is super comfy and has pockets. And looks fairly stylish so. There you go.

Were I to go away with dada I would bring this kind of clothing. Able to mix and match and absurdly comfortable. The blue linen shirt is a thrift store find. It makes me want to put my hair up in a high knot and paint with oils on a giant canvas out on the deck. THIS SUMMER. I THINK I SHALL.

 I am not so great at being fancy. This is an effort at it. Long sweater. Skinny black pants. JERSEY KNIT ONES. I love scarves. I had an obsession with scarves for the longest time.
 Random sweaters and yoga pants and workout clothes.

Another effort at fancy. I also have some great jewelry. Which I NEVER WEAR. Laying this necklace out in an actual outfit made me think, huh, I should wear that.
 Vintage dress (thrift store find) that I LOVE.
 My little helper.
 My fanciest effort. Black wrap dress. purchased pre-kid. Worn about four times. But, SO CUTE. I need to go out with dada more so I can WEAR THIS.
 More lovely jewelry. This is from Vietnam. (So beautiful there!)

SOME of my scarves, along with the infamous pointy toed shoes. Would YOU wear them? Also fun yellow shoes, from my travels (Jordan I think) that Baby Green always tells me to wear.

 After I went through a scarf phase I then got hooked on jackets. Just LOOK at this Italian motorcycle jacket, Fun, right? Totally should wear this to the library some week. HA HA HA.

Velvet blazer, from my fancy days. SO NICE.
Another jacket...

Ah, and here is how you are supposed to put away clothes. Makes it much easier to see everything.

So, what am I wearing as I take these pics. Um. Leggings and a long shirt and a puffer vest and my best boots ever. You know. A mama has to be realistic. COMFORT WINS. But, hey, baby steps right??? Now to actually get rid of the giant box.......

Anybody else do the Konmari thing? How did it turn out? I have big plans for the rest of the house...and maybe I'll even buy the book....and read it...HA!

Happy organizing!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

long winding weeks...long winding post...MARCH



Why is March so loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong?

Seriously. Its like I am just barely hanging on energy wise (homeschool, dishes, laundry, etc) and I look up and BAM its ONLY TUESDAY. Like a slap in the face.

It has happened to me two weeks in a row now.

And now its Wednesday. And it feels like it should be Friday.

So. I plant seeds with the girls. Have them all listen to something educational online (Jules Verne!) and play with some educational toys. (This should be a post later!)

And then they ignore all my efforts and play bear cave in the living room (girls) and Legos in the bedroom (boy).

So I sit down, ignoring the slush outside, with some tea and toasted pecans, and write a blog post.

About nothing really I suppose.

And by the way, about those pecans. Those daily pecans got me into trouble this winter. Damn you pecans. I now only allow myself to indulge on particularly crabby days. Once a week. UGH. METABOLISM.

Little Green has pretty much weaned. At three and a half its about time, right?? Yes, yes, I know. You are either saying, um, YEA. Or, Mine nursed until 5! Ha. But she is done. And I am done.

So. No diapers. No nursing. Meanwhile metabolism spirals out of control. I go to the gym and LIFT WEIGHTS and RUN ON THE DAMN TREADMILL. And cut back on the pecans. HA HA HA.

This got me around to cleaning up my wardrobe the other day. I think I have an inspiring updating of the mama wardrobe post coming, but it means taking a lot of pictures. Maybe I can sneak away now. Undoubtedly as soon as I do shrieks and fights will erupt. This is the way right? Or when I am on the phone.

I keep thinking I am going to get an agent call back for my book one of these days. And then I don't. Just rejection after rejection. Which makes me think maybe its not that great after all. But, I say, I LIKE IT, so SOMEONE MIGHT TOO. Right? Right. Maybe.

And we've put farm searching plans on hold till the fall, for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with banks and money and boring things like that. So the seeds I just planted are ALL FLOWERS, except for the obligatory kale and tomatoes and peppers. And I am going to PLANT THE SHIT out of the yard and gardens outside. BEAUTIFUL FAIRY FLOWERLAND. That is my goal. Move or no move. You know? BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED, and all that. HA.

We are even thinking of planting a tree or two. Why not, right?

WHY NOT, we say. I am thinking a weeping willow, down in the field, and maybe an apple tree or two.

But in the meanwhile. The kids play. We plant some seeds. We avoid glances at the evil white stuff outside. And we wait for sunshine. Also Friday.

I love this song, by the 90s kings, Counting Crows. Also. Courtney Cox is in this video. HA.




Friday, March 20, 2015

lovely things

When you are a mom you often get hung up on the dirty, the messy. Socks stuffed under blankets on the couch (thank you eight-year-old) ketchup smears on the kitchen chairs, sticky orange juice residue on the floor, playdough crumbs in the rug, mounds of laundry everywhere, dishes stacked in the sink.

It's easy to do.

And the same goes for the kids we are raising.

Little guy does this snort cough clearing throat thing that makes mama crazy (recently diagnosed with asthma though so, trying to be understanding!). He whines a lot. He gets crazy obsessed with things. Little miss does this wiggling the nose, shoving dirty glasses up her face with dirty fingers, covered in playdough. She pouts and kicks when she is mad. As I type three year old is dripping shredded cheese all over the floor. Her newest fun thing is walking around pulling things off the fridge, throwing magnets on the floor, to do lists, artwork, etc. Yesterday we had a maddening 20 minute battle of wills over whether or not she would hang the kitchen towels back up after randomly pulling them off the stove hanging rod thingy and throwing them on the floor. Why...WHY?

It is so easy to see the messy. The dirty. The imperfect.

And then we look in the mirror. There we are. Grumpy tired looking messy hair once again in a ponytail. Zits at thirty (ahem ahem) age. Wrinkles in the creases of our eyes. Flubby stomach. Circles under the eyes. Crabby at dada, impatient with kids, tired, lazy.

Messy. Dirty. Imperfect.

And once you start seeing things that way, seeing life that way, it can be so hard to change your perspective.

Right?

So. My solution?

Buy a lemon tree.

Did you know I have (oddly) lusted after a lemon tree for seriously years? Dada even once tried to buy me one. For Christmas. What do you know they don't deliver lemon trees to frozen wastelands in the middle of winter. So we canceled the order. And never got another one.

Until last week. When dada's business started picking up and he sent me a text.

"You should buy a lemon tree."

So I did.

I was prepared to be disappointed. It will be a rip off. Covered in slugs. It won't blossom for years. The weather will change after they ship it and I will find it frozen on my doorstep.

Two days ago it arrived. In a narrow but tall box, wrapped in foil to keep it warm. As I started to peel back the layers I was ready, again. The leaves were snapped off, bent. My heart sank.

And then I pulled it out. Gently loosened the plastic off the root ball. Shook out the cedar shavings, per instructions, mixed it with some soil and placed it in a pot with precisely five drainage holes.

And I looked at it more carefully.

Blossoms. Just buds, but they were there.

Lots of them.

And shiny green healthy leaves.

And as the leaves unfolded over the past few days I began to realize. This little tree is going to make it. And maybe even give us lemons, this year.

And this morning??

A blossom opened, with the loveliest citrus-y scent.

A lemon tree.

Lovely things, friends. Lovely things.

And I look around this room, this rather cramped feeling room (mid-winter at least), and i see it, filled with lovely things. So many lovely things.

Including three lovely little people, who are, despite their human-ness (and sniffling, snarfley noises) lovely little people. And their mama, I look in the mirror, and see her, sometimes catch a glimpse, and she is lovely too. Scars and flub and greasy hair and all.

Lovely things.

And it is Friday. Which is also lovely. And I have two kinds of boxed wine sitting on the counter. HAPPY FRIDAY TO ME.

Wishing you a wonderful, lovely-filled, lemon-tree-ish weekend mamas!




out little inside-awaiting-spring tradition of planting a fairy garden

seeds and planting pots, ready to go

lovely things, in the chaos




Katniss cowl, underway

new tire swing in a snow-free yard


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saint Patricks day, June homeschool style

So. This is how I am. Saint Patricks day morning and I find myself googling. Uh. A story. A project. Poetry. Something, something to go a little deeper into the meaning of this day. We are Irish. I mean a teeny tiny bit, but I like the kids to know a bit of the story.

In any case.

And here is what I came up with and I will share it here. For reference next year anyhow. HA.

First a story from my favorite site...(More of a detailed version here)

SAINT PATRICK




[Illustration]

SAINT PATRICK.
A FEW years before Alaric invaded Italy, a boy was born in Britain, probably on the western coast, who was to become the famous Saint Patrick. It was a wild, rude country. There were bears and wolves and wild boars. It was damp and cold; there was much fog and little sunshine. There were worse troubles than a disagreeable climate, for pirates from Ireland or Caledonia sometimes dashed up to the shore, made savage forays into the country, and sailed away with bands of captives to be sold. as slaves. This fate befell Patrick when a boy of about sixteen. For several years, he was a slave in Ireland and spent much of his time tending cattle. He had been brought up as a Christian, and as he watched his cattle on the hills, he prayed, some days a hundred times. At length there was a chance to escape, and he fled to his home. All his kindred welcomed him and begged him, now that he was rescued from such great dangers, never to go away.

Still his heart was with the Irish. He dreamt one night that a man held before him a letter which began, "The Voice of the Irish;" and as he read, he seemed to hear the people who dwelt by the western ocean calling, "Come and dwell with us," and he made up his mind to spend his life preaching to them.

[Illustration]

BELL OF ST. PATRICK.

When the time had come that he felt himself prepared, he returned to the island where he had been a captive. Other preachers went with him, and they traveled up and down the land, telling the people everywhere of the religion of Christ. They wore sandals, and a sort of long cloak which was no more than a large round piece of cloth with a hole in the middle to put the head through. The fore part of their heads was shaved, and the rest of their hair hung down upon their shoulders. When they went on long journeys, they rode in clumsy, two-wheeled wagons; but if the journeys were short, they traveled on foot, staff in hand, chanting psalms as they walked. They carried mass-books and copies of the Gospels and portable altars, and bells made by riveting two pieces of sheet iron together into the form of a rude bell and then dipping it into melted bronze.

[Illustration]

SHRINE OF ST. PATRICK'S BELL.

Generally the people were willing to listen to the strangers, but nevertheless, the lives of the missionaries were often in danger. The chiefs were always at warfare among themselves, and it was not safe to go from one district to another without an escort. In one place the people thought the long, narrow writing tablets of the preachers were straight swords, and that they had come to make trouble. It was some little time before they could be made to understand that the strangers were their friends.

[Illustration]

SAINT PATRICK BAPTIZING TWO IRISH MAIDENS.


There is a story that at one time the missionaries were in danger from Laoghaire, the chief king. At twilight King Laoghaire went out with his nobles to light the fire of the spring festival. On the Hill of Slane he saw another fire. It was forbidden on pain of death that anyone else should kindle a fire so long as the king's was burning, and Laoghaire sent men to learn who these daring strangers were and to bring them before him. It is thought that Patrick's poem, called The Deer's Cry, was written at this time. Part of it is as follows:— [ETA: this is actually known as "The Rune of St. Patrick" according to further googling...This poem is also found in the book "A Wrinkle in Time" and little man had memorized it already back then! So he was excited to hear it here again.]

At Tara to-day in this fateful hour,
I place all heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness:
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the Powers of Darkness.
The thought of the poem is that everything that God has made will help to guard the man who puts trust in His protection. The missionaries told the king that their fire was not to celebrate the coming of spring, but Easter and the resurrection of Christ. He listened closely, and finally gave them permission to preach to his people.
The grateful Irish loved Saint Patrick and were eager [90] to make him gifts, but he would never accept them. There is a pretty story that the little son of an Irishman whom he had baptized loved the good preacher so dearly that when the tired man had fallen asleep, the child would creep up softly and lay sweet-scented flowers upon his breast. The boy afterward became a bishop and succeeded his beloved master.
For many years, Saint Patrick preached and taught and built churches and schoolhouses and monasteries. These monasteries, and others that were founded not long afterward, became the most famous schools of the age. Thousands of pupils came to them from the neighboring countries; and from these seats of learning and piety earnest teachers and missionaries went forth, not only to Britain, but to every corner of Europe. This is the work that was begun by one fearless, faithful, unselfish man.




We then googled the symbol of Saint Patrick and drew it in our books, along with some rainbows and leprechauns for fun.

After some difficult negotiations I wrote down the above poem in little man's poetry book. He usually copies them himself for copy work. But...sometimes...yea...you know. There is a really great version read aloud here.

And then a taste of Irish music, this lovely version of "The deer's Cry" by Saint Patrick.


or this...


More beautiful poetry here. I seriously want to read more of this, so interesting. 


And here is my wish for your week! Happy Saint Patrick's day! 

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!






And then some rainbow pom pom play time with numbers for "Math."



little man's latest prize possession. HAGRID'S HUT. its SOOOOO cute. and
officially PART MINE. ha!



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