Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Yes, those are remnants from lunch around her mouth. Didn't see those before I took the picture. The point is that she had her cut into an adorable little bob. I expected it to be a much more emotional decision since she's been growing her hair ever since she was born but I rediscovered that I'm not so sentimental about hair. If we grow tired of the bob, she can grow long hair again. Right now, everyone is in love with the new look.
I'm writing a novel. That's a big announcement, eh? Ever since I can remember people have told me that I should be a writer... my 7th grade English teacher, my freshman advisor, the President of my college, my husband, my best friend. And I guess I've always had the thought in the back of my head but the truth is creative writing is always awkward for me and I'm never comfortable with my words on the page. I wish I could say that I finally started due to some huge creative revelation but the real reason is far more prosaic. I have 16 more months to figure out how to make a real income working at home or else I need to face the reality of a more conventional full-time job. Sometimes that thought is attractive, more often it makes me shudder.
So... I started getting serious about this back in December, fleshing out the story, characters, eventually giving in and making a rough outline. I always did expect the first one to come to me in a vision and pow! There it would be written on the page but I finally realized that the darn thing won't write itself so I had to sit down and start. I've got one chapter finished, chapter two will hopefully be done by tonight. That doesn't sound like much but for me who has been procrastinating all these years, it's huge. I don't have great expectations for this but I'm hoping the process will be good and lead me to greater things.
Which leads me to some more random musings on creativity in general. I guess I've always thought I was creative in some weird way, you know, they throw those labels on you early on in school and they kind of stick. But I never thought I was artistic. Never. I've got more of the vulcan, pure logic kind of brain. And when I started scrapbooking, it was never for artistic purposes... just kind of a general creative outlet and a way to preserve our photographs which I am maniacal about. But somewhere along the way, my outlook on all of this has changed. I've suddenly got the urge to try some new things. To step outside of my comfort zone and play around a little bit.
I've just started The Artist's Way, which I got to spur me on in writing... and today, on my "artist's date" I found myself in the book store, browsing through the art section, picking up books on different mediums that I never really looked at before. I didn't have a plan to be there, I was just flitting around the store. And then I started wandering to other stores, without a real plan... looking at random things... Photoshop, glitter spray paint, fabric remnants. And finally I found myself in the middle of the art store, a huge box of watercolors and various sundries in my cart. I don't know what I'm going to do with them. But it felt right.
Maybe it's because the days are getting longer and there is more sunlight. Maybe it's because I stopped taking my anti-anxiety medication a few weeks ago. But lately I feel like I'm waking up after a long nap, stretching my arms and my neck as I look about to see what's been going on, what needs cleaned up, what needs a fresh coat of paint (literally and metaphorically!), what stuff can just be tossed out without further reflection. Spring cleaning of the mind I guess. It's a good feeling.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Karaoke and Grace's ears

How's that for a topic header? Justin and I went out with some friends for dinner and karaoke last night. I am not embarassed to admit that I have never been to a karaoke night before - before Justin came along, I hadn't done a lot of things... eat wings or ribs, go to a casino, drink wine. Karaoke was just another one of those things that never occurred to me. So we went and had a really fun time... one of the husbands sang a love song to my friend Michelle and it was so incredibly sweet and out of character! I was very surprised how many people were willing to get up and sing and how good everyone was. On the way home, he asked why I didn't get up to sing and told me I had a great voice (I'm such a sucker for compliments) but I reminded him that a good voice for singing hymns at church is not the same thing as being able to sing Bohemian Rhapsody. But next time, for sure I'm going to do my version of Lose Yourself by Eminem. Run for the hills everyone!

I haven't updated on Grace's ears because I was taking a wait and see attitude. This time, there seems to have been a mistake made with her other ear. It has been bleeding ever since, although everyday it seems a little bit better. I thought that maybe I misunderstood the doctor when he told me these complications only happen at most once a year... that there was no way it could have happened to Grace twice if that was the case. But then the nurse from the hospital called to check on her and was positively horrified to hear that her ear is bleeding and assured me that it's definitely not normal. Great. So I don't have too much to say yet whether this will be successful although she does seem to be hearing better already. I hope to know more later this week.

And now I'm off to enjoy a fire, a comfy blanket and the rest of that bad scrapbooking mystery I talked about in the last post.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Very good mail day

And that warrants a second post.
I'm notoriously bad at actually ordering anything on the internet. I upload pictures and then let them sit there. I fill shopping carts and then wander away to other sites. But last Sunday I actually got some gumption and follow-through and "checked out" my waiting carts at several sites. The end result... a huge pile of new pictures to scrapbook... all the way back to Christmas! And three new books that have been waiting forlornly in my cart at Amazon for months... Motif for Murder (please don't judge me, I'm apparently a sucker for badly written scrapbooking mysteries), the Digital Rebel XT Field Guide and the Artist's Way. And bad bad me, we got stuck in a traffic jam after taking my mother to the airport and I passed the time by reading in traffic. Gulp. But we really were at a dead stop due to 2 accidents blocking the road so that's not quite as bad a violation is it?
So it looks to be a good weekend to snuggle up and read and scrapbook. My house doesn't necessarily think it's a good weekend for this if you were to judge by its general state of chaos and untidiness but that is why God invented boxes... to hide the messy stuff while mama plays with glue.
One small, teeny tiny mama brag. I think my son is a very very smart boy. It's unseemly to talk about that sort of stuff so I try not to get into those conversations or talk about what he's doing too much when other moms start comparing. But still... sometimes we wonder and worry. Today I was at the school for his rescheduled Valentine's Day party and his teacher pulled me aside to ask me about his pre-school program, whether we were sending our daughter there, and were we pleased with it. And then she said those words a mother longs to hear... he was more prepared than anyone else coming into school this year. And that he is doing "really really" well. Shake your head kind of well. Awesome news! Almost as cool as when we discovered that the little girl who he has a crush on handmade him a Valentine that says "I {heart} you inside." Good day indeed.

The human mind has an infinite capacity for smallness

And so often I find myself falling prey to that temptation.

Who will get custody of Britney's kids? How big will be the shrine Anna Nicole Smith's mother builds and how much admission will she charge? Okay, this stuff I rarely fall prey to, it just floats around there on the edges of my consciousness.

But some other stuff. Yeah. I interned once for a wonderful politician who truly was just an incredibly good human being and who did not possess any of the characteristics of a typical politician. He lost his umpteemth reelection bid a few years ago to a man who I don't much admire. This man switched parties to further his own career, and although I know him personally, I am hard pressed to say what his true beliefs are. I took the loss in that election very very hard and to this day I am disgusted by the lying, dirty tactics that were used in the race. But fast forward a few years. Last summer a tragedy occurred in our community involving this man's son and ongoing suspicion that he committed a terrible crime. My first reaction... God's honest truth... was that karma is a bitch.

And in that one second I realized that noone is immune to smallness of spirit and that while I might like to try to stay above the fray, I am just as guilty of gossip and thinking cruel thoughts and judgment as the next person. I've regretted thinking that thought every single day since. Today I saw that the story has been picked up by the AP wire and my heart broke for that boy, for the boy who was killed and for the families that are both involved in the tragedy. They don't need their story splashed about and gossiped about more than it already has been. I learned a big lesson that day, one that I reflect on often whenever I feel the urge to make a judgment, share a judgment, gossip about someone behind their back. These are real people, real emotions, very real stories with information and details we will never fully understand or know.

I read a great quote the other day from Eleanor Roosevelt. "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." I'm going to try to make that my new motto.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not going to lie

It's been a really tough week around here, for a lot of reasons. My sister is really going through some struggles and is not making some decisions she needs to make. The stress of that has resonated through the family and I don't always handle stress that well so Justin has felt the brunt of that in my frankly, wildly flucuating emotions and illogical rants. I feel like today we may be starting to regroup and come up with a plan. I do better with plans.

And tomorrow my littlest one, who really is tiny, is going to have tubes in her ears again. Good in many many ways except for the anesthesia thing which even the thought of makes me sick to my stomach. I had a bad reaction to anesthesia when I was in labor with her and we both almost died. Plus, the last time the doctor made some kind of error that caused her ear to bleed randomly for over a year... one of the reasons she actually has to get tubes again as that ear is now completely plugged with dried blood. Sorry, should probably have given a "grossness" warning right there. The doctor kind of poo-poo'd my concerns about this happening again so I am putting my faith in him but so help me, if she has to go through that again, this time I will not be so nice with him.

And finally, I had to deal with a complete whack job of another female attorney at work today. I can't believe I said that out loud. But seriously, she was as nuts as it is possible for someone to be and still be out walking around. I have never spoken to her before, we are not in adversarial positions, this is a simple probate transaction in which her client is ancillarily involved and still... she started by screaming at me that she has left numerous unreturned phone messages and will send me her phone bill to prove this (for the record, we have no record of any phone messages) and then proceeded to mutter at me about "fraud" and "documentation" and when I asked her to provide me with some documentation that her client has a legal interest in the matter, she hung up on me. This might be surprising to people who think attorneys are like the ones you see on tv, but really, we do not act this way. We may act tough in the courtroom, but the truth is we are mainly colleagues who socialize at professional functions, take continuing education classes together, eat lunch together and have relationships that transcend the immediate cases in front of us. Courtesy and respect are the norm and screaming and hanging up are strictly verboten.

So, I was quite shaken by the whole experience, mostly for the sheer oddness factor of it. Justin made me laugh for quite a bit when he suggested I send her an application for the new game show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

So assuming all goes well in the morning, I am going to celebrate it all being over and hit the scrapbook store to check out the new CHA goodies that came in over the last week. I did pick up some new Luxe stuff at a little store in West Virginia over the weekend but I haven't had a chance to play with it. Hopefully, Grace will sleep and I will get to scrap.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First things first

This was my entry for the Why do you Scrapbook contest at Two Peas. It got no love. I'm getting used to that. I like it anyway.

And this is the fabulousness I received from my Secret Cupid at Two Peas. In about 15 minutes, I am going to start playing with all of that. So much MME and Heidi Swapp goodness mixed in there!

This is the view from my dining room window. The kids and I had to go out in that earlier. I foolishly thought I should go into work and at least check my messages, bring some work home, you know, the stuff I get paid to do. The phones weren't working because of the snowstorm. We got stuck in the middle of a standoff between a garbage truck, a fire truck, a narrow road and a lot of ice. It was not pretty but everyone emerged unscathed. And the kids got pizza from the whole deal. But we're not leaving the house again.

And this is what we have been enjoying ever since we got home. Well, I have been enjoying it while the kids have been creating the world's biggest Pirate ship out of pillows, blankets, bedspreads and towels. Yeah, Charlie is grounded from tv and gameboy because of the whole carrot incident so they've been using their surprisingly violent imaginations instead. I'm glad I'm not a scurvy cod because whoever he is, he sounds like he's getting the worst of it.
Justin was determined to go to work and determined to stay the whole day through despite the snow emergency declared for our region. His employers felt otherwise and thankfully shut the whole place down. Still, he was the last one out of the building. We expect him through the door in approximately 5 minutes and 34 seconds (33, 32, 31 - not that I'm counting or anything) to take the kids sled riding.
I'm crossing my fingers and my toes that the schools are closed again tomorrow and that we don't have to venture out in the morning. I am the chairperson for Gracie's Valentine's Day party so even if all of the districts are closed, if the college is open, her school will be in session and we will have to go. As of right now, the college is closed through tonight so hopefully that's a sign of things to come. Not that I don't love Valentine's parties or anything. I just love snow days more!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Can it get any better?

Charlie threw up his carrots on my new suede shoes. I would like for this day to be over.

I am in a bad mood

and one of the things I often do when I'm in a bad mood is to go on a cleaning frenzy. It's actually unfortunate that it doesn't happen more often. So far I've washed the walls in the dining room and kitchen, scrubbed down the kitchen cabinets and appliances, scrubbed the floor under the cabinets and appliances, cleaned out one kitchen cabinet and one junk drawer. My mood has not improved but it doesn't seem to be fueling the cleaning frenzy as much as before. I hope it lasts long enough to finish the bathroom.

Justin is hiding in the basement as he is the source of my bad mood and whenever he wanders too close to me, I am apt to start lecturing him again of the error of his ways. I'm quite sure that it's not an effective technique but it serves the dual purpose of letting me get it out and sending him back to the basement. Like I said, I am very rarely in a bad mood so none of us are really sure of the protocol.

Di-di, one of my Siamese cats is also in a bad mood. He has been on a rampage for several days and one of the things he likes to do when he is mad is eat photographs. He has an uncanny ability to seek them out; he must smell the chemicals or something and then he is relentless until he finds one. He will knock them off the refrigerator, climb onto a bookshelf and try to chew through a picture album. Luckily, the vet prescribed some kitty prozac for when he gets into these moods and I gave him one a little bit ago. Now he is sitting on the bed, stoned out of his mind. Don't think the idea hasn't crossed my mind.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

This is what creative genious looks like

or not. That's mostly just what chaos looks like. I'm trying to finish an HOF submission... it's hard to say why I'm still going at it but I'm stubborn like that. I have been struggling with one page for 3 weeks and was grumbling about it this morning as I tried to get it just right. My darling spouse took it from me and hid it claiming it was an exercise he learned in a writing workshop... put it away, know when to accept it's not working. That's all well and good but it just means I have to come up with a completely new idea. Until he gives it back tomorrow.

And he was going to take the kids sled riding but really, the wind chill is 20 below zero. And when he went to the store to get me some Theraflu, he discovered that the power steering fluid was frozen. It's not really sled riding weather.

So I love Al Gore, I think he won the 2000 Presidential election and I think his documentary is wonderful but I've got to say I could go for some global warming this afternoon. Minus the catastrophic consequences of course.

Friday, February 2, 2007

So I couldn't stay away

It's rather disconcerting how much I seem to need this blog as an outlet. Why won't a simple journal work as well? I'm not going to link it up this time though so weird internet stalker, you can just stay away, okay? Okay.