Friday, December 30, 2011

goodbye, 2011!

Hello to all!

I hope everyone is ready to say GOODBYE to 2011. It was a year filled with much too much bad news and much too little good news. 2011 set the bar so low that it made 2010 look like the height of awesome. (2010 was the year I had pneumonia for 3 months). I am far to old to write to Santa, but not old enough to believe that writing down my wishes for the coming year is in any way silly or futile.

 2012, here is my wish list: I wish for my friends and family to be healthy. I wish for my children to remember you in smiles and friends made. I wish for the perseverance to face my goals head-on. I wish for peace in our heads and forgiveness in our hearts and kindness in our actions.
Thanking you in advance,

Kara M DeCarlo

(Go and write your wishes down, too! I believe life is better when we can move towards what we want, instead of running blindly from what we don't want)

Wishing all of you beautiful dreams and a joyous New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pensive in the face of the New Year

Yes, I completed all my holiday presents. I plan to totally cop out of wrapping them by putting them in brown paper bags & stapling the bags shut. My holly jolly ho-ho-ho spirit left about two days ago and I am just ready for this season of gifting to be over.
To make it through the next few days of holiday go-round, I will be needing a designated driver. Luckily, I have a husband who will gladly take on that role. Thanks babe!

I also have to submit my 2012 goals list to my lovely friend who has agreed to hold me accountable to all of them. She is a therapist by day, so I do not expect to be able to wiggle my way out of them.
Which means that I have to be realistic in my aspirations and not go overboard with planning.

This is proving more difficult than I imagined. As it turns out, I am the Queen of Unreachable Goals--probably the reasons for this would require immense amounts of therapy, but we all know that's not going to happen. So now I have to weigh each goal against the reasons for putting it on the list, and the probability of achieving said goal. Doesn't that sound like fun?!

Not to me either. So I have been working in fits & starts, but there are only 8 days left of 2011.


Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In case you were feeling rushed..

Firstly! There is free shipping at my etsy shop with the coupon code JOY2U. Happy Holidays!

Secondly, I am not yet done with holiday presents, because I have decided to do a handmade holiday for the second year running. Which wouldn't be so overwhelming if I hadn't added some people to the list. So far I have made hot cocoa mix, marshmellows, book pins, flower brooches, and upcycled journals. I still have to make bracelets for a gaggle of teenage girls, and fleece camo hats for boys.

I am running out of time and energy...but mostly time.

So I hope you all are enjoying this time of year, however you celebrate it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Flying out of Chicago, we headed west over Lake Michigan. Hi Chicago!
 I flew from Chicago to DC, where I met up with my Mom and we flew together to London.

The view from our floor of the hotel. We were on floor 12, so it was pretty spectacular. That castle-looking building is the Renaissance hotel at St. Pancras. On the other side of that is the King's Cross underground and railway station (King's Cross is where Harry Potter left for Hogwarts).

That low-lying red brick building is the British Library. They had a fabulous exhibit on Illuminated Manuscripts. Also, I saw the Magna Carta and a First Folio of Shakespeare's works.

And there was food! I especially enjoyed this little treat: a rosemary & chocolate macaroon, a raspberry & basil mousse, and a lavender & citrus sorbet.

And of course we had to go to Harrod's to see the Christmas decorations and ride the Egyptian escalator. We also popped into the Harry Potter shop.

That's the dome of St Paul's (Where the old lady feeds the birds in Mary Poppins) and that bit of water is the Thames River)

We went to the Globe Theatre & museum. That's me with Will--I am a HUGE Shakepeare dork. I went to Shakespeare summer camp when I was in high school. True story. The theatre season runs April to October and groundling tickets are only 5 pounds a person!

And we popped over to Baker Street to catch a glimpse of 221B (Where Sherlock Holmes "lived". There's also a Sherlock Holmes Museum next door, but I didn't see the need to pay to look at an exhibit of a fictional character).

And then we came home. We crammed a lot into 3 days. I loved the public transportation, the museums, the weather, and even the food.

London--you rock!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shop not!

As I am all out of cash and rapidly approaching a fabulous long weekend in LONDON, where I will be carrying and fetching for my Mom (which is totally cool, because 1. She's my Mom and 2. it's LONDON), I am not participating in any of the retail craziness of this weekend.
Instead I will be working, bidding farewell to my last Thanksgiving guest, editing/posting photos and repurposing old clothes into new clothes.

As we approach December, I have tasked myself with getting things crossed off the neverending TO DO list and instilling an appropriate sense of holiday cheer in the kids.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Fall

Oh my, is it ever. A few weeks back we went to the pumpkin patch, where Adrian tried his hardest to bring home a pumpkin three times the size we suggested.

The onset of Fall means all kinds of wonderful things. Yellow leaves against blue skies, massive quantities of baked goods, Halloween, Thanksgiving, crisp air, apple cider, sweaters, rosy cheeks and the smell of fallen leaves when I walk through the woods.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, which has resulted in a flurry of home improvement projects. Not all of them will be finished before people arrive in SEVEN DAYS, but enough that I don't feel like the house is falling down around my head.

And, yes, Dad. I will post pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes. Eventually. When I don't have a kid standing on either side of me, demanding something.

Have a good weekend, y'all.
Enjoy the beauty before winter comes and chills your bones.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

He's trying to do me in!

After this week I have decided two things.
1. Adrian should go into politics, because he is master of the spin.

2. I have to either join the french foreign legion or take up drinking.

Allow me to transcribe for you the two assignments that Adrian has brought home from school this week, exactly as they appear.

Assignment one:
One time I stole my sister's diperes and i got cought. I toled my mom I did it. And she spanked me. After that I never did it agen.

(Replace "one time" with "multiple times" and "stole" with "wore, urinated in, and then shoved in the back of my sister's closet")

Assignment two:
If I were a child in Heckedy Peg when the witch came in I wod stab her and take the gold.

(this little gem is complete with an ILLUSTRATION, wherein the child has a knife in the blood-red belly of the witch and is saying "this is esey")

So, yeah.
Parent/Teacher conferences are going to be awesome this year.

Do you think they'll let me bring a flask?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bringing it all together

For many years I have resisted merging my home life and my art life, but it does appear that they are inseparable. After all they both require my two hands and one mind to tend them, and I try to maintain a balance between them--lately that balance has slipped. I have spent more physical time in my home life and more head time in my art life. I find myself planning artworks when I am cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, walking the kids to school--but the ideas only get a rough sketch in the sketchbook and then I am back to mundane housey stuff.
Part of the art time is maintaining my art blog and my Etsy shop--which until now I have mentioned only in passing. It is really difficult for me to maintain two blogs--it requires twice the wit and four times the editing. I am hoping that the new schedule I have set for myself will allow me more time to share the craziness that is our home life with you and time to share my art life over there. The other art time is at work, where the slow season has settled in and we are drawing and painting to keep our art muscles flexed.
As it stands, I may be completely obsessed with one thing over another--as the winter approaches there is a good chance that I will retreat into my art cave--so if you are looking for me here I may be over at the art blog:
Do drop in and say hi. It's pretty informal over there, as I usually have clay under my nails or paint on my nose.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good morning!

Hello to all, old friends and new!

I seem to have acquired some new readers--hi there (yes, you and you)! And I DO read all of your comments, and thank you so much for responding. Don't think I am ignoring you, I am just sort of surprised that you are out there, reading MY thoughts.

When I started this blog, 7 years ago, I was grossly pregnant and living far away from both my family and my husband's. The intention was to keep from repeating the same stories over and over, as well as provide them with a steady stream of cute baby photos.

As time has marched on, I have had less and less free time so updates have become sparse. Right now my children are entertaining themselves by measuring things with a 16 foot tape measure and making monster noises.

We are gearing up for Halloween. The children have costumes (store bought, and totally cop-out I know), and I just discovered I no longer FIT in my costume. (I knew all that chocolate would catch up with me) So this week I am mixing & matching & sewing something new. The best part of making my own costume is that I can make alterations with safety pins and it doesn't matter because I won't be wearing it but once. I am not so much on hidden seams and perfection, which makes my Grandma sad because she is a seamstress of the First Order.

Now, a complete change of subject.

I decided that in this year of "more, better", I was going to be more expressive of my gratitude. To that end, I have started composing thank you letters to people who have inspired me. I don't expect letters in return, but I figured that they would never know that their actions have caused good things if nobody tells them.

Your mission for this week: Go out and tell somebody you appreciate them.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The oven repair guy cometh

On Thursday the oven repair man is coming to FIX MY OVEN. I am so excited I can barely sit still. Our oven ceased working in JUNE and we have managed to do without until now. But I am hosting Thanksgiving for 15 people and I don't think they would be amused by microwave dinners, even if I wrapped myself in foil and declared it "Thanksgiving From The Future". Aaron won't care so long as he gets his traditional Thanksgiving Burrito. (But that is a story for another time)

So, YES! Oven Repair Guy! I thought about drafting an open letter declaring my love for him, but then I realized it's not just oven repair guys. It's plumbers and mechanics and handymen everywhere.

I LOVE Men Who Can Fix Things.

Growing up, my Dad was fairly handy. As it turns out, his Dad was handy too (mechanic in WWII kind of handy). I always thought: one day, I'll be able to fix stuff like that.

As it turns out, I can handle basic repairs.(woo! go me!) I fixed a leaky sink, unclogged a bathtub, patched holes in walls, that sort of thing.
But anything requiring sheer muscle is beyond me. I am 5'3" on a good day and leverage only works so far.

Enter Men Who Can Fix Things! (They are like Superman, minus the muscles and wearing their underwear on the outside. And really, that should have been a clue that he was from another planet...or mentally unstable.) For a fee they can unstick the stuck, rewire the frazzled, and help me BAKE again.

By this time next week I expect to be up to my elbows in cookies, muffins, sweet and savory breads. I will make lasagna and calzones and roasted veg. I can stuff my face full of homemade deliciousness and it's all thanks to the OVEN REPAIR GUY.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Things you should know

Before having kids, consider the following:

It is very probable that you will be at the house of someone you greatly admire and one of your children will put a hole in their wall.

If you can survive deathly levels of embarrassment, then you are very nearly ready to procreate.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sublimating my sorrow.

Today is a day of mixed emotions. I call these "mixed bag days".

On the one hand, I am glad to be home after a week-long, 2,000 mile road trip with the kids. I am glad to see our pets and our friends again. I am glad that Nature got the message and is behaving like Fall.

On the other hand, I am sad to once again be 700 miles away from family. I am sad to say good bye to dear friends of ours who are moving South in hopes of a more rural, easier life.

So to deal with the way I feel, I am cooking. I have made a large pot of red meat sauce with onions and garlic and carrots and bay and marjoram. Tomorrow, I will make gingerbread waffles and fill the house with the smells of fall. I will make Spanish Braised Spinach and White bean soup and fill our bellies with seasonal foods.

Until the children are in bed and I can get up to my elbows in paint and clay, I will be in the kitchen. Food and art are how I process, how I cope, and how I commemorate the joys and sorrows that make up our days.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The whirring hum


Our computer is slowly, but surely, dying.

Which means that instead of uploading pictures, I am backing up 3 years worth of files and photos.

The last time our computer died, I promised myself that next time I would stay on top of the backing up. It would totally happen every month.

Turns out, if I don't write stuff down I forget to do it.

So while I limp this little machine along, we will be posting picture-free for a while. Sorry 'bout that.

The kids are back in school and oh my silence! 2 hours every day where I can do nothing. I have been up to my eyeballs in Getting Shit Done, but I at some point I plan on doing some champion style butt-sitting.

Last week, I read 2 books, worked 4 days at the shop, cleaned out Adrian's room (2 bags of trash and 2 bags of donate-ables), cleaned out Fiona's room (1 bag of each), cleaned out the basement (2 bags of trash--dried out markers/used up pipe cleaners/tiny scraps of paper/broken toys), did my homework (taking an online class on surface design on fabric), and taught a class on making floral jewelry with polymer clay.

This week my mom is coming for a visit, I am working 3 days, and getting the kids ready for our crazy ass road trip. When we return home from our 10 days of travel we will have gone 1935 miles. I am planning games and activities and hoping I don't have to sit wedged in between the 2 of them in the back seat. Because we travel old school: no individual DVD players. No namby-pamby living room on wheels. My mother loves to tell the stories of her childhood family trips from Alabama to Wisconsin with 2 adults and 5 kids wedged into a station wagon with no A/C. I figure if Grandma could do it with 5 and no air I can do it with 2 and no DVD player.
Besides how else can they enjoy the change of the terrain if they never look out the window? How can we make up stories about travelling circuses and cloud farmers if they are tied up in a movie of someone else's making?

Pray for me, ok? If I survive there will be photos and epic posts.
We leave in 11 days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the Earth moved

We in North America seem to be getting a bit of seismic activity these days. Yesterday's earthquake prompted my friend Kym to say: Be nice! We only have 15 months left!

But instead of looking forward, the earthquake had me looking backwards. I was thinking of the last time the East Coast shook and the phone lines were down and I couldn't get in touch with my parents*. That was September 11, 2001.

It was the events of September 11 that led me to reconnect with Aaron. We had fallen out of touch when we had both started dating people who were geographically closer. He was at school in New York and I was at school in Roanoke, VA. That's a distance of 500 miles, which is a long way to travel without a car and without money for trains/buses/airplanes.

It was our mutual friend who suggested that I send him an email because at that time he was stationed in Kuwait. A lengthy correspondence between us followed, along with visits once he returned stateside. I made the decision to get a job in the state where he was stationed so that we could be closer and see if this relationship was going to be forever or just for now. (Side note: my dad thought I was crazy, but still drove 1,230 miles in two days in a moving van to get me where I had to go) That was in October of 2002. This October will mark our 8th year as a married couple.

Maybe that's why I love hearing how married people met. Maybe that's why I see tragedy as a catalyst for change.

*My parents are fine, by the way. My dad got a half day off work and was pretty pleased.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Back from Bama

I came home.
I have to say that travel by oneself is a horse of a different color. On the way there, I kept having brief moments where I would frantically look for the children before remembering that they were at their grandparents house.
I got to visit with family, drive around the city, go to the Birmingham Museum of Art (twice), and sleep in EVERY SINGLE DAY. There was a lot of good food, a lot of good memories, and a lot of fun. It was hard to come home--I wanted to call Aaron and have him just pack the house & the kids up and move on down. Here are my cousin and my Aunt--this is the cousin that came to visit back in June.

This is my great grandmother's house (technically it's somebody else's house now). My Nana's brother built it for his mother. (His house is on one side and Nana's sister's house is on the other).

Kelsey took me to Orr Park in Montevallo to show me the trees that had been carved by a local artisan. They are all along the foot path: faces, dragons, unicorns, llamas, wizards. It was fun to scout them out.

This is Aunt Carmela, myself, and my other cousin Andrea. We were waiting on a table at Joe's Italian. The food was yummy and I loved that the propritors know Aunt Carmela because she eats there so frequently.

And on our way to the airport we made a stop by the Peanut Depot--where you can get 'em roasted or boiled.

That's the abbreviated version of my adventure. I thought I should fill you in before I got distracted and moved on to something else.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Three more days until I am on a plane bound south for a solo long weekend. I am so excited I could spit.
Relax, I have a no spitting in the house rule. (add THAT to the long list of things I never thought I'd have to make rules about. It should go between putting peanut butter on the dog and testing your gag reflex)

The kids will be on Holiday at the in-laws (thanks, guys!) starting Thursday--or tomorrow's tomorrow as we have dubbed it. Adrian informed me that holiday at Nana and Papa's is "out of control" and that it has "changed a lot since the last time you went, Mom". It's always so funny to hear these little old man phrases come out of his scrawny 6 year old frame.

This afternoon Adrian was playing with his Star Wars Lego set, which provided Fiona ample opportunities to use my favorite mispronunciation OF ALL TIME. Are you familiar with C3PO? Do you recall his little blue and white beeping buddy? According to Fiona, this guy's name is:
R- TootyToot.
It gets me EVERY TIME.

But back to me! Because really, I can talk about me all day (if by all day you mean for 15 minutes).

I will be flying to Birmingham, AL to stay with Aunt Carmela (one of my favorite people of all time in the whole universe). While there I get to see my cousins Kelsey and Katherine (man, what is it with this family and names that start with K?). I imagine food and wine and sleeping in past sunrise.

And I am going to try very very hard not to think about how "out of control" the kids holiday could possibly be.

Friday, July 22, 2011

At last

It rained today. A beautiful drenching rain that lasted a good 45 minutes and dropped the temperature to a lovely, bearable 80 degrees.

If you live in the United States, you'll know about how hideously, unbearably hot the past week has been. We keep our air conditioning at 78 degrees and it has felt like an ice box.

When we turn the air on you can be assured of 2 things: the outdoor temps are above 90 degrees, and we have turned it on to keep the children's brains from cooking in their skulls. I don't know if it is just my children or if it is ALL children, but the heat makes them grumpy and genuinely unpleasant to be around.

My patience has been wearing thin as we are on week 7 of summer break, and I simply will not put up with the bickering that comes from bored children. I banish them to the back yard or to their rooms. It's either banishment for them or a cocktail for me...

I'm not opposed to cocktails, but I do believe getting soused at noon would hinder my ability to make it to work on time...or even at all, really.

I keep telling myself that absolutely I will hit my second wind of the summer and have the drive to take the kids places (like hiking in the forest preserve! or to the water park!). But my new routine has me staying in my pajamas until I shower for 2 pm. I have lost my will to GET THINGS DONE (beyond the basic necessary housekeeping duties).

Yesterday we went to Toys R Us (to spend gift cards from Christmastime) and then to Trader Joe's. I felt like we had been to the moon and back. Tomorrow is the farmer's market. I LOVE the farmer's market, but we haven't been in weeks due to my new pajama habit.

Maybe the break in the weather will be the motivation for me...that and my FAILED squash.

I was all excited for the teeny tiny baby squash that were appearing in the vine in the garden. When I went to check them this morning, they were yellowed and shrivelled.

Dear Squash,

Due to the unsatisfactory nature of our relationship, I believe it is past high time we gave up the charade. In short, it is not me. It is you.

I quit you.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

i'm a bit, what's the word?

I am forgetful. Or perhaps it's just that I have eschewed my list-making for the summer. Without lists I have discovered the sieve-like qualities of my own brain. Tell me all your secrets now, because I can guarantee them forgotten by next week.

(for those of you who just come for the photos, skip to the end)

So a few posts back I mentioned going for an MRI.
I did go for one, and I felt ridiculous laying on a table with my breasts in a hole. Then I got the results of my MRI: your cyst is benign! We don't know what's causing your symptoms. Here's our bill!

I personally feel like I shouldn't have to pay my bills until I get a proper diagnosis. "Sometimes that just happens" is not a diagnosis. Western medicine can be a little silly at times.

I have been out in the garden every morning, talking to the plants, begging the plants, PLEADING with them to produce food. The bush beans are awesome and happy to oblige. The strawberries are coming around to my charms. The squash remain resolute and will give me only blossoms.

I am counting down the days until my next big adventure. There are nine. The kids will be going to the in-laws for their annual summer holiday and I will be going to Birmingham to visit with my Aunt & cousin, and get Nana's house prepped for the estate sale. Do you know what this means?! Do you?! FIVE WHOLE DAYS of adult company. FIVE WHOLE DAYS without refereeing fights, reminding people to wash hands, and preparing balanced meals. I plan to subsist on beef jerky and red wine. Not really. But I could if I wanted to.

And now I have to get ready for work.

Adrian and Rhianna

Fiona with her birthday cake and princess dress.
That's pretty much what I look like every time I try to dress up.

Friday, July 08, 2011

So far behind...

Hello all!
We have returned from our trip to Washington DC to visit my parents (and brother and friends). One night at dinner Fiona turned to my dad and said: Papa D, you're a funny old goat. (I very nearly shot tabbouleh out of my nose)
As I left my camera sitting at home I do not have a single picture. Half depressing, half oh well.
We saw museums (LOVE LOVE LOVE The National Museum of The American Indian), fireworks, and splashed in the pool.
My mom and I dreamed up a farmy future in the wilds of Maryland with bees and chickens and sheep. (Somewhere in there I'll have time for tattooing, too)
I have brought the laid-back flow of vacation home with me, which is both good and bad.
It has resulted in bypassing trips for groceries for time spent in the garden* and laying around with iced tea for time spent making art.
I suppose I could start anew next is Friday already, after all.

I hope that July is treating you well!

*there is a disturbing lack of insects of all kinds, from bees to lady bugs to butterflies. It makes me want to track down whomever is using pesticides and tell them to KNOCK IT OFF. I have resorted to pollinating my squash plants with a paintbrush.
Suburbia is quickly losing it's charm.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6 days until Security Theater!

Six days until the mini humans & I board an airplane in Chicago and touch down in Washington, D.C.
I am STOKED. I love the East Coast. In a wholly non-sexual, but totally high-school-crush kind of a way. I have found that I naturally orient myself to large bodies of water (see? part bird), and the few years I spent living in Oklahoma I was known to get hopelessly lost DESPITE the fact that all the streets there run North-South and East-West. Being near the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay and oh yes The Atlantic Ocean makes me a happy girl deep in my bones. Also, it's hard not to geek out about a place that has a million and one different ethnicities and restaurants and super creative people who also happen to be friends of mine.

Also, I will get to visit the lovely Nessa and her new bairn.

The kids are split in their enthusiasm. Adrian LOVES travel and adventure (just don't ask him to try any new foods). Fiona craves routine and familiarity, but she does pretty well as long as Adrian is there. She keeps telling me she is NOT getting on an airplane. I plan to bribe her with foodstuffs and Sesame Street pod casts. (who knew monsters were so tech savvy?)

On Monday I had my MRI. Since it was for my breasts, I had to lay on my stomach for an hour with my boobs in a hole. It was really difficult not to laugh about the absurdity of the arrangement. Now I wait (more waiting--awesome) to hear from the surgeon and see what the next step is.

I have 4 days of work, a BBQ, watching some neighbor kids, and I am supposed to try & get into the city to see a friend who is there for a conference.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So my last post does indeed look like I was sitting on my keyboard.
It was in actuality a rant about having to be in the basement for 5 hours with a wet/dry vac as the torrential rain was pushing water up the standpipe. (SERIOUSLY, how are we ever going to sell this house?!)

But it was sent from my phone, which translated the whole thing into a Yosemite Sam style rant. And after I talked to my neighbor, who came home to 2 FEET of water in his basement, I am just going to sit down & shut up. He has lived in that house for 21 years and has NEVER had that problem before. But in the past 3 years we have experienced 2 50-year flood events and 1 100-year flood event. (But the weather is fine. There's no global warming*)

Back to selling the house: Not this year, or even in the next 5 years. In all likelihood, not until Fiona graduates high school (2025). Because I really like Tinley Park, and the schools, and the proximity to Chicago. However the winters here turn me into the saddest panda in the bamboo forest.

Last week my cousin was here from Birmingham (Alabama) and we went into the city to the Art Institute. It was glorious and magnificent and I had forgotten how much I love the city. All cities, really. They have this wonderful character & life of their own. And Chicago has so much that I haven't seen, so there's no way we can move away just yet.

*just another bee in my bonnet. I won't go into detail here, suffice it to say that I work in an environment where a lot of people come through clinging to their ignorance as though it was a shield.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

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Friday, June 03, 2011

Answers to questions!

Question 1: Why are you having an MRI?

Answer: Because I have a cyst in my right breast. Before the biopsy, the surgeon wants to make sure there is only the one cyst in the one area. I will take an MRI over exploratory surgery any day. Providing the nurse can properly install an IV line.

Question 2: Why do you love June so much?

Answer: Because it is the start of summer! The farmer's market re-opens, the peonies bloom (and they are my absolute favorite flower of all time, ever), the plants that I have set in the garden begin to grow with an alarming speed. The butterflies and birds are returned and about their business. The weather warms and we can again hang up our coats and slip on summer shoes. We can go swimming outside!FIONA'S BIRTHDAY IS IN JUNE. And she is an amazing person. She is a joy to be around and watching her grow is wonderful. And this June in particular is awesome because I will be visited by my cousin, my little sister, and the kids and I are FLYING TO DC to see my parents (and the 4th of July fireworks).

Question 3: where have you been?

Answer: In the real world, away from the computer. I may return more regularly, I may not. I haven't decided yet. My next MRI is scheduled for June 13.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things at which I am bad

1. Sports. I am uncoordinated and have the attention span of a mildly concussed kitten.

2. Houseplants. Seriously, they cry when they hear me coming. I can't keep plants alive indoors for very long. Although my mushrooms are doing really well! (So i can grow fungus, but not plants...)

3. Getting IVs. Yesterday I had to go for an MRI but never made it to the actual MRI because I passed out while the nurse was trying to get the IV in. I have sneaky veins, and she was rolling the needle around under my skin and I checked out. I don't know what it's like for you when you faint, but for me it's a trip to instant dreamland. Then when I came to there were all these strange faces around me....and I threw up for 2 hours. It was no good.
They sent me home and I have to reschedule the procedure.

So yesterday was a bust. How was your Wednesday?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hi everybodee

Well, operation clean out is going slower than I anticipated. I probably should have started in January when I was trapped in the house with not much else to do.
I have delivered 2 trunk loads of stuff to Goodwill and 1 to a friend (who has a friend expecting a baby). I have thrown things away! I am compiling another trunk load of unused toys and clothes I no longer wear.

But in the midst of that frenzy, the weather turned nice. It stopped raining (after 16 consecutive days), and I started prepping for outside time. Weeding, turning over compost, starting seeds, watching my bees (they are doing great!), ordering LOTS of dirt...

And I have been working more, in anticipation of the month of June (which is going to be full of awesome) when I am going to take a huge chunk of time off for house guests and vacation. And lounging poolside...anybody got a pool they want to loan me?

How was your Mothers Day? Mine was pretty awesome. Aaron got some stuff done for me in the yard (yay!) and I got a new (slightly intimidating) sewing machine. Thus far I have opened the box and read the manual.

Art has taken a bit of a backseat--it's hard to sit in the basement studio when I know the weather outside is full of gorgeous.

And that's all the news that's fit to print.

Stay fabulous!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So after returning home from Birmingham, I had a small bee in my bonnet. We are surrounded, nay overwhelmed, by all of the things in this house.
And then I read this blog post over at Clean.

It's easy enough to stand in the midst of a messy child's room and yell "I've had enough!"
And have your husband yell "me too!" and formulate a plan to lessen the stuff burden, but then I started to look at MY stuff.

I have a lot of stuff. Books, Art supplies, clothes, shoes, movies...

So last week, I sorted out my cookbooks. I asked myself: If the house burned down & I lost everything, which of these would I replace?
I kept those & ditched the rest.
Next week will be the bedroom closet. Out will go the too small, too big, unfinished, and things that make me go "enh".

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some thoughts

I have not been posting because I am trying to come to terms with the death of my grandmother, whom we called Nana. She lived a life that spanned nearly a century. Woodrow Wilson was President when she was born in Morgan City, Louisiana. Barack Obama was President when she died in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a pioneer in her time, running the accounting for 2 businesses when most women were expected to be only wives and mothers. She was strong-willed, courageous, and possessed a perseverence that seems mind-boggling by today's standards. She survived and thrived despite all that life through at her. And she left an amazing legacy: us. Her family.
March 25, the morning she passed, I woke at 5:00 am knowing that I would be receiving a phone call that morning. At 7 am my father called to let me know she had gone.

When Aaron arrived home from work we began the task of planning our departure for Birmingham, a 680 mile journey from where we currently live. I packed bags, called pet & house sitters, I called off work, and made sure that neighbors kept an eye on the house. I baked a batch of Nana's tea biscuits for Dad.

Aaron drove the whole way down while the kids & I slept in the car. We arrived in Birmingham at 6:30 AM and ate breakfast.
We arrived at Nana's house at 7AM where my parents & brother were staying. The next 3 days were filled with family and mourning and laughter. My kids got to meet their cousins for the first time. We filled Nana's house with the things she loved most: family and friends.

I think it was a fitting tribute to a woman who listed "parties" at the top of her "Things I like" list. Now I am still coming to terms with the Nana-shaped hole in my universe. She was a puzzle that I don't think I will ever entirely understand--and that is what makes me saddest above all.

We visited in 2002, and she said something to me that I have written down, repeated, and carried with me:

Never forget who you are.

Never forget that you are loved.

Thank you, Nana.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Taste of Spring

The sturdy leaves of bulbs are poking through the grass, the compost is thawing, and the birds are flitting around building nests.
It's 66 degrees outside! The windows are open and EVERYTHING is blowing around b/c the wind is moving at 21 miles per hour. That's enough to make a creaky moan when it gusts through the window.
Tomorrow is set to be rainy and 52 degrees. I will be baking cookies (to celebrate getting over the headcold that laid me low) and tattooing for 8 hours. Whoop!

It's nice to have a job that makes you smile.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There comes a time...

In every parent's life when you have to put your foot down.

I might as well never take them off the floor, I have so many strong opinons on so many things--it's hard to get all my baggage up in the morning.

But this post is about TELEVISON (If TV is your best friend & you can't imagine life without it, turn away now) and the crazy crap it brings into our homes.
Serial killers? on at least 4 different channels. More if you have cable.
Mysogynistic music videos? Plenty of those.
General cruelties that only humans can inflict upon each other because animals aren't that imaginative? In SPADES.

So I have limited the "appropriate" TV channels to 2. PBS and Disney.
And do you know what I have learned?
I don't like Disney.

I liked the movies growing up, but viewed from this angle they seem to have some pretty heavy ideas regarding gender roles and occupations.
I don't know about you, but last time I scoured the want ads nobody was looking to hire a "Princess". (Actual EMPLOYMENT, not partners in kinky sex escapades)

From watching the line up of Disney shows, it is clear that the scripts aren't written by people with impressionable children in their homes. Many of the plotlines involve hiding things from Mom and Dad. Awesome. Let's implant THAT idea into the heads of America's youth. How about we focus on the virtues of resourcefulness & honesty & creativity?

Maybe this is why my parents house only had 1 TV and no cable.

Well done, Mom & Dad.

We have blocked a number of "kid" channels, and have set timers on how long the TV can be on. I know it's winter & it's cold outside, but eeesh. Adrian asks for new toys all the time & I am not inclined to get him any if he's not going to use the ones he's got. We have art supplies, a dress-up bin to kill for, toys, and books. He has more than enough to keep him occupied.

Spring Break is the last week of March. And it's going to be very nearly TV free.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A confession

I don't know if this makes me a closet hippie, or if it's just an outward manifestation of my own personal religious beliefs, but every time I hear Joel Salatin speak I find myself yelling "yeah!" and "that's right!". And then I take my hypocritical bottom to the store and buy whatever produce is on sale.
I don't know if you've noticed, but it's February. Which means that the produce is mostly from last season, has been sitting in a chill chest and is quite frankly disappointing beyond words.

To that end, I have decided to sign us up for a CSA. That's Community Supported Agriculture, friends.

I have researched my options (thanks, interwebs!) and I have narrowed it down to a CSA that delivers to a place about 10 minutes from my front door. This particular CSA allows you to buy SEASONAL shares, so I will be signing up for spring & fall, and still enjoying my local farmer's market in the summer. They also have eggs. From chickens raised like chickens and not like robots. I am really excited to be partaking in a system that supports local business people, heals the earth, and puts healthy food on my table.
(But I am still shaving my armpits, which should disqualify me from full hippie status)

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's 18 degrees.
While walking to school this morning, Adrian says: wow! It's so warm out, I can smell spring coming!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

last week

Last week it snowed a bit. The official total was 20 inches, but with the drifts (and my aversion to the cold) I didn't venture out to measure.
Adrian was able to go out and tromp around a bit, thanks to his snowshoes. I made snowshoes for Fiona but she didn't grasp the marching-instead-of-walking aspect and wound up tangled & frustrated. She tried to navigate the snow, but it was nearly waist-deep and gave up.
We baked and made valentines. On Blizzard Night we lost power for 6 hours. The house was remarkable at staying warm. I suspect if the wind had not been blowing at 45 MPH it would have stayed warm for quite a while.

The dog was baffled, but has since overcome her distaste and is using Adrian's snowshoe trails to circumnavigate the yard.

And Fiona helped in the kitchen. I love the enthusiasm of little people when it comes to preparing foodstuffs.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

To get around in the snowy blizzard, Fiona says we need a giant squirrel wearing snow shoes to ride on.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's nearly February...

It's that time of year again...when Old Man Winter throws his worst at us and tries to make us believe that Spring will never, ever come.
In true fashion the weather service is predicting that we will get at least 18 inches of snow, with wind at 35 mph. Say it with me boys and girls: BLIZZARD WATCH.

So tomorrow, I will trek to the grocers while the kids are in school & pick up extra foodstuffs and extra art supplies. If they call off school (unlikely) then I will have 2 extra sets of hands to help with holiday decorating. While the rest of the neighborhood is festooning their house with pink and red in anticipation of Valentine's Day, we will be decorating with chocolate browns, pale greens and yellows. We are preparing to celebrate Imbolc!

Imbolc is the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. We celebrate the lengthening days, the seeds beginning their slow unfolding, the return of the migratory birds. We celebrate the end of the long darkness of Winter, and welcome the slow return of Spring.

This holiday I like to share with the kids the secret of the earth under Winter's thick blanket of white--we eat foods with surprises inside: pigs in blankets, small fruit pies, crescents with chocolate inside. We look through seed catalogues and talk about how gorgeous the yard will be in Spring. We make birdseed treats for our feathered friends...and our squirrel family that resides in the maple tree out our front door.

Pictures to come....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Checking in...


This is for my Dad, who said "post a blog, already, would ya?!"
Hi Dad!

I am not ignoring you, honest to honesty!
It's just that this year has decided to grab me by the scruff and start running. The past four weekends, in review:
January 1: Mrs P's birthday bash. It was a big party for a big year that ends in zero. And like any big party populated with middle-aged adults, it teetered between rowdy and silly. There were jello shots and there was wii dancing and that's all you need to know.
January 7 & 8: Kyle Cassidy was here, photographing veterans for his book, War Paint.
January 15 & 16: Took the kids to a Children's production of Cinderella on Saturday, had scouts on Sunday.
January 22 & 23: I worked Saturday and spent Sunday in my jammies.

Not to mention that I am now working at the tattoo shop Tuesday-Friday and 2 Saturdays a month, volunteering in Adrian's classroom on Tuesdays, arranging a group art show, and still trying to do the art-a-day challenge.
The next 3 weekends look equally busy and I think my next weekend off is the 2nd weekend in March.

The kids are good...Fiona is recovering from her first ever ear infection. Adrian is in need of warm weather and wide open spaces--all that boy wants to do is run & jump & climb.

Monday, January 03, 2011


No one can ruin your day without your permission.

Translates into:

I do not give you permission to __________ (use that tone of voice/pinch your brother/yell at your sister). Go to your room until you are ready to apologize.

(So much LESS yelling on my part. So much MORE listening on theirs.)

It's like magic.