17 December 2007

indeed it is

I was thinking about this earlier today and it made me happy. I let go of all that I am holding onto so tightly, all the self-imposed deadlines and expectations, all the anxiety. all of it floated right out of my body and up into an infinite grey sky. they are hovering now. somewhere over lake michigan, I think.

because really, it's the thought.

14 December 2007

mad skills

somewhere along the way, ezra got it in his head to make penguin robots. but with foil and little paper umbrellas.

really, I just want a mind that works like that.

13 December 2007

am now officially

37 (as of a couple of days ago, that is). I wish I could say that it was a magic-filled day but it was sort of... not. more like a series of small fiascos, many of which I am already laughing about. not so funny as the day was unfolding, but then I have always had such unrealistic expectations when it comes to birthdays.

unpleasantness to avoid next year (if at all possible):

1. multiple temper tantrums thrown by ezra (or anyone, for that matter).

2. coffee houses where wireless internet cannot be counted on to work properly.

3. entire mornings spent driving all over the place in the car.

4. thrifting while angry. one should never thrift while angry. because I'll tell you, no one wins. you won't find one single thing worth buying and then you will have spent this huge chunk of time there and you will feel like you've got to come away with something to show for it and when you can't find anything, not even ONE THING, the shop (and its entire contents) will begin to look monumentally depressing. you will feel overwhelmed by the amount of crap in the world and how driven we are as a culture to consume. this will make you feel sad. and then you will begin to feel sluggish. this is so not how you want to feel while thrifting. most importantly, not how you want to feel on your birthday.

5. ruined batches of frosting. that's right, I screwed up the frosting for the red velvet cake I bake each year. and I never do that, never never never. my cake is a little bit of perfection each year, no lie. but I was talking on the phone and I wasn't paying full attention and added two sticks of butter to the bowl instead of one and all the time I was mixing it, I was thinking, why does this taste so salty? and then when I finished icing the cake, I wondered why there was so much frosting left. which is when it occurred to me that maybe I'd messed it up somewhere along the way. which is exactly what happened. but the frosting was already on the cake and we were set to leave for dinner in a matter of minutes. what could I do? making the frosting is sort of a big ordeal that requires carefully cooking milk and flour together at just the right temperature and allowing just the right amount of time for it to cool before adding it to the creamed butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. later on that evening as we were eating the cake, ava told me that the frosting 'sort of kind of made her feel achy inside'. well, okay then. enough to make me want to scrape that icing right off the cake and start all over again. because I only make this stinking cake once a year and I sure don't want it to make anyone feel all 'achy inside'.

6. mail that contains bad news.

7. children that cry all the way through the singing of the happy birthday song, the blowing out of the candles, and the eating of the cake. actually, ezra started in with the crying and whining shortly after dinner when he realized it was not, in fact, his birthday and that there would be no robot cake. even though we'd been telling him this all day long. he cried big fat sloppy tears and begged us to please bring out the robot cake and let me tell you, it is a difficult thing to blow out the candles and make any sort of wish when your child is crying like that. it was then that I decided to call it a night, to put the day out of its misery. I said goodnight and got into bed and that was that. asleep by ten o'clock. which is really a big deal for me since I am rarely in bed before midnight. I don't even remember putting pajamas on. I just wanted the day to be over.

well, okay. I know, nothing really along the lines of major disaster. just a string of unpleasantness that made for a less than desirable birthday. that said, I do realize how fortunate I am, I do. I am somewhere beyond thankful for the life that I have and would not trade it for anything, ever. this must be said, lest I be mistaken for someone who is not in love with her life. and even though the day did not play out as I'd imagined, there were many moments of shinyhappy. now that I think about it, now that I've really had time to think about it-- I think maybe the good outweighs the bad. and I'm feeling a little silly about how much I've yammered on about the bad.

pleasantness to be duplicated (in some way, shape or form) for next year:

1. donuts with chocolate icing and sprinkles for breakfast.

2. coffee houses that play james brown in the morning.

3. handmade cards from the kids.

4. the buying of presents for yourself (in this case, vintage ribbon that will be sewn onto a camera strap) with money sent to you by your mom and dad (thank you). and the dreaming of what books you might buy with that certain gift card (thank you, you know who you are).

5. phone calls from family and friends. and brothers who call while they're walking on the street so that you can hear the sound of city in the background, the sound of cars and horns and sirens, the sounds of new york. brothers who attempt to cheer you up with free-style raps that last for two whole blocks of walking. which is the kind of thing that makes you want to smother your cel phone with gratitude.

6. handmade gifts from friends.

7. hand-drawn certificates from your better half.

8. dinner with the mister at places like lovely hula hands. tiny candlelit tables by windows that overlook the street below, lemony sugary drinks like the lovely hula hoop, foccacia bread that melts in your mouth, polenta to die for and uninterrupted conversation. and friends that babysit your kids. even when it's a school night and they have two kids of their own to take care of (amy and craig, thank you so much).

9. paperwhites that wait until your birthday to bloom. each day I've been watching, eagerly anticipating the first bloom and then the little guy went and opened up on my birthday.

10. red velvet cake, even when it's ruined.

okay, so yes. the good far outweighed the bad, I can see that now. thank you to all who have gone to any trouble to make my birthday a little bit magic and who put up with my whining. you know that I love you for it.

oh yes, and the list. the old list has been reviewed and the new list is coming. I am beginning to warm up to 37, I really am.

07 December 2007

photobooth friday

photobooth friday

I am remembering how much I loved to wear pink and grey together, how much I loved strawberry-flavored lip gloss and esprit muscle tees. well, and cassette tapes. and the go-go's. also, I thought my cousin kristy was the coolest girl ever. she taught me things like how to get all the conditioner out of your hair. you rinse until the strands run squeaky between your fingers. I never knew that, not at age twelve. and to think of the time I spent walking around with limp hair. which is no good because, as you know, hair is very important. I'd been walking around with a head of hair coated with the remains of alberta V05 creme rinse until cousin kristy schooled me in the ways of proper hair conditioner removal. I swear, the source of all my most treasured beauty secrets can be traced back to cousin kristy-- afternoons spent eyeshadow-blending and hair-curling and leg-shaving and accessory-mixing. kristy, I am still putting good use to the knowledge you so generously (and patiently) imparted years and years ago. by the way, 1982 was not 25 years ago. I am choosing not to believe that it was 25 whole years ago because the very thought makes me feel as ancient as the abacus and I always said I wouldn't be one of those women who sits around and talks about how ancient they feel. but here I am, sitting around talking about how ancient I feel.

then ava participated in spirit week at school about a month or so ago. you know, crazy hair day, hat and sunglasses day, decades day, that sort of thing. eighties, I cried! we've got to go eighties for decade day, ava! and she questioned this until she saw the contents of my big junior high box: capezio leg warmers, thick stacks of 45's, rainbow stickers, heart-shaped sunglasses, assorted pins, fingerless black lace gloves. we tore into that box and I was wild with delight. and I was twelve all over again.

I am somewhere between 12 and 37. never have I felt so conflicted about an impending birthday, never have I wanted to halt time like I do now. I find myself questioning almost everything. I am feeling awkward and insecure when I should be feeling something more akin to radiance. I am wishing for the ridiculous and I know it. all the same, I am wishing.

for you to peruse:

second spring
the 10 cent designer
pinky doll
that bee girl
the lulubird
daniel minnick
doctora boop
lily of the valley
dreamer girl

04 December 2007

the power of the gumdrop

all of the sudden, it's december. I kind of forgot how good december can be. the little dark cloud that has been looming surreptitiously over my head is no match for the scent of the fresh-cut christmas tree. the entire house smells like christmas trees. I find myself pinching the ends of the branches until the tips of my fingers are covered with sap. I grind it into the palms of my hands and think up reasons to shake hands with everyone I meet. it seems shameful not to share. that sticky, fragrant gum is impossibly magic. in the same way that charlie brown christmas music and crafts that require gumdrops and toothpicks are.

I have exuberantly jumped headfirst into the christmas season. partially because I'm more than ready to come out from underneath this funk but also because there's some really fantastic stuff going on with my church. I'm telling you, I'm ready to celebrate. I'm ready to throw off the chains and lose myself. normally, it takes me a good two weeks to ease into the season but this year feels different and I am not about to question and/or resist. the tree is up, the decorations have been thoughtfully set out and tonight, we string the lights.

we are also four days into the advent activity countdown, which is something I've always wanted to do with the kids. envelope number three called for the attaching of gumdrops to trees and wreaths, another something I've been wanting to do ever since I saw alicia's post on kiddley last year. I swear to you, the most relaxing holiday craft ever. sinking those tiny toothpicks into the soft sugary bright-colored chunks which then go on to magically transform styrofoam... is enough to make me want to cover all surfaces everywhere with gumdrops.

the list of the good that is and the good to come is a long and lovely one. I think I should like to save some for another day (lest I squander it here carelessly). one thing's for sure: the fog is finally lifting. the little snowpeople have seen to that. they've been quite persuasive.