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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!

Wishing you all a joyous, prosperous, love-filled New Year. May you try and fail at something new. May you get up, dust yourself off and try again - with success. May you love hugely. May you sing loudly and without stage fright. May you listen well and learn something new every day. May your dreams - big and small - come true.

The word to live by this year is DO.

Namaste

Friday, December 28, 2012

These days, I suck at just about everything: a general whine.

I need to get better at this whole blogging thing. Really, I do. I keep telling myself I need to blog, but then I promptly forget about it because my memory is completely shot at the moment (plus, a lamentable lack of iPad made blogging more difficult) Pregnancy hormones are lovely.

Speaking of being pregnant, the Lima Bean is coming along nicely. So nicely, in fact, that I'm measuring a full ten weeks ahead of schedule (per the measuring tape). For those of you wondering - yes, I know when I got pregnant (she was planned). And no, as far as I am aware, I do not have gestational diabetes. What I have is the daughter of a 6'3" baby daddy crammed into the torso of a 5'2 1/2" baby momma. Did I mention that The Boyfriend™ weighed in, at birth, at a whopping 7 1/2 pounds. Normal, sure, but did I mention that he is a TWIN?! His mother is a goddamned hero in my book.

So, I still have about 12 weeks more to go before the Lima Bean makes her external debut, and I am most definitely third trimester miserable. I can't sleep. I have no appetite (which explains the weight loss). I have a constant restless leg. Whine, whine, whine.

All of this grousing is to explain why I suck at everything lately. Frankly, I don't have the energy to do much more than attempt to not fall asleep at my desk at work. As much elving as I wanted to accomplish this Christmas, I managed only to get things made for my grandmothers (including self-publishing my first book. Life list item - check!).  But the trolls, The Boyfriend™ and I were thoroughly spoiled this year and it was a good, family filled holiday. I'm still kinda blissed out on it all (and trying to justify leaving our tree up til some time this summer).

My little internal rapscallion will have to forgive an unusual high amount of caffeine intake for the next few weeks, as we slowly transform the studio into a studio/playroom and turn the playroom into her nursery. There's still so much to do and so little time to get it all done. Maybe I should just learn to make peace with being a slacker.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

On the Connecticut Shooting

Like most of us, I was horrified to learn of the events in Connecticut that transpired yesterday. I went from horrified to heartbroken pretty quickly  - I'm sure like most of us -- when I learned that most of those killed were so very, very young.

This event further underscores the need for gun control in this country; to address mental health issues in an open and candid manner; to minimize the amount of violence our children are exposed to through electronic media.

...But now is not the time for these discussions. Soon, but not now. Now, it's time to hug our children a bit tighter. to make sure that we say "I love you" an extra time. To be grateful for every single minute that we have with these precious beings who still have so much potential and life to live, when some of their peers no longer have that option and whose parents don't have the option of one more kiss or snuggle.

My heart breaks for those parents. I can't even begin to fathom the magnitude of their suffering. No parent should ever have to bury their child, but most especially not for this reason. No parent should ever have to wish they had one more minute to hug their little ones, or to say "I love you."

There is nothing I, a complete stranger, can say to bring an iota of comfort or solace now. I wish I could -- as I'm sure most of us do -- make yesterday un-done and have those little ones back in their parents' arms, safe and alive.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Now that's more like it

I just had to open all the open-able windows in my house because my kitchen is filled with smoke. Since our house has an open floor plan, the whole house is actually filled with smoke. This is the sign of something tasty about to come out of my kitchen in about four to five hours.

I started cooking for the week on Sundays, a few weeks back, in an effort to get supper on the table sometime before 8:30 at night. Cooking for the week also gives the trolls options for supper - they can have whatever they want, so long as it's something that's already made. Cooking for the week can be a challenge, because you want to make something that reheats well, so things you want crispy... Well, sorry. Not gonna happen (unless it's Sunday night supper).

Like all of my good intentions, though, things happened and I fell off the "being prepared" wagon for a bit. Of course I chose Thanksgiving week to get back in the saddle. So, we're having ethnic food this week: Moroccan Cubanos and Pasta Rustica. The fat content notwithstanding, these are super healthy meals - especially when paired with a nice salad or steamed vegetable (the Cubanos have pickled veggies included). And being healthy is not something I've been terribly good at these days.

And so I return to my scrubbed-top-to-bottom kitchen (there's just something about a super clean kitchen that makes me want to get in there and cook) to bring healthy and delicious meals back to my family - and just in time for the Lima Bean's taste buds to appear. She'll being enjoying the flavorful combinations, too. This tree huggin mama, with her love of organic and yoga and fresh fruits and veggies has returned. I just hope the boys are ready!

And on that note, while I wait for the pork to roast, I am going to tackle the studio. It's elving season and I anticipate having to spend a LOT of time in there.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

12 Things - The Calling Customer Service Edition

During the latter part of my work week, I had the "good fortune" of revisiting my call center customer service roots. By the end of the day, my voice was ragged and I was exhausted from keeping a smile in my voice. But mostly I was reminded why I abhor working customer service. It isn't that I don't enjoy helping our customers, it's more that people are just... Yeah. I was reminded why I prefer a good book over human interaction any day of the week.

So with that, I bring you a "things to keep in mind when you're calling customer service" friendly reminder.

1) Have your information ready. Nothing is more annoying to a call center rep than having to ferret out an order number, a search or other piece of information because you were too dial happy to have that information handy before you called. You want off the phone faster? Great. I want you off my phone faster, too. Try having your shit together when you call and we can both have what we want.

2) Don't be impatient. See number 1. If I have to play 20 Questions with you because you couldn't be bothered to give me the information I need, you're going to have to live with the consequences.

3) For the love of all that is holy and pure, DO NOT SPELL EVERY WORD. I graduated from high school and remember how to spell "road" and "Smith". If I need clarification, I'll ask for it. Nothing is quite so patronizing as listening to, "It's Mary, M-A-R-Y... Smith... S-M-I-T-H..."

4) Hey, guess what? I'm a person! With feelings! You're frustrated, maybe even angry, I get that. I don't make nearly enough money to be demoralized and cursed at. You'll catch more flies with honey... Just sayin.

5) You know what's worse than having to ferret out information from you? Listening to you eat - right in my ear. I get it. You have a finite period of time to call customer service AND eat your lunch. Don't multitask by doing both. It's rude... Not to mention incredibly disgusting to listen to. I wear an ear piece, so your crunching and lip smacking is amplified. Quit it.

6) Customer service 101 says, "Treat each call as if it were your first." I got news for you, Cupcake. Unless you're calling as soon as I log into my phone, you are NOT my first call. In fact, you're probably the 50th call. I defy you to answer the same damn question 50 times in a row and not be a little irritated.

7) Customer Service 101 also says, "the customer is always right." Actually, no. The customer is usually an asshole. I've been doing this shtick for years and I'm here to tell you, 9 times out of 10 you did something wrong. It's my job to make it sound like you're not an incompetent fucktard and that I'm actually apologizing. That doesn't mean you're not an incompetent fucktard; it just means I'll get fired for calling you one.

8) This one is specific to the information industry: you are using an Internet-based search tool, if you don't know what a browser is, you should not be allowed near a computer. If I have to ask you what the little picture that you click on looks like, you need more help than I can give.

9) The customer service rep does not have the power to credit your entire order. In fact, we're on the front lines to deter you from asking for that. But if you really feel like you need more than $5.00 back, ask for a supervisor - politely and immediately.

10) The last I knew, I was not employed by you. Don't treat me like your personal shopper, secretary, maid or personal IT member. I also don't work for Microsoft, Google, Intel, Mozilla, AOL or Apple. I have to look up the answer to your question the same way you'd have to.

11) As much as I'd like to be able to read minds, I can't. Use all the words, please.

12) Remember, we keep notes in our system on everything from why you called to how much of a prick you were. For all of your complaining about how shitty your customer service experience was, the problem probably started with you... Being a prick.

The bottom line is that being a customer service rep is really a thankless job. In most corporate environments, CSRs are so low down on the totem pole they're overlooked and under thought about. Calls are monitored not so much for quality assistance, but to ensure call quotas and stats. And those stats will determine if the CSR can feed her family next week or if she'll be let go because she couldn't get you off the phone in 180 seconds or less.

Keep that in mind.

Monday, October 29, 2012

To be honest, I wasn't really surprised.

The Lima Bean was cooperative. It's official - we're having a girl!! The Boyfriend™ has been wandering through the house singing, "I'm having a daughter! I'm having a daughter!" and grinning like a school boy whenever he looks at the ultrasound pictures.

As for me, I'm thrilled! But I wasn't surprised to find out that this little one is very, very much a girl. I knew she was a girl from the outset... Even before she had proper sex organs. She is just so vibrantly THERE; her presence palpable and real, it's as if I've known her my whole life. Her spirit is fierce and strong. She will most definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

I'm not the best mother in the world. I swear a lot. I watch TV when I should be hanging with the trolls. I am remiss in helping with homework. I don't make them brush their teeth. But at the end of the day, I am a pretty good mom and I get an A+ when it comes to loving my kids - and I do, fiercely.

The Trolls have already taught me so much that I am only mildly nervous about becoming a mother for the third time. But this little one growing inside of me whispers in her own quiet way (like the trolls did, too, in their own ways) that it will be all right; there's nothing to worry about because we'll get through it together and just fine. It's funny; I think she already senses how much she is already loved, and in that knowledge feels safe and secure.

Now that I'm having my own daughter, I am more thoughtful about my relationship with my mother and the line that is continuing. I look at the women that surround me and I think how lucky this little one is to have such wonderful, strong role models. She's lucky in the same way I was lucky and that is most definitely an inheritance worth passing on.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I need to buy a new coffee maker and other Sunday thoughts

My house is very quiet at the moment. The trolls are with The Ex, The Boyfriend™ is sleeping off the weekend's busyness, and the whole of the world seems very quiet at the moment. In the perfectness of the quiet and temperature of the air, I miss home a bit more than usual right now. Sundays have that effect on me.

Tomorrow, we find out if the Lima Bean will cooperate enough to let us know if she or he is a she or he. The Boyfriend™ will get his first glimpse of his child and get to hear his or her heartbeat live, rather than the recorded version he's heard so far. I'm beyond excited to begin calling this little one by either of the names we've chosen, and to start properly preparing for him or her.

I'll keep you posted and, perhaps, post a picture here for you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My letter to a Christian Nation

Dear Bible Thumpers, Proselyters, Born Agains, et al

Stop calling this a Christian nation. It's not. Really. I know you WANT it to be, but wanting and actually being are two separate things entirely.

Sure, SOME of our founding fathers were Christian. Some of them were quite devout. But the vast majority were at best theists, but were closer to agnostic than anything. I mean, are you familiar with The Jefferson Bible at all? The one were THE WRITER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (and our third president) took out all mention of Christ's divinity because he, y'know, didn't believe that Christ was magical.

Speaking of the Declaration... It doesn't say "and they are endowed by the God of the Bible with certain inalienable rights..." Nope. It says they are endowed by their CREATOR. Semantics, I know, but a valid point nonetheless.

I'm sure I don't need to mention the first amendment of the Bill of Rights... The one that says Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion; or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Are you at all familiar with who the Pilgrims were? Sure they were a Christian lot, but they came here, in large part, to escape religious persecution.

Maryland's founders? You know who they were? Catholics. Escaping persecution from the other colonies.

The Mormon Church wasn't even founded until Joseh Smith started waxing on about gold plates and angels some time in the mid-nineteenth century. Baptists, as we know them, didn't come into being until the mid-nineteenth century, either. In God We Trust wasn't put on our currency until the 1950s (ditto for the "one nation under God" in the pledge). Why? Because of the whole anti-communism thing McCarthy had us in a frenzy about.

I could go on and on, but like in high school history class, I'm sure you already stopped paying attention. But the fact is, this is all FACT. Historical, indisputable, unambiguous FACT. None of it is open to interpretation, it just is what it is.

This is not a Christian nation.

Stop cramming your bible down my throat. Stop insisting that I can only have a relationship with God on your terms. Stop saying your Mary is more valid than my Isis.

I sure as shit will be wishing people Happy Holidays because, you know what? Hanukkah is valid. So is Kwanzaa and whatever Muslim holiday happens to fall during that time.

Because christianity isn't the only valid choice; it's just A choice. What makes this country great is that I have the choice and I don't have to be a Christian.

Friday, October 12, 2012

And then I finally remembered that I don't own a Canon

After three attempts to order a new USB cable for my camera, so I could make with the picture goodness up on here, I finally got the right one. I would lock the cable in a safe or something, but I'd probably just forget what the combination was. Also: it took my a solid 20 seconds to remember the word "combination" (I kept wanting to call it a password).

SO! I finally have pictures for you from my last two visits home. I didn't take nearly as many as I thought I had and, for that, I am very sad. But that's just all the more reason to get my touchis back to Massachusetts -- for good -- so I don't need to take pictures; I'll already be living there.

This is my Uncle. The Trolls call him Gus. I love him so!

The beautiful Connecticut River

Roasting weenies on the campfire

The Trolls, hiking through the creek

SOOC -- mossy rocks and roots

The Boyfriend™ contemplating... the dog, I think?

Barton's Cove, wherein we hunted for dinosaur foot prints

The farm down the road from my nana's. I want some version.

I love these shelves. They're in my Gram's house

The back of downtown Northampton
Really -- there's no place like home. I can't wait to get back there for good!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's really difficult to get into Halloween when it's 90 degrees out

The Nugget and I went costume shopping Friday night. He really wanted to be a wrestler, but I vetoed the idea because that muscle suit? It's practically a snow suit and he won't make it very far sweating his touchis off. Now he's going to be a reaper... And only wear a t-shit and shorts underneath.

Being from Massachusetts, we dress for Halloween in layers - because we never know how cold it's going to be. Some years it's mild, other years it's snowing. I can only remember one Halloween EVER being warm enough to warrant only the meagerest of undergarments; there were quite a few when we needed jackets over our costumes.

In Florida, you pick your costume assuming that it will be hot out. More often than not, you see kids in just masks and in their regular clothes, because anything else would be excruciating. It's bad enough having to walk down street after street of darkened houses, only come to home to find that half your Halloween haul is Jack Chick tracts and pleas to turn away from Satan and turn to Christ; but to have to sweat to get it? That's GITMO level torture.

Halloween and a TRUE autumn are some of the things I miss the most living in Florida. While there's something to be said for being able to comfortably swim in the middle of October (and November... And December), it doesn't make up for the lamentable lack of crisp autumn air and neighbors doling out candy. Halloween marked the beginning of a busy holiday season, days growing shorter and family togetherness. One's internal clock was set by the changing of the seasons: summer clothes swapped out for fall, holiday shopping and meal planning. You don't need a calendar in the north; you can tell the season by the air.

It occurs to me that the trolls need a real Halloween. And as much as I want to get them home now, at least for a visit, it's more important to toil and save to get home for good. I need to work my ass off. I need to make this happen.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

One week later

I went home for a too brief visit last week, to go to my paternal grandmother's (Dottie) family reunion. It was ridiculously good to be home, among family. I was spoiled rotten and catered to - because the LaBarge/Newman/Miller clan believe that pregnant women need to be spoiled. It's no wonder there are so many of us - a girl could get used to that kind of treatment.

My aunt Kathy and I compared many notes about our lives, likes and dislikes. We talked about family. We talked about friends. There was a good deal of sharing - even in the inconsequential stuff. Our bonds were reaffirmed and I felt validated. Here in the Sunshine state, I often get called crazy for loving the rain and complaining about all the sun. As it turns out, that's a family trait.

When Sunday rolled around, and it was time for me to head for points South, I didn't cry, which surprised me (because these days, I cry about everything). I felt more resolved to get home for good. WhenI walked in the door to a sleeping boyfriend and trolls, I was glad for those still packed boxes. We'll move those out to the garage for now, and keep them packed. It's stuff we want to keep, but nothing we're going to need in The next couple of years.

One week later, I miss home utterly. It's taking a great deal of strength not to huddle in a ball and cry about wanting to go home. I have to remind myself that there is work to be done here first. The necessary tilling and planting is happening now, so the harvest of home will await us in just a couple of short years. But I'm impatient and I want it NOW. But going home prepared for that first winter of obscene heating bills, with a nest egg socked away in case employment doesn't happen right away, will make everything better. I don't want to start the way I left home - sort of running away from a daily struggle to keep the lights on and feed the trolls.

I also have to remember to keep the hopes small, in terms of what I want when I get home. Ideally, I want a homestead that we can farm. I want self-resiliency and family under foot. But the monkey will be 15 and less likely to want to be underfoot. The nugget will be 12 and trailing his brother. A homestead may only happen with Lima Bean under foot and the trolls off on their own adventures - but I'm really OK with that. We'll be close to the large nest of family.

In the mean time, my dear friend Meeshka is working on getting her hand crafted pieces into shops around the area. I'm trying to convince her that we should go into business together. I would love nothing more than to have an established business to go home with (and to).

One week later and I am resolved. We WILL be home and soon, and all of this work of planting will bring a mighty harvest.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Diddle, diddle dumping...

For some reason, that rhyme is running through my head right now. Why "with one shoe off and one shoe on..." seems appropriate at the mo I haven't figured out.

We have officially been living in our house for a month now and it still doesn't feel like home. A goodly portion of that reason is because it still seems like my parents' house, and I haven't lived "at home" (aside from a brief return when The Ex broke my heart) since I was seventeen. My independent streak could never abide living with my folks for very long.

The other reason for it not feeling like home is the lamentable lack of art on the walls and the piles of boxes in just about every corner. We really just unpacked what we needed and left the rest for later, which - if truth be told - I don't really mind. The more that's left packed, the less packing I'll have to do when it's time to move back to Massachusetts.

So as I rearrange the kitchen for the third time since moving in, this rhyme runs through my head because I've got one foot in the door and one foot out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lesbian Porn (and other blog titles that are sure to drive traffic to my blog)

There comes a point in every mother's life - especially the mothers of pubescent boys - where she has to say the following things:

"I am no longer comfortable sitting on your bed" and

"You are now doing your own laundry".

I'll give you three guesses about what I discovered in The Monkey's Internet browsing history....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I have 17 minutes before I'm supposed to be awake

Every once-a-while, I like to pretend that I'm a list person, in that I will do those things that I put on a list. I'm very bad at accomplishing everything on a to do list, as a rule, despite the feeling of accomplishment I get whenever I DO complete my to do list.

Yesterday I made a to do list for the week, filled with lots of simple things. See, I'm trying to simplify. I'm trying not to be so scatterbrained despite scatterbraininess being part of my genetic make up. So I have this list, and I carry it around with me in my purse. On my to do list are things like "clean out purse" so I don't lose things, like my to do list... Or drivers license; and "make the bed", because I sleep better in a made bed (The Boyfriend™ does not share that quirk).

Because The Nugget will be getting on the bus earlier, starting tomorrow, I also have "wake up earlier" on my list, in an effort to make an early rise time a habit. Unfortunately, this means The Boyfriend™ and I are now waking up at the same time. Neither of us are morning people and both of us being awake at the same time may result in jail time for one or both of us. He is extra cantankerous in the morning, and I am extra sarcastic. Not a good combo.

Frankly, a world run by morning larks should be illegal. I am a night owl; all my best thinking happens at night, the way God intended it. And as I sit here on the back porch up earlier than necessary, sipping my coffee, looking at the pile of cat food on the floor (one of them just knocked a bucket of it down), I remind myself that patience is a virtue.

...One I don't possess. Especially in the morning.

Monday, September 10, 2012

12 Things... Why I'm 98% Sure Lima Bean is a Girl

It's been a while since we did a 12 Things around here and since The Boyfriend™ is dead to the world and there's only so much Pawn Stars I can take, I thought I'd regale y'all with baby talk. Fun, right?

1) I don't have any cravings...except when I do and then it's for sweet stuff.

If little boys are snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, then my cravings with The Trolls were just about dead on. Savory and meaty (except with The Nugget. I couldn't do meat with him). With Lima Bean, I want sweet: juice, fruit, candy and ice cream. She's already a bit of sugar and spice.

2) I have zero appetite. As soon as The Boyfriend™ actually gives in and goes to the store to get whatever-it-is-I'm-craving-which-of course-isn't-anything-we-have-in-the-house, I no longer want it. Or only want a bite of it.

3) I cry ALL THE TIME. No, seriously. It's like a waterfall up in here...a snot-filled waterfall. Over a lamentable lack of gummy bears. I wish I was kidding.

4) The teensiest thing will make me want to blow chunks. Yesterday, a wadded up piece of bread sent me reeling (I am holding back a gag even as I type this).

5) I am WHINEY. Especially when The Boyfriend™ farts... Which is all the time. I'm pretty sure there's a hole in the ozone his butt is solely responsible for.

6) I'm breaking out like a 13-year-old boy before his Bar Mitzvah. And since I currently live with a 13-year-old boy, I know from greasy skin. This isn't pregnancy glow, Loves. It's a super shiny t-zone.

7) I have a sudden love for all things pinky and fuzzy.

8) I change my mind more often than I change my underwear... Which is a LOT, since I'm also sweating like a nun in a whorehouse.

9) My mood swings more often than I change my mind. Those sob fests of waterfall proportions? Yeah, I've also taken to LAUGHING during them. Which is painful. And not just for The Boyfriend™.

10) Boys are icky.

11) My will is strong. When I was having the trolls, I insisted that I would have boys. I only wanted boys then. I have since learned my lesson, which is why....

12) I told The Boyfriend™ that I was not letting any Y sperm up in my vajeege. As a rule, I'm fertile Myrtle and it took us FOREVER to get pregnant. I'm fairly certain it's because my vagina was doing battle against invading Y-ers. The go 'round that put me in the family way, he must've been shooting nothing but Xes because (not to get too graphic), there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity to get pregnant, if you know what I mean.

Of course, I'll let you know for sure, once we have the official confirmation. But for now, we're either giving our son a wicked sexual identity issue or I'm having a girl.

Now I'm going to cry over my gummy bears.

 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Day Weekend. Thanks, Isaac!

I am sitting on the back porch (I refuse to call it the Florida room) at the moment, listening to the wind In The trees. It's Monday and I should've been at work an hour-and-a-half ago, but the county closed the schools just in case Isaac decided to get nasty, so I am on Troll duty.

So far it hasn't gotten nasty. So far, it's actually quite peaceful and soothing. A much needed balm for my soul. I am restless these days; full of longing for home. I am not sleeping well, for all this want. But right now, I feel at peace and for that, I am grateful. I don't know what possessed me to move to the Sunshine State, when I much prefer cloudy days to sunny; cold to hot.

And so The Two Year Plan stays in motion. Every step a little closer to being home for good.

Today, I am going to unearth my studio and set it to rights. My hands are itching with the need to create and a desire to have my creative space at the ready. But first, Big Breakfast is in order. I have a house full of hungry boys.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Scallion Pancakes

I've been far away from this space as of late. Too far and too long away, I think. There's been so much life happening these days, that it's been difficult for me to find a few moments in which to gather my thoughts - which have been even more disjointed than usual.

Let's start with some updates:

We are officially moved into our new digs now, but still unearthing ourselves from a mountain of boxes. I'm afraid I haven't been much help with the moving effort because...

The Boyfriend™ and I are expecting our first child together. I must say, there's a world of difference between being pregnant at 24 and being pregnant at 34. I am tired. All the time. I don't remember being this tired with either of the trolls. Lima Bean (as we refer to "her") is due in very late March. I'm hoping, since I have to have another c-section anyway, that the doc can deliver "her" on March 29th - my Grammie's birthday.

In case you didn't notice, I have a feeling (or maybe it's an over inflated sense of wishful thinking) that this one is a girl. Or maybe it's because I desperately need more estrogen in the house, since I'm sorely out numbered in that regard.

That's really it, in terms of big life announcements, but I guess that's plenty. So let's move onto thoughts:

I miss my daily yoga routine and really need to get back into that. I definitely had more energy when I was practicing regularly and didn't feel nearly so out of sorts. There's a focus when you're on the mat and a necessary calmness that happens. I need that calm... Especially for the Lima Bean.

I am so thrilled that the trolls are thrilled about becoming big brothers (again, in The Monkey's case). The Monkey and I have been having marvelously candid conversations about the nature of relationships, life, love and everything in between. He's one cool kid that one is.

I miss home so desperately still. I've realized that my sort of constant general malaise is not so much that as a constant state of homesickness. I miss home. Even Lima Bean misses home... Or so says I (my food cravings are all for things that I can only seem to find back home).

The new house still doesn't feel like a home yet. I think this is due in large part to still feeling like my folks' place, and the rest owing to the fact that I detest the town I live in. I was never so grateful to move out of it - and now I find myself back in it. I'm a bit grateful for this though, since it'll keep the fire stoked to get out of here and move back home.

The Two Year Plan is still very much in motion. Don't you fret about that.

I need, need, NEED to get back into my studio. I miss it with a fierceness. I hope to unearth it tomorrow.

Scallion pancakes a delicious. Just saying.

 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

There are not enough hours in a day

The older I get, the faster time moves. When I was younger, I never believed that time could move faster; now that I'm older, I wish time would slow the eff down!

There's a lot going on around these parts these days: a new "pup" (he's practically full grown), the move, work, dealing with the aftermath of the break in (oh, I didn't mention that? Yeah, our house was broken into while we  were in Massachusetts). More packing. More laundry. More moving.

Of course, nothing is going as smoothly as I'd like it to. And, of course, I'm being infinitely lazy and procrastination-ish. There's just so much to do and I'm exhausted by it all.

The studio at the old house has been dismantled, packed and moved to the new house. The studio in the new house is currently the staging area for all the boxes we've moved over. I've had no access to my supplies and, frankly, no energy to do anything creative.

I feel sort of adrift and off course, but I know all of this discomfort is just the storm before the calm, so I keep muddling through. Fortunately, The Boyfriend™ is infinitely patient with me and this process. That's not to say he doesn't have his fair share of anxiety about all of this, too, but he's hiding it pretty well (occasional outbursts, notwithstanding).

So.. there's a lot. And there's not enough. But it's the process.

With a little bit of work and kick in the pants, all of this will be settled soon. And I can get back into the studio, pay more attention to the Etsy shop, and actually do some of the assignments for my copy writing class.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Two Year Plan -- Updates

So, The Best Friend wanted to know what was going on with The Two Year Plan. It occurred to me that the best way to answer her was in a blog post, so I can, y'know, update y'all too.

Here's what's going on, in list form. Cuz it's late, I'm starting to get tired and lists are just easier:

1) The Two Year Plan is still in effect.

2) The Boyfriend™ has extended the deadline of the plan. Mostly, I think, because he's a chickenshit. :P He's saying five years. I'm saying it'll be two years... from now.

3) The parents, in their awesomeness, are selling us their old house in a kind of owner-financed situation. The Nancarita is doing this to set us up to have a nice nest egg to move home with. But this means that...

4) The Boyfriend™ is right; it's going to take us a bit longer to get home.

5) Mostly because we're both procrastinators of the first order and it's going to take a bit to get our acts together, credit-wise.

6) Because we're moving to a new house, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to move again in a year. Well, I guess it kind of does, but I really hate living out of boxes. Which is what I'm doing now. Which is also why I haven't packed more.

7) I may have been overly-optimistic in my whole grand scheme. I want to go home, fo sho, but I also have a whole lot of stuff I want to do here, too... well, around here. There's something to be said for being within driving distance of New Orleans.

8) Frankly, I have bigger fish to fry at the mo'. Which is the whole "stuff I want to do around here" point. I have a creative biz I want to get off the ground. The market here isn't saturated with the work I do, but it is saturated back home. Sales 101: don't try to be successful in a market that already has a bunch of successful people in it... doing the exact same thing.

9) And this is the big one: wherever you go, there you are. It doesn't matter if I live here, home or Timbuktu. If I'm not happy here, I won't be happy at home. Well, that's not entirely true -- I'll be less unhappy back home because it's, y'know, home. But I think the lesson I need to learn in all of this living in a state I actively loathe is that I need to find peace and happiness within myself before I go running back home.

10) I'm willing to accept that I may end up staying here, but only if it's what feels right. At the moment, staying in Florida doesn't feel right. But I may develop Stockholm syndrome. You never know.

So there are the updates. Life keeps on happening and I keep going with the flow. But I'll say this: there are moments when you need to sit back and wait for things to happen in their own time, and there are other moments that you need to seize by the short and curlies and make them your bitch. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference. I'm at a point where there are a whole bunch of roads opening up to me; a whole lot of opportunities that I need to chase down for all they're worth. If I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that the move back home is probably one of those things I need to let happen in its own time. But only because I need to make some other moments my bitch.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In 29 Hours...

(*Warning! This is going to be some disjointed and incongruous blogging!*)

I will be on a plane, headed home. This makes me giddy with joy!

In five hours - if I can stay up that long - I will be checking in to our flight, so as to get the best boarding options.

In about a half-hour, I'm gonna get back on the cleaning/packing/cleaning wagon, so I'm as ready to go as I possibly can be.

Twelve hours ago was the end of my first-of-six weekly copy writing classes. This shit is so balls deep and the participants were AWESOME! I'm a little bit sad we weren't in an actual class together (it's all on line); but, by the same token, I'm sure if we were all in a physical class, because we're all zany freakazoids, we'd freeze up and the rapport wouldn't have been as tight.

These are some amazingly talented folks. The moderator and instructor, Ash Ambirge is so ridiculously awesome, it's really hard to come up with anything more creative to describe her. She's sixteen kinds of spectacular. She demands that you live out loud, fearlessly, and chase every dream -- pipe or otherwise -- as if it were your last day on earth.

Suffice it to say, I'm so excited I might just pee my pants!

Even though I always say that I'm going to do this or do that on this blog (and rarely come through), I am going to try to get the class assignments up here. At the very least, the exercises are giving me some blog content to put up here.

Aaand....

About 30 hours ago, I was at a tattoo/piercing shop, checking another item off of my life list. I got my nose pierced. It'll piss my parents off royally -- and I may even get threatened with a firing, but it's worth it. Here's why:

1) I have a good nose for a piercing. There are a few features that I was blessed with, and a good nose is one of them. It's well shaped, well proportioned and symmetrical enough to pull it off.

2) I've wanted my nose pierced since I was 18. At the time, though, I had to choose between getting my eyebrow done or getting my nose done (even though I dig piercings and tattoos, I don't like overdoing them. OK... I've overdone the tattoos, but at least I'm not buying crack. Amiright?), and I opted for an eyebrow ring.

3) Piercings are not permanent -- unlike tattoos. Once this heals up a bit more, I will be able to take it out for work and other occasions that require a modicum of professionalism and decor. While I shouldn't mess with it for at least 8 weeks, I know how my body works and I should be able to mess with it just fine in about four weeks.

4) I'm 34 years old (ACK!). I should not have to not do something that, in all reality, is relatively benign because I'm worried about how my parents are going to react.

4a) My parents should also not be dictating how I live my life. See the whole being 34 thing. See also: I'm the good kid.

5) And really, in comparison with my siblings, I could probably tattoo half of my face and still be considered the "good kid".

6) Seriously, nobody has reacted to my nose ring. Not even friends that have seen me on a fairly regular basis. Nose rings are just that... well, common. It's a tiny little stud and, once the piercing heals and I can take the piercing stud out, it's going to get even tinier. Which is kind of my point about it being benign.

7) I spend a lot of time examining my pores (I'm mildly obsessed with squeezing the crap out of them). The older I get, the bigger my pores get. I seriously have pores that are bigger than the hole the piercing will leave. Which is traumatizing in its own right.

8) If my parents are going to freak about a nose ring, they probably should've freaked about the sparrow I have tattooed on the middle finger of my left hand. If that was only mild disapproval, they probably should STFU about the nose ring. 

9) At the end of the day, it makes me happy. It's not alcohol. It's not drugs. It's not sex with random strangers. It's such a small thing, but it makes me feel as if I'm being more true to myself.

And, at the end of the day, being true to oneself is the most important thing.

My mom often says that my generation feels like they're entitled to happiness -- which, to her, is unrealistic and silly. But she's not exactly correct. We don't feel like we're entitled to happiness. We're willing to work our asses off for happiness because living a miserable existence just isn't worth it. It isn't worth the sperm it took to make us, the labor it took to deliver us into the world, or all the bumps, scrapes or bruises it took to bring us to where we are.

We don't expect hand outs. We don't expect a free ride. We do expect that, if we're willing to pay our own way, and it isn't hurting anyone, to live the life we want to live; to work a job that doesn't make us loathe waking up every day; to dream big and live bigger.

After all, we're only allotted so many trips around the sun. We need to make the most out of every single second.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This is going to get complicated. Maybe. I hope not. OK, it totally will.

And I'm not at all talking about this blog post. Or the blog title which, frankly, was really fucking cumbersome.

But in other news, half my street has no power because a transformer blew because, apparently, transformers can only take so much "being under water" before they go kaput. Why was the transformer under water? Because I'm currently sitting in a tropical storm. OK, I'm not actually in the tropical storm (I'm sitting in my house), but the Tampa Bay area is getting its ass kicked by a bitch named Debby.

Which is, ironically, my boss's name though not spelled the same way.

So, half of the county I live in is currently under evacuation orders. Driving north, south, east or west is a bitch and an exercise in "don't get pulled into a sinkhole" because, apparently, I live in the Sinkhole Capital of the World.

Because Florida sucks.

Which is why I'm going home for a week-long visit next week. YAY!

In the interest of saving money on a hotel (because, at the time, I was told that my one aunt (who I usually stay with when I come home) was selling her house and staying with the other aunt 'til she, the first aunt, found a house she liked), we're going camping. Which makes me happy to no end. The Boyfriend™ is afraid that we're going to get eaten by bears. I had to explain to him that it's not the bears you have to worry about; it's the mountain lions (and no, I'm not being cute. That's actually true). Frankly, I'm worried about the ticks. This will also be The Trolls first camping adventure.

So far, all we have is a tent. So I just ordered a bunch of "camping supplies" and am having the shipped to my nana, for us to pick up when we get to Massachusetts. Of course, my nana doesn't know this yet. I'll have to try to remember to call her tomorrow to let her know to expect a big-ass box on Friday.

I just hope that I got all the right stuff, otherwise I'm going to have to go spend more money on more camping stuff that we probably won't use again until next year. Why? Because Florida sucks and nobody wants to go camping in 98-degree heat (with 1000% humidity).

But... I'm GOING HOME! And that's the most important part. I'm so excited, I might just pee my pants! I am going to absorb as much grandmother love as I can possibly contain and whatever I can't contain, I'm going to put in tupperware for later. And I'll get some Troll time. And we'll have some family togetherness time which will light a fire under our asses to move back  home.

So, yeah. It's gonna be complicated. In a phenomenally good way!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So I'm the Mother of a Teenager Now

Today is The Monkey's 13th birthday. I'm forgoing my usual sobbing over his baby books while wondering where all the time has gone tradition in an effort to embrace the sweet melancholy of being a mother.

Because, seriously, being a mom is heartbreaking.It's not the work, or the asshole comments that kids make (and they make a ton of them). It's not the wretched table manners or constant interrupting. All that's sort of part of the package deal -- take the good with the bad. What's heartbreaking is that these quite-literally-pieces of you grow up. And every year that they grow older, if you've done your job well, they need you less and less.

If The Monkey's birthday is any indication of what his teenaged years will be like, he'll be OK. There will be way more asshole comments, but there will be plenty of moments of pure "Oh my God! He is such a good person."

Of course, now that he's a teenager, he's holed up in his room completely ignoring the rest of the world. As long as he doesn't get all Emo, and comes out every now-and-again for food and bathing, I'm OK with that. It's the natural of order of things. While he's being teenaged, I'm editing photos from my trips to Alabama.

Here, have some love:

This store is growing a tree. Inside of it.
REALLY artsy downtown Opp, AL. Believe it or not, people DO live in this town.

Opp, AL. Entering downtown

This is Alabama for you.

Ooo... artsy train lights.

Ooo... more artsy train station stuff
Dowtown Opp, AL after 5 PM. The whole place shuts down at 5. I'm not kidding.

This was the height of high tech and the next town over from Opp.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The fates, you should not tempt them...

Remember how I said it could be worse? Apparently, the fates took that as an engraved invitation to deliver a crappy week my way. A run down:

1) An employee on my staff's nephew OD'd last Monday. This meant that...

1a) I had to do her job on top of mine. Not a big deal, usually, except that we were already really short staffed.

2) My step-grandmother ended up in ICU on life support, suddenly and unexpectedly. Which meant that...

2a) I got to watch her die on Friday night. This was not a good thing at all and, in my opinion, should be illegal (the watching someone die part). But she was surrounded by people that love her, and that is a good death.

2b) The Trolls experienced their first wake. The Monkey is not a fan. It was very difficult for him. The Nugget, on the other hand, was a trooper and sat right by his Papa.

3) I got news that the nugget did not pass his FCAT, ergo did not pass third grade. He sobbed. It broke my heart. It's for the best, really, because he just wasn't ready for fourth grade (as much as he thinks he is).

4) Apparently, I blew through a red light on Mother's Day and the Pasco County Sheriff's department were very happy to collect my $158. I got the ticket on Saturday. The curse of Mother's Day continues...

5) The Boyfriend™ and I got into a tiff. It was by no means our worst fight, but it was enough to send me over the edge.

6) Our washing machine broke.

7) Our dishwasher does not actually wash dishes. It just bakes on food detritus and water film. Which means that...

7a) I have to wash all the dishes by hand.



OK Universe. I get it. It can and will get worse. I have had my quota of worse. And bad. And suck. And horrifying. And annoying. And crap. And blah. I will gladly accept good, and fun, and wholesome and loving and everything is awesome with the world. Yeah, I'll take plenty of that.

I'm off to Opp, Alabama today to lay the grandmother to rest. Opp has about 6500 souls and is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town in the middle of some backwoods. I'm hoping for some good photography moments, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm also going to be stuck in a car for eight hours with my errant sister, whose behavior makes tattooing the side of my face look tame in comparison.

So, Universe? We're even. I'll take that goodness now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I told you - NO WIRE HANGERS!

There are a few blogs I subscribe to for inspiration, aspiration, laughter, tips, tricks and ideas. I love these women bloggers and can not wait to grow up and be like them.

One blogger, in particular, Amanda Blake Soule is an amazing woman. At least on blog. She makes it a point not to put her family not-goodness on line, choosing to use her blog space to chronicle all the wonder that is her life with her family on their homestead. The good stuff looks really darn good, if I do say so myself. And she and her husband, Steve, seem to have a symbiosis that is rather breathtaking in its honesty and simplicity.

Here's the thing: As much as I admire Amanda and all that she stands for; as much as I want to be her and have that kind of magic mothering instinct, I'm just not wired that way. I am not the kind of mother who can let her children leave scraps of paper all over the place (though I do it). I am not the kind of mother that gently explains the ins and outs of life, or coddles the sick or injured.

In my house, unless you're dying, broken or on fire, you better not be crying about an injury.

I am not the kind of mother who humors children's interruptions. In my house, I will very un-politely tell the child to shut up and find something else to do, because grown ups are talking.

I never was a co-sleeping kind of mom, either. Past the age of three, The Trolls were far too old to spend a night in my bed.

I bottle fed, used disposable diapers and let The Nugget fall asleep in his high chair (more often than I care to admit). Both my boys were c-sections.

I tried flash cards and labeling everything in the house, but I just didn't have the patience to keep teaching a toddler how to read. The Nugget didn't learn to tie his shoes until he was seven.

I swear, I yell, I spank. I don't make The Trolls brush their teeth all the time. I let them leave their room a mess, and only sporadically enforce other chores.

I refused to vaccinate The Trolls until they were school age and I had to (because I couldn't claim religious exemption, what with my not going to church and all). I usually make them eat organically, except for candy. And the sweet tea. And occasional adventures at Dunkin Donuts.

I ship them up to Massachusetts every summer so I can get a break (all the while, my heart breaking until they are safely home with me), where their Loli will feed them anything and everything they want.

We have date night, and prayers and books. We snuggle - all four of us - in bed just about every night. I mostly make them do homework, and we have family dinners just about every night. There are no video games or TV during the week.

So, while I am not perfect and will never be SouleMama, I do my best. My kids seem pretty OK, for now. But just in case, I already have therapy funds set up for them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why yes. Yes, I DO kiss my mother with this mouth.

Not that you can tell most of the time, but I was raised with manners. I know which fork to use with which course, and I know how to set a table. When out to eat, I usually remember to keep my elbows off of the table. I know that you're never supposed to talk about money, religion and politics in mixed company. I know when you're supposed to stop wearing white (and when you can start again). I know that when invited over for a dinner party, you should always bring a bottle of wine and/or a dish to share (and you're never supposed to bring the leftovers home with you). I might not make Miss Manners proud, but my mom's pretty happy with the way I turned out.

Except when it comes to thank you letters.

I don't know what it is about writing a thank you letter that makes me so bad at it. Maybe it's the forced politeness. Maybe it's because I never have postage stamps or good stationary. Or maybe it's my flaky nature that makes me inclined to forget things easily. Whatever it is, it's usually months after I receive a gift that I get around to sending the letter.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not grateful. As a rule, I'm phenomenally grateful for the gift and the thought, and gush to anyone who will listen about the awesomeness that I received. I just forget to gush to the giver of the gift.

So, I know it doesn't technically count, but here are my thank you letters:

Uncle Brion:

You have no idea how grateful I am for your presence in my life. You keep me young with every box you send. Your generosity speaks volumes about your selflessness. Because, seriously? You send your 34 year old niece a Christmas gift and birthday gift, without fail, every year. You even remember to include gifts for The Trolls -- one of whom you've never laid eyes on. In short: you're awesome in ways that I can't even begin to describe.

I suck at thank you letters (as I'm sure you've noticed but have never pointed out). But don't let that be a tell. Those boxes mean the world to me. Actually, it's not the boxes -- you could send an empty box and I would be grateful (but please don't. You have the best taste in gifts. See? I'm awful!). It's the love that's in there. It's the thoughtfulness. It's the support and the belief you have in me. Please know that I feel all of that for you, too.

So thank you for being indulgent. Thank you for being tolerant. Thank you for everything.

Much Love,
~S

Nana:

Every day that I still have you in my life is a day I'm thankful for. You have taught me so much and been so supportive. You haven't always liked all of my choices, but you've been there, right behind me, every step of the way. You are my anchor. Thank you for YOU because YOU is an awesome thing and because you get me, I don't even need to finish this sentence in any coherent way.

And thank you for the birthday cashola. I know I cashed that check quickly, but wasn't so quick to get the thank you letter out. It's because I suck at thank you letters. That isn't a reflection on how you raised me -- because you did a good job. I'm just a space cadet (I blame Dad).

Also, thank you for not doing the near-death routine that Dottie's been pulling. I know you're 83 now and are officially at the age you promised me you'd live to. But if it isn't too much trouble, could you hang around for another couple years? I'm not ready to let you go. I don't think I'll ever be ready to let you go (what's a ship without an anchor?). So, I guess you're just going to have to live forever. But you're superwoman; living forever shouldn't be too hard for you.

I'll be home for a visit soon. I'm going to squeeze you. I'm also going to take pictures of you. And I'm going to spend endless amounts of time telling you how much you mean to me and how damn grateful I am for you. Make sure you have extra batteries for your hearing aids. You have fair warning.

Love 'til bursting,
~S

Dorothy Ann:

Woman, you better quit with the near death shit. Yes, I know you're my grandmother and I shouldn't use the word "shit" in your presence, but if you can start swearing then so can I. I also know that I shouldn't start any letter to you with "woman." That was rude of me and I apologize.

But seriously, you can stop with the almost-dying. You aren't allowed to die. You are allowed to not be in pain, and if you have to die in order to not be in pain anymore, then we'll have to figure out a different way to keep you from being in pain. But if you are going to die, you need to wait until I can get back home and squeeze you. And take lots of pictures of you. And listen to your life story.

I want you to know how much you mean to me and how much I love you. I suck at being a long-distance granddaughter, which is why you always had to come and pick me up. Every-other-weekend, you'd make that awful drive to pick me up and bring me back to your house and feed me breakfast in bed. Until I was seventeen. Actually, no. I was eighteen. You didn't get mad when I wet your bed when I was five; you just flipped the mattress and said "accidents happen." You didn't get grossed out when I puked all over your bedroom floor because I'd had too many Halloween cookies. You just got me in the bath and cleaned up the mess.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that you've always supported me. You've always understood me -- in ways that few other people on this planet do. You kept me safe and made sure that I felt loved. 

So, hang in there you stubborn old thing. I'll be home soon for a visit. You better take an extra percoset, because there will be squeezing. And I'm not going to let you kick me out at 7 PM. You're just going to have to be a night owl.

Love you to the moon and back,
~S

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Insert long suffering sigh here

So I had every intention of hanging out in the studio all day. Then The History Channel sucked me in. This is why TV is bad.

I also had every intention of cleaning today, since our house is in that lovely half-way-packed stage that makes people inclined to live like slobs. Between our room and The Trolls' room, we're starting to look like an episode of Horders.

The fact that I keep making television references ought to tell you that I've been watching entirely too much TV lately.

Speaking of cinematic badness, don't see Dark Shadows. I was absolutely champing at the bit to go see this movie. It's Tim Burton! It's Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton movie! I love Tim Burton with a love so fierce that it must rival Helena Bonham Carter's. I settled in to my too small movie theater chair, with my large tub of popcorn, The Boyfriend™ by my side, prepared to be wowed. I left disappointed. Actually, I left the theater more than disappointed; I left feeling let down.

So it's a weekend action packed full of let down. Which, I suppose, is the nature of the life. I mean, not all the time. But some of the time we're all going to be let down.

The cleaning didn't get done.

I eventually got into the studio, but felt no creative compulsion (I blame Tim Burton).

Dark Shadows left so much to be desired that I want the two hours of my life that I spent watching that tripe back.

It's insanely hot right now, and the air conditioner unit in my car is broken.

Monday is the day-after-tomorrow, and I have to go back to my day job.

In the grand scheme of things, my list of let downs isn't so bad. And I guess that's the point of this whole blog: it could be worse. It could be a lot worse. I'm grateful that it isn't. The house will get cleaned. I'll have another creative stint that will rival Picasso. The weather will cool back down; and shortly after Monday is another Friday that I can look forward to.

... I don't know if Tim Burton can recover from the travesty of a movie he created, but I remain ever hopeful.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day

I don't celebrate Mothers Day anymore. I used to, but that was before the trolls decided that getting badly hurt on Mothers Day was going to be a tradition. So, for their protection, I pretend the day doesn't exist. Sort of.

 

I certainly use the day as excuse to be lazy and take a nap, which is what I did. But I NEEDED a nap. I worked a trade show in south Carolina that was equally exhausting and terrifying. I had no idea people thought talking about killing people as if it were as every day a thing as grocery shopping was a GOOD thing. Apparently, that's how they roll up there. And to that I say, "you wonder why sane people want to take away your guns."

The trip up there, by car, was long and draining. I love me some road trip action, but this dude seriously tested the limits of my love for them. He was a poor conversationalist at best; we had to listen to his bubblegum pop practically the whole way, and I couldn't smoke. I still lit up, but it was mostly out of a mix between desperation and boredom: the dude would not stop for anything other than gas or near-to-bursting bladders. Which sucked, because I really wanted to take some photos. Apparently, people dig my art and the universe is sending me messages about the need to make more badass art. But that wasn't going to happen on this trip.

 

I also needed a nap because I was really bummed about my gram. I called to wish her a happy mothers day and found out that she had just gotten out of the hospital, where she had spent a week doing another round of battles with congestive heart failure, esophageal spasms and tarsal issues in her foot. AND I HAD NO IDEA. It sucks being so far away from my family. It sucks not being able to contribute more than a phone call here or there. These were the women who raised me, and I feel like I'm letting them down.

Which is why it's so damn Important to on the ball with this book and art thing. My gram especially has always said I needed to write books; my nana always encouraged my art. These are some smart women, and while it's mildly self-serving to agree with them on this topic, I should probably listen to them. They know stuff.

So while it will be smack dab in the middle of the move to the new house, I need to get up for a good visit with my family. I don't have much time left, and I need to strike while the iron is hot. I want to take pictures and hear their stories. I want to absorb as much of them as possible. I want the trolls to know these women who are so important a part of their lives.

And on that note: I wish all of you a glorious mothers day. One that is filled with love and memories and lots and lots of kid art (which is the best kind). I wish you happy phone calls. I wish you healthy children. I wish you dreams come true.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

These days...

I am...

trying very hard to stick to 5:40 AM wake up calls to get into a yoga routine.

Packing a LOT of boxes.

Hating Florida weather, which is...

Reminding me how much I want to be back home now.

Pretending the monkey isn't going to be a teenager soon.

Finding my center again and holding on as fiercely as I can.

Thinking about a career change.

Planning for that career change.

Wishing I had more studio time, but appreciating that right now I need to focus on the tasks at hand.

Finding hearts in the strangest places and being reminded that the universe sends messages of its infinite love all the time.

What are you up to these days?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wherein I Spent the Last 24 Hours in The Bloggess' Head

I had some leftover birthday money this week, which was shocking in-and-of-itself (who needs a retirement plan?). I had every intention of going to the bookstore to buy just a couple of yoga books, because I'm on a "I hate myself because I've gotten so fat and how could I let it get this bad?!!" kick, and wanted to immerse myself in yoga again.

And I am in total self-loathing mode right now, too. It's awful. I keep wondering where all this back fat came from, because it's certainly not MINE, and I'd like whoever's it is to come and get it back now, please and thank you. So I'm hellbent for leather about getting healthy and back in shape. Mostly because I'm not getting any younger and aging is not kind to women. Also because self-loathing sucks. And also because I really want to be the person who can resist things like bagels and chips. Carbs are my weakness.

Ok...this was not supposed to be a blog about how fat I am.

So, I had every intention of JUST getting the two books about yoga and maybe one for The Nugget (who had begged me to go to the bookstore), but apparently my willpower is non existent, because I ended up buying way more books than planned, including The Bloggess' "Let's Pretend This Never Happened." to say that I was hooked would be a gross understatement of epic proportions. I was sucked in. That book was a black hole of awesome, but in the GOOD way.

So I accomplished nothing in the way of getting back on the yoga mat, and very little done in the way of packing and cleaning. But it was totally necessary, not that I could convince The Boyfriend™ of that. It was necessary that I read The Bloggess' words and immerse myself in her bravery. It was necessary to find a kindred spirit in the whole getting over the self loathing and learning to embrace the things that make us so very human and awesome.

I want to be funny and witty here, but I can't. I was truly moved by this book.

I'm a bit nervous about losing the glow. I feel inspired. I feel freer. I feel mildly fearless. I feel like I have been encouraged to stop hiding ME and let me out of the cage. I feel like I should go ahead and wear a prairie skirt with my Mudvayne t-shirt, if that's what I want to do, because who gives a fuck. And if someone does give a fuck, clearly they have nothing better to do than be all judgey and fuck them for being all judgey.

And more important than that is that I just need to live balls out. I need to be brave and not embarrass so easily. I need to not care about who might mock me for my attire or hair. I need to have more conversations with The Boyfriend™ about zombies, and I need to have more dance offs in the dining room with the trolls.

Because life's too goddamn short to be wrapped up in what other people think. The world is scary enough and fucked up enough without letting my monkey mind get the better of me.

So I'll get on the yoga mat tomorrow. And the rest of the world can go fuck itself if it can't take a joke. Thank you, Jenny.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wow! I have been away for far too long! ~ Updates

My birthday was just this past Saturday. There is one thing that holds true, especially the older I get: time goes by faster with each passing minute. There are just not enough seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, hours in a day and days in a week to get it all done.

Speaking of done: there is a TON of stuff going on these days.We'll be moving this summer. The Nancarita and Papa are buying a new house and selling us their old one. So that's nice. And don't go thinking that this is going to make me comfortable and take LONGER to realize my two year plan. Uh-uh. That's not going to happen... this is just a stepping stone to the bigger picture.

What it DOES mean is more space, a studio I can close cats and trolls out of, trolls with their own bedrooms and The Boyfriend™ with a man cave. It means a bigger yard for gardening and a pool for cooling off after work in. It means a shorter commute and less craziness, so more time for my creative biz.

Speaking of my creative biz, about two weeks late, but new items have been posted in the Etsy shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/SamandSady

Go forth! Purchase! Y'all really need to help me quit my day job!

We just finished up FCAT season here in Florida. I have a blog planned for later this week wherein I chastise the Florida Department of Education and their asinine expectations when it comes to this test, while simultaneously singing the praises of The Nugget's teacher.

 I plan on spending more time here, in this space, paying it the attention its due. I've also been spending a fair amount of time on Pinterest (cuz it's a blast) and getting over my self-loathing by posting some of my pics, art and products on there. Surprisingly, I'm getting a fair following! And for that, I am immensely grateful. You can check me out there, too:

http://pinterest.com/samandsady/

I've been drawing a fair amount of inspiration from there, from some really talented folks. It always amazes me the world we live in. There are days when I wonder how it got this bad, but then I hop on to Pinterest, or check out my favorite blogs, like www.soulemama.com and am reminded that the world is also full of awesome.

I have to get cracking on dinner, so I'm going to cut this update short. But tell me: how have you been these days? What's new and exciting in your corner of the world?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Product Announcement! Can I get a WOOT! WOOT!

Ridiculously excited about this new product! They're perfect grab-n-go gifts, inexpensive, and just all around awesome!!

They're also collectible.

But please ignore the typo in the quote on the back. That's what I get for not proofreading... Or, rather, proofreading while two rambunctious trolls and one bored The Boyfriend™ vie for my attention.

They will be up on the etsy shop by Saturday. Stay tuned and get your shop on!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Playing in the whitebox

I finally got some decent lighting a couple of weeks ago. Not great lighting, but decent. There's a lot to be said for natural light. And awesome photo editing software. An artist can't rest simply on her laurels, now can she?

Here are some of the results:







I spent the better part of tonight deep in iPod-land desperately trying to cobble together more sentences for the book I'm working on. When the muse clearly was busy elsewhere, I decided it was time to do some photo editing instead. While I'm not 100% thrilled with what I captured that evening, I'm glad I'm getting back into the groove with the photography again.

I've come to realize that my art is a holistic thing; it requires both typical tools of the artistic trade and photographs. When my pool of photos is running thin, I have to revisit the ones I'd previously discarded as not good enough. Often I find treasures in there -- things that won't stand on their own merit, but are otherwise excellent fodder for some mixed media work.

The only thing I'm really lacking these days is time. There are simply not enough hours in a day and in my week to get everything I want to do done. I keep trying to figure out how to make it all work, but there really is no such thing as having your cake and eating it, too. That frustrates the hell out of me, because I don't like being thwarted. Because, dammit, I have dreams. Big ones. Living, breathing, dynamic visions of what I want my more immediate future to look like -- and it has nothing to do with dragging my ass out of bed so I can drag it into a corporate job.

Which is why I have to have my cake and eat it -- swallow great big gobs of it. Because dreams this big won't wait to come true. I have to ride this for all its worth. I've got the support and love of a good man, trolls who already believe I'm an artist and don't understand why I'm not an art teacher. I've got the gumption, the vision and the relative know-how. Now all I need is time -- and a bit more money in the bank.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Well now I've gone and done it...

I went and let facebook people know I have an Etsy shop. I, like, invited people to come check it out.

What in the Hades is the matter with me?! Seriously!

But what's done is done and, theoretically, can't be undone. So, help me quit my day job! Go check out the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Samandsadydesigns. Tell your friends. Tell your co-workers. This is a mission, y'all. I like wandering around my house in my jammies too much to want to have to put on the corporate uniform anymore.

After you're done spreading the word for me, go to the Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/SamandSady and buy some stuff. With a little bit of luck, I'll have some new product up there (I just got back from New Orleans with fresh photos, so more art is necessary. For my soul, that is).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Images from New Orleans

Oh! How I love New Orleans -- the energy. The vibe. The atmosphere. The readily available debauchery (that I didn't indulge in... much... thankyouverymuch). I wish The Boyfriend™ had been there to explore with me (it's not a very troll-friendly city), but I'm so, so glad I had the experience.

I hope to turn some of these images into art soon. So, don't be douchey and steal them or anything.

This building caught my eye every time we walked past it, into the quarter.

Same building, juxtaposed against its neighbor.

Urban decay -- I love it.

No need to flash your boobies when you can just grab some beads from... well... anywhere.

I love this building. I felt like I was in NOLA from 1850

Mama Leveau's tomb... supposedly. There were a few marked up tombs in St. Louis No 1 Cemetery

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Orleans: You Had Me at Hello

I forget which number on my life list it is, but going to New Orleans was on it. I'm here for work, but we've been able to find snippets of time to explore this awesome city.

While they still have a ways to go, much of the city has been rebuilt post-Katrina -- who was unable to destroy the vibr an culture of this basin. There's an energy here that has left me a little bit changed for having experienced it. I feel richer somehow; a little more complete.

Tomorrow the show ends and we're hitting the road to go back to Florida. I'm already scheming and plotting to find a way to get back here and truly explore all that this city has to offer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lunch break at the day job

Breaks are never long enough. Just when I'm finally recharged enough to work on the creative biz stuff, it's time to go back inside.

...which is why I need to work more diligently on this stuff, so I can quit my day job and focus solely on my venture. Right?

My current obsession, art-wise, are these types of drawings, which I will be turning into bookmarks and selling on my etsy shop. Of course, since I'm obsessed with this, I've made zero progress on either of my books. Figures, right? But it's cool... I have a troll free weekend, so hopefully will stat focused enough to hammer some progress out. Because next week I will have no time...

Another item is coming off the life list. I'm going to New Orleans!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm having another go at this constant blogging thing

I'm utterly and entirely kaput in the body. My brain is begging me to please go to sleep, except that it won't shut up long enough to let me drift off into the land of nod. It's especially active and I feel another creative ADD surge coming on.

On the subject of Tuesdays, I think the best way to write about them is to write about experiencing them. Today, for instance, was not a very good Tuesday -- at least not at the beginning. But the end of the day was surely pleasant and there wasn't too much bad that I couldn't grace my way through. There was also much laughter to juxtapose against the frustration. I found myself saying, more than once, "at least it's not Monday."

...I wonder what that really says about Tuesdays.

I'm also sorely addicted to LinkedIn these days. Mostly because it's positively brimming with articles and essays and other 21st century marketing and selling and business stuff that is equal parts day-job related and night job related. I am dying to try some of these things out, for sure.

In the mean time, I'm enjoying my two blessed testosterone free hours to focus on my to-do list. I've broken the bugger down into day-by-day increments, which seems like the thing you should do. But it's my weekly to do list that I've broken down. Just stuff I want to get done this week... I break it down into daily segments so I don't beat myself up too much when I don't accomplish something on any given day.

I have yet more stuff planned for the Etsy shop. Yes, I do, my lovelies. I'm going to stock it to the rafters and then I'm going to market the holy hell out of it. Why? Because as much as day jobs pay the bills, I really don't want a day job that's on somebody else's terms. I've only got this one life to live and I really don't want to look back on it and say, "Gee! I was a good company girl!" No! I want to say that I lived it fiercely, fully and to the best of my ability.

...I may have gotten off to a late start on the whole fiercely and fully part, but I've still got decades to make up for it (God willing and the river don't rise, as my nana likes to say).


I'm off to go play on www.moo.com. That's a hint about possible Etsy products, in case you were wondering.

Love and light, y'all!

Monday, February 27, 2012

David Tennat is my favorite Doctor -- otherwise known as The Reason I Accomplished Nothing this Weekend

subtitled: the longest blog title in the history of blogging.

Go me!

The Boyfriend™ and I moved the unused Wii into our bedroom this weekend (because we needed another non-sexual reason to not leave that room) for the sole purpose of having Date Night on the big bed while watching all manner of silliness on Netflix.

One trip to Wal-Mart for a new sensor bar and four hours later, date night was long past and The Boyfriend™ and I were queuing up Dr. Who (the 2005 version). Suffice it to say, we got nothing done yesterday because we were too busy catching up on the last seven years of Doctors nine and ten.

I have such fond memories of Dr. Who. I vividly recall watching Doctors 2 through 5 from the fort I made out of bed sheets and my nana's dining table. Parts of the show were scary to my young brain, but mostly I was fascinated by it all. I was sad when the series ended, but moved on eventually, in the way only children and The Ex can do. But the spark of love for all things Dr. Who and English was ignited and never died out.

So I was absolutely thrilled to accomplish nothing while spending all day in bed with my loves: The Boyfriend™ and David Tennant who, because I'm weird like that, makes my "Top Ten List of Men The Boyfriend™ Has to Let Me Sleep With if the Opportunity Ever Presents Itself":

Here's the official list, in case you were wondering:

1) Jason Varitek (I will marry that man. He just doesn't know it yet)
2) Johnny Depp (who doesn't love him?)
3) Chris Eccleston circa "Elizabeth" (he was one smoking villain, lemme tell you)
4) Neil Gaiman (don't judge)
5) Gordon Ramsey (seriously...)
6) Sully Erna
7) David Tennant
8) My high school British Writers teacher, Mr. Waters

I'm still keeping options nine and ten open at the mo'. Mostly because it's late, I'm tired and I have this wretched book about cooking I'm working on looming menacingly on the other screen.

Which leads me to the other ramble: writing. I seriously admire anyone who can muster up the sheer force of will to pay attention to a project long enough to produce a book. I have only about eighteen pages written (it's probably about 36 pages as it stands, but I haven't included the photographs in it yet -- mostly because I don't feel like cooking all that food right now). And while the subject matter is one that, in theory, should be easy enough for me to bang out, I'm getting bored of it.

And that's the problem, really. It's not so much that I don't know what to say or can't maintain the funny long enough, it's that I grow bored with cups of this and teaspoons of that. But I promised myself and my gram that I would finish one of these blasted books at some point and since the children's book is on sabbatical until I can figure out what to do about Tuesday, I have to focus on the cook book. 


It's times like these that I wish I was a little less ADD and a little more practical. But maybe all writers are like this? Who knows -- I don't know many writers. I just know that when my mom wrote her book, she was single minded in her focus. The Boyfriend™ has exhibited a similar sort of madness in just the edits of his book. So I suppose that writers do have ADD -- the hyperfocus part of it, anyway.

It doesn't help that the computer desk is smack dab in the middle of the house. Which is just another reason that I need a Macbook -- so I can run away and work on my book(s) in peace.

When I'm not glued to Dr. Who, that is.

Edit: Thank you, The Bloggess for reminding me that #9 on my list is Simon Pegg... God how I love that daft English man and his goofiness.

Edit #2: The number 10 spot goes to Christian Bale. And I'm done.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I am totally ahead of schedule!

I am The Boyfriend™ and Troll-free today. In other words, I am blogging NAKED! OK, not really... there's still a fair amount of self-loathing floating around my psyche, so even though I could be wandering around the house naked, I won't.

Now that we've cleared that up.

I rolled out of bed around ten this morning and got right to work. A ginormous cup of Earl Grey tea (we're out of coffee... God help me!) and I'm already one load of laundry and one completed web site into my day. I have a long list of stuff I want to get done today... a long one... including working on my book about cooking. I'm backburnering the children's book at the moment, because I have a raging case of writer's block. It sucks, but I'm not going to let it hinder the entire creative process. Besides, if I get this other book done, maybe it'll motivate me to stab that ugly beast called writer's block in the throat and get working on finishing that children's book up.

In other news, the site is done as it's going to get right now. I'm pretty happy with it, even if I did use a template builder thingy. I'd rather have it looking polished and professional with someone else's template, than half-assing a site because I have no idea how to build one. I say use the tools that are available to you.

I'm feeling very excited about this year. A ton of stuff planned and I'm feeling fairly motivated to get it all done. Having a Monday off definitely helps with things. I wish I had enough PTO available at work to make sure I had EVERY Monday off... but that would also mean I'm a bad, bad manager. Priorities and what-not. But even the annoying things like having a day job are bringing me closer to my goals. Which is awesome.

Go check the site out and let me know what you think: www.samandsady.com. Then check the shop out http://www.etsy.com/shop/SamandSady and buy some stuff already!

I have a few more ideas for photos-into-art in the hopper. It involves some traveling, but y'all know how much I love that. Stay tuned and keep the positive vibes flowing!

Love and namaste!
~S