Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Five and Five on Friday

Oops.  Fell off the wagon again.  So I'll play two games today.  Mine and my friend Travis'.

Five Fabulous things in my life right now...

1- Gotye.  My latest musical fixation.  I adore this artist.  And when I say I adore, I really mean I'm obsessed.  I'm listening to him right now.  I watched a whole live concert of his last night.  Twice.

2- Dustin is off work today.  I love that story.

3- My kids are awesome.
  •  Mac is so FUN right now.  He's moving into a different phase where he's more like a real person instead of a little kid.  I know that the next several years (think teenager) will come with their own set of challenges, but I sure enjoy the person my son is turning into.  
  • Ella is so delightful and creative. This child is ALWAYS creating something.  It's so fun to watch her talents unfold and her skills develop.  She's becoming quite the little pianist and artist.  And she's so passionate about both.  
  • Rohan is still Rohan.  Delightfully entertaining and completely easy to love.  He has a very stubborn streak that is hard to deal with at times, but we all have something.  The other day we had a convo that went like this:
    Rohan: Mom, I want to go to Egypt.
    Me: You do?
    R:  Yeah.  Are there Egyptians in Egypt?
    M:  Yep.
    R: But do they know any tricks?
    M: Ummm... (smothering laughter as I always must around this child...)  I'm not sure?...
    R: But why are they called Egyptians?
    M: Because they're the people of Egypt.
    R:  Oh.  OK.
    And then he walked away, our conversation sating his Egyptian curiosity.  What a kid.  
  • Brynja should probably have a post all to herself because she's grown and changed so much.  She's so fun.  She's so darling.  She's the most amazing mix of completely amiable and total spitfire.  She loves to hug and give kisses.  She loves to say NO.  She loves the word MINE and she says it both very sweetly and with great force.  In March she'll be two.  Two?  Yes.  Two.  I can hardly believe it.                 
4- I love helping friends.  I often get the chance to pay forward much of what I've learned from my amazing mother and aunt and for that I'm so grateful.

5- Words.  Words are the best.  I love the expressive power of words.


And I'm playing a new (for me) game today... Five on Friday.  My blog-friend Travis hosts this every week.  Link up if you want to play!

These are five of Gotye's songs that I can't get enough of.  I said it above, but I'm rather obsessed with this artist and all his music.  The videos are often very bizarre, but that's part of his charm for me.  He's quirky and different.  Different music.  Different presentation.  I love his style of different.  And he's got such great beats.  (He's a drummer among other things)  So, I hope you enjoy a little sampling of Gotye.

This first video is the song that has brought him the most success.




Such a great, driving rhythm in this song:




Love the words on this song. Don't we all feel this way when we get on the phone?


And live? He's amazing.




This one I couldn't find on YouTube.  Hope this code works.


Watch Gotye and other great gigs on Moshcam.


If you liked Gotye's music, I suggest you go poke around on his GotyeMusic YouTube page and look at some of his behind the scenes movies and the process he goes through in creating much of his music.  He and his process of music making fascinates me.

I hope you enjoyed.    Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bridge

Spanning chasms and offering safety, the bridge stands year after year.  It's strength seems effortless, taken for granted by those upheld by it's engineering.

Time, neglect and chaos take their toll.

At first it's just softness underfoot, spongy.  The small, slow deteriorating of wood and the quiet rust of metal a warning.

They all want to say it fell suddenly, but they never listened to the rust and the softness of the wood until they were tumbling through the dark waters beneath it.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas


Ok, ok.  I'll do a Christmas write-up.

Our Tree:  We don't have a "theme tree".  I have colorful, warm, cozy lights that remind me of my childhood and the magic that was Christmas.   None of my ornaments match and I love it.  They all have a memory or were a creation of my children.  Sometimes I look at other trees and think maybe mine looks a little messy, but that's how I like it.  A messy, colorful, warm tree.  It's magic.



And, to make you all faint, I'm throwing in a picture.  That there is the tree.  And when I was taking pics, Brynja's cute antique-ish Radio Flyer rocking horse happened to be in front of the tree.  Kinda fitting.  (And this is me messing with my new camera off of auto-mode, but I don't have a tripod so flashless pics are tricky as of yet)

Christmas Eve was a mellow thing this year.  I usually find myself shopping for a few last minute things that day, as well as trying to make cookies or treats of some kind for neighbors and friends.  I managed to get all my shopping done beforehand and I thought, perhaps, I'd be baking or something that day, but I decided I wouldn't do it until I had cooked the chicken noodle soup (homemade noodle kind... takes forever) that we were planning on having for dinner.

I got the food done and had no time to make anything for neighbors and that was completely ok with me.  (sorry friends and neighbors!  next year...)

The morning of Christmas Eve, I had the choir practicing the Christmas program that was scheduled for the next morning (Christmas) at 10:30 a.m.  The practice when FANTASTIC and I felt, for the most part, completely ready for the program.  And it was good.  Good, I tell you!  Tears were shed during the practice as stories were read and songs were sung.  It was fabulous.  

So, back to the afternoon... Had dinner ready and went to my mom's house.  My mom was feeling not-so-great at the time.  She had been in the hospital earlier in the week... Sunday through Wednesday... after dealing with serious pain in her chest.  It wasn't a heart attack, but pericarditus that she's been battling ever since her heart attack in September.  So, Christmas festivities were kept very low-key, which suited all of us just fine.  We ate soup and bread, laughed and talked with my parents and my brother, Taylor, and his girlfriend, Cherryn.  We did our version of the Nativity which is pulling out the pretty ceramic pieces that my mom painted years ago and telling about the role each figure played in the story of Christ's birth.  It's a nice time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas.  Then I read a few Christmas stories and we called it a night.  Low key.  Perfect.  

We got home, did the Christmas pajama thing and sent those excited kids off to bed.  

And then Dustin and I started the Santa process.  We had a very frustrating time trying to assemble a toy.  It took more than an hour and it DIDN'T WORK when it was all put together.  We were freaking out.  I was so upset.  We ended up writing a note to Ella from Santa telling her that his elves must have broken the toy while assembling it and that her parents would get her something else.  (The note was really for the benefit of Rohan.  Ella inquired as to the true nature of Santa a month or so before Christmas and learned that it is her mom and dad who act in the name of Santa and the Spirit of Christmas.)  It was disappointing, to say the least.  It was compounded by the fact that I didn't feel very well.  I was agitated and SO INCREDIBLY tired.  All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but we had things to wrap and stockings to fill.

Aside:  My kids and husband had been shuffling the flu between them for the week previous.  Brynja was sick, throwing up and feverish, the previous Saturday night and spent all of Sunday completely miserable.   Next came Ella and Rohan on Monday and Tuesday.  They shared their sick day.  Poor Ella threw up over and over and over.  I bet she threw up every ten minutes for four hours straight.  It was terrible.  And then it slowed down to every 30 or so minutes for the next, oh, six or so hours.  Rohan had it coming out both ends.  Not as much puking as Ella, but he made up for it in other ways.  (Think 1 a.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. baths...)  And I forgot that Dustin shared this sick day with Ella and Roh as well.  Lucky.

Mac waited until Thursday/Friday and he was miserable too, but his manifested a little less severely than the other kids'.

As for me, I told my body that I was healthy.  I didn't have time for anything otherwise.  I couldn't spare a moment to succumb to the bug that plagued the rest of my family.  And I didn't.  And I was proud of myself because I really and truly felt like I kept it at bay by sheer force of will.  

Pride comes before a fall.

Usually, as we finish up laying out Christmas for the big morning, I go wash all the dishes, clean up any extra stuff in the living room and make sure everything feels good in the room before I go to bed.  Not this time.  By the time we were wrapping up, I was really feeling weird and I was scared about it.  Over and over again, I did my mental exercises  to fend off illness.  And it got worse.  There were dishes in the sink and some clutter on the table, but I decided I didn't care.  Not even a little bit.  I went to bed at about 1:45 or 2:00 a.m.  

I fell asleep for about 15 minutes and then bolted out of bed.  I was well and truly sick.  I had it like Rohan, coming from two directions.  I was so cold.  I would go in and lay on the hardwood floor in front of the heater in between my special times in the bathroom.  I had this little tiny fleece blanket that I would try to squeeze my body under as I laid by the heater.  

I know I fell asleep several times and was continually awakened by my body trying to expunge the virus I had previously eluded.  It was the most intense illness I've ever had.  

All my kids were sick for a minimum of 24 hours.  I started throwing up at about 2 a.m. on Christmas morning.  Here's where I was freaking out.  You recall that I direct the choir in my church?  And you recall that we do a big Christmas program every year?  And this year happened to be on Christmas Day?  I was totally clueless what I should do.  I was most likely going to be sick until at least the next morning at 2 a.m.  Should I call my bishop in the morning and tell him I wouldn't be there?  Me, the director of seven of the nine songs and the soloist singing the eighth?  What would they do?  Could Sandy lead them all?  Should they just sing congregational hymns?  Would they cancel the whole thing?

Amid puking and other things, I had these thoughts floating around.  I couldn't believe that I chose THIS time to get sick.  Seriously?  But when I say the thoughts were floating around, that's really how I felt.  This illness was so intense and I was so tired that I was fairly delirious.  I might have even passed out at one point.  I don't really know what happened except that I remembered sitting on the porcelain throne and then the next thing I remembered was pushing myself off the floor because I needed to sit there again.  And throw up.  At the same time.  Lucky me, I had a bowl and lucky me, I had the toilet paper holder to hold up the weight of my upper body because I couldn't hold myself up.  But I don't know how I got on the floor in the first place.  So I either passed out, or fell asleep and laid myself down with my pants still down.

It was violent.  It was delirium.  It was horrible.  And it was short.

I had, without much recollection of getting there, laid back in front of the heater on the hard floor and fallen asleep.  I'm guessing I left the bathroom for the last time at about 4:30.  I woke up to the sound of my kids coming through the kitchen to wake us up.  I exploded off the floor (don't know where the energy for that came from) telling them that it was too early and they needed to go back to sleep.  My kids informed me that it was 6:30 and I replied that it was still too early.  They had to wait until 7:00.  They grumbled until I told them I'd been throwing up all night.  Then they felt bad and acquiesced.  

I went and laid in my bed next to Dustin.  He told me how sorry he was that I was sick.  As I lay there in my bed, I did a "body check", so to speak.  An evaluation of what was going on.  I discovered that I didn't feel like I needed to use the toilet.  Good news.  And in checking on my stomach, I discovered that I felt.... HUNGRY.  Hungry?  I was shocked.  Who feels hungry when they've been throwing up?  Only people who are on the mend.  I allowed myself to hope and I ate a saltine cracker.  

Dustin had gone downstairs to hang out with the kids for the half hour they were required to wait.  I slept a little bit and then we all got ready to go see what "Santa" brought.  I just sat on a chair through the festivities and tried not to move my tender stomach.  

As time went on, I felt a little better and a little better.  At about 9:15 I went and showered and got myself ready for church.  I was shaky and weak, hollow feeling and tender-stomached, but I managed to get ready and go.

As I led the music and the program progressed, I seemed to get more strength even though I was exerting more energy and had only had a few crackers and some water.  Things went very well.  My solo was kinda disappointing, but considering how I felt, I was happy I was able to do it at all.  So I took the mediocre assessment and decided instead that it was pretty great.

And then it was over.  

And that was my Christmas miracle.  The Reader's Digest Version of the flu.  Two hours instead of 24-36.  

I was so grateful for that gift, and I just took it easy the rest of the day.  

Here are more pictures so you can faint again.  (don't worry, I didn't take any selfies of me barfing or similarly engaged...)



 On my bed, waiting so sweetly.


 The magic moment of walking into Christmas.



 Mac got a nice digital camera.  (The shark was the toy that didn't work.  MEGA disappointing)


Dustin and Rohan... opening something.  (proof of Dustin's presence.)



And me... trying to enjoy myself on two hours of sleep and shaky, hollow, sick-recovery-ness.  



Ella made this pillow for Mac (with help from me).  She was so excited! 


Rohan opening a gift I made for him... and I'm kinda proud of it, so....


Here it is.  It's a suitcase that I got from a thrift store and made a dinosaur habitat inside.  


It has a volcano and a cave and "water" (painted).  And then, when he's done playing with it, he closes it up and it's just a suitcase!  :-)  It's cool.   



And Ella after opening her art stuff that I spoke of a few days ago.  She was SO excited.  




Brynja was so cute.  She loved this doggie that Rohan gave her.  She snuggled it for a long time.  



In spite of the wild flu-ride, it was a great, low-key Christmas.


THE END.









Friday, January 13, 2012

Are You Sitting Down?

THERE ARE PICTURES ON CLANCY'S BLOG!!


Chair project:  

Before... 






And after....









And, you can also see our freshly painted walls, new bamboo floors, baseboards (that still need to be painted) and IKEA rug.

Pictures.  It's a small miracle, to be sure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tricky

Reupholstering is a tricky thing by itself.  It's trickier when you run out of staples at late o'clock and the new ones you bought earlier, when the stores were all open, are the wrong size.  Tricky compounds when your sewing machine randomly decides to do things that look fine on the top-stictch and after a few inches of stitching you realize that something's wrong so you look at the bobbin thread and it's totally WACKED.  And then you mess around with it for twenty or so minutes, throw your hands up in frustration, and move on to stapling with your brad nailer/air compressor setup (this is the next night from the previous staple part so you now have staples).  You are moving along nicely and then your nailer runs out of staples which you go refill and discover that the tricky nailer no longer wishes to push out the staples for reasons unknown.  Tricky turns trickier still when you wake your husband up (who fell asleep watching a movie on the couch) to see if he can fix the nailer, and he gets as frustrated as you are when he discovers that he has not a clue why the nailer is no longer cooperating.

Then you might just cry.

And then you pull your own trick out of your sleeve by saying out loud to your husband as he journeys back to the couch and the movie, "Maybe the sewing machine just needed a little rest.  I'm going to try it again."

Turns out that resting was just the thing for the old Singer.

Off to stitch a little more.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Technically...

...I could say that I've already done my four posts for this week, if you go from Saturday to Saturday.  Or, technically, I could say that I failed because I've only posted three times since Sunday, the start of the week.

But, oh!  Look at the time.  11:59 is the time I STARTED this post, so I win either way, technically.  

Right now I am reupholstering a chair that must be from 1968.  It's a messy business that makes your back sore.  Too much floor time.  I've never done this before so I'm a little nervous.  I've sewn enough that I have confidence that I can do it, but there's the little details that I thought I'd figured out and now I'm wondering if it's going to be all screwed up.  

I took a pattern from the upholstery that I pulled off, but now that I've cut some of those pieces out of the new fabric, I am worried about it.  I didn't account for how the old fabric was all stretched out.  It won't lay flat.  So, what if I made it too big?  Then the piping won't be right on the edge.  I guess I could measure it.

Rachel!  Where are you?  Oh yeah, you're in Farfarawayville, Egypt.  Don't you hate it when some of your best friends move?  Far away?
And when your sister moves to Reallyfarawaytown, Egypt?  That REALLY sucks too.
Guess what's funny and kinda ironic?  Rachel and Lacy, my sister, only live about 45 minutes from each other.      

But that doesn't help me with my current reupholstery project.   

And neither does this totally random subject change.  (There is a correlation that you can see at the end, so it's not as random as you might think at first.) 

For Christmas, we bought our Ella a bunch of various art supplies.  She gets art supplies every year for her birthday and Christmas, it seems, but these Christmas gifts for Ella were a little less "Crayola-ish" and a little more "pro-ish".  (Not that they are professional quality things, for the most part, but they are much nicer than the very elementary things she's used in the past...)  She was so darling when she opened them.  The bigger present was an travel art kit that came with a big canvas shoulder bag containing several different mediums of paints, canvases, brushes with a nifty brush-keeper and a travel easel.  When she opened it she squealed with delight, squinting her eyes, and hugged herself, jumped up and down and exclaimed with great conviction, "OH!!!  Now I'm an ARTIST!"  It was one of the most genuine reactions I've seen from her and it completely melted my heart.  It was a good moment among many others that Christmas morning.

So, a few days after that (a week?), Ella wanted to do a painting.  I also had ordered her a painting technique book and so we experimented with some techniques, she and I.  Mac and Rohan joined the party later and we had ourselves a family art day, which I enjoyed immensely.  

In my enjoyment with my children, I couldn't help but think of my darling little sister, Lacy, who moved (to Reallyfarawaytown, Egypt, if you recall?) not so long ago.  Lacy is one of the most creative people I know.  She is an artist.  In our shared childhood, we had a good relationship.  We were friends, for the most part and I sorta looked out for her.  (Did her hair, helped her pick her outfits, walked to school with her trying the whole way to get her to move faster so we wouldn't be late...)  She was most often completely content to be by herself and draw pictures, paint, make some amazing sculpture out of paper, etc.

One year when cottonwood trees were dropping their cotton, Lacy wandered around and picked up little bits of this fluff from around the yard (or wherever it was... can't recall).  She collected enough of these bits that she decided she wanted to make something out of it.  So, in true Lacy fashion, she got some brown fabric and drew herself a little pattern for a bear.  Then she cut the pieces out, got a NEEDLE AND THREAD, and stitched this little bear up by hand, one limb at a time.  She then stuffed the limbs, body and head with her treasured pile of cotton that she worked so tediously for, and she hand-stitched all the limbs on to this little tiny bear that she created.  As if that weren't enough, she proceeded to embroider a nose and eyes onto the face. This bear was probably a total of about 6 inches in length.  It was the cutest thing, and when I was helping Lace pack up her house to move (Reallyfarawaytown?), we stumbled across this little treasure of bygone days.  

That Lacy of my youth woke up as my children and I made watercolor creations and she's been walking with me ever since.

And I miss my Lacy so dearly.  And love her so.

Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lots to Say?

I have a blog-friend, Travis and he is a wise fellow, indeed.  

He commented on my post yesterday and said, "I figure one blogs when one has something to say. I hope you have lots to say."


This was a very thought-provoking comment for me.  Am I just wanting to blog for the sake of blogging or do I actually have something to say?

I'm not sure.  



But I have this to say, now.

There have been many things going on in my mind these last few years where I've blogged so little.  As I chew on Travis's comment, I can't say what my true motivation is, but I am ready to be heard again.  The trick is, am I ready to look at myself and form those thoughts into words?  For some reason, that is the true effort here.  That is the push.

Words used to spill from me like a fire-hydrant.  I thought in blog-posts.  I carried around a little notebook to jot things down that I wanted to post about... both funny and thoughtful things, trivial and important.   There were so many things to say that I would forget them if I didn't write them down.  And, as of late, I have forgotten I even have a blog.  I have forgotten I even liked to write.  I have forgotten, in many ways, how to process all these thoughts.  I've been dormant again, and I think I'm feeling a thaw.

So, maybe I'm forcing the issue a little bit.

I remember my mom getting out her square-nosed shovel and busting ice out of our gutter, aiding Mother Nature in her annual transition out of winter and into full-on spring.  My mom is so great like that.  Her own mother called her "Miss Fix-It" because she was always one to take action when she felt like something needed to happen.  

And I think this is me right now.  I am getting out my shovel and chipping away at the ice that has covered this place inside me.  This Me who once had lots to say, and who now only has a desire to have lots to say.  



Here's to Travis.  Thanks for the food for thought.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Attempt

Shh.  Don't tell anyone.  I made RESOLUTIONS for this, the lovely 2012, and one of them is to blog.  At least 4. Days. Per. Week.  (GASP!)  I used to do this regularly.  Why does this seem so hard?

You've probably forgotten, in my long absence, that I have never been a goal girl.  In fact, I sorta cringe at the word.  (goal, not girl)  But, in my heart of hearts, I have a bigger goal than blogging and I need to "prime the pump", so to speak.  

So, priming commence.  
 
Happy 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pics, Cameras and Blogging

Dustin and I got a new camera for Christmas.  It's awesome.  I haven't had a camera except the one on my Droid phone for about two years now.  Guess what that meant?  My quantity of picture taking, which left something to be desired when I used to have a camera, went to almost zero.  I rarely took pictures.  Sad stuff.  Thank goodness my mom was better at it than I and so there is some record of my children and, particularly, my baby growing up.

So, now I have a new camera.  I've taken almost three hundred pictures in just two weeks.  Amazing.  I wish that I could say this blog will now be filled with pics, but I'm not making any promises.  I'm just going to shoot for some words again.  Pics?  A possibility I don't dare dream of yet.  

The end.