Monday, April 30, 2007

Weekend On the Chesapeake Bay

We have been visiting this spot at the top of the Bay since I was a teenager. Geoff and I were married here. We kayak, we eat too much, we spread out on the dock to watch the sunset. This year we built a fairy house in an old, gnarled tree.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" As Retold by Thing Two

This book is called "The Caterpillar and Food, Food," by Salamader and Captain Danger.

There was a moon and an egg. Then the sun came and popped the caterpillar out. He ated a leaf and some apples. strawberries. plum.

Then he ated foods that a boy wanted to eat.

Then, uh oh STOMACHACHE.

Then he ate a little leaf.


Then look, look! A beautiful butterfly!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Lost Day

Thing Two and I spent the night awake with various disgusting gastro-intestinal maladies. But the beautiful result: spent the whole morning snuggling on the sofa while he watched PBS Kids and I drifted in and out of sleep. Just woke up and ate some jello.

Whatever it is I should have been doing today - forget it.

What a treat!

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Daughter, Myself

Thing One came home with a very poor spelling test. This was a bit of a surprise because she usually does well in spelling and in fact knew all the words everytime I quizzed her before the test.

"so, what do you think happened?"

"I don't know, Mommy. I was thinking about my pants and the snaps at the bottom. And maybe about my birthday and also..."

"So, you weren't focusing on your test."


"I know you knew the words."

"I did know the words. And anyway, I am one of the smartest kids in my class, you know."

"I do know that. Which is why you should be doing well on the test."

"But who cares! I know the words!"

And here is the thing. I understand exactly how she feels. Tired of "proving" what she knows when she and her teacher and her parents all know what she knows. Nothing gets this kid's goat like reading comprehension questions. She hates to retell a story. She knows she understood it; why does she have to prove to you that she understood it? Most weeks she is willing to play the game, but some weeks it seems, she just needs a break from being the smartest girl in the room. I had a little bit of this attitude in school too. I knew I would do well if I tried hard, and sometimes, just recognizing my potential was enough for me.

So, how do I help her with this, when it was my problem too? And do I really need to help her with it? My "underacheiving" 3.85 average got me a scholarship to a better-than-average liberal arts college. I have always been a good employee at all my various jobs. I am happy. My life is good. Would I have been happier if I had worked for the 4.0? Would my quality of life be improved? I can't say "yes" to either question.

And yet I feel like I should have higher expectations for her. And certainly, I don't want to give her permission to be a slacker. But I really don't feel like the best person to be lecturing her on this point.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday

Seven years ago today in a delivery room with "NYPD Blue" on the television - who turned that on? why didn't we turn it off? - our lives changed completely.

So tonight we will all have Kraft mac n cheese, corn kernals and honeydew for dinner. We will try to resist the urge to ask how this happened, how seven years have already gone by. We will try not to imagine life seven years from now when she is in High School and has friends who drive cars. We will try not to be embarrassing to her as we beam and marvel at all the ways she is like us and all the wonderful ways she is different.

She grows more interesting and lovely by the day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Post Will Only Interest You If You Make Jewelry

I finally got my act together and opened a second Etsy shop to sell supplies. Right now I am using it to get rid of some of the beads and findings that have built up over the last 15 years. I am hoping that eventually I will offer some handmade supplies. When I break down and get a PMC kiln or get over my fear of torches, you can look forward to handmade beads, pendants, earwires and headpins.

In the meantime, fellow beaders, come check out Steph's Bead Box.

Monday, April 16, 2007

10 Facts About Me

I was tagged by JewelStreet to list 10 Little Known Facts about Me. I was going to give this a lot of thought before I posted it, but I am afraid I am going to forget about it, so I am just going to do this off the cuff.

1. I was never invited to a homecoming dance in High School. Not once. This caused a fair amount of pain at the time, but I like to think I am over it now. I once had someone I was working with say "You were the Homecoming Queen in High School, weren't you." Nope. Not even close.

2. I am afraid of the rapters in Jurassic Park. After Geoff and I went to see that movie, I actually asked him to sleep next to the closet, because I was sure they were going to come out of there in the night.

3. My first job was working in a factory, packing apples. I was 13 and so I suppose it was illegal for me to work there, but it was my father's business, and I was trying to raise money for a trip to Europe. I was invited to go with a family friend who was chaperoning her High School History students on a tour of six countries. My parents said I could go if I paid my own way. Anyway, the only thing that got me through the mind-numbing boredom of operating a bagging machine was watching the blond guy who put the boxes together. Can't remember his name, but he was very cute and listened to/sang/danced along with Huey Lewis on a walkman while he worked. Ahhh, 1983.

4. One of my favorite jobs was waitressing in college. I loved the physicality of it and the fact that I left with a wad of cash.

5. I was a complete technophobe before discovering Etsy. And while I am no expert, I have really enjoyed teaching myself how to do new things on the computer.

6. I won my High School's Poetry Prize at graduation. (maybe that explains #1)

7. I have never colored or permed my hair. Not even in the 80's. (maybe THAT explains #1)

8. I sometimes wish we were having more children. Usually, I wish this when we watch a movie about big families of grown children who come together in a giant colonial style house for a major holiday and the house is filled with chaos and love. I never wish this when I imagine being pregnant or getting up in the night with another baby.

9. I still feel ashamed about the time in college when I was editing the Features section of the school newspaper and I wrote a headline that was witty but insulting to a professor and to a visiting artist. There was no reason for running the headline other than the fact that I was in love with my little (not even very clever) witticism. Sadly for everyone involved, the editor of the paper disliked the professor, and so she ran it anyway. I never apologized, and I am sure he does not remember the incident anymore, but whenever I remember it, I consider sending him an apology.

10. I let my son watch way too much television.

Now I will tag Ginger and Eva. Have fun you two!

Friday, April 13, 2007

What About Thing One?

I was looking back over my posts and realized that all the "kids" posts are about Thing Two. "What about Thing One," I imagine my readers wondering (humor me.) Thing One, herself, would be shocked and dramatically offended (much huffing, puffing and tossing of hair before stalking off for a pout) to find she had not made it into the blog yet.

Well, dear readers, Thing One goes to school all day. She learned to read a year ago and we have not seen her since. I know she comes home from school, because she demands a snack before her backpack even hits the floor, but after the snack, she is basically a torso and two legs poking out from behind a book until bedtime.

That's my girl!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

Based upon Creative Challenge #46 in the Etsy forums, I offer this list in chronological order:

High School:
- doctor (because that's what I thought smart kids became)
- geneticist (because I LOVED 10th grade Biology)
- lawyer (because I thought that's what smart kids who liked to read became)
- writer (because it was my second most favorite thing to do and it was more acceptable to my father than my first favorite thing to do, which was acting)

- writer (because I chose a school that specialized in it)
- historic preservationist ('cause I got tired of the navel gazing in the writing program and switched my major to history)
- museum curator (it combined history and writing)
- actress (I finally caved in to my desire to be on stage, despite how much it might disappoint my Dad)

Early 20's
- owner of a little retail shop full of merchandise handmade from found objects (yes, 15 years before I discovered Etsy!)
- actress (sorry Dad, I'm off to NYC)
- dramaturg ('cause I wasn't willing to starve myself for an acting career)
- urban planner ('cause theater seems sort of frivolous when you are living in NYC in the pre-Guiliani days)
- teacher ('cause it seemed like the root of social change)

So finally in my mid-20's I became a teacher. That career lasted four years until I became a Mommy.

And as a Mommy, while making and selling jewelry, I have dreamed of:

- opening an independant bookstore
- opening a bead shop
- opening a brick and mortar version of Etsy.

What's next? (my husband lives in fear of the answer to that question!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I Love Alice Munro

I love Alice Munro.

That said, I have been slogging through her latest book, The View From Castle Rock, for weeks. It is very unusual for me to take more than a week to read something. Usually I am sneaking off to read anytime I think I can get away with it. But this book has NOT been calling my name throughout the day.

And then, last night I was putting in my obligatory two pages before falling asleep, when a single sentence made me aware of something about myself that had never occurred to me. It resonated with such truth, that (much to my sleeping husband’s dismay) I actually slapped the book closed and said, “THAT’S why I love Alice Munro.”

“…..I am not sure now whether I love any place, and that it seems to me it was myself that I loved here….”

-Alice Munro

Monday, April 9, 2007

Beads4You Winter Beading Contest

I won the Beads4You Winter Beading Challenge on Etsy!

In this competition, judged by Rena Klingenberg, everyone started with the same set of beads. There were 2 categories: Only the Beads and Anything Goes. I won in the Only the Beads Category. So shocked and excited! ebbandflo won in the Anything Goes Category.

Rena Klingenberg's comments and her special mention selections can be seen here.

What a way to start the week!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

I'd Like My Crayons Back Please

Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, "I�d like my crayons back, please."
from Gaping Void

I was directed to this link by Eva and found some of it helpful in reminding me what I already know about creativity, but tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of my life.

In college I flitted from one creative interest to another, writing poetry, acting and taking design classes. I wore the requisite "hippy" skirts and had a closet full of slouchy boots and a box full of gigantic, jingly earrings. Nearly every boy I dated played the guitar.

After graduation, I packed up an ugly orange chair, two plants and my journal and headed to New York City. I worked for a struggling theatre company for a year before my savings was spent and it was time to figure out a way to pay for the 300 square foot apartment my boyfriend and I shared.

A friend knew of a administrative assistant position at one of the city's wealthiest law firms. She was temping there and managing to audition at the same time. The pay was unbelievable. The change crept up on me slowly, but somehow, three years later, I was wearing suits, heels and pearl earrings. I was about to graduate from NYU with a Master's degree in early childhood education. I was planning a wedding and a move to the suburbs. College-me would have choked on her ramen noodles.

Ten years later, I live in the town I grew up in. My husband and I have two beautiful (unbelievably imaginative) kids. This is the life we chose, and I cannot say that there is a thing I wish I had done differently. Shortly after my daughter was born I took a pottery class and started making jewelry again. I realize that I was finally saying "I'd like my crayons back please." And I realize that I can bring creativity to everything I do - activities with the kids, the garden, my work. And we can choose friends who value creativity as much as we do. And I bet I have some of those earrings in the back of the closet somewhere, but if not, I can always make new ones.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Finally, An Orderly Space!

A couple weeks ago, I started this blog, and stated that I wasn't going to post anything else until I got my work space cleaned up. Finally finished it this weekend.

I guess I can start posting now.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Three Year Old Mind

Thing Two and I were sitting at the table this morning, enjoying one another's company. He was painting and I was drinking my coffee and trying to complete an acrostic.

"I have a lot of talents, you know, Mom: playing ball, drumming, painting, building stuff, AND playing 'chase the sister'."

And a little later:

"You're not a dumb Mom at all, Mom."

"Well, thanks, bud. But sometimes when you are angry, you call me 'Dumb Mom.' Why do you do that?"

"Well, Mom, because sometimes you are dumb."

Yes, we are still working on whole "respect" concept.