Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Little Fantasy

Imagine that in that pretty tree at the curve of the stream, there lives a wee fairy. And this wee fairy grants WISHES.

Here is my wish (yes, after world peace, etc., etc.):

24 hours child free.

This is what I would do:

6:00AM to 8:30AM - Continue sleeping. When I wake up, the house is clean and there is not a bit of laundry to be seen. Thank's Wee Fairy.

8:30AM - snuggle with Geoff and a book and a bottomless cup of coffee on the front porch (um, it is a fantasy, so instead of the blue fold-up stadium chair on the front porch, there is a big wicker sofa with very soft fluffy pillows.)

10:30AM - make some jewelry

12:30PM - SLOWLY eat a tomato and basil sandwich on the patio with Geoff while enjoying the sights and sounds of our weed-free flower garden (Fairy, really, you have gone too far!)

1:00PM - Short hike along the Susquehanna River with Geoff

2:30PM - Browse Barnes and Noble (Geoff is there, too, but in the music section)

6:00PM - Dinner with Geoff at a restaurant that serves freshly, artfully prepared food, where one is encouraged to linger and have conversation

8:30PM - A movie with Geoff


6:00AM - the next day - the two sweetest children in the world are AWAKE, but willing to climb in our bed and snuggle a bit before demanding breakfast.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Staying Out of the Etsy Forums: A Pledge

I hesitate to label this One Small Change - I have not done any small changes in more than a month and of the ones I set this summer, I have not kept up half of them. Hello, Coca Cola, welcome back.

Anyway, two things happened at once.
1. My dear friend Denys had to google me and post a comment on my blog in order to get me to return her phone calls. Denys and I have been friends since the dark days when Thing One was the only Thing, and she was not yet a talking Thing. We attended Gymboree classes once a week so that I could pretend to interact with adults. We wandered the empty halls of the mall on a Wednesday morning, just because we had to get out of the house. Then Denys appeared. Lo, a mom who could make me laugh. A mom who enjoyed talking about more than babies (though there was plenty of that talk too.) A mom who shared my political beliefs. Whoot! Feeling low at 4PM because you know it will be at least another 2 hours before Geoff gets home - call Denys and talk while making dinner! The weather is beautiful and you know a good mother would take her child to the park, but you cannot stand the thought of standing there mindlessly pushing the swing for an hour - call Denys - she'll meet you there and you will have FUN! Yep, my friendship with Denys saved me from some serious depression. Then you know the story - I moved, she started a business, I started a business....But my point is - this is a friend whose calls should be returned in a timely fashion.

2. Over a couple days, earlier this week I spent a sum total of at least four hours trying to unravel an Etsy forum mystery - who were the banned members? Why were they banned? Was it warranted? I read pages of forum posts, articles and comments on the UEN (Unofficial Etsy News) and various Etsy sellers' blogs. By the time I was done, I was exhausted by the drama, the narcissism and the negativity. I am too tired, (and smart) to share all my thoughts on this matter, and really, it has nothing to do with me, so who cares?

Since I am unable to read forum posts without getting sucked into the drama, I am done reading the forums.

Surely this will free up some time to make new jewelry, list new jewelry, catch up with blog reading, and actually have coffee with a (gasp!) real, live friend.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Middle Name Game

MissFickleMedia tagged me for the middle name game.

My parents gave me the middle name, Janel. I had never seen it spelled this way by anyone else, until I got to college and met the person who would become one of my two best friends. She has the same middle name, spelled the same way. At graduation, people thought we made it up.

J - Jewelry is the obvious one here. I would like to add Joy, because I try to approach life joyfully.

A - Avid reader. It used to be that when the kids were entertaining themselves, I would sneak off to my room to read a book. Now I sneak off to stalk my Etsy shop and catch up on my blog reading. Blog reading is still reading, right?

N - Natural. Most days will find me with no make-up at all. If I am selling at market or going out in the evening, I add some lipstick and mascara.

E - (over)Educated. I am one of those women - I am sure the media has a slightly derogatory term for us - who acheived a Master's Degree just in time to stay at home with her kids. I will probably never use my degree. But I don't regret getting it, and I certainly don't regret chucking the teaching career to stay home with Thing One and Thing Two for a decade or so.

L - Love.

Feel free to tag yourself.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Looking for a Fun Post

Found this on Leigh-Ann's blog:

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Princess MPV

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip

3. YOUR "FLY Girl" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)
S Gib.

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Otter

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Janel Lancaster

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put "The")
The Blue Lemonade

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
J. Mark Arthur

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy)
Tova Kit Kat

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names)
Rose Eugene

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Book Fair Cometh

I am the Chairperson for the Scholastic Book Fair at Thing One's school. This is my third year, so it is kind of old hat. BUT, we have entered our 4 week countdown. I am about to be very, very busy.

And I am feeling a little passive aggressive about it.

Which leads to major procrastination on my part.

Which leads to late nights and panic.

Which leads to eating junk food and snarking at my family.

I predict that:

In four weeks I will be composing a post about why I am never chairing the Book Fair again.

In one year I will be referring ruefully to this post as I put off organizing my Book Fair materials.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

They Inherit Our Bad Traits Too (or Why I Am In Love with the Montessori Teacher)

Geoff and I are both first born children: perfectionists, eager to please, not so interested in trying things that might lead to (gasp! horror of horrors!) failure. Growing up, if I wasn't guaranteed success on the first try at a new skill or activity, I was not all that interested in trying. Geoff was the same way.

It is not so surprising then, that we have two children who, though different in so many fabulous and interesting ways, are both completely paralyzed by a fear of failure in any new situation.

Thing Two turned four a month ago, still wearing pull-ups. He flat out refuses to get on a tricycle or anything with pedals. He won't draw more than straight lines and don't you even think of asking him if he wants to learn how to write his name. Most of his sentences start with "When I am bigger, I will ....."
Is this healthy? Of course not.
Does his fear of trying new things cause him anxiety and frustration that lead to angry outbursts? Yes.
Am I worried about him? Nope. Not a bit.

We had all these issues with his sister. And on her own time, she decided she could do all the things we feared she would never do.

So, when I got a note from Thing Two's preschool three weeks ago, stating that they were combining the younger and older four classrooms and adding a more academic focus, I called up the local Montessori School and asked for a tour. After the tour, I called up the old preschool and withdrew his enrollment.

In the Montessori school, he will direct his time, and no one will tell him what to draw or when. He will be engaged in activities that are as challenging as he wants them to be in an atmosphere of structured freedom that I know he will find comforting and reassuring.

I knew it was the right place for him when we went to meet the teachers last week and he had the following two encounters with Mr. Ben (yes! a male teacher! in preschool!):

Thing Two: What is this?
Mr. Ben explains the task and asks if Thing Two would like to try it.
Thing Two: I don't have that at home. I don't think I can do that.
Mr. Ben: But that's why we come to school, isn't it? To try new things?
Thing Two wanders away and Mr. Ben does not press the issue.

Thing Two, standing in front of the chalkboard easel: Can I draw here?
Mr. Ben: Sure.
Thing Two: I only know how to draw rain (he draws a vertical line) and grass (he draws a horizontal line).
Mr. Ben: I bet you can draw lots of other things.
Thing Two: Nope. I don't make them the right way.
Mr. Ben: But your way IS the right way, buddy.

Is it just a coincidence that today Thing Two brought me a drawing of a pig? Two circles! Connected! With a face! and legs!

Yes, Mr. Ben. Thing Two and I adore you now. And when you bring out your guitar on that first day, Thing Two's hero worship will be undeniable.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Buttons and Magnets and Rings! Oh my!

Regular readers will remember my excitement when Liz of Hobbledehoy loaned me her 1 inch tecre machine. Here is a peek at some of the fruits of my labors.
I made rings with chiyogami paper, magnet sets with all sorts of recycled papers, pin back buttons with dried flowers, recycled magazines and more chiyogami paper, and subtle promo magnets featuring the same paper I use in my packaging. Very, very fun! Geoff used recycled magazines and the tecre to make funny celebrity magnets for his brother. Thing One had fun collecting flowers for pressing.
Last week I mailed the machine back to Liz so she can get started on promos for the holidays. It was so great to give the machine a test run. I am still on the fence about whether I want one of my own - when my current stock of promos gets low, I will have to make a decision, but in the meantime, thanks to Liz, I am stocked through Christmas.

In the spirit of sharing, I would like to send a little package of goodies - at least one ring, magnet set and pin back button - to the first five readers who comment here. Thanks again Liz!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

One Local Summer - Week Ten

Last night we had fritatta with red, green and yellow peppers and basil. We liked it a lot more than the green pepper and onion fritatta of earlier in the summer. I think the basil was a great addition. A side salad of tomatos and cucumbers. Also sweet corn of the "Honey Treat" variety - seriously, so sweet it could be dessert, and cantelope. This was our first local cantelope of the summer and it made us wonder why we ever bother with non-local cantelope. Is it worth eating when it has no flavor? And I guess that is what we were meant to learn with this project.
I am finally getting around to reading Barbara Kingsolver's book and I am determined to grow some of our own food (beyond meadow tea) next summer. Of course, Geoff's response to this idea was: "You are aware that vegetable gardens need to be weeded, right?"