Monday, April 30, 2012

Portrait of Neglect

A few Christmases ago, we got these bulbs as a gift from our neighbor.  We planted them and they bloomed.  After that year, we moved the bulbs to a larger pot, just to see what happened.  Since then,  they have been in pot by our garage through long hard winters and water restricted summers with us doing nothing at all for them.  And year after year, they bloom.  They bloom magnificently!  I was tempted to move them out front so the world would get to see them, but I decided that they will stay where they are so I can look at something so grand each time I come and go and come and go and come and go with the kids.  
Speaking of kids, this little flower got me to thinking, am I doing too much for my kids? (YES!)  I surely do not advocate the kind of neglect this flower has been subjected to, but rather allowing them to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility,  and character. That almost sounds like a mission statement.  Can't you see it on a fancy poster?  Kid putting away his toys without a fuss.  Mom peeking her head in the room with a smirk of satisfaction on her face and a fresh manicure on her nails because with such responsible kids, she has time for such things.  The caption, "As a parent, I will allow my children to navigate situations where failure is an option for the sake of building resourcefulness, responsibility and character."  

I will be straight with you.  That is NOT the picture at my house!  Don't get me wrong. I have good kids.  Great kids.  But they could improve in some areas.  For instance, my daughter is the messiest of the messy.  I ask her to pick up.  She cries.  My head spins in exorcism fashion as steam billows from my ears and idle threats spew from my lips.  So, to avoid the situation above and the headache that follows, I repeatedly clean up their messes.
My son refuses to learn to tie his shoes.  I explained that ball players need to know this because moms are not allowed to dash onto the field to tie a shoe.  His response, "One of my team mates will do it for me!"  And then, I tie his shoe!  I repeatedly deliver their forgotten items to school.  I repeatedly get frustrated with them (and myself) when I ask them to do something and they protest because they are used to having it done for them.   I could put the blame on them, but really, the blame falls on me.  Out of lack of self discipline and love of convenience,  I have placed too much responsibility on myself and not enough on them.  And there is the irony of it all.  Placing more responsibility on myself is convenient???  No, that is just plain stupid.  And I don't like stupid, soooooo, I am going to work on having the discipline to weather some storms and endure some resistance with the greater goal of producing responsible, resourceful, thankful, beautifully blooming children!   Ummm, wish me luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Houndstooth Quilt

I began this quilt about a week ago for my brother and sister in law's soon to be born baby.  They picked the houndstooth pattern and the colors and turned me loose. It appears that I will be buying the pattern again because it has multiple sizes, not just crib anymore.
I have known about the quilt for months, but in my true fashion, I waited until the last minute.  One of these days, I will change my ways......

When I finished the front, it was kind of ho-hum.  I wanted more contrast between the colors, but it was done.  It looked fine, but I was not in love with it at this point. In the process of making it, I took it upon myself to add an extra row of blocks all the way around, so it was a wee bit big to take a width of fabric for a backing.  I needed to get creative.  I decided to put a large chunk of the print fabric-- Speckle Garden Gate from the Michael Miller Secret Garden Line designed by Sandi Henderson.  Then I added the borders and cornerstones.  Me likey!
I planned on adding a pop of color by quilting it in peach and binding it in peach, but decided it would take away from the pattern.  So, I quilted in yellow and bound in blue.  I just did free motion meandering.  It is my go to DIY quilting method.  This time, I think I really mastered it.  It probably had more to do with the size of the quilt and the ease of movement with it than my actual skill.  Either way, it turned out well.
All of the decisions turned out to be the perfect.  I L-O-V-E this quilt.  It got significantly more pretty as I quilted it.  It hid the sins of my imperfect piecing very well.  It truly has no back or front because both are so awesome (if I may toot my own horn loudly).  I am usually humble about my projects finding 10 ways to do them different or better, but I cannot say so on this one.  I hope my niece loves it too.

The "Front"

The "Back"

Saturday, April 14, 2012


About once a year, I have to go to the Lancome cosmetics counter and buy 2 tubes of my Bordeaux lipstick.  I have worn this color for about 8 years and I am very faithful to it.  It has just enough brown that it does not turn hot pink on me leaving me looking like a used up Malibu Barbie and with just enough sparkle to skip the gloss which often so sticky it feels like rubber cement gluing your lips together.  Most lip gloss leaves me feeling that if I dare to part my lips after using it either a loud “Pop” will happen when the gloss un-adheres itself from itself or long stringy lines will form between my lips like when you try to remove a piece of pizza and the cheese just keeps holding on.  Clearly, I am not a fan of gloss.  Anyway, when I got there,  I was pleased that it was free gift time and I would get some free stuff to give to Lindsay.   I gave her my order, “4 fried chickens and a coke.”  Oh, wait, wrong order.  I am at Nordstroms.  “2 tubes of LeRouge Absolu, Bordeaux, please.”   They had none on hand.   The nice lady ordered me 2 tubes, sent me home with my free gift with purchase assuring me that in 5-7 days my old friend would arrive.    9 days later, I got a call.  “We are soooooooooooooo sorry.  We have no idea what is going on with that color, we are canceling the order.  Call us if there is anything else you want. “   Fancy make up counter lady,  Say What?  My lipstick is, at best “on a break” and at worst walking out on me after all these years!  Curse you Lancome!  Curse you!  My brain went into a bit of a panic.  I did not want to go searching for a new lipstick.  It would be like dating again. 
After the news of the break up, I used an hour of free time to go into Sephora.  If I am going to buy something, I will go there because 1) it is very convenient. 2) There are not people hovering all over you trying to upsell you eye shadow when you came for lipstick. 3) Despite instantly feeling old(er), wrinkly(er), and ugly(ier) upon entering the door, they have a lot of stuff to choose from.   
I step in the door.  The bright lights and mirrors are somewhat blinding.    The multitude of stuff almost gives me a seizure.  This happens to me at IKEA too.  I become completely overwhelmed.  I walk out the door.  I am not tough enough to do this.  I go to my car.  I examine myself in the mirror.  I am wearing “none” makeup.  When my Lindsay was little she was very good with grammar and rarely offered up a mishap.  But the confusion of no and none happened and we still use it in our home today when we are completely without something.  So there I was back in my car with none make up on.  Old, wrinkly, ugly.  Big sigh.  I look into my tube of Lancome, now so very low that even when I fat out my lips, the tube scrapes them as I try to put it on.  I know I could get a lip brush, but then I would lose the brush in my purse and find that I have painted my checkbook with the last precious drops of my lipstick.  So, I get out of the car, toss it in the garbage, because it is done and I need to move on. 
Back into Sephora.  They are probably calling security because of my abrupt exit a few minutes earlier.  "Crazy lady entering the building" is what they likely say.  I begin to wander the aisles.  I spray myself with some perfume, so I don’t stink.  Or at least if I do, there is a thin layer of botanical loveliness wafting from me, much like pigpen’s cloud that follows him in Peanuts cartoons.  I am picturing my cloud as butterflies and glitter.  Butterflies and Glitter---I am beginning to think I am about 8 years old.  And there is the problem.  My 8 year old can kick my butt at make-up application.  It is a gift.  It is amazing.  She will go play in the make-up and most times come out looking respectable.   I was forsaken in the beauty department.  I am telling you, it is a toss-up day to day if I will look respectable even with 25 years’ experience in make-up application.   I think it goes back to my first lipstick being a frosty pink color and my kind and sensitive brothers saying I looked like a corpse when I proudly exited the bathroom with it on.  They were actually right and since then, and the blue eye shadow days, make-up is somewhat terrifying.  Well, that and a fear of looking like Mimi from Drew Carey.   But at the moment, I am in a cloud of butterflies and glitter and I am going to find a lipstick.  
I begin to really look at lipstick.  Too brown, too orange, too red, too plum, too pink, too salmon, too matte......  I stare at the tubes critically, holding them up to the light.  I am sure I look as though I am examining evidence on CSI.   I don’t care.  Then I see one.  It has promise.  It looks the same.  I put it on.  It turns hot pink.  It is sooooo not hot.  I clean it off.  Then I start looking at names.  I find one that looks pretty good.  It has a non-lame name.  I try it.  I walk away from the mirrors and sniff bubble bath for a bit.  I return to the mirrors.  Still Red! , but not toooooo Red!  It is a keeper!   It’s a miracle!  Dior Addict Extreme #829 “Sunset Blvd” is coming home with me.  And so is some of that bubble bath!  I am going to need it after this outing.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dance Competition

A few weeks ago, I went to a dance competition with my daughter.  The girls from her studio were competing and she has mentioned wanting to audition for the competition team, so I thought it best she spend a day seeing what she was getting herself and her mother into.   Plus, I have wanted to go watch the girls compete for a while and see their solos and such that you don't get to see at recital.

I know that you are all picturing a baaaaad episode of Dance Moms.  Well, I would like to say that it is not like that, but there are moms like that out there.  Fortunately, I saw mothers who are mostly sane.  Wheew.  I was worried for myself.

We watched the younger girls dance.  Our neighbors won first place for their duet.  It was so fun to be there and see that accomplishment.  We stayed and watched the big girls dance.  As they danced, it became apparent that they were in an entirely different league than most of the other dancers, and that is not to say that the other dancers were bad, because they were not.  It was just that I have never seen the girls outside of the recital or the Nutcracker production and to see them compete with their peers was eye opening.

I also have been DYING to show you my favorite dance of the day.   It is called Already Falling.  It is a lyrical number.  Historically, I have not been a huge fan of lyrical.   I felt like you see one translate her agony into dance, you have seen them all.  I am a big enough girl to admit when I am wrong and I kept my eyes open enough to see something entirely different from agony play out on that stage.  There was a lyrical about joy and friendship and belonging.  It was a piece of art.  It made my cry.  It made my friend cry.  When I saw it again today, I got chills.  Truly.   And I dislike watching dance on film because I believe it becomes "flat" and the camera sucks energy out of a performance.  But I would rather you see this on film than not at all.  That is how strongly I feel about it.  I am also putting in snazzy jazzy number and a fun, fun ballet.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shoe Envy

My mom bought these shoes for my daughter.  I am insanely jealous of them.  Or maybe I am insanely jealous that they are not an age appropriate footwear choice for me.  Are they not awesome??? 
Rainbow Stitching!  

Rainbow Zebra print tongues---5 of them!  

Rainbow printed All Star!  

They even came with purple AND pink laces!  I do not know what is happening to my child because she insisted on keeping the white.  I had all my money down on a rapid change to 1 purple and 1 pink.  I am beginning to think I don't know her at all.   Part of her motive for not changing was she gave me the purple laces because she thought they would look better in my new (frumpy) shoes.  They are ultra cushy Nike Vomeros.  She was right. They are slightly less grey now.  Lucky for me, they feel awesome and I have come to an age where most days comfort trumps style.   Ohhhhh to be 8 and wear the rainbow tennies again...............