Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We made it!

Day 91: Dec. 17, 2013

To post or not to post on vacation? I very well might not write one post while I'm on Holiday with my husband's family (except this one.)  I'm so tired right now from waking up at 3:30 to catch a 5:30 flight out of Eugene. It was not bad. Our flights were on time, smooth, easy. Our luggage over whelming. Our kids very well behaved overall. In all of the airports, our gates were next to playgrounds, hello, thank you. I slept about 4 hours last night, and my husband zero hours, so between us, we were zombies. The kids persevered in trying to have long conversations with us on the plane despite our unresponsive tendencies. We made it though, and the kids are asleep, and tomorrow I get to go to a yoga class!

Coffee: One today in the airport.

Watercolor: Tomorrow I go shopping for new paper and possibly new brushes. My supplies are so harried and I didn't bring the one piece of WC paper I had left, so I'm off the hook for now.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Big and Beautiful

Day 90: Dec. 15, 2013

I had some cool dreams last night. The first was about an enormous, beautiful house. A house that is owned by my very large extended family and has been in the family for many generations. I saw the house there in my dream, and I was pantomiming with a friend about the best way to throw a party there. (There was no talking in the dream.)

The next dream involved the house I live in now, sort of. My husband and I were admiring our home's interior, and realized there were rooms in it we had never seen before. We became curious about these mysterious rooms, and continued to explore. We found cute nooks with bright windows, a cute entrance area that we thought was exceptionally well laid out, and then, an entire kitchen we didn't realize we had. It dawned on us that we had an apartment in our house that we could rent out! We had not known this before, and what a boon!

I am a dreamer. I dream often. Sometimes the dreams are vivid, sometimes vague, but usually I wake up with a feeling. Like this morning, I woke up and felt right away that both houses were telling me that I feel strong and beautiful and open. Like I'm willing to share myself (which makes sense, I've been doing this for a while now, for better or for worse.)  Ok, but there is a part of the second dream I haven't told you yet. It was actually super weird and gross, hence my hesitation. It was in the kitchen. Left over food on the counters, and (close your eyes,) ants that were disassembling the food then in a moment reassembling it. Weird. It was sandwiches. I mean, I don't always do the dishes right away. I usually do, but I think yesterday, there was food on the counter for a while since it was Saturday and we were rushing to get out of the house.

Ok, here's and idea: this blog is making me feel all open and willing to let people in (although we're talking about an apartment for RENT,) but at the same time its getting me all mixed up and reassembled over and over.  I don't know. I could go on and on, but that could be awkward. Maybe its that I'm supposed to make money writing this blog. Yes, that must be it. My husband will be so pleased.

Either way, I love a good dream that keeps me thinking.

Coffee: None. How is that possible?

Watercolor:




Tire Swing

Day 89: Dec. 14, 2013

The power went out last night just as I was sitting down to write! So, this is all I got for yesterday.  Today's post will come soon!



Friday, December 13, 2013

Movie Memories

Day 88: Dec. 13, 2013

It's Friday the thirteenth. I used to watch scary movies on this day as a kid. One thing I am pleased about in my life is that I never again have to watch another scary movie. No movies about masked men with chain saws, or kids romping around in the woods worried about weird crap happening. I'll see an add on tv for a scary movie, and I practically giggle with glee at the thought that I will never see that movie! I will never sit through two hours of blood, killing, suspense, gross monsters, weird crap happening. Somehow, in middle school when Friday the thirteenth rolled around, I always found myself at this or that person's house watching Freddy or graveyard movies, or I can't even remember them anymore.  Although I couldn't articulate it then, somewhere deep in the recesses of my body, I knew this scary movie watching activity was not for me.  I just grinned and bore it. Even if it was Friday the thirteenth. Or Halloween.

And now that it's the Christmas season, its time to watch my most beloved movie, which is like a friend to me, the one movie I can recite many of the scenes verbatim: When Harry Met Sally. I know, many of you are shaking your heads, fake vomiting, vowing never to read another post as long as you live.  I will die loving this movie. I will watch it at least 1000 more times before I die, and I will refer to it in my mind more than that when trying to figure out what to do with my emotions. One of my favorite scenes is when Harry and Sally are in Sharper Image checking out the karaoke machine. Harry's singing Surry with a Fringe on Top and Helen (Harry's ex-wife) walks in with Ira (her new man.) Harry stops while Sally keeps on singing and finally into the microphone, she asks him what's wrong? and he says, "it's Helen," and she says, "Helen?" for the whole store to hear. I love that scene! I love all of the scenes.

I love how the little old couples sit on the couch and describe how they met each other. "I went up nine extra floors just to keep talking to her. Nine extra floors." I find myself saying that in my head every time I'm on an elevator. Or the little Asian couple whose marriage was arranged, but the man wanted to see her first. So he snuck over to the next "willage" and thought she looked really nice, so it was ok. And they'd been married 65 years, or something.

Unfortunately, I do not own this movie. I will have to rent it yet again this year. They don't let you stream it instantly on netflix, the bastards. Maybe its because its so good they know people will go the extra mile to get their hands on it.

Coffee: Today was a GREAT day! No treacherous driving. The snow has melted. Schools were open (of course my kids don't go to school on Fridays.) Nevertheless, the wait is over, and we're back to normal. Phew!

Watercolor:












Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snow, Snow, Go Away, Come Again, Another Day (Not.)

Day 87: Dec. 12, 2013

I have a thirty minute window to write something. Should be enough time, right? But, this snow situation is getting me all agitated. And my mind can't seem to focus on any one idea for more than two minutes. Today is Dec. 12, and since Nov. 23, our local schools have been open for three days. Snow days, Thanksgiving break (a week,) furlough and teahcer conference days have kept the schools closed all the other days. And my kids decided when it was 2 degrees not to sled anymore. Now its 32 degrees, there's plenty of good snow on the ground and I'm stuck inside with perfectly happy kids running around the house playing all kinds of bizarre games invloving imaginary cars, baby dolls, animals, monsters, etc. Its not bad. Really. Its great that they can play well together. I'm going insane, however.

I think its the not knowing what's going to happen that is my down fall. I allow my mind to wander to the possiblitly that I'll have a few hours to myself the next day. I see visions of writing in quiet, picking up my symphony music, having a clean house for more than thirty seconds, finishing some Christmas shopping. I get to the point where I'm sure school will open.  After all, the weather website says 39 degrees! I allow myself to plan. BAD IDEA. HORRIBLE IDEA. Because, then I'm so crushed when I see on the website that due to weather conditions, the schools will be closed AGAIN.

And we have it good compared to a lot of folks who are dealing with broken pipes, although my husband just informed me that we have water coming in our bedroom window. I better go back there to see if he needs any help. Afterall, my mind is in a tizzy.

Coffee: None today. The world is all askew.

Watercolor:






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hola!

Day 86: Dec. 11, 2013

Today my kids and I were eating burritos in our favorite burrito restaurant. We were discussing the spanish words for colors. I've been learning spanish while driving in the car to and from Symphony rehearsal. I borrowed the Pimsleur language learning CDs from the library, and I'm getting better. Mi casa es roja. My house is red. This is something we discussed today.

Coffee: I enjoyed a coffee at the library today before seeing a very adorable production of the Nutcracker danced by a youth ballet group.

Watercolor:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolote Milk Snatchers

Day 84: Dec. 10, 2013

It is 2:00 in the afternoon, and the only sound I hear is the hum of the dishwasher. Both of my children are asleep. This means that both of my children will be doing the hokey pokey at 10 pm this evening instead of sleeping.

Earlier today, while I was outside for 10 minutes trying to shovel frozen goat pee, the kids were inside, having stolen the chocolate milk mix from the pantry, eating it in my daughter's bed. It was a big mess. This is not the first pantry caper. I doled a "no sweets for three days" punishment, which may be the first actual punishment besides a time-out that they've ever experienced. I feel good about the punishment, but I'm not convinced that this behavior will change because of it. I'm thinking of designating a low shelf with healthy snacks that they can grab when they're hungry. I mean, do they always have to ask me when they want to eat something?  Are there really "healthy snacks," you can keep in a pantry that you'd be ok with your kids eating willy nilly in the middle of the day?


Coffee: Enjoyed a quiet cup right before writing this. (I'll pay for this later!)

Watercolor:






Monday, December 9, 2013

Tell It!

Day 84: Dec. 9, 2013

My kids like to shout, "TELL IT," at the top of their lungs, usually directed at my husband who has taken a break for breathing from an epic story about super hero's, monsters, aliens, lost space ships, slimy blobs, dinosaurs, trucks (there's always a truck,) Mater and Lightening, princesses and steam rollers. Sometimes all of these elements are involved at once, sometimes only a few. Never just one.

I'm not sure how this all started. At one point my daughter asked me to tell her a story while we were eating lunch, and it was about a boy who woke up in the night and heard giggling in his closet.  He crept down from his bunk bed to find a friendly nightmare burping and after finding this funny, giggling. The story evolved into a much more elaborate tale of singing and dancing followed by epic battles with a scary nightmare who lives in the woods. The boy's name is Mattress.

Then my husband modified this story by setting it at a camp site where a boy and a girl were camping with their parents in the woods. And the friendly nightmare was sitting on a log in a lake and the scary nightmare emerged from behind the camp site making the sounds, "CRUNCH, CRACKLE, CRUNCH."

Crunch, Crackle, Crunch is very big in our family.

Now we're at the point where 99% of the words we speak to our children are in story form. And if we press pause for even a second, we are bombarded with "TELL IT, TELL IT!!!!"

Sometimes this provides us with excellent leverage. Eat your broccoli and I'll tell it. I won't tell it until you go pee and put on some pants.


My husband has become so elaborate and effusive with his stories, that I'm almost off the hook. I am definitely the story telling consolation prize. However, I am the provider of the CDs. Stories told by professional story tellers that we listen to in the car. One of their favorites is called, "Little Dragon." About a little dog sized Dragon who has lost his fire, but nevertheless is jovial and an excellent companion to the little girl who dropped into the story. She discovers that the story world is slowly freezing over as the sun is becoming encased in ice and its up to the little Dragon to climb Dragon Mountain and breath fire into the sun. It's a conundrum because the Dragon has no fire, but deep down, the little girl knows its in him, and how can she help him to find it. She does, and he saves the day. Its very sweet.

My son is really insane about these stories. At one point he demanded that instead of singing lullabies at bedtime, I sing a story about his two favorite characters, Mater and Lightening getting caught in a ditch and fetched out by giant cranes. Once they're out, Mater, Lightening, "the girls," and the cranes all go out for ice cream.  This didn't last very long, mainly because at bed time, I'm tired, totally done, and not in the mood to sing a story.

Coffee: One very early this morning. It feels like that was a week ago.

Watercolor:










Sunday, December 8, 2013

Whatever Comes to Mind

Day 83: Dec. 8, 2013

Well, darn, I missed yesterday. I was writing away, and a Christmas project started seeping up through the cement slab of my brain, and I my blog drowned. Darn. No guilt. It just happened.

Today I am determined to write a little. I don't have much to say, so I'm just going to write whatever comes to mind. Forgive me.

The world is on a string. There is snow everywhere, and the temps are LOW. The goats are still alive. My daughter is sleeping at her grandparents house. Sometimes I feel great, sometimes not, and I'm pretty sure these feelings coincide with my female hormone levels. I haven't had a good workout in too many days. I love my husband and when we are forced to spend three whole days together because the city we live in shuts down when it snows, it makes me feel so happy to have him in my life. I love to sing Christmas carols. I love "Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming," except that I don't actually know the words.

That's good.

Coffee: Had a nice coffee just now while my husband and his friend are watching a movie.

Watercolor:




Friday, December 6, 2013

A New Book

Day 82: Dec. 6, 2013

To me, this is an amazing line from the book I'm reading.

"Mrs Spragg, once reconciled -or at least resigned-to the mysterious necessity of having to "entertain" a friend of Undine's, had yielded to the first touch on the weak springs of her garrulity."

Here's another one:

"Mr. and Mrs. Spragg were both given to such long periods of ruminating apathy that the student of inheritance might have wondered whence Undine derived her overflowing activity."

Mr. and Mrs. Spragg are the parents of Undine, a young woman, probably in her early twenties.

And these characters are from the novel, The Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton.

I met a woman at a park where our kids were playing and we got to talking about books and she mentioned this one. I had never heard of it, but since its free to download on the Kindle, I did and I'm enjoying it a lot. I love her funny word choices like, "the weak springs of her garrulity," and "the student of inheritance."

Lately, reading has become the activity that relaxes me. If I'm having a full day, I know I will have that moment before falling asleep to read. Or in the bath tub. I've been doing that a lot lately. I like to sweat in the bathtub. I get the water as hot as can be, and after a while, I see the sweat appear on my arms. I can taste it too. (Gross.) Then I wash off, get out and I end up feeling clean on the inside, like I sweat out all of the emotional dirt of the day. (Weird.)

In Custom of the Country, Undine's character is hard for me to understand.  She moved with her parents to New York City from a small town. She's obsessed with the society page and with joining ranks with the crispiest of the upper crust. She is remarkably beautiful, and she's caught the eye of the most eligible bachelor from the "old money" side of town. There's another man from her past who has appeared and whom I believe she was forbidden to marry by her parents. The details of this relationship are unclear right now, but it's opening up a side of Undine's character that make me think that her social rock climbing is all a sham. She'd rather be with the good-for-nothing poor guy from her small town back home. I don't know for sure if that's true. I'll let you know as I get on with it.

Coffee: It snowed here today. Lots of sledding and traipsing, and a homemade coffee at home.

Watercolor:







Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I Keep Posting

Day 81: Dec. 5, 2013

You won't believe this! Today, I bought another grocery bag! Argh!!! I was buying groceries and saw a friend in line, and the rest is history. I didn't notice the cashier packing the bag, and suddenly there it was in my cart all neat and tidy. Oh, the slope is so very slippery. If only I would put the bags in the car, and remember to bring them into the store. Its not that hard.

In the last post, I wrote about how writing and posting everyday is a questionable task. Meaning, I question it everyday and wonder if this is the day it'll be all over. But, I think there is merit in this task. It's helpful. For example, ever since writing about my two year old knocking me to my knees (I know, its only been 5 or so days,) I've held it together. My strategy has been to remain calm and explain to both kids that I'm working on being more compassionate in the face of all out screaming, arguing, crying, lollygagging. And rather than beat them over their heads with a baseball bat, I remind myself that getting violent feels bad for everybody. And sure enough, this little speech is calming, and we move on.

After writing about "letting go," whatever that means, exactly, I think I've been doing that. Yesterday, I was trying really hard to get mad about not getting to rehearsal with enough time to warm up and work on spots, but the "letting go" post kept appearing in my mind like a head line, and it was no big deal.

In the beginning I said that I fully expected this blog to change my life. And in the same way that writing and painting and posting everyday is work, changing your life is work too. I remember reading somewhere that you have to work for your happiness. You have to make an effort to cultivate it. I'm not really concerned about "happiness," per se, but I do want to work on aspects of my personality that feel like a big mud puddle. That give me that restricted feeling, that kind of grip me in every day situations. That keep me focused in the future instead of the now.


Coffee: At a coffee shop right now using the wi-fi, drinking a house decaf.

Watercolor: (no watercolor paper.)







Slippery Slope

Day 80: Dec. 3, 2013

I have something to say. Should I say it loudly or softly? Either way, its the same.

ok, here goes: (loudly)

TODAY, I BOUGHT A GROCERY BAG. 

Aww, damn.

I am a failure. I had zero remorse while saying the words, "I need a bag." I looked at the man, thought, oh, I'm writing a blog about not buying grocery bags and coffee cups, then I said, "I need a bag."

Almost every day, at some point during the day, I think, "I'm not going to post today. I'm just going to let it slide, no one will care or notice, including me." This happened as soon as I came back to it after the two week break.

Then it occurred to me: this is supposed to happen.  The virtue lies in the daily application of effort! And everyday effort is A GRIND (hee hee.) And requires discipline.  So, I post.

But not without wanting SO badly to digress. To fail! And so I bought a grocery bag.  No excuses, (although I have a really good one, I swear.) I will work hard not to buy another one.

Coffee: No cups bought

Cups and Bags Challenge:  We did it!! We've reached 100 at least! I will be sending $100 to Bring Recycling today.  Thanks everyone for using reusable cups as much as your life would allow. Stay tuned for the next challenge to come in a couple of weeks.

Watercolor:













Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Master Negotiator

Day 77: Dec. 2, 2013

My dad and my daughter are playing a game called, "Secrets of the Sea." Its a Little Mermaid themed game in which little characters jump from sea shell to sea shell based on what number your spinner lands on. Except they are using the spinner from Chutes and Ladders. And any time my dad spins and lands on a number other than 1, my daughter decides that the spinner actually landed on the number 1, so he only gets to move one space.  And whenever she spins, the spinner actually landed on the number 6.

My daughter is a master negotiator. Probably because we rarely say, "no," like we mean it. I've started saying it more, and shockingly, she becomes mute after a while. Or she"ll stare at me with her X-ray vision peering through me into my soul to figure out exactly what I mean by "no," then she backs away slowly with a quizzical look on her face.

I like what my dad said over the holiday weekend. At some point they'll be on their own and won't be handed exactly what they want every moment that they want it.

Coffee: Just some green tea. Woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. Green tea was helpful today.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Well, this is it! We've hit the $99 mark. One more and the Challenge is OVER! And I'll send $100 to Bring. In a few days, I'll announce Challenge 2, because a friend is going to donate the next $100.

Watercolor:







Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Lovers

Day 75: Dec. 1, 2013

There's this cute little couple sitting across from me in the coffee shop. They're sitting side by side at their table, their faces about three inches from each other, exchanging words and long animated thoughts. They are stylish, the girl wearing a black trench with leggings and high black boots. The boy a sporty jacket and cute short hair. They are alternating between lusty conversation with intermittent kisses and furious individual texting on their phones. Every so often, they stop everything and the boy lies his head against the girl and she looks vacantly, but longingly off into the distance. Its cute.

What was your favorite dish this Thanksgiving? Mine was the stuffing that my mom bought at the grocery store. It wasn't particularly delicious in its own right, but it enhanced the rest of the food to the point where I didn't ever want to stop eating. It was the big bread chunks. I  made the yams with orange juice, cinnamon, a little salt, and a light marshmallow topping, my husband made a zucchini mushroom mixture, and my mom made the turkey. All truly delicious. I don't know. The memory of this Thanksgiving will live on for a long time. The food. And last night's scrabble game. I won, but like I pointed out at the end, everyone played really well. I picked a continuous stream of superior letters. And I went first, laying down VISOR as the first word. 36 points. My husband tried to get away with the word, "NEXTS."

Tonight I'm rehearsing a tedious concert with the Symphony. Its all Tchaikovsky. He's the poster boy for the Romantic period of music history. Perfect for the coffee shop lovers. Here's one of the pieces:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNxwVOZwu10

Its the String Serenade which is nice. Fun to play, and we'll probably play it standing up, which is fun too.

One thing I learned this week: Letting go is easy if you just let go.

Coffee: Drinking one right now. Trying to avert my eyes.  The lovers are really getting into it now.

Cups and Bags Challenge: We're still at $98. My most devoted fan wants to be #100 as she commented last night and I will gleefully leave that honor to her. So, we need one more reusable cup user, then, when she lets me know, we'll be at 100. Just in time for Christmas! If YOU use a reusable cup, send an email, a text, or a FB message and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling! (cupsandbags@yahoo.com)

Watercolor: