Mourning

[I wrote this on January 14th, 2016, and have been too much of a coward to post it till now. Here it is exactly as I wrote it.]

She is awoken by the chirp of her phone. “Is it true? The guy who was Shape died?”

Seeing immediately through the autocorrect, she delves into her network of tomes and reports to discover it is. She is filled with a deep sadness, but though she weeped openly at his on screen death, now her face is as dry as she is empty.

She is 18, and she stands there as the dirt is thrown onto the casket. It hits her that never again will she hear him talk about Fish Filets on Fridays, or statues from Portugal, or tales of bread and milk and the great depression. She stands there while her sisters weep on either side of her, and her boyfriend wraps his arms around her slim waist to discover her almost catatonic. The only drips on her face were from the rain.

Scrolling through facebook, she sees it. The man who first taught her that men can wear tights, and may have something inside them of interest, is gone. And while her heart breaks at the wealth of amazing things he was unable to bestow because of time cut too short, it shamefully pops into her head. She is a pop culture welfare queen, a taker. She will never give back in that way. So she sighs and she closes her phone and ignores it. Because pain can always wait, just like everything else.

She is 15, and in the small living room of the tiny house a woman lays on a bed wailing in pain. This woman who was once her grandmother is tended by her husband. The house smells of must and sweat and saline, the very sterile and the very opposite. As she is told that it is only a matter of weeks, she sits and stares at the statues from Portugal. She has to keep it together, because this is the way of it. It never ends.

That summer when the beloved comedian died, she was shaken. She couldn’t watch his movies with the others. Knowing the sadness behind the humor was not some kind of secret. She had seen that man behind the curtain many times, although from another wizard who was maybe not as great and perhaps more terrible. She laid there in bed and thought about all the things he wouldn’t do, and all the things he had. She rolled over and went to sleep.

She is 13, and sat in the car looking at a catalog to distract herself. If she was honest (which you shouldn’t be about the dead) she had never liked the woman, the old roommate of her beloved great grandmother whose passing earlier that year she honestly couldn’t even remember any more or ever again. The children were all left to sit and wait in the van as the body had been there for 4 days. Children should not be exposed to such tragedies, her mother said. “I hope someone cares about me enough to miss me after just one day” her sister weeps, the tears dripping from her cheeks into her champagne ringlets. She pulls her tiny sister in and whispers “me too,” although she knows that when you are dead you are gone, and it only really matters to those left behind.

A few Christmases ago, when the ache of her community a time zone away was pulling at her, she opened her timeline to see he died. It seemed such a terrible way to find out. Agony should have it’s own font, to do justice to news such as this. He was 14. He was going to be a chef. He was surrounded by family and friends and she wasn’t there. It seemed selfish to weep, her with her 2 children, healthy and whole. She went about her day as best she could. The loss of such potential weighed on her, the injustice of it. Nothing was fair. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust… but we are stardust, though some of us shine brighter than others.

She is 11, and her mother was with her great grandmother weeping in the bedroom. The children were told to stay in the living room and wait for the body to be picked up. While her father was distracted by the baby, she sneaks off to use the bathroom and finds her grandmother. Or what was her grandmother any way. It is shocking, how not you your body is once you die. She snuck back into the living room and never told anyone what she saw. Staring at the little statues and knick knacks on the table, she makes a promise to herself. She will live her life furiously while she has one.

Before the move, before her second child, she sits in her mother’s kitchen while her father tells her his kidney’s are failing. She was prepared for this. She had practiced this in elementary school that Easter, the first time the paramedics came to bring him to the emergency room. She had long known the dangers of chronic illness, the family history of autoimmune disease. As her mother frantically gave her grandmother instructions for caring for the 3 of them, her sisters clung to her. “Will daddy die?” one asked her. “No” she lied. She knew then that everybody dies. The only eternity is what you leave behind when you go.

She was not yet 2, this story more myth than memory. A ball of light and life and chaos she ran around joyful and loud. Except around him. He was weak, and wore a mask to cover a face ravaged by illness and surgery. She would crawl up into the bed and lay with him, intuitively aware that there were times of action and times to be still. Hopefully she will not forget.

She has an idea. Instead of making notes, she just does the whole thing, right now. Ignoring the other things, the distractions and obligations. What is fear when you know what will happen to the best of us? To put things off is the greatest disrespect to those who have come before. She writes, although she worries it is too personal, or too specific, or too self centered. Mourning, however, is always personal. It is always about those who experience it, those who are left behind. She decides that maybe she should leave something for those who come after her, so that there is something worth missing.

And she weeps.

Revisiting Goals

Well hello. I obviously failed my challenge, as I did not post for 4 days. However, I decided that this was a GOOD thing. I took this challenge to get me to actually post, which I was… But you guys, I am obviously not interesting enough to post 7 days a week. I wrote 2 posts exclusively about how I was sick and exhausted, but would be back tomorrow. I am redefining this challenge to be weekdays in November, and will continue this in December (or until I figure out something that works better.)

Which leads me to this. No, I was not stoned when I wrote that list, but I was for sure delusional. I am on track to accomplish 1/3, maaaaaybe 1/2 of that list. That list is insane, but I do still want to do all those things. I have come to terms with my impending doom turning 30, and will just roll over anything not completed into next year, where I will still 100% be a real human who still feels joy.

I also have been thinking about the scope of this blog, and while navel gazing and posts about boy wizards are super fun, in general I feel passionate about fashion, fine crafting, eco friendly make up, and building fun family traditions with my kids. Of course we have holidays coming up, so that tradition part is gonna be SO EASY, but basically I am using this blog as an accountability buddy for actually doing things instead of talking about them.

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So, you know, please join me on my revised journey, where I do things and blog about them. Or something.

See you tomorrow!

Embracing Imperfections

Today was an amazing day! I had such a great time I forgot to write a post. Totally cheating, I am copying and pasting an essay I wrote for my church over the summer, as a part of a service called “what truths do you feel are worthy of being fulfilled?” I hope you like it.

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When Becca asked me to do this, I immediately said yes… In my head anyway. It actually took a little longer to really tell her. However, as soon as I finally agreed the dread set in. What on earth would I talk about, and how badly could I manage to mess it up? There are many truths I would consider worthy of fulfilling, so many how could I possibly keep it down to 5 minutes.

It was suggested that I speak about embracing imperfections. This feels less like a truth I hold up and more like the universe’s lesson plan for the last 29 years of my life… But the truth is that you could say embracing imperfections has been my life’s work.

I was, believe it or not, a quiet and reserved child. I did everything I could to deflect attention from myself. I wanted nothing more than to create, laugh loudly, and spread joy. I was held back by a constant fear of imperfection. I turned inward, I wrote, I created… But those too were locked away. My fear of being less than perfect had prevented me from living.

There are countless traditions where imperfect art is the goal. From Wabi Sabi to Amish quilts, creating pieces with intentional mistakes makes a larger statement. But it is the more mundane human aspects of imperfection that have touched me more. American writer Catherine Drinker Bowen once said “Writers seldom choose as friends those self-contained characters who are never in trouble, never unhappy or ill, never make mistakes and always count their change when it is handed to them.” I found this true of myself, seeking out those who live life fully and authentically. The types of women who called stretch marks “tiger stripes” and embarrassing moments “good stories.” I realized that by protecting myself, I was robbing them of this same experience, this same intimacy. I was pretending to be something less than what I was, and we were all the worse for it.

Admitting imperfections has taught me humility, humor… Maybe some day it will teach me grace. It allows a person to be vulnerable, to discover that those cracks and blemishes are really doors and windows to allow others in. They are glue to create connection. There is something really freeing about saying “so, that just happened. Now what?” In allowing others to laugh with you. In letting your embarrassment be a lesson.

I see myself as a teacher. When my own girls shred their drawings because they wrote the letter “N” backwards I know the way I live is important. When I hear that a woman want to wait to lose that last 10 pounds to buy a cute new outfit. When friends decide they can wait and start their passion only when the wind is right and all other obligations tended to completely. I find I am often a better teacher than I am a student. I embrace this imperfection in myself, for how many can teach a master class when still taking remedial lessons?

This isn’t a goal with a clear benchmark, and that is kind of the point. The truth to uphold is that we are constantly evolving, delightfully imperfect beings who can use these experiences to connect and grow. We all want to come across as having it all together, being on top of everything, good at things at the first try… but as Albus Dumbledore said in the “Harry Potter” novels… “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

Under The Wire!

So, I am late today. Oops. Just like yesterday (which I surprisingly wrote the day before, but didn’t do auto post correctly)

I am trying not to dwell too much on mistakes, trying not to call a missed (or short, since I haven’t technically missed yet) post a failure. I am enjoying this project, but today I was also enjoying a lazy, rainy day with my family. That is okay.

See you tomorrow!

Is It Ever “Too Late?”

So, when I first theorized this post, I was thinking of it being about me, as an individual turning 30. I have talked before (too often?) about coming out of a couple years of illness and small children, and I do often wonder if it is too late for me to ever carve out a life for me as “more than a mom.”

But then Halloween happened. Holiday season always puts me in a mind of “look at all the things we aren’t doing.” My children are very cheerful, grateful, unselfish children… and somehow that makes it worse? I feel like I should be doing so much more, so many fun things, and I keep falling short. They love it because they love everything! Will they still feel that way about their childhoods when they are my age?

I am going through all of the pictures for some projects going on (which includes a large “update on the kids” post tomorrow) and the feeling is compounded. Look at how small and squishy they were! Look at how much time has passed. I am stable with my health right now, but even still I just came off of 3 weeks being on/off sick because of a severe allergy turning into a respiratory/sinus infection (and this happens 2-3 times a year since we moved.)

It is always going to be something. On and off somethings. I get stronger, I do better, I move forward. I add more traditions, more snuggles, more books to the bedtime reading list. I add more things for me as my children spend more time away from me at school/with friends. I fight the desire to keep them close and homeschool, because I know that what is best for them is not me trying to make up for me (real or perceived) failings. Their early childhood was what is was. I am now leaving panicked and insecure chaos of babies and toddlers for the rushed and guilty chaos of school aged children.

In talking to friends, I am discovering that I am not a special snowflake in this regard. So many nights I wonder if I just lived a day my child will talk about in therapy 20 years from now. I hope that I have enough joy, enough love, enough humility to make up for them.

I don’t know how to reconcile these two desires, this wish to be “the best mom” and the “fulfilled individual” because I don’t even know what those things look like independent of each other. What does that even mean? Probably nothing. I do know it doesn’t do any good to look back in regret, and to look forward to anxiety.

I do my best to look back in joy at the good things we did, and to look forward in hope. I am learning to live in the present instead of just driving through, but also to not be angry at myself for doing that. I am practicing self forgiveness, and self love, but also self improvement and reflection. This isn’t about letting myself off the hook, it is about breaking cycles of shame and sadness. All of the pretty things and lovely experiences will not change a household of sorrow and regret.

When my girls look back, I know they will not remember me as perfect, but I want them to know they were cared for, loved, and cherished. I also want them to see a happy mother, because I know that what a model is what they will default to.

Halloween Costumes!

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Anaabel from “Extra Yarn” and Lady Bug Girl. Excuse the muddy shoes, they could not help themselves.

Lawrence fixed the issue with the memory card, and as a result of all the drama we are sorting the images into files by month/year, so things are going to be so organized! I mean, sorry that the halloween pics are 2 weeks late but yay for getting organized.

So I really slacked this year, but this was because what the kids wanted was super easy! Cara wanted to be Ladybug Girl and I just didn’t see a reason to make these things from scratch. The leotard, tutu, and wings/headband set are all from Amazon. Fiona wanted to be Annabel from Extra Yarn. This is such an amazing book, but only 2 people knew what we were talking about! The costume was as easy and black/white/gray striped clothing and a sweater. I looked EVERYWHERE and I could not find yarn the looked anything like the yarn in this book, so I dyed some yarn from Knit Picks using Kool-aid and I am thrilled with how it came out! I based the pattern on the One Night Sweater but I cannot remember what I did exactly. I know I held the yarn double and used US 17 needles. I knit it with still damp yarn in the middle of the night before her halloween party at school on 10/30, because I am a responsible adult. It is a bit too short because I forgot how tall she was, and a lot too short because it shrunk when it dried all the way. I bought a little doggy for Fiona and made a sweater so she could have “Mars” like Annabel does in the book, and so of course Cara needed a little basset hound to be Bingo. The kids went to 2 parties on Friday, as well as trick or treating on Saturday. They had a great time, and ate way too much candy before the “Candy Fairy” swapped it out for a small treat.

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My super fancy costume.

I was extra super lazy for myself, I went as Elizabeth from The Paperbag Princess. Surprisingly, a lot of people didn’t know who I was either! I used a giant leaf bag, a cut up sheet of glitter card stock, and a headband. This was a lot of fun, and fortunately it didn’t rain during the times I wore it (I did go costumeless to the school party, and went late to the Friday night party because the weather was so terrible!)

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My little paperdolls!

I thought it would be fun to show off the costumes from the last 2 years (since I have been going through costumes anyway) and so last year they were paper dolls. Super easy, made out of poster board, these were a lot of fun to make (and wear, so I’m told.)

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Little Faeries!

Last were these little hand made faeries! I made the tutus from the book Little Things To Sew. More info on the crowns here and the wings here and here. All of the patterns are from the book Woodland Knits which is SUPER ADORABLE!

Halloween is a favorite time of year for me, and honestly this was the first year where the kids really got into with their own costume ideas, and their own anticipation. I look forward to many more years of seeing their creativity and personalities bloom.

Self Care and Self Forgiveness

If this post had a subtitle, it would be “in which I half ass my blog post for today”

So yesterday I was sick, and grumpy, and I spent too much time typing up silly posts about boy wizards. And my kids were crazy, and my house was a disaster, and my laptop didn’t recognize my memory card still (now fixed, thanks to my lovely husband.)

So last night I spent a lot of time feeling bad about laying around and typing. Feeling bad about loosing my cool (uh, don’t draw floor murals in the living room, m’kay.) Feeling extra bad about not cooking dinner and letting my house be a disaster.

Today? What did I do as soon as I felt like a human? I went to lunch with a friend (GASP!)

But you know, talking for an hour about hopes, dreams, and parenting gave me energy. I came home and snuggled my baby, I picked up Fiona and we had a movie night. I started the process of recovering my home (the mural scrubbing will wait till tomorrow.)

I am not perfect, and I am do not always handle things the right way, but punishing myself will not make me better. Sometimes fajita enchiladas and a dear friend are what I need in order to take a deep breath and face the giant mess that is my house, as well as these crazy girls who I love so very much.

See you tomorrow.

So Let’s Talk About Harry Potter

So, this is late, I am sick, and my laptop refuses to read my camera’s memory card. This means I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

Now, I am a pretty big fan. I read it as an adult despite being the target age when it was released (I was 12 in 1998) but I have dedicated myself to making up for it ever since. I am a fan. My knowledge of this world is encyclopedic. I manage to talk about Harry Potter DAILY. it is a thing. Right now I am really into GoT (oooooh, there are youtube videos about Targ dragon riding genes) but Harry Potter will always be my main fandom.

So I am one of those people who felt that prequels were unnecessary. We got the highlights regarding Dumbledore, Snape, and the Marauders.  Their stories culminated in Harry’s story. At best, we get a fanservice connect the dots. At worst? We risk discovering the ability to wield a wand comes from “wiziclorians.”

So when it was announced that there would be a “Harry Potter” prequel based on a text book, I was skeptical. But it was not about Harry at all; it had it’s own story! Written by Rowling herself! Well cast, set in America!

What could go wrong?

Go ahead, click that link. Discover that the American term for “Muggle” is “No-Maj” (and it is pronounced “no-madge.” I love that they turned the g into a j, I feel like there is a .gif joke to be made.)

Just. Stop.

So, all “stupid uncreative American” stereotypes aside, I could totally see this being a slang term in modern America. Oh, the hashtags.

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I am aware “wiztwit” is hardly more creative, but I am not turning it into a movie.

You guys, this is being set in 1920′s New York. Have you heard 1920′s slang? It is the opposite of literal. You can look it over here if you are interested, but wow. No-maj, short for no magic? I suppose if you really wanted to, you could claim that that the magical culture was so alienated from mainstream culture that they have their own slang, but I feel like that still goes back to the “uncreative Americans” well. Will there be a scene where our British protagonist hears the term and cracks about “how creative” it is?

The fear is real you guys. The fear is real (as well as my possibly irrational fear that all Americans will be speaking in a cigar wagging caricature of the transatlantic accent.) I am still totally going to watch this movie (obviously) but come on. I don’t think me from 2 months ago would have believed that this movie was going to be questionable but the “Cursed Child” play would be good, but this is where I am with this. (Also, I hope they plan a way for the wider audience to see this play. Uh, for a friend.)

So, what do you think? Am I too worked up over this? Do you agree? Are you gonna watch this anyway?

What have I been up to?

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I totally made this in August 2014

So, obviously this is a pattern for me. I get into a posting groove just long enough have it look like a groove, and then I disappear for months at a time. There are 2 major reasons why I do this. The first is that I tend to avoid blogging in times of stress/anxiety/crisis because I don’t want to sound like I am complaining. The second is that when things are great but I am too busy to craft things I tend to avoid posting because I don’t want to sound like I am bragging. So I only tend to post when things are pretty even, with the exception of my posting earlier this year about myself.

The truth is that I was putting all my value on things I was doing/producing, and not a lot of value on who I am as a person. This is something that I have been working on in real life, but I am still working on in my online life. I rarely post pictures of myself or my family on social media, because I have very much taken all those “nobody cares” memes and articles to heart. It feels like in person, I can gauge interest in what I am saying, but online is much harder. This is especially hilarious as the only people who read my blog are people close enough to hear me talk about these things anyway, and my long distance family who would LOVE more content about my kids.

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I did not make this at all, but I wanted to post a pic of each kid.

So what have I been up to since April? Well, Fiona got accepted to the school of our dreams, and I did a weird thing where I knew I would have extra free time so I committed to more than I usually do. Which would have turned out fine except a lot of those things came due to start before school did. We also had an issue where we had a huge water leak in the foundation of our house, and there was a tremendous bill, and we totally almost moved but they agreed to work something out with us… and then the ceiling in our garage collapsed. It looks like a roof leak in just the right spot soaked the insulation till it was too heavy and the ceiling gave way. It never dripped, we had no advance notice. This started a nightmare where Someone came to look at the ceiling, and said a roofer needed to come. The roofer said an insurance adjuster needed to come first, but this was in May during the flooding and so we had to wait. After the adjuster came a roofer came who said there was a stray branch in a tree next to our house that needs to be trimmed. After they came… silence.

Reader, we rent. While it is amazing we don’t have to pay $10,000+ on these repairs, I am so over the waiting and this legal dance. No, it is not fixed yet. Yes, I am on that, and allegedly someone is coming this week to start the process. Start it. I die.

I am going to save a kids update for another post dedicated just to them, but Fiona started school and I am aware of my now changing role as a mother. It looks like Cara will be starting in January, and while some of my time will be filled teaching regular craft classes at the school I will soon have so much free time! Once I scrub and reorganize my (empty!) house and fill the pantry and freezer with food, what next?

More crafting, of course. I have been slacking on making things for me because now that my health is stable I am loosing weight, but I basically have no clothes now. I am also wanting to pursue a long cherished project, a webcomic idea I have had for ages. I am also reading books and following blogs regarding UX design, which is a subject I feel passionate about as surprising as that sounds. Uuuuuuugh, ugly websites with confusing designs make me so crazy. I am being really casual in my learning right now, but once January rolls around I plan to actually set aside time each day for studying.

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For my church raffle

So have I been crafting? Kinda? I made a pair of identical Tea Party Sundresses (Shown at the top.) The top is swiss dot lined in voile, and the skirt is an old lisette poplin from Joann’s. I have no pics of the inside, as my kids started wearing them right away, but the construction is identical to how I made them last time.

I also made an adorable Garden Party Dress (above) in September for our church raffle, and it was the first thing I sewed up in a looooooooong time. I used an old voile from Joann’s and some quilting cotton for the trim. French seamed everything. I am absolutely planning to make more, and will do a more indepth review when I get there.

As for the knitting? I have also been slacking there. To see what I am up to, you can always go to my Ravelry page. You need an account, but it is free. I am planning a post soon dedicated to knitting though, so if you don’t want to log in it will show up here eventually.

So why now? Why not? I am going to be 30 next year, and I don’t want to keep deferring everything indefinitely. I plan to do every day for the rest of November, and every weekday in December, and hopefully that will give me an idea of how I want to use this space. Partly I am hoping this will inspire me to make the time for crafting, but I also really crave connection in greater than 140 characters and vaguebooking. To know that I can share these things with friends and family (and the larger web?) and have that lead to deeper conversation instead of repeating the same basic story a million times feels freeing. It is nice to have a place to sort my feelings, to document my improvement in my craft, to play around. I am on day 2 and I am already glad I am doing this.

See you tomorrow.

 

NaNo(Blo)WriMo 2015

Yes, today is the 10th. Yes, I missed a 3rd of the month. I am aware. I’m doing it anyway.

Perfect has been the enemy of the good for a long time in my life. “Oh, I missed the start of NaNo(Blo)WriMo so I just won’t post at all” is something that I actually said last year. And that time I was only off a couple days. This time? I will write a post for every remaining day of November, about something. In fact, about anything… I am trying to get an idea for how I want to use this space, and the best way is to just write and see what I enjoy the most. Is this a blog to keep in touch with family? A collection of musings? A sewing blog? Do I dip my toes in the “lifestyle” category?

Yes?

But this exercise will be about me trying different things based on what moves me that day, and deciding in December where to go from there. I mean, anything has to be an improvement over my complete lack of posts (sorry to the 10 people who read my blog!) and finding a voice/purpose in my shifting identity as a SAHM is one of the themes to my life right now, so it stands to reason that I would talk about it here.

So, see you tomorrow with a new post!

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