Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good things and bad things...

Good things... the head of the art dept. at my oldest son's school is considering starting a pilot graphic design class for the lower school (grades 5th-8th) and she wants me to teach the class. Yes, I'd get paid and would get to teach even though I don't have a teaching certificate.

Bad things... this week I made a critical and almost unforgivable error and am having a hard time dealing with it. I fluctuate between asking and feeling God's forgiveness and beating myself up over it. The outcome turned out OK but it doesn't take away the initial huge, huge, huge carelessness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I have such limited, limited internet access due to lack of laptop... OH Great Creator, please send me a laptop for Christmas! I promise, I'll use it for good! More blog posts, more writing, more listening to good music and of course, more Scrabulous!

I miss reading my friends blogs. I miss my online friends. Facebook is so surface it's just not the same. Flitting about on the edges of the internet like a mosquito near a flame is just not enough.

Also, writing on a laptop keeps up with the speed of my brain while writing on paper is like having a two second delay. There is no nanowrimo to be had at the pace of paper and pen. And, I have house guests... well, my Mom and sister have been visiting since the week after Halloween and I think they will be here well into January... it makes for full life. I enjoy it but writing doesn't much happen. And, finishing my studio hasn't happened yet either. We did win a "door hanging" at a service auction at our children's charter school recently, though, so I should have a door to my studio rather than a hole at some point... probably in the spring.

Having some of my kids in school has allowed me a certain freedom that I have never had before especially since the child I have at home is quite self sufficient in regard to learning and school. Learning self discipline in how I appropriate my time is of utmost importance to me right now. I want to learn how to balance the necessary evil of housecleaning with having time for the kids and Jeff, and having time to create artwork and write. I am a more relaxed person and thus, a better mother, I think.

Anyway, how are you? Is there even a "you" out there since I haven't updated here in so long? I miss all of "you"!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Work in Progress...

Tag walked further down the trail. It had been years since he had taken the time to explore the woods. Up until today, he had spent most of his timing swimming laps in the pool at the local college training for the Olympics. Some days he felt utterly alone and wanted to run as far away from the pool as possible. Other days he felt on top of the world as his body cut through the water at lightening fast speeds. Today was one of those in between days. One of those days where he could see the task set before him and imagine the victory yet at the same time mustering the enthusiasm to make the vision reality seemed an almost impossible task. His coach had suggested getting into nature to quiet his mind. Remembering how much he used to like hiking, he had taken his coaches suggestion. Walking didn't seem fast enough. Tag began to run. Over roots and through brush, he ran. He felt the wind rush over every pore of his skin and ran faster until he could run no longer and flopped down onto the ground leaning on a rotting stump. These woods had been here everyday beckoning to him since he had started his training but he had ignored their call, thinking he didn't have time for this sort of thing. Tag stretched his long legs out on the mossy earth and shut his eyes imagining that his body was melding into the earth becoming a part of the forest floor. Time seemed to slow down as every tiny sound pricked his ears and even the smallest breeze swayed the individual hairs on his legs. He could hear a whisper in the movement of the leaves calling to him. What was it saying? Something familiar. Something he'd heard before. Tag carefully opened his eyes in case there was someone nearby. Glancing around, he saw no human forms only the normal creatures of the forest... bunnies, butterflies, squirrels, birds. He closed his eyes again. The whispering was gone. Had he actually heard words or was he only imagining things? He turned the question over and over in his mind until the turning lulled him to sleep.
His mind's eye opened and he was in different woods. These were more ancient. The trees here towered together in dense bundles blocking most of the sunlight. Long muted tan vines hung from the trees covered with masses of tiny leaves. Unsure of which way to turn, Tag stood considering his options. Hearing a loud rustle of leaves coming from behind him, he quickly grabbed one of the vines and hoisted himself up to the first large branch of the closest tree. Peering over the edge of the branch, he spied two girls arguing.
"Lani, stop meeting him! He's mine and always has been!" screamed the first girl who tresses of golden hair whipped around as she yanked her older sister's hair.
"But, he likes me!" screamed the other girl standing her ground. "You may be his friend but I am his girlfriend!"
Just then, Tag fell out of the tree and landed right between the two arguing girls. Both girls kept on arguing as if he wasn't there.
"Hey!" Tag yelled to see if either would look but neither girl did. He stood up, waved his arms and screamed but the girls kept arguing as if he wasn't there.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Seven!

OK, so seven random facts so that I'll at least be making a blog post...

1) I love having teenagers... really, I do. They fascinate me and make me proud. Yes, a certain one was hard as a tween and early teen but his older years have been better. I am so thankful for change and for answered prayer. This son embodies the name he was given well. Seeing him perform as a centaur in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" this weekend brought tears to my eyes and not just because of his performance. Seeing what teens are capable of when empowered always blows my mind. A friend of his did the choreography for the wood nymphs and his girlfriend designed the makeup for all of the characters. As it turns out, I found out that the boy who played Aslan runs his own theater company in the summer and writes the plays that they perform. He's done it for three years and he is only a junior in highschool. Facts like this blow my mind. And, he attends public school breaking thus breaking the myth that only homeschooled children have time to follow their passions.

2) I can take my time writing a story. Right now I am figuring out the main conflict overarching my entire story and it's scary and exciting at the same time. I keep encountering cliches but am beginning to believe that every story is a cliche to some extent and that what is most important is how you tell the story.

3) Volunteering at the charter school has given a huge boost to my confidence. I am able to contribute in artistic ways and actually am treated like an equal in a way due to my art degree. I am enjoying having the interaction with the teachers and sense a kindred spirit possibly in the sculpture teacher who attended the same college I did but graduated two years after me.

4) I love playing Scrabulous online with my far away friends.

5) It's never a good idea to discuss what to do when you are afraid of a dog with an 8 year old when the 8 year old is already a bit scared and your dog is in the room trying to sniff her and get in his place on the couch. Needless to say, she freaked out completely and we had to call her Mom. My dog would never bite anyone but I thought she should know in general that mean dogs will come after you if you run and act scared and that normally if you ignore them and stay still, they will go away. I was bit twice as a child. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

6) The Cure is playing a show in Philly in May and I want to go. I haven't seen them in probably 15 years.

7) Cake is also playing nearby in a few weeks. Amp and I are contemplating going. I am hesitant, though, since it is a couple hours away and would most likely require a hotel room. I'd love to hang out with Amp, though.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I am Back! A Friday Thursday Thirteen!

I haven't been here forever but I do intend to keep up with this blog again. Working through "The Artist's Way" and not having my own laptop has really hampered my ability to keep up with all of my blogs and email. Blah, blah, blah... that and Facebook has kept me entertained but it just doesn't have space to truly write out my thoughts.

So, here are thirteen random thoughts or items swirling around my head:

1- One of my son's friends stole my ipod either that or I misplaced it. I am leaning toward the former though because I normally keep it with or in my car charger even when I bring it in the house and my car charger was full one day and empty the next. It really bums me out that it's gone.

2- My five year old daughter asked where babies came out and I explained it to her. She then proceeded to bawl her eyes out over the fact that it will hurt. She also cried about whether or not she would find someone to marry. She really caught me off guard because I've never had a child react that way to that information before. I assured her that everything would work out and be OK. And, that she has plenty of years between now and then.

3- "Cake", the band, is just about the best band to work to. Their music always makes me want to dance but I really need to seek out other songs by them because the ones I have stored on the computer I have overlistened to.

4- I love playing Scrabulous on Facebook.

5- I've decided I am not going to feel guilty spending time socializing with my friends on the computer because they are important to me and add dimension to my life. The computer is as valid a tool as any other to maintain friendship.

6- I'll be back to finish this later...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My "Power" Color

Your Power Color Is Lime Green

At Your Highest:

You are adventurous, witty, and a visionary.

At Your Lowest:

You feel misunderstood, like you don't fit in.

In Love:

You have a tough exterior, but can be very dedicated.

How You're Attractive:

Your self-awareness and confidence lights up a room.

Your Eternal Question:

"What else do I need in my life?"

Friday, September 28, 2007

Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer

I. Am. Addicted.

Please rush out and buy this book so that you can read it with me.

Laini Taylor wrote it. I found out about her book through her blog, GrowWings. I am on chapter 4... will report back when I finish.

Power (Sunday Scribblings)

Feeling powerful and powerless simultaneously did not surprise me. So much of life follows the same course... sweet balanced by sour, joy intermingled with sorrow, etc. Having the youthful determination to make choices for myself, I sought out a midwife when I became pregnant at the age of 21 rather than follow the typical route of seeing an obstetrician. My mother had passed down the gift of researching options before making a decision to me and genes gave me the spirit of rebellion to not follow the accepted path unless it was a path I chose. As the end of my pregnancy drew near, I embraced with passion the idea of allowing my body to do what millions of women's bodies before me had done without putting man-made chemicals into my body to speed up the delivery or numb the God-given pain to feel my body birth my child. The pain of childbirth isn't the pain of death or the pain of hurt. It's the pain of life that awakens your soul and let's you know that you're really alive and a part of the rhythm of the universe and the never ending life cycle. During labor, I gave up control of my body and embraced the waves of contractions. Although I was powerless over my part in the process, I was powerful. Many hours passed. The love of my life held me throughout those hours and massaged areas that I'd normally blush to write about. We worked as one. As the light of dawn broke, I gave birth to my first son. I had the acute awareness that not only was a child born at that moment but also a mother, a father, a grandmother and an aunt.

DISCLAIMER: I do not want to minimize any woman's experience of the birth process with my own experience and fully support the right of a woman to choose her own path whether or not it includes modern medicine or by necessity ends with the inclusion of modern medicine.

If you'd like to read other stories of power, visit Sunday Scribblings

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Educational Choice and Happy Son's!

I am happy to live in my state... really. I am happy that I have every option of schooling my children that I can think of available to me. Entering a clean, well-designed and unpretentious facility yesterday with artwork hanging on the walls encompassing dance, music and art studios and then today walking into the academic and administration offices of the same school to register for the online academic classes was like walking into the wave of the future for public schools if our government allows it. Pennsylvania seems to be on the cutting edge for alternative public education. Last week, big E. auditioned for the performing arts section of a public online charter school in our state. This school is unlike any of the other charter schools in our state because it is a combination online classes and in person classes. Not only does it offer performing arts classes but it also offers a separate building and classes for "gifted" students and separate classes for students interested in becoming leaders. For the first time since 6th grade, my oldest son is excited about this school year. Today he picked his academic classes and could've opted to graduate this year since he needed so few classes but he opted to stay and graduate next year so that he could get two full years of study at the performing arts school and have the possibility of studying psychology online next year. How many highschool students do you know are excited about school and would opt to stay an extra year? He really is only a junior so he won't be older but even I was somewhat surprised by his decision. I think it's a wise and very mature decision because he will get the kind of classes at the performing arts center that would normally cost us thousands of dollars per year. He will be studying classical guitar, acting, art and creative writing at the performing arts center twice a week for 6 hours each day. On the other days, he will be doing online classes in zoology, botany, business accounting and sociology which are all subjects he has a genuine interest in. Next year, the only academic classes he will need to take are a full credit of English and Senior Projects which is required by PA and is more like an independent study. He'd like to learn violin so he may take that next year and will most likely take the directing course they offer for upperclassmen next year as well.

Ah, being around people who want to teach and students who want to learn makes me want to go back to school or assist at the school or something!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Regaining Divine Mojo and "The Artist's Way"...

In a continued effort to regain "divine mojo", I am reading and doing the activities recommended in the book, "The Artist's Way", by Julia Cameron. Her book and classes have helped many artists of varying media regain their creative spirit over the past 20 years according to her book. Fellow bloggers, Danae Sinclair and Jodi Cleghorn, are doing it with me. Would anyone else like to join us?
Here's a link to the book in case you'd like to look at the description or reviews. I think Amazon also lets you preview a chapter or part of a chapter...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fortune Cookie Fortune...

A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.

Do you agree?

Writing... Sunday Scribblings!

Sometimes I think I am crazy... really. There is a constant stream of words pouring through my head at all times and when I take the time to listen I almost feel like I am spying on someone else's thoughts. Occasionally, I catch the words, phrases and ideas like the little dandelion fluffs that blow in the wind and commit them to paper or blog and pass them along with a wish that they'll inspire someone else or touch someone else's life. That's the writing process for me. If I try to sit down and write, nothing comes to me. Let me get into the car alone for longer than a few minutes and words and phrases literally tumble out of my brain and it's all I can do to remember them until later. I've seriously contemplated getting a voice recorder so that I can do a better job of catching them before they fall out and are never found again but everytime I am in a place that sells that type of thing, I don't remember that I want one.

Other times I write to let the pain or joy of the day out and allow others to soothe the wounds or rejoice with me. A diary just doesn't provide that kind of feedback and I share so much better in the written word than I do when spoken. I fumble through speaking how I feel yet writing how I feel comes naturally. This makes for difficult waters with a husband who is the exact opposite. The art of clear communication will always be a mystery between us, I think.

(For more Sunday Scribblings on writing please click in the link on the sidebar!)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Regaining Divine Mojo...

Today was the day set aside to regain/gain some divine mojo as deemed by Megg from Sunday Scribblings. This morning I awoke planning to set aside the day to start making the space in our carriage house/barn deemed as mine, my own. This meant cleaning and going through boxes from our move eight years ago consisting of art school memorabilia and lots of negatives, photographs, and obsolete photography equipment. Throughout the day, I started to feel overwhelmed but I knew that today was divine mojo day and somehow that reminded me that I need to quiet those damned negative voices that normally keep me stagnant. I decided that rather than one day for divine mojo, I am going to dedicate the rest of this week to the project. I fully intend to write down all the negative things I tell myself, burn them up and release them to God to be replaced with positive energy and thoughts. Awhile ago the following verse from the Bible came to have new meaning for me,

"Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Before whenever I read this verse, I only heard the negative side of what it could mean... what I shouldn't be thinking about or watching on TV or listening to or whatever. Lately, though, it's taken on a deeper meaning for me... I think this verse means that we should focus on the positive things in life and ignore the negative voice in our head telling us that we aren't good enough, that there will never be enough time, that we are too old, etc. So, for me, finding divine mojo means taking this verse to heart.

Here's the outside of my future art and writing studio:

And, here's a photo of the inside of it before I started the day.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Stories of Adventure: Traveling Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Pulling onto the Blue Ridge Parkway from I-85 North near Roanoke, Virginia was like a breath of fresh air. Few cars inhabited the small two lane highway with lined with tall green pines and foliage on either side. I felt like I was taking a trip back into the sixties when going for a drive on a Sunday afternoon was a legitimate form of entertainment. Me? I was taking the scenic route because I wanted a change of pace from the frantic driving experienced while being surrounded by multiple 18 wheelers and speeding vacationers. Every mile there seemed to be a scenic pullover created for travellers to stop and take notice of what appeared to be untouched mountains and woods transporting the viewer even further back in time. I continued to drive not taking the time to quite pullover and thinking to myself that taking the scenic route was a good idea and wondering why more people hadn't opted for this route. Sure, there was the occasionally scary part where small older looking bridges travailed deep gaps between mountain tops but they were few and far between. Around the bend drove a biker with his headlights on leaving me feeling confounded rather than recognizing the harbinger of what was to come. Moments later I found myself driving into a dense fog barely able to see a foot in front of me. The fog hugged the mountain like two lovers in a lingering final embrace unable to quite say goodbye. It was then that I realized I was going to do penitence for the thoughts I had earlier when deciding that the Appalachian mountains here in Viriginia were like hills compared to the ones in Vermont. No, no, no... these Appalachian mountains were merely monsters hiding behind lush green foliage unlike their Vermont counterparts. Ever so slowly, I inched along this desolate highway in tears wondering if I'd ever make it down off these mountains. Those small old bridges that before had only caused momentary fear now held sheer terror for me. Trying to hide these feelings from my children were impossible yet they didn't seem aware of the danger only that Mom was upset. Eventually, two cars who clearly held drivers far more familiar with the road than I started following me closely. I found one of the scenic lookouts to pullover in and did so in order to let them pass. I also took this small break to pray to God that the fog would lift and that I'd be able to exit this highway soon. Pulling out of the lot, I rounded yet another bend and felt the road making the slow descent to the mountain's base and as it did so the fog cleared and revealed an exit.
Yeah, I thanked God.

(I wish I had had my camera with me to show exactly how terrifying this hour of driving actually was but I didn't so these words will have to do)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Alas, One Last Minute Summer Trip!

Alas, I will be traveling tomorrow with my three youngest children to help my Mom and sister move out of the town they've lived in for the past four years while my sister has attended college and now graduated. It was a last minute decision hedging on whether or not my car needed major work, etc. so here I am at the last minute driving the 12+ hours to go help out. Hopefully, it will be fun and an adventure for the kids. As I drive by the Floyd, VA exit I will be waving to and thinking of Colleen And, I'll be thinking of my dear friends, Beth, Carrie and Laura as I drive within an hour or so of each of their towns. If only I had time to stop at each one and say hello, have a cup of coffee and give each one a hug. These last three women, along with others from a former online group, have been my friends through thick and thin for the past 9 years. I've met all in person on various occasions and it hurts to not be able to stop when they will be in such close reach! Ah well... I'll be back online next Monday so I'll see you all then. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers as I drive by your various exits.

Monday, August 20, 2007

WTF Or Don't Mess With My Kid...

What would you do if your daughter, whom you know has already accepted Jesus as the Son of God with as much knowledge as a girl of her age of then 5 could muster, was somehow led to believe she needed to ask again during the last day of VBS (Vacation Bible School)? Yes, my now 8 year old daughter made the joke that there were now "two Jesus'" partying in her heart. I am Christian. I will readily admit that but I don't believe in alter calls for little kids. The first time she asked Jesus into her heart came about as her own decision in a natural setting after we had been reading the Bible together. But, this time... I am not even sure what was said. Supposedly my 5 year old did the same and overall, I think asking Jesus into your heart isn't a bad or negative thing but it is when you don't understand what you are doing or are led to do so out of a feeling of following the crowd. And, even if she was ready to do so, I dislike the fact that my 8 year old felt the need to do so again. I've heard too many stories from people who have either left their faith or are bitter about their faith who attended churches where they felt so guilty that they responded to alter calls on a regular basis. I think the decision to put faith in Jesus is a one time deal that grows with you as you mature especially if you have made such a decision at an earlier age. Ugh. So, I am left with an icky feeling and the need to have a discussion with my daughters that I didn't want to have. That's what I get for signing up my kids at a friend's church so that our kids could have some summer fun together and learn a little more about our faith at the same time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dear Diary... (Sunday Scribblings!)

Dear Diary,
Looking at so many blogs and seeing all of the creating and writing and wonderful things going on in the world around me, I begin to wonder where I fit in. I feel like a little girl twirling and twirling and twirling until she gets so dizzy she falls down and see stars whenever I try to focus on that which I am most passionate about. I look at Laini Taylor's Grow Wings blog and feel inspired to edit the fairytale I finally wrote last year. But, then, no wait, I check to see what new work Audrey Smith is doing in ceramics and I want to return to my college roots and start thrusting my hands into malleable dirt, messy and forgiving, and form it into ten foot tall beings or miniature pods or a bowl to serve my children from. I spin around one more time and my interests turn to the art quilts I read about in the quilting magazine I picked up at the ever-enticing fabric store. Quickly, I grab my fabric scraps and eek out two "inchies" as they are called, mini-art quilts only one inch by one inch.

People from the outside looking in at my life sometimes say my children are my creations and I've tried to make that be enough for me, but it's not. But, it is. To my first daughter, I've passed down my love of fashion and shoes, of designing my clothes and not being happy with the status quo. She also writes infinite stories. To my oldest son, I've passed down the idea that one size definitely does not fit all and that where there's a will, there's a way especially when you have access to the vast knowledge available on the internet. He also loves to paint, draw, write poetry, talk Shakespeare, write music and make movies....(you can see a couple of the Heinz Ketchup commercials he made further down on my blog). To my middle son, I've passed along a love of sculpture and creating something out of nothing. My second oldest son is harder to figure out because, like me, I think he spins from one passion to the next and often times falls into his big brother's shadow the same way I did as a child. And, that leaves me with my youngest who embodies the child I used to be... always pushing myself physically to teach myself how to jump and spin on ice skates or flip off the monkey bars or do a flip off the high board. I am happy that I've created free thinkers. I don't want to be the Mom behind the child or the wife behind the husband. I am Dalissa... but who is Dalissa?

PS: Diary, I can't take full responsibility for how my children have turned out. They also have a highly creative Dad with intense green eyes who has made his own contributions.

PPS: In an effort to find myself and stop spinning long enough to focus on ONE THING, I will be joining Megg (of Sunday Scribblings fame) in creating a ritual on September 2nd to energize my mojo. Read her post here for more info.

PPS: I'll upload photos of my inchers once I download them from my card. I'd also like to get Audrey's permission to post one of the photos of her work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I <3 automated postal centers!

What has pulled me out of blog oblivion you ask???
Not friends, not glamour, not meaningful drivel but, but the Automated Postal Center.
Never before have I been so pleased to be in the post office. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of community and humans doing jobs but the APC it's just so right, so perfect, so ingenuous. Why has it taken this long to create a machine that could weigh, figure postage and print it out immediately and at all hours of the night? I walked into the post office today after running errands all day long only to find myself in an eight person deep line with maybe two employees working the front desk. Luckily, I peered to my right and spied the APC. It called my name. I looked around and realized that, yes, it was me the APC was beckoning. Who am I to ignore a formal invitation? I approached the machine and placed my package on the shiny silver scale and instantly a weight appeared on the screen and the APC asked me what I would like to do. Naturally, I proceeded and entered the zip code on the package and chose my shipping option. I slid my debit card into the machine and within seconds a neatly printed label popped out of my beloved APC and asked me if I wanted a receipt. I placed the label on my box, addressed it and put it in it's bin. Smiling, I left the post office and the line that had still barely moved an inch.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Phenomenon (Sunday Scribblings #5)

The way I see it the most amazing phenomenon is the fact that human life is... I think, therefore; I am. Really, what is more wondrous than the ability to imagine, create, love and calculate? And, what about those transitory moments where one can feel the presence of God or when the existence of a higher being cannot be denied due to the sheer amount of synchronicty in the universe occuring in one's life? Moments like those are phenomenal as well. One can debate that those moments don't exist at all but if not at all than how is it that a person can cry out to God, "I've never had a Father" and then open to the exact page in the Bible randomly that says, "Abba, I am your Father"? Or, lock oneself alone in a room at work to pray and ask God for a sign and look up and literally see the word "SIGN" printed in magic marker on the side of a box. Whether it is God or not it cannot be denied that moments like those when woven into a life expanding decades point to the fact that there is something more to the universe than that which can easily be seen, felt, tasted, smelled or touched. One morning I awoke at the cusp of sunrise to the most intense feeling of being loved surrounding me, encompassing me, absorbing me... it was as if the curtain separating man from Creator was lifted momentarily to reveal a small taste of what heaven must be like. Moments like those sustain me in memory when traversing the imperfect world we live in.

(For more phenomenal Sunday Scribblings, click on the link in my sidebar!)

Things That make You Go Hmmm....

You are an Artist

Your appreciation of beauty, ability to think abstractly, and innovativeness make you an ARTIST.

Never one to be tied to a particular way of doing things, you let your imagination guide you in discovering different possibilities.

You would rather seek out new experiences than stick to your everyday habits, taking in as much of the world as possible.

Your eye for beauty and your willingness to consider different perspectives make your creative efforts interesting—even though you may not realize this yourself.

You prefer to think about things before voicing your opinion, considering a wide, diverse range of options.

While there are forms and styles that you prefer, you tend to keep an open mind when it comes to your artistic preferences.

You are curious about things, interested in the "why" more than the “how.”

You have an active imagination that leads you express yourself in a distinct way.

You are balanced in your approach to problem-solving, not letting your emotions hold you up.

You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.

Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different:

Be more open to risks in your creative efforts, and don't be quick to dismiss the praise of others.

Think about how attention to detail may help you be more sure of yourself.

how you relate to others
You are Considerate

You trust others, care about them, and are slow to judge them, making you CONSIDERATE.

You value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds.

You enjoy exploring the world through observation, quietly watching others.

Relating to others so well, and understanding their emotions, leads you to trust people in general, even though you're somewhat shy and reserved at times.

Your belief that people are generally well-intentioned contributes to your sympathy regarding their problems.

Although you may not vocalize it often, you have an awareness of how society affects individuals, and you understand complex causes of people's behavior.

You like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people's lives.

Your close friends know you as a good listener.

If you want to be different:

Because other people would benefit immensely from your understanding and insight, you should try to be more outgoing in social situations, even when they make you uncomfortable. Others will want to hear what you have to say!

Well, I certainly found this personality report interesting yet not all that surprising since I always come out being an artist. I went to art school for goodness sake so why the hell am I not creating artwork? I am raising five kids but they are getting older now. I think fear prevents me from creating and the fact that I feel I shouldn't spend time creating artwork knowing that my family is in financial distress. That wouldn't be fair. So, I guess for me it needs to be enough that my personality profile says I am an artist whether or not I am a practicing one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reflections of Peaks Island

My soul exhaled the further north I drove. How can it be the sky looks so different within a day's drive of my Pennsylvanian home? Sky and earth kiss on the horizon closing the expanse usually viewed from my spot on the planet. Is this why Maine is called "vacation land"?

Peaks Island, Maine is my unwell kept secret. Craggy rocks jut into this tamed portion of the Atlantic creating a natural jungle gym for children and adults alike. Shifting shades of blue grace the sea and sky gently persuading me to meditate and live in the moment, breathing in the glory of God and nature. Life abounds underfoot in every crevice and in the air. The path to the beach is laden with wild roses, sea grass, and the most unusual orange dandelions growing between the rocks leading to the sand.

A short paved road lined with faded summer cottages and year round Victorian homes weaves it's way slowly into the woods revealing my beloved rustic cabin, Lantern Lodge. Lantern Lodge with it's hundred year old history has lessons to teach sojourners who rest within it's walls and I am no exception. The simplicity of one pan to cook in, dishes handwashed, and beds made without the clutter of modern civilization impart a sense of peace that is not lost on me. My eyes were opened to a way of living that I knew existed but have never attained. Peaceful living means living with less objects, less modernization, and more natural exercise, more freedom.

Freedom to enjoy my family. Freedom to paint, draw and write. Freedom to inhale deeply.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


And, here's his second entry so far...


So proud mama moment...
Here is the first of two Heinz commercials my son and his friend made for the Heinz commercial competition!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Glimpse Into My World

I am in the process of printing out the fairy tale I started writing last year for Nanowrimo. I wrote over 50,000 words last year but am not finished telling the story. I am printing it out in the hope to reread what's there, edit the crappy parts out and finish
the darn thing if for no other reason than to leave my kids and future grandkids with their own bedtime story.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wicked! (Sunday Scribblings)

Wicked is every nasty thought you have but don't act upon unless you are truly evil. Those delicious musings of your ex-husband getting into a car accident as he glances over at the curb and sees you kissing a Johnny Depp look alike. Or, what about the ones you used to think about as a child when you didn't get what you wanted..."I hate you Mommy!" "I wish Jackie would accidentally get hit in the nose by the ball when she swings the bat!" Perhaps you think wicked thoughts at work imagining what it would look like if Mr. Abernathy really did get the project shoved up his a**. Even darker yet may be your wicked dreams where your subconscious has full reign and characters do get fatally wounded or scary monsters chase you throughout the empty black night.

But, not me, I'm not like that...

Thursday Thirteen #5?

Huh.. I guess I don't feel like doing a Thursday Thirteen afterall.

Please someone tell me a job I can do from home.

Or, someone tell me I can actually make money creating artwork.

Or, just say hi.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I'm here, I'm back...

but experiencing major computer problems with all laptops in the house. Right now, I am using the kids Imac which means that I am resorting to drastic measures since I abhor sitting at a desk using a big ole computer when I have a nice small laptop. Currently, I have some reflections on Peaks Island that I'd like to post but I feel that I need to tweak them more before I do so. I really want to be able to share how I feel and when I write it down the second half falls flat, oh so very flat.

Life is a tremendous strain financially right now. Dear God, you say you help those bent beneath their loads so yet again, I ask you to help my husband! How many times does a person have to ask before there is an answer? That's what I really want to know and perhaps there is an answer and I am not seeing it. It's hard for me since I usually get literal responses from God.

Amp, I found out on someone elses blog that the language Rodrigo speaks is Portuguese. I knew it wasn't Spanish but I couldn't figure out what it was. I think I can thank Ianqui or someone for that new info. (Obviously, I am entertained by the mundane)

Do you ever get a phrase in your head, not a song, but a phrase of writing that just won't leave? Well, I have one. It's in the reflections I am writing of Peaks Island. The phrase is "shifting shades of blue". I think the alliteration of shifting shades is what is keeping it going around in circles. Anyhow, once I get everything out of my head and into words perhaps the phrase will leave as well.

blah blah blah.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Going On Vacation...

To Peaks Island, Maine... One of my most favorite places in the world.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


My sunglasses, my refuge
Shield them from seeing
rivulets pour down worn paths
Sniffles here and there
Are you OK?
Yes, it's just my allergies
The ripples settle
And life continues on the surface

Friday, June 15, 2007

Eccentricity, E-ccen-tri-city

Knee high suede boots with pompoms flap as she twirls in her patchwork mini-skirt and faux fur jacket. Not everyone puts clothes together in this combination, only my eccentric little girl. Or is she eccentric? I've seen other children dress as her when allowed, but those occasions are indeed rare. Perhaps we are born eccentric and society breeds the eccentricity out of most of us. "You're not walking out of the house looking that!", "That kind of behavior is not appropriate in public", "Don't scribble on the walls!". I wonder if each of us had been given more freedom as a child, would we be happier today? Would living room walls be covered with amazing works of art created by the owners? Would it be acceptable for a top executive to sport blue hair? Would creativity reign?

(This post is from the writing prompt posted at If the program I used had the easy link button I'd put one here... you can click on the link in my sidebar to visit the site and read more eccentric posts!)

Monday, June 11, 2007


There's really nothing to compare to having your son tell you that the reason he doesn't respect you is because you are worthless, rude, lazy, selfish, greedy, and all you do is clean the house. Please, someone, tell me why I subjected myself to a 36 hour long natural childbirth labor for this child? I never thought I'd become my Mom but clearly I have except I thought I wouldn't cry when I had a teenager tell me nasty things. I was wrong.

As if cleaning the house and doing other mundane tasks are what I always dreamed of doing as an adult.

Gee, thanks.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


(photo by my dear 8 yo)

Is there a song that brings you to a place of peace within moments of it's first chords? Pink Floyd's, "Breathe", slows my heart almost instantaneously the moment the noises from the outside world at the beginning of the song die down and the true opening chords kick in. I close my eyes and exhale. I am no longer standing in the kitchen of a house on Main St. USA but am instead lying on the forest floor looking up at a canopy of dappled emerald sunshine.

Oh yeah.

(And, thanks to my friend Carrie who came up with the expression "dappled emerald sunshine" and said I could use it three years ago when I asked since I was completely enamored by the phrase... now, I have finally worked it in...)

Friday, June 8, 2007


Intense images of deep paprika, burnt orange, and shimmering gold intermingled with olive and mocha skin tones coalesce while the scent of curry wafts through the air. These are the swirling images my mind conjures when embracing the meaning of spicy. Spicy isn't a slutty behind doors affair. Spicy is passion in it's most classic sense of the word. The Paso Doble or Rumba as opposed to disco. Garam Masala rather than barbecue. Spicy has an air of elitism that is lacking in just plain jalapeno hot. Layers of tradition, flavor, and love lend sophistication to spicy that keeps it from merely existing as an all-out sensory attack.

Thursday Thirteen #5 (a day late)

Thirteen Movies That I Like Because of Their Cotton Candy Pop Culture Value (notice I said Cotton Candy!)

1- Better Off Dead- "Buck up little camper, suicide is not the answer" (an early Jon Cusack movie)

2- Sixteen Candles- all of the Jon Hughes movies really

3- Zoolander- Cracks me up just thinking about it... "Merman!"

4- Valley Girls (One of Nicholas Cage's first movies... he played a quirky "punk"... so hot!)

5- When Harry Met Sally (Meg Ryan at her best)

6- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (how everyone thinks people in highschool really act and it was never quite this bad- evah)

7- Singles (cameos by a couple of the different grunge bands of the early 90's that were so popular)


(I need to come back to this list...)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Simple Pleasure #4

Hmmm... This is a day late. My simple pleasure for today is Really. I love having a dictionary at my fingertips because my vocabulary and memory have deteriorated from having five kids. I'll think of a word I want to use and can easily check to make sure I am using it in the right manner... gotta love it!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Town or Country!

Town or country... either is fine if it's that which is considered a true "town" and true "country". What does that mean? In a true town, you don't have to get in your car to stop in and say high at the local coffee shop or to pick up a gallon of milk. I lived in a true town once. The name of the town was Orange City, Iowa. Unfortunately, I only got to live there for 3rd and 4th grade. I was able to walk to the dime store, which would be considered today's dollar store, to get candy. I could walk to and from school without my Mom accompanying me. In fact, I walked or rode my bike just about everywhere without parental supervision and nothing bad ever happened to me. I didn't spend hour after hour being shuttled from one store to the next or from one practice to the next. Across the street from my house was a park with a public pool and playground. There really is nothing better than being able to wake up on a summer day and run across the street to the pool, unchaperoned, and stay there from opening at 10 am until close at 6 pm.

I love the country, too. Acres upon acres of land to explore. The freedom to run naked without the possibility of exposure to your neighbor's disapproving look unless they happen to be trespassing upon your property. Freedom to let your weeds grow knee high and call it a field instead of a front or backyard. The ability to see the shadows created by clouds passing overhead cross a meadow ever so slowly. Viewing a thunderstorm occuring miles away while basking in the sunshine hitting your own property. Seeing the stars at night, really seeing them. All of these things make me long to live in the country.

I haven't mentioned the interpretation of "town" meaning a city as opposed to Main Street USA but I even find highly likable things about cities. I love being able to walk or take the subway everywhere. Craving hot and sour in the middle of the night and being able to find a hole in the wall open willing to serve it to you is worth millions. No country place or town can offer that kind of availability. Street artists and musician's, little cafe's with outside tables, parks with free entertainment, museums, and a melting pot of people are just a few of my favorite things about cities.

I live in none of these places. I live in the suburbs.

(This writing prompt is from Sunday Scribblings which you will find a link to in my side bar)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Simple Pleasure #3


During my last road trip I bought a $6 Sudoku book at a truck station. I've always loved number games and puzzles so Sudoku is right up my alley. While working the puzzles during the last half of our drive I could feel neglected neural pathways (to use a Star Trek term) slowly reviving to rise to the challenge of discovering patterns and eliminating options. Here it is less than a week later and my speed has increased doublefold. I feel like Sudoku is one more way to train my mind in the hope of not losing my mental acuity as I age.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I was wrong...

If you saw my previous post in this place... I was wrong, luckily... privacy still intact. Phew!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


This week in counseling was based on decompressing from being with my family. Family meaning my Mom, my brother, my younger sister, and my stepfather. After spending time with them I had the realization that any disagreement with my Mom is viewed as arguing with her as opposed to holding a different viewpoint. My position in the family order is that of the rebellious child. But, I don't think I was specifically rebellious. My counselor views my "rebellion" as my way of surviving in what is a very dysfunctional family. In fact, not wanting others to tell me what to do and standing up for myself is an integral part of my identity according to him. Dr. A believes that if I were to ignore that part of my personality that I would basically lose myself. He even asked me how I thought I turned out so good coming from the background I have been telling him. How my "rebellion" plays out in adult life is tricky. It means I don't want anyone else telling me what to do or suggesting what they think I should do. Part of me feels that probably everyone feels this way about being told what to do but I guess for me it is even more crucial.

I also realized this weekend that I experience anger as a result of feeling rejected. Having this self awareness made me realize that anger isn't the exact feeling that I should be acknowledging because underneath that anger is sadness. My initial reaction to the rejection was anger and wanting to sever ties with those causing that feeling. I doubt I would have had this self awareness if I hadn't been in counseling for the past six months.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Been Away...

I do intend to start to update this blog regularly again but time and computer access have limited me these past few weeks. I am scheduled to leave again this upcoming week so it may be awhile before I get to say a real word about anything. I have thoughts brewing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

American Idol

Yes, I have to blog about it. Jordin is my girl. I tried to maintain faith in Lakisha but she just hasn't been "on" in weeks and instead Jordin has blown me away for the past few weeks. Melinda is starting to bore me, especially tonight. She seemed to be singing more "back-up" as opposed to front singer tonight. The boys are the boys... none of them are going to win. I'd like to see what's his name with no hair go home soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Simple Pleasure #2

Lavender in particular is one of my favorite perennials. And, perennials are definitely one of the better simple pleasures in life. Nothing is better than investing one's time in planting a seed or start and being rewarded with it growing, blooming, dying and regenerating the following spring. Seeing the little shoots of green spiking out of the ash gray growth from the previous year brings tangible proof of that spring is a time of renewal.

Today I started weeding my garden which is a laborious project especially due to my healing broken ankle. Turning the soil over went faster than I expected, though, due to the fact that last year a group of friends helped me prep this garden.

Good friends. Really good friends are another simple pleasure.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4 (a day late)

Thirteen Artists and Writers Who Inspire Me...

1. Constantin Brancusi: My favorite sculptor ever. He was an Abstract Expressionist. Here's a photo of some of his works:

The marble "Bird in Space" is my favorite because the surface is imperfect yet the form is graceful. Brancusi was able to capture the viewer inside the space of his sculpture. Seeing his birds in person does not compare even slightly to viewing them online.

2. Peter King: Great Architectural Ceramics...

3. Laini Taylor: I recently found her blog, She is an artist and writer and has just finished writing her first faery tale, "Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer", which is due to come out this July. I plan to blog about her more in the upcoming weeks. She does some great artwork and the first few pages of her book are posted on her book's website and I look forward to reading the whole book.

4. J. K. Rowling: Need I say more?

5. George MacDonald: I appreciate his thoughts on theology and look forward to reading his faery tales.

6. Gustave Klimt: His paintings have always spoken to me.

7. Ellen Raskin: Raskin was absolute favorite author during childhood. She wrote a book called, "The Westing Heirs", about sixteen "heirs" to a fortune who have to solve the mystery of their benefactor's death. I loved how she wove clues throughout the book. My second favorite book she wrote was "The Missing Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel)". Her books always contained quirky characters and puzzles to be figured out. I just read a review of her Leon book on a different site and found out that not only was she a extraordinary writer but also a graphic designer and book designer. After reading at that site, I now know that I need to revisit these books to find out if they really are as good as I remember.

8. Madeline L'Engle: I loved her whole "Wrinkle in Time" series as a child. Last year I read her book entitled, "Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art". I wrote down more than a few good thoughts to ponder from that book.

9. Isamu Noguchi: Although I don't specifically like all of Noguchi's work what I do like is his vision. He was born to an Irish American teacher mother and Japanese poet father. Due to his cultural upbringing, his artwork combines the aesthetics of the East and West. His sculpture also reflects his desire to make utilitarian things objects of beauty as well. This can be seen in the following photo. I absolutely love that this sculpture is a slide at a playground.

10. Hayao Miyazaki: The best director/animator/story teller in the world currently in regard to anime. I am saddened that Disney has bought the rights to distribute his movies in the US because they are slow to release his movies and more importantly they changed the dubbing voice of one of his main characters in "My Neighbor Totoro" and I can't stand the little girl's Americanized voice now. Hmmph! He is able to convey his stance against war and the destruction of the environment and the pain of post-war Japan through his movies although not all of his movies have such heavy themes. There is an official website for his studio but it's written in Japanese so here's a fan site in English instead....

11. Julia Child: My sister and I used to watch her cooking shows on PBS when we were little. Little did I know then what her book, "My Life in France", would mean to me. She didn't pursue or even learn to cook until late thirties/early forties but when the spark ignited in her to learn the craft of fine French cooking she pursued learning with a passion. The fact that she didn't achieve success or direction in her career until mid-life gives me hope. I've spent the last fifteen years since graduating from art school having babies and loving them to the tune of five wonderful children. I am ready to pursue my own passions... to finish my faery tale and to create new sculptures and to follow wherever my rabbit trails of learning lead me.

12. Jane Austen: Master of the art of conversation. I've read all of her books and enjoyed each and everyone.

13. My friend, Tia Graham, over at Living Deliberately,, is a true inspiration to me as well. She is in the process of writing her first book on how to live within your means and will be having a party very soon to celebrate being debt free.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Danny Mansmith (again)

Here is my favorite quote, so far, from his website:

"don't be so hard on yourself mistakes are good-i think they help use to see
it's so beautiful to see someone who has made something and didn't quite know what they were doing but did it anyway-when you can really see the fire was under their feet and they had to make it or else"

I want that fire to create back. Sometimes I feel a spark here and there but it fizzles out easily.

You can find a few of his pieces on sale at by going to

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Homeschooling...

This is going to be a freewrite or I may never do it. I literally fell into homeschooling after long drawn out battles while pregnant with out first child over whether or not he would go to public or private school. We ended up homeschooling because we were living in Philadelphia and couldn't afford one alternative and weren't about to consider the other alternative when he became school age. I don't know if I would have even considered homeschooling if I hadn't had a chance encounter with another Mom at McDonald's due to us bonding over breastfeeding which led to me attending a Bible study with her which led to me meeting a whole group of homeschoolers. That day happened almost thirteen years ago and since then I've homeschooled all of my children except for my youngest for at least part of their education. My youngest, dearest Bounce, will most likely not be homeschooled at all. I've never believed in kindergarten, let alone full day kindergarten. Sending her to full day kindergarten goes against almost every educational philosophy that I agree with BUT, and here's the big BUT, philosophy is only philosophy. I am strongest when I research the best everything for each of my children and am weakest at implementing those best things. All while homeschooling I had a vision in my head of how I wanted things to be but that vision never matched the reality of the situation. For years, I homeschooled, nursed babies, was pregnant and helped run a business on and off all while living with extreme fatigue and not knowing that it was related to iron deficiency. My thought level didn't match my energy level. When you live for everyone else and try to maintain your sanity by reading or chatting on the internet late at night in silence in order to feed your soul, someone gets the short end of the stick. In my case, my husband got the short end of the stick and my homeschool never was what I wanted it to be and I rarely did things which inspired me or sparked my creativity. Sure, I'd get inspired reading the teaching methods of Susan Wise Bauer or Charlotte Mason but they also set a bar for me that seemed unattainable. My lack of energy really did affect who I was and I was convinced I was that person. I don't know if I'd still be homeschooling if I had gotten my iron deficiency under control sooner. I tend to think that even with more energy I still might have most of my kids in a charter school because they do learn quite a bit there from the other students and the other teachers. I guess my ultimate idea of education would be a three day charter school week or charter school only in the mornings with the afternoons left for individual pursuits. So, back to full day kindergarten. Philosophically every cell in my body is against it. I don't think a child that young needs to be in a school for 6 hours a day doing structured activities but the charter school has a nice mix of unstructured and structured activities. And, I like being just "mom" to my kids and not "mom" and teacher. I miss the teaching part, don't get me wrong, but I don't miss trying to motivate my children to learn. What I have observed in homeschooling vs. the charter school is that some of my children do seem more motivated at school as opposed to how they were at home. I was convinced one of my son's had a writing disability but he started writing more legibly within a week of entering the school. The projects and writing assignments stretch my children in ways that I didn't stretch them at home. Following their interests, though, is less easy within the charter school atmosphere. The teachers definitely do take into account what each student is interested in but obviously can't meet each student's individual interests daily. Each year the charter school has each student fill out what topics they'd like to study and it took until his third year for my middle son's topics to finally be addressed... Medieval Times and Electricity. What regular public school takes their students interests into account in such a detailed way, though? None as far as I know so I am happy with the compromise between the charter school and homeschooling.

Back to Bounce, though, she has no idea what homeschooling is because she is too young to remember me homeschooling her siblings. When I mention the idea of homeschooling her for kindergarten she is not interested in the least bit due to this lack of knowledge. My husband isn't really interested in the idea of me homeschooling her either for a couple reasons. He really needs help with his business or we at least need additional income and he feels the charter school would be best for her. Bounce is very similar to our oldest son who is strongwilled and has always had a problem with authority. Dh and I both think that our oldest might have learned to respect authority more if he had other teachers from an earlier age. I definitely don't think this is true of all of our children or even all children in general. And, I am not sure if I am even right because it may be that his problem with authority stems purely from how we parented him or from his own unique personality but I guess we are going to try something new with Bounce to see if there is a difference.

Simple Pleasure #1

Via my one of my favorite blogs I am going to post a simple pleasure each weekend. This weekend's simple pleasure is related to my recent broken ankle injury and can help anyone with a cast... for a dollar or less invest in a plastic ruler to reach those places inside your cast that itch which you have no possibility of itching without the help of a tool. The ruler must be plastic so that it can bend slightly. Be careful so as not to break the ruler inside the cast which did happen to me but I was able to retrieve it. Of course, the doctor's office will tell you not to itch at all so I must add *try at your own risk*. Having the simple pleasure of a plastic ruler to reach my ungodly itches was marvelous.

Oh, and rulers are also good for measuring things! ;)

Check Out This Artist!

The artist's name is Danny Mansmith and here is a link to his website
I'd describe him as a multi-media fiber artist. If you do visit his page be sure to read his story in the "about me" section. He encourages other artists to pick up whatever tools lying about or easily attained and start creating what you want to create without worrying if you are using the right tools. I find his outlook fresh, inviting and inspiring.

So often I feel stifled by lack of skills and lack of focus. I need to just start making things and I plan to do just that by this summer. I want to work in clay again but I may also dabble in other things. I do need to make money so I'll probably do handmade tile work and such.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3

1. I am really going to miss Bounce when she goes to full day kindergarten next year. I am beside myself already and there are months separating that day from now.

2. I miss my other kids who are already in school.

3. I don't know how to connect with my teenagers anymore to have meaningful conversation. It only happens occasionally. Is is in part due to the fact that they are boys?

4. I'm back with little time to finish... let's see what I can pull out of my...

5. Interesting reading found on the internet this week which was totally unrelated to what I was googling for:
Sympathetic Vibratory Physics. Here's a quote from the website

"The universe consists solely of waves of motion." relates Walter Russell in chapter 31 of A New Concept of the Universe. Another way of saying this is: "There exists nothing other than vibration." In Russell's statement lies the base for his next blast at orthodoxy's belief in a material universe: "Any theory which cannot find a fitting place within the wave has no other place for it in Nature." Hard words for sure but can they stand up to scrutiny? Is it possible to create a paradigm of nature that is structured entirely on wave or vibration theory? Investigating the pioneer work of John W. Keely's Sympathetic Vibratory Physics2 would lead us to believe this is so."

6. According to my Mom, who of course has read a libraries worth of books. the stars used to make music before humans messed up the atmosphere. I haven't explored this theory with her beyond this statement.

7. When I was little I used to have a very hard time shopping in stores because I would hear a high pitched noise in most stores that I would enter which I now think must have been created from the flourescent lighting. I think I must have slowly acclimated to the noise and no longer hear it even though it's probably still there.

8. Speaking of childhood quirks, when going to sleep at night as an adolescent I used to get the words to commercials stuck in my head and would make myself repeat back the entire commercial with perfect diction before I'd allow myself to fall asleep.

9. I also used to worry about knives coming through the wall when I would go to bed at night... don't ask me where that fear came from. Now my bed doesn't touch any wall except at the head of the bed which was never a concern.

10. The summer before 10th grade a boy not much older than me held a knife over my head supposedly "kidding around". I was lucky to get out of that situation and I had a different kind of fear of knives for some time after that incident.

11. My kids are waiting for me to put them to bed. I am having a hard time cramming this list.

12. Going back to quirks, I used to be really sensitive to textures especially things like velvet and newsprint. ONe of my kids has this same problem. My fingers would always feel too dry when touching those textures and I'd lick them if I had to touch things like that... try imagining having the pleasure and pain of reading a book with that condition. It was painful. This is another case where although textures still bother me, I don't have to lick my fingers anymore (it's called hand lotion) and I can read a whole newsprint book without shuddering.

13. Bounce is nagging me. So, I'll leave number 13 as this: My #2 son has the same sensitivity to textures that I do. #1 son used to have major texture issues but with different textures... seams in his socks, shirts and underwear. He didn't wear underwear until he was almost 12... at least not regularly.

Phew! Done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


His Besame Mucho performance tonight CRACKED ME UP! Between the camera men and his "sultry" looks, I am sure every 10-14 yo girl in America was peeing her pants. Randy had it right... he definitely was the smartest contestant tonight.

I thought Blake played it pretty smart, too, and he sang well.

BTW, I much prefer Andrea Boccelli singing Besame Mucho.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #2

1. I really don't like assembling photo albums. I am trying to rephrase what I say in my mind... "This is better than delivering newspapers or this is better than working at Walmart."

2. When I lived in Hawaii my sister got to attend the private school in 6th grade and Japanese was one of her classes. I wanted to learn Japanese, too, but I went to the local public school where we were taught a little bit of the Hawaiian language along with Greek mythology and the usual subjects. I liked school and can still remember how to ask someone if they speak Japanese thanks to my sister.

3. When I lived in Iowa we lived in a very Dutch community... so Dutch that the Tulip Festival was celebrated there every year and traditional wooden shoe Dutch dances were taught as a part of the public school's PE class and each class performed for the public in the street in wooden shoes during the Tulip Festival. I liked learning the dances and wearing the traditonal dress, pointy hat (which name I can no longer remember) and wooden shoes. I liked performing in front of the crowds. One year a poem I wrote about the Tulip Festival was chosen to be posted in the City Hall during the Tulip Festival along with other student's poems.

4. I was only in third grade when I wrote that poem but I specifically wrote it about the Tulip Festival in order to increase my chances of having it chosen to be displayed.

5. In 6th grade, I experienced the awakening of the awareness that God really did exist and I felt incredibly guilty about all of my previous sins which included stealing.

6. I have no idea why I stole things but over the course of 3rd and 4th grade, I regularly stole candy from the Five and Dime in our town and I even stole a wooden shoe charm, I think, from a street vendor at the festival. I am thankful that I eventually felt guilt over my sticky fingers.

7. I am hungry and don't feel like thinking of six more things but I will plug on.

8. When I was in kindergarten, I can remember the 1st or 2nd grade girl next door reading stories to me. I can also remember waking up in the middle of the night regularly to find that my Mom wasn't in the house. I'd go outside and yell her name. One time I walked through the entier neighborhood. Inevitably, she'd be inside a neighbor's house chatting. It probably wasn't as late as thought at the time.

9. During that same year, my sister and I held a wedding for our younger brother, John and his love interest, Ray Ray. They married and left on John's big wheel. They were only 3 years old.

10. When I was little I hated getting shots to the point that the doctor and nurse and my Mom would have to chase me around the examining room until they caught me and held me still. Hehehe.

11. I had a cyst removed from my neck when I was 2 or 3 years old. I can remember riding a tricycle in the hallway of the hospital or somewhere on my way to my room.

12. When I lived in Hawaii, I used to walk down to what I guess was a local seamstress shop or something and trash pick fabric scraps out of the their trash to play with. I wonder now if it was a seamstress or if not, what kind of shop would have fabric scraps in their trash. I might have to call my Mom to find out.

13. Also while in Hawaii, my Mom allowed me to cross the highway to do some of the family grocery shopping at the grocery store across the street. I have a hard time envisioning letting any of my own children do what I was allowed to do at that age.

Oops: I had to edit number 3... I had said when I lived in Hawaii, but I was actually talking about Iowa in #3.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

American Idol- Can I EVEN go there???

I didn't watch the results show but found out the results just now... I can't believe Gina got sent home. I thought she sang better than most last night. Hmph! That Hayley girl needs to go. I've given up on Sanjaya ever going home. Ugh! Oh well, it's only a show but seeing the clip of Gina standing next to Hayley crying stunk.

Maybe the final show will be a run off between Hayley and Sanjaya.

As for the rest of the show, I found it rather boring. I missed Blake's performance so I can't comment on him.

Initial Thoughts on Autism...

I am reading a book that Ampersand loaned to me written by a man with high functioning autism. I am finding that I relate to some of how he processes ideas, words, sounds, images, etc. It really makes me want everyone to write out how their thought processes work because I think it would run the gamut. Anyway, one thing he writes about is how noises surrounding him can make him reach the point where he feels like his head is going to explode. I have definitely felt that way and normally feel that way by the end of the night. Another thing he writes about is getting lost. He has an encyclopedic brain yet gets lost very easily. Me too. If I drive the same route for a year but quit driving that direction for another year, I have a hard time remembering the route minus routes that I have taken over and over again for the past 15-20 years off and on. I still have to question and think to myself everytime I take the turnpike to my husband's parents house which direction I should go. I panic before that "y" where there is no turning back.

Well, I have more thoughts on the book but have to go for now.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Funerals and Fathers...

Funerals for a person that you didn't have a close relationship or next to no relationship are just plain weird. Yesterday, we attended a funeral for my step-grandmother whom I hadn't seen in probably ten years at least. Before then, I rarely saw here anyway... maybe for Christmas here and there. My stepfather "left" us right around the time I graduated from highschool. Yet, I've maintained a relationship with him and my Mom has never divorced him. In the meantime, he apparently had a girlfriend the whole time he was married to my Mom and it was that girlfriend that he attended yesterdays funeral with. My younger sister, his biological daughter couldn't attend the funeral because she is in her last few weeks of college before graduating and doesn't live nearby. It was a weird day. I met my stepfather's cousins that I've never met before in my life. And, his girlfriend thought it was appropriate to carry on multiple conversations with me. I've only met her once before in my life. I can't say that I felt any sadness and I wondered what I will feel when my stepfather passes away. Will I be sad? Will I miss him? Or, will I only feel greed and wonder what he's left to me? It feels awful to type that out but I can't predict how I will feel. I attended my biological father's funeral two years ago and that was also weird because I didn't have a relationship with him either. I felt guilt more than anything because he had tried calling me once or twice a couple days before he died and I hadn't returned his calls. I was always uncomfortable having conversations with him on the phone because there was so little to talk about and I had always had a hard time deciphering what he was saying due to his thick Midwestern accent and the fact that he may have been drinking before he called. So, here I have two separate men, both fathers in some way. One that has always showed that he cared through gifts and financial support and one that never showed he care except for the random, out of the blue phone call. Neither provided emotional support.

The plus is that I have a father in heaven that one day when I prayed and told him I have no father, I opened my Bible to the exact page where it says, "Abba- I am your Father."

Thanks for the direct message, Father. I still remember it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Harry Potter Theory

Dh mentioned that a boy in his Awanas class thinks that Harry isn't the "chosen" one but instead is the final horcrux. And, being the final horcrux, he will die in the end. I have to think about this theory. Thoughts?

Thursday Thirteen #1 (totally copying Ampersand)

My first Thursday Thirteen...

1. American Idol this week. Ugh. I thought everyone but Gina was blah, some more than others. And, ew, the faux hawk, how grotesque... why bother? Either get a real mohawk or don't but faux hawks are NEVER, I say, NEVER cool. Apparently, Sanjaya is here to stay for awhile since he is the contestant of choice on the anti-idol website. I wonder if he'll become as popular as the Asian guy who was able to get commercial work after his bad singing on AI. OK, back to the performances... the usuals did OK... Melinda and Lakisha, but they just weren't "on". I was thankful that Sanjaya wasn't the one to butcher "The Cure" song but Blake didn't do it justice either. He could've pushed it so much further with the whole reggae thing but instead ended up wishy, washy, middle of the road... I was sorry to see Chris Sligh go. He added an element of fun to the whole show and can sing but why oh why did he choose the Police? They are so distinctive in their sound. Oh well, 5 more days until next time... I am such an addict.

2. I am going to be reading two books related to mental diagnoses this upcoming month, "Born on a Blue Day", by Daniel Tammet (thanks to Ampersand) and "The Speed of Dark", by Elizabeth Moon (thanks to a member of my book club). The first one is non-fiction and the author is a man who suffers from Savant Syndrome. The second one if fiction and the main character is an high functioning autistic man who is given the opportunity to undergo a surgery that would "fix" his autism.

3. Other than those books, I look forward to going to the library and finding more books, specifically fairytales, by George MacDonald. Wikipedia has this to say about him,

"Though no longer a household name, his works (particularly his fairy tales and fantasy novels) have inspired deep admiration in such notables as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle. C. S. Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master". Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day in a train station (presumably from a railway station bookstall), he began to read; "a few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew I had crossed a great frontier." G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had "made a difference to my whole existence". Elizabeth Yates wrote of Sir Gibbie that "[i]t moved me the way books did when as a child ... Now and then a book is read as a friend, and after it life is not the same ... Sir Gibbie did this to me." Even Mark Twain, who initially despised MacDonald, became friends with him, and there is some evidence that Twain was influenced by MacDonald (see links below for an article on the subject)."

4. Bounce (youngest dd) and I had an picnic on the porch two days ago and afterward she said an impromptu prayer that melted my heart, "God, thank you for making my Mommy," She said something else but I can't remember but remind me to read this post when she is a teenager.

5. Wow, do I even have 13 things to say about myself or my thoughts? Ampersand, how do you do this?

6. If you ever have a cast on your leg, a plastic ruler is a good way to itch inside of the cast without hurting yourself. You may need to invest in more than one, though, because they do break as I have found out.

7. I love my dog. Since I hurt my ankle, he'll wait at the bottom of the steps until I am all the way up and away from them before he runs up and gets on my bed. He's so considerate.

8. Dogs do need baths. Thank God, Dog was given a bath this week. Up until then, you could tell when he entered the room because everyone would start wondering, "Who farted?" Yeah, it was THAT bad.

9. I really do wish blogger was more similar to other blog communities. On livejournal you can blog and have a conversation because all of the replies go to the right people and back almost like a mini-forum rather than having to sign on to see if the person whose blog you commented on, commented back.

10. I wish every house had a porch and that people actually sat on them. Wouldn't it be fun to walk by your neighbor's house and talk for a spell because they were already sitting outside just waiting for someone to pass by?

11. Same daughter just now made up a song that included the words, "stupid mommy"... my how the pendulum swings.

12. Having ridden in a cart at Ikea due to my broken ankle, I can say with surety that I would never want to be the passenger in an adult-sized stroller.

13. There is now a Barbie on the market who comes with a dog whom you feed a "snack" which oddly resembles poop which... it is, when it comes out the other end at which point you can utilize the handy dandy pooper scooper that comes with the Barbie to pick it up and feed it to him again... Kind of gross, huh?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just finished "The Musician's Quest" by George McDonald...

Here is one of my favorite quotes. I may write about others in separate posts:

"In all of life, there is nothing so significant as the next five minutes and whether we use it to do what God lays before us... Of course, there is a place for you, but I could not possibly direct you. I have no way of knowing what the next five mintues, all your life long, will present you with in opportunities for helping others. To get the training you need, you must simply begin where you are, do the thing that lies next to you, help the next person you encounter. I am sorry. I know you thought I would give you more specific direction."

We spent quite a bit of time at book club discussing this quote. At face value, the concept is simple but to put it into practice involves moving beyond contemplation and beyond self. It requires action. And, not action to go help the poor person down in the city or the unwed mother at the local woman's shelter. If those are the people placed in your life, fine, but what I find is that the people placed into my life at this moment are my children and many times they get the short end of the stick because I want to be helping with what I consider the "big picture". I want to do something that makes me feel like I've made a difference in the world. Getting yet another meal on the table, answering another homework question or doing another load of laundry don't give me that feeling that I want. Yet, doing all of those things are the things that are placed before me on a daily basis. I will not discount making time to help other people in need but figuring out when that time is, when the time is appropriate to move beyond serving those before me and reaching out to serve those beyond me is the difficult part. At one point, one member of my book club mentioned the fact that she knew a mother with an autistic child who dedicated many of her waking hours to starting support groups and a foundation for autistic children and thier parents. In the meantime, her own child ended up spending much of his time with other caregivers. Does the "greater" good of helping the larger population make up for the lack of time she spent with her son? I don't think so. Sometimes I think we aim for that greater good because we are anesthetizing ourselves against the pain or boredom of our own immediate life.

Being intentional with my time seems to be a recurring theme for this year. In the past, I've spent too much time reading on the internet and not enough time interacting with my friends there and my friends and family in real life. This year I will be more intentional on only reading a couple posts and blogs here and there and leaving myself enough time to comment to blogs, to make a phone call or to answer my child's question or watch a movie with my husband.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Community... A Freewrite

I've spent most of my life feeling like an outsider. Part of this is due to how one sibling treated me as a child. It's not her fault, it is just the way kids act when they have zero supervision. I learned then that what I had to say was irrelevant because someone else would always ignore me, talk over me, not listen to me. It's taken me years to combat that feeling and just when I feel that I have overcome it, I end up crying in my counselor's office over things that happened to me over 25 years ago.

The loss of my real life community this summer and my internet community this winter have left me with two gaping holes. I keep trying to fill those holes but somehow the patch isn't good enough or the cement is taking too long to "set". What am I looking for? What can fill those holes? Writing it out the answer seems obvious... God. But, God, why does it have to hurt? Why do I have to feel not interesting enough, exciting enough, good enough to be someone else's friend? I wish God would answer that question or perhaps he has. I am reading a book by Larry Crabb all about how God allows different things to happen in order for us to dig down below the crap inside of us and find that place inside our heart that can't be filled by anything else other than God. Maybe that's where I am.