November 2012 Archives

Lulu is hanging out here today

I want a dog, but I know better.  Luckily, I get to hang out with Lulu sometimes. 
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Pfeiffer Beach 10.28.12 user error 

Un ce moment, tout va mal.

I remember it means something like, At the moment, everything is bad.  Not everything is bad, really, but enough is for that phrase to be stuck in my head, Vous savez? 

I guess I need to spend the evening working on my attitude.

Okay, then. 
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Results are in, baby!

We were all happy to hear tonight's election results.  Willow's making an "O" in case you can't tell from the photo.  Election night supper: grilled chicken with lemon and olive oil, summer squash and onions cooked in butter in the cast iron pan, asparagus-wrapped prosciutto, mashed potatoes, and WIN.

Last night my dad was in my dream.  Usually when he shows up, I know I'm dreaming and I appreciate the time with him, if that makes sense.  But last night it felt not like a dream at all. He was out of the hospital and I was making sure he had his Sutent by calling the pharmacy to talk to someone.  I was on hold and he was sitting at my grandmother's dining room table and I was scratching his back for him.  I was worried about how sick he was, but so glad that he was finally out of the hospital and able to walk.  I talked to him for just a little bit, enough for him to say that he was feeling alright, but we both knew he didn't have much time left.  And then I woke up and he died all over again.  I am starting to make a weird sort of peace with his absence.  I'm somehow even more sad now than I was when it happened, but I think I am less angry.  Maybe it's just worn me out, all those thoughts about how unfair it was for him.  Anyway.  This is hard, hard work that I wish I did not have to do.  His Google account is still there and I should probably stop sending him IMs, but I won't.  So many times when I open up my Gmail page the chat box is sitting there open, with his picture smiling at me.  The cursor isn't on his name or anything, and who's it gonna hurt if I want to think that he's asking to hear how things are?  

The girls' last weekend of soccer is coming up.  We've got one game on Friday afternoon, four on Saturday, and a minimum of two (or three?) on Sunday.  Then the weekends will be for making soup and clearing out clutter and figuring out the holidays.  I think that good things are coming.  I hope they are.  It's sometimes hard to visualize them when I feel like I spend 90% or more of my time just trying to keep up with all the things I'm in charge of.  Everything from stocking the fridge to changing the smoke alarm batteries to trying to raise my kids to be good humans and remembering all the things that I need to remember just to keep our little train on track.  I'm so elated that the kids are passionate about fairness, about things like marriage equality and inclusiveness.  Sometimes even when things are good, like tonight, some of it devolves into harsh words and then a lot of tears and abruptly shut doors.  Try as I might, I can't seem to reel that in.  With all that I can do, I guess it would seem like I've got the ability to better-manage how things unfold here.  But from where I sit the best I can do is follow behind with the broom and dustpan and cross my fingers that this stormy phase gets better before it does too much permanent damage.  

That is so much more than enough drama for today.  All this tense election-watching has left me feeling a little grim, it seems, despite the mostly good results.  How CA voters can choose to keep allowing the state to put people to death is beyond me, but I'm the first to admit that most of life baffles me.  So I will keep hoping and trying to find the middle ground here where there's less of people closing doors and saying no, and more stepping forward to help share the work of the physical and emotional ways of being a family.     

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I sent a single mom of four kids sized donation to the Red Cross today thanks to Eden's fundraiser. Tomorrow is the last day, so hurry up if you haven't already.  

Assembly line. Adding eyes.

I swear I'm not making yellow teeth Tooth Fairy pillows, I'm just sewing, and iPhoneographing by lamplight because it's super dark now that we've set our clocks back.  I know it would be dark this time of night anyway, but it feels darker.  And later.  I'm waiting for the kids to get back at 8:30 so I can go to bed with J.K. Rowling's latest novel.  

I've been to two craft store places looking for buttons like the ones I had last time I made these pillows (blue, four holes in the middle, about yea big) but all I've found are the two hole kind.  Maybe I'll make one more fabric store trek tomorrow night.  I like the way the four hole buttons make X eyes.  See?

tooth fairy pillow

I swear if I were halfway awake I'd try and think of something to write about.  But the kids just walked in the door, so I'm off to bed.  Night! 
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Using my extra hour to make tooth fairy pillows to sell for #charitywater

I'm making twenty Tooth Fairy pillows to sell (I hope) for ten bucks a piece to raise $200 for Charity:Water for Camp Mighty.  I first made these a few years back for my girls and then did a few more for gifts.  I haven't finished any new ones, but here's what the originals looked like:

tooth fairy pillow

The front is a little tooth-faced character, and on the back there's a pocket.  You know, for the baby tooth / gold dollar exchange:

tooth fairy pillow back pocket

I found that fabric ages ago at a shop in San Francisco with my mom, and how could I not then go home and make Tooth Fairy pillows, right?  There's not enough fabric left for twenty pockets, so the new ones will have some updated designs.  I've got some Dia de los Muertos fabric, and some of this, and then a cool kinda Jetsons-inspired blue and white pattern.

I'll confess that at first I was kinda cranky about doing this fundraiser.  I know.  I suck.  It's just that I rush through the days without time to read or watch TV or paint that little bare wooden glider swing in the backyard, you know?  But, of course, now that I've cut them all out and sewed the little smile on eighteen of them and the button eyes on one, I'm really happy to be doing this.  It's nice.  And, if all goes well, I'll raise $200 to bring clean water to people who don't have any and that's even cooler than me getting to be all creative and shit over here.

I think I'll buy one myself and gift it to the girl's pediatric dentist. 

None of my kids believe in the Tooth Fairy anymore.  The girls just hand me their teeth and ask for their money.  It's sad.  At our house, the Tooth Fairy brings gold dollars, because when I was a kid it was silver dollars.  Some kids my girls know get TWENTY BUCKS, which is part of why my kids all know that *I* am the Tooth Fairy.  They know I'm always broke. 

I miss that - trying to stay up late enough to sneak in when one of my kids was finally asleep and find their tooth and leave a coin.  Without getting caught.  This Christmas will be the first year I haven't had any Santa Claus believers, either.  Instead?  I drop them off on dates and yell at them to put on deodorant.  It's good though, the growing up.  I'm learning something new every single day. 
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My great-great grandmother's wedding band. She was married in 1860, but the ring came a few years later. It's still nearly 100 years older than I am.

Today I found the box that I keep my great-great grandmother's wedding band in (I think it's maybe the one she got it in, actually) and it was empty.  I haven't worn it in a long time, because it's very thin and fragile, but I remembered that I traveled with it a few years back and I was worried that maybe someone snagged it out of my luggage even though I didn't check it through.  I was sick until I found it about a half hour later, luckily, in a different little box, one my aunt sent to me when she lived in the Netherlands in the late 70s.  

I got the ring from my dad's cousin, and I remember when my grandfather (my dad's dad) found out that I had it, he was kinda like, Hang on - how did SHE end up with that?  I think he hadn't seen it in years, and maybe didn't know that it was still knocking around all that time later.  It only ended up with me because my dad and his cousin were best friends and she had the ring but she didn't' have a daughter, so she passed it down to me about twenty years ago.

My great-great grandmother, my father's father's father's mother, Mary Ann, was born in 1853, fourteen miles east of California, Missouri.  She married my great-great grandfather, James Calvin Monroe, in 1869.  (The ring came later on, though.)  James Calvin fought for the north in the Civil War, his brother for the south.  When my great-grandfather was born in 1885, they named him Ulysses Sidney Grant Monroe.  I think, but I'm not sure, that James Calvin knew General Grant.  I'll have to ask my dad's cousin.  At any rate, he admired him enough to name his son after him.  Scholars say that the "S" in U.S. Grant didn't stand for anything, but in my family we all know it was for Sidney.  Mary Ann lived until 1947, which is pretty incredible given the lack of penicillin and the fact that she and James had nine children.  I wish I could read her diary.
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Click here to donate to the Red Cross for hurricane relief, and/or here to donate to the Humane Society.  

Big Sur

(I guess I'm trying to NaBloPoMo.  I'd post about the hurricane or politics, but I don't have it in me.  Too heartbreaking and too stressful.  Instead I'll be a self-centered brat and reminisce about how I didn't do much of anything last weekend and how incredible that was.  But I'm not going to use a lot of exclamation points or anything, because I am too wiped out from this week.)

Last weekend Scuba and I had a little mini getaway for a couple of days.  We camped here for one night, but were so rushed and busy getting out of town that we didn't have a chance to prepare or pack any food.  That, it turned out, was a pretty good turn of events, since we didn't have to worry about critters bugging us, or cook or do any dishes (though Scuba did make us espresso on the camping stove because we are fancy) and we had to have breakfast here.  

Both days we talked about hiking - Big Sur is gorgeous.  See?  I even packed my running shoes and clothes and thought about exercising.  And both Saturday and Sunday we instead parked it on my favorite mainland beach and just stretched out on our blanket and had a beer and did nothing for hours on end.  Heaven.  We also went and sat in the river behind The Big Sur River Inn, where they have adirondack chairs in the water.  That was heaven, too.  We've both been rushed and busy since we got home, and when I'm feeling overwhelmed I take a breath and go back there in my head.  I've visited in my mind a lot this week.  Like, right now, for example, when the neighbor kid is blasting crappy music with the bass cranked up enough to vibrate my bedroom wall.  I'm back here in my room pretending I'm stretched out in the sun, listening to the ocean instead, planning to clear out as much stuff as possible this weekend to get us closer to moving out of here since Scuba and I are looking for a house together.  (See how I just slipped that in there?)
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The pumpkin on the left is Willow's first-ever totally-solo pumpkin carving venture.  I love it - it looks like it's getting smacked upside the head.  Mine is just creepy and evil.

Yesterday morning at 8:30 was the elementary school costume parade, followed by class parties.  We brought three 12packs of mini bottled water and a dozen mini blueberry muffins, which I bought from Trader Joe's.  So I'm walking with Willow at about 8 to her class to drop off all the drinks and food, and we're crossing the street with a very sweet family with two little tiny adorable girls and I dropped the muffins, top of the box side down, into the street.

Of course I said, S H I T !

And then I saw the horrified parents and apologized profusely and picked up my just fine muffins.  One of the little girls suggested that Willow help me carry things.  

I slowed down and they went on ahead and Willow looked up at me and said, M O M !  But she was maybe laughing a little bit.  

Lil devil willow
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