Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Things I've Gleaned From Election Day in the US

So, I learned and noticed a lot of interesting things yesterday.  Some entertaining, some encouraging and some discouraging.  Here's my list.

1-Women turned out in droves to vote yesterday, and it made a difference.
2-The Republican Party needs to ditch the Tea Party.  Like, yesterday.
3-Some of my friends are decidedly overdramatic.  It isn't the zombie apocalypse, the sun WILL continue to rise, God likes other countries too, and we are not the center of the world.
4-Feminism is still used as a pejorative and those who use it as such are willfully ignorant.
5-Racism is alive and well.
6-So is sexism.
7-When my Republican Conservative friends concede defeat graciously, they ruin my gloating fun.
8-Fortunately, I have less gracious friends as well, so I can still gloat with impunity.
9-Mitt Romney's concession speech gave an insight into him that we didn't get to see much of this campaign season.  And it was classy.  And I expect his call to the Seventy any day. 
10-President Obama's speech was a bit maudlin and over the top, but I suppose that is to be expected.  He just won a really tight race.
11-I was surprised by the results.  I honestly thought it was going to be a Republican win and I was looking forward to watching what might happen.  Well, not looking forward, but mighty interested.
12-I was disappointed in the vitriol expressed by some of my more extreme friends.  See #3.
13-Close campaigns are way more entertaining that landslides.
14-I guess Harry Reid will have to save the Constitution now.  Either that, or it isn't actually dangling by a thread.  I'm going with option B.
15-We're still wallowing in freedoms over here, freedoms we should be grateful for, while remembering that others are not so blessed.
16-We would do well to remember that the President can't destroy or save the country on his own.  We're part of the saving or the destroying.  It's what the Founding Fathers intended.
17-Canada is more socialist than we are.  They also love the gays and the atheists, so if you are disappointed with the election results, Canada may not be the place for you.
18-As a woman, a mother and a feminist, I'm very pleased with the election results.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Life?

So, life gets sticky sometimes.  Doesn't go the way I think it should.  Dumb life. 
And, when my life gets a bit (or a lot) sticky, my mind likes to hearken back to, shall we say, more enjoyable times.  And when I want to run away, my mind goes straight to London.  I spent a significant amount of time there once upon a time.  I was in my early twenties, I didn't have much money and I shared a really rickety bunk bed with another girl, in a small flat with 4 other girls.  It was glorious and perfect.  I've never had so much fun in my life.  I've never enjoyed myself so much. Living in a flat with my friends, seeing shows, beautiful architecture, great shopping, good food.   

But there were a few times when I felt less than stellar there. 

I was talking the other day to my dearest friend.  On a side note, I miss my friend terribly.  Why do my friends not live right next to me?  Why can't I have them whenever I want?  But, back to talking to said friend.  We were discussing a radio show about travel and sacred spaces.  My friend asked me if there were any spaces sacred to me and why.  There are, of course, obvious spaces.  Temples, mountaintops, that sort of thing.  But, the one that popped into my head was Southwark Cathedral.  And I remember one particular day.  It was grey and chill.  Drizzly outside.  I was wandering about the city, a bit homesick, a bit really sick, and a bit despondent.  The city was loud and aggravated my headache and my despondency.  I wandered into the churchyard at Southwark Cathedral and the choir was singing.  I'm not terribly familiar with Anglican services, so I don't know if it was an actual service or just a choir rehearsal.  I walked in, and it was well lit and very warm.  And calm.  I felt instant calm.  The ceiling was soaring, the choir was singing and I felt God.  I just sat there for a time, breathing.  Being.  It was the most calm I'd felt, and I went back to the cathedral multiple times, just to feel that sense of peace.

Fast forward to now.  Sticky.  And I crave that feeling of fun, enjoyment and peace.  And I really want to go find it.  In London. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Which I Get All Mouthy and Political

Kaytee, you may want to avert your eyes.  It isn't November 6 yet, and in addition to the cramming down the throat I do on FB, I intend to do it here, as well.  ;)

I don't understand social conservative politics.   I really, really don't.
I don't understand why healthcare shouldn't be a right.
I don't understand why it's ok for people to lose everything to bankruptcy because they get sick or have an accident.
I don't understand why it's ok to legislate the reproductive rights of women.
I don't understand why women are ok with legislation that paints them out to be morons, based solely on their sex.
I don't understand why it's ok to legislate who can marry whom.  Why is the government in my bedroom?
I don't understand why it's ok for children to go hungry or be homeless just because their parent is a drug addict.
I don't understand why it's a bad thing to want the government to help people better themselves.
I REALLY don't understand the issue people seem to have with welfare and charity.  I have heard SO many self-professed Christians say they don't want to be told WHO they have to give their charity money to.  The truth is, they don't want to give it period.  If they did, we wouldn't NEED welfare.  If all the nice Christian people gave enough, the government wouldn't need to.
Or how about fiscal conservative politics.
I don't understand why it's ok for those with less to bear a greater burden than those with more.  That seems backwards to me.  Let's make the burden equal, then we don't have to worry.  And by burden, I do not mean percentage or amount.  I mean, the amount of stress it does or does not put on finances.
I don't understand how you can talk about deregulation being important on one hand and then talk about needing more incentives on the other. 
I don't understand how keeping the money in the hands of the uber-wealthy means the economy will be stronger.  No, it doesn't.  It means that their companies will make more obscene amounts of money, while the average wage of a labourer goes down.
I don't understand why someone who is good at "trimming the fat" of big business is what we want for our president.  "Trimming the fat" means making the company more profitable.  At the expense of the employees.  It means sending labour overseas, where it's crazy cheap.  It means cutting the benefits to the employee.  It means making more money for the shareholders and the CEO's.  How is this helpful?  Trickle down economics don't work. Trickle up is where it's at.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sweet

So, some good friends of ours had twins a couple of months ago.  Just about the sweetest two girls you will ever see.  Celia, the wee one, was only 4 lbs 6 oz.  Alice was a bit bigger, a pound I think.  I asked the parents if I could make their blessing (christening) dresses, and was given the go ahead.  Mamma doesn't like super long dresses or anything that is too fancy, and I wanted to make something old fashioned looking.  So, I sent her a bunch of pictures of dresses that I liked, and she and her older daughter chose one with a filet crochet top and fine cotton skirt.
So, I made them, based on the pic.  I would post the pic here, but it is on my other computer, which died, and I haven't retrieved anything at this point.
Anyway, the littles were blessed today.  It was lovely.  I held Celia for much of the remainder of the church meeting after the blessing.  I love her.  She fell asleep while I held her and she was so sweet. Mamma leaned over and asked me if I was ok holding her, I said yes.  Then Dad said "Are you kidding?  She's just looking for a chance to bolt with her!"  It's true.  I keep trying to talk them into letting me take tiny girl home, but the greedy beggars just keep telling me no.  They are so selfish.
Here is a picture I took of the beautiful girls in their dresses.

 
Tell me, how could you resist that?  How darling are they?  The one on the left is wee Celia.  Look at her beautiful alert little face.  I love skinny babies. 

Week One-Grownup Girl

Well, we survived the first week of kindergarten.  I'm not sure what to think.  I mean, how did this happen?  I know all mothers (and fathers, too) probably go through this, but I am feeling a bit gobsmacked.  Last time I checked, my wee lass was just that.  Wee. 

 Like this.
DSCF0100

How did she grow up into this girl so quickly? 
 
This is on the first day of school, with her buddy.  He is the son of my BFF, who is the daughter of my mom's college BFF.  Funny that we managed to have kids the same age and they are in kindergarten together!  They sit together at the green table.  ;)
 
So, the first day of school, I was worried I was going to be one of those mums that cries when there baby goes to school.  Goodness knows, I nearly did at preschool!  And kindergarten, I mean, whoa.  But, they make the kidlets line up outside, and there is a herd of kids and parents and whatnot, and then they all go in to the school and you don't see them in their classes or anything like that, and she certainly wasn't traumatized, so yeah, I didn't cry.  No one else did, either, so I was glad I didn't.
 
The BFF and her boy came and met us so we could all walk to school together.  They were adorable.  SO VERY EXCITED.  In fact, the Small Daughter was obnoxious most of the morning, before school, she was so excited. 
 
Here they are walking toward their classroom.  Could they BE any cuter?
 
Yes, she has a SpongeBob backpack.  I honestly thought she would go for the Hello Kitty, since I let her choose it herself, but nope.  SpongeBob it is.  I should have known.
 
So, after a whole week of school, would you like to guess what her final opinion on Friday was? 
School is fun, but gets kind of boring. 
Shocker, right?  She scored average on her assessment test (WHAT?!) but she's bored.  So, obviously, she is somewhat above average, since the work they do is a bit beneath her.
Yes.  Obviously, I think my daughter is brilliant.
But, she likes school.  She loves meeting new friends, and there are other familiar faces in her class, so, so far, all is well.  She doesn't love getting up that early in the morning, though.  She's my kid.
 



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Redo

Yep, I'm just about the worst blogger in the world.  I've started about a billion posts (give or take) and never get around to finishing them.  My life has a tendency to get in the way of things I want to do.  So, basically, my life gets in the way of my life.  Yeah, pretty much.
It's been CRAZY busy around here this summer.  Things got way out of control at work.  Ok, not out of control, but OH MY GOSH, so much work!  Which is a good thing, because, I kid you not, come the end of July?  My work came to a screeching halt.  So, good thing I made two months worth of money in one month, because I haven't had any work to speak of this month.
But, that is ok, because I have a lot of things I need to catch up on.  I wanted to make some cute t-shirts for the girl, I needed to finish a couple of christening dresses I've been crocheting for my friends' twins, I have a lot of home improvement stuff I've been wanting to work on, and so forth.
So, yeah, a slow month isn't always a bad thing.
So, here is a little rundown of what I've been up to.
First thing-
The Small One fell in love with some t-shirts she saw at the Gap.  They were on sale for $10 each, but that is still way outside of my price range for clothes for the child.  Heck, I'll hardly spend that much on a shirt for myself.
So, being that I'm a DIY type girl, I figured, I could make some myself.  So I did.  I bought a pack of Hanes boys tshirts and recut them for the Small One.  She is skinny and long (which is one reason she loves gap t's, they are skinny and long), so I cut them narrower and recut the sleeves to make short puff sleeves.  Perfect.  Then, I got out my fabric Sharpies and went to town.  I rather like the results.  Here they are.
 
 
She was rather pleased with them and can't wait to wear them.  I won't let her wear them until school starts  Which is soon.  GASP!  I don't like that.  I assure you, I will be one of the crying mothers at the door to kindergarten. Oh well.  I'm a sucker for my girl.
 
I've also been slowly working on stuff in my house, starting with my bedroom.  I am kind of a scattered person, so I have to restrain myself.  One of the rules I have set for myself is that I have to finish a project/area in my house before I can move on to another.  So, since I started with the window alcove in my bedroom, that is what I am working on.  It is nearly done and I LOVE IT.
So, here a some pics from that project.
This is an old piano bench I've had for years.  Not old enough to be a worthy antique, so I didn't feel bad about painting it.
 
And here it is painted and distressed.  I got the inspiration from my friend Amanda Pierre who refinishes furniture BEAUTIFULLY.

 
Then, I got it in my head to strip the paint from the window frame in my room.  Yikes.  That is some work, let me tell you.  That part of my house is over 100 years old and the window frame is original.  So, it has at least 60 years of paint on it.  That's a lot of paint, y'all. And, because the wood is old, it has cracks in it.  And there is paint in those cracks.  Oy.  What a pain.  But, oh, the window is beautiful.
Here's a shot after I got the major paint off part of it.  You can see, on the very bottom what it used to look like.  So much paint that the detail was lost.
 
Here is a pic with most of the paint stripped.  At this point, I oiled the wood because the stripper dries it out a lot.
 
 
The little blue dresser is another one I painted and distressed.  It used to be a brown sewing cabinet from the sixties. 
 
 
And, the last thing I've done at this point is my chaise.  You can see it there in the pic above.  Just a basic brown chaise, upholstered in a textured Herculon.  Nothing great, nothing inspiring.  And definitely not what I am going for style-wise.  So, obviously, I'm not going to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on the chaise I really want.  I have to make do with what I have.  And, among the things I have is a pretty good collection of decorating fabrics.  I buy fabric more often than I should, and especially if it's on sale.  I've been in the same color scheme most of my adult life, so nearly all of my decorating fabrics match.  In case you haven't figured it out, I'm extremely partial to blue, and I love it paired with cream, tan, gold or brown.  So, those are the colors of the large majority of my decorating fabrics.   Off I went to raid my stash and find something that A-I had enough of and B-looked good with what was already in the alcove.
And behold!  I had what I needed.
So, after much effort and wrestling of this largish piece of furniture and it's accompanying cushion, here is what I ended up with.
 


 
 
 
I confess, I am very pleased with the results.
 
This was my inspiration (thank you Pinterest!)
 
 

 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rocking the world, Mormon girl style

It's the political season round these parts.  If you are American, you know that.  If you aren't American, you probably know it as well.  We're a bit obnoxious with our politics.
Sometimes I worry about posting here during said political season.  The possibility exists that I am a bit obnoxious as well.  But, last weekend, TMOTH's auntie kindly reminded me that it is my blog and I should feel quite free to post my opinions and thoughts here.  I like her. 
So, I'm a Mormon.  I think everyone knows that.  If you don't, well, now you do.  Hope you still love me.
As part of said Mormonism, I belong to the nation's oldest and largest women's organization, known as the Relief Society.  As part of membership in said society, I have a certain job.  We all do.  Part of the deal.  And, it's all volunteer, by the way.
Anyway, my job (or calling, as we like to call it) is to work on the Relief Society Committee.  This means, we are in charge of the monthly activities. 
This month, our theme for the activity was, um, multi-fold, for lack of a better term.  We wanted to focus on the theme of "becoming one in purpose", but we also wanted to bring in some history, since it was Independence Day and all that, and sort of combine in a getting to know each other and our past kind of thing.  Yeah, sounds complicated, I know.
Well, the other ladies on the committee assigned to me the part about the History of The Ladies. And by ladies, I mean people of the female sort.  They may have come to regret that.  I love Women's History.  I am an ardent feminist.  I will happily lecture you on the waves of feminism, what they accomplished and which wave I identify with the most.  I will gladly go into detail about the accomplishments of the women in history, and it won't be hard for you to figure out which women I admire the most.
Naturally, being me, I gravitate toward the mega-accomplishers.  I like the ladies who "foment rebellion" to further their cause.  I am not a background sitter, so I like the ladies who are also not background sitters.  And I DO admire them.  I admire their tenacity in the face of opposition, I admire their willingness to go beyond the boundaries set for them by society.  I admire them for the many, many doors they opened for me and others like me.  Without the accomplishments of these women, I would not be able to do many of the things I take for granted now.
So, although I think some of my fellow committee members expected me to choose the sweet fluff, the kind who stand in the background and support their husbands (not that that is a bad thing...), but I wanted to talk about women who stood on their own, accomplished things as WOMEN.  Yeah, girl power and all.  I heart it.
Here is a list of the ladies I felt made a good sized impact in my world.
Abigail Adams
Emma Hale Smith
Susa Young Gates
Martha Hughes Cannon
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Eliza R. Snow
Some of you non-Mormon types will only recognize Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Some of you Mormon types probably only recognize Emma Hale Smith and Eliza R. Snow.  ;)  Well, aside from Abigail and Elizabeth.  I hope.  ;)
Look them all up.  You'll be impressed.
In the meantime, I am going to post a few quotes from them that I love.  And my love for them is quite telling of my personality, I think. 
Speaking of personalities, one of the ladies at the activity today came up afterward to talk to me.  She said "You have a very strong spirit.  It's good that you are aware of it."  I smiled and thanked her.  But I was not then, nor am I now, sure of what she meant by that. 
Ok, quotes-
"-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."
     -Abigail Adams

"Keep busy in the face of discouragement."
     -Susa Young Gates

"Somehow I know that women who stay home all the time have the most unpleasant homes there are. You give me a woman who thinks about something besides cook stoves and wash tubs and baby flannels, and I'll show you, nine times out of ten, a successful mother."
     -Martha Hughes Cannon

"Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving."
     -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

" Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters? We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized, and the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling to qualify us for those responsibilities."
     -Eliza R. Snow

Can you see why I love these women?   My current particular fave is Martha Hughes Cannon.  Not only was she an amazing mother, she was also a doctor, AND defeated her husband in the race for  the Utah Senate, in which she served two terms.  Now that is a hell of woman.



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Home Again, Again

Hot damn, I have 87 followers.  How cool am I?  Pretty cool, that's how.  In case you wondered.
So, once again, we spent the weekend in St. George.  I know, right?  Who goes down to St. George in this absurd heat?  We do, that's who!  And, it was hot down there, no question.  But, as one of my friends likes to remind me, it isn't really THAT hot according to the heat index because it's dry and humidity makes things seem hotter.  To which I reply, No Sh**, Sherlock, why do you think I live in the desert?  Silly.
Yesterday, we decided to take the time to go out to Tuacahn.  Now, I don't often go out there when I am down that way, because, being the emotional basketcase that I sometimes am, it makes me a wee bit depressed.  I posted a bit last time about my experiences down there.  I had a FANTASTIC time. Some of the most enjoyable summers of my entire life.  Beat, of course, by the time I spent in London, but, honestly, like anything could outdo LONDON. (I'm an Anglophile, in case you hadn't noticed, but that is a post for another time)
So, I decided to take my anti-depressants and risk the trip.  ;)



It was much as I remembered.  Especially the smell.  It hit me as I stepped out of my air conditioned conveyance into the summer heat.  That smell.  Sage and dust and mold and water and dryness.  Oh, I do love it.
They have added quite a few things to the stage and a nice bit of storage for costumes up above the scene shop.  We walked up to the amphitheatre and down the steps to the stage.  On the stage were some largish signs sayin "No Public On Stage, Please.", so we naturally sallied forth.  Onto said stage.  Made the Small One a bit skittish, it did.  "Mamma, are you sure we are allowed to be up here?"  "Yes, dear, Daddy and I are not the Public.  We once worked here."  Then of course, she wanted to know where I worked.  There was no need to ask WHAT I did.  She's perfectly aware of that.
So, we wandered about backstage for a moment, remembering this, that, or the other.  There's the spot on which I was standing when the horses freaked out and Warnick's horse nearly ran me down.  There's where the carwash used to be.  Wasn't there a chicken coop here?  Oh, here's where the barn fell into the pond! (At which point, I always dissolve into giggles, because, man, that was FUNNY.  TMOTH was not happy when that happened).
And then, Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles (did you see what I did there?) the Costume Building was open!  Of course, I had to go in.   And once again, the smell.  I love scents.  I love what they remind me of, how they open the floodgate of memories.  The smell in the costume building, when describes, sounds rather disgusting.  And, you know, it probably is.  Disgusting, I mean.  The dressing rooms are cooled by swamp cooler, which sounds like a good idea, but really isn't.  Dampness? Not a great thing with sweaty costumes.  So, the building smells of dampness, sweat, hairspray, starch, fabric, laundry, red dirt, sweaty performers.   That sort of thing.  Which combined, smells like...good times.  Work.  Friends.  Theatre.  Youth. Freedom. Happiness.  Silliness.  All of it.  And it is delightful.
As we walked in, a woman poked her head out of the shop.  Hello?  This building isn't open.
Me-Oh!  I used to work here.
Her-Oh, then come on in! When were you here and who was shop foreman at the time?
-Well, I was.
-What is your name?
-Tara.
-I've heard of you!
Me, secretly thinking, I hope they were good things!  Apparently, they were, because she promptly invited me to come back and work next summer.
Then she told me about how she can tell looking at costumes that they used to really spend money on getting professionals down there because some of those costumes are so well made that they might never die and they just keep using pieces over and over again.  Which costumes?  Oh, yes, some of those were MINE.  I did them.  Yep, I am that awesome. (don't get me wrong, I never designed down there.  Designing is not my forte.  I am a technician.  And a damn fine one.  Although, apparently, DIFFICULT to work with.  That's another post, however)
Anyway, all in all, it was a pleasant experience.  Professional courtesy is awesome.  It was great fun to be able to walk into an off limits area and get treated like I belonged there.  Sounds silly, I expect, but those sorts of things are good for my ego.
Then, we went up to the Tuacahn sign at the front and The Small One caught about 20 tiny frogs.  We only let her keep 4.




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Home again, home again...

We spent the weekend in St. George, The Man of the House, The Small One and I.  It was lovely.  St. George makes me happy, for a number of reasons.  And there is something about driving into the area that just boosts my mood.  The drive, itself, is not my favourite.  In fact, I think it's kind of beastly.  I've done that drive so many times and it just gets a bit old.  It takes about 5 hours when you have a kid, although, this time it took a bit longer, because TMOTH was driving Bruce (his work truck) and Bruce doesn't like either the heat or the long drive.  Or going fast.  Basically, The Small One and I were following him down.
Anyway, back to the story.  The Small One and I drove down in my car, and the drive was boring, as usual, although we were listening to a nice lecture on the American Civil War.  As we came down the hill from Leeds, I rolled down my window.  It was hot.  Deliciously hot.  And there is a certain smell that hits at the same time as the heat.  Is it a good smell?  I don't know.  I think it's a lovely smell.  It smells of dampness and mold and dryness and dust and weeds (not weed).  And it makes me happy.  I have written before about the way smells can conjure up memories and emotions.  And the memories and emotions conjured up by that moldy, dusty smell are very pleasant ones.
For those of you who don't know, I spent a few summers living down in St. George, working at a very large outdoor theatre near there.  Live theatre, not movie theatre.  Summer theatre is hard, stressful and so much fun.  Everything at the beginning of the build seems easy and fun, and by the end of the six weeks it is neither easy or fun.  It's hard.  It's A LOT of work.  But the tightness of the schedule, which brings out the best and the worst in people, also brings people really close together, which I consider a good thing.
And once the build is over and the run of the show starts, things get even more fun.  As the wardrobe manager and head dresser, I would go to work around 6 pm for an 8 pm show.  Get to work, sort and fold and finish the laundry.  Do any repairs that needed doing.  My crew would arrive shortly after I did and get to work on any ironing that needed doing, returning socks and undershirts and tights to the various actor's makeup mirrors in the dressing rooms and generally get things ready for the show.  Then the actors would arrive and there would be a lot of rushing about as people got dressed and makeup and wigs on, dressers helping as needed.
Then, the presets for quick changes would go out 5 minutes before the house opened, and then the show.  It's funny.  I sat through 70 odd performances of the varying shows, but I still don't know all of the music to each show.  You would think that I would, but, one's mind has a way of tuning out what one hears night after night after night.  I got to a point where I didn't really hear any of it, except for the bars leading up to my quick change cue.
A great deal of time was spent sitting backstage, doing any small mending that needed to be done, taking care of minor injuries and chatting quietly.  I may have gotten in trouble with the stage manager for talking too much, once in a great while.  ;)
Then, after the show ended, costumes were checked back in, a couple of loads of laundry started and we headed out.  We usually got out between 12 and 1 am, then headed somewhere to get dinner or play for a while.  Then home around 3 or 4 and to bed, then up at 11 or so, doing the things normal people do after work.  Laundry, clean house, that sort of thing.
All in all, a great time.  We had some bizarre occurrences, like a crazy pervert who kept breaking into our apartment.  Good times, y'all.
Anyway, driving down from Leeds and hitting that wall of heat and scent brings back all of these memories.  Lovely people, lovely times.  I met TMOTH down there, you know.
The Small One absolutely loves to go down there.  She, being a skinny wee thing, loves the heat.  LOVES IT.  She plays outside, non-stop, running about and generally enjoying herself.  This time, her cousin was there the whole time we were, so she had the pleasure of running about with her, which is also a pleasure for me.  Left me free to do some shopping, which I do love doing in St. George.  Also, they have a fabulous splash park in St. George, which The Small One would probably never leave if she didn't have to.  I wish we had one up here, although, I think the children down there are rather more well behaved than they are up here.  We have been to the splash park many times, and only once have I noticed the bigger kids not paying attention and running over smaller kids.  Up here, that sort of thing happens all the time.  Not so much down there.  They seem to be much more aware of the littles down there.  I wonder why that is.
Poor TMOTH didn't have much fun.  He had to replace the windows in his parents house, and it was somewhere near the same temperature as the sun outside during the day.  Blech.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not For Me?

I swear, I may be the world's lousiest blogger.  Maybe blogging is not for me?  I was reading on a friend's blog the other day and one of the commenters suggested that part of having a successful blog was posting regularly.  FAIL.  Well, except, I kind of post regularly, right?  Like, once a month.  That's pretty regular.  I mean, there's no telling when in the month I might post, but, you know, I kind of like to keep things spontaneous.  Haha.  That's such a lie.  I just post when I feel like it.  I guess if my followers have me on their readers, then they get notified when there is a new post.  And my followers that don't either give up on me entirely or check back occasionally to see if inspiration has struck in the recent past.

Sadly, inspiration does not strike lately.  What a bummer, right?  Truthfully, lately I have had politics on the brain.  And, I know from past experience, that my blog audience does not care for my political discourse.   And also, many of those nearest and dearest to self do not care for my politics.  So, that being the primary thing on said brain, I have refrained from posting.

But, today, I shall provide with some amusing and innocuous thoughts about The Small One.

So, The Small One had her kindergarten checkup last week.  Yikes, right? HOW IS SHE THIS OLD?  I don't know what happened.  Evidently, this is a common complaint among parents.  Mothers, in particular, I'm told. 

At the appointment, she had her eyes checked (vision good) and a bunch of vaccinations (yeah, she HATED that, but we're done with those for the next 6 years.) and her height and weight checked.  Now, those of you who are familiar with The Small One know that she is, in fact, quite small.  She was 20 months old before she broke the 20 lbs barrier.  And by the time she reached two years, she was only, wait for it, 21 lbs.  Barely big enough to turn around in her carseat.

So, if you know your baby charts, (ha) you will understand that she is SKINNY.  Like, seriously skinny.  She is of average height and always has been, but nowhere near average in weight.  In fact, as her delightful doctor says, she is barely touching the chart.  But, someone has to be on the lowest end, right?  And, it's her.

So, this year, at her checkup, which is the only time we see her doctor, we discovered she had grown 3 inches and gained 3 lbs.  HOORAY!!!  Yep, 5 years old and she has finally broken the 30 lb barrier!  Just to put that in perspective for you, the average child reaches 30 lbs before their 3rd birthday.  Yeah....

But, hey.  She's healthy and clever and smart.  I kind of like her bony little self. ;)  Makes it easy for the doctor to see if her spine is straight.  I will say, however, that I don't love it when she digs her sharp little butt bones into my thighs while in my lap, though.  Good thing mine are well padded.  My thighs, I mean.  Well, my butt bones are well padded, too, I'll be honest.

As a Mormon kid, I was baptized when I was 8.  My mom made me this lovely white dress to be baptized in.  The Small One found it the other day and tried it on.  Lengthwise?  Yeah, it fit her.  She is WAY taller than I was at her age.  In fact, she is close to the height I was as an 8 year old.  And she's FIVE.  Methinks she is taking after The Man of the House, rather than me.  Long legged beanpoles run in that family.  My family is rather short.

In other, related, news, The Small One's doctor flipped me off at her appointment.  I nearly died laughing.  Normally, he is this really nice, conservative, khaki pants wearing guy.  He's funny and about my age, nice Mormon guy.  Never, ever would I have expected him to flip me off.  And, like I said, I nearly died laughing.  He was having a tiring day, I think, and it was only a few hours old.  Poor man.  (The flipping off was just a joke, BTW.  And he and I are friends, so it's ok.)  Miraculously, he did NOT ask me when I was going to have another baby.  Normally, he asks me about it and likes to remind me that I have officially reached (and passed) "advanced maternal age".  Not this time.  I think he has given up.  ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring sucks sometimes

Spring in Utah is an interesting thing.  It gets warm.  Gorgeous, clear blue skies.  Days perfect for laying on the (rather brown, still) lawn.  Planting seeds, getting ready for the beautiful, hot summers.  And then you get a day like yesterday. 
We woke up to a couple of inches of snow. 
Yeah, that's always fun.  You shift your settings in your brain to SPRING and start wearing flip flops and capris and whatnot, and then Mother Nature thumbs her nose and you dumps a load of snow in your yard.  And on your car.  That you forget you have to clear off before you can race down to your studio for that appointment with a bride that you are running late for. 
No?  Just me?  Oh.  Right.
Anyway, fortunately for me, I am far too lazy to actually put away my winter clothes, so they just hang about in my closet taking up room. 
I mean, actually, I am super awesomely prepared for ANY kind of weather, no matter the time of year.  It's all at my fingertips!  See how efficient I am?
(Funny aside, I am sick.  Bronchitis.  Which means that I can't breathe very well.  Lack of oxygen to the brain and all that.  It took me about two minutes to think of the word efficient.  Go me.)
Anyway, I am hoping against hope that the freeze did NOT kill the apricot blossoms, because we are in dire need of apricot jam.  And do not suggest I go to the store and BUY apricot jam, because that is gross.  Store bought jam is gross, full stop.  No offense to all you weirdos who buy jam.  Or jelly.  But you are weirdos.  And don't suggest I make a different kind of jam.  I think, and The Small One will agree with me here, that there are only two proper kinds of jam in this world.  Apricot and/or peach.  That's it. 
Now, should circumstances force my hand, I will eat blackberry jam.  But, only if absolutely required.  And we have blackberry jam in abundance.  The freezes here never manage to kill off the blackberry bushes, which grow in abundance in the yard.  The Man of the House prefers blackberry jam, which is just fine by me.  More apricot for me and The Small One.
Last years apricots were mostly killed off by a late freeze, which was right tragical, in my opinion.  See, living where we do, in a smallish town that used to be primarily orchards, there is generally an abundance of apricots.  This means, if you hit up the neighbors just right, they will unload their excess on you.  I am so down with that.  But, last year?  No excess.  Like I said.  Tragical.  I may actually have to buy apricots at the fruit stand if we can't beg some off the neighbors.  That is how important my apricot jam is to me.
And before you ask, no, I don't make it.  That is what TMOTH is for.
I can...can.  That sounds absurd.  But, anyway.  I have the knowledge and experience to do the canning.  But TMOTH does it, so why on earth would I argue with that?  I wouldn't!  And won't.
I spent the morning today trying to find an affordable  material to build a retaining wall in my yard.  Said yard slopes about 6 feet from top to toe, and I am a bit tired of it.
We excavated a level patio when we moved in and I laid flagstone, but we left the rest of the yard to slope.  It's fine, I suppose, but I don't love it.  Plus, I want a big garden.  So, I am going to turn one section of the yard into said garden.  Since gardens work better if they are level (I know, weird), this will require my  building a 2' high retaining wall on the downside.
I would be quite happy with a red cinderblock wall.  I think they are attractive.  Or even railroad ties.  I like railroad tie walls, it's what we have in the backyard.  But, I got the veto from TMOTH.  He no likey.  So, since I can't afford diamond block, river rock it is!  Of course, this means it is going to take me much longer to build the wall, but hey.  Time?  I haz it.  Plus, I am sure it burns lots of calories. ;)
In other news, I was driving down the road yesterday with The Small One and she asked what street we were on.  I told her,  Battlecreek.  "Battlecreek?  What's that?"  she queried.
"The name of the street." I responded, intending to explain to her why it is called Battlecreek. (Epic Native American/Pioneer battle near said creek, up in them thar hills.
However, she beat me to the punch.
"Oh," says she "I guess a bunch of ninjas must have fighted here."
Yep.  That's why.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Where Oh Where?

So, my French language facility is slipping.  Oh, who am I kidding.  It has slipped.  This is shameful really.  I studied French for 8 years straight, from 7th grade all the way through high school and then for 2 years in college.  In fact, I came within just a couple of classes of minoring in French at the BY.  Due to circumstances...that were completely in my control, I decided to forgo the minor in order to finish school within 3 years.  I don't really know why I felt such a need to finish school at the time.  Well, except that I had a really good job waiting for me as soon as I graduated.  Well, what I thought was a really good job, anyway.  Turned out not to be such a great job, but it was a good experience.  Not that getting a French minor would have made any difference whatsoever in my career path.  It wouldn't have.  But, it would be cool to tell people that I have a minor in French.  Yeah, I'm a little proud....

So, having decided to enroll The Small One in a French immersion program at a nearby school, I decided to brush up on my own French skills.  The nice thing about a foreign language is that it has a tendency to stick in your brain, hanging about somewhere in the back until you put out the effort to drag it forward into the using part of your brain.  I have noticed this whenever I have the opportunity to read French, or speak it with someone. 

Happily, with my decision to brush up said skills, I was able to find an online French program to do a bit of study with.  It's the BBC language division on bbc.uk, if anyone is interested.  They have more than just French.  And they have more than one level, from beginner up.  I think it's pretty awesome.

Studying French, of course makes me think of going to Europe.  Which, as we all know, is something I REALLY want to do again.  I want to take The Small One and hie on over to the continent, drag her through cathedrals and museums.  Feed her lovely food.  Expose her to the joys of different cultures.  Well, not too different, as it is Europe.  But still.  You get my drift.  After wandering about the continent, I would, of course, head on over to Great Britain.  I cannot be in that region of the world and not do so, you know.

Ideally, I would have several months for this journey, and a great deal of money.  I would love to be able to go on a Transatlantic cruise to get there.  So much more charming than jetting over.  Not that I am opposed to flying.  I love to fly.  But, the thrill of it wanes after so many hours of being trapped in the middle of a long row and having to pee.  A nice cruise would be a deliciously romantic way to get there.  Easy, leisurely and chock full of good food and great views.  I could come ashore either in France or England, but I think I would choose France, because really, I want to end my tour with a longish stay in London, as I love that city.  Oh, how I love it.  But, I digress...

Where would you go if you could take an extended vacation somewhere?  What would you do?  Would you head for a relaxing beach?  Or museums?  Or somewhere with a completely foreign culture?  Money is no object, so where oh where would you go?

Hello!

Hello, friendly blog readers!  How is everyone this morning?  Excellent, I hope.
Today is General Conference, which, for those of you who do not know, is a bi-annual meeting of the leaders of the church to which I belong, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It is televised on a local channel for those of us lucky enough to live in Utah, ;).  For those not so lucky, it is also available on BYUTV on cable and satellite and online at www.lds.org.  It also comes out in print next month.

Conference is always a good time.  It's like going to church in your jammies, or whatever.  We lay about on the front room floor watching and, I admit, sometimes falling asleep.  It's those voices.  And that speech pattern.  Especially if you have grown up with it, it is just so soothing.  One minute you are listening to President Eyring wax eloquent and the next thing you know, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is singing the closing hymn.  Of course, I NEVER fall asleep during Conference.  Ever.  Cough, cough.

Anyway,  I look forward to it twice a year.  It is nice and relaxing, and it is an excellent reminder of what we need to be doing to live a happy and fulfilled life.  Look it up if you are interested.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

In other news, life has been crazy busy around here.  A couple of weeks ago, I hit a bead while sewing on a wedding gown and completely jacked up the tension on my sewing machine.  I took it to my brother to have him repair it for me, and canceled my appts for the rest of the week.

Well, I jacked it up so well, that he has had a really hard time fixing it.  So, I have been using my domestic sewing machine at work, which is slow.  Like, painfully slow.  It drives me bananas.  It is pretty speedy for a domestic machine, but it still goes about half as fast as my industrial.  Not only that, it is lacking a few of the amenities of said industrial, which add to the speed at which I can get a dress done. 

So, after taking a week "off" I had to play catchup.  Well, catching up with a slow machine is not super easy.  For the past two weeks I have had my regular appts, plus spreading out the appts that I had canceled.  This means that I have had to work 8-6 for several days, which sucks.  I know, boo-hoo and all that, but I am not used to it, and neither is The Small One.  She gets fractious when I am gone that much. 

Please.   The Blessed Child loves me.  Don't be jealous.

So, you add my busy work schedule to that of The Man of the House and, well, you get a bit of a mess.  He is working in the great big city to the north just now, so he has a much longer and unpleasant commute.  He gets home a bit later than usual, I get home a bit later than usual, The Small One is a bit more fractious than usual.  Well, you can see where this is going.  Disarray, lousy food and cranky people who just want to sleep.  The Man of the House wants to veg.  The Small One wants to play with TMOTH.  And me?  I just want to sit on my chaise and knit and read Facebook or Ravelry.  The Small One sees me enough on my days off and whatnot, that at the end of the day, it is her daddy she is interested in, far more than me.  Bless her heart.  So, sometimes, I do get to just sit on said chaise.  But, sometimes, I do have to rescue TMOTH from the rowdy clutches of his little princess.  Everyone needs a break, right?

Last night, TMOTH and Small One were in the front room, getting things ready for a camp-in.  Laying out sleeping mats and bags, etc.  While they were thus occupied, my mom came in, having been gone most of the afternoon and evening.  With her came my nephew, who is 7 years old and The Small One's best friend.  He walked into my room to tell me how he had gone to the Holi celebration down at the Krishna temple.  He hadn't gotten two words out of his mouth when from the front room came this shout

"OH MY GOSH!  YOU DIDN'T TELL ME YOU WERE COMING!!!!"  and a blonde blur rushed into my room and wrapped her arms around her cousin.  He hugged her back and she said "I haven't seen you forever!!! Come look at my paintings!  Come see what I have in my nursery!"  And she dragged him off to reacquaint him with her life.  Cutest damn thing I have ever seen.

Now, lest you think that it has been months or whatnot since she has seen this boy, let me undeceive you.  It has only been a couple of weeks.  But, as I said, he is her best friend, so she was extremely happy to see him.   Also, he is usually here every other weekend, so it was a bit of a trial for her to have him gone that long. 

He returned a bit later to finish telling me about the Color Festival.  With small girl in tow.
This morning?  Yeah, she won't leave him alone.  Bless his heart, he loves her too.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Funny...or not.

So, it is patently obvious, based on the comments (or noticeable lack thereof), that my dear readers prefer humour in this blog.  So, we shall see if I can give you some.
Probably not, though.  It is the political season, and I am afraid I am wildly political and violently opinionated.  Well, no, I am not afraid.   I AM very political and violently opinionated.  But, my opinions are well supported.  I do my research, I think about what I am saying.  This isn't to say that I can't be swayed; if I find your argument to be more persuasive and well-supported than my own, I might consider changing my opinion.  I am stubborn, but not entirely pig-headed. 
Most of the time.
Here's the thing.  My opinions are just that.  Opinions.  You don't have to agree with them.  You don't have to like them.  Heck, you don't even have to respect them.  But, then, I may be disinclined to discuss with you.
But, they are MY opinions.  They don't represent the opinions of the church to which I belong. (LDS), they don't represent the culture in which I currently reside (Mormon Utah Valley), they are mine.  Just mine.  I have considered them a great deal, and to me, they do coincide perfectly with my religious and moral beliefes.  For the record, I have these opinions and STILL manage to remain in good standing with my church.  Despite having been backhandedly accused otherwise.
So, there you have it.  Like it or not, that's who I am.
Maybe the humour will be back another day. ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring?

Oh, the barnyard is busy, in a regular tizzy
And the obvious reason is because of the season.
Ma Nature's lyrical,
With her yearly miracle.
Spring, Spring, Spring!

In case you aren't sure, this is from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is a musical I both love and hate.
I hate it because it's so sexist.  I mean really?  The Rape of the Sabines and whatnot.  And a good bit of Stockholm Syndrome thrown in, to boot.
(I will probably get booted from my husband's family for saying that.  They love this show.)

However, I love it because it was the first show I ever worked on at Tuacahn.  It was the first time I met my husband, as well, although we didn't date or anything until, I think, a year or two later?  Not sure, really.  I love it because I made a lot of good friends that year.  I love it because it is associated with an awful lot of fun and good times.  Not to mention a WHOLE lot of very pretty boys with buff bods.  I ain't gonna lie, there was some serious eye candy that year.  That year also being the year we did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat meant that said eye candy went without shirts a lot, since they all needed to be tan.  No objections here.

BUT, that isn't really the point of this post, as much fun as it is.  No, the point is that I think spring has actually arrived here!  I mean, this is not to say that we won't get another dose of winter weather, we probably will.  We usually do.  And of course, that makes everyone cranky, but in the meantime...sunshine, warmth!  Green thing poking up out of the earth!  The Small One wanting to be outside everyday!

There are one or two drawbacks to The Small One wanting to be outside all day.  One, she doesn't really have anyone to play with all day, except me or her Grandma.  I don't like to be outside   all day.  I do have things to do.  The other?  She gets FILTHY.   Dirt?  Yes, please.   Rocks and gravel?  You betcha.  Twigs and branches?  She'll take them all.  And then, of course, she runs in and out of the house.  In the front door, out the back door, in the back door, out the kitchen door. 

It being early spring, the ground is still quite damp.  It being The Small One, she plays in the garden boxes or out in the chicken pen.  As I am sure you can imagine, the garden, the chicken pen and the ins and outs of The Small One mean dirt, mud, muck  In my house.  I have tried to convince her that wellies belong out of doors only, but, you know, she is 4.  She gets distracted.  Forgets to remove said wellies.  Yesterday, this resulted in a PATH of loamy spring soil from the back of the house to the front.  I gave up on trying to keep her from dragging in dirt and let it go, then swept it all up when it got dark and she had to come in.

Once she comes in for the evening, the hard part is convincing her that she really needs to take a shower before she takes her bath.  She doesn't seem to understand that wallowing about in her own watery filth is disgusting. UNCLEAN.  So, I make her take a shower, rinse all the gunk off, then she can have her hot bath.  (she's like me, she loves HOT baths).

She and I are very excited for the Spring.  Our starts are coming up nicely, well most of them, anyway.  I have been planning the new landscaping in the front yard, which will level our yard a bit more and give us a nice raised garden bed.  The blackberries are leafing out and looking as though they will be prolific again this year.  Here's hoping that the apricots go this year, since last year's  harvest was dismal.  Nobody had any excess apricots, so we (read TMOTH) didn't get to make jam and our supply is running low.  Actually, last year was kind of a bad year all around for fruit in these parts, so our supply of all things canned is a bit low.  We are going to be epic this year, I tell you what.  Canning our little hearts out, if the harvest permits.

Also, TMOTH and The Small One came home with two turkey chicks yesterday.  So cute.  Ready to fatten them up for Thanksgiving.  Hopefully, these two won't be as mean as last year's turkeys.  They were the very devil.

And now, since the sun has reached the spot where it shines through my window onto my chaise, I am going to go be a cat and lay on said chaise and bake my poor head for a bit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Well, then.

I have lost my knitting mojo.  I know, travesty, right?  Well, it is.  Knitting is what keeps me sane.  It keeps my fidgety fingers from driving me batty.  It keeps my fidgety self from...well...fidgeting.  Now, normally, I am absolutely a process knitter, in that it is the KNITTING itself that I enjoy, far more than the finished object.  However, when I mess up even a simple sock 5 times in a row and have to frog it over and over until my yarn turns into a fuzzy mess, well that is annoying.  Especially if said yarn is kind of expensive and had been sent to me by one of my knitting friends. 
Sounds corny, right?  Sending people yarn?  I suppose it is, but if you were a knitter, you would understand.  There is something decidedly pleasant about receiving some unexpected yarn in the mail.  If you were a knitter, and someone sent you nice yarn, well, it says a number of things.  One, this person likes you and cares about you.  Two, this person put out effort for you, (s)he went through the stash or to the LYS (local yarn store) looking for something that they thought would please.  .  Three, this person understands.  (S)he understands why you knit, maybe.  Or that you like pretty things.  But mostly, (s)he understands that the experience of nice yarn, lovely fibres is a good one. And will bring a smile to your face.

I send people yarn, occasionally.  I have a pretty decent stash, I will be honest, but it doesn't stop me from wanting more.  Nope.  I am greedy like that.  I love yarn, I love fibre, I love fabric.  All of it.  I have doubts that I will ever knit everything in my stash, but that doesn't stop me from loving it.  I love to squoosh it, smell it, rub it against my face.  I am kind of a tactile person, can you tell?

I guess I could spend the time I normally spend knitting, fondling fibre instead, but that could get boring after a while.  I should spend the time I spend knitting doing something useful.  Like the laundry. But, I hate laundry.  Or sewing, but I broke my machine and it isn't back from the repair yet.

Also, I think I lost my sense of humour somewhere, which some of you may or may not have noticed.  My humour has not been in top form on this blog!  Sorry about that, it will return one of these days.  Probably with the sunshine and warmth.  After I have had a chance to bask in the warm sunlight, my shrivelled sense of humour will grow again.  I expect the absence of sun and whatnot has contributed both to my loss of knitting mojo and my loss of funny.  Stupid weather.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside.

It is cold.  Very cold.  Stormy.
And I just went out in the teeth of the ravening storm to get firewood and chop kindling for a fire.
Because it is COLD. 
And I love a fire on a cold, stormy, winter evening.
I feel, in a way, as if I am defying the weather.  As though, snug in my old, old house, I am more powerful than it.  The wind can rage, the snow can blow, but I, and my house, my drafty old house, we will stand the weather.

For the record, however, wild, tangled curls,which I have and which may look fabulous, are not helpful when chopping firewood.  The wind blows and the curls get into in my face, rendering me blind.  Blind with an axe?  Not good.  Just so you know.
And, in case you wondered, TMOTH said he was going to make some peanut butter cookies for me (he makes the world's best peanut butter cookies.  Perfect combo of salty and sweet.) if I went and got firewood, but those cookies have yet to materialize.

So, here I sit, in front of my roaring fire, cozy, with my feet tucked securely under me...typing my blog.

I am wearing a black, turtleneck sweater.  Did you know, I consider a tight, black, fine-gauge turtleneck to be the perfect piece of clothing.  For a number of reasons.  I own several, but I would like to own several more. Cotton.  Wool.  Silk.  I want them all.

The Small One is hanging upside down off the couch and watching Bubble Guppies.  The dog is snoring contentedly in the middle of the floor.  She was in my spot, here in front of the fire, but I made her move.  This is MY spot.  The cat is curled in a tight little ball in the corner of the couch.  All is well and comfortable.

Now, I think I will knit my bit.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Dreaming


I have this dream vacation in my mind.  And, I might be a little frightened to actually take that vacation, because, what if it didn’t turn out as well as I imagine?  I would be terribly disappointed.  Wouldn’t you?

Shall I tell you what my dream vacation is?  It is a lovely dream.  For me.

I would wake up in a small hotel in Paris.   Narrow street.  Balcony.  White muslin curtains on the French doors.  Mediterranean  tiles on the floor, white walls.  There would be an old iron bedstead, cushioned with a deep feather mattress; soft, white bedding; squishy, inviting pillows.

It would be old, but lovely, smelling of wood and plaster.  The bathroom would have a large, inviting slipper tub, with a hand held shower and thick white towels on the bars.

I would be there in the late spring, early summer, before the weather gets too hot.  A light breeze would ruffle the curtains as I lay in my bed, sun streaming through the doors, contemplating what I wanted to do that day.

And what would I do?  Well, it’s Paris?  I would wander.  I would lose myself in the maze of streets.  Peek in the windows of small shops.  Eat French cheese with abandon.  And croissants.  And baguettes.  Oh, the food.  The gorgeous smell of fresh baked bread.  The musty, moldy smell of well aged cheese.  And the chocolate.  The deep, rich, fruity scent of real chocolate.

Then, I would find my way to the Louvre to indulge in the art.  To be sure, the Louvre would take days and days to get through.   This is my dream vacation, right?  I have endless days if I want them.

I would watch the sunset from le Tour Eiffel.  I have done this, you know.  And it is glorious.  As amazing and romantic as one might expect.

I went to Paris once.  It was…not what I had expected or hoped for.  It was hot.  It was the Paris Open and there were so many people there.  But there were incredible moments.  One I remember in particular has always been one of my favourite memories of France. 

Shall I tell you?

My friends and I had to split up to get a place to stay.  A and I went to a very nice hostel, but they only had room for two of us.  So B and ML found a place at a small hotel.  In the morning, after breakfasting on baguettes, jam , fresh fruit and hot cocoa, A and I went to find B and ML.  They were several streets away in an old, old building.  We had no idea what room they were in and there was no one at the front desk.  Not knowing what else to do, I stood in the street and shouted B’s name.  A few moments later, the shutters on the second floor were flung open and my lovely friend leaned out, her long brown hair swinging across her face to shout “Bon Matin!”  It was lovely, delightful.  So perfect;  an old, plastery, whitewashed building, with dark wood shutters and my beautiful friend framed in the window.  I laughed and wished I had a better camera.

Later that night, after sunset on the Eiffel Tower, the two girls went back to the hotel, tired, hot and cranky.  A and I decided we weren’t quite ready for bed, yet.  After all, we were in Paris!  So, we went to the park across from and under the Eiffel Tower and lay down on the cool grass, shoes off, breeze blowing through our skirts, just relaxing.  The lights on the Tower came on, the city came to life.  And we lay there and watched. 

Then, of course, we got the clever idea to go dip our legs into the fountain at the Palais de Chaillot.  That was a mistake.  The water was green and there were a few plastered French boys hanging about who tried to push us in.  Sort of ruined the mood.  So, we went back to our hostel.

But, back to my dream vacay.  It would involve walking down the Champs Elysees, appropriately attired, naturally.  Because, you know, there are different clothing requirements depending on the activity at hand.  Of course, in my dreamy hotel room, whilst deep in slumber, I would be wearing a soft, white gown of cotton lawn.  Very old fashioned.  For wandering about the Louvre and down the Champs Elysees, something black and narrow.  Cigarette pants.  A well-fitted button down shirt.  My hair cascading down my back in auburn waves.  And sunglasses, of course.  With a brightly coloured handbag and French flats.  Do you see it?  Are you there with me?  It would be lovely, would it not?

Later, I would climb the steps of Sacre Coeur and take in the view, following it with an exquisite French dinner in a small cafĂ©.  Then perhaps an open air concert in le Jardin des Tuileries.  After, back to my small hotel for a long, hot bubble bath and bed.  This time with the evening air ruffling the white muslin curtains and the stars shining in my window.




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hopeful...


February is a hard month for me.  And, for a lot of people, I think.  Especially here in the cold mountains.  It is that point in the year where I tire of the cold, the wind, the short days.  I long for sunshine, and heat.  Long days, balmy evenings, bare toes skimming through the hot grass.   I want to lay on my lawn, face in the shade, body in the sun, getting baked.  I want to wear flip-flops every day.  Or no shoes at all.  (I am a barefoot girl).  I want to wear sundresses made of light cotton that catch the breeze that occasionally blows through.  

I am like a cat.  I want to bask in that ray of sunshine that comes through the window and hits the floor.

Sadly, I do not have a south facing home, and in fact, there is only one south facing window in my house and it is small and shaded.  Lamentable, really.

My bedroom, fortunately, has a large window in it, unshaded mostly.  In that window is a chaise longue, a squishy, welcoming chaise, with a side table.  This is the spot that beckons me on a winter afternoon, in that too small space of time when the sun climbs past my roof and the trees and before it starts to descend below the roof of my neighbor.  It is the spot in which I like to lounge on a sultry summer afternoon, sun blazing through the window, fan blowing gently on my damp skin.

And, when I lounge thus, I don’t want to do anything, think anything.  I want to lay there, and absorb the glorious sunshine.

Don’t get me wrong, once I have been in the grips of 90+ degree weather for a time, I am as likely to whine about it as anyone.  But still, I can handle the heat better than the cold.  As long as it is dry heat.  Desert girl, for sure, here.

I have mentioned this before, but I shall again. Once, while in London, I had a horrible headache.  I lived in the city, amidst the tall buildings, the weather was  dreary, there had been no sun for awhile, and what sun there was only lasted moments.  I would sit in the window of my front room, catching what few rays I could.  But, on this day, I felt I had to get out of the city.  I took the Tube out to Kew Gardens and wandered about.  It wasn’t helping.  It was cloudy out at Kew as well, and cold, so I hied myself over to the greenhouses and wandered about there instead.  I came upon a small room, in the “regions of North America” section, and as I entered, it was as though I had walked into heaven.  Hot.  Dry.  Bright.  I looked down at the room label.  “Desert Climate-American Southwest”.  Ahhhh.  I could breathe properly.  I sat in there for a couple of hours and dried out.  Headache went away, breathing was clear.  It was paradise.  Or Zion, if you prefer. ;)

But alas, today is, as Pooh would say, a blustery day.  It is cold.  The sun is shining, but it is a thin sunlight, providing no warmth.  And so, to combat my current bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I planted another flat of seeds.  It makes me feel as though I can contend with the weather and perhaps conquer.  Despite the cold, despite the thin sunlight, I can start my warm, dry summer.  I love the smell of the loamy soil, the warmth that it generates in the little greenhouse.  (So does the cat, he keeps laying on top and squishing it.)  I love the sight of the little shoots pushing their way up toward the sun (or the artificial light hanging over them, you choose).  It makes me happy.  And gives me something to look forward to.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Beautiful

Yesterday, a Facebook friend posted a link to some Youtube videos.  In these videos, adolescent girls were asking the viewer whether or not they were attractive.  My friend was (appropriately) horrified by this, as was I.  But our point of view differed.  She was horrified because these young girls posted the videos, only to be told by perfect strangers that they were ugly, or fat, or stupid, or what have you.  I was horrified because why would you post something asking what a perfect stranger thought of you?  And why would you care? 
We both came to the same conclusion.  The self-esteem of these girls must be impossibly low to even WANT to ask that question.
Now, my question is why?  Why is their self-esteem that low?  How do I prevent my daughter from feeling this way?  Friend and I grew up in similar circumstances, though she is almost 10 years younger than me.
Same socio-economic status, same religion, similar expectations, similar mental health issues.  But she suffered from a very low self-esteem.  I did not.  Where lies the difference?
I grew up poor, in a less than stellar part of my town.  There were a lot of drugs and alcohol, most of the violence in the town happened in the area in which I lived.  Wrong side of the tracks, if you will.   I grew up Mormon.  High expectations when you are Mormon, by the by.  I struggled (and still do) with depression.  But I did not, nor have I ever, really, had issues with self-esteem.
Do I credit my parents?  My genes?  What?  Is it nature or nurture?  I don't know, I really don't. 
Not being privy to the details of the home life of my friend, I cannot really gauge what her parents did with regards to that. 
I am not sure that my parents were deliberately trying to build up my self-esteem, or if it was just a by product of their parenting style. 
Whatever it was, it worked.  And it worked for most, if not all, of my siblings.  We think we are pretty damn awesome.
I think this irritates people sometimes.
But why?  What is wrong with thinking we are awesome?  We are awesome.
In my home, it was assumed that if you wanted to do something, you could.  It might take a lot of effort, you might fail a few (or several) times, but if you wanted it, you could get it. 
I grew up thinking I could be anything I wanted to be.  I just had to do it.
I grew up thinking I was incredibly intelligent.  I still think that. 
I didn't grow up thinking I was particularly physically attractive, but that didn't really matter that much.  I wasn't interested in a guy that was more interested in how I looked than how I thought.  If my brains and personality weren't enough for him, he could stick it.
But why?  Why, when I was surrounded by girls who were so concerned about whether or not someone found them attractive, did I not particularly care?
Honestly, I cannot really remember whether or not my parents told me I was pretty.  I don't think it would have meant much to me if they had.  (They probably did, but the fact that I can't remember it says something.)  I do remember that they told me I was intelligent, and clever and witty and determined (which is a polite word for pigheaded).  And that mattered to me.  I wanted to be all of those things.  I LIKED that I was all of those things.  But aren't most of us those things?  Why do we want to be something that we aren't? 
My dad told me a few years ago that he used to worry about me because I wasn't popular and he was afraid that had bothered me as a kid/teen.  I was shocked.  I couldn't for the life of me understand how he could have thought I wanted to be popular.  Why on earth would I want to be one of those people?  I thought they were pathetic.  All sorts of obsessed with their money and their clothes and how pretty they were and if they were dating the right person, blah, blah, blah.  Really?  I had no desire to be part of that, one of them.  I had no respect for them at all.  I am sure they were probably lovely people, but they certainly weren't MY kind of people.
My kind of people were geeks.  Nerds.  Whatever.  I still love geeks.  I still am a geek.  But, you know what?  It's the geeks that rule the world.  Not the popular people.
Maybe my parents tried to steer me into the popular crowd and it didn't work.  I don't know.  I certainly wasn't popular crowd material.  I was poor, I wore weird clothes (I had eclectic tastes back then, too), I had this crazy mane of frizzy red hair and lots of freckles.  I didn't wear makeup much.  I was smart.  I was in Drama.  I had nerdy friends.  All these things added up to NOT COOL.
But I liked my weird clothes, especially since I made most of them.  And I liked my crazy hair, it made me different from everyone else.  And I didn't really care about makeup most of the time, because no one was looking at me anyway.  And I liked being smart.  And I liked drama.  And I liked nerds. I would have had to give up all of those things if I wanted to be popular and why would I do that?
Maybe it has something to do with having your eyes on the prize.  I knew, had always known, what I wanted.   And I knew how to get what I wanted.  And once I decide what I really want, dammit, I WILL get it.  Nothing is going to get in my way. 
In junior high and high school, where I think attacks on self esteem are the worst, I had already begun my quest.  I was making a beeline for my goal, which at the time was college.
So, is that the difference?  Is that why what other people thought didn't much matter?  I don't know.  I do know that other's opinions of me were peripheral to the goal.
Did I get made fun of in school?  Sure.  Of course I did.  I was a weirdo, a geek.  But, when you think the person making fun of you is a pathetic, dim-witted ass, what they think doesn't have much affect.
And in my way of thinking, if you don't think I am smart, or funny, or awesome-well, you are probably dumb, or an ass, and I don't really care what dumb asses think of me.  Why would I?  Why would anyone?
See, this is where I get confused.  Why would anyone care what some dumb ass thinks of them.  Seriously, why?
The reason this question gets to me is because of The Small One, of course.  I don't want her to be one of the girls that relies on the opinion of others.  I couldn't bear it if my daughter was hurt by the opinions of some mean non-entity. 
So, how do I raise her to be like me?
I know, it sounds terribly prideful, but I do want her to be like me.  I want her to be able to throw off the unwanted opinions of others, I want her to know she is smart (she is), I want her to know she is clever and funny and witty and strong and determined. I want her to know that she is just as good as anyone else, and possibly better.  And I want those things to matter to her. I want her to know that she can be anything or anyone she wants to be and that no limitations need hold her back.  (The Small One is also pretty and has lovely hair.  But I prefer that not be the important thing to her.)
Trust me, I know that I am not perfect.  I know that I have flaws.  Everyone does.  But I also know that I am great.  I like the good bits of me.  I try to fix the not good bits about me.  The not good bits that are out of my control, well, I accept them for what they are and try to not let them take over.  I would certainly rather be me than most other people.
In my family, one is awesome simply by virtue of being one of us.  DeGreys are smart.  We are witty.  We are clever.  We are funny.  We are determined. We can do anything we put our mind to.   If you are a DeGrey, or born of one, you are amazing. (Other people are amazing,too, but that is neither here nor there.)
Is it nature?  Is it nurture?  Is it hubris?
I don't know.  But whatever it is, I want to make sure my daughter has it. Some people don't like it, but I don't care what they think.;)
Thoughts?  Opinions?  Success stories?  Throw your comments my way,  I love to hear from you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to be a gojillionaire...like Vera Wang

So, I got a job the other day.  Not exactly what I wanted to do, but one must weigh the pros and cons and make a decision.  I decided, for the time being, at least, that the pros of getting a job outweigh the cons.  But it was close!
Don't worry, though, it isn't some awful 9-5.  It is piecework alterations three days a week.  No biggie.  It will mean a regular paycheck.  And it doesn't mean that I stop doing my own thing, not at all.
Anyway, during the interview,after seeing my portfolio pictures, the owner of the shop asked me why I don't open my own shop.  I have been asked that several times, actually. So, here is the answer.
Right now, I don't want to. 
Before I had The Small One, I worked a lot.  I worked at Brigham Young University full time and also did custom gowns on the side.  After I left my job to care for my (much adored) nephew, I still needed an income, so I kept doing custom gowns and even advertised.  I got very busy, but was still able to care for my nephew as he was a very sweet and easy baby.
When nephew was 3, I had a baby of my own.  She was not a sweet and easy baby.  She had colic to begin with, which made working hard.  She is/was an infinitely more demanding than little nephew.  Different personalites, you know?
So, I dialed back the work load to care for the baby.
Well, when she was 1.5, I think, the business with which TMOTH was affiliated went belly up.  We lost, big time.  So, I went back to work at a bridal salon as a designer/alterations manager.  That lasted for a while, but didn't end up working out.  The Small One did not deal well with me working full time.  So, I left and went back to doing alterations and custom gowns out of my own space.
Fast forward to now.  We have some things we want to do which require money (like pay off debt, for one.  Go to the UK for another), so I have decided to get a job with a regular paycheck.
TMOTH was not thrilled about the idea, he thinks I am shortchanging myself.  So do a lot of other people, for that matter.
But, here is the thing.
Running a business is HARD.  Really hard.  And you have to work more than full time to be successful.  Why?  Because, not only are you working full time at the actual JOB part, but you have to work a lot outside of the job marketing, finding work, doing paperwork, hoping you are figuring your taxes out correctly, worrying about whether it is worth it to have employees, etc, etc, etc.
So, I weight the pros and cons.
I could be successful at a bridal salon of my own, I think.  I am good at what I do.  I have a pretty good eye for design, I am a really good manager. 
But.  I also like my kid.  (Not to imply that other people who work don't like their kids, I know they do).
What it boils down to is this. 
I can make more money, but not see my daughter very much. 
Or, I can deal with being poor, and hate it, but get to be with my daughter like I want to.
I could have my own salon and not much time.
Or, I can work for someone else, let them deal with the business stuff, make a bit of money and be home with The Small One like I want to be.
For now, anyway.  Things will definitely change when she is in school all day.  I won't have her with me, anyway, so I may as well put in some effort towards a business of my own, right?