Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Learner

I'm constantly learning lessons.  And they're nearly always because I've made a mistake.  But, hey, I rarely make the exact same mistake twice.

What was my mistake this time?   Well, as part of the little guy and my volunteer work, I end up with a big bag of bird nesting material in my car every week.  (We do weekly work at a Purple Martin Sanctuary, and one of our duties is to clear out sparrow nests so that the Martins may have their designated spots.)  Anyway, we did our work Sunday morning and I put the bag of nesting material...with a generous coating of bird poo on my back seat.  Last night the kid and I went shopping and we wondered what the heck was off about the way my car was smelling.  This morning I opened the back seat of my car to put my backpack in and WHOOOOOSH!!!  I got hit in the face with some serious nasty.

Will I be accidentally leaving a bag-o-bird stuff in my car again?  Decidedly unlikely.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lost Focus

As I walked my dog last night, and she slowed to what I thought was to go potty, but then just kept walking and sniffing and walking and sniffing, and then she ran into a tree, it occurred to me just how much her behavior resembled all those folks who walk down the street with their eyes glued to their phones.  I wonder if they bump into trees, too.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Patience with a Point

Know how you get your fifteen-year-old son to very patiently go with you to the shoe store while you try on oodle gobs of ballet flats only to end up choosing canvas flats with a leopard print instead?

Well, turns out if you've just taken him to a different store and bought him a really cool Swiss Army knife with tons of different tools he'll prove himself to be a very patient teen.

Your welcome.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Things I Say

For the life of me I have no idea why I'm still surprised by the things I find myself saying.

The little guy had been assigned a lovely sketch assignment many weeks ago.  It was due the next day.  What does he do when I nag him (again) about it?

He toots.

Me:  "Art, not fart."

I think that has a future as a bumper sticker.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

She Dreams

I've shaken up my routine lately.  Dave got us gym memberships and I've been doing that for a while now...which meant I blew off all the dog walking I was doing. 

(Insert image in your mind of my dogs pouting.)

Well, last night I returned to the land of dog walking.

(Insert image in your mind of my dogs smiling.)

And instead of having my ear buds in with NPR shows playing, I heard birds and wind and the pitter patter of my dogs' feet.  Instead of being in my own little world, I made eye contact with others and said, "Hello."  Instead of absorbing thoughts of other authors' stories, I was able to be lost in the creation of my own.

Blissful sigh...she dreams.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movin' on Up and Out

So the big kid's a tease.

Sometime before last summer he was all, "I'm moving out this summer."

I was all, "Woo hoo!  I get to have my own space to do art!!!  Oh, and I'll miss you, kiddo."

...and then he never moved out.

Well, a couple of days ago he was all, "I'm moving out this summer."

I was all, "Are you really?  I mean, that's great and all.  Do you think you'll really do it?"

And he was all, "Well, maybe."

...we'll see.
...and yes, I'd definitely miss him.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Eggs are Numbered

Big guy:  "Why do all the eggs have numbers on them?"

Me:  "For rocketry."

Big guy:  "Why for rocketry?"

Me:  "We needed to know how much they each weighed so we could shoot them up in rockets."

Big guy:  "Oh."

I'm so glad I live in a house where numbered eggs draw only the slightest bit of attention for being out of the ordinary.

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Monday, March 24, 2014


Ever since my kids left elementary school, they've hidden their faces in shame any time I show up at their schools.  It's like they don't even know me and are repulsed by my appearance. 

Well, today I had to be at my little guy's high school to pick him up early for an event.  Normally I'd wait for him in the office, but today I must've looked like I was in a big hurry because the office staff told me to walk with the student aid to my kid's classroom.

As my kid emerged from his classroom he did two fist pumps and beamed at me.

Nice to know I'm moving up in the world.  Mom is WAY more awesome than the kid's least favorite class.

And now I'm beaming.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


The elbow gets all the glory, attention...and pity.  We bonk it, we grab it and wince, and for some reason title the event with the word "funny".  Ya, it's so not.

Well this morning I found out that I have an additional "funny" spot.

I was all set to go work out and all that was left was putting on my shoes.  I picked a shoe up, raised my left leg, and WHAM!!!  My knee quite solidly hit the underside of our kitchen table.  I grabbed it.  I winced.  And I titled it, "fun-knee".

And then I looked at the shoe I was holding, and it was for my right foot, not my left.  Funny!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

For the Love of Fun

I've been all sorts of moms over the years.  A soccer mom (yes, I did have a minivan at the time).  A football mom.  A track mom.  A wrestling mom.  But I have to say that my favorite thus far is being a rocket mom.  And it's a very good thing that it's my favorite as it's the only one that isn't defined by seasons or years.  It's not even defined by something as simple as a match or a game, by quarters or halves, or anything.  It's the activity that goes on and on and on.  And it has.  For years now.  And it is SO MUCH FUN!

So you know how they're always saying it's not, but it turns out it really is rocket science.  Fun, that is.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Forgiveness of Curls

I get a little twitchy about my hair every six months or so.  Boredom, disgust, disappointment, you name it.  But I'm too cheap and admittedly lazy to actually make an appointment and take care of it.  This time I decided to take matters in to my own hands.  Literally.  On pure impulse I grabbed a chunk of hair and "did it just like the professionals"... -ish.  Then I grabbed another chunk, and another, and another, until I'd made it all the way around.  And, by golly, it worked!  Mind you, I have very wavy hair and it is, by nature, forgiving of haircut mistakes, but it worked!

And every time I go into the hallway bathroom at our house I swear the shears on the shelf wink and beckon me to use them again.  And sometimes I do!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Awe

I love being in awe of fellow humans.

There's this fella who walks dogs in our hood.  Sometimes up to fifteen dogs...maybe more...all at once!  He's amazing, this guy.  He's surrounded by leashes and dogs and they all, no matter the size, walk down the street in perfect pace.

And while that's utterly and completely amazing to me, what amazes me even more is that his zen dog walking/whispering powers travel at least fifty feet.

Here's the thing.  Any time a dog is walked by our house, our big dog, Scout, goes ballistic.  Then Hazel goes ballistic because she assumes that Scout knows what the heck she's "talking" about.  But when this dog walker walks by, with his crazy calm brood of pooches, our dogs just stand and stare.

The force is strong with this one.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Fuzz

So sometimes I let my imagination get the best of me.  And somehow it always ends up just being a humbling humiliating experience.  Believe me, I'm not new at this game.  (Check out my worst episode here.) 

Anyway, I was at the gym and I kept noticing that when I was lifting weights over my head I was getting looks.  I'm thinking...

"What, is some hot chick behind me?"

"Do I have a booger in my nose?"

"Could it possibly be that my muscles are getting awesome?!?!"

So I walked back to the locker room with just a bit of a hop in my step.  I stood at the sink to wash my hands, then raised my arms up to take the big honkin' clip outa my hair, and...

OH MY GOSH, you've never seen so much black shirt fuzz stuck in armpits...ever!

Me:  "Oh."

Ah, well....

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Dream

A teenager and a young girl walked into the women's locker room.  Here's what I heard.

Big Sister:  "Man, I wish our parents didn't live at our house.  Everything would be so much easier."

Little Sister:  "But that wouldn't last very long because we wouldn't have money."

Big Sis:  "You're messing with the dream.  In this dream we don't have to worry about that.  It's a dream!!!  You're no fun."

I walked outa there smiling at what must be pretty much ever older child's dream and every younger child's area of concern.

Ah...the dreams of childhood.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Got the Moves

It turns out that going around singing "Moves Like Jagger" is not correlated with actually having moves like Jagger.

According to my kid, that is.

But you know how positive affirmations work, right?  If you keep saying it, and saying it, and saying it, the odds of it being "so" seriously increases. 

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the Nose of the Beholder

About six months ago Dave sent a postcard in to the city in response to a "free trees" offer.  Awesome!  Fabulous!  Amazing!

The city dropped the trees off about a month later and Dave put them in the ground.  He watered them faithfully and they've absolutely thrived under his care.  Which is good, because if I'd been in charge they'd be goners.

Anyway, as spring has come both trees have begun flowering.  I absolutely love flowering trees!!  With the exception of one kind, that is.  You see, there's this tree at the school where I've worked for the past ten years.  It's incredibly fragrant.  And it's an odd thing.  The smeller either perceives the scent as pure heaven or as stanky as the bat guano under the Congress Avenue Bridge here in town.  I, unfortunately, am the latter.

And you guessed it, one of those delightful trees that now reside in my front yard is one such tree.  Beautiful, but stanky.  I'm determined to love this foul tree...even if I have to wear a clothespin on my nose to do it.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Perfect Storm

This morning.

Me:  "Get up, kiddo.  You need to clean your room, do that homework you've been putting off all week, check your email, take a shower, and put your dirty laundry in this basket."

Little guy:  "Wow, mom.  That was a perfect storm of nag."

Ya...makes me feel all powerful and stuff.  Not that it's at all effective, of course.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Dog Ugly Duds

So this finally happened.

Big guy:  "Did you wear that when you just went out?"

Here's the thing.  I gave our big dog, Hazel, a hair cut today.  And when I do that her hair gets everywhere.  Everywhere!  My routine is to change into something both minimal and undesirable (as in I won't likely want to wear it later that day).

Today's hair cutting ensemble?

• black boxer shorts with red kissing lips all over them...pretty sure they used to belong to one of my boys.

• lavender tank top with purple trim.

It was quite functional and absolutely, positively hideous.

Me:  "No, I changed when I went out and changed back into this lovely fashion statement when I got back."

Big guy:  "Good!"

"Bounding Toward Home"
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

La Luna y Magnolia

I think I've decided that I really enjoy personal challenges.  I love challenging myself to do new things.  I love a writing challenge.  I love challenges as a teacher.  But being challenged as an artist is so totally fabulous.  I think I may just need to set up a "Challenge Box"...pretty much just a suggestion box like what you'd see at a restaurant, but this box would be filled with challenges for me to paint something...anything.  How fun would that be?!?!

So, feel free to challenge me.

This painting was such an honor to create and was just this sort of fabulous challenge.  It's a representation of two lovely little girls and I'm so excited that it will join them in their home. 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Master Plans Worked!

Dave and I wanted to go out to eat today.  We weren't particularly interested in getting into all the SXSW ruckus, so we went where we figured no cool hipster types would be.  Yup.  Olive Garden.  And the fact that Dave has been totally seduced by their commercials lately sealed the deal.

And we were right!  Not a hipster in sight.  Quick seating, quick food, quick dessert...and we were outa there.  Master plan one...success!

This brings me to our next plan.  How to put my leftover pasta dish in the fridge without the boys eating it before either Dave or I get hungry again.  So, I got a sharpie and wrote "TOFU PASTA DISH" across the top of the "to go" container.  (It so did not contain any tofu.)

Master plan two...success!


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monkeying Around

"What's that sound?" I thought to myself first thing this morning.  And by "first thing this morning" I mean 8:30 is spring break after all.

It didn't sound dangerous.  I covered my head with my blanket.  That totally didn't work.  So I got up.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But a kitten who'd set off the Roomba again...with his rear!

And the kitten was in hiding, scared out of his wits.
While the Roomba zoomed around missing all the bits.

The kitten is awesome...the Roomba not so much.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

The Mother Archetype

I've just completed the second in a series of feminine archetypes as part of an amazing class I'm taking.  This one represents the mother archetype.  (Click here to see the first one I did and information on the class.)

I kept envisioning mothering our children even after our mothers or we as mothers are gone.  The mother is ghostly and mothering from beyond.  The child is still full of life...and still being mothered.

And I have to admit that this is the first painting I've ever painted that actually turned out just as I'd imagined.  At almost 1000 paintings, that's kind of amazing to me.  Not that I've never done it before...rather that I actually did it! 

Here's to all you mothers, both still on earth and those beyond.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Mighty Power of the Pile

There's a HUGE pile of laundry on our bed.  Its life for the past few days has been "all over the bed during the day" and "back in the hampers" at night.  This in and out cycle has happened at least three times now.

Well, I thought that surely, today was going to be my day to finally tackle that pile.  But I found that I could not.  You see, the cats have taken up residency on our bed...on the pile.  Cats are clearly rendered helpless in the presence of clean laundry piles and must take long recovery naps.

And what kind of person would mess with that?

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Craving the Ruby Red

I was reminded a couple of weeks ago of something I absolutely loved to eat as a kid.  I'd completely forgotten about it until I ran across it on a blog...a blog I usually go to for art inspiration, but there it was!

We ate a lot of odd stuff in my childhood home.  Eventually I went the vegetarian route and avoided all the oddities.  But one thing was truly spectacular.  And I've been eating it lately most every night.

It's broiled grapefruit.  My family thinks I've flipped my cork, but I've welcomed a new evening ritual.  Slice it.  Cut around each of the sections.  Salt it.  Broil it.  Oh, man, delish!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Break...uh, who's excited?

The kid and I were hanging out in the kitchen when we got home today.

Me:  "Yay, SPRING BREAK!!!"

Little guy:  "I'm definitely more excited than you are, mom."

Me:  "How do you figure?"

Little guy:  "I just know that all the students in town are more excited than their teachers about spring break."

Yeah, I'll let him think that.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's a Weighty Situation

So we went scale shopping tonight.  We already had one, but it liked to mess with us.

Step weight...step off.

Step back on...four pounds heavier...step off.

Step back on again...six pounds lighter...step off.

And then I swear the scale smirked, just a bit.

So off we went to the store.  Did you know you can scarcely find a scale that will just tell you how much you weigh?

Those darn things check your body fat, your body water (?), your calorie consumption, your muscle percentage, your bone mass, and can even interact with your cell phone.  Our new one isn't quite as fancy as all that, but it will be so, um, er, exciting having all sorts of new data about myself to share...once we figure out how to use what is currently the most high tech thing in our house.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Channeling George Jetson

I'm super uptight about looking at my phone while I'm supposed to be doing something else.  I'd never look at it while driving.  Never!  I can just barely look at it while I'm walking.  And "barely" is an exaggeration.  But for some reason today at the gym I absentmindedly stepped onto a treadmill while looking at my phone.  I started the treadmill moving while looking at my phone.  I set the speed to the level that I usually set the incline.  While looking at my phone.

And I almost wiped out like George Jetson...while looking at my phone.

Check!  Lesson learned.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pet Love

We're pretty crazy about our pets.  Not in that spoil-them-rotten kind of way.  No.  In that they are such an integral part of our family that we cannot imagine not sharing all aspects of our lives with them.  Now I knew Dave and I were both this way, but tonight I found out that it's not just us.

Little guy:  "When you guys move away, Hazel's mine."  (Hazel is our HUGE, 85 pounds of love, dog.)

Me:  "I don't think so."

Little guy:  "Yup."

Me:  "But by then she'll be an old lady dog who pees herself."

Little guy:  "She'll be my old lady dog who pees herself."

That's love.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Turns Out I DO Take Work Home with Me

So what happens when my kid knocks a new jar of pesto out of the cupboard?  Well, aside from a huge CRASH!!!, I find out that I do take work home with me.  It's not as bad as it sounds.  I'm actually quite disciplined about not taking my work home with me.  But as we're cleaning up the shardy, basily, olive oily, pine nutty, parmesan cheesy mess, my kid says, "You missed a piece of glass over here...oh, wait, it's just glitter.  Must be from your work."

Yup, sure 'nuf.  While I don't bring paperwork home from my job, I absolutely, positively do bring sparkly bits into the house now and then.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fall Asleep Anywhere, Anytime, in Any Position

I have many memories of my maternal grandfather, and one of them is that he could sleep anywhere.  Anytime.  In any position.


I very clearly remember him standing in a room, leaning against the wall while someone played music on the piano, and he was snoring.  Softly, but snoring nonetheless.

Well, yesterday I released my inner grandpa.  We were at a rocket launch waiting, waiting, waiting for the clouds to clear so we could launch.  It was crazy windy and a bit cold, so my little guy, one of his teammates, and I got in my dad's minivan.  They sat in the bench seat to watch a movie and I sat in one of those canvas chairs folks bring to soccer games and such.  (My dad's van is fairly emptied out to allow room for his wheelchair.)

Anyway, there I sat, eyes getting heavy, and before I knew it, I was seriously asleep.  I didn't know until I jolted awake.

Me:  "Did I snore?"

Little guy:  "No, mom.  You kind of slurped."

Hmmmmmmm...I don't remember my grandpa ever sleep slurping.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Food is Safe

You know how with a lot of families parents go to great amounts of trouble making special meals for their picky children?  Well, our family's not like that at all.  Nope.  Dave and the boys are easy and they'll all eat pretty much the same thing.  I'm the one who's the problem child. 

I'm always eliminating certain things from my diet, deciding I'll only eat this type of thing, and it always has to be prepared in a very particular way.  Oh, and it's a moving target.  They never know what is on my "yes" or "no" list on which day.

But, there's a big perk to this, I tell ya.  My food is totally safe.  Safe from midnight snackers and such, that is.  No one ever eats my leftover veggie sandwich that's covered in jalepeƱos.  No one is the slightest bit tempted by my odd flavors of yogurt.  And no one ever, ever, ever even considers taking a nibble out of my bags of chia, hemp, or acai berries. 

Being weird definitely has its perks.

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