Monday, August 31, 2009
Two and half months have gone by since leaving Evanston.
More than two and a half months have transpired since I've submitted any posts to Blissfully Domestic.
Two and half months have passed since I've given any real thought to dipping into the writing pool again.
That is, until tonight, when I voiced to a friend of mine that I desire a weekly deadline. A paid weekly deadline. Nothing journalistic. I wouldn't know where to begin. More like a column. An "I'm Just Sayin' . . ." sort of gig.
Something that lightens the mood of our nation. Something that affords those with nothing to laugh about, something to laugh about.
I give them full permission to laugh at me.
I'm feeling a bit itchy. However, I have no plan for how to alleviate this itch. No quick ointment to aid in my recovery. Maybe God wants me to feel this itch to the point of extreme irritation so that I won't easily give up the fight of finding a writing gig.
I have a few contacts.
Time to start scratching.
Friday, August 28, 2009
When discussing art we tend to be very subjective. I mean, really, either you like the work. Or you don't.
One person's take on what makes a masterpiece is different from another person's impression.
It comes down to opinion, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, we allow pieces we don't like to cloud our overall perception of the artist.
Where am I going here?
Warhol's "Oxidation" series.
So, I really wanted to take the children to the Warhol. Harper had a blast recreating one of his Campbell Soup Cans last year in art class, and since she is familiar with the artist, and since I really want to give them a broad understanding that everyone creates differently, we decided to hop downtown to the Warhol.
Now, prior to going, I had already heard a variety of comments from folks ranging from, "I don't like that place." to "My kids spent 30 minutes in the Silver Cloud room." Complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
And I respect differing opinions of what does and what doesn't constitute art. Like I said, it is a subjective medium.
While walking the museum, and, yes, quickly u-turning on the balls of my feet while scooting the children around and out of certain galleries not meant for young eyes, I realized something new.
Art is one way of revealing how God wires all of us uniquely from one another.
I was taught early on in my parenting journey never to ask, "What are you drawing?" while watching Harper doodle. Instead, I have always used the phrase, "Tell me about that." See, for people like me, who are wildly opinionated, asking my child what they are drawing leaves too much temptation for me to actually answer the question for them by interjecting WHAT it is I think they are drawing. For Zane especially, something that may resemble a sun, might really be a prickly-super-alien-monster from the planet of Juehtlsteirnwe. So why ruin that interpretation by telling him I like his "sun"?
But, you didn't come here to read all that. You want me to get to the good stuff.
The piss paintings.
Just hold it (ha), will ya, I'm not ready yet.
The children enjoyed the silkscreens of Elvis (Zane even sat down and sketched one out, and now, apparently wants to be a cowboy), Michael Jackson (during his better days in life), and I loved seeing and hearing Judy Garland. It was cool to show Harper photos of Blondie and Joan Jett, as she knows their music. Warhol's interest in taxidermy didn't go unnoticed by my lion loving son who reveled in seeing the stuffed beast above his head in a stairwell. Psychedelic lights were fun to hop and and "catch".
And the Silver Cloud room? A hit. Confession. I stepped out of the camera range in order to take a few photo's of the kids playing in this room. Flash off. I'm not dummy. Zane, especially fell in love with this room, exclaiming, "I am marrying a cloud", as a he waltzed around to room leading a huge silver Mylar balloon around the dance floor. Harper practiced The Force on a few balloons by magically lifting them into the air by merely holding up her hand to guide the balloon (without touching it) to the ceiling.
We found the Soup Can's. And skulls. And Mick Jagger in drag.
And piss paintings.
Upon coming to a piece from his Oxidation series, I asked the kids to guess how they thought he got the effect he did. Harper thought he threw paint. It was kind of Jackson Pollock'y in nature.
Well, in a metallic copper paint and urine type of way.
I explained the true process and got the expected giggles, and "gross" and "eww's" - you know, the responses you'd expect to hear from kids when you tell them that an artist, and his assistant's, peed on the painting.
They asked why, and I simply shared that he wanted to see the effect of the urine and the paint mixed together. Seriously, what else was I going to say. Just hoping Zane wasn't secretly intrigued by the process.
I didn't interject whether I thought it was odd. Or wrong. Or "crazy". I didn't interject my opinion at all, which is difficult for me. Had I done so, I would have been leaving them with my impression of Andy Warhol, stunting their ability to arrive at their own opinion of his work.
Harper read a book about Warhol all the way home. I am very excited over this series of books, and have already purchased three more about Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, and Jackson Pollock, for Christmas.
Funniest quote of the outing came from Harper while lunching in the cafe where they were selling delicious looking cupcakes. Each cupcake had a special name. One style, of which there were several, was called the "Elvis".
"Mom, if Elvis was so famous, why isn't his cupcake selling?"
Laughed so hard I almost peed.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
"You want a taste of my medicine?!"
During a raucous game of chase this afternoon, I heard Harper hurl this threat at one of our neighbor's boys as they ran around outside. Translation of said phrase? Somewhere along the lines of, "You wanna piece of me?"
Not to worry. It was all in fun.
It was just one of the interesting phrases I have heard out of her mouth over the summer. Couple that with some interesting mistakes that Zane has made with speech (and a few surprise phrases), and you have yourself a new post.
Let's start in the food court.
After getting our plate of General Tso's chicken and noodles, Harper and I sat down to dine in the beauty that is a food court.
At one point, some lone noodles slipped from the plate on to the tray. Harper went to scoop them up and eat them off the tray, when I abruptly stopped her.
"What, Mom? Don't you think they clean their trays? You have something against the Asians?"
WHAT????????!!!!!!!!!!! Really. WHAT??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Um, no, Harper. I do have something against eating directly off of a tray on which food is served by every single vendor here and thus touched by massive amounts of people throughout the day. It has nothing to do with Asians, but rather, humans in general. Just stick to your plate."
And at the recent Car Cruise in town a few week back, Harper picked up the phrase,
"That is one sweet ride!"
A mother just loves when her daughter is enamoured by hot rods and muscle cars. In her defense she likes the vintage cars as well . . . but still . . . sweet rides? Causes me to shiver a little.
And, Zane? Well, his statements are bit less controversial, but no less surprising.
"Mom, thank you so much that you let me do chores."
See, Zane has taken a HUGE liking for our new Dirt Devil Scorpion Stick. A very low-end, lightweight cordless vac that has finally solved my pet hair issues on the hard wood and tile floors in our house. Zane, loves to clean the kitchen floor, and can do so with this vac since it barely weighs anything. He can also remove it from the stick for hand-held cleaning, and knows how to replace the cord in the charger. In fact, cleaning the kitchen floor is now his daily chore. Harper gets the entryway (which angers Zane, because he wants complete control over the Scorpion).
During Taco night this week (which has become a staple in this house, as it guarantee's that our children will eat meat, cheese, and veggie's all in one delicious pocket of crunch), Zane would only accept "his" cheese.
"I don't like Harper's cheese. I only eat battalion cheese."
In case you can't follow, "battalion" cheese is not cheese served in the military, but rather, Italian cheese. And Harper's cheese to which Zane was referring? Colby Jack. Always and forever. Colby Jack.
It's interesting to me that he can mix up such an easy word, when after a trip to the ER due to some labored breathing (which turned out the be a touch of pneumonia), he was able to explain, in detail, everything that the MD's did to help him feel better, even down to demonstrating a gadget that they attached to his finger.
"And this? This measures the amount of oxygen in my blood."
But, the best and MOST surprising phrases coming out of my kids mouths recently are prayers. Always a bit nervous about praying out loud, my children have finally begun expressing their needs to God audibly. We are all for "talking to God with my mind", as they put it, but during family devotion time we've been focusing on helping them pray audibly for another family member, explaining how encouraging it is for us to hear their prayers.
Now, Harper couldn't contain her emotion enough to pray audibly for Zane last night as he left for the hospital - her worry erupted in tears. However, she did get on email right away to contact some people about praying for him. Both are learning, and seeing, and experiencing, the joy that is the immediacy of prayer.
And then there's all the:
"Mom, you are so beautiful."
"I just love being with my parents."
Etc. All the stuff that I'm sure you don't want to hear. ;-)
Never a dull word spoken in this house.
Oh, and on a completely unrelated note? Zane, four years old, now wears a size 11 shoe. Harper? Age eight? A 12 1/2.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
No, I didn't forget my supply of reusable shopping bags.
No, I didn't forget my list.
What I had forgotten was much more dire, as had I forgotten my bags, I knew I could pick up some empty boxes in the store in which to pack my groceries. And my noggin had a fairly good idea as to what I needed, so I would have been fine without a list.
However, forget your quarter on a visit to Aldi, and you are toast.
Yeah, I forgot my quarter.
I needed to do a huge shopping, and without the quarter, I wouldn't be able to get a cart. I really don't need to explain this to those of you who shop at Aldi. Quite simply: no quarter, no cart. Unless you gain the sympathy of a shopper unloading their bags of groceries into their car by explaining that you forgot your quarter, thus inspiring them to sacrifice their quarter by graciously handing over their cart, there is no shopping to be done.
I just wasn't up for pulling out the tin can tonight and singing songs by the entrance in order to earn my precious cart.
Decided to hit Target instead. Just for a few staples.
While in the Target shoe department (yes, I got sidetracked after stocking up on discounted cans of tomatoes), I heard a little girl wailing. Wailing. Not crying. Not sobbing.
"MOOOOMMMMM! MOOOMMMMMM! MOM!!!!!!!!!! Why do I always have to get my clothes from Good Will and she gets to shop at Target!!!???"
She was mad. Her sister (I assumed) was quite gleeful about the new shoes she was getting.
It made me think.
When will my kids come to realize that what we call the "treasure store" is actually a second hand store? Will this scenario happen to me one day when my daughter, aghast, realizes that she's been wearing previously worn (hey, if this verbage works for car dealerships, it can work here) Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts? Will she ever care, as this girl so, um, passionately did? Just a few days ago, I took Harper on an outing to Good Will, as she really wanted a sporty purse to hold her wallet. We walked away with a Ralph Lauren Polo bag for 3.99.
Will there come a time when this will bother her?
This is what I do while shopping.
So, then, in the clothing department (after I had picked up some Asian noodle dishes for the kids that had been marked down - see, I did get some groceries), I found an amazing black dress for $6.24. Seriously.
Only, I couldn't figure out how to put it on.
No, really, I tried three times to put the dress on, but couldn't quite make sense of the layers and straps and the zipper and the sash . . . sounds complicated, right? It was. I've been dressing myself for years and don't usually get so tripped up in this area. However, this joker of a dress completely humiliated my intelligence. It was like an Ikea project gone awry.
It looked great on the hanger.
What can I learn from my adventure tonight?
1. Keep an "Aldi" quarter in the car at all times.
2. Keep working the "magic" that is our "treasure store" and pray that my child grows up to learn the value of second hand and consignment shopping. Which reminds me that there is a new, designer, consignment boutique opening on 3rd street in September. I'm psyched. Maybe I'll offer to work there a bit.
3. Avoid dresses that require instructions.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
In the time it takes for a week to go by, Zane went from being completely and utterly terrified of getting any part of his entire face or head wet in the pool, to being a water kid - jumping in from the side of pool (far enough out to result in his body going completely under) and racing back to the side, crawling out, and jumping again. And again. And again.
There was no water being had near his eyes. Or on his face. Or even on his head. We even taught him how to take a shower, in hopes of helping him get comfortable with getting his head wet.
No dice. Only baths, baby.
Last Sunday, I put his bubble on, and we "swam" all around the pool. For hours. When he was comfortable, I asked him to get out and jump to me. He wanted me closer, so I obliged and positioned myself closer to the edge. And then he jumped.
And I kind of sorta moved back.
He landed in the water. Under the water.
I grabbed him, didn't really make a big deal and just went on playing the "Come back" game that we had created.
I didn't give him time to react. Just said something like, "Hey, you went under. Nice job." Then I taught him how to spit water out of his mouth. Spitting is always fun with boys, isn't it? He would take water in his mouth and try and spray me. Yes, I told him that this game probably wouldn't be appreciated by some, but for now, it was more important that he learn to expel the water, and thus, spitting, worked to our advantage. Spitting: both fun and a good learning tool!
At the next swim lesson he was all over showing his instructor how he could go under. And, yes, he spit water at her.
Her reaction was one of surprise. Positive surprise. To both actions.
Zane responded with, "My mom is going to celebrate me today!"
Dude, I celebrate you everyday. Even on the days when I could punch a wall (only ours are plaster, so I could break my hand, and my nails are looking fabulous these days, so I'll refrain).
"I am so proud of myself" has become a common statement out of your mouth. As it should be. Little man, your courage and bravery come from the Lord, as He did not give us a spirit of timidity. You have mentioned that God helps you.
Even in the pool.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Take Sunday. Zane has taken a liking to classical music. No big deal. He has always enjoyed the sounds of classical music. I've not played it for him as often as I would like, only because all my classical music is on cd's and I don't have a cd player anywhere in the house, or in the car. I just need to take the time to upload them to Itunes. But really, having a kid enjoy classical music really isn't a "WOW". Seriously, parents, just because your kid finds Mozart fascinating does not a music genus make. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I would say that having your kids bite your head off for changing the station during Renaissance Madrigal music is a tad bit surprising.
So, we're driving to church and I have on the classical station and the kids are listening and are stone quiet. Zane keeps asking "is this one my favorite one?" (referring to a piece he had heard the day before) and whether we can pause it until after church. A piece ends.
Madrigal music begins.
I assume that my kids may not enjoy it and switch the station.
"MOM! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! TURN IT BACK!"
Both of them gang up on me, yelling for me to return to the station with, as Zane puts it, "the music that they are singing to God."
I'm thinking they would like Taize worship.
The alien abduction of my children continued through dinner as we dined on Tilapia, whole grain brown rice, and steamed green beans.
Again, not really so "WOW" unless you possess the background information that Zane is Mr. Seriously Picky, and yet, on this particular Sunday, he and Harper actually argued over who got more fish on their plate. More FISH.
I'm keeping my eye out for pods.
How have your children suprised you today?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I mean, really, what is the most important element of a huge move?
Finding the grocery store? Getting bank accounts set up? Switching one's license from one state to another? Registering children for school? Trying not to get lost? Getting quoted on the front page of the local newspaper?
All worthy answers, and yet, they don't quite take the cake. I should know, 'cause remember, I'm a "cake-eater". (Funny, since this "cake-eater" can actually only afford the likes of Little Debbie. Shh. You know you love her too.)
No, the most important part of adapting to a huge move and a new community is to actually get to know the new community.
Thankfully, I now live in a town where seldom will someone pass my house and not wave or stop and introduce themselves while I sit on the front porch.
While running, I have perfected several types of acknowledgements towards other runners and walkers: the verbal "good morning" at the top of the run when I'm not winded, and the non-verbal "I'm waving to you but can't speak right now" gesture when I'm just about out of wind. I am very careful not to spit until I pass people. I think that's just downright polite.
George and I have learned over the last year that life is about relationships. At the end of the day, when the bills keep a'comin', or the kids are completely ornery, the laundry has once again piled up, and the black dog hair coating my floors is so thick that it could actually pass for a shag carpet (eww), what do we have left?
People. Relationships. Social interaction.
Enter one of my new friends here in Beaver who made it her mission to get me connected months before I even moved here. Her name may be Riki, but since I'm not mentioning names, I can't be too sure.
I think it was my first week here when she invited me to join a Book Club here in Beaver. I did not hesitate and actually thought to myself, "Why have I, of all people, never had the time for a consistent book club?" I was a part of one a few year's back, but then, as is the case with so many people, the chaos of life took over and the book club fizzled out.
I'm telling you, even though I may sound wildly opinionated about this, moving has been essential to helping me shift my daily focus off the "important" chaos of "schedule" and "stuff" in order to reroute my energy towards people and relationships. I honestly believe, and you can fight me on this (not with fists - I'm not cruisin' for any bruisin' on this Mary Kay face), that some chaos, (yes, I relented and said "some") is chosen. In many cases, I think we initiate the chaotic busyness that we often complain about. Don't disagree so quickly. Chew on it for a bit.
This is why Book Club was such a delight. Appetizer's, dinner, Sangria. Sangria. Sangria. Oops. Sorry. Dessert. I felt spoiled and welcome. The women were (are) friendly, engaging, interested in what the new chick from Chicago had to say, and warm. The evening was relaxing and comfortable and the hostess created the perfect atmosphere for a Mom's Night Out.
And THIS is what I'm talking about! People need people - sure it sounds like the title to a Steisand tune, and it is, but it's true: People need people. Women need fellowship. It's one of the reasons that I enjoy my Mary Kay business so much - once you convince a Mom that it is OK to leave their children with their spouse (for they are quite capable) and allow oneself a night out with friends, a "letdown", (excuse the nursing reference, but I recall the "letdown" as feeling curiously drug-like), occurs, and the woman returns home with a full bucket.
Said bucket is now full.
Thanks for welcoming me to your neighborhood.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
There are plenty of ways to draw attention to oneself.
Perhaps it was my "Reading is Sexy" t-shirt a la Rory Gilmore. (40th birthday present extraordinaire from Melody - big cyber hug)
Or maybe it was the way I was cheering on my son during his swim lesson. So determined I was to prove to Zane that putting his face in the water wouldn't kill him, that I sprung for private lessons and then out of my seat while clapping wildly like a seal when he actually did stick his face in the water. For a millisecond.
Then again, it could have been that I was the only one sitting on the bleachers at the pool on that brisk day when the reporter walked up.
Well, folks, the rest is history.
The first I heard of it was in church when someone said, "You made the front page of the Beaver Times!"
And then, there was the crowding, the photographers, the massive swirl of people closing in on me. I couldn't breathe - where was my car?! Someone get the car! And the children. Save the children!
Ok, I'm dreaming.
I did indeed get interviewed about the lack of warm weather that has hindered our summer visits to the local pool. The article began with my name, mentioned George as being the new Associate Pastor at Four Mile, shared that Zane was swimming "under the watchful eye of an instructor", and that the pool was a place where I had figured both my kids, including Harper, 8, could meet other kids. That is, if it were actually warm enough to swim.
This was a top story.
I live in a small town.
Everyone I know, which, granted, isn't a ton of people, saw the article, commented on the article, and remarked how funny it was that of all the people interviewed it was the new family from Chicago, here just shy of 2 months, who got plucked out of obscurity and thrust into the limelight that is the local news.
No really, it was quite humorous today and everyone got a kick out of it - although my hand is sure to fall off from all the papers I signed.
Oh, how I wished I had managed to mention Mary Kay during the interview. I'm sure she liked to swim.
You can read the top news story here!