Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolutions...

Resolutions...
It's time for my annual list of things I'd like to get done in the upcoming year.
I predict I'll do at least two of them... Maybe...


1. Reduce the Clutter
 I am a pack rat. I blame genetics and my love for all things inane and trivial.
Despite my recent lodgings transfer and massive downsize, I still seem drawn to the five unneeded Rubbermaid bins I see on clearance at Target, the Japanese sushi eraser 12-pack I saw at the Party Outlet store and the yards of kitschy material on sale at JoAnns. I save these things knowing some day they will be of use. But this year I resolve not to take something, even if it's on super-massive-closeout-clearance-sale, unless I'm going to put it to immediate use. This may translate into more frequent last minute stops to the superstore but will hopefully also cut down on clutter underfoot.


2. Take more pictures
 I'm not gonna lie here, I take a lot of pictures. But I've slacked off recently, and this is unacceptable. Never will my children be this age again. Never will they be so willing to climb into my lap and pose for cheesy pictures again. I will not have this moment back 20 years from now. And so often I'm torn between reveling in the moment and capturing it on film to revel in later... So perhaps this resolution should be not simply Take more Pictures...but Take more Pictures that Count.  I don't need to be a shutterbug, but I don't want to miss the important things.


3.  Dance More
Didn't think it was possible did you? And yet, besides the sort I do in my living room (or Beccah's living room, on the Wii) I don't do a lot of dancing. And no, I don't mean just mindlessly grinding and gyrating on a dark club floor (although that IS fun, don't get me wrong!) I mean dancing. I used to love to go swing dancing and salsa dancing and have even done a titch of ballroom in my former life. I'd like to get back to that again... even if just for an evening or two.


4. Celebrate More
 It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life and forget to celebrate the small things: A lost tooth, an A on a homework assignment, a week where no one had an accident... You get my drift here. I'd like to try and place less emphasis on the hugely commercial holidays that require a ton of legwork and $50 in pre-made storebought decorations; and more emphasis on celebrating in small ways, like a batch of someone's favorite cookies if they have a good day, a dinner out after a promotion (please, god) and the like. Sometimes it's nice to step back from your own life and be thankful for the small little Wins in the every day.


5. Take a Family Portrait

 I have enough friends that are professional-grade photographers that it is absolutely a sin and a crime against nature that I do not have some decent, not taken by myself at arms length, photos of the Munchkins and I. This should probably be moved up to #1 on the list... this one HAS to happen soon...before my kids are too cool to smile for the camera.


6. Go South for the Winter.
 Really this is just a fancy little way for me to say I. WANT. A. VACATION! A real, honest-to-god, lay on the beach, drink during the day, eat seafood fresh out of the ocean, stay in a hotel vacation. It doesn't have to be a long vacation. It doesn't have to be outside of the contiguous 48. But as god as my witness I WILL leave Indiana in 2011 for warmer climes.


7. Get More Crafty.
 I'd like to think I'm already pretty darn crafty, but I tend to pick up side projects here & there and not really focus on any one thing. So, initially for 2011 I'd like to pick A craft a month (crochet, knit, decoupage, embroidery, etc) and really focus in on each one, try & put a little perfection onto it and not get distracted so quickly by my overflowing, ever-growing binder of projects-I'd-like-to-try-and-recreate.


8. Get More Sleep.
 Ha.
Haha.
Hahahhahahaha!
Well, a girl can dream can't she?
 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Mortifying...

So I ran to Kmart on my lunch break because I needed, among other things: milk, donuts & trashbags. And this sort of thing is best done on my lunch hour rather than with three small munchkins in tow.
(this is the least interesting part of my story)
While there I found myself stuck behind a slow-moving human barricade of flannel and fun.

Three men built like WWF wrestlers were shuffling up the aisle in front of me, all of us headed to the check out lanes. There was no way around them, the store being ridiculously busy for noon on a Wednesday.
Two of the three man mountains wore flannel, all three had mullets. It was one of those moments I would have given ANYthing for a camera phone. Several times during the slo-mo-shuffle they stop. for NO apparent reason other than to ogle the 35% off Seasonal decor.

So, finally, after several unsuccessful attempts to alert them to my presence hot on their heels (coughs, ahems and muffled sneezes to no avail) I say:

"Excuse me."
"Excuse me?"
"Excuse me! Sir! Can I slip by you please?"

They all three turn around as one.

SO not a group of men.
So SO SOOOOOOOOO not a group of men.

I was mortified.
I mumbled an apology and very literally turned tail and RAN down the aisle, afraid the three largest women I'd ever seen were going to chase me down and beat me up.

My face still flames hot & embarrassed just thinking about it.
 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Filling a Need

I hate money. Hate it.

I hate the thousand dollars that was just in my checking account before I paid my rent & bills for January, and I hate the $3.97 that is in my checking account from now until next Friday when I get paid again.

I hate feeling helpless in the face of mounting bills and after-school care and daycare tuitions and ever-increasing grocery bills. I hate that I've had to accept charitable donations from a variety of institutions over the past year or two just in order to make ends meet. It leaves a metallic taste in the back of my mouth from biting the inside of my cheek to keep back the protest that I don't need help, that surely there is someone more deserving of aid than our little family. 
And yet, I couldn't be more grateful than I am right now.
I am so incredibly blessed and lucky to have people in my life that recognize both my level of need and my level of inherent stubbornness and determination to prove myself, and people who have found a way to overcome both. I've learned that accepting charity, when necessary, is best done with a quiet smile and a sincere thank you. Any more effusive and you embarrass both yourself and the giver. Too many protestations and, again, you embarrass both yourself and the giver.

It does make me wonder, though, if history's greatest philanthropists were, at one point in their lives, scratch-in-the-dirt poor. I like to think of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies of the world as stubborn independent people just trying to make ends meet in their early years; determined that, when they made it big they'd pay everyone back ten-fold.
It's what I intend at least. Everytime I accept a hand up, it's with a silent promise to myself that one day I will ensure that I will be in such a position to pay each and every accepted kindness forward with interest. That when I have passed the point in my life where I am unable to stand on my own, the strength of each of those helping hands and the foundation they helped to build will granted me the wisdom to see need in others and fill it, even if they are at first too stubborn to see that need for themselves.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Optimal Conditions

Most people fail due to an undecided heart.
Should I? Shouldn't I? Go back? Go forward?
 
When confronted with a challenge the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart just searches for an escape. A committed heart does not wait for conditions to be exactly right. Why? Because conditions are never
exactly right.
 
You know, it's funny. In the past I created relationships and friendships based on potential. I saw something, some kernel of possibility in what that person could be. And, ultimately, was always disappointed that what I glimpsed never really became reality.
 
And now that I've stopped doing that, stopped basing relationships and such on a possibility, of happiness, of success, of whatever; but rather on the presence of goodness in others? I'm never disappointed. Life, I suppose, is simpler when you deal with what's there instead of with what you desperately want to be there.
 


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Janitors and Alleycats...


a nice little tune to get you through a few minutes on the Eve of Christmas Eve...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes.

Everything about this photo makes me happy.



And this is TOTALLY going to be my tree next year:


Monday, December 20, 2010

Train Wreck

Sometimes a song can pull you back to a single moment.

It can suck you in in an instant, in the first few bars, in the first strains of violin.

And I remember an afternoon, years and years ago; sitting on the creaky hardwoods in the kitchen, cold air seeping through under the back door. And I count myself so lucky to be there for the beginning of a process.

Monday, December 13, 2010

roots


I live for family dinners.

And it's not so much even the dinner as the fire up beforehand and the huddling together, stork-legged and hunched over coffee afterward.


The dinners where all the siblings fly in, drive in, walk over, and crowd around the tiny bar in the kitchen instead of spreading throughout the house as we ought.

The ones where Frankie & Deano are playing in the background on Pop's iPod and everyone is shouting and gesturing wildly and the kids are tearing through the house like I poured sugar into their veins before we left the house. The evenings where we empty multiple growlers from Sun King and line up the bottles of wine like little tin soldiers on the counters.


The ones where I laugh so hard my cheekbones hurt.
The ones I don't want to end.

Jane was in from Vermont for the weekend (sans Matt who couldn't get away from work). Tony and Kelly drove down from the Northside. Vinny and Jackie rolled in. Mimi and Aunt B drove over from Ohio. The kids condescended to wear tights and ties and button downs and sweater vests. Mom made reservations. Pops put out crackers and cheese and started opening bottles. The house smelled like Christmas. And, as I unfocused my eyes and let the bokeh on the tree take effect, I could feel it all roll over me in waves: The smell of the coffee brewing, the soft warmth of the wine as it slid down, the way everyone's laughter all melted together. It was my childhood and my adulthood all rolled into one. It was home.

And all through the fire up, and full on Italian dinner out, and subsequent coffee and presents Saturday I soaked it up.


And all through mass Sunday morning, the smell of incense and Latin murmur of the congregation as sharp a reminder of childhood and home as almost any other that weekend, I soaked it up. A sidelong glance down the pew revealing a perfect line of legs and laps and clasped hands.


I didn't even pull out the camera [much] this weekend. I just wanted to hold on to every minute that everyone was together, in one place, for those few days.

We did manage to take some phenomenal group shots Saturday somewhere between the wine and dinner...which I still need to snag from Mom's camera. We pulled out the tripod and set the timer and have the pre-requisite half-shots and nearly-ready-shots and eyes-closed-shots. And the mishaps are glorious. And perhaps better than the finished product because it catches so many of us in our classic poses. 


[practice shot - take five - several of us are behind the camera on this one...


It's weekends like these, the ones that are too few and far between, that sustain me when we're all apart.

It's weekends like these that make up for infrequent phone calls and letters and visits.

It's weekends like these that remind me how lucky I am.




Seriously. How awesome is this?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Losing a little piece of myself?

And sometimes...in the middle of the night...I can't sleep for want of your arm thrown over me, or the hotter-than-the-sun waves from your skin seeping over into my side of the bed. What IS that? When did I lose a little of the love of an empty bed? I used to revel in my ability to do snow angels in my sheets. I'd roll over twice just because I could. And now, the neon green of my clock numbers scowl at me in those early dawn hours when I should be curling into your warmth. My fingers itch to trace whorls on your shoulder blades without waking you up...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

little tree


We brought the Christmas decorations out last night.
Giant tubs full of lights and carefully wrapped ornaments in yellowing parchment paper.
the nativity set passed down and the manger scene.

Bing Crosby echoed through our new little apartment.
And I dropped peppermints into everyone's hot chocolate.
And White Christmas played in a loop on the tv... Twice through before we were almost done.
Ohhhhh Bing...Ohhhh Rosemary Clooney.
It's my quintessential Christmas movie. Well, that and the Bells of St. Mary. Well, okay, and A Christmas Story - but only that on C
hristmas Eve - and then for a 24 loop on Channel 6 usually...

It was a fucking Hallmark moment.
Until we realized something very important.
When calling to transfer utilities into my name earlier that day, somehow the Water Dept. missed a step... and my water was shut off not simply transferred into my name as I'd requested. Meaning the toilets wouldn't flush. Meaning the dump the size of lower Manhattan that my son had just left in the bowl would need to be scooped out & thrown in the dumpster lest the entire apartment go from smelling like Christmas to smelling like poop.

I'm sure there's a lovely life parallel to be drawn here...
Something about Christmas and poop and taking care of your business...
But for the life of me I can't quite think of what it should be.



Monday, December 6, 2010

Ohhhh, Nietzsche...

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
~Friedrich Nietzsche



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wake Up!

Sometimes music is just the thing.
Strike that.
Music is always the thing.

Especially this.
Especially this morning.
It's John Legend covering Arcade Fire.
*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*

Hear John Legend & The Roots cover Arcade Fire Here:



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

polka dot robot


Do. Want.
How awesome is this Monster Hoodie?
In fact, I love everything about this site.
These little bits of gorgeous fall firmly under the category of:
Hey!-I-could-make-that-oh-shit-I-can't-make-this-What-was-I-thinking?-Thank-god-I-can-just-order-this.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

itty bitty playlist

an itty bitty playlist
just for you
because it's what I'm listening to today...
for now.




*Get in the Car* may just be my new obsession...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank You Notes

Thank you Notes.
Because my mother raised me to write them and send them.
But, times being what they are, I don't often get around to writing thank you notes.
Nor do I, when it comes right down to it, remember to say thank you for the day-to-day kindnesses that are the hallmark of this little holiday I enjoy so much.
And so, in honor of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce everywhere, here are the who and what I'm thankful for this year:

To My Family of Origin~
You make me crazy.
This is a good thing, don't worry. I prefer crazy over normal any day. I learned early on, however, that stories of our...er...unique childhood adventures (cough::cough::christmas program::cough::cough) were best saved for holiday reminiscing than pulling out in public over drinks. Without your support over the past few years I don't know where I'd be. Family first. Always.

To My Girls~
If I could choose my family. It would be you.
So deeply ingrained in the fabric of my life; I can't imagine it without you. You are the rocks I break myself against time and time again. You are my support and my home. You are my first line of defense against the insanity in this world. And without our weekly emails, dinners, desserts, pitch-ins, Saturday adventures, V-day boycotts, day trips, brunches, pizza parties, etc. I would surely be a puddle of goo on the floor long long ago.

S~
Thank you for your steadfastness. I stand in awe, daily, at your strength and innate calm in the face of challenges. You have always been a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, arms to hug (and to deliver Flying Cupcakes with!). You are my small harbor in the face of a storm. I don't know what I'd do without you.

K~
Thank you for your laughter. I know that at any minute of any day, I can dial your number and be smiling within seconds. You have a unique viewpoint on life and constantly offer reassurance that things are never so dire as they might, at first, seem. You attack your job with a passion that puts mine to shame. You love and protect with a ferocity that I would never want to cross.

J~
Thank you for your smile. Nothing in this world can ever be so bad if you are around. You are one of my earliest childhood memories. You are a princess. You always saw the world for what it could be, for the good innate to it. You have always brought out the best in those around you, and it is what so draws people to you, for just a glimpse at what they could be...I like myself when I am around you.

B~
Miles and miles separate us these days, but it doesn't seem to matter. You were always the friend that, no matter the distance or time separating us, we could always pick right back up where we left off. Your enthusiasm for life and capacity to love have always humbled me. You have so much to give, and I am thankful both that I am on the receiving end of that, and that you remain so much in my life, even from Florida.

To The Munchkins~
I love you. Momma would, occasionally like to see the back of the bathroom door, or take a longer-than-5-minute shower before the small coup in the living room turns into all-out war. But overall you're good kids. You are, in point of fact, the best thing I've ever done.

Isabelle~
Your intelligence awes me. I forget sometimes that you are just a six-year-old. Your eyes hold the light of wisdom far beyond your years. And, while your mouth has recently caught up to this imagined age, I realize that your confidence in speaking your mind is what I want for you when you are 16, 21, 30, and yes, even six. I promise that if, in the future and the impending teenage years (because I know, sweet jesus I know they are coming) I seem harsh it is because I see in you a well of potential waiting to be tapped. And I want so many good things for you. So many.

Sebastian~
Your creativity stuns me daily. Whether you're painting, drawing, coloring, staging multi-toy-genre-battles in the living room or cooking up some scheme to get both your sisters in trouble, while looking like a perfect angel on the surface; you keep me on my toes. You are fiercely loyal to your sisters, and I have secretly witnessed your defense of them to others on more than one occasion. I could not ask for a better man of the house.

Sophia~
Your confidence....hm...yes...let's call it confidence, is astounding. At three you are ready to take on the world, and I want even a fraction of your bravery to carry over into my day-to-day. You are fearless. You are fiery. Some days I want to be three-years-old again just so you can by my best friend and we can have adventures.

D~
You are often my source of confidence and encouragement whether you know it or not. Your strength and honesty and innate goodness, no matter how much of an asshole you'd like to act on occasion, inspires hope in me that not all men are as horrible as I at one point thought. You are quietly kind and awkwardly supportive when I am a mess; which is often, much to my general chagrin. You love your son with a ferocity that dims everything else before it. You are protective of your friends and family in a way that I can only hope to imitate. You are generous to a fault. . You ground me. Your friendship and presence in my life this past year cannot be summed up in one paragraph, so I won't attempt it. But you are lazy Sunday mornings and breakfast sandwiches and comfort personified. You make my heart race, and you feel like home.

That burst of creativity that inevitably follows a week of insomnia~
I simultaneously give thanks for, and loathe you from my very core. I would not be so productive without you, but often I wish creativity could follow swiftly on the heels of a good nap instead.

Where or where would I be without you? You were this shining beacon of societal acceptance that arrived on the scene just when I thought I might go mad. You allowed my to be myself when I desperately needed to be. You offered a glimpse of family. A dysfunctional, pass the gravy and guilt-trip at Thanksgiving sort of family...but a family nonetheless. And I wouldn't have it any other way. You fill a niche that no one else can in this city. You are a social networking site that is truly social. You allow me to foster new friendships and build on old ones. You allow me to try my hand at charity and sports and art and music. You give and give and so often I forget to say thank you. So, Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. The friendships that I have won through you are some of my most treasured. IndyMojo is home to artists, athletes, writers, students, professionals, hippies and right-wingers, movie lovers and musicians. It has something for everyone. To each and every one of you that call IndyMojo a part of your life in some way, shape, or form, thank you too. You make the site what it is today, a living, breathing thing capable of bringing joy into someone's life. Please don't lose sight of that.

Naps~
I miss you. I am thankful for the once- or twice-a-month occasions we get to visit... We should do that again more often. Please?

Gez~
Absence, heart, fonder, etc. Thank you for being there even when neither of us can really be there at all lately. True friends are rare. And I am grateful to have you in my life for these past years. I expect this presence to continue on indefinitely, just so you know. You are an amazing father. You are a talented writer. You are a good friend. You do not, in my opinion, give yourself enough credit for the good you do.

B & A~
Falling right on the fence between new friend and friendcrush you both personify the best of the best. The creme de la creme if you will. They say that you surround yourself with those people who you respect and who you would like to imitate in life. Nowhere is this more true than with you two of late. B: I am constantly awed by your creativity and strength. I have been where you are, and it can be a terrifying place. You seem to come through every day with grace, a smile, and a better cocktail recipe than me. A: You never fail to make me smile. Your friendships speak volumes about your character, and the hordes of people lucky enough to count you as a friend speak for themselves. You bring a sparkle (pun totes intended) to the lives of those around you. And you exhibit the outward (if not always inner, much to my consternation) confidence that is the mark of a true beauty. I am grateful for our burgeoning friendships. More than I may let on...

Pie~
You are warm. You are gooey. You are perfection in ready-slice portions. I love your pumpkin, creme, chocolate, merangue, banana, cherry... I love you with ice cream. I love you with whipped cream. I love you with a slice of warmed over sharp cheddar when you are apple.



Sometimes, I hover, unsure of myself




What a great tune. Love the Temper Trap. Love them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Screwed

Everyone have a good sophmoric little chuckle over that title?
I sure did.

However, It's true.

By my count there are only 38 days until Christmas.

eep!

And my intention WAS, nay, STILL IS! to craft at least 75% of my gifts this year.
I've been planning for nearly a month now, and even have a few items (which I obviously cannot post up about yet, lest the gift recipient spy said post & ruin the surprise) completed.

However. With "The Big Move" looming closer, my late night crafting hours have been impinged on by late night packing hours.
I'm no more rested or closer to finished gifts than I was two and a half weeks ago!
Argh!

And, because as much as I'd dearly love to include the following in my gift giving repertoire this year, these projects are going back into the hopper for future efforts.

Oh, they'll get made. Just not before we wave a hearty farewell to 2010.
Enjoy these linkity-links as my little early present to you.
And, if you're feeling stitchy, there's links to all the tutes below each picture.
You're welcome!



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dibs


So...I'm cleaning out ye olde inbox at work today and came across the following from my friend Mark. I believe it came about originally in response to my calling "dibs" on something over lunch. Which then jump started a conversation in which Mark may or may not have divulged that he & his friends play "dibs" when they go out.
Dibs.
This sort of stuff needs to be shared. It's awesomeness in its purest form.
Rules for Dibs
1. If you call more than 10 dibs in a single venue in one night you become obligated to talk to one of them. If you leave and comeback to the same venue on the same night they still count.

2. If they are later found to be smoking and you don't like smokers it can be an annulment of the dib by your choice. Option of.

3. No MASS dibs, 1 or 2 max and you have to see them.

4. Limited time dibs, properly called with a reasonable view or within moments.  You don’t get all night to decide.  

5. No annulment of a dib without the reason stated in #2

6. If the said dib turns out to be a tranny, you will forever be banned from the game of dibs for giving it a bad name.

7. You can trade dibs if both parties agree on the trade, otherwise you have to stick to your dib unless rule #2 applies.

8. It is recommended to carry a brown paper bag or have one on hand that at least fits over your head incase a mishap on dib #10 in which it turns out to be a bad call.

9. If a girl calls dibs on you, it becomes one of your dibs, only counts towards your 10 if you are approached by her.

10. If you exchange numbers or she steals the number out of your phone with a said dibs, she becomes yours no matter what due to being able to contact that person at all times.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tainted Love

Did you ever notice how it can be painful to see a couple look at each other?

When it's so obvious that they've transcended that 'we just fell in love' stage but have not yet gotten to that 'i look at you every day but couldn't really describe what you look like anymore' plateau? When they still seem enthralled with each other?

It's uncomfortable, but I can't look away. How can I simultaneously be so entranced and yet so terrified of something?

Want to feel that catholic-school-scapula warm & fuzzy too?

Check out this video:

Postcards From Italy from ForYouLoveMe on Vimeo.

and for that matter this entire site:
http://foryouloveme.com/

inspiration creeps along

When I was in college I took a handful of poetry workshop classes my freshman and sophomore year. My junior year I was neck to nuts buried in my journalism classes, and that creative outlet trickled into some arts & ethics classes in the J-School. But there was always something about those poetry workshops that drew me...and so my senior year I waitlisted a few more, but never got back in.

The prof that shepherded these workshops was brilliant. He was old and white haired and mustachioed, and he wore old cableknit fishermen's sweaters with patches on the shoulders and elbows. And he was too tall and angular, but not bent. Not yet. And so he towered over us. And his voice...and the cadence of it...was hypnotic.
I forget from time to time that poetry is meant to be read aloud. That if you don't read your own work aloud from time to time, it winds up lacking.

Take the following poem for example:
It's "The Hurt Locker" by Brian Turner.

Turner's poetry is mostly military in nature... and this one actually had a hand in inspiring the recent-ish movie of the same name.

Read the poem quietly to yourself.

Not bad, right?

Now listen to it via this link: From the Fishouse

Note the catches in Turners voice. The rumble. The cadence.

Suddenly this poem has life and grit.

And this one poem that I stumbled upon via a brief mention in a NYTimes.com article... This one poem that was written years ago by someone I never met and will never meet... It makes me want to write.

Sometimes inspiration comes in the smallest and oddest corners of life.

When you're least expecting it.

*edit* I found him! The poetry prof - he still teaches down at IU's English Dept. [insert deep-seated sigh of relief here]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monkey gets a Haircut




So The Monkey has been telling me she wanted her hair cut for months now... and I'd successfully put it off as long as humanly possible because I was completely and totally in love with her Rapunzel locks. But she'd reached the end of her patience. And so yesterday her dad took her to get it all cut off.

:(






She looks so old!
But it IS pretty cute.


(Before)



(After)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

coffee vs. you... an epic battle










Crazy Tights

There's just something about knee-high suede boots, bright yellow tights, a muted floral skirt & a purple sweater on a random Wednesday morning that brings a smile to my face.



or maybe that was just the other warm body in bed with me when I woke up...







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