Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leftovers ... Part 1

So I am suppose to be creative here on this blog ... and it obviously hasn't been happening. It's not at all that I haven't been thinking about being creative here, it's that the process of photography--transferring photos to computer--organizing digital files--uploading photos sometimes isn't so fascinating to me when I'm doing the more mundane tasks of life. Like ... feeding my children. You know:)

Anyway, I HAVE been thinking of you, and in the spirit of not letting anything go to waste, I'm going to pick a couple of projects that I've done and share them here ... as outdated as they might be now that the holidays have passed.

I'd make a resolution to be better about staying on top of this stuff, but I'm way too honest to do so.

So. Without further ado, here is the project I did for The Elephant's class. It was really and truly a Halloween goody bag, but you know how pathetic the public education system has become about such things, so I had to disguise my true nefarious purpose as more of a celebrate-the-harvest-type thing (because you know we're all out harvesting ... um ... something). But don't worry. There were caramel and chocolate, foil-wrapped body parts in these bags.

Cleverly Disguised Halloween Goody Bags

Step 1.

Supplies: brown paper bags; raffia; nifty fun fabric of your liking; realistic-looking leaves (or, better yet, real ones. Unfortunately, we ... or rather, I, ... had waited too long and the real stuff outside was too authentically rotten to use). And don't forget the treats to stuff inside.

This is a photo of a brown paper bag. See? Artistic, isn't it?

Step 2.

Stuff bag, then fold as needed to fit your goodies inside.

Step 3.

Wrap long strings of the raffia around the bag to tie it closed, and make a cute little bow. Use your nifty fabric to tie the stem of the leaf to the raffia (or secure both however you see fit. I'm easy.)

Step 4.

Repeat process, oh, about 35 times (because classrooms are vastly overcrowded), and there you go!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Guest Blogger: The Elephant

Yes, that's right, it's the one and only Elephant, here because I won't let him have his OWN blog. Yet.


What I Got for Christmas

pirate flag
couple books
metal detector
Weird and Wild Creatures cards
Nintendo DS and six games
Liar's Dice game
stuffed bear
Build A Bear suit
"Allosaurus" and "Jurassic Park 3"
stuffed zebra made from alpaca hair
Dig and Glow dinosaur game
"How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You"
"Life-size Dinosaurs"
"It Came from Bob's Basement"
Lego Power Miners
Club Penguin Cardjitsu
bunch of Pokemon cards
"Penguin Life"
bubble bath and soap
SpongeBob jammies
Club Penguin stuffed animals and books
Disney pens
"Pokemon" movie
"Night at the Museum 2"
"Up" with an adventure journal
fake boogers
hot cocoa mix and chocolates and candy


I'd just like to note that these gifts are from various relatives and three households.

Poor kid.

Monday, December 14, 2009

All is well

We're ready for the holiday! Pile of presents under the tree enough for about, oh, 40 kids. Santa photo taken. And The Butterfly is back to the perfection of health. (Not that I mean to tempt anything ... I'm just grateful.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Health Care Reform Example #76567688

I can't believe this massive fuckery. The Girl is sick, some kind of virus that causes her to projectile vomit. Took her to the hospital last night; they gave her an anti-nausea pill that allows her to keep fluids down to stay hydrated. Wrote an RX for more. Today, I attempted to fill that RX, but the state-sponsored health insurance, which I was forced to put my daughter on when my previous employer fucked us all over, does not cover this massively expensive anti-nausea med so gave us a liquid alternative. Guess what? The Girl projectile vomits this liquid alternative. So I might end up taking her to the ER again ... which will cost you, the American taxpayer, far more than the original medicine would have. Here's the real ass-reaming component: As I'm reading the printed material that came with the liquid drug to figure out the name of the ER doctor from last night, I discover the drug information sheets are printed by ... yes, my previous employer: The Hearst Corp. So let me say right now: FUCK YOU, HEARST CORP!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


When did your voice start to slide irreversibly toward teenager, adulthood, beyond?

When did your fingers lengthen so drastically, losing baby fat as they transformed into slim boyhands, manhands?

When was the last time I saw the rolls in your thighs? When did that very last babyroll smooth into oblivion?

When did you become a boy who so loves video games?

When did you understand so completely Pokemon? (And chastise my pronunciation?)

When did I think I understood the giddy joy a certain girl brings to you?

When did you become so clever, so witty, so surprisingly astute in the reality of modern life?

When did you become soooo tall? When did your legs get THAT long?

When did your hair change from babysilk to thick gorgeousness?

When was the last time I saw your little tush? When did it not become a little tush anymore?

When did I accept these changes?

Mmm hmm. That's right.


this all happened ...

Beyond me ...

and never, in

Mama's memories.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happiness and Joy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Get This, These "testicles on my chin"

Through one of those roundabout processes too complicated to explain (and yet I would still be willing if you asked because that's just the kinda gal I am), I was exposed to the following link.

It's no secret how I feel about Mike Rowe and his existence in my life. He is so many of the admirable things I find in a human being. And after watching this video, I appreciate him all the more.

I was ... no, AM ... the daughter of a steel mill worker. Even more, I am the oldest daughter of a single steel mill worker, meaning as the oldest female in the household, I took on the roles of worrying and cleaning, thrust upon me beyond my choice and before I came to understand and celebrate my feminism and my female liberty. I mothered my younger sister and I learned the value of hard work. I learned about food stamps and government-issue cheese and butter, and about mold and how the children in my neighborhood would pity my family for being without a mother.

I saw my dad come home with burns on his skin, on his arms where the fire burned through any joke of protective clothing. I heard the stories of how steel-toed boots offered at best a false sense of protection when a stronger force deemed to exert its will. Dad told so many stories of the men forced on disability by a stronger will than their own ... and unfortunately, too often those stories were tinged with envy. The men he spoke of, you see, were done with their working time.

That's part of what struck me the most about the video that looms just beyond my diatribe. It's a speech given by Mike Rowe, Mr. "Dirty Jobs." Near the end, he talks about coming to a critical realization suddenly while filming a segment that found him with "testicles on my chin." He talks about how our society has come to castigate the notion of hard work, how we celebrate the escape from it, and in turn, create a class of worker to be shunned ... when the reality is this person who works the hardest is the one to be celebrated.

It's funny. And it's no secret that I lost my own job back in March. Hell, our country lost an INDUSTRY, the industry in which I worked. So when I hear someone wax philosophical about work, my interest is piqued. And yet the kind of work we're talking about here doesn't have time for piqued interests. It's too busy.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Butterfly's Big Day

Too tired to add photos right now, a somewhat-tedious process of firing up my computer (I'm using Elephant's laptop right now), plugging in the camera, downloading to my computer, uploading to the Internet ... But I couldn't let the day end without a final bit of musing on my little girl's second birthday.

Even though it's been those two years since the trauma of her birth, it's all quite fresh in my mind sometimes. Tonight would be one of those times.

It's probably quite ridiculous, I suppose. She's healthy and happy, loving and tender, smart and kind. We're all so very, very lucky to have her in our lives, especially since she was a Surprise Baby. But I still see that tiny little being of 23 ounces, the one I first met who became my very special little girl. I still sense that disconnect, that disbelief that I am so lucky to have my little miracle. That worry, here let me just say it already, that she could so easily be taken away. I have learned, after all, how precious and fragile is this life.

But she is so tenacious. No matter how much fragility haunts the inner recesses of my soul, I just have to picture her cheeky laugh as she replicates one, then another, physical stunt of her brother's. They have this toy barn, one of the Little Tykes or Fisher Price plastic numbers, about two feet tall, they love to play together with. In fact, I gave Butterfly a set of barn animals today to add to the fun, seeing as how a certain book is her favorite. Anyway, she LOVES to climb up on top of the barn, straddling it like it's a pony. (How funny. I just saw the irony in that.) She's a daredevil, hanging from the monkey bars, climbing onto the dining room table not long after learning to just walk ... and so on.

Funny, too, is my girl. Learning that as well from her Ubba. Ah, but you know all this, how much I love the two of them. How gracious this world was to bring them into my life.

So .. I am thankful, even as this life passes too quickly by, as the wee little baby who once fit into my cupped hands rips the paper off of birthday packages with such amazing gusto.

Happy Birthday, Butterfly!

Small Art Challenge

Second challenge for The Pink Couch.

Whipped together, lol, in about five minutes from after-party bits.

It's a 4"x4" card, ripped edge. The center part is from a blower-noisemaker; the braid at bottom is from crepe paper/streamers (purple tie and yellow part), a ribbon from a gift (orange part) and the rest of the blower-noisemaker-- the cardboard part you blow into -- (the blue part.) The flowers are torn bits of wrapping paper, with a tiny crumpled ball of wrapping paper for the center.

Thanks for this super fun!

Tag Challenge

This tag is for the challenge over at The Pink Couch.

It's in celebration of my Birthday Girl, turning 2 today! Yes, I stopped party preps to do this, lol.

It's a cupcake wrapper base, with bits of party napkin along with crepe paper flowers topped with buttons, and birthday candles. The hanger is from a package of brand new tights ... opened just for the birthday party!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This one comes courtesy of Kerrie. (OK, and how freaking cool is it that I just blasted off the coding for that link without a second thought ... skool is working! I'm gitting smerter at web stuf!")

Anyway, Kerrie, an inspiration as you'll find out reading about her amazing accomplishment-so-far, points out that lots of bloggers have their niche ideas for their blogs; Kerrie's going to start a Thank You Thursday.

Another blogger, Tara at The Pink Couch, plans an all-day Blog Party on Saturday, with games and prizes every couple of hours. I'll try to stop in, because it'd be fabulous to win one of her amazing creations (check it out. See? I don't lie, do I?) but it's Butterfly's Big Day, so we'll see.

Let's see ... I'd also like to mention Mai Ling, whose cooking makes one weep with joy ... and is a wonderful friend, and Amy, who writes about life with a kind of grace and honesty rarely found.

As for me, I have a hard enough time with regular stuff, so I'm afraid I can't make such a commitment as a regular Thursday event. (I haven't even filled out my blogroll yet!) But I'll pick up this fun little challenge, also from Kerrie, and pass it along. The rules, she says, "are to use only one word to answer the questions below, then pass it on to six (only six?!) fellow bloggers and tell them you did so."

1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Your hair? Ponytail
3. Your mother? Pathetic
4. Your father? Tender
5. Your favorite food? Indian
6. Your dream last night? Usual
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Employment
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Everything
11. Your fear? Victimization
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Mothering
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Content
15. Muffins? Chocolate
16. Wish list item? Slice (handy link provided)
17. Where did you grow up? Seattle
18. Last thing you did? Class
19. What are you wearing? Clothes
20. Your TV? On
21. Your pets? Family
22. Friends? Irreplaceable
23. Your life? sigh
24. Your mood? Crazy
25. Missing someone? Constantly
26. Vehicle? Two
27. Something you're not wearing? Ring
28. Your favorite store? Book
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? Class
31. Last time you cried? Earlier
32. Your best friend? Children
33. One place that I could go over and over? Anywhere
34. One person who emails you regularly? Many
35. Favorite place to eat? C (get it? hee)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clouds and colors

It was so beautiful this fall weekend. For about 15 minutes, the most ethereal, Halloweeny clouds wisped their way across the broad blue sky.

Attempts to leave the park were pre-empted by a gorgeous fall display just begging to be caught and shared.

Of course, I am lucky enough to have my own burst of gorgeous red every single day, regardless of season.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Life as a Blog Post

We've been busy the past few days, and ironically I kept thinking as I snapped photos how the content would be perfection for this blog. The ideas involve those photos, however, and as it's 1:25 a.m. and I'm set to get up at 7:15 a.m., I mostly wanted to throw in a tease for you and let you know I'm still here and will be back soon ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Here's something my fair city does right: October days.

There's nothing like October in Seattle. Oct. 1 dawns with a glory of riotous color in the leaves of trees, and the month walks out on the 31st naked-branched and content, certain of its accomplishment in chaperoning summer into winter.

The days in between are breathtakingly frigid, a shock to the system after an especially overly hot summer this year. Walking outside, your face trails puffs of your breath whose warmth is stolen quickly away.

And the sky! Oh, the sky! Such a startlingly pure blue it hurts the eyes to look at it. The clarity of color, absolute in its perfection. An exquisite backdrop for the indescribable joy of the leaves.

The flannel sheets are located, buried deep in the linen closet, accompanied by the flutter of a distant memory of disbelief they'd ever be of use again. The extra quilt looms large and fluffy on the bed, sheer joy to slide under on nights that herald the return of cold floors.

I love these days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Musings

I keep thinking of how silly E is with his stories and tales, and how he is able to put complex ideas together weeks and weeks after conversations about disparate subjects. The time changes so quickly. Here he is, a lanky 9-year-old already.

I remember the day about three years ago when he was so tired when I picked him up from school. I asked him if he was OK. "Yeah," he replied. "I didn't have a chance to take a nap in school today."

That laugh popped into my head when I got him today. He informed me, "Mama, it was SO weird! I was sitting in class when suddenly I just got SO tired! I told (his teacher), 'I think I have the sleep bacteria in my brain.' "

Speaking of ... something new with the girl today. She's been singing a TON lately, to her babies and just in general. She does this cute sing-song of "Ma-maaaaa Ma-maaaa" and so on.

On the way to pick up her brother, I watched as she pulled her blankie up to stroke along her cheek as she sang to herself. And she sang herself right to sleep. I completely broke down at the sweetness of it.

I hope my little girl never, ever loses this gentle, loving side.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FOR SALE: Paper Bag Albums

Check out my Etsy shop.

I'm finally getting started, listing three things (so far) with more to come ...

Please pass this along. I appreciate it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Playing all day

"The Big Red Barn," by Margaret Wise Brown, is one of my favorite childrens books ever. I like it, dare I admit, even more than "Goodnight Moon" (though not as much as "Runaway Bunny.") Brown's style lulls and soothes, enchants the children she respected enough not to speak down to. It also enchants adults.

It doesn't take much to make a child happy ... playing all day, whether it's in grass or hay or not, is certainly a key start.

A little imagination turns an overcrowded kitchen table into a marvelous hideout ...

... at least until the kitty discovers where you are.

The verdict? I think she's pretty thrilled with Mama's construction.

Of course, sunny days call for venturing outside. And when a child comes to visit Mama in her crafting shed, you never know when that Mama might decide to swab on some paint to capture growing footprints ...

... or even write a secret message in acrylics and ink right on your belly!

Silly Mama!

Playing all day in the grass and in the hay? That calls for a story.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Little bitta

Butterfly is so amazing. I don't know that I can fully explain why. I watch her silliness, her comical side, and I love her all the more.

Elephant ... Well, he has his Butterfly who has worshipped him from Day 1, and he also has another sister. A sister who now can crawl after him down hallways.

Or so he tells me. I am only responsible for the one sister in his life, after all, the sister who came first on fragile, freshly sprung butterfly wings.

So I try to tell my tall, handsome Elephant, who I love absolutely utterly, that he is lucky to have two little girls who love him adoringly.

But, um ... Yeah.


He is a 9-year-old boy. A boy who yearns to break free of adoration, just for a moment. To escape into his room, his too-crowded-with-toys-and-junk room. To close the door away from his Butterfly.

His little Butterfly, whose adoration causes her to pad quickly after him ... and then pound, furiously, on the closed door before her.