Merry & Bright!

Wishing you a Happy Christmas season! I can hardly believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve already, but it’s arrived. We’re anticipating out of town family as house guests (nothing like waiting til someone else will use the second bathroom to finally pull the trigger on finishing it and putting it together: details soon) and lots of coffee, Settlers of Catan, and multiple runs of the dishwasher daily.

Merry!

I had a dream last night that I was still in high school, I recognized one of the people in my dream – but there were 3 other key players I couldn’t place but could tell we were aquatinted. There was a choir concert I was supposed to be at and couldn’t find an outfit I liked (or fit) so I ended up missing it. My mom came home to comfort me – followed by some friends and my choir teacher. He had some sage advice for us all: He told my boyfriend that he was popular, gave accolades to my other 2 friends for their work in their studies, and told me I was a leader but was sometimes negative: so to be careful how I wielded my skills.

Then I woke up.

At first I was puzzled but this has been something I’ve noticed on my own lately. This season notwithstanding, I can easily be the voice in the room that lets the selfish anxiety overshadow any ability to comfort. Like I strangle the optimism just to see if it can still breathe.

I’ll have plenty of opportunity to quiet the negative on the tip of my tongue in the next few days and I’m actually glad I have the chance to practice. Because it’s important to me to be fluid enough to care for all sorts of people. Not to be so rigid, so regimented on where I think love should fit: where expectations often fail. It was an odd dream but timely. I take myself out of the choir because I can’t seem to find anything that fits – but the seat isn’t filled by someone else in my absence: it’s just empty.

Here’s to showing up as our rag-tag, holey-socks, homeless-heart self this Christmas. I won’t remember the color of your scarf – only how your eyes seem to sparkle when the edges of your smile reach to the sky.

Merry Christmas.

trigger happy

I’ve believed that if it’s easy, it’s not worth it. If it doesn’t take hard work: no one will accept that you’re really an artist, writer, dreamer, doer, photographer, life-liver.

If you wake up in the morning with an idea and can finish it within the first hour of your day, you’re not working. It’s not credible. That’s a hobby. That’s an “exercise” for the real thing – it’s not what you put on the shelf, it’s what you line the birdcage with until the real stuff starts streaming.

So when does the real stuff start streaming? Do you have to walk away every time you push your brush to paper? Does it make sense 6 months later when you had to abandon the work because it wasn’t “working” enough?

If what I do is easy and what someone else does, in the same arena, looks harder … I’m not doing it right, right?

If what I do feels as comfortable as breathing and what someone else does looks labored and sweaty … I’m not doing it right, right?

If I’m not a runner unless I run a marathon then what is all this jogging for?

Soul food

I like to read and also read cookbooks.

My favorite non-guilty, yet food related, pleasure is (and always will be) the both in one place:

“My son decided one hour into yesterday’s 90 degree morning yesterday (sic) that he’d had eee-nufff of the heat and of having an Ace bandage on his sprained ankle and no, he would not, could not, stop yelling. I hear you, kid, I really do. And so we decided that only a South American brain freeze would make things better and look, I don’t mean to oversell them, I don’t, but you must believe me when I tell you: this drink solves everything.”

When I venture to a recipe via pinterest or my go-to’s in my subscription dock I don’t usually take the time to read the story with the recipe. Unless it’s seemingly difficult, I scroll till I find the nugget of ingredients and master-plan my way through discovering something new.

It’s a different kind of recipe from Smitten Kitchen or authors like Shauna Niequist, because first it’s a tale. A story to gather around, a little space to agree on the little things and notice that we all bring something different to the table.

I like that about food. And writing.

a little house on east and a little dream worth dreaming.

Taped the seams today, tomorrow some outdoor stuff will finish up and the mudding starts. A little electrical to fix, too. This beam will stay exposed.

The house is still in progress, dry-wall finished today and paint starts on Monday. Little details are starting to take over and creep up and make us frantic and a little anxious about budgets and just being done already.

Worry is a joy stealer – but it’s more than that. It’s costly in so many ways and I’m feeling anxious and don’t want to be.

I put it out there to the whole wide world that I’m looking for a job:

twitter on speaker

Which feels like exhaling after years of holding my breath. This is something I’ve wanted for a long time. I picture myself being part of a creative and dynamic team who can use my talents and actively incubates dreams. I’m excited to work outside of my own head, outside of our home. I have things to offer and time to spend doing so. The more I talk about it the more real the possibility becomes. Know of an opportunity? Please let me know.

Behind the scenes I’m still writing and am sending out manuscripts of poetry monthly. It feels like forward motion, it feels like trying.

I think the dust has settled of both of my kids going to school full time. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d be here, with this time to myself, or without another baby at home. It’s odd the way things happen, how the chapters of our story continue to narrate the inevitable of aging. This time in my life feels very vulnerable, as if it was time to start again.

Why I invented the Halloween Fairy

This is my one genius contribution to parenting. You’re welcome in advance.

Halloween Loot

We’re not against Halloween. I don’t go all out with decorations, I’m super lazy when it comes to costumes but I don’t skimp on the hand-out candy (I don’t want to be “that” house) and I love the neighborhood interaction and all the adorable little kids.

What I could care less for? Scaring my kids on purpose for fun with nightmarish decorations and costumes and all that damn candy.

Fire Truck Parade

I love participating. Especially when it comes to neighborhoods. This is the first neighborhood we’ve liven in where we actually get trick or treaters. (We did when we were renting, too but that was a fleeting one year thing.) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of meeting the people who live near me. If that’s what I get out of Halloween, then awesome.

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011, Oliver’s a dalmatian and Jessica was the tooth fairy.

Halloween 2009

Carving pumpkins 2013

FH000021_1

LOOK! Baby Jessica, her first halloween. She’s 9 months old and walking, oh yes. She was a fairy then too.

And for good measure, one of Oliver, age 3.

Clown

OK, but the candy. Seriously. I’m diabetic (type 1), I don’t need candy around. I like our inexpensive dental bills and I’d like to keep them that way. I also don’t love hopping my kids up on sugar or sending them to school with candy every day for the next 3 months until Valentines.

So I invented the Halloween Fairy.

We partake in all the festivities of Halloween – we hand-out candy and go trick or treating, probably more than once. The kids can have a few pieces that night – they can take stock of their haul and we take photos and everyone talks about what their favorites were of the night. Favorite house? Favorite candy? Favorite costume?

Then we take their candy away. Better yet? They give it to us. How??

Well when the kids go to bed, they leave their buckets of candy outside their bedroom doors. Sometime in the middle of the night the Halloween Fairy comes along and trades them a little present for their candy. They wake up to a surprise that doesn’t involve type 2 diabetes, fake teeth, or gut problems and everyone wins!

They don’t get $20 toys. I usually grab something from the dollar store or have something on hand already that can suffice. (Small match box cars, bubbles, tape. You’d be surprised.)

They’ve asked us what the Halloween Fairy does with the candy (she gives it to Dad who takes it to work and we never see it again …) but we tell them that she just makes use for it, she’s best friends with the tooth fairy – so she’s helping the tooth fairy out by keeping their teeth healthy.

Now go tell someone the secret …

Carving pumpkins 2013

You can thank me with wine. Red wine.