Imperfection and a picture.

I want to fire up my blog life again.

I keep coming here and trying to write something AMAZING to dazzle and permanently seduce a GIANT audience for my teeny blog.

But nothing comes to me.

And without a published paragraph, each day here feels bigger than the day before it.

Much, much bigger.

Bigger in a bad way.  An oppressive way.  An intimidating way.

Have I lost my skill set?

I want to write.

More than just that, I want to be good at writing.

I keep thinking of that as a single task – one I am ill equipped to start and desperate to complete.

It isn’t that though, is it?

It’s really a very long, involved process of little steps all smashed together, cut apart, rearranged, and done again.

Over and over.

So here I go.

Step one: post a current pic of myself (sorry to my Facebook friends who have already seen it).

selfie

Step two: pick one thing to worry less about.

Step three: come back and try this again in a day or two.

Happy Monday.

♥♥

Brain Dump & A Rip Ryder Mailbox Man

Potty Dream

Last night, I dreamed that I was married to Matt Damon and we had a toilet in our dining room.

Matt Damon sat at the dining table and told me he knew we would be together forever when we picked out the toilet because he thought to himself “this toilet will last for the rest of our lives.”

I know why I dreamed this.  I think it had more to do with the toilet than the Damon.

I needed to get up and go, you know?  It was the 4:00 a.m. calling.

My befuddled brain tried to embarrass me awake.

Pee, in front of Matt Damon?

Never.

Eyes open.  😯

Wide awake now, thanks.

And back to real life, very real life…

Dearly Departed

A couple of my friends from high school recently lost someone very dear to them.  Their experience got me thinking about why I started my blog.

I blabbed in the beginning about my childhood friend, Betsy.  She died of breast cancer in 2003.  We were both 38.

Even now, I wake up everyday and instantly think of her.  She is on my mind as I fall asleep and she is sometimes in my dreams.  I also see her in every young mom with a ponytail.

I talk to her constantly and sometimes feel like a fool for doing it, but I do it anyway.  And sometimes I hear her talking to me and I take her advice, or I roll my eyes.

She still informs all of my major life decisions and many of the teeny ones too.  I knew her a long time and I usually know just what she would say.

I’ve written about her a lot – for example, here and here – but coming to this post today, I realize I don’t know if I can write about her very much more.

The rest of what I know and think and feel about her, and myself, and our friendship, is all kind of private.  I can’t have it taken apart by anyone on the internet.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to mention any of this, except that I feel I somehow owe an explanation to Betsy herself.

She was the one who always told me to write.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot this month and I decided that if I don’t write about her, then I have to write for her.

To that end, I entered NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest.

Three-Minute Fiction

You know that moment after you leave a big school exam or a job interview and you realize exactly how you sank yourself?  Entering this contest kind of worked like that for me.

I was thrilled by the writing challenge, I got exponentially more excited after I submitted my piece, and I was glued to the Three Minute Fiction Facebook fan page for a good three hours afterward.

Then I started re-reading my story.  I read it over and over and over again.

I saw its flaws unraveling before me and I got kind of depressed and embarrassed.  😦  It wasn’t good.  It still isn’t, and of course, there is no opportunity to edit.  I hit “submit” and now NPR editors are seeing it (and me) with all imperfections exposed.  Ugh.

Several days have passed and I am feeling a little better about it.  I can see what I did wrong and I am learning from it instead of turning red.  It was a good exercise and I will enter the contest again.  You should too.

And speaking of good exercise…

An Update On The Boy

I have been trying to write about him this month, but nothing feels quite right.

There is progress, but there are set-backs too and I can’t think of the best way to talk about all of it.

Instead, you get a video of his favorite activity.

And yes, the video ends because I sneeze.  🙂

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Long Beach Flea Market

I don’t know how often I can come on here and say the same things.

Life is hard.  And easy.  And ugly.  And beautiful.

Life is hard…

because my autistic son needs everything to be a certain way and, despite the good intentions of everyone in my life, very few really understand how insanely difficult it is to parent him.

He seems so incredibly normal – whatever the hell “normal” is.  He is beautiful.  He is smart.  He is talkative and cheerful.  He is happy and animated and very cooperative.  Until he isn’t.

Over the two-week break, he hit me a few times.  😦  He pushed me too.  On one of the days he had a meltdown like I can’t even describe.  He screamed, he broke things.  The usual.

He yells about everything.  “No take the plate to the kitchen!”  “No mama say!”  “No mama singing!”  “No music!”  “No.  No.  No!”

And then there’s the OCD stuff…

He has a thing about the pantry door.  He has to close it a certain way, at a certain time, repeatedly.  He chants his little chants, he swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and swings it shut and pulls it open and SLAMS it closed.  And all of the things that hang from the inside of the door go crashing to the tile below.  LOUD.  LOUD.  LOUD.

And the bathroom door.  He closes and opens it too.  All the time.  Just because.

He writes math problems for himself every night.  He leaves the papers all over the table.  He does this when I am in the pit of the day’s fatigue.  Consequently, his math papers never get picked up.  Our house is an overwhelming wreck.  It depresses me.  I am tired and life is hard.

Life is easy…

because I have three fabulous moms and a good friend who listen to all of it.  Life is easy because husband knows how it is and he’s here everyday seeing it, feeling it, and being in it with me.  And when he isn’t here to make it easier on me, he’s out there to make it easier on me.  He works so that I can take care of our kid.  And our house.  And our laundry.  Our never ending, steaming mountains of laundry.

Life is ugly…

because of stupid, evil, mean people who make me sick with worry for my son…and his future…and the potential dangers that await him.

Life is beautiful…

because the yelling, pushing, screaming, toy throwing little boy is also sweet and kind and funny and he makes up songs about silly things like my jiggly arms.  😀  I love him.

Life is beautiful because I get to see my good friend every few months and we always have a great day together somewhere.  On Sunday, we went to the Long Beach Flea Market and I bought a water fountain.  It’s perfect for our little yard, but it weighs a gazillion pounds.

Life is beautiful because the vendor wanted $75 and we talked him down to $50.

Life is beautiful because my friend carried the dirty top part of the fountain a great distance to my car for me.

Life is beautiful because there is ibuprofen to ease the pain and stupidity of carrying the lower section of the fountain by myself.  Day four and I am still achy breaky.

Life is beautiful because we had a very pleasant lunch at Bono’s Long Beach with the best creme brulee I have ever tasted in my life.  The portion was HUGE and my friend didn’t want any.  🙂  Thank you, silly friend.

Life is beautiful because I also found a book for my brother, a liquid timer for my son, and some Bit-O-Honey candy at Powell’s (best old timey candy store ever) for my husband.

I got these guys for me:

Their bodies are hinged so you can sway their little legs back and forth if you want to.  I know you want to.  🙂

Life is life.

Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Art & Artists

Light at the end of the tunnel

Just two more days with the painters here.  It has been very claustrophobic inside the house.  The windows have been closed and covered with plastic, the air off, and the temperature rising every afternoon.  I’m done, you know?

Today, thankfully, they peeled the plastic off of my sliding door in back, so at least there’s that to open.

I feel motivated to make changes in my home right now, so it has been killing me to have my schedule dictated by someone else.  I have stuff to paint and sand, but I can’t open the garage door to do it until these guys are gone.  I hear the sewing machine whistling for me too, so I need to get the house in order.

It has been great organizing the kitchen a bit, now that we have the new storage there.  I just need to channel that energy into other rooms and keep my momentum up once the painters are gone and another weekend passes by.

Wish me luck!

Eye Candy

Today I was surfing the net for inspiration and I came across a fascinating website.  It belongs to a Seattle photographer named Bradford Bohonus.  You can read about him here.

I am in love with his “high resolution interactive panoramic VR photography.” He peeks into the studios of other artists and he brings us along for the ride.

His photography is amazing and makes it possible for you and me to see how these artists work – the colors, the textures, the views out their windows, what they have on their walls.  It’s all so interesting to me.

I am amazed how much these people look like their art and their environments.  Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems like where there are clean lines in the work, there are clean lines in the studio and clean lines in the artist – neat hair & neat clothes.  Where there is chaos in the art, there is chaos in the studio, and a sense of freedom about the person – wild hair & funkier clothes.

See if you think the same thing.  And see if you don’t share my awe-struck respect for the photographer too.

Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

http://www.bohonus.com/galleries/personal-projects/artists-studios/

♥♥

The house, a dresser and a beautiful cake stand.

Will someone please tell me why I decided to get the entire outside of the house painted?  It’s loud, and today is just the power wash and prep.  😦  Next week will be unbearable.

We need to do this and, for the first time ever, we can actually handle the expense of it.  Sort of.

Wait.  No.  Not really.

I wish we were having the inside painted too.  Remember how my wall looks, the one right inside my front door?  You know, the first impression wall?

A few years ago, I tried to gussy it up with honey-pot orange polka dots.  Fail.

It’s the wall at the bottom of the stairs, where the boy has repeatedly bashed his makeshift cardboard sleds, over and over and over and over again.

Polka dots don’t help that.  No, siree bob, they don’t.  😐

The fact that there are men in my yard, preparing to paint the outside of my house is really quite painful and confusing to me as I look at this inside wall.

Oh well.  Home maintenance is a beast of burden.

We did do one thing to improve the interior of our house this week.  We bought a ginormous dresser from IKEA.  I wanted the blue one, but at the last minute I wisely thought better of that impulse.  I don’t want to be committed to blue if we ever do get the interior walls re-painted.  It might not go, you know?

We had glass cut & polished for the top of it and we stuck it in our kitchen to use as a buffet and some much-needed major storage.

This thing is HUGE.  If we ever lose the house, we can just live in the dresser.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally have all of my baking items corralled into one spot.  It’s life changing, I tell you!

My favorite thing about this?  I can fit all of our daily-use cloth napkins into one of the smaller top drawers.  All of them into one drawer.

In a drawer and out of sight means I don’t have to fold the napkins ever again.  This is possibly the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced.

Thank you, IKEA and C&C Glass.

Last week, I found this interesting cake stand at a thrift store.

It reminds me of an old fan.  It has such great lines and not a single spot of rust or any damage.  I can’t wait to put a pretty plate of something tasty on top.  😀

Maybe you can come over to eat some.

Here’s the boy.

Happy Friday!

P.S.  It’s killing me that the BlogHer 2011 Conference is happening in San Diego!  I know I will be there one day in the future, but I have a long way to go before I find a comfortable public voice and can commit to speaking with it every single day on my blog.  I am in awe of the wonderful writers who will gather just miles from my home to talk, share, laugh, and cry this weekend.  There are some incredible people out there, writing with deep conviction about everything from the mundane to the extraordinary.  They’re amazing.  I want to be one of them.

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market Purchases

I buy ribbon and rickrack everywhere I go.  This pile of generous bundles cost only $10 total.  I love the blue with the red and white.  They’re kind of fitting for the season, don’t you think?  😀

I also buy Little Golden Books.  I got these three and the colorful little book below for a total of $3.00.

The Little Small Red Hen book was wrapped in a plastic bag when I saw it, so I knew it was probably badly damaged inside.  I was right.  There are pages missing and others torn, but I love the colorful cover and there are a few additional color plates inside that charm me anyway.  And really, the title is so sweet.

I’m not sure I know what to say about these next items.  I collect buttons and dominoes, but the buttons aren’t the greatest specimens and those two dominoes are all I got – not a set.  Don’t know what I was thinking.  Guess I don’t care since it only took $2.00 from me.

Arthur Burdett Frost’s Br’er Rabbit has been in my dreams for months.  I saw these twin reproduction art plaques of him at the market in January and have been wanting them ever since.  Now, they’re mine!  I’m glad they were near the exit.  Once I had these heavy boys to carry, I turned into a complaining nightmare.  “Oh, my aching back!”

I bought this bag to put them in and it made a big difference!

This bag is HUGE and made of super lightweight fabric.  I wish I had bought more than one.  😐

I also bought our initials.  Each ten-inch letter is cut from thin metal, then painted.  I’m not sure where I’m going to put them yet, but I am sure I will buy another letter or two every time I go to the market.  The guy who makes them just tosses them all on the ground and people walk on them and kick them aside to find the colors and letters they want.  All that rough handling gives the letters a good scruffy salvage look to them.  He makes smaller and larger versions and there are also numbers and some funky three-dimensional flowers too.

I can’t wait to add more to my collection.  I feel an art installation brewing, maybe for the wall to the right of my stained glass window??  You know, this wall:

Can’t you just picture it with a sea of letters swirling about like the curly waves in the window?  I can!

Last, but not least, here is the teeny bird I bought at Goldbug.  He’s very sweet, but extremely difficult to photograph.  My friend got one just like him, but with less of the green patina.  I love him.

I feel like I’ve forgotten something.  I will check my treasures and let you know!

Oh, I also bought four magazines on this trip.  Four.  Because this was MY weekend and I like magazines.  Woohoooo!

Happy Monday!

P.S. I forgot to mention that I also went to Mignon Chocolates.  I have to confess, I am a diehard See’s Candies loyalist, but I would happily eat another of Mignon’s Amaretto truffles if I had to.  😀

P.P.S.  The little boy seems pleased with my one and only purchase from Lula Mae this time:

♥♥

Woofers in the Wind

I have to go to the dentist today.  I don’t wanna.

Last time, he sang along with the radio, right in my ear, while he was working.  I actually didn’t mind that.  At least he has a decent voice.

I just don’t want to sit there for an hour, unable to speak, unable to move, while someone pokes my gums with sharp stuff.

It’s about control, really.  I hate handing it over to someone I don’t know well, even someone as professional and courteous as my dentist.

I cherish my freedom and I just don’t like having other people tell me what to do.

I dreamed about freedom a few nights ago.  I was jogging.

With a bad foot and crappy knees, I don’t jog when I’m awake, so this was a good dream for me.

I felt strong and athletic, but I was still my full-figured, curvy self.

It was great.  I could run!

Did I mention I was topless in this dream?

Yeah, I was jogging with great joy and no shirt.

Blissful, confident, total abandon.

Unfortunately, there was another person in the dream.

This person didn’t harm me physically in any way, but he made it perfectly clear with cat calls and criticism that I should cover up.

I felt defeated and held a piece of cloth across my chest.

The dream sort of faded out at that point, but the meaning was clear to me when I woke up.

I felt free, someone judged me, and then I didn’t feel free.

Isn’t that odd?

I think I dreamed it all in anticipation of the dentist today.

I have so much courage, until someone tells me to sit still.  Then I’m a big, angry, socially anxious mess.  😡

I hate being told to sit still or to be quiet or to wait.  And I’m a grown-up.

I realize as I’m typing this, that these are the things I constantly tell my son.

Sit still.  Be quiet.  Wait.

Stand here.  Wear this.

It’s never ending, this list of things I expect of him, this list of controls.

And these things are so much harder to do when you’re a kid.  Poor little boy.

I feel like I’m a fairly calm mom about most stuff.  My house is a playground, not a showcase.  He gets to do a lot more than other kids I know.  I have rules, but not as many as my friends do.

Kids need order and routine and an understanding of the authority in their lives.  I know all that, but I still feel bad for him.

I wish I never had to tell him to sit still, be quiet or wait.

Wouldn’t it be great if no one ever had to tell him that?

Wouldn’t it be great if he never felt the pressure of societal constraints?

Of course, there is irony in my dream and consequential feelings about freedom and my son’s happiness.

I am, after all, the girl who prefers no public nakery.

Go figure.

Shall I eat my cake or have it?

And which thing shall I teach my son?

Such a conundrum.

Jogging topless did seem kind of fun…

P.S.  After shedding tears of dread in the dentist’s office parking lot, I sat nervously in the lobby for two minutes and was horrified by the opening sequence of the movie on the waiting room dvd player.  When the dental tech opened the door and called my name, I was relieved to go inside.  Funny how dreading a new thing can make the old thing seem like no big deal.

Happy Thursday!

♥♥