Sunday, September 30, 2007


Play is the most important element in discovering who you are.

"Remember those childhood days spent running in your bare feet, playing make-believe, and, most of all, living life with fearless enthusiasm? That spirit is an important element in discovering who you are and what you love to do---and it's inside you right now, waiting to be rediscovered. Here's the best part, you had it all along."

Living Out Loud, Keri Smith

I bought this book a few months ago and have really only gotten past the first few pages. It is full of ideas to spark your creative energy. I bought it in the hopes that it might help me to find a space in my life that felt comfortable enough for me to let out some of my otherwise stifled creative energy.

I would say that I have always considered myself a creative person. As a child making animals out of play dough and choreographing a dance routine to "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" were daily activities. The problem for me came around my sophomore year in high school. I had an art teacher that was very critical of my version of art. I knew it was not the right class for me from the start, we spent the first two weeks drawing cubes and pipes. Then we did a project called kaleidoscope. We had to draw a picture in a triangle and repeat that same picture in 7 other triangles with each pair mirroring each other. This teacher was looking for precision in each replication, that sort of thing was not my strong suite. I can't even remember the rest of the projects from that semester but I remember that I found any excuse not to go, got in trouble for trying chewing tobacco (almost made me throw up, by the way), got sent to the library a dozen times and maybe even to the Principal's office once, and, in the end I got a D. My confidence in my ability to create art that was worth anything higher than a C- was shot, and so was my parents. It was the last art class I ever took. From that point on I figured I should have listened to my parents in the first place and (with a little push) I signed up for more science and math classes. Chemistry-sucked. Physics-like a foreign language. Trigonometry-survived on guessing and a very old and slightly senile teacher. Latin-please...Biology-well, that was something I was okay at. I had a good teacher. I thought it was interesting. I got good grades. I went to college. I wanted to major in textile design. My parents said no and while I blamed them for my bad grades for years, in a way I think I was relieved that they said no. I really didn't think I would be any good at it anyway. I changed my major to biology.

Now here I am. I'm 30. Thirty. Three zero. I am 15 years from my nasty art teacher. I am an adult. Adults are supposed to KNOW. This is what I know-
10 years is too long for an undergraduate degree.
Maybe it is not the right fit for me.
But I have invested so much time and money.
Probably isn't the right fit for me.
But it means everything to my Dad.
It's not the right fit for me.
But I'm stubborn. I'm not a quitter. I can do it.

This is what I don't know-

Shit. I hate this. Reading my bio book is like reading a foreign language. All I want to do is play with my boy, bake some pumpkin cookies, dream of being with my family for Thanksgiving, paint my toenails, go to bed early and make animals out of play dough and choreograph a dance routine to "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go"

When I was a kid we went to this place in KC called Kaleidoscope. There was a maze full of activities like a wall of things to feel, a table of pins that you could stick your hands under and the pins would push up and make an impression of your hand, places to make weird sounds, and at the very end was a room with 6 or 8 stations, each with their own art project. I remember drawing a picture on a board and then sending it through this machine to make a puzzle. I remember making a hat with springing ears popping off of it. I remember cardboard sunglasses with pink lenses that we could draw all over. It was great. After your twelfth birthday you could no longer go through the maze and do the craft stations. After 12 you got to be a supervisor at the station and you just watched what the kids were doing to make sure that they stuck the puzzle in the machine correctly or that they didn't run out of glitter for their sunglasses. I think that is the problem. There shouldn't be an age limit on creativity. There isn't a point where math and science are a better use of time. There is just a kind of person that math and science are their preferred use of time. And those of us that would prefer to be in the Kaleidoscope should get to be in it without shame or conflict or concern about how accurate our cube drawings are.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Keep in mind

This month is the 50th Anniversary the historic 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. There is an amazing article about this famous photo in Vanity Fair this month. The story centers around the lives of two women: 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford on her first day of school, and her most recognizable tormentor, Hazel Bryan (standing behind her in the photo). The story of how these two women struggled to reconcile and move on from the event is a remarkable journey through the last half-century of race relations in America. Like millions of other people who have seen that photograph, I can't stop thinking about it. The hate on that woman's face. The indescribable fear and pain that a 15 year old girl facing that kind of hate must have felt.
The community of people trying to help her...It breaks my heart.
And, in 50 years we haven't really come that far.
*photos from Vanity Fair

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 2

Henry's room is coming along. Wade has been working really hard and has done a really great job....thanks honey. He laid the new floor today and finished most of the painting. Touch up painting, moldings and the carpet will be finished tomorrow. All that will be left after that is putting in the ceiling fan which we will probably wait until Thanksgiving to do that so that my sweet brother in law, Ted, can help us.

And, a big thanks to Papa's little helper. He still doesn't quite understand that this is going to be his room, he just keeps saying that Papa's bed is broken but he seems to really enjoy the adventure, so he fits right in around here....

My plate.... too full.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Check it

My sister posted this link to a survey to find the presidential candidate that best fits your beliefs/opinions on many of the major issues today. My match was Dennis Kucinich (I love him!), Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. John Edwards was #8 on my list which kind of surprised me, I thought he would be higher up there. I do admit that since we don't get to vote in the primaries I have not put much time into getting to know the candidates. I do know that Bush is a total and complete nightmare (if you thought I went off about Wal-Mart, just get me started on haven't seen anything yet...) and I am just pumped that he is almost outta here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This story starts in the middle

I am sleeping on the wood floor of my dining room. Well, technically not on the actual floor, we put our mattress on it, but still it's not my bedroom. This is the third time in the 10 years that I have been with Wade that I have ended up sleeping in the dining room. But that is a story for another time. How did I end up on the floor? Well, it started on Sunday when we had the bright idea to switch rooms with Henry. Let me just say that my husband cannot help himself. Furniture is constantly moving in my house, rooms are switched every few months. He loves change and he gets so excited about it that he can think of nothing else. So, the switch began. For those of you who have not been in our house let me just say that our house is very small. The rooms are a good size but there are only 6 of them and that counts the bathroom and garage. So when we moved all of our furniture and clothing out of our bedroom it pretty much filled our living room and dining room. We noticed a patch of something strange in the corner of the room and, after pulling back the carpet a bit, Wade discovered that the previous owners had shoved steel wool in a hole in the corner. Which seemed like a silly thing to do, but then Wade told me that it is to keep out mice. Well, we were not having our baby sleeping in a place that could have mice so we decided in investigate further. Wade pulled the carpet all the way back and we found some very very old floors. Our house was built in 1910. It was gutted and rebuilt in 1994. The actual footprint of the house is the same as the original farmhouse but the rest of the structure was supposed to have been renovated. This floor was supposed to be barely 10 years old, but instead it is closer to 100 years old. It is just the old wood with a very thin piece of 100 year old plywood underneath it. It sags in some places, springs under your feet in other places, crack and pops and well, quite honestly, I can't believe that we have lived here for 3 months and have not ended up crashing into the crawl space. The support beams are good, they do not give or bounce when we walk on them, so, Wade is going to put an additional layer of 1 in plywood over the floor, attach it to the support beams, fill in any gaps around the edges and corners and make it so that those old wood floors no longer have any weight on them. It isn't great timing but we planned on working on this room eventually so it just moved to #1 on the list.
So here is the room. It had a tree painted on the wall and clouds and butterflies floating throughout.
Sorry, this picture is a little fuzzy, my camera was dieing so I was shooting fast. Here you can see where they did a major repair on the floor already, something they did not disclose to us when we purchased the house (shame on them!) You can't really see much with this picture but I am not sure how to delete it so here it is.

Here you can see how bad the floor is and you can kind of see the huge one inch gap between the floor boards and the drywall. I painted the walls tonight. It is supposed to be a pale green but right now it looks more beige. We'll see how it looks in the morning.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


If this doesn't change how you feel about processed meats then you are one tough cookie. Keep pushing next, to see the images zoomed in even more. Facinating and also stomach turning....

Friday, September 21, 2007

On my personal roller-coaster

So, I go off on a rant about Wal-Mart and then my Mom sends me this link. It is about Prof. Randy Pausch at Carnegie-Mellon University. He is dying of cancer, and he gives one last lecture, and it is incredible. You can even listen instead of watching if you have something else to do (I am creating invoices at work right now and listening). It will make you feel good....Worth your time...WORTH IT!

{The first 20 minutes or so are great then he goes off on a little tanget but then the end is really good again}

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything

So, I try to keep most of my opinions to myself (yeah, that's right, there actually is a lot that I don't say...shocking, I know) but I also really appreciate people that give me a new perspective or tell me something that will help me live a better, more thoughtful life. So here goes-

Wal-Mart won. For those of you that don't live in Lawrence or that do live in Lawrence...just under a rock...Wal-Mart has been fighting with the city for years to build a super center over on the west side. The city fought a "good" fight but in the end corporate greed won out and the "compromise" that they reached was that Wal-Mart could upgrade to a super center at their current location and a regular Wal-Mart on the west side. It is outrageous to me that a company would blatantly dismiss the wishes of a city and force a city to spend millions dollars in taxes to fight the them in court but what is even more outrageous is that even after all of that people will still shop there.

I know that Americans love a bargain. I am just as poor and in debt as the next guy so I understand that....but please, have some principles. Wal-Mart is destroying our country. A small company run by a local person cannot compete with ultra cheap prices. They pay their employees crap. Their insurance is a joke. I don't remember the statistics but something like 70% of their employees are on some sort of federal assistance. They close down stores that threaten unionization. They unfairly promote males over females and 80% of what they sell is cheap, poorly made crap from China-a communist country that allows child labor, mistreats their employees, and puts lead paint into children's toys to make them shiny. To quote Bill Maher "Over the past few months Americans have learned an important lesson of supply and demand. If you demand products that don't cost anything, people will make them out of poison, mud and shit."

And if you are still certain that you cannot afford to shop anywhere else consider this money saving idea---buy less stuff! Then can afford to spend more money of the stuff you actually need. And it is better for the environment too.

Off my soapbox...for now. And for a good laugh watch this {some of his jokes are a little over the top, but I still love him}-

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things that make me happy Thursday

We got a taste of Fall last weekend. This is my favorite time of year. I had to wear my sweatshirt on our Sunday morning bike ride. Pumpkins are lining up outside of grocery stores, people are talking about football and Halloween costumes, and I spotted some leaves changing color on campus. Sweaters and carmel apples (or carmel apple cupcakes in our case), sneakers and candy corns and sunflowers and getting dark earlier and seeing your breath in the mornings and soup and cool breezes and pink cheeks and scarves and snuggling....

Sign me up

It's offical. People make me nuts. I need to be on my own island.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Exhausted by other people's inactivity

Life is about choices. Making a risky choice is better than not making one at all...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday mosaic....a little late

Oh how I love orange....
Searched on flickr for orange and found these.

Good Karma

I got to class late this morning and the only parking spaces left were one hour meters. My class is an hour and a half, but it was my only option so I put in my quarters, hoped that the parking attendants would come around early and hauled ass up the hill.

When I got out of my class I had 4 minutes left on my meter. Someone put 50 cents into my meter.

I'm still glowing :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Take this test and report back

Okay, so I try not to be preachy, in fact I probably over compensate because I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable. But the fact of the matter is that I REALLY REALLY care about our planet. And, as a person that is a mere 4 classes away from being an official ecologist, I feel it is my obligation to occasionally ask people how they are doing. I mean, I notice every week that my house is the only one in the neighborhood with the curbside recycling tubs out front on Wednesday. It's $10 a month....seriously, you could loose that on the street and not really care. You could spend that in 1 and 1/2 visits to Starbucks (but if you are in Lawrence please go to LPT instead, they are way better and local). And Henry loves to help me sort it out. He already knows where to put the paper, plastic and cans...anyway, this little game is a fun and short and EASY way to take a look at what you are doing for (and to) the planet. I know, after this description you probably won't do it. What if I said it is a super fun game about bowling Santa's or a sudoku? Just check it out, it takes 2 minutes and could be a little enlightening. Plus you get to pick your persona and your neighborhood so it is practically Sim City :) And let me know how you do, I'm curious.

If everyone lived like me it would still take 2.1 Earths to support us all...


I just downloaded the pattern for these booties. I would like to make them as soon as possible. I just need some tiny feet to fill them up....Sisters? Friends? Random Blurkers? Someone please give me a reason to make these.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

self-portrait #7

Sometimes a girl needs a new haircut.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My lunch break

Went to get the mail during my lunch break today and found this postcard. Wade's Mom is doing her part to fill up our postcard wall....

and we are getting close...
During my lunch break I got to eat with my favorite little bean. Who happens to LOVE beans.
He loves them so much that he has to sing about it.

Flickr Fun

Hey guys. I put a link to our flickr page on the side bar.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If only

If I could go back in time AND also be a smarter AND more diligent person I am certain that I would be a midwife or an OBGYN.

Things that make me happy Thursday

Baby toes. Podcasts. Open-minded people. The light in the eyes of a new mom. My coworker that makes me coffee every morning. Hearing the NFL jingle on a cool Sunday afternoon. That my husband spent hours filling my ipod with songs he thought I would like. Enormous avocados. The smell of Fall. Nice neighbors that bring us homemade bread and sunflower arrangements from their back yard. Pumpkins in front of grocery stores. Henry acting like a fish in the bathtub. Turning off the air conditioner and opening the windows. Curbside recycling. Trying to do my part. Events that take your life in new, exciting directions. Migrating butterflies. Believing in yourself. Planning for the holidays. Songs that make you dance at your desk. Reconnecting with old friends. The feeling you get after finishing an exam. New haircuts. Being brave.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My house

When I was a kid my Mom would have us eat our ice cream out of mugs. I think this might have been to shrink the portions a little, I mean there were six of us and we could kill a half gallon in one evening.
Tonight I had to eat our ice cream (left over from root beer floats this weekend) out of a mug, but it wasn't to shrink the portion size, it was because there are no clean bowls...that is how we roll in our house.

I like letters

During her last visit to Kansas my sister mentioned that she was thinking of starting a blog. I was very excited by this idea because 1) I would love to read updates on her life and what she is up to and what she is thinking about and 2) because writing in this blog has been very rewarding for me. I know that not many people read my blog, and that is just fine with me. The fun is in finding things to talk about, expressing my opinions and thoughts in a place that feels comfortable and safe, and learning about myself by looking at what it is that seems worthy of a post. As silly as it sounds, writing in this has helped me figure out just a little bit more about what is important to me and it has introduced me to a whole new world of people doing similar things...or not so similar things, that are interesting, fun or inspiring.

A discovery along the way was that I am not the only one that enjoys a good letter now and then...not the handwritten paper kind (although I enjoy those too) but the old, rusty, faded and worn kind that I can hang on my walls and use in my kitchen to spell the word EAT. I am a collector of interesting letters and one of these days I will post a picture of my letter wall...until then Ms. Supafly's recent find of flickr fun (as if I didn't spend enough time on flickr) will have to do. I am pretty sure that I have looked at every letter and that I have spelled out all of your names already. It's super fun.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The edge

My family is always teetering on disaster. We are always just one car breaking down, one sick day, one day without a babysitter, away from breaking down. My Mom is sick. She calls me yesterday to tell me that she is throwing up and her throat hurts and she has Henry gated in the living room while she lays on the couch trying not to breath on him. She sounds terrible and must feel awful because it takes a lot to get that woman on the sofa for a whole 24 hours. For us it is terrible timing. Wade has deadlines, I am right at the start of the month so my billings have to be completed by Friday. And I have no vacation time left, so I really can't leave work. Wade leaves to pick Henry up and it spirals downhill from there. His van overheats. I double pay on student loans pretty much emptying our bank account. I have an exam in 4 days and have not looked at a book or read a note in weeks. Our house is a disaster zone. Henry is busy busy busy, no time for quiet play while Mom and Dad clean the dishes or throw in a load of laundry. It's chaos. I really don't know how people do this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Time travel

Does it happen to you? Something triggers it, a sound or a smell or the weather or someone you run into...and your brain picks you up and drops you back in a moment. It isn't just a memory, it is a journey back, with all the feelings from that time in your life. I like to call it feeling a memory. For me, it is one of the best things in life. I've tried to induce that feeling before. Just last year I found an old shampoo bottle from high school in one of my million bathroom goodies bins and got all excited. I opened the bottle in sweet anticipation of what was to come. I wondered what part of my high school experience I would travel to. Would I feel those awful insecurities again? Or maybe that incredible freedom you won't recognize or appreciate until you are a 30 year old women with a husband, a child and a mortgage. It didn't work. I recognized the smell but stayed right in my seat.

Last night the breeze caught me just right and took me to our old house on New Hampshire. It was a very old house with windows everywhere and screen doors on both the West and East side. When the breeze would blow just right we could lay in bed and feel like we were outside. I was back in our bed on a cold sunny morning. The breeze was perfect, it blew the wind chimes and made the leaves dance in the trees. I could hear the leaves blowing, I could smell the breeze, I could feel the cold blankets under my legs. I felt the freedom of being young and having no obligations on a Sunday morning. Just for a second...

Wade changed the shower curtain liner this morning. The bathroom smells like new plastic. One deep breath and I am back in prenatal classes at the hospital. We are sitting in class with 6 other ladies, all with their hands on their bellies and their hearts on the sleeves. Feeling nervous, excited, joyful, uncertain, courageous, and new depth of love and commitment. Wade is next to me. He is there because he knows what it means to me and looks at me with loving appreciation, pride and concern. He obligingly feels my belly with every kick and hops up whenever I shift uncomfortably or make sound. Then we are leaving class. We are in the hospital parking lot. It is late fall so the sun has set. The air is cold, it smells like winter. It is quiet, most people are at home snuggled in. The sky is clear and the even the stars look a little cold; like tiny ice crystals in a dark sky. We carry our pillows and blankets and I think about how in a few weeks we will be walking into this building with our blankets and pillows for a whole different reason and we will be transformed from two to three. And then the feeling is gone and I spend the whole night trying to figure out how to go back. I sit on the toilet with my eyes closed and the shower curtain on my nose. Nothing. It is like the giddy feeling you get when you are riding in a car and go over a hill but don't realize that you are going over the hill and your stomach jumps and your throat tightens up. No matter how many hills you go over, you won't get that feeling back until you stop paying attention.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

F.K. future project

I am really excited. I found one of my favorite images (the one on the left) of Frida Kahlo as a pendent on etsy. It came in a set of three, so I am going to make a necklace for myself and maybe one for my older sister who also likes Frida, although maybe not quite as much as I do, but I think she would still like it. I also found this onsie that was so cute I couldn't resist it. I'll save it for a future niece or maybe another bean :)