Saturday, August 04, 2007

Please, Share This Post

You may recall that I have been working on a craft project to donate to a fundraiser. Believe it or not I was flustered and confused about what to make and I questioned whether it was good enough. I even wondered if I really needed to bother... if maybe I could just sign a check. In other words I was too bogged down in my own insecurities and laziness to really appreciate what was at the heart of this project: "Krystal is a single mother, with no medical insurance and fighting breast cancer."

I made an apron, with inspiration from Calamity Kim's generous and gorgeous aprons and a really awesome tutorial at "lululollylegs." The idea is to collect lots of handmade donations to auction at a charity event and the money raised will help Krystal.

Tracy has been keeping us updated on the fundraising details and sharing her usual optimism and cheer, which is so sweet and encouraging. And today she shared something that really shook me up and made me want to help. Not just participate, but actually make a difference.

Here is how I am going to help:
Read this article Now. It is a personal story and the woman telling her story has information we need to know about breast cancer. She has a long battle ahead of her and it won't be an easy one. I plan to follow along and offer her prayers and encouragement, through her blog "Toddler Planet." Knowledge is power, and if you only read one more thing today, please let it be This One and then pass it on, so we can help make a difference. Thank you.

Max is 9!

Max's birthday is in full swing. We like to spread out our fun, remember. So, first there was movie night, seeing "Transformers," which was well received and especially enjoyed by the birthday boy. On his actual birthday Max gathered the packages that have been accumulating and he happily dove-in. Present time!

All the way from Hawaii came his favorite meal: Ramen Noodles. Wisely, they were sent uncooked (we joked about this for quite some time lol.) He also received CDs of opera selections and piano music, because Max loves music and playing piano. And to satisfy his other interest, he got a fresh pack of origami paper.

From Wisconsin, Grandma Nancy, always in tune and on the ball, sent Transformer action figures! A huge hit, especially post movie, when the boys are still talking about the highlights, special effects and story line.

What else does Max love? Max loves, loves frogs. And from way far north came two froggy puppets with action tongues and cute-cute faces. Awesome! Max spent the entire day going between all of his presents and saying to himself, "This is the best birthday ever.

Today we will meet his friend Tristan at the park and we'll eat some cupcakes and play on the big climbing wall and push Maria in the swing... maybe push Geoff in a wheel-chair... he tore something in his knee and it hurts mucho, mucho... he just called me to the bedroom and asked me to go buy him some crutches. Oh dear.

OKay. Supposedly I leave at 0'dark-hundred tomorrow and drive for 20 hours, camping along the way, to get to my Mommy's house. I have not packed, or prepared. Time to look busy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

All Caught Up (insert audio clip of me laughing)

Well, at least my softie has her head on straight!
Lord, why do I divert myself with silly, messy projects, just when my life is in reality overdrive?
Yes, I actually dreamed-up a chicken to love and to hold. All she needs is a name.

I also washed 3 more loads of clothes, playing a risky game of Domestic Roulette with our flaky, washer. It was on the fourth, and most critical load, that I lost. Now I have a washer full of dirty, soapy water, panties, bras, blouses and dresses. Crap. Oh, gee.

In other news, I have finally made firm plans to go see my Mommy and Ron, and blackberries and sand dunes. It's a drive that has me somewhat anxious, and wondering: Lord, why do I divert myself with silly, messy projects, just when my life is in reality overdrive? This time I know the answer: I really want to see my Mommy and her Mommy, so this weekend I will load our wagon, again, and the children and I will embark on one more summer camping excursion.

We are piecing together fun things in honor of Max's birthday. For instance; the boys went to see "Transformers" last night. That was a big hit with all of them. Listening to them discuss movies, books, games and art is always engaging. They have interesting, critical views and an educated interest in the process of film making, game development, writing and art. Very nice. Tomorrow night we will take Max to dinner at the restaurant of his choice. He wants to invite 5 friends. This is logistically tricky and I am in fierce negotiations even as I write this post.

Somehow, finally, the ants are gone. I really shouldn't state the fact, or because of the laws of superstition and coincidence, 14,000,000 ants will return to feast on a single droplet of yogurt. All summer it's been like "The Naked Jungle" around here.

William has done some more driving, and I think that is going well. I did pay bills and get Max to his piano class. Alex, if you are reading this, go finish those thank you cards! Gotta rent a car for our Wisconsin trip. Maria will have to start dance classes in September. Thanks to aunt Carol, I have checked the latest China-Poison recall list, and I am happy to report we are lead-free. I finished something for the Breast Cancer Benefit for Krystal. I'll share some pics later... I think it's decent enough to contribute.

Sure I accomplished a lot, like making a doll quilt for our good friends James and Deanne, and I have done some cooking and cleaning too. I could even cross things off my list, but I don't dare start another list, because it would be just as long or longer than the last list.

You know what was wonderful? There were 10 encouraging, uplifting, affirming, happy comments on the last post. It helped. It really helped. Sometimes Most times, I go it alone and don't seek support from my friends, and I want to thank all of you that left me a comment, or more thoughtful messages in my email. Thank you. You cheered and bolstered me. Once again I am amazed about this new frontier, the blogosphere. There are a lot of kind and good people in the world, and my own little corner of the world is better for knowing all of you.

Maybe list making isn't so bad. Stuff has to get done, and it does feel good seeing some of those things get done. Alright, another list, because it's responsible and prudent:

1. Buy a washing machine
2. Clean Everything

There. That should do it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Like a Headless Chicken...

If I owe you a letter, a phone call, a bottle of wine or a cup of sugar, please accept my apologies. I am running around in circles, going nowhere, falling behind and losing orbit. And it's only Monday.

The children are well. They are happy, healthy, occupied, helpful, kind, inventive and fun to be with. Geoff is wonderful. The cats are content. I am going to focus on these blessings, and replace the dead washer, eradicate ants, pay the bills, write a letter of recommendation,
sit on Alex until he produces thank you cards,
reserve a rental car,
find schools,
enroll Maria in more dance classes + get her larger dance shoes,
let William drive more,
remember Max has a piano lesson on Wednesday,
decide about this Oregon road trip I am debating,
make something beautiful for the fundraiser auction (due in one week)
answer questions posed by my book writing friend,
send photos to Kelly,
deliver photos to B,
try to be 2 places at once on Saturday,
devise a wonderful birthday celebration for Max, who turns 9 this week.

Oh my.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Paid Forward!

Do you remember Tracy, of "Pink Purl," posted about a game of "Pay it Forward?" I blindly, greedily, signed-up, because I could not resist the chance to have something made by Tracy! I am busy working on the handmade goodies that I have agreed to pay forward. (Remember, I get 365 days to fulfill my promise. Thank goodness.) Since Tracy lives so far away and since she too had 365 days to PIF, I tried to put out of my mind the very exciting idea that someday a very special package would arrive at our home.

Then it happened. It came. All the way from Norway, a package came, for me! Between Kim's generosity and the beautiful gifts Tracy has sent me, I am feeling... long pause I am feeling blessed. Unexpectedly blessed. Delightfully blessed. I like the soft, white envelope, the Norwegian mailing label that hints of things to come, and the crowned, blue Norge postage stamps. So exotic, so full of possibilities, so thrilling I squealed. I ran my hand across Tracy's name and thanked her, because she made me feel giddy.

Once again, I am favored with far more than was promised. She wrote a note in the daisy card, explaining that in Norway there is a custom between girlfriends to give candles and paper napkins for dinner parties. I love this. I never buy myself the pretty napkins, so it's wonderful to have a friend to treat me to something lovely. Like Tracy, I think I will grow accustomed to this Norwegian custom.

She made the necklace, with all sorts of beads, including detailed glass beads, and they are strung lovingly together. It's a beautiful necklace and so much like one that I would admire and wish to have, but I never buy myself jewelry... Tracy you are treating me so nicely! I have a very good source for beads, so I look forward to replenishing Tracy's supply when I send her PIF. Maria and I both love the necklace, but she won't get turns. It's mine!

Tracy thoughtfully added an extra something she knew Maria would admire too. See the pretty pink rosette? It's made of ribbon, a button and yo-yo's and it can be pinned-on. It's really sweet. Maria recognizes yo-yo's, because I have been making so many as part of one of my PIF projects. When I asked her if she would like to wear it, she got very happy. The pretty rosette was adored and protected on Maria's dress all afternoon... I may add it to one of her sun hats, which will make it look so tea-party perfect. I will post a picture soon.

Oh, and there were chocolates. You're probably thinking I ate them already! No. They are waiting for just the right moment to be served as a taste of Norway dessert. The whole family is looking forward to the occasion! Chocolate that travels across an ocean and a continent merits its own post, I think.

I am so glad I rushed into playing Pay it Forward! I had a moment of mild fear when I realized I had agreed to make 3 hand-made goodies, because it seemed a little daunting, given my time constraints. No fear! I look forward to passing along the joy and happiness that Tracy has so generously and kindly sent to my home. It really is a lot of fun to receive presents. Does that seem obvious? Perhaps, but lately I feel like even obvious things can be wondrous and new, and I can't wait to pass that feeling forward. Thank you Tracy. You are dear.

I've Been Thinking

Really. I've been thinking and reflecting, and pondering and contemplating too. You see, I've won a "Thinking Blogger Award," thanks to a thoughtful friend in Norway, and the honor and responsibility of this award has me on a "deep thought" course. Remember my disclaimer: I am like a hen... scratching the surface and looking for good bits. I worry that if I post the award badge people will come around and see what I'm up to and ask, "What is she thinking?"

Well, after some consideration, deep thoughts and other musings, I have decide to play along. The Thinking Blogger Award is a meme or something that I add to, by nominating 5 more thinkers. This is an interesting yet delicate proposal, since I don't want to irritate, ruffle, offend, neglect, abuse or disenchant anyone. I read many blogs, for many reasons, and I find that there is little in the world that does not make me think. These 5 blogs make me think and are among many more that make me happy to think:

Mom, What's For Dinner?
Anne and I are friends and we've shared a lot of dinners together, some beautiful and attended by our wonderful circle of friends, and other dinners that were just spontaneous and delicious, a joy for their simplicity. Anne is one of those important people that raises my consciousness about what I am eating, while maintaining a humorous, forgiving perspective when contemplating the challenges of feeding children and other residents. Local or organic? Local and organic. Leftovers, yes, no, maybe? We have to make these decisions everyday, and it's something to think about. Go ask her what's for dinner... or tell her what you're cooking...

When I think about being a woman, a mom, a wife, a person evolving and learning, seeking answers, finding acceptance, I think of No Ordinary Moment. Our daughters are about the same age, so it's been wonderful to share our thoughts and happy snapshots of Amira and Maria growing, playing and watching us, their mommies. I think we have both realized the significance of being mothers and role models to our own girls. Our daughters are watching us. What are we showing them? And what are we doing for ourselves? Life is a journey and I am happy to have my friend Janece to share it with. I think we'll get together someday and find that we are sisters.

Think of leaving the big city and heading out to the country? I do. Think of cooking, making things, and celebrating any silly thing? I do. And when I want to think of country life and gratitude, and reflect on happy places, vistas and making a home, I think of New Rustic. I love the thoughts and beliefs they followed to make Butterfly Hollow more than a plan for tomorrow, but a reality for today. They are discovering and exploring and sharing the journey. I think it's a treat to visit Butterfly Hollow.

You may have noticed that I link to a lot of sewing and craft blogs. It has been a huge pleasure to discover so many extremely talented women. They are generous and inspiring. All my life I have enjoyed the idea of making things, beautiful, vintage, useful or not and always by hand. Now I am finding dozens of other women, like me, that want to create, make, build, glue, stitch, and share, and it's wonderful. I am learning new skills, meeting new people, finding more resources... This is tough... can you tell I am stalling? How can I choose 1 sewing-sister-kindred spirit, when I have enjoyed the blogs of so many? See my links? I like them all. That's why they are there.

Quilt Otaku makes me think and Marisa makes me try new things, like her "Garden Windows" cathedral quilt. I am still working on mine. It's a challenging pattern, for me. I credit her with inspiring me to be more daring, more disciplined in my quilting. So, when it comes to thinking about quilting, thinking about new patterns, methods, techniques and thinking about trying something that challenges me, I think of "Quilt Otaku."

One last nomination: Grammarphobia. How's my grammar? Not so good, I'm afraid. OKay. I'm pressed for time and I have no editors here, so I imagine Chickenblog is generously sprinkled with errors. I do like to learn, and very recently I have discovered this Q and A blog for grammar. I like it. It seems to emphasize writing for the internet, including email tips. I plan to read all of the "Grammar Myths" and think about making my writing more gooder. Just kidding. Well, it will get gooder, but I'll write more better.