Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In the Still

With two energetic children just out of toddlerhood, every day is noisy and fast with many things going unfinished and stress and whining often grinding me down to someone I would never consent to becoming. Then, when I've climbed the mountain of laundry and dishes and demanding tasks, it comes. A quiet, a pause, a stillness like a rising ocean's swell before the wave forms and just like when the waves used to lift my child's body up so that I felt like I was weightless and free, I am. Free and weightless, wish-less and grateful. Drawing in my breath and being made new and stronger. I want that still to be with me every day though so much secures its prevention. I know that much of it is my own self-produced desperation. I want things, I want checkmarks, I want experiences, I want security, I want to know the future, I want joy, I want wealth, I want prestige, I want everything the world has to offer. But, truly, I just want to be loved, the way God loves, and know it. I feel it most when someone loves me when I absolutely don't deserve it. When my little girl gathers miniature blooms from our yard's weeds and says she brought me a present, "It's these flowers. Because I love you." After I have been nothing but a selfish grouch for hours. That love surprises me again when my son pushes his feet against mine just for the pleasure of the pressure when he's telling me about his day or asking "why?" questions. Meanwhile I'm being a freakshow about homework or cleanliness before and after. But between my commands and roughness, he looks at me with soft eyes of love and sees the real me. As I write this, it has been the most beautiful, still, indigo dusk with a quiet rippled only by my gentle tapping and the computer motor's purring. In many places on the earth, this is an impossibility. But maybe not. I hope every single creation is able to be in the still.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Welcome Spring

Ah, it's finally springtime and I am releasing my long-held breath that awaited the official end of the cold and wind. Yet, the wind is roaring outside right now and it's tough to be out without being properly covered up. I know, though, that it is only cold because it is nighttime and that the wind's loudness will soon abate. In the high desert, the wind is our constant companion and the days she doesn't wail, we try to not even say her name for fear of inciting her rampage. During the winter, the combination of cold and wind is a fearsome thing and I often find myself afraid to go out. So, I'm happy in a decently secure knowledge that when morning comes, I know we won't have to wear gloves and hats and jackets, and still be cold, and that we can run around with the sun on our faces. I'm seeing that every green thing is happy, too.

For just over a week, the buds on the plum, apricot and cherry trees all over town have been bursting open with their bright pink flowers. Some, so pink they look like fluorescent magenta. Then, there's the white dainty flowers that cluster on their dark branches looking like a softer version of frosted-over snow clumps.
Two weeks ago when the blooms were hidden and just budding.
The first few buds burst.

I've long been a plant admirer and, very depressingly, a plant killer. Yes, I never had a plant before this just past year that, hardy as it may have been touted, did not succumb to my brown thumb. I think that phase has finally passed because I have four plants that have survived about 4 months with me now and it's interesting how dear they are to me. It's almost as if we're clinging on together and willing to go on, no matter what. I haven't been a superb plant caretaker, but, there they are green-leafed and going strong.

A survivor.

By our front door are three iris bulbs with several buds that have opened up to show their bright velvety violetness swiped with a golden yellow streak. I just love them and hope they have a nice, long life before the scorching sun does them in.
It was a big surprise when we saw these iris buds peeping out.


They bloomed!

Today we spent the day with friends, basking in the glory of spring break and a sunny afternoon. We made smoothies with frozen strawberries, extra-ripe bananas, a splash of milk, and honey Greek yogurt (and papaya for me and the only one other friend who enjoys it). Sipping on smoothies and laughing together just like old times made me excited for summer when the kids will really be out of school and we can enjoy the freedom of t-shirt and shorts days, swimming and recreational reading.

Are you happy spring is here? What do you look forward to?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ok, yikes almost a month since I last posted BuuTT, I have been jotting down posts when I have those random unbusy-but-stuck-somewhere moments and after I write out my blog post on paper, I stash it in my purse and assume I will have time to put it up ... soon. And, then not. So, I'm going to post what I worked on today and go backwards a little 'cause why the heck not?

For a while I've wanted to make a picture list of the children's books my kids and I are major fans of and here it is:

1. My No, No, No Day! by Rebecca Patterson is a perfect kids' book about waking up in a funk, on the wrong side of the bed, and the first thing you see is somebody messing up your stuff. The little girl is so real she may as well have the same name as my daughter who of course loves this book and both her and her brother roll off the bed or couch laughing good strong belly laughs because they can relate to being upset about the little things that daily life is about. The illustrations are spot on with the story so it's getting added to our collection for keeps. The title and cover art grabbed my attention in the sea of books offered at our local library.

2. MINE! by Shutta Crum, with illustrations by Patrice Barton, is able to tell an entire little saga with one word -MINE!- so of course little people easily claim the character as themselves and go along for the super fun, soggy ride and end up realizing that the best we have are the people and pets who love us and our lives become joyful through sharing what we have. The book is an absolute work of art page by page and we treasure it! My mine!-yelling daughter's behavior improved after the 1st reading--thank goodness!

3. 5 Little Monkeys With Nothing To Do by Eileen Christelow is a beloved kids book in which the monk-kids' complaint of boredom gets them doing all the necessary chores in anticipation of Grandma's visit, but no hard work goes without quickly being undone as we all learn the hard way, and the fun way. My kids and I love laughing to this book every time we pick it up. Ms. Christelow's art is awesomely anthropomorphic so her books are crowds-of-all-ages pleasers. Thanks for sending us this one Gram!

4. If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond continues to be our favorite of the If You Give... series by this dynamic duo. Darling pictures and a day full of at-home adventures bookended with pancakes and maple syrup--what's not to love?! We go back to it constantly like the pancake and maple syrup addicts we are :)   Why do I always get a craving to read this book on Saturday mornings? Gram knew she had to share this one with us.

5. Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf is a gorgeously color saturated tale of a little fox who has to learn how to make friends with a cute lesson on taking mom's words too literally but figuring it out in a fun way as you go along. Relf's acrylic and pen drawings and the book's super-sized size give the effect of watching the book on a screen so my kids love it and have mussed the pages somewhat, but, all in love. Fox Makes Friends was the first book purchased by my son's dad and I specifically for him and it was the one he insisted in including in the nightly storytime for those beginning years. I was happily surprised by his sister loving it as much as he does.

6. Aunt Isabel Tells A Good One by Kate Duke is a delicately and exquisitely delightful story about how to tell a good story and it most certainly is! This is a must read for anybody who likes books and the stories in them. I was fascinated by the brilliance of the author in her telling and drawing of this clever mouse tale and I was impressed with her excellence in teaching by example of how to tell a good one. An absolute treasure that I would not part with even if kidnapped and threatened by an odious mole and a bad egg bat. Many heartfelt thanks to Gram who sent us this special book from her cache.

7. Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson is an adorable 3 ft-high view of the world in an afternoon of puppy antics with two cutie-pie kids that my kids instantly related to. I've not previously been a fan of Spike Lee and what many have referred to as his "antics" but this book I just happened to find on a library shelf put him in a completely different light for me and I'll be glad to see him in the limelight from producing more of the same. Each page is a painting and truly brings to life summer, childhood and begging puppies to behave and enjoying the laughs when they don't. I "had" to read this book every day until its due date :)   I think I know a little girl who neeeeds this for her birthday.

8. Cat Secrets by Jef Czekjaf is a really hip story featuring some cats with a book of cat secrets that only cats are allowed to read. With graphic pics that crack you up on every page and physical activities you're asked to do, this is a more than worthwhile interactive experience. I didn't mind at all every time the kids came at me with this book in their hands. I also still really need to know what the secrets were...meaow? A sweet library treat hiding completely incognito on the shelf.

9. There's a Wocket in my Pocket! by Dr. Seuss is probably our favorite from the Dr.'s massive anthology and there is soooo much to love in his collection of works. The quirky story and the rhyming of everyday-used objects in the home with nonsensical words constructed by simply changing the prefixes makes for excellent sight word teaching. And, of course, there's plenty for preschoolers to love, especially the whimsical creatures Dr. Seuss creates for each made-up word. I add silly scenarios and sayings for each of the pictures every time we read it and my kids just can't get enough of this book. Gifted by Gram so we give her our thanks.

10. Sleep Tight, Little Bear by Giovanni Caviezel, Roberta Pagioni (illustrator) is an ideal bedtime storybook for little ones. It was a gift from Grandpa and it was an instant favorite because of the gentle prose and charming pictures that had me wishing I was a mama bear who lived in a tree because it's so gracefully furnished. The baby bear is understandably worried about monsters in his room at night and his mom responds with pure love and wisdom. A pleasure to read as little eyes blink ever so ..much ..more.. ..s.l.o.w..l.y..

11. Clip-Clop! by Nicola Smee has an affable and solicitous horse give rides to some barnyard friends and just as things get out of control, the typeface gets really large and yet disaster is avoided just in time for the characters and my kids to shout Again!!! Cute and simple art infused with the magic of story telling plus the aspect of playing to the very end of safety's edge make Clip-Clop a book you have to say, "Again!" to again and again, and happily. A library find that earns its happy face.

12. Down in the Woods at Sleepytime by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban visits four forest families as they try to get settled down for bed. I found this book to be an effective and invaluable resource for getting my wild childs to settle and allow sleepiness to find them. I loved the micro and macro transitions splendidly provided by Cabban's picture scenes. Schaefer's text had me making all kinds of fun forest animal noises that my kids gladly giggled at and requested often. Gram sent us this book from her collection - thanks!

These admirable and adjective-worthy books are our favorites and it's a pleasure to share them. What are your favorites?
Every time I decide I'm going to make a new post, I turn on the computer, open my browser and ... start looking at all the ingeniously unique blogs I have slowly started to find. I'm completely new to this and am starting to think I need training. As soon as I started to think I could write at least as well as other bloggers I ran into Meg and was awed by her awesomeness. I feel like she's the me that lives parallel-ly elsewhere and married someone who loved her and knew how to nurture that love and made the right decisions for her life. Blogs like hers fill that need in me to fix all that's wrong within my cavernous interiors by talking it out in a written post.

I also have an enormous hungry love of fashion and creativity in fashion and so far I've found some good tasting here and here and here and here. Then there's so much to inspire me that I've become a Pinterest addict and there is 0 exaggeration there.

Then here's my sew-happy fellow Moxie Mama who is our glue and glitter and sanity-saver and best friend in fashion and so much more.

So, I've learned that life can be really fun, if you let it be. All meanings intended (:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This dusty place

"Remember, dust you are and to dust you shall return."

These were the words spoken as the ashes of last year's palm branches were formed in the shape of a cross on many foreheads this evening. Recently I was thinking about how our bodies, if abandoned to the elements, do turn into dust after our death and in that way we return to the world. We transition from being in the world to being part of that which has surrounded us since we began to exist. I always feel a sense of separation as if I've only just been placed in this place and soon I can get to where I actually belong. Last week I read in Dave Roche's hilarious mini tome, On Subbing, how when he was working at a thrift store and grossed out by the amount of dust he had to endure, he realized he was actually breathing in dead people and was desperate to escape. I too am desperate to escape the dust of my old life and the oppression of wanting what is impossible to have: a story-book life. I hope to leave some dust --behind-- as I run forward to a much more fulfilling life.

With hope,

A poem born of heartbreak.... :)

Why Not Wait?

I wish you would have waited for me
What a life filled with lovely
would be there for we
Instead of the lonely
that's here just for me

I'm trapped in a gown made of something like white
and a veil that wraps tight my heart and my eyes
It's stained from the flow that pours and pours
Soon only maroon will show
Our close ripped not only just clothes

Can you wait, can you wait
It's late, I know it's late          (too late)
I need you to wait
'Cause my eyes keep improving 'til they make a blank slate        (if you wait)
I can see it, I can finally see it
How I could be, should be and we could be
The weave of our fingers, our hearts and all these lives
Everything peaceful, in right

Wait at the crossroad and we'll take the path
The one that erases all of our wrath
Gently it leads to unity, honesty, our true match
On it grow the flowers of forgiveness, forbearance and perserverance
It waits there forever, for us
Do you see it?

Wait at the cliff without going over
So four hearts don't break over and over
'Cause even if night falls you don't need to be frightened
Follow the halls hallowed by others like us
You'll see their lights and we'll be enlightened
Wait at the start, wait at the end, wait at the middle and let's both bend
Both of us need the one to whom we were sent

A little wait so there's no one to hate
A little wait for a different fate

Why couldn't we wait?

Oh... Why...not...wait?

by Paola 2/7/2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome and Thanks

For so long I have been terrified of many things, but mainly, of sharing myself. Writing a blog was an exciting idea that I often squelched with mindtalk that reminded me: everyone might see, everyone can judge, everyone can criticize, everyone can hurt me... while not false, these ideas have suffocated me and I'm ready to share and let it be. I hope I do something that's worthwhile for you to see, judge, et cetera. Welcome to me. Thanks for coming.