Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Mugs and My 100th Post

As Heather says, "Mondays are hard! Blogging on Mondays shouldn't be!" This week's theme is pink.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Fall Party for 18 First Graders

I used to feel comforted in the cloak of anonymity that comes with living 700 miles away from home. In the early years of being new to this city, I began to build an identity for myself that was not based on the religious or political views of my parents, family members or first husband. I had the pleasure of seeing life through my eyes. There was not a single person to whom I felt pressured to impress with my style, intelligence or wit. I simply went to work and attempted to provide comfort to my daughter during her emotional grief that came with divorce. Being far from home meant standing up on my own two feet and living life on my terms.
But this post is not about those years...

Anonymity in one's community can be beneficial to the independent souls needing space to develop their identity, belief systems and desires. But after years of standing alone, I realized that I wanted to connect with people in a meaningful way. I made attempts to reach out and make friends, to participate in community events. It took a long time before people would actually accept my offer to participate in things. I was still an anonymous nobody with no connections.
So this year, when Elliot's teacher asked me to be the room parent, I accepted. It is an honor for a nobody like me to be asked to do something! And, even though I'm particularly busy with sales this month thanks to Halloween, I'm finding that I can manage. My to do list now has several columns. I am aware of the potential for burn out, considering what it looks like:

Etsy, Housekeeping, Meals, Laundry, Pets, Yard, Errands, Phone Calls, Email, Patent Drawings (learning CAD), Kitchen Renovation (OMG will it ever be finished???) Mothering, ARF Tulsa Event, Room Parent....

And maybe that looks like light work to most everyone reading. The things I take on keep me busy but they also keep me from sinking into depression. There's just enough things to keep me on the edge of stress without overwhelming me. I'm discovering that balancing one's life between self nurture such as taking time to enjoy lovely walks in the woods, fires in the hearth, or running at the gym with community activities is an art. To do this well, one really needs to know what they enjoy. For example, I care about the hungry but despise working in industrial sized kitchens after my stint as a lunch lady. So, you won't find me in the soup kitchen. But I do love to create things that are fun for kids. Instead of a craft, this year's fall party for 18 first graders is going be like a mini festival with activity stations. We'll have something for everyone, including:

A Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkin Head station, where students dress up pumpkins like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. We will add extra pumpkins for kids and pets. We might even make salt dough so they can form their own ears, noses and lips to attach with toothpicks. We'll have a box filled yarn wigs, hats, silly glasses and markers. Parents can take pictures of their finished creations.

A Cooking Station, where students are taught how to make their own flavored microwave popcorn from scratch using paper bags and regular popping corn. We have been experimenting at home with great success. I'll have to devote a post to this process as we perfect our recipes.

A Theater, with poems, stories, puppets and props.
The kids will direct and organize their own productions.

A Story Telling Station. This will be a great way to have a little break from all the activity. I might have to bring a pillow and listen to one when I start to freak out from all the busy stuff going on!

A Face Painting station. I'll be making a little sample board for the kids to choose their images. This is challenging given the fact that we are pretending that we are not celebrating Halloween.

So, if you happened to knock on my door today, you might have to clear a space to sit down. We've got multiple projects going on at once. I used to worry if things were out of place and get all out of sorts when too much was going on at once. I think its a sign that I've become a happier, more flexible, active and social person, now that I can enjoy and embrace the chaos of a fuller, more vibrant life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Imagining the Otherwise

Maybe I have not had enough coffee this morning to write a proper title. I can't decided what to call it. Since visiting Fresh Mommy I wanted to participate in the Sunday Citar, which is all about sharing your favorite quote. Perhaps the following is not incredibly artsy or poetic, but it carries me.

"The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource"--Daniel J. Boorstin

I found it in Bernie Seigel's 365 Prescriptions for the Soul. Bernine follows this quote with an inspiring commentary. He writes:

"We are told to dream the impossible dream, but who knows what is impossible? Does it make sense to look at an enormous aircraft and think it can fly, not to mention to the moon? What are your unspoken dreams and imaginings? Write them down, and when you have time explore and develop them. If we never imagine what can be, it will never come into not thwart your children's imaginations by being discouraging and telling them to get in touch with reality. Reality is what we imagine it to be."

Since last week when I was feeling feeling defeated and fragile because people told me to "get in touch with reality," the business got busy and I feel better. Especially since one customer shared that the Knees and Paws she ordered would be used for a year.
To think that something created by my hands would be kept that long was an amazing feeling. I silently suspect that I'm not just making Halloween accessories to be thrown away or stored in a box for next year, although I did challenge myself to create something from Elliot's imagination seen here:

From the very beginning, Knees and Paws have been inspired by the way children play; the goal is to help them have a fuller imaginative experience during daily pretending.

That being said, I am thankful for the increased sales in October.

And today, for the first time in two weeks, I have a day off! I plan to fold and actually put away my laundry and take my sweet boy out. Perhaps we'll pick out the perfect carving pumpkin and fill the yard with lights. I'll be sure to listen to the ideas that flow effortlessly from his imagination. I'll take extra care to encourage him to start designing and building the jet pack he's always wanted.

With all of this talk about imagination, I feel my sense of play returning. That, combined with the cooler weather, has awakened the feeling of Michigan and the memory of so many gorgeous fall days. I'm sure that much has been written about the feeling of homesickness in fall. It makes perfect sense that there is something called Homecoming. Fall is a time to return. A time to return to the roots of our childhood imaginations. Nature proves it when leaves release their hold to lay close to their roots, falling home.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Eggshell Baby

Three times in one week, people who are close to me, whom I love, whom I admire, have shared comments meant to 'educate' me. Those comments, taken together, leave me here on a Monday morning feeling raw, bruised, and insecure.
As you know I've been building something new for my life. It's so new that it's like a baby doll made out of an eggshell. The words shared by my friends have had the effect of stomping on my eggshell baby, crushing it to bits on the concrete.
I wish I were not so sensitive. Perhaps I need some kind of emotional armor.
Perhaps I am in an eggshell of my own creation and need to emerge so that one day I can fly.
My thought for today is that I want to heal this oversensitivity and the feeling of desperation that comes with it. I should be happy and go outside, take a walk in the woods and forget words that float into nothingness in the air. I wish I had no memory of the sound and shape and feel of words like arrows flung my way.

Friday, October 8, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

Erin at Dropped Stitches has inspired me to share a list of things that make me happy. Sometimes just thinking about them is enough to change my grumbly, irritated mood. I need a happy list today because I'm sleep deprived and cranky after my son came home with an excessive amount of homework seen here:

I love Van Morrison's Into the Mystic I have to be careful not to play it too much or it will lose it's magic.

One of my favorite movies is The Jack Bull with John Cusak. I love pretty much every movie he's ever made, especially Better off Dead and Say Anything.

I love running, hiking, kayaking and riding bikes on the park trails with my son.

Dancing with my Husband in the living room with our socks on.

Sitting in the sun on the deck with the cat on my lap.

Giving things away. Sharing time with people.

Kids of all ages.

Reading travel memoirs. Someday I may write one. I just need to pick the right destination. If you've ever been somewhere exciting and wonderful, let me know!

Granola cereal with cold milk.

The smell and taste of cider, cinnamon sugar doughnuts and crisp Macintosh apples at the apple orchard. This is an experience from my childhood that I carry with me always. When I think of home in the fall, the memory of this place wakes up the child inside.

I'm sure there are so many more happy things to remember but for now, that's enough to propel me into having a great day. I'd love to read what you love, too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Please let this new and wonderful activity in the Etsy shop keep going! Orders are rolling out the door every day! I'm so incredibly blessed and excited. October may now be my new favorite month!
I have an idea cooking that I'm just dying to start creating. Please visit again for pics of this craziness!
So busy right now it's hard to blog properly, so I do apologize! Thinking of all my blogging friends and looking forward to reading what is going on soon. xoxoxo

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