Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bad Mama

So I've gone against the grain and decided not to have a big traditional birthday party for my 2 year old son. Well, make that any party. We will be instead taking him to a kid's discovery museum with one of his best little toddler friends, which I personally think he'll get more out of. Several things factored into my decision: that I'm hauling around an extra 30 pounds that make me feel achy, tired, and out of breath, that he's 2 and doesn't even know it is his birthday, that I have no energy to clean the house before and after a party, and that kids' birthday parties always somehow fascinated and repelled me. I guess this makes me the worst mother of the year. Or ever. Next year, when he's writing his own guest list, I'm sure I'll do the suburban mom thing and order personalized plates and napkins. But never a jumpy house--never, ever a jumpy house. Someone please stop me if I start considering one of those things. We don't have a big enough yard anyway. Perhaps I'm just new to all of this. When I was growing up, my family's idea of a birthday party was about 75 people at Victory Park (that's in Stockton, y'all) with some barbecued something-or-other, a pinata from El Dorado market, a bunch of kids with fruit punch stains on their faces, and a large amount of beer--Budweiser and a cheap Mexican label. I'm just not on board yet with the personalized decorations, the hand-packaged party favors, and all the stress involved.
*Sigh* I am the worst mother of the year. My poor son.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Visions of Evenweave Dance in my Head...

After visiting a needlepoint shop with some crafty friends this weekend, I am all fired up to start making something, but what? I really like the idea of re-purposing, so if it can involve a trip to my local Salvation army that would be a plus. Also, it should involve yummy fabric. The possibilities are endless and I want to start something that I've never done before: I'm currently obsessed with the idea of making a penny rug, as I'm going through a New England/American Primitive stage right now, but I've always wanted to learn Hardanger, or maybe a blackwork sampler, perhaps a Bargello seat cover, or oh! Assisi work...What's a girl to do? I guess I should attack my stash closet and see what I've already got.
Here are some pictures for those not familiar with these lovely arts.

(a wool penny rug)

Hardanger work, in which individual strands of the linen are pulled out to create the openwork.)

(Elizabethan Blackwork--this would take me, like a year.)

(Assisi work--like Ukrainian embroidery. Good for tablecloths, frame borders, and other piecework and pretty simple.)

A Bargello pillow, also comes in 'flamework' style which is very cool. I'm thinking of making chair covers or some kind of upholstery in this style. Super easy to stitch up.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of things I've actually sold through my etsy shop. I look at them to remind myself that yes, I am capable of finishing a project.

(Pennsylvania Dutch style piece commissioned by my friend R! I'm currently working on the next one she ordered)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

They're Everywhere!

I'm revisiting this topic, of which I wrote about in an old blog I used to keep, because it still bewilders me. Tip jars, that is. I suddenly noticed that *every single* cafe countertop in the Bay Area has one of the ubiquitous tip jars. And with plenty of stickers and witty signages, of course, to draw your attention.

It used to be less common and because of that I would actually tip the person if they were unusually kind. But now *everyone* has a tip jar, even the indifferent donut shop owner on the corner. And some of those jars have $5 bills in them!!! Why would I tip someone who has rendered as simple a service as ringing up the bill? Especially when *that's their job*?!?!? And why would I essentially spend $5 for a cup of coffee each morning?

Is it just me, or is everyone looking for a handout these days, and not even trying to earn it? I mean, I realize stuff is expensive these days and we're all struggling to get by, but I'd love to see what my library patrons would have said if I had plunked a tip jar on the check-out desk. That's right, I'd like a tip--just for doing my job.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I always knew...

About a year ago, I had a dream that someone (angel? spirit guide?) whispered to me that there was a little boy waiting for me, and that as soon as I was ready for him, he was ready to come to me. We were still a good six months from deciding that we were ready for number two yet, so I hastily shelved the idea to the netherregions of my mind.

However, as crazy as this may sound, I always knew I would be the mom of two boys. It was a feeling I had deep inside, and when the ultrasound tech told me that there would be another little boy coming home with us, I couldn't stop the tears. Maybe it is because I grew up with so many women, perhaps it is because I just lost my mom and with her, a very complex mother-daughter relationship and am not sure I want to transfer over any of my issues to a daughter, perhaps it is because I am burned out on all the princess stuff out there, but whatever it is, it just feels right. It is strange, because so many of my acquaintances (not so much my friends, who know me well), assume that we'd want a girl, since we hadn't had one yet. But to be honest, a part of me breathed a big fat sigh of relief to hear the word "boy." I realized in that moment that I was actually afraid of having a girl, afraid of re-living so much of what I went through with my mom and afraid that a relationship with a daughter would never be able to compare to the love my mom and I shared. Whatever it was, I didn't realize it was there until we found out that we were safe with another boy. And for me, it is more about this particular soul and his place in our lives than it is about his gender. Kiran is so much more than just a male baby--he is a nurturing, compassionate, loving little boy--which is more than I can say for some women I've met! Seriously, though, I feel such a sense of sureness and rightness about this second son that I can't imagine wanting anyone else but him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Message to Divorced Baby Boomers

I was watching Dr. Phil this afternoon and he featured a woman who is showcasing all the classic elements of a mid-life crisis: she recently left her overbearing husband and is now enjoying life while living in a camper tent with her younger boyfriend. She claims she is happy because she is living her own dream and no longer tied to all the material things that supposedly bogged her down. Her daughters, all in their 30s, are very concerned and thus appearing on Dr. Phil.

This is something that has been bugging the shit out of me for some time now, as I have parents who divorced once the kids were "out of the house." This seems to be a pattern with baby boomers, and it needs to stop. Message to divorced parents of grown children: Just because your kids are out of the house and living on their own does not give you the license to stop being parents. It kills me to see how many people of my parent's generation pat themselves on the back for enduring a marriage until their children became adults, then jump off the deep end, all the while congratulating themselves on 'waiting' until their kids were grown. Children, no matter what age, need stability and guidance from their parents!!! You cannot throw away your marriage, hook up with a new boyfriend or girlfriend and go on road trips like you're 20 again, you cannot move to a trailer park for the novelty of it, you cannot sell your children's childhood home and not expect it to pain them. I mean, WTF??? You made the decision to become a parent, and even if it was 30 years ago, you are still held to that decision. You are still a parent, and it is your responsibility to create a stable, loving, safe home for your children, where ever they happen to be living.

I understand the need to re-discover yourself after 30 years of marriage--so take a watercolors class, go on a cruise with your old friends, or pick up yoga. But do not abandon your life, because you are abandoning everything that your children have grown to expect from you, and YES, they still need you to be their parent. In other words, grow the hell up and do the job you decided you wanted to do decades ago. It is still your job, no matter how much you think you've outgrown it. You are not 20 years old and free to live life only for yourself! You had your chance, and you chose marriage and children. No matter how old a child gets, they still need their parents to be solid and sure, not running around making a fool out of themselves. Seriously.

/end of rant.