Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In my early teens, dreaming about the car that I'd soon learn how to drive, I fantasized about the custom license plate that I wanted: JENCAT. I went by the same nickname in late childhood. By the time I was actually driving, it didn't seem quite as cool as I'd imagined, and so the 1972 Pontiac Bonneville kept its generic plates. But I still loved cats. It seemed I always had -- even as a preschooler, my imaginary friends were tiny little kittens.
S likes to tease me about my lack of creativity as a child. Granted, "Jencat" doesn't step too far outside the bounds of normalcy. (He would also remind me that most of the games I made up with my friends suffered from glaringly unoriginal names: Witch, Boat, Train, House....) But I remember some pretty freakishly creative stuff -- according to my imagination, those teeny tiny pretend friends lived behind my ears and underneath my fingernails. Perhaps I was having too much fun playing creatively to worry about being creative.
And that's how it should be when you're a kid. Creativity comes naturally. There's enough time to worry about about it when you grow up!
I'm happy to say that it seems my own children are plagued by no such concerns. They share some of their their mother's fondness for cats, and one of their favorite games involves my pretending to be a cat (which mostly involves my wearing cat ears and doing a rather silly imitation of Henrietta Pussycat from Mr. Rogers). BJ is starting to enjoy the naming part of play. He's decided, when we play cats, that my name is "Love Sock." (Granted, one of our cats is named "Socks," so this isn't all that off the beaten path.) He came up with that one all on his own, along with a secondary nickname of "Sweet Gum."
It's not too surprising that these have quickly become favorite terms of endearment in our household. Hey, it's more creative than Jencat!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The best part about the park was playing tag, chasing butterflies, and digging in the dirt. Nothing like nature to lift the kids' spirits!
At the zoo, the kids especially enjoyed the giraffes and the bears. We started with the giraffes and ended with the grizzlies -- BB had been asking for them all day long.
The bears were actually quite active, running around and wrestling with each other. Impressive.
The carousel was a hit -- though you wouldn't know it from BJ's expression!
BB even got brave enough to ride with S, agreeing to sit next to him on a bench.
The kids were disappointed that they'd closed the exhibit "where the birds get to land on your head!" S had told them about it, based on his memory of our own visit to the zoo many years ago. But they cheered up when they realized they could climb on the bird statue.
Not surprisingly, given his own interest in "playing zookeeper," BJ was very interested to see the keeper feeding the owl. "King Richard" (actually a female owl) is the oldest owl in captivity -- I think they said even the oldest owl on record. In her 40s, if I recall correctly, and so given her age they are very careful with her feeding. She was getting rat that day.
Of course the petting zoo is always fun...
BB liked pretending to be a butterfly, and she demanded I take her picture.
And of course there's the ever-popular cotton candy!
We started with a sun and a moon (he's pointing to the moon) and then he asked to color pictures of the planets and cut them out. Thanks to a nice coloring sheet from Coloring Castle, this proved to be very easy. (They even had options including Pluto! So it seems my son is not alone in wanting to be inclusive.) Both kids were amazed at the tape loops I stuck to the back of each planet so we could put them on the wall -- it's fun to be reminded that there are so many things they don't know about yet. You'd think I'd shown them the Holy Grail of adhesives for all their ooohs and ahhhs. (Just wait until they learn about rubber cement! All in good time....)
She starts almost every day doing a puzzle. She adores floor jigsaws and can manage several of them entirely on her own, though she likes company. The map puzzles are her favorites, and she enjoys pointing out "Cawifornya, where we live!" Some days, by the end of the day, one could nearly walk from the front door to the kitchen, stepping from floor puzzle to floor puzzle.
For the past few weeks, she has been amusing us with her emerging clothing preferences. I'm not too worried about narcissistic tendencies yet... this photo notwithstanding:
She really loves her new orange shirt, and she likes to put it on backwards:
The rainbow striped pants remain a favorite. More than once, she's been compared to Rainbow Brite when she wears these. My girl loves bright colors, what can I say?
is her swimsuit. She calls it her "windy shirt." I'm not entirely sure why; she also knows it is named her bathing suit and will ask for it by name. I think she likes the feel of the silky fabric against her skin. Here in this pic, she's combining three of her most favorite activities: wearing the bathing suit, climbing up on something, and turning on the light All By Herself.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Anyway, yesterday afternoon (as I was wrapping a wee ball of blue "yarn") BJ asked me to write down a story that he wanted to dictate. Happy to oblige, I put aside my work and grabbed a pencil. This is what he told me:
THE LADYBUG ATE JEN'S JEWELRY
The ladybug crawled on Jen's jewelry. And munched on it! And then Jen had no more jewelry. And Jen said, "I'll make more jewelry."
And the ladybug munched on all that jewelry! And Jen shouted, "I'll make more jewelry!" And the ladybug munched on all that jewelry.
And Jen said, "All right, all right, all right. Now the jewelry will shoot out of you, ladybug."
He thought it was quite funny, and we had a good laugh. The writer in me finds it especially interesting how he was playing with perspective -- several times, he started to say "you" or "Mommy," but (with no prompting from me) he immediately corrected himself so that the story consistently referred to "Jen" instead. I admit I wouldn't want him calling me by my first name all the time, but in this case I thought it was pretty durned cute.
Friday, May 22, 2009
He has been especially interested in some of the phonics elements, which I had not formally taught him but which seem to make a lot of sense to him. He's had lots of fun with the idea of "chunking" words, breaking them up into their parts to better understand them. There's a fun little video that explains it here.
I knew he'd understood the concept when we were driving to the park yesterday. He announced, "Mom! The word hospital has the word "spit" in it!"
Indeed it does.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
So what am I making in Mama's Magic Studio right now?
More handcrafted knitting needles -- including a larger range of sizes! Having my knitting needles featured in The Storque really confirmed for me that I'm onto something special with these. (If you missed it, you can read the feature here.) I currently offer OOAK pairs in US sizes 8, 10 1/2, 11, and 16, with more on the way.
I'm also making lots and lots of bird's nest pendants -- including a new color! Blue genuine freshwater pearls, for robin's egg nests. (A little bit of spring in the summer, I suppose!) I haven't yet had a chance to list any of the robin's egg nests, but they will be coming into the shop very soon.
Of course, I still offer the option to customize by number and assorted size of eggs (large or small) so customers can have a pendant that perfectly symbolizes their unique family arrangement.
My bird's nest pendants have received a lot of great feedback. I especially like the special "grandmother's nest" design option, with larger egg pearls representing grown children and smaller egg pearls representing grandchildren.
I'm also making more bookmark baubles, bangle bracelets, fraternal earrings (especially the Knit the Knot Known design) and more of my signature beaded dragonflies.
Thanks to TiLT Creations for hosting this round of the Etsybloggers blog carnival! You can read more posts in the carnival at her blog.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Remembering Rehoboth After Seven Years of Marriage
~for S, of course
May 17, 2004
A dozen years ago, you held my hand
in public for the first time, giddy at the audacity of it,
both of us tipsy from too much fingertip touch.
You kept me always within reach. It was early spring,
off-season in Rehoboth Beach, cold enough for gloves.
We said we were falling in love, but did we fall?
Sometimes it felt like flying, elated and insatiable,
sometimes like plunging into dark waters, astonished
and a little afraid. I thought that you could save me,
though I couldn’t say from what, or whom, or why.
I knew the strong Rehoboth riptide. I knew
the rough Atlantic waves. A dozen years ago,
I thought I was a drowning woman. I thought
all California boys were lifeguards, tanned and blond
like you. I feared the water, but I told you
I could swim.
Most of the shops were still shut for the season,
but for me a world was opening, opening like an envelope,
my heart delivered postage due. You put it in your pocket,
a letter you’d read later, at your leisure. I didn’t mind at all.
We walked along the boardwalk, in a fog of lust and laughter.
Everything amused us. See you soon! was scribbled on a fading sign
in the window of a closed Chinese restaurant —
it seems strange, now, to remember
how funny we thought that was.
We repeated it over and over,
See you soon! Was it a spoken charm
against the chance of separation,
even if only for a little while? See you soon!
I could not imagine being anywhere that you were not.
With you, I was learning a language of broken seashells
swept to shore by winter storms. Greedy for souvenirs
of our first trip together, we collected more than we could carry.
Piled them up, picked out the best, and stuffed our pockets full.
To me, the mottled, polished whorls seemed sacred,
safe, symbolic of a spiraling secret we almost understood,
symbolic of the riotous abundance of our love.
We had so much, we had to leave something behind.
See you soon! we said in unison, delighted with ourselves
and with each other.
A dozen years ago, I held your hand
and waded into frigid waters, laughing.
Rehoboth was a name for promises
we hardly knew how to make. We made them anyway.
And keep them still. Just as we keep those broken shells,
those fragile, organic reminders. I have carried them
from Delaware, the state where I was born, to Tulsa, Oklahoma,
where I lived a long two years without you, landlocked and alone.
What joy to box them up and ship them all to Arizona,
where you were. Where I would be soon. Together,
we have moved them from house to house, from Tucson
to California, the state where you were born, the place we have conceived
a life for both of us — and, if all goes well, a child.
Gathering dust on our bookshelves, a dozen years later,
each shell still echoes with the shush of early spring surf,
the shush of a liquid librarian who tried to quiet
our boisterous hearts as we pilfered the shelves of the world.
We were searching for a book that is not yet finished,
calling out to each other with lines of poetry, favorite passages
from old novels, witty words we had to share. We thought
the world was written for us. If we were falling in love
a dozen years ago, then we are falling still. Still calling out
a silly saying or a lovely lyric line from time to time.
Who knows what wings will open at our backs
before we’re through; who knows what depths
we will dive into? Wine-dark waters surrounding us
as we kick deeper and deeper, until the only sound left
is the rushing of water and the pulse of our incorrigible hearts.
(Yes, we still have those shells, dustier yet but still on the shelves. And yes, it's further proof that I've become an incorrigible blogger that I would take a pic of them and post it!)
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Today is our 12 year wedding anniversary, and what did we do to celebrate?
Thai for dinner, followed by a walk to our favorite local used bookstore, and then an ice cream cone for dessert.
A lovely evening, all told. And in spite of the similar agenda, it was very different from those carefree nights when we would stroll along in the Arizona evenings -- for one thing, we had to be home by 8:30 because the babysitter needed to be somewhere at 9 pm. (And it ended up we came home at 8, because BJ called us on the cell phone to beg us to return.) For another, we hardly knew what to do with ourselves at the bookstore, since we weren't having to shepherd the kids around or spend most of our time in the children's section.
Not to mention the rarity of being able to enjoy a meal without constant concern about the short folks! It was a new Thai restaurant for us, Tee Nee Thai on the Alameda. Delicious and definitely worth a return trip. And who knows, maybe we'll even make it back before our 13th anniversary!
Thanks for 12 beautiful years, S. Here's to many more.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
On top of that, I've been crafting as much as I can to work on Mama's Magic Studio inventory for the Renegade fair -- a situation that will likely continue until mid-July. So there just hasn't been all that much time to blog. I have only the last waxing to complete on four sets of knitting needles, six new pendants finished, and two new necklaces. It feels good to get something accomplished, even if I'd rather be taking a nap with that time.
I'd planned to sit down last night and do a bit of catch up for the week, but then I got an alarming phone call from my mom: Dad is in the hospital, having had what they are calling a "mini-stroke." I spoke with him today, and he is alert and seems fine, with no lingering effects. That's the good news. He's had many tests to be sure he's all right, and everything has been showing that he is indeed OK right now. Even so, it's scary. He's supposed to go home tomorrow afternoon or perhaps Monday morning -- apparently, there's a 5% chance in cases like this that the mini-stroke will lead to something more serious in the 48 hours after the episode, and so it's best to have him be in the hospital to be monitoring the situation.
It's extremely difficult to be all the way across the country, unable to do anything other than fret. Does it count for something that I'm really, really good at worrying??? (Probably not.) I miss and love my folks so very much. It makes my heart sore to know that they are going through this, even though it will all probably be fine. I'd take it kindly if you'd pray for them, and send my Dad healthy thoughts, if you're so inclined.
On a happier note, we had a lovely time at Tia M's birthday party this afternoon. It was a get-together at one of my favorite local parks, one I don't get to all that often. In spite of the heat, it was nice to be outdoors and in good company. She'd brought along water pistols, which gave BJ his first introduction to watergun tag -- he had a great time running around squirting and being squirted.
BB wanted nothing to do with tne water play, though she enjoyed finding "foxtail grass" very much with her Tia. BJ got into that game as well, and both kids took home their treasures.
I didn't have as much time to chat and catch up with her as I would have liked -- that's life with two kids in tow -- but it was great to see her nevertheless. Happy birthday, my dear M!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I'd been anticipating a repetition ever since; according to the ER doctor, once it happens, it's likely to happen again fairly easily. So we've been super careful, S and I. Unfortunately, even though he was there when it happened and even though he's been hearing her recount the story with some regularity, BJ didn't get the memo about not pulling on his sister's arm.
So there I was, in the children's clothing section of Target, trying to select a few t-shirts and shorts while keeping an eye on BB and BJ, who were playing hide and seek in the displays. Then BB starts howling, holding her arm close to her chest. Uh-oh.
"Did you pull on her arm?" I asked as she wailed. He nodded. Thankfully, the ER doctor had showed me how to manipulate her arm properly, and I was able to pop it back into place with very little trouble. I cringed as I felt the joint "crunch" a bit (!!) but the relief was immediate. From initial wail to perfectly fine again was maybe 30 seconds, if that.
Let's just say that I'm putting that in the balance against a few recent incidents in which my parenting has been significantly less tham perfect. (Broken window, anyone? Sigh. Brief digression: I have to record that my sister's reaction to that whole thing was to say, "Hey, at least one of the kids didn't go through the window, right? So it's all good.") I'll be the first to admit that I've been a bit out of joint recently, for many reasons. I won't bore you with the litany. So it felt really good to be in Competent Mommy Mode today.
If only I could realign my own self as easily as my daughter's elbow!
Monday, May 11, 2009
I attended Renegade last year in in a very limited fashion so I have a little bit of a sense of what to expect. That little bit makes it very clear that I have a lot of work to do -- lots of handmade magic in my future! I have four pairs of knitting needles in the works (having sold three pair over the weekend) and lots of jewelry ideas. Now I simply need to find the time in the studio! ("Simply" she said! Well, a gal can dream....)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I managed to take the time this morning to acquire and put together a Treasury on Etsy, which is something I never get to do -- takes too much time staring at the computer screen! I'm a new member of the CCCOE Team (a California sellers group) so I took the opportunity to show off some beautiful things from my fellow team members. Was really nice to have that all come together! You can check out the treasury here.
I appreciated the thoughtful time S had put in with the kids to make cards for me. BB's had a drawing which I'm told is of the entire family. BJ turned his card into a book, titled "I LOVE MY MOM!!!" with the following narrative: "Kiss kiss kiss, I love my mom! I really really love you, mom! I give you a kiss, and X's and O's, and I give you "O" cereal! And I give you lots of presents, and I really really love you! THE END"
S also informed me that, although he hadn't been able to purchase the gift certificate in time for gift giving yet, I'm going to have a massage in my future. Yay for that!
After I was showered with kisses and cards and lots of love (and after I was done on the computer!) we took a family bike ride over to the local rose garden.
I'm still a little nervous about having the kids in the bike trailer, this being only the second time that we've done such a ride, but it's been working out pretty well. S rides in front, with the trailer on his bike, and I bring up the rear.
We packed a picnic and brought the camera, hoping to get some good shots of me with the kids. It's become a tradition to take a Mother's Day picture, and I'd hoped the glorious roses would make a beautiful backdrop.
Unfortunately, the kids weren't all that into the idea of getting their picture taken. And I confess that the extra time I took in the morning to put together the treasury pushed back our outing enough that it was getting into the danger zone for BB's nap -- something that was very apparent on the ride home, as she wailed for the last four blocks. So it wasn't too surprising that there were some issues with getting everybody to smile for the camera.
But in spite of some fussing, we had a nice time. BJ got to ring the bell on my bike, BB got to wander about, sniffing the flowers, and we all enjoyed the lovely weather.
Continuing the "Jen gets to do what Jen wants" theme of the day, I headed over to OSH during naptime and browsed longingly through the gardening section. As I've mentioned, I'm really trying to scale down the usual springtime spending on stuff for the garden, so I limited myself to three tomato plants, two basil, some parsley, and a bunch of marigolds. After about an hour of heavy weeding and cleanup in the main garden bed, I got everything planted. Looks so much better now!
I'm such a lucky Mom, to have had such a happy Mother's Day. I hope all you moms out there were equally fortunate today. Best wishes to you all!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Last day to enter is today, so pop on over and put your name in the hat!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It's enough to make a gal's typing fingers sore! (Wait, no, that's from all the wire wrapping I've been doing this week!)
One of the most useful things I stumbled upon in my research this week was a list compiled by Anise Mouette: 50 Free Promotional Sites for Crafters. I haven't explored all the list yet, but it's worth a look if you have an Etsy shop.
Any other promotional tips on how best to sell oneself? (And I don't mean fashion advice suitable for the red light district!) I'd love to hear your ideas -- feel free to leave a comment!
Monday, May 4, 2009
S brought up the topic, having "punked" BJ's hair in the bath. During snacktime on Saturday night, S put on some punk so that BJ could hear what it sounded like. I swear, the boy immediately started banging his head! And then his knees, too, as you'll see. Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera he had taken it all down a notch, but I was glad to get a little something, since most of my dancing videos to date are of BB.
The next morning, BB had a great time rockin' out in the living room (her usual stage is the kitchen) with a bright red dance partner. No, not one of her parents all out of breath -- though that wouldn't be unheard of! She was dancing with her balloon. Or, as she kept saying, her "baboon."
One of my fondest childhood memories is of dancing, past my bedtime, with my parents. While Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" blared from the speakers in the living room, my dad whirled me around in the air and boogied about with my sister and me. It is an intensely happy memory, full of love. Although we don't have video of it, both S and I dance almost as often with the kids as they do by themselves. I hope my own kids will have the same sort of recollections, if to a different soundtrack!
More are on the way, too. Shortcake, anyone?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Still not quite sure how I feel about it, and not sure how often I'll pop on, but it's been fun so far. I'm pondering a post about it all, but for now I'll just share the following little insight:
Every time I see that phrase, I can't help but think of the prostitutes in Ancient Greece, whose sandals would allow their footprints to leave an imprint in the ground: ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΙ / AKOLOUTHI ("Follow me") ...
So I'll blush just a bit when I say it: You can follow me here.
(Though of course that's better than a whole lotta worry about something....)
So it seems my girl has now officially told her first major fabrication. And I was 99% sure she was telling the truth! Ah well.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
To enter the giveaway, head over to Mommatudes and follow her directions. Good luck!
Friday, May 1, 2009
In last five Fridays, including today, I have:
- gone to urgent care to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack
- broken a plate glass window
- visited the ER, with both kids in tow
Yep, today was the ER visit. Everything's fine, thankfully -- so long as we don't all end up with swine flu as a result of hanging out at the hospital!Even for a day that began at 4 a.m., when BJ woke, I didn't expect that today would take such a terrible turn. The events leading up to the ER visit started innocently enough, with BJ complaining that his beloved magnet write-on board was not working properly. He would scribble and scribble with the magnet "pen," but nothing would happen.
So I came over and took a look, soon realizing that the magnetic tip of the "pen" was missing. It's a little metal rod that goes inside the plastic part of the pen, much like a ballpoint. I asked BJ if he'd seen it fall out, if the pen was working yesterday, what might have happened to break it. We were in the midst of exploring these questions when BB ran over to the couch.
"Mommy, I ate it!" she declared, proud as she could be.
Oh sh*t, I thought. We've been SO careful to avoid those toys with the powerful little magnets, so cautious about recalls and toy safety. And now this. Swallowing magnets is bad news, as most folks know: swallow more than one, and they can attach together inside, perforating the intestine -- with serious consequences, even fatal ones.
But this is only one magnet, I told myself, trying not to go into full-out panic mode. And she was acting perfectly fine; if she hadn't made her announcement, I wouldn't have thought anything was wrong. But being the worrying type of mom as I am, I got on the nurse line (thank you, Kaiser) and after talking with the advice nurse, conference calling with a doctor from Poison Control, and doing our best to assess the situation, we decided an immediate x-ray would be necessary.
Mostly because I had no idea how long the magnetic rod might be, or how sturdy -- the nurse asked, "Do you think she might have broken it with her teeth when she ate it" Which would mean she'd swallowed not one, but two magnets.
So we head to the hospital, armed with a full bottle of hand sanitizer. Of course it was lunch time, and of course I wasn't able to feed the kids because if I fed BJ, then BB would want to eat, and she couldn't eat anything until we verified that she didn't have a hole in her digestive tract. Thankfully, when we arrived the ER waiting room was almost empty. (I tried not to visualize the population of germs...) Only two other people were waiting to be seen, so I hoped that it wouldn't take too terribly long.
In fact, it turned out that my conference call had resulted in an x-ray order already being placed for BB, so we didn't even have to wait for a doctor to see her. We consulted with the triage nurse, headed straight to radiology, and were taken care of fairly quickly by a very kind technician named Josh.
Alas, I am all too familiar with the procedure for taking an x-ray of a child's belly, having been there before when BJ swallowed the penny. (I know this is typical kid stuff, but this is hardly the kind of expertise I need, thank you very much.) BB was very good about stripping down to her gown but nervous about getting up on the big metal table. When it came time for the x-ray itself, I stood with BB to help her stay still, and of course BJ had to leave the room so he wouldn't get exposed to any radiation. Josh was very kind with BJ, reassuring him when he had to be away from me.
As soon as the x-ray was taken, Josh took us straight to the doctor who would review it for us. She found nothing at all, which means that either BB was lying (which I doubt -- she made the declaration about swallowing it completely on her own, with absolutely nothing to suggest it) or she'd swallowed it yesterday or some time previously, giving it enough time to pass through her system.
Whatever it was, we were lucky to get off so easy. In and out of the ER in a little over an hour and a half. (Say what you will about Kaiser, but they manage to do stuff like this pretty well!) And only poorer by a $50 copay and one bottle of hand sanitizer. And an incalculable amount of mom's patience -- it was used up especially quickly when BB started playing the runaway game, darting among the gurneys in the hallway while I was trying to get us checked out.
Thank goodness S was able to come home early. I will be forever grateful for that. (Even though I would have been even more grateful if I'd been able to get hold of him on campus before the ER visit, so he could watch BJ!) When he got home, I just went and hid under the covers for an hour or so, even snoozing for a bit. It was a sorely needed pre-dinner nap, and I'm feeling much more human for it.
Here's hoping that next Friday is a better one....
And by the way, Happy Beltane to those of you who recognize the holiday. I hope your May Day was better than mine!
(Update -- the magnet has been found!)