Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grace in Small Things 23:365

1. Finding the perfect fabric for curtains and plotting out the design.

2. Red-clay and its strong and earthy personality. This makes me think of:

Red-clay bowls by local old-time potters. Red with a thin white glaze so that the red peeks through, and perfectly sized for a morning breakfast or an evening snack.

Red-clay mud in the swamp.

Then being reminded of a Gillian Welch song, Red Clay Halo:
All the girls all dance with the boys from the city,
And they don't care to dance with me.
Now it ain't my fault that the fields are muddy,
And the red clay stains my feet.

And it's under my nails and it's under my collar,
And it shows on my Sunday clothes.
Though I do my best with the soap and the water,
But the damned old dirt won't go.

But when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

Now it's mud in the spring and it's dust in the summer,
When it blows in a crimson tide.
Until trees and leaves and the cows are the colour,
Of the dirt on the mountainside.

But when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

Now Jordan's banks they're red and muddy,
And the rolling water is wide.
But I got no boat, so I'll be good and muddy,
When I get to the other side.

And when I pass through the pearly gate,
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe with red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head?

I'll take the red clay robe with the red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head.

3. Little baby learning the best way to suck her thumb. It's the dearest, cutest thing I've seen this week.

4. An unexpected pink-blooming salvia amongst the purple ones.

5. Calm words of love and affirmation.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank Goodness For Small Accomplishments

I'm feeling vaguely disgruntled this evening, mentally stomping around in a snit or sighing in discouragement. I think it was because I couldn't find the fabric for the new curtains that I'd hoped to work on this weekend. Or there might be some other reasons piling up. In any case, I need to remind myself of some of my recent accomplishments.

1. Changed the porch light light bulb. This only took me a couple months.

2. Breastfed. Granted, I do this several times a day, but still. Whoo!

3. Moved the iris in the front garden. They'd been overwhelmed by the lantana for some many years that they don't have breathe to even bloom. I've given them a sunnier, more prominent spot where hopefully they will be happier. Lots of little babies too. Maybe next Spring I'll see blooms again.

4. Washed dishes. Oh yeah, this is always good. Especially when I made headway against the oily mess of dishes we made for the potluck. The countertop is clear again, if only for a few hours.

5. Logged and sorted more clothing. Another friend gave us a yet another tub of children's clothing. I love it when people pass on nice clothing for the little wookie, but it takes everything out of me to keep up. Sorting and logging them in is another step in keeping up so that I don't have bags and tubs and piles of mixed clothing lying around.

6. Wiped down and put away the pizelle press. This has been sitting on my kitchen table since early December. At first, I thought I might make a few more batches of pizelles for gifts, but then I turned into that last item I had to clean before putting away.

7. Cleaned up cat hairballs. Cleaned up baby spit. 'Nuff said.

8. Filed baby's recent checkup paperwork.

9. Sorted and stored toys that are not yet developmentally appropriate. The same friend who recently gave us clothes also passed on some very nice toys. Right now we are at the rattle stage, so the more complex blocks and pieces need to be kept out of the flow until the little wookie can actually appreciate them.

10. Took newspapers out to recycling. No more piles on the floor, couch, coffee table.

11. Clipped coupons. I had a back log of several weeks worth. I haven't bothered much with coupons recently, but have discovered that we actually buy some products that will benefit now.

12. Paid bills. AND remembered to put on an extra stamp. Darn postage increase.

13. Did two loads of laundry. Wash, dry, fold, put away. That includes an extra rinse cycle due to the quirkiness of our basement plumbing.

14. Deleted a bunch of old emails. It's a never-ending stream, and I have a tendency to want to save everything, so I have to keep at it or I end up with 2000+ read emails sitting in my inbox. After I post this, I'm going to delete a few more that showed up this evening.

15. Bought vegetable seedings and then *planted* them before they got dried up. Tomatoes, basil and marigolds - whoo-hoo! I also water the mint and some sweet peppers seedlings that I'd started from seed. I am psyched to have plantings in the ground. It's much harder to get anything done with the kidlet, so this is a big deal for me.

16. Threw out some old plastic garden pots. Things broken, beat up or no longer needed. And no, don't need to save them for someday. It's much the same as with the emails; I keep throwing things away periodically.

17. Steam-sterilized bottles in microwave. I love my microwave sterilizing bags.

18. Got a little extra sleep. Seize the Zees!

19. Cleaned the lens on my digital camera. Got rid of some of the fog that has built up on the lens.

20. Cut up melon. This helps makes sure it gets eaten!

21. Scrubbed down the bath tub. I love the feeling and look of a freshly cleaned tub! All shiny and sparkling.

22. Picked up trash in the yard and threw it out. Various items of trash manage to fall into our yard on a regular basis from at least three directions. Like the email, I have to keep picking it up and throwing it out.

23. Returned library books and got new ones.

24. Went grocery shopping. I often go late at night when there are few people around, but this week I went in daylight. All those people to dodge! But I snagged a few sales, got everything I needed, and still kept the bill down (under $80). I went through the line with my favorite, long-time checker and he thanked me for bagging my own groceries. Okay, now I can survive the rest of the week if need be.

23. Wrote another post. Yea! And now to bed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grace in Small Things 22:365

1. A soft profusion of peony petals.

2. A steady rain soaking the garden overnight.

3. A chat program that allows me to hold real-time conversations - in no less than a single day or hour - with friends down the block, across the city, across the state, on the other end of the coast and on the other side of the world.

4. Big white boards for writing out lists, plans, diagrams, and ideas.

5. Bare feet sliding between cool cotton sheets.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Opening the Channels

Yesterday, I danced with great energy as I haven't been able to do for months and months. I snagged some of my favorite partners, twirled and stamped and poured myself into the music and the pattern. So deeply fun and soul-satisfying, not holding back any reserves but enjoying the moment wholly, yes, the Joy! of that movement, every moment.

And today, I put on a little music and danced around some more for my own entertainment. I could have just sat (it's so easy to just sit), but I needed to move. To get up and boogie, so to speak.

Then today, I not only bought some new seedlings (varieties of tomato, basil, marigold), but I planted all of those seedlings in the garden this early evening while dodging mosquitoes and working up a sweat. All new seedlings in the ground and accounted for plus a volunteer tomato plant moved. Ha!

And if that weren't enough, we went for a walk around the longer loop of our neighborhood this evening. We ran into friends for part of our loop, friends with a distractible dog, so we talked and and talked and veered back and forth across the street as we met one scent or that other puppy, and generally charged up and down the hills at a good pace.

So then I was really tired and sweaty, but still in a good mood, still raring to go, still energized.

As with writing or painting, creating: you do a little, and it feeds the energy to do even more. If I am feeling tired or unmotivated, the answer apparently is NOT to rest so much. It may be that I have been feeling sluggish from disuse. FlyLady says This month we are "Moving in May." And I say, Yes, yes. Yes, we are!

I am moving to the beat, pushing ahead, doing more, flexing those energies, and feeling the old channels open up and become flushed with new work. This body may run heavy from the work of bearing a child, but the muscles are eager to get back to other work.

Dance! Walk! Talk! Write! Share! Craft! Move! This body, this person loves letting the energy flow along the pathways anew.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grace in Small Things 21:365

1. Volunteer tomato plant!

2. Containers of basil seedings that can be divided into more than one plant.

3. Marigolds with a maroon ruff.

4. Meeting friends in the neighborhood and spontaneously joining for a portion of our respective walks.

5. The scent of honeysuckle heavy in the night air.

Grace in Small Things 20:365

1. Big paperclips that keep things neatly together.

2. Knobbed whelk shells from the beach, bleached and graceful.

3. Musicians who play live for dances, putting themselves into the tune to create that moment in time.

4. People who keep wanting to pass on baby clothes to us.

5. The ache in my breasts that tells me it's time to feed the little wookie again and reminding how we are inextricably bound together.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

8 Things: Self Care Essentials

It's Thursday and time for another 8 Things from Magpie Girl.

This week it's Self Care Essentials.
It’s time to think about what you need to stay healthy and sane on a day-to-day basis.

Here's my list:

1. Hydration. Water, juice or herbal tea. Water is my favorite.

2. Moving and using my body. Stretch! Yoga. Taking a walk or working in the yard.

3. Sleeeeep.

4. Grooming. Bath! Combing my hair, brushing and flossing my teeth, neatening cuticles and nails. At the end of day, massaging my feet.

5. Checking in with the natural world. Seeing the sky, noticing the weather and the way the light and air shifts with the seasons and time of day.

6. Reminders. My calendar. Lists to remind me of goals and projects and even more importantly, sub tasks of projects. Things to focus me and then to cross off when completed. I give myself a number of boxes for 15 minutes of work, and check them off when I've spend some amount of time on a task.

7. "Down time" inside my own head. Write a little, read a little, think a little.

8. "Up time" out of my head. Snuggles and conversation with my sweetie.

Oh, here's a bonus item: Neatening something in the house or space. Wash dishes, swipe the counter, clear the desk, sweep the floor. I'm so much saner with a little sweeping.

Monday, May 11, 2009

First Mother's Day

Ahh, the first Mother's Day. The other day I tweeted this:
I can't decide how I feel about Mother's Day. Being a mother is gift enough for me, but do I want to expect more and then be disappointed?

I never know what my expectations should be. I've been getting so much attention from my dance community about being a mother. Or at least the baby gets a lot of adoring attention - you know how that goes! And I do the mother thing all day every day already. How could this day be particularly different? Do I want a chorus of angels to sing my praises? Chocolate? Extra sleep? Not saying I'd turn any of that down, you understand. But the whole flowers and special dinner thing seems a bit hollow to me. As Garrison Keillor sung recently, if you really want to honor your mother, give her equal pay for equal work. And for me, acknowledgment and sleep. And chocolate. It's all good. But I didn't know what if anything to expect. We already went out for a large, delectable meal of sushi earlier this week, and I savored every bit of it.

And then Mr Sweetie made a meaningful and funny card full of in-jokes, my favorite kind. I totally did not see it coming. Made me laugh and made me cry a little. Allow me to brag for a moment.

The front of the card had this printed on the paper:

Happy Mother's Day

helping write comments

Daddy helped me make this card for you!

And the inside of the card said this:

Mother's Day Gifts from [the little wookie]:

Super-power T-shirt
Adorable Glances
Tummy Time
Ummmm ... things ... in diaper
Sleep Time

Oh, how I love those adorable glances! And um, the surprises.

So I've been getting more sleep time today. I'm trying to beat back this cold. Not sure it's working, but the sleep sure is nice. I would have liked to have had more time and energy to work in my garden, but there will be time for that when I feel better.

The super power T-shirt will be awesome too. I've talked about this enough that I should not have been surprised that he tracked it down and ordered one for me. It features a big white and gold "M" logo on it, for "super mother" or something. The slogan reads:
I make milk.
What's your super power?

Hee! Isn't that the most awesome slogan? I do feel that breast feeding is one of my higher callings these days. Even my husband regularly tells me how wonderful it is, how beautiful it is to see me and the baby together, what a wonderful commitment I have made to continue.

Which leads me to....

Some of My Favorite Things About Being a Mother So Far:

Looking for ways my daughter resembles me or her father.

Warm baby snuggles around the neck.

Rows of neat perfect baby toes like a row of corn on the cob.

Seeing her smile of delight when I first pick her up in the morning.

Hearing her make nom nom noises when she first begins nursing.

Taking her out into the world and watching her wonder at music or faces or the feel of wind on her skin.

Singing to her or making silly sound effects when I change her diaper.

The narrative I put to my day. Now Mommy is going to wash your feet. I'm washing the top of your foot, and the bottom of your foot and the sides of your foot. And now I'm cleaning your little toesies! I'm cleaning between your toesies. Do you have any lint in there? Yes, you do! Okay, you're all clean. Mommy is all done!

Noting every little accomplishment or developmental change. The vocalizations, the scooting, grabbing and wrigglings.

Marveling at her being, her existence, my lovely miracle.

Marveling at how my life has changed, and for the better, since my baby is in it.

Despite the spit-up, the worry, the lack of sleep, the complete upheaval of my usual life, nothing could be finer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thursday's Made For Meme-ing

or Oo! Look! Another Meme!
I snagged this one from Schmutzie. I love Schmutzie and I can't resist a meme, so here goes. I know it's not Thursday any more, but Oh Welllll!

What are your current obsessions?
Writing in my blog. I can hardly go to bed without writing something. I regularly sacrifice sleep to do this, something I am *desperate* for these days, so I know blogging qualifies as obsession.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often?
Not so much in the Summer, but at other times of the year, I wear my black fleece pullover very often. It's extremely versatile. It's a thin fleece that's gotten only thinner with time, so it layers well. It has a zip neck vent so I can adjust the temperature. It's black, so it hides dirt. It's fleece so it comes out of the dryer fluffy, but also self-dries well while I'm wearing it. It wicks well, so it's great for aerobic activities of light to heavy exertion. I appropriated it from my husband on our first camping trip together, and I've worn it to every backpacking or camping trip and every dance weekend I've been to since. And over the last decade, that's a lot of use! I'm actually a little worried that I will wear it out, and then where would I be? The only way this could be improved would be if I could get away with wearing it on formal occasions.

What's for dinner?
Let'see... We've already eaten all the pizza leftovers. Heck if I know! Maybe Indian takeout.

What is your greatest fear at the moment?
That I'll screw up my daughter somehow by not doing all the right Mom things. Sometimes I'm so tired, I don't have the energy to give her as much attention as I'd like. I'm reverting to the time-honored phrase: I'm doing the best I can.

My other on-going fear is that I'll never get back to any kind of career enough to save money for retirement.

What are you listening to?
Tracks on Blip, and Baby Genius CDs, songs in my heads (see: Water of Love).

If you were a god/goddess what would you be?
Benevolent goddess of people who need a little extra encouragement. I would give pep talks in the form of show tunes. And then I'd cry because the world is so beautiful.

What are your favourite holiday spots?
Hard to say. The mountains. The beach. The nice thing about NC is that much of the state is roughly equidistant between the beach and the mountains. I could say something about Italy and Arizona. But I really love hiking in the Rocky Mountains too.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading Welcome to Fred by ___. This was a fun read. Humorous, at times moving.
I'm also reading Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice for something like the fifth time. It's the paperback I'm currently using to while some of the time spent breastfeeding.

What are four words that describe you?
Reclusive, wry, joyful, gregarious.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don't know. 80's music? Schmaltzy stuff from the 50's? Carousel? Tearjerkers. Nutella. Responding flippantly.

Who or what makes you laugh?
I love reading the daily comics page. Something on the page (or often, the online comics I follow) will make me giggle out loud. I also love certain kind of parodies and ridiculous humor. Think Monty Python. My husband does this kind of situational humor well too, and unless I'm a very grouchy mood, he will always get a laugh out of me. We cope with the travails of parenthood by making up humorous names for things or creating situational dialogue. I also make myself laugh sometimes.

What is your favourite spring thing to do?
Seeing what is coming up and blooming every day, and planning what I will plant for Summer.

Where are you planning to travel next?
I don't have any big travel plans this year. We hope to travel more to get the kidlet used to it, and then go to Chicago for a big family reunion. Don't know if that will work out.

What is the best thing you ate or drank lately?
That would have to be the sushi a friend took me out to eat a few weeks ago. The restaurant had a two-for-one sushi special (that's why we went there), so we really indulged, ordering about ten kinds of rolls and sashimi total. By the time the food arrived, we had mostly forgotten what, exactly, we had ordered and who had gotten what, so we just dove in. One of my favorites was a large tempura-fried roll with I think, asparagus, crab stick and something else? And then it was thin sliced and each slice topped with a dollop of chilled "spicy seafood mix."

When was the last time you were tipsy?
I think it was about 15 years ago when the guy I was working for invited me to share a dinner at the restaurant next door (we were at the mall) so that he wouldn't have to eat by himself on his birthday. He wanted to buy me a drink, so I ordered one of those mixed juice drinks which, unbeknownst to me, usually come mixed with vodka. Good on on me, huh? He offered to drink it himself and get me another one, but I politely drank half of it, then didn't dare leave the bar stool for another 45 minutes.

No, I take that back. It was almost exactly eleven years ago at a beach weekend with friends just before I met the man who would become my husband. It was May Day and one friend had brought the traditional white flowers (Sweet Woodruff) to float in white wine. It was good. I was a little tipsy.

What is you favourite ever film?
Groundhog Day always puts me in a good mood. I could watch it over, and over, and over ... well, you get the idea. Not only is it a humorous take on the classic redemption story, but the cinematography is well done.

What is the biggest life lesson you've learned from your kids?
Hmm. I've barely gotten started raising my child. Probably that much of what we get in life is incidental to what we think we want. Or rather, it's the other way around. And that a dispassionate attitude helps me get through all sorts of unpleasant things.

What song can't you get out of your head?
Pretty much any catchy thing I hear, tunes or songs. This ranges from fiddle tunes to Weird Al Yankovitch (Eat it), New England folk songs (Three Huntsmen Went A-Riding), and Bob Marley (Redemption). Whatever it is, I go around singing it in my head and sometimes out loud until it is either worn out or replaced.

Water of love/deep in the ground/for there ain't no water here to be found/someday baby when the river runs free/gonna carry that water of love to me/

It's sometimes hard for me to look for new songs on blip because once I am reminded of a great song, I'll hear it in my head for days and I don't really want to hear anything else!

What book do you know you should read but refuse to?
Most of what 0prah promotes, for instance. There are some great books out there, but if everyone is raving about something, I automatically suspect it is overhyped. I prefer to discover great books on my own. I browse through the library, friends' bookshelves, the used bookstore and some newspaper book reviews. Some books I know I should read, but I have to be in the right mood to appreciate them. That can take years.

What is your physical abnormality/abnormal physical ability?
Thanks to the podiatrist I visited last year, I know that a little bone in my knee isn't straight, thus throwing off my gait just enough to give me foot problems at times.

Okay, that's it! Thanks for reading!