Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, sweet Readers. I do hope you've enjoyed your day.

1. Free baseball tickets. The kiddles, my darling little sister K, and I watched the Reds get womped by the Padres today (the Monkeybutt entered my name in a drawing, and I won 4 tickets to today's game. I love winning prizes, and I so rarely do. Rock on, Monkeybutt.) It rained for 4 innings, and a lot of people left, but we had a great time, even though the Reds lost. Brutally. It was a pretty sad game. Anyway, we, as a family, are most definitely Cubs fans, but we'll root root root for the home team, as long as they're not playing our beloved Cubbies.

2. How lovely was it to come home (very damp) to a new book in my mailbox. Amanda Soule's lovely new book, Handmade Home, arrived today, signed and ready to be relished (check out SouleMama's blog and books - the link is on the side, there, you see it.) She also wrote The Creative Family, which was such an inspiring and sweet read.

3. This past weekend, my Aunt C re-taught me how to knit. My good friend S taught me a few years ago, and apparently it is not like riding a bike - I didn't do it for a few months, and promptly forgot how. I spent last night watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and beginning a lovely fall colored scarf. How very much different it is to use bamboo knitting needles and real wool yarn - it actually feels nice to knit.

4. After listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's talk yesterday, I pulled out my Eat, Pray, Love book on CD, read by the author. I spent some time listening to it (for the 3rd time) while doing a little scrapping. How odd it feels to be cropping last Christmas this July...

5. We're going up to Chicago this weekend to visit my family. One sister gave me a baby niece a few weeks ago, and I must go nibble toes. Another sister will be in town, visiting from LA, and I am totally psyched (that's right, I said totally) to see her. It should be a fab trip, and I'm really looking forward to it. How very cool that all of this coincided with my Studmuffin taking vacation time - we can actually relax and enjoy ourselves. I will post some pics of the new punkin when I get back.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A tiny bit of inspiration

Sarasvati - Hindu Goddess of Creativity

I was just reading through one of my favorite blogs, Magpie Girl, who linked here. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) talks about creative work, and the pressure that comes with being an artist of any kind. It is an excellent speech, and I highly recommend listening to the whole thing. But one bit truly spoke to me. She says, in looking for a way to deal with the anxiety of being a successful writer, she studied the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greeks did not believe that creative genius was an internal quality in a human being; it was actually an external entity called a "daemon." The Romans believed much the same thing, only they called this divine being a "genius." Not a "genius" as in really clever, brilliant person, but "genius" as in a wholly separate entity.
I have always thought of myself as an artistic personality, in a non-artistic body. You can imagine the frustration that comes from having the personality I have, with the urge to create something, anything, but not having the talent or imagination to bring these urges to fruition. I do not draw well, and my photography and writing are merely average - nothing amazing, nothing striking. I want nothing more than to find myself working in a creative field of some sort, making something beautiful that touches somebody.
Perhaps I have a daemon; some separate, divine, creative entity that has attached itself to me. Perhaps I have only to discover this entity, get to know it, and allow it to inspire me to find that creativity I know has to be buried deep inside, somewhere.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My own summer list

I've seen a few of these "gotta do this summer" lists on other blogs, and I wanted to do one of my own. Of course, we only have 3 weeks left, so I'm cutting the list from 100 to 25.

25 things the kiddles and I will do before school starts:

1. Make popscicles (I've been wanting to try some new kinds)
2. Go camping
3. Ride our bikes to the library
4. Pick our fresh tomatoes
5. Make something summery and delicious from one of our kid's cookbooks
6. Paint outside
7. Hike a few new trails in the area
8. Read all together on the back porch
9. Go on a picnic
10. Have a bbq with friends
11. Make GORP
12. Visit the local farmer's market - try something new
13. Run a lemonade stand
14. Watch the meteor shower
15. Make ice cream sandwiches
16. Try a new salad
17. Visit the zoo
18. Pick blackberries
19. Make jam
20. Make smoothies
21. Play a lot of games (especially Scrabble - have I mentioned how much I love Scrabble?)
22. Go to a Reds game
23. Go somewhere in a boat - any boat (canoe, riverboat, it doesn't matter)
24. Go to an outdoor concert
25. Enjoy these last few weeks with my young'uns before they go back to the grind.

I love lists.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Happy, my Brotha!

His birthday was on the 21st. He is so cool, I thought we should all share in the festivities.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

10 Books of my Own

In the most recent post over at my oh-so-spectactular cousin's blog, she lists the "ten books you've read that always stick with you" and "first ten books that come to mind," inspired, of course, by a Facebook tag. Since I love a good list, and adore a great book, I decided to follow suit:

The first ten books that come to mind:
1. Memoirs of a Geisha
2. Mr. Murder
3. Yertle the Turtle
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
5. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven
6. The Brothers Karamazov (I will freaking finish that book someday)
7. You Suck: A Love Story
8. Last Child in the Woods
9. Eragon
10. Jurassic Park

Ten books I've read that always stick with me:

1. A Handmaid's Tale
2. Eat Pray Love
3. The World According to Garp (I'm not copying you, A, I swear)
4. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
5. Last Chance to See
6. To Kill a Mockingbird
7. Island of the Blue Dolphins
8. Jemima J
9. Microserfs
10.The Stand

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday friday, lalalalala

Wow. I guess that's what I get for posting something semi-serious - not one comment. Oh well, back to the drivel.
Today was a nice day. Monkeybutt played (poorly) in a golf tournament this morning for which I had to wake up obscenely early. I dropped him off at the course and dropped myself back into bed for another hour of sleep. I know, I know, such an unsupportive mom. I went to pick him up, and, as usual, they told us to be there an hour too early, so I hit the Walmart for school supplies. I promised the kiddles they could pick out the stuff with color, but I got the staples - crayons (24 count boxes for 15 cents - had to go nuts), glue sticks, and whatnot. I love school supply shopping. Every year our school offers a kit for a decent price to accommodate the busy mom - I doubt I will ever be too busy to enjoy school supply shopping. Even when I am working and lugging these two social butterflies everywhere, I will still make time for school supply shopping. Which reminds me (actually my friend A reminded me of this the other day) of the Staples commercial where the parents are skipping merrily through the aisles of Staples to the holiday song "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as their kids trudge dejectedly behind...I love that commercial.
Anyway, I came home, ate my favorite sandwich, and watched two House episodes (had to catch up with my brother), and then sat on the porch, enjoying the unseasonably cool weather, and reading the rest of Memoirs of a Geisha - an excellent book. I saw the movie a few years ago and was unimpressed, but decided to read the book and loved it. I feel a bit queazy now - too much reading, apparently, but I feel sated in a way only reading a very good book can make me feel.

Tomorrow is Studmuffin's annual company picnic. All I can say is, unlimited cotton candy. I love cotton candy.
And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a picture of Ken Watanabe, the guy who played the Chairman in the movie version of Memoirs of a Geisha. Again, not a very good movie, but he is lovely.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Are we all heroes?

Last week, an ex-football player named Steve McNair was shot and killed by his girlfriend, who then turned the gun on herself. A sad story, certainly, especially for the wife and four children McNair had waiting at home. Since I am not really an NFL fan, I knew (and cared) little more about McNair than he was a football player and he was dead. Having the husband I do, however, means I am inundated with Sunday morning sports news programs, and my favorite is "ESPN's The Sports Reporters," where three sports reporters and a moderator sit around discussing some subject or another - as one who enjoys journalism more than sports, I find it the most tolerable and intelligent of the Sunday morning lineup. On this morning's program, one of the reporters said something that truly resonated with me, and I had to write about it.

Today's subject was, of course, McNair's death, the circumstances surrounding his death, and whether it is acceptable to speak ill of the dead, or in this case, talk about the facts. Apparently, McNair was a decent football player. He won a lot of games, especially in college. He played when he was hurt. He did a lot of charity work in Nashville. He had a lot of fans, people who are calling him a fallen hero. In response to this, one of the reporters, Mike Lupica of the New York Post questioned where we, as a society, have decided to set the bar for heroes. McNair was a football player. That was his job. His job was to play football, to play it well, to try to win. So, Mr. Lupica's question was, (and I am paraphrasing) does doing your job well and maybe, if you have the time and resources, helping some other people, make you a hero? Is that where we have decided to set the bar in this day and age?

My husband is an engineer. He does it well. He goes to work everyday, sometimes even when he is sick, and designs machines, making sure they are safe to operate. He makes considerably less money than Steve McNair. He's let members of my family live here, he's helped neighbors when they've needed help, he's donated occasional money and time to various charity organizations, as a decent citizen should. And somehow, even with all these amazing works, he has managed to NOT cheat on his wife and kids. Is he a hero? Or is he just a semi-decent guy living his life?

The dictionary describes a hero as "a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities." I think a hero is a person who goes beyond the call of duty to try to make the world a better place; perhaps someone who is willing to put their lives on the line to do what he or she thinks is the right thing. It's too bad Steve McNair is dead, sure. I've very sorry for his family, his friends, and his fans. But he was no more a hero than my husband, me, or anyone else who lived their lives as a decent citizen. The meaning of the word "hero" is being diminished by such indiscriminate use. Let's save the word "hero" for someone who truly deserves it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Baseball is over - time for pics

Both kids played baseball this year. The Monkeybutt played for the Dragons and his dad coached. His pitching improved enormously. They didn't do well, but they were a brand new team, and some of the kids actually never played baseball.

The Girl Child was the only girl on her t-ball team. We found we should have played her up - she was the biggest, the oldest, and she was hitting and throwing better than anyone else on the team. Oh yeah, that's my girl. Unfortunately I didn't get a decent shot of her the whole season, but here she is.

And now we have a month break before soccer and more baseball. Whew...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

See my pretty bathroom?

It used to feature (poorly applied) world map-themed wallpaper, a navy valance, and a rowboat shelf. I stripped the paper, painted the walls this lovely periwinkle-like color, hung new blinds, spray painted the fixtures brushed aluminum, and added this pretty oval mirror. Admittedly, I am not the best painter, and I have a few mistakes to fix. But, hooray for finally making at least one room in my house (that I've owned for 4 years) mine.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another cool thing I made...

My husband wears through khakis pretty quickly, so I had several pairs laying around that were too worn to donate, but not garbage material. He does not do cutoff shorts, so my friend Al helped me turn a pair into a purse. I'm totally digging on the buffalo fabric for the liner. I've already had a few people ask me to make one for them. I did end up cutting the bow off and just leaving it knotted - the bow was a little much, but don't you just love the peacock ribbon? 99 cents at Hobby Lobby last year. Anyway, I'm a purse freak, so this was just up my alley.