Monday, August 17, 2015

Henry's Noisy Painting

This may be my favorite painting so far by Henry.

He said, "This is what the sound of my drumming looks like."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

10: This Girl Is Ten Today

My middle child is 10 years old today. Believe it.

10 Facts, 10 Photos:

1. She has no need for a clock or calendar, because isn't Time just beautiful? Let's just love it and be in it. We will show up when we need to. Or something.

2. Her version of order involves motion and maybe a detour through the kitchen to conduct an experiment involving the blender and some water and cinnamon. And maybe some leaves. Whatever.

3. Her voice can mimic anything she hears. It's amazing.

4. When stressed, she escapes into scenarios that involve dolphins, unicorns and sometimes rainbows.

5. She makes charts that match different hairstyles with different earrings and options of color schemes of clothing.

6. When she grows up, she has said she wants to be a fashion designer, a mom, a teacher, an artist, a poet, a singer, someone who helps others shop and put outfits together, a painter. She is already all of those things.

7. Her favorite foods are all in the brown-orange-yellow spectrum of the color wheel: Macaroni-n-cheese, chicken fingers, butter noodles, plain hamburgers, bread. Her mother is freaking out.

8. She is the perfect candidate for everything Disney channel and has figured out how to channel its relentless information through any mobile device. Scary.

9. She wrote 5 screenplays this summer, fit with suitcases of props labeled for each movie, and is working on learning the intricacies of translating that art between iPhone, Movie Maker, iMovie, Google docs, You Tube, the actual written word with a pen on paper, and archaic acting with no microphones using improv lines.

10. This amazing child of JOY came into this world petite and quiet and has grown into her large spirit of love and truth, amazed by beauty and confused by pain. She teaches us every. single. day.
There is so much gratitude in my heart, in this house, in the yard, in the trees, in the sky, in the clouds alongside the biggest dreams she could dream alongside those clouds, for her, for Her, for HER - this amazing beautiful girl.

Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer 2015... OVER!!

Some of us in this house start school tomorrow.

In reflection, I am looking at some pictures and remembering some memories (which is always a little bit dangerous).
2015 will not be the year I win any parenting awards, yet I aspire.

For now,

Lessons Learned Summer 2015:

1. Don't cut your friend's hair and give her bangs when she comes over for a playdate.

2. Use eyes and ears before mouth.

3. When you see cash money in a drawer at somebody else's house, don't think to yourself, "Hey! Free money! I should take that."

4. Hormones are weird.

5. Do not begin any sentence with, "But..."

6. When tattling on a sibling or friend, you cannot use the words "always" or "never."

7. Humans over screens. Always always always.

8. Art is every.where.all.the.time.

Thank you Summer 2015 for so  many spoken and unspoken lessons!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Creative UP.

The husband bought a Ford Bronco. It's from 1974.

He found it somehow in somewheres from some great guy and took our son with him to pick it up. The son, of 11 years, calls me after the acquisition to tell me about it...except he forgets to hold the phone rectangle thing to his face because he is of the Wifi generation so I am screaming to him to keep the box on his cheek so that I can make sure that husband is still alive.
All are alive and well.
That is the good news.

The bad news is that the roof of the Bronco flew off early in the ride home, neighborly drivers helped retrieve it, a neighborly hardware store provided new bolts, and MORE GOOD NEWS when the roof blew off it knocked the wasp nests loose so no more stinging!

I was up in the wee hours of the morning examining the situation in my mind over a bowl of homemade cheese grits.
Here's where I landed:
In my marriage, I must maintain the Creative UP.
We have our linear lives - to work and back, care of self and close family, email this, call that, text here, receive there - it's all Two Dimensional. The Creative UP is the third thing that brings us up and out of ourselves, making us Three Dimensional, full and happy for our people.

I would (and did) argue that our family's time, resources and energy would be better spent in this phase NOT on a Bronco.
I am grateful to yoga and meditation for helping me clearly state that.
There is a cost beyond acquiring this vehicle (which does not, in fact, actually turn on and drive anywhere yet). Husband is aware of that cost, the ripple effects and the emotional equity involved.
I can't be in charge of all that.
I need to stay Three Dimensional too.

What I am understanding is that I get most angry about these seemingly-crazy, random, potentially dangerous purchases when I am not in my best, balanced place, hanging out in my own Three Dimensions to keep perspective. It's my job to stay 3-D (responsibly and not over-justifying or making excuses, puh-lease).

I get a big buzz by creating order out of chaos - like organizing closets, repainting canvases, making purses out of wine bags and coffee bags. I love pulling out broken parts of toys and games and seeing what the kids and I can build. I love laughing in a yoga class...and pretty much anything in a yoga class.
Glennon talks about clinging to grace with both hands, and that's how I feel. I cling to the grace that comes from staying 3-D which strengthens my marriage.

I got some messages of sympathy and solidarity yesterday from beloved souls who know my heart.
Some of you out there are married to partners who like fun projects which sometimes inconvenience others or seem crazy...and it's easier to discuss this with other people instead of examining why you feel the way you do. I know this because I have been there, witnessed it, experienced it, even joked about support groups to get through it. I need a new path, one where we stick together and try hard to learn the ways that keep each other Creatively UP (with humor, without judgment).

This Bronco is hard to understand, seems irrational, is creative and interesting.
Over cheese grits and the rising sun, I wouldn't have my marriage any other way. On any given day it seems hard to understand, irrational, creative and interesting.

I don't want to lose quality time as a family, to live in debt, to hoard and stack cars and trailers in our yard, nor start projects without finishing them. I also don't want to live a linear, two-dimensional life in a marriage more concerned with bottom lines, practicality and retirement. That's just me.
But it's me on this side of the marriage.

Here we go.
We will continue to celebrate whatever "Bronco" may come. The hard work, the exciting work, remains in the Creative UP-keeping of this family. That's where I want to stay busy.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lesson My Impact: Wearing Nicaragua, Costa Rica and "Overseas"

Today I am wearing the countries Nicaragua (t-shirt), Costa Rica (shorts) and "Overseas" (flip flops).

I am wearing Frisky flip flops and on their web site they claim:
Our products are manufactured overseas with quality control located in each factory to insure excellence and inspect all production to maintain the utmost in integrity and uniformity. All products are made from high quality and environmentally friendly materials. Products are produced in compliance with all U.S. regulations and labor laws. 
But Frisky never states what "overseas" means. So I sent them an email thanking them for their product and asking which countries. Still waiting to hear back.

I just read the book Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes by Kelsey Timmerman.

Srsly, y'all.

"What are we to do as consumers? If we buy garments made in some developing country, we are contributing to an industry built on laborers whose wages and quality of life would be unacceptable to us. But if we don't, the laborers might lose their jobs. My conclusion, after visiting the people who made my favorite clothes, is that we should try to be engaged consumers, not mindless pocketbooks throwing dollars at the cheapest possible fashionable clothes we can find."

I added the bold on the above quote. I heard Bono of U2 state once that we vote with every dollar. I love that. And believe it. I worry about being paralyzed by it...and how to teach it to my children. I am disgusted that my children wear clothes made by other children.

"My own conclusion, after visiting Bangladesh, is that we should not be ashamed that our clothes are made by children so much as ashamed that we live in a world where child labor is often necessary for survival.
Child labor or not, the working conditions in Bangladesh's garment and textile industries are the living conditions of the country.
This is the culture of poverty."

Timmerman's work and curiosity aligns with Susan Bissell's lifetime work of advocating and protecting children all over the world.
I met Susan while she was writing her dissertation decades ago and she was the first to widen my perspective about sweatshops, child labor, and all of the thousands of hands my cheap pair of jeans passed through to end up in my closet.
If I buy the jeans, I affect the workers - whatever their ages.
If I remove myself from the consumer market, I affect the workers...and their job security.
I have to figure out how to be an engaged consumer right where I am.

It's summertime in my house, which means the children are home all the time. All. The. Time. It has been a great reminder to me that I am not teaching them enough about the Wear and Care of the Home. I got all fired up for this to be a Teaching Summer, involving the laundry and perhaps the dishwasher.
It did not work. So I quit. I removed myself from the Wear and Care of the Home, thinking that maybe if I stepped down, at least one kid would step up.
Instead, they started a game of naming the roaches.
I am not kidding.
Engaged consumer, engaged Wear and Care.

Timmerman also notes, 
"Hope is in short supply in impoverished nations. Ask kids what they want to do when they grow up and the they'll look at you funny. They know what they are going to do. They are going to do what their moms and dads do - just try to get by."

"'If they pay $45 for jeans,' Ai says, 'it helps us. If people don't buy, I'm unhappy because I wouldn't have a job.' Ai laughs at the simplicity of the logic.
Is it that simple? Does an uneducated, 24-year-old garment worker hold the answer to how I should behave as a consumer?
To buy or not to buy, that is the question."

"There isn't a single worker who makes my clothes who lives a life that I would find acceptable. I'm not sure we can handle knowing how most of the world lives, and corporations understand this."

Why can't we handle knowing how most of the world lives? 
Why can't our daily work involve and include tiny steps towards closing the gaps between how we live, what our children hope for, and what we wear?
I am wide open for this revolution.

It started years ago, was boosted by this book, and now I have this morning to take my first tiny steps.
Join me?