Dec 26, 2017

Tuesday at the End of December Brain Dump

It's super cold today.  I never did get the storm windows into the house and so I really can't get the heat up over 62 today.  I'm pretty sure if I was a landlord I'd be getting yelled at about it, but the kids are visiting with their dad this week and I just put an extra sweater on until my dad gets here and we try to get the screens out and the windows in with our frozen fingers. 


I loved 2017.


I think I only saw one movie this year at the theater.  Wonder woman.  I loved it.


I missed a whole movement of new music during the last decade, that I really like and as a result I'm consuming it as fast as I can with ferocity.  It's been loud at my house for the last few months.  I don't know why I wasn't listening to anything.  I'm surmising the part of my brain that liked music was numb, I thought it was all over, everything good had been sung and listened to ad nauseum. Most of the things I liked had been abandoned after my divorce, literally and figuratively.  This year I discovered new things I love.  It's so good and unexpected and powerful.  Sometimes I have to turn a song off because it makes my chest hurt, other times impromptu dance breaks.  Welcome back to the music lobe in my brain!


Thomas bought me a turn of the century upright grand piano. I like to sit at it and pound out melodies on the keys in a super monotonous way.  I'm sure the neighbors are horrified. 


I'm going to make some paintings on black velvet in January.  I hope the technique isn't that different from starting with a black canvas.  I'm super excited - I'd like to start today but need to get wood and velvet and it's -17° today and I haven't started my car in three days.  Soooo, maybe I'll get out after we get the windows in and get supplies.  It's actually an idea time to stretch canvases - when the kids aren't here. 



Aug 24, 2017

Stranger Danger Online

When I got home tonight the kid had left the computer on while logged into her e-mail.  I sat down and before I could log her off I did a cursory scan of the subject lines of the emails looking for red flags, sex, drugs, and general teenage stupidity.  I saw something about a hotel and of course clicked it.

Aunt Lauren was inviting the kid and 15 other people to stay all at the same hotel for the wedding last spring.  And then Harvey invited the kid and a bunch of other relatives to Easter dinner. Next was a bunch about Esther's 90th birthday and who was going to fly in for that? Lastly there was a bunch of e-mails containing corny jokes about electricians from cousin Eric. I rolled the mouse back through a couple of years of correspondence from people I've never heard of.

Let me be clear, we are not related to an Aunt Laren, Harvey, Esther or Eric.

I called the kid downstairs to explain.

"Do you have a second family you've been hiding? Who are these people? Do you have a Grandma Esther I don't know about?"

"No!  I don't know who these people are but they keep sending me emails and photos! I don't even read my e-mail unless I see it's from myself!"

Apparently this is how she moves artwork from one account to the desktop computer but her account has been infiltrated by a very nice family who would like us to know that Shirl's baby is getting baptized and Uncle Carl had a very nice time at the Lake. I clicked though a few more and they're sent from people's work complete with job titles and companies and phone numbers to perfectly normal occupations, so I think it checks out.  It's not some weird roll playing fan fiction world the kid and her hipster pals are playing where peach jello molds, mom jeans and ridiculously boring puns are all of a sudden cool.

I'm not even sure how to feel about this. It occurs to me that the family might think that one cousin who never replies is a "real wet rag". I'm pretty sure that's how they'd say it in hushed tones.

Anita MacRae Feagles and The Tooth Fairy

Anita MacRae Feagles wrote and illustrated The Tooth Fairy.  I checked out the little hard cover book from the Rockford Public Library more than any other book.  In my thirties when my first child lost her first tooth I became obsessed with finding this tiny book again and hadn't a clue who wrote or illustrated it I just remembered the fairy illustrations and how the book made me feel all happy about loosing my teeth.  I google searched through thousands of images over several weeks until I found it.

I get that little book out and read it on the very night The Tooth Fairy will visit our house, just before bed.  We'll read it tonight.  It's simple and charming and it's The Tooth Fairy I've always known my whole life.  She's a city fairy.  She has a house and a job and throws parties and I imagine she drives a little hatch back car when she's not traveling by magic.  Some of these facts weren't in the book they were just part of what I imagined in my head.

"Anita MacRae Feagles, of Vero Beach, Fla., and Fishers Island, N.Y., died on March 14 2008, with her husband, Robert Feagles, at her side.

She was born in Chicago, the only child of Cuyler and Anita MacRae. She was raised in Chappaqua, N.Y. She received a bachelor's degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, and an master's in education at City College of New York. She was a member of the Junior League of Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Following her marriage to Robert Feagles, an international banker, she lived for two years in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before they returned to Chappaqua. She had four children and became a prolific writer, publishing 20 books, mostly for children. She accompanied her husband on numerous international trips, and was able to do research in Mexico, England, Spain and Iceland, which led to books set there. They lived in London for two years, and later moved to Hartford. They have also maintained a residence on Fishers Island for over 25 years.

She is survived by her husband and three children, Cuyler, of Freeport, Maine, Priscilla Hammond, of Lyme, and Patrick, of Vero Beach. Her oldest daughter, Wendy Harwood, predeceased her. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In addition to writing, she worked as an ombudsman in the Connecticut prison system, as instructor in English at Indian River Community College, and as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Florida 19th District Court System.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Humane Society of Vero Beach, PO Box 644, Vero Beach, FL 32961 in memory of Mrs. Feagles."

the tooth fairy by Antia Feagles

Aug 23, 2017

When School Started

Both kids are in school all day.  This is their third day back.  Nobody started a new school or is doing anything different really from last year.  I'm sitting here thinking I forgot something.  I'm waiting for someone to ask me where their sock is or if I'd help them pour the milk.  I have a ton of work to do and the house still isn't straightened up from the summer activities.  Still I am wistfully sad the summer is done.  I just can't get enough of their cute faces and the way they play with the dog and are constantly making things.  This afternoon when everyone is off the buss and I'm trying to carve out a moment of quiet among the hustle and bustle, I'm sure I wont remember the longing from this morning, but perhaps I'll be more patient when digging through the laundry and mopping up milk. Life moves too fast.

Aug 1, 2017

Back to the Future

I joined a grocery delivery service.  I've never been happier about grocery shopping in my life.  I got just the things I needed for the stuff I am going to cook. I didn't order potato chips because I didn't have to walk past end caps with giant family sized bags screaming out to me to bring them home. No children asked me for any candy bars or toys or cookies.  I leisurely filled my digital cart all morning while thinking about what we needed, occasionally searching through the refrigerator and asking the kids what they wanted, while in my pajamas. I tried these little organic artisan purple carrots - holy hell I'd forgotten what a carrot is supposed to taste like. Get yourself a little organic purple carrot.

Other services and things I wish they'd bring back to the future:
A full service gas station in the dead of winter please.  
A phone I can hold with my shoulder while doing other things.
Free un-wired broadcast TV, I'm sick of cable.
Handwritten correspondence.
Dance halls.
Stylish shaped cars.

Jul 28, 2017

The Food is Gone

Last week we experienced two back to back thunder storms that knocked out the power at our house both times.  I'm told it was not a tornado either time but trees and telephone polls ripped power lines down out of the skies and insurance men are crawling the neighborhood this week along side the piles of appliance boxes placed on the curb this garbage day.  With the first storm we had no electricity for two days, I didn't open the refrigerator and the house stayed fairly cool while we retreated north to spend the night at Grandma's.  The power came back for a full afternoon before the second storm hit sending cars on Main Street afloat as sheets of water fell from the sky so dense it seemed if you were standing out in it you'd drown. I lost all the food.  It got too warm and everything in the freezer thawed to fast and too dangerously for a "hurricane party" to be thrown.

Instead of restocking right away I packed the kids and headed to Lake Michigan to enjoy the day-after-the-storm waves.  The lake didn't disappoint.  Waves as high as the kid's shoulder pounded the beach and the kids.  Someone on Facebook said they were closing some beaches because of the high waves and still, I stood watch on shore while the kids squealed and pushed the limits of their bravery wading out into the turmoil. I only forced them back inland when their lips were blue and shivering and then I made them sit under dark towels in the sun until they begged to go out again.  Finally warming up fireside that night, Ella pulled out her ukulele and the kids sang all the theme songs to all the cartoons she could remember how to play until it was quiet time in the campground.  Next we told stories about the happiest we'd ever been and the most jealous we'd ever been and the most surprised we'd ever been all the while stuffing our faces with an array of various degrees of melted and burned marshmallows.  At some point Jack asked to go to bed.  We exhausted, scraped up and sunburned campers found our tents and slept hard.  We barely heard the rustling of wild animals in our campsite opening all the coolers and tightly sealed rubbermaid tubs of food or the rustling of wrappers and munching of raccoon mouths on graham crackers.  The next morning I stepped out of the tent to find, yet again, all the food gone.

Jul 17, 2017

Post number Seven - List of Things

List of things:
- I hurt my knee in Feb walking the puppy.  It's still hurts I think I need an MRI.
- I'm excited to have some projects planned for fall art scene.
- I'm taking the kids to Lake Michigan tomorrow so we can play in the waves and check out the camping.
- The kid is going to probably get her black belt this winter and that makes me super proud of her. I wish I was half as cool as she is.
- I like taking baths but more often opt for the quicker shower and that sorta bums me out.
- I brought some white sheets and I love when they're fresh out of the wash and smell like bleach.
- I also bought some Borax for some sciency things we were doing and the smell of it reminds me of Atwood camp, in the 5th grade.  They must've washed all the things in Borax.
- The pup feels mostly better after getting her spayed.  She got to take the cone off and she's eating better with the cone off.
- I made potato salad with lemon and mint and it's all I want to eat now.

Image result for 20 mule team poster borax vintage

Jul 13, 2017

Post number Six

Dang, facebook has really killed my blog.  I still have things to say but I post them with my phone and get instant gratification, they really do a better job of appeasing my ego than blogger does.  So what the hell am I doing here? I still like my blog.  It's a good measure of where I am in life - a chunk of digital memory that can be slurpped into some sort of navel gazing book later for the great grandkids to see how boring life was in the early 2000s... or not.

Work - fricking great!
Family - fricking great!
House - needs work.
Roller Derby - I'm trying to referee (that shit is HARD)
Extracurriculars - needs work.  More canoeing please.
List making - fricking great!


I made some new friends this year.  I like them (Obviously! jeeze)  This means I spend a good amount of time lately worrying if I said something stupid or didn't do enough of a thing or too much of a thing because I want my new friends to think I am the greatest of friends.  It's like fifth grade again but with beer and without the jump rope (because jumping hurts.) Whenever I get too far into my own head about what I did or didn't do around my new pals I try to remember I'm 44 and pay bills and have control of the t.v. remote*.  I am mighty!


I feel sad for the dog today.  She was spayed three days ago and she's still not eating much.  She still has to have the cone on her head for at least five more days.  I keep thinking she can have it off but them I'm on 'lick-sound alert' and that's no fun when you're trying to get some work done.  She doesn't know what's going on or why this happened to her despite my explaining the social responsibilities of a pet ownership and strays in the city - she just refuses to accept the stratification of species classes and argues in favor of wild wolves roaming the city and small sick humans just taking their chances when walking to granny's house.  There's no talking to her today.


*Nobody really wants the t.v. remote anymore.  It's just me flipping between news channels and the weather channel now.  Each kid has the whole universe in their pocket and even if they're on the second floor of the tree house, in the back yard, and the want to see the 15th episode of Gilligan's Island, they can whip it out and call it up and watch it. They don't though, because that would be cool, and I would go out there and watch Gilligan's Island with them - they just watch shitty videos of other kids playing video games.  They don't even deserve the remote.

Image result for 15th episode of gilligan's island

Mar 9, 2017

Feb 12, 2017

This dog

This dog has so much energy it's almost a shame to waste it on walks.  To calm her down I walk her about two miles every morning.  She's so smart she should have a job instead.  She could get on the bus at 9am and come home at 3:30, trotting off the bus and into the house for a late lunch and a nap.  She would've had a bus day herding sheep or running letters to various offices or jumping all over construction sites carrying tools and other supplies.

Jan 24, 2017

The Votes

Donald Trump received 62,979,879 total votes.  The total number of Americans registered to vote is 146,311,000.  That means only 43% of the people voted for him.  If you voted for Trump you are in the minority.  

Jan 9, 2017

This Ninth Day of January Two Thousand and Seventeen

This morning my teenage daughter got herself out of bed and fed and off to school on her own, while I gave my first grader a ride to his new school.  He finally got into Montessori (there's a wait list.) After I dropped him off, I went to my neighborhood library and started a mural for the toddler room.  It's a big elm tree and I used three ladders and three colors to get it going today.  It's magnificent and I may paint trees in my own home after this.  The new Montessori school gives the kids each a 'job' at school and today my son's job was to do dishes.  He loved school so much that when he came home he wanted to show me how he can help.  This day is one for the books.