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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Life I Have Made.

I read this phrase in a book recently, and it made me wonder about the kind of life and environment I've created for myself.

I have made a life in which books are valuable. Oliver sees Josh and I reading every day. Josh and I respect each other's need to read, and we encouragge each other though our tastes are different. I like that we always know what the other is reading.

Writing is also valuable. If one of us needs to write something, everything else is on hold. I have journals sand notepads everywhere. Pens are plentiful and easy to find. Having the tools at hand is inspiring as well as useful.

I've made theatre a big part of my life by buying season tickets and other tickets. I know I expand when I'm in the audience, taking in all that sound and color. And Bruce and I bond over each show.

I've made a life in which two gentle, kind men give me a great deal of love and attention every day. I know they will watch over me. I hope that I enrich their lives in return.

I've made a life in which fantasy--fairies, mermaids, fairy tales--has an important place. My illustrated books, our movies, and our wall decor all show that. These are like a map back to myself. Josh has always supported that.

I've also made a life in which it's okay to be sick--at least, I've encouraged that in small ways through books I've read and conversations I have. I always tell someone what's going on with me. All those close to me have accepted my illness.

As much as seems possible, I have made a quiet, safe, rich environment and life. I'll think about what else I can do. What can you do for yourself?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stay-at-Home Mama Goals

Josh was a stay-at-home dad for almost four years. Some of that time, he was a graduate student, and he has been teaching part-time for a year and a half. This fall, he has a full-time teaching job. Due a newly diagnosed, life-long illness that made my work all but impossible, I have been away from work this year. So Josh and I are switching roles. This will be a major transition for both of us. We just finished our first week. Luckily, perhaps since I've been present more this year, Oliver does not seem to mind the change. But as I was writing in my journal a few days ago, I started thinking about what kind of stay-at-home parent I want to be. These are goals, not rules.

  • Do some art each day. Crayons, paints, markers, pencils, glitter...
  • Get Oliver out of the house each day. Even if it's just to the apartment complex's playground. Even if it's only to the balcony for water play.
  • Limit TV (that is, Thomas) but don't be too strict about it.
  • Establish some daily routines but again, don't be too strict about it. 
  • Get back in the habit of reading children's classics aloud.
  • Read some picture books every day.
  • Read poetry aloud sometimes.
  • Keep up with my own reading when Oliver is occupied. Set an example!
  • Practice being more independent with household and childcare tasks instead of asking for help.
  • Help Oliver practice independence in small ways. 
  • Model habits like reading and exercising.
  • Practice and get better at multitasking. For example, shop with Oliver.
  • Build my confidence in this huge new role.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ongoing Wish List.

I've started keeping an ongoing wish list in the back of my journal. When I finish a journal, I copy the list in my new journal. I find that I forget what I want, and having a list is also a great reference for the "What do you want for ____?" question. I think my list is kind of funny, ranging from little things that I'd just like to have to completely unrealistic wishes.

  • A sackful of Gelly Roll pens from Cheap Joes
  • Large, lined Post-Its in a pretty color
  • Business card-sized cardstock
  • Anthropologie dishes in a range of colors
  • Decorative, unusual silverware
  • Soup spoons
  • Pretty paper straws
  • New couch tray
  • A new dress for every theatre outing
  • Wooden salad bowl and utensils
  • Salad spinner
  • Sea salt
  • Planners for mood tracking and tasks
  • Silvertone aquamarine ring
  • Small, colorful rubber bands
  • Sewing tape measure
  • Big mug bowls
  • Sturdy watercolor paper for collages
  • A bike
  • Laptop
  • Large album for design book 2
  • Julep Maven subscription
  • Fine glitter in gold and champagne
  • Sequins
  • Fit Bit
  • Stila Body palette

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Jewel.

"I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye...."
                                                                       ~Neil Gifford

This caught my attention, and I wondered what it meant. I guess it means letting one's loveliest or best memories influence one's perception of the present...or the present self.

I think about playing Harriet the Spy when I was eleven. I took a notebook everywhere. That was kind of my precursor to Natalie Goldberg, queen of constant freewriting, of write everything down, of The Notebook. So I often feel that I ought to be writing something down, huddled on the edge of events and places, eyes wide open and hand moving rapidly across the lines.

I also remember my reading self--my eagerness to check out library books, Mom's quick and wholly absorbed journey through a stack of hardcovers, my tastes of romance and horror through certain special edition Babysitter's Club books, my grandfather buying me a Nancy Drew book for the flight home.

So I guess I look at myself and my life through that jewel: Do I write like that? Do I read like that?

What jewel do you hold up?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Favorites Now Part II.

Gold Dots: These have become quite popular, and I love them. I love them on black, white, pink...probably any color. Searching for "gold dots" on Pinterest brings up so many examples. I have a print from Paper Source that says "You Sparkle--You Shine" in gold script with gold dots. It catches the slightest light even when the room is dark. I'd love to have all the journals, wall art, file folders, pillows, and other objects that use gold dots. 

Milkshake Straws: I didn't know these existed. I find them at Food Lion. The are pastel and individually wrapped. I haven't tried them with actual milkshakes, but they are great when I'm drinking water, want a straw, and don't want to sip daintily.

Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale: My soul companion, Bruce, got me into this. We walk together a few times a week, and one evening, he brought a 2-liter bottle with a little soda left. I swigged it like a pirate, not expecting to like it (I'm a picky and not-at-all-adventurous eater/drinker). But it was delicious, and I've been buying it ever since. It's limited edition, so I'll be bummed when it's gone. It tastes like ginger ale with grape soda but not so sweet.

Anthropologie Glasses: Can you tell that I'm taking medication that makes me extremely thirsty and therefore obsessed with all beverage topics? I bought these last year when Mom and I went to South Park, a fancy mall in Charlotte, for my birthday. I have the glasses in that striking green and bashful tanzanite. Josh washes them by hand for me. I love using them for juice and lemonade.

Cinderella Bag: I'm fairly obsessed with the live-action movie itself and quite disappointed that it won't be out on DVD until September. The costumes, the music, the greater focus on Cinderella's childhood, the mere sight of Kenneth Branagh's name in the credits...perfect. Mom and Shane gave me a bag based on the movie for my 30th last week. I never thought I would have a Le Sport Sac purse...I feel pretty fancy. The silver thread in the straps and the baby pink lining are gorgeous details. The bag can hold my journal and books along with the usual.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Favorites Now.

I've been away from work on FMLA for several months now, and this gives me a little time to think about what fortifies my days and sweetens (or gently challenges) my mind. I'll share some here.

PB Teen Catalog: I've always loved PB Teen (a Pottery Barn brand), and it's my first choice for furniture. But the catalog itself is a gem. I'd love to be on the styling team (or whatever it's actually called). The rooms are like stories because they actually capture the personalities of the imaginary teens who live in those rooms. I don't pay much attention to the boys, but I get fascinated with the environmentalist girl, the wahine who is also class president, the fashionista who loves 19th-century literature. I love looking closely to see what the selection of furniture, decor, books, and objects reveal. It's great inspiration for writing characters or just for reminders to embrace one's passions, down to every labeled polka-dot canvas storage bin (I amass blank journals in a green under-the-bed one I got on mega sale a few years ago!). Get on the mailing list!

Denim Chaise: I worked extra last summer to be able to buy (on sale, again) this gorgeous chaise from PB Teen (of course). Apparently, it's not for sale any more, but it's this shape. It was part of the awesome Emily & Meritt collection, which I could gobble up in one bite. The chaise is under the window in our guest room, which is often my quiet, thoughtful spot in the apartment. I'm a great collector but often neglect to use what I love. I don't know if it's a feeling of being undeserving or a fear of messing up something marvelous. But I've started adding "15 min chaise" to my goal list every day. I just go enjoy the chaise while I read, feast on Pinterest, or gaze out in thought. The denim is soft like lightly worn jeans, and it will go with anything. Right now, I'd like to have pink pillows. I think it's important to have at least one piece of furniture that encapsulates the feeling of home. Oh, and here's a quick collection video that makes me feel calm and creative:

Design Book: I have a big photo album with sturdy pages and protective sheets between. I've had it for eleven years, and for most of that time, I wondered what to do with it. Recently, I started filling it scrapbook-style, mostly with rooms. I'd see a beautiful room in a magazine, adore something, see a scene unfold or imagine what might happen in the room, and I'd tear it out and paste it into my big book. It's nearly full now, so I need to find another album like it. But I love looking at those rooms, displays, corners. They take me to other quiet or exciting places, and it's like having all my favorite bits of magazines and catalogs in one place. I like having it when I can't use Pinterest. But I do something similar there with my Stories of Rooms board.

Pinterest Desks: I also love working on my Deskscapes board. Any beautiful or inspiring offices, studios, craft rooms, desks, or desk accessories I find go there. I ask myself what I could do in that space. Could I write letters, stories, poems? Could I make a collage or dream up some new path for myself? Or who else might create there?

from The Glitter Guide at

More to come!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My 30s.

Growing up, I thought a lot about my 20s. I thought that would be the best decade of my life--youth and freedom, creativity, love. Those did come, but so did more pain and difficulty than I could have imagined. Just before my birthday (yesterday), I realized that I'd never really thought about my 30s. So here are some thoughts.

  • I want my 30s to be financially stable, even if we don't have much to spend on extras. 
  • I want my 30s to be a well-read decade. I'd love to read 50 books each year and come out with 500 more books.
  • I want to be creatively productive--25 or more journals. Collages. Design books (albums in which I paste photos, mostly of inspiring rooms), expressive makeup.
  • I'd like to get back to writing letters and see how it feels to have more friends, at least on paper.
  • I want to follow all my treatments well and learn more about them.
  • I want to be an engaged mother and introduce Oliver to fantasy, science fiction, theatre, art....
  • I want to be deeply connected to the theatre too.
  • I want to keep my closest connections and build on them
  • I want to travel at least a little.
  • I want to be thinner and more fit.
  • I want to maintain my blogs at least somewhat.
  • I want to stay connected to myself.