"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Is It Spring Yet?

Am mulling over bridal shower plans for my little sister, wondering when people around here think spring has come, trying to understand exercise psychology and considering designing a tattoo. So many things to think about. I am not sure whether to try to rally the boys for treks to see the elephant seals mating and birthing, the cranes nesting or the newts wriggling around in the winter (spring?) rains in amorous little herds. I'm puzzled by all the folks around here who don't seem to notice seasons or change in The Bay. I think its a downright kaleidoscope.

I am also making headway on the Friend Acquisition Project, finding lots of cool people both kids and mamas that qualify as candidates and also doing the hardest bit: contacting them and scheduling time together. EEP! I am the worst at that. I am really feeling proud though, I am being brave and assertive and friendly and organized and energetic and even though I am NEVER caught up on the dishes (no dishwasher at the new place) I am on the ramp to friendship. I am even finding little friends for the boys.

And on Sunday....Little League tryouts! I can't wait to be back in the bleachers again! Baseball moms are good friend material and that California tan is calling me.

Friday, January 29, 2016

My Make-Up Must Have's

I'm a dirt under my fingernails kind of a girl but I love my mascara. I grew up way far from the reaches of Covergirl but I love beauty and sparkles and paint are my favorites. I even sometimes use false lashes which feel so glamorous and a tiny bit silly. Here are my go-to products:

For years (since highschool) I was a mascara and blush girl....and although I have since added eyeliner as part of my "normal" spiff-up list, mascara is still right up there.

If I can only get to one piece of make-up then I pick mascara. I love my eyes and it highlights them. I don't have particularly long lashes so I always use the lengthening stuff and even though every women's mag tells you its a terrible idea, this blonde uses the darkest charcoal black available. I love the way it shows up. What can I say?!? I used to use waterproof but now I'm all for water soluble. accidentally tugging lashes out and rubbing and rubbing with make-up remover are not worth it. I like me some ease of use.

My favorite is: Mabelline Illegal Length Fiber Extension Mascara

I pretty much always use blush too. I'm vintage enough to believe that rosy cheeks are an important part of looking beautiful. Love that it makes me look like I've just been outdoors for a brisk walk. (True fact, if I'm without blush, I always pinch my cheeks before a photo....like I'm an actual Victorian belle. A always laughs.) I use a big fluffy blush brush, the only special, not-from-the-package equipment I use and cheap, basic blush in a coral pink.

My favorite is: Covergirl Cheekers in the shade "Pretty Peach."

The newest addition to my routine is eyeliner. I never used eyeliner a whole lot although when I used to do stage work I fell madly in love with liquid eyeliner and dabbled in it occasionally. I used to think eyeliner was too dramatic and would make me look like Liz Taylor in her later years but I am pretty non-stop about it now. Its my other favorite way to highlight my eyes and add a little extra dazzle and sass to my face. There's nothing that says, "Get 'em Mommy!" like pausing before unloading the four kids in the parking lot of some event and taking the time to line my eyes. Bam! Mommy's awake and feeling more five star. I think part of what made me fall in love with eyeliner was befriending a glamorous Bangladeshi neighbor who had enormous, glossy eyes and was totally elegant with the eyeliner. I love to use black, per my habit with mascara and kohl is my preference.

My favorite is: Rimmel of London Soft Kohl Kajal Pencil.

Because I often have redness around my nose (my only real problem area with my skin) I keep a cover-up handy and just adding a dab usually will do the job. I don't even use foundation or powder most of the time. My skin-tone is decently even and that's all it really needs. I'm a little picky about concealer though and this one is a 10. I like it heavy enough to be firmly opaque but not thick or cloggy and it has to be a nice texture to not irritate or dry my skin when dabbed on.

My favorite is: Mabelline Face Studio Master Concealer.

So now you know my basic favs.....that's what lives in my little emergency make-up pouch in the car AND in the house in my regular make-up bag. The things worth buying twice because I know I'll always want them. What are your favorites? Anybody else using these items?


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rain And Friendship

 The rainy season is winding down now, just a month or so less of this cooler time of year and I can already tell it is warming up. The flowers are starting to open here and there and the back yard edges are a riot of green weeds. I don't know what anything is because I am in such an unfamiliar world out here so every little lime green vine or fistfull of invasive plant material looks promising and exotic to me. This spring will be a wild bashing bar-fight of a gardening season. I am not pulling much of anything out and I am so excited to put my garden in that I am sure to follow my usual plan of putting more in the ground than is practical or diplomatic. It will be a wild, chaotic mess of growing and choking and overgrowing and learning. I'm so excited about it all. Here's to the weeds and the learning and the hilarious errors and the brilliance of knowing more about what in the world grows here.

 I am so excited about making friends. This is my current project for the month. I am pushing myself to make dates with people, to reply to emails, to set up playdates (how I hate the term!) for the kids and to go out on the weekends for little lady getaways in the evenings. I am hungry for the connections, the roots, the deeply tapped lines that pull us in when things are dicey and send up their macrame'd message of security and belonging and sense-of-self and sense-of-other. The boys are easy to tip into melancholic and self-pitying wallows about nobody liking them and how they've never had friends. We need to belong and to have "folks," we're all hungry for being missed and having people light up when they see up and for knowing there are people who we have to update about the latest exciting happenings in our day to day. Its a weird feeling to have a lot of people you can small talk with at anytime but no real spot for letting your hair down, talking deep or hearing true vulnerability with others.
 I am so glad I have family during this transition and that I have technology. I need to rely less on Facebook (refresh refresh refresh refresh) and more on my own energy to call people on the phone, actual letters and building the real relationships in brick and mortar here. I slide into the Internet when I feel lonely. I think it feels like a safe place to hide and it is a place where I can find people and connection. That's not all bad, its just that I use it for a shield instead of as a break or a spring-board. I have been eyeing up a women's book study and am not really connected enough to any church yet to find  a group to connect to but I decided to just order the book and try to bootstrap a group based on who I know right now. When you can't beat 'em, lead 'em! That's my technique this time. Never really tried anything like that before. We'll see how it goes.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Camellia Advertising

I never really got camellias until I moved here. They are amazing. Here we are in winter (which okay, isn't exactly unpleasant) with the rainy and gray season leaning on us and the deciduous trees drop their leaves and most things stop blooming. And here come the camellias! All over town they are unfolding for months....giant teacup sized blooms that look like roses and fall luxuriantly onto sidewalks everywhere you walk. They last for at least a week in a bowl on the dining room table and are so incredible beautiful. No scent, all visual glamour. I see camellias in my future yard.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pom In The Spotlight

Time to be the detective mama again, time to talk about my kids as they emerge and morph and pay attention, slow down and notice who they are. I like taking the time to do this because it helps me record and acknowledge their growing idiosyncrasies, and pleasant turns of habit and interest. We all change, I sure have...its fun to play the watcher and see what is new with those we love and what is enduring still.

Little Pom is three and full of energetic personality. He is a pretty fabulously active and alive kid and has shifted from the incredibly sunny and placid baby to a ball of fury caulked with ambition and zest for life. He's hilarious and infuriating and has tried a good number of my "well-tested" and organized theories and sent them sailing out the window. He has sent me back to my stack of books and the staggeringly helpful world of The Internet more than any of my kids. Part of this is me (I'm increasingly trying to grow and learn and figure things out) and part of it is him. He's a true frontiersman.

Pom Loves:

  1. Dialogue: Like none of our other kids this boy plays scripts and conversations non-stop. Maybe he's a writer or a therapist or a really in-touch with relationships kind of a guy...who knows! Everything talks if he's left to himself for a minute. His seatbelt talks to his shoelace in the car, his fork talks to his plate at the table, his Batman figure talks to his pillow...everything is conversant. He also adores figures and plays with stuffed animals avidly which none of his brothers cared for at all. He plays relational stories and his brothers all played objects. (building machines and constructing towers etc.) He loves his toy car collection too but, guess what....they all talk!!!! That's his favorite way to play with them!
  2. Wearing His Hood Up: A couple of his brothers had aversions to hats at various stages and pulled anything off their head that ended up there....he freaks out if he finds out that I've whisked him out of the house in the sweatshirt or jacket without a hood. He's a hoodie kind of a dude. Cover up. 
  3. Baths: He will swim and play and splash to his heart's content by the hour. I love that its a simple, happy and wholesome way to entertain him or wind him down at the end of the day. None of kids have loved baths as much as he does....although, come to think of it, we have lived in a house with insufficient hot water for five years. That might have something to do with it. 
  4. Halloween Costumes: This boy talks incessantly about all the things he can think of to be for Halloween and they are pretty much all out of the box and challenging sounding. His latest big dream is that he will dress up as Jabba Of The Hut and I will be Leia..."But don't worry, Mommy...I will be a nice Jabba Of The Hut."
  5. Vulgarity: We are stepping right into the most urgent stages of potty talk. He's all about the poop and fart jokes and anything to do with private parts in general....all the taboos at once. 

Pom Loathes:

  1.  Going To Bed: He freaks out almost every night now and I have decided to give up the naptime battle too. It doesn't matter how late he stays up its missing out to cash in his chips and go to sleep! Who does that?!?! I get it, kid. I still struggle with this. Sleeptime FOMO
  2. His Embarrassing "Baby"Car Seat: He hates that he still sits in a big carseat with all the straps and padding and the big orange buckle between his legs. He's really been very clear with us that he is big now and that he would like to ride on the seat itself with an adult seatbelt like his parents...we are humiliating him, its not fair, nobody else has to ride this way. Its a battle pretty much every time we get in the car.
  3. Meat, For The Most Part: He will occasionally enjoy fish or like some roast chicken but mostly he doesn't want anything to do with the meat and will just eat the veggies and fruit. He doesn't even like bacon! 
  4. Inspector Gadget: I tried to show the kids this cartoon recently and Pom had a total meltdown because it was scary...he still tells A and I from time to time all about how "bad and scary" that awful show was. Hard for me to tell why it hit him so wrong. He's not one of the touchiest kids about scary shows and there wasn't anything particularly unusual or alarming that I noticed. Odd how things happen sometimes.
  5. Having His Shoe Laces Untied: Its the best....some kids can't stand to hold still to have their shoes tied and he will often come running up to me to tell me to fix them instead. Old ladies love this....he is their fantasy child. He is ALSO worried that he might trip! 


Friday, January 15, 2016

Starting Over: 2016

Its January, and although I am a little late to my usual party, I am finally in full-on clean slate mode. Tomorrow I am beginning a Whole 30 food commitment which will take me off of all sugars except for fruit for 30 days. Time for clean eating. Giving up coffee will also be in the plan (time for some dandelion root tea!) as will adding in some things I have been dropping out of my life in a spotty kind of way: meditation and listening prayer, yoga, drinking my daily allotment of water and getting my workout in, fitting in Special Time with my kids and getting up early before the family. Its time to polish my boots and get back in gear. My brain is foggy, my waistline is pudgy, my motivation is gone and I am itching to get back at it.

Dear January, here in California you are bringing me the first flowers, fresh lemons off the tree outside my kitchen door and a blessed lack of snow. I do need to book a skiing weekend to satisfy A and the boys who have a yen for cold and downhill thrills that won't be satisfied by any number of lemons or palm trees. I will do it though. I will also plan a night away by myself in the coming months and I will hunt up a friend who will go horseback riding with me nearby. This is a new year and it is time to start putting things to rights.

Today I worked on the garage (sorting through boxes, flattening empty cardboard and filling the van for a Goodwill run). The boys helped me pull about a third of the garage out into the driveway and work on categorizing it a bit. When it began to sprinkle (rainy season!) and we ran around shoving all the things back into the garage, there was decidedly less heaped up! So exciting and hopeful. I am looking forward to the Craigslist postings going up for selling larger items, the mopping of the big concrete floor and the set-up and general assembly of the little guest cottage and art studio that I am dreaming of.

It is fun to start over. But, wow...I need to get my body re-booted again so that I have the clean energy to do it all!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Of Two Minds

 This was the first year I have ever flown home for the holidays. The airport is a crazy, festive place on Christmas Eve. Wild times, y'all, but hey....home is home. You gotta get back.

Its always a big hugs thing to go back to the place I was raised. I think about it a lot beforehand, marinate in the experience while I am there and then do a lot of post-processing. Its amazing how much all the same stuff is still there and how much I am the same and at the same freaking time, nothing is like it used to be anymore and neither am I.

 I am really wrestling with making my peace with my childhood, where I come from, these hillbilly, disjointedly backwoods parts of who I am and also this city slicker, modern woman life that I live where we have sidewalks and favorite shopping haunts and we wave hello to our friendly city garbage men from the front window. The world I grew up in kind of hates the world I live in now, and vise-versa. Its really schizophrenic to be me after a visit home.
 I love both places and they are both pieces of who I am. I am a culture person, a style person, an art person, a people person and I love my silent retreating into nature and my make-do style with zero salon visits and lots of Laura Ingalls. My sons grew up in the city. I married a guy who was born in Detroit and I learned how to gut chickens when I was a kid. Sometimes I feel out of place here but mostly, I think I've learned how to carve a niche for myself in my current life. Now its just really weird when I go home.

 I love to be there and in many ways, my parents house is my safe-place but so much of what I do now, and know and like is just really odd there. Its hard to feel accepted or understood or free to be myself. Growing up and being different, changing and walking the line between what your parents are and what you once were mingled with who your spouse is, what your children are and what your current self is like is SO tough. I find it hard to be brave, I find it hard to let go, I find it hard to be unashamed about what I like and no longer care for. I want to be comfortable but that's not the same thing as free.

 I love that my parents let me come back and bring my city sons to their house, I love that I have raised boys in the city who aren't afraid of getting dirty and that I have been determined to learn how to feel confident in opera houses and barns by turns. I love who I am becoming and even though its scary and embarrassing and confusing, I love changing and embracing more facets of interest and experience. I hope that home will always be familiar and that I will learn more and more, each year, to be bolder and more freely, warmly myself there. I want to feel like its okay for people I grew up with to be nervous around my obviously urban clothing, but also okay for me to get dirt under my fingernails and laugh too loud, to let go of the need to make it all smooth and easy and simple and allow the uneven weirdness sometimes. Its lumpy and awkward, this becoming. I wish I knew a more graceful way to do it but I don't.

 I am so grateful to my parents for warmly welcoming my family who are so different from them into their life and home, for their willingness to talk about internet companies and buying and selling homes and city Little League activities with us even though these things have little to nothing to do with their lives. I'm also glad that they ask us to stack wood with them and dump out the chicken scraps and sit around and play guitar. I hope these two worlds are always part of my life and the fabric of who I am and even if it never gets easy to be in both places, I hope I get wiser about it and learn how to let go of the fear and shame and awkwardness of my duality. 
I be complicated, y'all. Its tricky and I want that to be okay....even just for my own satisfaction.