Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It Just Wouln't Be Christmas...

...without someone getting sick. This year, it's Richard and Mom. Mom has been hit with larengitis and Richard has a stomach bug. Yuck! Looks like I'll be putting out the tamale dinner tonight :) Keeping my fingers crossed that Hayes and the girls stay healthy.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Calm Before The Storm

I am relaxing in my newly painted studio space. Hayes is happily playing in the bath, Richard is tucked away in the newly dubbed "man cave," Mom and Dad are at a movie, and the Mugele crew is on their way. I am trying to savor this moment.

I love the hubbub of Christmas: the glittering paper and lights, the scurrying last-minute shopping, the baking, the carols, the family gathering and laughing. It's truly marvelous. But it doesn't leave much time for quiet nights by the tree. It seems appropriate that we are having our Christmas Eve service tonight, instead of tomorrow night. I am glad to have the company of my friends and surrogate family to wrap up in before the excitement of the next two days. I rely on their quiet love and protection more than I would care to admit at times. They keep me sane in my rush to enjoy the adventure of my life. What would I do without them? Spin into oblivion, probably.

So I am off to curl up by the tree with my dog and some egg nog before the treck to Carmel. Enjoy your holidays. I know I will be making the most of mine.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


We've had a crazy up and down couple of weeks with Hayes. He has been fighting, yes, fighting, with some of the other boys in his class. The first time it was due to a practical joke that backfired on Hayes. He has become quite the comedian at school. So we have done a lot of talking about what is and is not ok to joke about and how jokes should never ever leave anyone feeling bad about themselves. I mean really, he's five! So I think we have gone a long way in resolving the fighting; until toady.

A note came home from the teacher, attached to a note Hayes had to write about how he was fighting at school and had to miss learing center time, again! I was ready to pinch his little head off! Once we got to the bottom of things (and it took a good 20 minutes and two versions of the story) we discover the fight is about Hayes not getting his way on the playground and deciding to push and shove until he did. Good God! He has this unbelievable desire to be first and get everything he wants and now. I suppose, later in life, we will admire his passion and drive. Right now, if he hits another kid I think he'll never make it to adulthood.

He had to write notes of apology to his friends and go to bed early with no playtime after dinner last night. And I said the words to him that I vowed I would never say: I am disappointed in you. Ugh. I realize it's the week before Xmas break, but really? Fighting? As the pacifist of the family, I want to weep for his angry little heart. And as his mother, I want to punish the hell out of him so he will never do it again. And as the former teacher, I am torn between volunteering in the classroom every day in order to keep a strict eye on him and never showing my face in the classroom again. Isn't this fun? What really worries me is that I am already pulling out my bag of tricks from teaching, and he is only five. Those kids were 12 and in the alternative programs. God help me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Last weekend was fabulous! We had a cocktail party to end all parties. This means that we cooked for about three days straight and had 40 of the most delightful people we know to our home to kick off the holidays! It was marvelous. I wouldn't have changed a thing: fabulous food, amazing friendship, lovely and strong cocktails -- possibly heaven on earth.

I did, however, plan a very large Sunday on the heels of a very large Saturday. Our church service was meaningful, and long, which meant that I missed my date at the bark park with a fellow dog owner. This was sad. And Richard and I looked a bit like zombies we were so tired from the party. But to top it all off, we had plans to take Hayes and a friend to ride the Polar Express. An historical train about two hours from us transforms into the Polar Express in December, and we all get to go to the North Pole to meet Santa. Well, in typical Harrison fashion, we missed it. On the bright side, we realized that we had miscalculated the amount of time it would take to get there and called from the road to switch to another train -- two weeks from now. But we were already an hour outside Indy and so we took the kids and my parents to the Cracker Barrel. Fun Times!

Naturally, we have a very full December, and the next train weekend will be back-to-back with the children Museum's Snowflake Soiree, but we at least have passage on the first train, so if something extreme were to happen, we could certainly find room on the second train that same evening! Someone please remind me next year that I don't want to schedule ANYTHING else on the weekend of the cocktail party, ok?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Reality of Being Me

So I made this bad decision. I wish I hadn't, but in fact I did. I made it so a member of our church could not be present at a meeting. I even did it on purpose, even though my intentions were good. I would imagine most people who make bad decisions say much the same thing. I know my sixth graders did; "But Mrs. Harrison, I did mean to cheat, it's just that she...!" Yeah, that's me. I suppose the culmination of seeing Anne Lamott (a woman who says how it really is), falling madly in love with my dog, reaching some unforeseen limit with a friend, and discussing the status of our church last week finally resulted in some action on my part. Too bad it was ugly.

I feel all mixed up inside. I'm angry and hurt and sad and guilty (what's new?), and at the bottom of it all, I just want things to be easy. Not easier, just flat out easy. I hate the hard work that goes into being involved with the people in my church. I love being friends, true friends, with those people; I just want it to be easy. It's not going to be, not ever. I hate having to eat crow about something I thought was a good idea (and am still not sure was completely wrong). I hate having to be the one in the wrong. I hate feeling manipulated and guilty and trying to be brave when I just really want to have a good cry about it and finally speak the truth about how hard this is and why it's so hard. I want to be able to breathe freely with all the people in my church. I feel like it's too dishonest not to.

We had a good start today. We did speak some truth, but it's not enough if we just stop here, because then it will be personal and our discussion will have been only about me and my poor judgment, and that I don't think I could handle. I am afraid that we will decide that was enough talk and the rest of the struggle will simply fall into the abyss that the rest of our conflict and angst goes. I hope it won't. I hope that we will keep fighting through the hard stuff and do what we can to keep speaking truth. I know I will have to. Oddly, because of today, I have more hope than I previously had that we might be able to keep up this sort of dialog. I hope that we can be honest about our church and where we want it to go. I hope that we can speak more truthfully because we know that we will still love each other, despite our shortcomings, our thoughtless remarks, our poor decisions, etc., etc.

Sometimes I'd rather be anyone than me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


It frightens me to feel this good. I mean, I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Life this good doesn't last too long. So I am soaking it in right now.

I signed the paperwork for Jezzy today. She is officially our dog -- my dog. I am the sole owner. I love the way she keeps me doing things that are good for me. She won't let me live too long in my own head. And she forces me to walk - I have no good excuse to sit around. In fact, I feel good, really good about me, when I walk her. How can she be so good for me? I love having a dog. I love having Jezzy as my dog.

I saw Anne Lamott yesterday; she was actually in Indianapolis, of all places! And I didn't just see her, I saw her with the most incredible women I know. Almost all of them were there with me and we all enjoyed our time and laughed at ourselves and shook our heads at the stupidity of our culture and the beauty of living our lives together, in the midst of our messes. It was so good. It fed my soul in a way I haven't experienced in a very long time.

And the Chicago show is simply the next thing on my list. I am not stressed in the way I usually am. I am sure it will happen - it's early yet; but for now I am watching my netflix (Bubble, Rent, On a Clear Day), listening to my NPR podcasts (Speaking of Faith, Story of the Day, NPR Books, Diane Rhem) and listening to my iTunes (mostly the soundtrack to Rent) and trying to stay in the moment. And somehow it's working for me right now. Amazing.

Oddly, the "cherry on top" is that our friends are surprising their children with a quick trip to Disney; and for some reason, it's almost like being there, as happy as it makes me. There is no good way of describing it. But just being able to arrange a visit from Tinker Bell makes it fun for me too.

I am so lucky to have my good health, food on the table every night, such an amazing family, such incredible friends, and the ability to pursue my creativity. It's enough to make a grown woman cry.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

You Know You're A Dog Lover When...

Ok, this isn't really one of those lists, but I have certainly awakened the dog person I didn't know was in me. I buy her special treats. I am constantly looking in the pet aisles at the superstores I frequent. I am concerned about her every move: is she nervous, should we get her a heavier coat, does she have fleas? Honestly, it's like having another child! But I just can't help it. I love her. And I love the fact that when I leave, she misses me. I always get the best welcome home. What a good dog!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

We Have A Dog!

Her name is Jezzy; she's a whippet. We have her for a trial period of two weeks, which ends on the 17th of November. I am completely in LOVE with her. She's 6 years old, 18.5 inches tall, 24 lbs., loves to be pampered, and barks for almost no one.

We had been talking over the idea of a puppy with a local breeder, and while that didn't work out (the bitch is only having 3 puppies and the breeder is keeping them all), she mentioned that she had a 6-year-old for adoption to a local home. Imagine how exstatic we were that there was a full-grown, house-trained, former show dog available to us! So we piled into the van and the whole family went to meet her. We were nervous about Hayes's recation, but he was comfortable with her after just a few minutes. He even brushed her -- this was a very good omen. We had a family meeting that night and decided we wanted to bring her home and try her out.

What a great decision that was! She has been so good for the last two days. And she is certainly MY dog. I left her for the day, yesterday, to go to an all day crop, and upon my return she was overjoyed to see me! It was a fantastic welcome home. She's lovely and I can't say enough about her!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Savings Time

Let's face it; there are two really great things about Daylight Savings Time: you get to play golf until 9:30 p.m. and the day you fall back. We all gripe and moan the day we lose that precious hour of sleep and spring forward. It's as if that one lost hour has sapped our last bit of strength, as if we can't go on without more sleep, as if we are not smart enough to remember to put not only our children to bed and hour early but also ourselves! Don't get me wrong, I do it as much as anyone else.

And then comes that glorious morning when all is right with the world and you get that fabulous, sweet hour back; you can sleep in, you can curl up and remember that today is the most precious day of all; you can drift off into sweet dreams. What you fail to remember is that children do not come with a DST setting and they don't realize that precious gift of this extra hour. And just like that, your treasured sleep flits off, like the dragonflies over the lake, one beautiful, great big tease. I'm going to need a nap today.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


So I have a new virtual me on the site. It's weird trying to decipher which face is most like yours, which hairstyle is most like yours, etc. I like her. She is a proximity. But then again, we don't really want to look at a digital image of ourselves and think, that looks just like me! Or do we?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Putting On the Man Pants

I actually had to pull on my "Man Pants" yesterday. I will periodically have these moments when I feel like the helpless female. They usually involve flat tires or car maintenance or large appliance failures. Yesterday mom and I realized that the pilot light was out on the water heater. Naturally, Richard was out of town, and Dad was at a meeting, and the instructions for relighting the pilot made me feel like it was probable I would explode the house. So I pulled on my Man Pants and decided that those warnings were totally bogus. I whipped out the butane lighter and fired that puppy up! Huzzah, a hot shower! I am woman, hear me roar!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I am so proud of my sister -- she had been dedicated to running to a long time now, and not only has she lost 50 lbs (hello!) she is up to running 3 miles at a stretch. Being from a more sedentary family, this is, in my world, f***ing awesome!

So she mentions on the phone the other day how she got up to 3 miles for the first time, without stopping and I am so stoked, I say, "Hey, lets do a 5K together!" Mind you, I am an avid walker in my own mind, but spotty at best in reality. She thinks it's a fabulous idea and we are on for next summer. It is only after I hang up that I realize, she thinks I am running! Wow! So instead of backing out of this, I figure I have at the very least 7 months and I know I can easily walk 2 miles right now. I'm going to try and run it. What the hell? So here's to the next 7 months of training (doesn't it sound a wee bit lame to be training for a 5K?) and all the sweat and tears associated with it. Hey, maybe I'll drop a pants size too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Who Would Have Thought?

I have decided that I need a dog. I would like to say that I want a dog, but really, I think I might need one. I don't really intend for the dog to be a family pet. If that happens, that would be devine, but I fully intend for it to love me best. I want the snuggles and the constant companion. As Richard noted, perhaps it would be good for me to have at least one person in the house who obeys me! I realize that this living, breathing creature will have a mind of it's own, but I want a pet all my own and it just must be a dog.

So as I have been investigating this need, it seems that the whippet would be a good fit for our family. I like the description of "constant companion." I like that they do not tend to bark a lot. I like it that they travel well. I like the size and the coat. I like it that they are called "velcro dogs." I even think I will like the walking of my special pet. So, I am undertaking the search for a rescued dog, or at least, a reputably bred dog. (And the bark park fees, and a good vet, etc., etc.) Bring on the love.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On Being Creative

I have been working really hard to meet my monthly goals for work. I have this huge show in Chicago in December and I have visions of having loads of books to sell (because they sell like hot cakes there). And while I have been diligently putting out books, they continues to sell here. Some are on consignment, some went at show, and my inventory numbers just don't seem to rise the way I thought they would. This causes me to go into over drive and push myself even harder. Good for the business woman in me, bad for the artist in me.

So I realized this week that a.) my goal numbers for the number of books per month was too high while still attending shows - what a surprise! and b.) if I don't let my muse out on a regular basis, she will come out by storm.

I spent this entire week doing completely creative things. I read a new book about patterns and textures; I created a completely whimsical collage that I will post later; I firmed up my design for a quilt square I am donating; and I scrapbooked two different days, longing to get more in. All in all, I think it was a fabulous way to spend the week.

So this weekend is dedicated to selling art in Columbus, OH and then I am home again, home again to start making more books. I feel ready to get back to them and more energized about them. Funny how that works. It's just like exercise: I know I feel so good afterward, but I find a million reasons not to do it. We humans are so goofy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Playing Dominoes

When I was little, I used to build these long trails of dominoes standing on end. If I did it right, I wouldn't knock over any until the last one was in place and then, at the very end, I would tip the las one into the next-to-last one and they would all go tipping down. You probably did this too. I had no idea this was simply my training for adulthood.

I have been wanting to get my studio looking professional. It's functional now, but the pell-mell nature of it makes me feel unsettled. I'll admit it, I love the matchy-matchy and I hate to bring clients into my current space. So I decided that I want to put in some custom cabinetry and move my dad out (love you dad!). Dad was agreeable and Richard needs a space too, so after much mental gymnastics we decided that the playroom would be the best space to convert for an office/man cave. Except, now we had to find another place for all of Hayes's toys, which naturally flowed into his room and closest and where will all the stuff currently in his closet go? Are you following this? The long and the short of it is that if I want to have a studio update, I have to get these other two spaces arranged first: Dominoes.

In the course of two days, and with the help of my only too eager mom, we have Hayes's closet cleaned out, the laundry room reorganized (because we had to put some of that stuff somewhere, didn't we?), Hayes's room and closet reoganized and the playroom emptied of its toys. Whew! The last painter is coming to give an estimate for the stairwell, playroom/man room, and hallway tomorrow. Once we have decided who to go with, the couch -- the beast -- will be the next thing to go. Like I said: Dominoes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dinner and a Movie

Richard and I actually managed to have a date tonight. For those without children, it must seem so silly to be so excited about staying in. But for us, it was lovely. We got Hayes to bed on time and Richard fixed us a fabulous dinner. We watched a new Woody Allen movie: Match Point, which I have to say was beautifully done. What could be better than a modern day opera? Suffice it to say we had a lovely evening and I couldn't be happier, or luckier.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Coming Up for Air

So day four of the sickness and we are finally without a fever! Isn't it just like a gifted kid to get sick first and best? I have to say, it is fabulous not to have to monitor which drug we have to administer when, and to be rid of the constant taking of the temperature. A return to normalcy, halleluia!

We went to the Dr. yesterday. I have to say yet again how much I love Dr. Gary. I always feel more reassured and sane after a visit with him. He was not concerned about the high fever so much. He said there had been lots of it going around this year. No signs of Strep; just a virus; drink fluids; possible school on Wednesday. And it looks like he was right: Hayes will be back in school tomorrow. Big sigh of relief here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Time To Panic

It's hard to know when to panic, at least in my world. I will say that Hayes is certainly fighting a virus of some sort. He's been a bit lethargic today, which is really unusual. When he finally decided to take a nap this afternoon, I did too. I think I mentioned that we didn't sleep real well last night.

When I woke up, I found that Hayes had moved from his sleeping bag on the couch to his bed. He wasn't really asleep, he was cold. Upon taking his temperature, I decided it was time to panic. It initially read 107 -- I've never had that happen before. I decided to panic. I gave him more motrin and took it again. It registered 105.3. This seemed less upsetting and more managable. However, this is still unacceptable. I called our friend Earlene; she's an OB nurse. We got Hayes into a bath (much to his dismay) and onto a regimen of Tylenol and Motrin (I didn't know you could do this). This got his temp down to 103. I called the Dr. on call, whose pager message said to go to the Urgent Care or call 911. Nice. I did take the time to figure out where our Urgent Care facility is, just in case.

Hayes is doing much better; at last check he was at 100.5. We haven't seen that number in at least a day. And oddly, armed with the idea that I can go to Urgent Care, not the ER, is comforting. So, I suppose I am still keeping my fingers crossed, although this time, I am not even worried about the behavior. We just have to get this little body all better.

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

Friday was somewhat better in the land of Hayes and Saturday was even better than that; although I realize I curse myself by even mentioning that things are going relatively smoothly. And Saturday, when I got back from Penrod, I got a full body hug from Hayes -- who was extremely hot. I took his temp and it was a ripe 103.7. Could this be another piece to the crappy week puzzle? Probably. We are taking it easy today and hopefully, going to nap this afternoon.

The crazy thing about parenting (and possibly about parenting a kid like Hayes) is that you never quite know what sets him off and if you have found a solution to the maddness. It is often like walking on egg-shells, and then, suddenly, you realize that the egg-shells are gone and you hope they don't come back for a while.

Suffice it to say, we both need some cuddle time together and perhaps today will provide this opportunity. He is still very feverish (all night waking up cold and thirsty); I am dubious about school tomorrow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Or Is It A War?

The saga never ends...I have been battling with Hayes for two full days now. Last night there was a spanking - the tell-tale sign of last resort. And today I got a note from the teacher. Apparently Hayes had a "difficult" day, which translated means he spit on and shoved some of the other children. Nice. This morning was better, but not stellar. I feel that we may be in this for a while yet. Can you hear the clinking of my armor?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Battle

As a parent, I know there will be those days when Hayes and I go head to head. He picked today. I wish there was a magic formula for the morning. I know my mom thinks there is: no TV, up on time, to the breakfast table, up to do the clothes, teeth and hair and out the door. If only it were so simple.

Hayes just doesn't want to wake up. I don't mean to say he's groggy or moody in the morning. No; I mean to say that Hayes can sleep through just about anything. Just ask Caroline and Grace Brenner. I can get him fully dressed and he is not yet awake. It takes a full 10 minutes to get him to groggy in the morning. And you can forget all that good advice about eating a healthy breakfast. Nine times out of ten we are bolting down a Clif Bar and a juice box in the van on the way to school.

I keep thinking to myself that if we just get him to bed on time he will be some much better in the mornings. The thing is, I can get him into the bed, fully washed and pajamaed at 7:30 and he is still rooting around in his bed, wide awake at 10 when I go to check on him. Sometimes the music helps, sometimes not. Sometimes sleeping in our bed helps, sometimes not. Sometimes we rough-house before bedtime, sometimes not. Sometimes a story works, sometimes not. We even invented a golf game to play at bedtime to get to sleep. Sometimes it helps...

So this morning, after doing my utmost to get him out of bed and to the bathroom, (which was, in all, a failure), and after watching him mosey through his breakfast (I should have insisted on a Clif Bar), Hayes decided to pick a fight. He was not, hear me, NOT, going to brush his teeth. Come to think of it, he didn't really want to go to school today either, so he would just sit on the couch and refuse. Cajoling, which had worked to get his shoes on, was no longer an option, and making it a race did nothing to sway him. He simply wouldn't do it. Experience has proven to me that taking the toothbrush into my own hands (literally) is not a good solution, and that not brushing the teeth just perpetuates his idea that he doesn't really have to do it (not to mention how crazy it makes his dad). So I waited him out. I finally, as much as I hate to, threatened to spank him, and this was motivation enough.

A full hour and a half of battling and we were FINALLY on our way to school. He was 20 minutes late and missed all of show and tell, for which he was not presenting today, but damn it, we got to school. Good luck to Miss George today. As fate will have it, I am sure he'll be quite an angel for her.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Feeling Older

I am definitely feeling older. It's not so much my approaching birthday and the random hot flashes as the world around me -- especially Hayes' world.

He is finally in all-day Kindergarten. Every day he takes his lunch and his matching backpack to school and I see him again 7 hours later and he won't breathe a word to me of what went on at school. Not that I blame him. I'd keep my world private too if I lived with four prying and curious adults.

And then, there's the matter of his teacher. I am sure that the school would (and has) choose a wonderful teacher who is qualified and actually has a bachelor's degree like her bio suggests - but is it possible that she is actually old enough to have gone through college!? I mean, it is a school for the gifted and perhaps she is like Doogie Houser and graduated at the ripe old age of 15. Perhaps she is a child bride and her family believes in arranged marriages for their pre-teenaged daughters. Because if she really is in her 20s and married, then I am having another of those days where I am sure wrinkles are popping out around my zits and I am going through premature menopause. I only hope I treat her as an adult. My temptation is to see her as one of my students. I'm so glad I was oblivious to the way I looked at her age. Ignorance really is bliss.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Party Mania

I have always been a little leary of doing a party for Hayes somewhere other than home. I just am not about the big production. I eloped for crying out loud so I wouldn't HAVE to be involved with a big production. Hayes, clearly, does not feel the same way.

So I caved for this particular birthday and we went to Just-4-Fun: a mini golf and arcade extravaganza! Really, if heaven on earth existed for Hayes, this would be it. They got tokens and tickets and prizes and a round of putt-putt in the sweltering heat. What could be more fun? Ok, we had cupcakes and presents too. The whole she-bang!

And I have to say, it was far less painful than I would have imagined. The chaos happened in a relatively contained area, with plenty of adult supervision and lots of food. And I didn't have to clean up my house afterward. All told, I'd say it was a very happy birthday.

Monday, July 31, 2006


I am an artist. ARTIST. I realize that computers are a very useful and even enjoyable thing to have around. I use them all the time. They are my friends. But today, I have had it. I designed a beautiful website this weekend -- really. You can see it at www.monamidesigns.com. And then, I couldn't get it to publish. So I spent about an hour at the Genius Bar yesterday in the Apple store, having them help me upload and learn to upload myself. Love them there.

So I get home and I have made my adjustments and lo and hold, the damn email program isn't working. Can I notify anyone of this fabulous accomplishment? No. So I try to solve this problem without asking for help and I inadvertently DELETE my entire address book. No, I didn't move it. No, it was not recoverable. Yes, I had to re-import the whole thing and then proceed to add the addresses I have collected this summer and reorgainze my mailing lists! Good Times! This is when a person is supposed to have a Tom Collins and stop worrying about it. Instead, I put everything in my address book and went to bed.

So when the damn email program didn't want to recognize me this morning, and the digital camera wouldn't allow me to put my files where I wanted them, I was ready to do some violence. My very wonderful and techno savvy husband came to my rescue this morning and I was able to complete the e-mail sending and photo editing. Where will the madness end?! So I am off to do some art -- with REAL tools, like paper and paint and scissors. That's right, I am an ARTIST.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scenes from Claiborne

Hayes looks at some jellyfish with his CeCe, plays cards with GiGi and goes crabbing with Granddaddy! He even caught his first crab this trip. It sure was fun!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


How did I get to be so lucky? This child has reminded me twice in the last two days what a caring and giving person he is.

Yesterday we were out buying a gift for his friend's birthday party. Naturally we were pressed for time -- we were shopping an hour before the party! I picked out the gift I had assumed Hayes wanted to give to Ben. I don't know if we had even discussed it. As we were headed for the checkout, he began to whine and cry. I thought it was because he wanted a toy. I told him this was not going to happen. He then informed me that he wanted to get something else for Ben. It took another 20 minutes of searching, but he found something I am sure Ben will like and was probably better than what I thought he wanted to give him. When we got to the party, I was sharing this with another mother and she reminded me that her daughter loved the game Hayes had picked out for her daughter's birthday. She commented that he was such a giving child. She is so right.

Today when we got home from the grocery, we saw a moving van in front of a house down the street. The same house where Hayes' neighborhood friends live -- or lived. He asked me what the truck was doing at the Parr's house. I explained that it was a moving truck and that the Parrs were moving to another neighborhood. He began to sob -- not just crying, but sobbing which lasted a good 20 minutes. He was so sad to see them go and so free with his emotions. It was all I could do not to cry with him. I have such a great kid.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's Good To Be Home

We have been the traveling family this July. It always happens. I have shows and there's the 4th of July at the Lake and the pilgrimage to the Shore in Maryland. And as much as I truly enjoy seeing the family and being on the go, it is FABULOUS to be home. I slept in my own bed, played on the internet, Hayes watched his obstacle course show that has been DVR'd for him. The rash that Hayes developed while at the shore the last two days has completely cleared up. Things are going to be back to normal very soon -- just a few errands to run (like groceries and birthday gifts) and we will be back in the "at home" groove.

I only wish Richard was here too. We keep missing one another with all our travels: he's in Hawaii while I am at the lake, he's at home while I'm at the shore, I'm at home while he's in (is it really?) Dallas, he's at home while I'm in Cincinnati, I'm at home while he's in North Carolina. Soon this will have to stop because Hayes will start school and my show schedule will lessen. Ahh...those crazy days of summer!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Object of My Affection

So there we are, safely on the airplane, having only forgotten Hayes' toothbrush and toothpaste. These are the most fabulous things to forget, if one is to forget anything because they are absolutely replaceable and new ones make brushing that much more attractive. And then I discover it: we DO NOT have Water Squirter -- one of the three musts for getting to sleep. Hayes left his little stuffed elephant at the breakfast table and we are about to take off. This is bad news: B-A-D.

I called my dear friend Elaine just before the flight attendants ask us to turn off all cell phones and leave a desperate message. By the time we were on the ground in Baltimore Elaine has generously and fabulously caome to the rescue, agreeing to overnight Squirt to Claibourne so we could sleep soundly once again. We were able to make it through our first couple nights without Water Squirter, only because Hayes knew he was on the way. The night before the much-adored lovey arrived, Hayes asked me if Water Squirter was here yet. I promised him that it would arrive by the next evening. He looked me in the face and said, "It's just that without him, I feel like I have to cry." I tell you I wanted to cry too.

When he got back from crabbing with Granddaddy this afternoon, he saw Squirt waiting for him and immediately ran upstairs to the bed. He took a nap for the first time in months. I think he just had to have that time with Water Squirter. How did I get to be so lucky to have a kid so amazing and friends so incredible? It doesn't get much better than this.

P.S. There was much sleep last night and no little boy in my bed. I's the little things that make the difference.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Traditions Die Hard

This, my friends, is a window into my childhood; as only seemed right, we have resurrected this family heirloom in order to pass it on to our undeserving children.

This is an Indian Ceremony. Yes, that's right. We have indians that live around our lake (who look amazingly like distant and not so distant aunts, uncles and cousins). They only appear after much chanting at the water's edge (which also draws out many a curious boat - I can only imagine what the 3 that saw us this night must have been thinking). We "Hi-Ah-Nah-Nah!" our fool heads off and suddenly, from across the lake (actually, it might be nearer the neighbor's bay,) a flaming arrow is shot into the water and these indians come canoeing up to our campfire (which is completely unnecessary as it is still broad daylight at 8 pm) and teach us about the old ways and the ledgends of the area.

It is by far the most freightening experience (next to watching Chris behead a water snake with an oar) and awe-inspiring event I was ever a part of at the lake growing up. It was, as I see now, great fun for the adults. Thank the Good Chief of the Sky we didn't have to do any dancing this time to prove these indians were welcome. For better or worse, we grew up with the indians visiting our shore every so often. And now, just to make things fair, these great spirits have been resurrected in order to shower our own children with shock and awe. It worked, mostly. Eleanor still couldn't figure out why they would have to take our canoe when they could just make their own. Isn't childhood fun?

Sunday, July 09, 2006


There are things I look to do while I am at the lake, many of which happened this summer trip. The best thing, was my Thursday night experience. I was all alone, for all intents and purposes: mom and dad were visiting family, Hayes was deep in a sleep the kind you can only find at the lake with the windows open and a quilt over you.

There are many components that made the evening perfect: my jammies, my favorite ratty blanket, two glasses of Shiraz, a well-written novel, the ability to read on the deck overlooking the lake until almost 10 pm. But the thing that put me over the moon, was the loon that has taken up residence this summer on the government property next to ours. She sang such a beautiful song that I had to stop reading and just listen to her. I never did see her that night, but her presence there, in the still of the evening was almost more than I could bear.

I considered sleeping out there in that deck chair, and if it hadn't been for the gaggle of deer flies, I might have. Eventually I had to come in. The light of the moon was gorgeous, but not enough to read by. As long as I can have those moments, I will continue my pilgimages to the lake each summer. Those are the nights that make the 7.5 hours in the van all worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Value Of Sleep

One thing that happens at the lakehouse is that we have long days. This is generally a good and wonderful thing -- unless you are four and a half. Then, when the sun does not set until 9:40, and you get to stay up and watch the fireworks, you have a hard time making good decisions. Actually, you have difficulty making any decisions at all. And then the people with you have difficulty maintaining their sanity, which is fabulous, because their parenting skills are on display for all the family (and I do mean ALL the family) to see -- and evaluate -- and to discuss at length once you leave the area. It is also unfortunate that those same people have stayed up late playing games and laughing and leaving you completely out of things so that their fuses are shorter too. It makes for fabulous family time. Sleep is golden, this is the new rule at the lake. Let there be sleep.


I have outgrown one of my longtime shows. I've done this same show now for 3 years and just this year my product has become too high-end for the event. This is the classic good news/bad news scenario. I love working with the people here. I have some long-standing customers who I adore. But they were practically the only buyers. Not to mention how I HATE the black sand that gets all over my product and I hate missing time with my family -- the show is always the weekend closest to the fourth. So, so long to Manistee and the good people who run the show; and hello to new events and venues with an art-buying clientele. A bittersweet moment.

Friday, June 30, 2006

My Love My MacBook Pro

So I did it -- I finally purchased a laptop for my business. Not just any laptop either; no, no. I went back to the land of Apple. I love it!! It is exactly what I have been wanting. And they threw in an ipod just for the heck of it! So now I am the most tech savvy person in the house. At least for the next 5 minutes. You know how these things go. But I love it. I couldn't stop raving about it last night. So now I have all the design functionality and all the speed I could possibly want and my Wonderfalls episodes are on the ipod. Does it get any better than this? I am one happy girl. Thanks Mon Ami!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Easy to Forget

It's so easy to forget how lucky we are, simply to be born without any disability. Check out this story from NPR.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Confess...

We have been 4 days without Hayes and I do miss him; and at the same time, I am SO happy for the time without him. He is so much a part of life here -- and I realize just how much energy and focus it take to raise a child, in particular MY child. It's incredible that so much goes into being a parent and I can't really see it until he's away for a bit. He's up at the lake with Mimi and Papa. What kid wouldn't absolutely love that? I know I did when it was me. But I also remember being so ready to see my mom and dad when they got there. We will be arriving late Friday; I truly can't wait to see him. It will be so welcome. It's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Am A Genius

We went to the library today to settle up on last year's overdue fines and start the summer reading program, albeit two weeks behind schedule. While there, I discovered that there are children's books on tape. Now, I am a huge fan of books on tape, as I LOVE to be read to. I love to read to Hayes too, but when he is working toward a reading goal, I just don't have the time -- you have to know that he is a voratious knowledge hound and will have me reading all day if he could get away with it. So now he is blissfully reading his chapter book, while listening to it also in tape and I am blissfully at peace, working in the studio! What will we do when, in three weeks, we have gone through all the tapes at the library? Life with a genius...


Nine hours without power is a long time. Yesterday a huge storm rolled in about 1:00 pm and all power was knocked out. It was a huge outage, not like our neighborhood was the only one affected. Nevertheless, Hayes was in quite a way without TV or computer to occupy his afternoon. I thought I might go mad without access to the e-mail. Odd, isn't it, how the only things I could think of doing involved electricity? When I can't have it, I want it most. This morning we are back in the 21st century. Ahh, fresh coffee and the Today show. Praise the lord.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Roller Coaster

There are so many times I find myself doubting the decisions I have made. This happens in all the arenas of my life with regularity. The last few weeks have been the roller coaster of uncertainty regarding my art business. I have to say, I love and hate being an artist and I find it incredibly difficult to separate myself from my art. I am emotionally attached for better or worse.

The problem, naturally, comes when I need to have a business head for matters and all I want to do is follow my heart. It is then that I find myself shouting at my husband, "I just HATE doing this! I'll just stay at home and be a mom!" This is, of course, my idea of a sentence worse than death (many apologies to my beautiful friends who stay at home and do an incredible job of raising their children).

I keep trying to remind myself that I am, in fact, a successful artistic business woman and I have scored a major job that is the equivalent to any show. It's hard. I try, but I am convinced down deep in the heart of me, that I am an imposter and one day I will be found out. I feel this slowly changing, but it is still mostly true on any given day. May the future be kind.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Head Case

So recently, while putting Hayes to bed, Richard discovered a tick on Hayes' head. Lovely thing. After about 30 minutes the damn thing was removed and we all heaved a sigh of relief. Until about 3 days later we discovered a large lump at the base of his skull. Yeah; I'm not generally one to panic, but the whole thing kinda set me in motion this time. I didn't say anything to Richard about it at first. I just thought I'd take Hayes to school and quietly phone the Doc to just talk it over. Then, on the way to school, Hayes says to me, "Hey look at all the glitter in the van!" I question him further and he attempts to catch this invisible glitter. At that moment I got on the phone to the pediatrician.

As it turns out, (after much anxiety and pretense of not being alarmed) there is a gland at the base of the skull that decided it must fight this strange invasion from the tick. So not only was the gland swollen "doing it's job" as the Doc said, but the bite area was also swollen. And in fact, the glitter turned out to be dust in a sunbeam. The second day of Hayes declaring there was glitter, as we pulled up to the same intersection, put me onto the fact that Hayes was not exactly seeing stars.

So who's the head case now?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Round 100!

Just finished my 100th book for the Orchard In Bloom show! I love that feeling of accomplishment!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Teacher Appreciation a la PreK

Today, Hayes decided he could be brave and be dropped off at school. This involves me driving him up to the entrance, a random teacher helping him with the one tough car seat buckle (which can be embarrassing with a 5-point harness), and him running into the school. Usually he needs me (or daddy) to walk in with him and watch as he does his morning routine. Perhaps the fact that it was raining this morning helped him to be brave.

We pulled up to the entrance and his very own classroom teacher was there. Perfect! She helped him with the car seat buckle and apologized for it being a little uncomfortable. Hayes said, "That's ok, my GG is really out of shape." She looked at me as she said to Hayes, "Oh, is it?" I could barely control my laughter as I explained that GG is short for Great Grandma and she can't get the buckle undone either; it's too hard for her.

What must it be like to try and interpret these kids all day? God bless the teachers!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Passion Week

I am sad to say that the TV sacrifice, while probably the correct thing to sacrifice, was a bust. I am just too passionate about TV. And getting the DVR this week didn't help. Now I can watch what I want, when I want to. I can save up all my favorites and even my less favorites, and have my own mini-marathon. So my passion this week is still for the Christ and yet, my TV calls me too.

I don't see this as a bad thing, just unfortunate that my will power is not what I'd like it to be. It also helps me to remember that Christ too had his weak days, and only because He was fully man and fully God was He able to say no to His human passion and yes to His mission.

It's so helpful to participate in Lent -- my faith needs it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Overheard At Bedtime

momma: Here Hayes, put these on.

Hayes: (excited gasp) Are they new?

momma: Yeah; you're getting so big we had to get new ones!

Hayes: (inspecting the new boxers, looking crestfallen) Why to they always say "Hanes?"

momma: Well, that's just the kind we know fits. Should we look for a different kind next time?

Hayes: Yeah! Some that say "Hayes" instead!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Big One

It's funny how having children leads us to more self discovery than anything. Today at church we began discussing what our purpose is in having a "children's program" and ended with a discussion about what the gospel really is. Not your typical church service, I admit; neither are we your typical church. Our goal is to come back next week with some specific needs that our children have, or things we would like to develop in our children and see how our church can and cannot meet them. I have no doubt that this will reveal much about what we, ourselves, believe about the gospel and it's effects in and on our lives.

This is scary to me.

Needless to say I am more liberal in my theology than even I ever would have predicted. I do not see eye-to-eye with most evangelical ideas and fundamentalist principles. I balk at the thought of teaching the children anything like what I was indoctrinated with. I am afraid that any attempt at this will fall short and our children will be worse off for it.

However, the thought has occurred to me just today, that although in the last several years I have decided that the church would not be a good place for spiritual formation (ironic, no?), that our church, in fact, is not your typical church. We have beliefs about God that run the gamut. We have about as diverse a group of people as I would believe possible. And yet, more importantly, we have this commitment to one another that surpasses anything I have ever encountered in the church at large. We have stayed together because of this, even though we do not all, praise the lord, think alike.

So although I am still as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, I am willing to enter into this discussion -- the big one -- about what the gospel is and how we wish to see it played out in the lives of our children. I am willing to trust these people I love so dearly because they are committed to me too. We are not likely to run out on one another simply because we disagree. We are willing to be pushed a little in all directions, even when the stakes are as high as messing up with your own children. God help us all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Faking It

There is a delightful little article in a recent New Yorker, the one with the delightful cover of Dick Cheney and Heath Ledger. It's about a man who woke up one morning on the subway in New York with absolutely no recollection of who he was or how he came to be on the train. The blurb goes on to discuss how excited he is about learning new things, even about himself, that he is delightfully childlike and pure.

And then there is the suggestion that, because there is no physical evidence to understand what happened to cause this sudden and complete loss of memory, he is faking it. It made me laugh out loud. And it made me wonder, what would be so awful that it would make you want to reinvent yourself like that? Especially in that way? And it made me wonder even further, if I could start all over, blank slate and all, who would I be? Or perhaps, how would I be? Intriguing little question...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

Lent begins tomorrow. I always try to make a meaningful sacrifice for Lent. It's not always easy. I feel that it needs to be something I will miss so that I will be reminded of Christ's sacrifice often during this period. And it should be something that I rejoice to have again at Easter. The typical sacrifices, red meat, chocolate, other food items, usually leave me feeling shallow, like it won't be enough for me.

But this year I find myself knowing that TV is the thing I have to give up for lent. I really don't want to, but it's been at the front of my mind for the past 2 weeks. Nothing else seems to compare. So for me, starting tomorrow, there will be no Boston Legal, no Project Runway (the agony! I'll miss the final episode), no Academy Awards (even though I've been in a mad dash to see as many nominated movies as I can), and no (big gulp here) What Not To Wear. I have run the gamut on the TV spectrum, from being to poor to have one, to banning the evil technology from the house, to falling in love with all it has to offer. As I am currently in the loving it phase, I am sure this sacrifice will hold it's weight this year. Pray for me folks. Tomorrow the ashes....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

You Can't Hold On To Them Forever

I created this piece yesterday as I was reflecting on motherhood. It really conveys how I was feeling. (And how I still feel.) I like the way the hand is symbolic of holding and yet it is also reminiscent of the myriad of projects created by small children in which they trace their hands. And I like the way the little mirrors echo the Madonna and Child; I love that you can quite literally see yourself in the art. Hopefully, other mothers, will see themselves figuratively as well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Project Runway

I am addicted to the show Project Runway. I can't get enough. I love to see what the challenge is and what sort of drama develops as the designers try to meet the deadlines. As an artist, I find it inspiring. I truly am a nosy person, and reality TV makes it so easy! Santino is one of the designers this season. He is the opposite of Coco Channel, the minimalist designer. Instead, Santino adds and adds and adds until you think it's impossible to add anything more and then he adds again. This collage is was inspired by his design style. I just couldn't help myself. Santino, this one's for you!


Many of you know that we have for years shared a family bed. I wasn't sure about it at first, but it was clearly what our child needed. My parents were certainly not happy with it, but the more I researched it, the more evidence I found that it was actually a good and healthy thing. Mostly, our culture has decided that it is important for babies and children to sleep alone and therefore we encourage them to do so. And secretly, I was glad to hear it. I love that we all have some time together, safe and cozy. We established a rule with Hayes as he got bigger and our bed seemed to shrink: He would start the night in his own bed and if he woke up and needed some company, then he was welcome to come in and join us.

So I have mixed feelings about Hayes's recent development. Tonight was the fifth night in a row that he stayed in his own bed all night. He has never had a string this long, ever. I love it that he's not scared and feels comfortable knowing he can be with us if he needs it. But I am sad that I haven't heard his little footsteps pattering down the hall at night this week. It doesn't help that Richard is away and the bed is bigger and emptier than ever.

My Aunt called this morning around 3:30 to let us know that a new little Lahti was born: Matthew Christopher. We weren't expecting him for another couple of weeks. It was such fabulous news! She was so excited to be a grandma and I was so excited that Chris is a dad -- he has waited a long time for this. Don't tell Hayes (or my folks), but after that phone call I couldn't sleep, so I crawled in bed with him for just a little bit. He stayed asleep, but I needed a little warm fuzzy from him. He's growing up -- it's really happening.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Metro Paris

This is an altered book spread that I just finished for a Paris book I am doing. I really love it. It's possibly my best. I should start teaching this again....

Saturday, January 21, 2006

BrokeBack Mountain

We went to see BrokeBack Mountain last night. It was incredibly moving. I would highly recommend seeing it. Ang Lee has an amazing way of stripping a story down to it's bones and somehow, this makes it even more beautiful. It's not so raw that you have to look away, embarrassed for yourself and the character. It's simply the most compassionate way of telling the story. I am amazed at the lack of dialog in the movie and yet how passionately the story was told. Ennis say so little and move the plot along in a surprising way. I was reminded of The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This movie is definately worth seeing. And TransAmerica is my next choice. It opens soon in Naptown. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Good Things

It's so easy for me to believe that I am not making progress, spinning my wheels, even wasting my time. It is especially easy when my child has a day off school. But today I have reached some small and happy goals that I have been working toward for a couple weeks.

I finally finished the auction chair for my son's school. I won't go into how I was roped into this project (I am sure it has something to do with being an artist), but at last I have completed it. It may look like a three-way collision between a crossword puzzle, a child's art portfolio, and a symphony, but it is done and I don't have to look at it any more! Hey, I'm not buying it!

I have also reached the halfway point in a commissioned piece. I can now, at least, contact the client and decide which way to go. I know they sound like small goals and tiny accomplishments, but for me this week, They are indeed, good things. It is good to remember that I have met my goals and have not been spinning my wheels, dispite all evidence to the contrary. Can I play now?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Love of Money

So I've been wondering, what is it about money that makes me so distrustful? In my life I have been at both extremes of the money tree: we've had more than we knew what to do with, and we've wondered if we would eat tomorrow. This week, I have had occasion to interact with a number of "monied" people as several school events seem to be converging on me, the introvert. I hate these times, because I don't believe I can trust the actions of these people. Why is that? I know in my head that money does not automatically make a person dishonest or false. Some of our dear friends have much more money than we have had and I have never, in 20-odd-years, felt distrustful of their motives. In fact, I, along with the rest of America, would love to have more money and have convinced myself that money alone would solve a multitude of my problems. (And indeed, it may.)

But money makes me nervous. I worry that I could start to value things and my lifestyle over people. I worry that others around me have already begun to do so and in turn I erect my own walls of protection. I worry that the people around me who have money (particularly those I don't know well) are insincere and don't really want to know me either. It reminds me of mega-church in an ironic way. I somehow have convinced myself that these people will be nice to me here and in this place, because there are social dictates to do so. They would never risk showing their true feelings because someone else might find out and then there would be that whole awkwardness about having socially misfired (I think the church likes to call that sin).

So in a strange twist of fate, I have wound up the mother of a student in a private school (which I am convinced meets my child's academic needs 100%) where money seems to abound; birthday parties are a chance to show off your home; designer clothes are the norm and my aging minivan stands out in the crowd in a way that would embarrass most. I tend to wear it as a badge of courage, right beside that chip on my shoulder where the distrust of my heart sits and whispers in my ear. Would more money cure this problem? I seriously doubt it. God help me; we have 9 more years to go.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wine Shippment

I called the wine club today that was supposed to deliver a shippment of wine by Dec. 31. It is now Jan. 4 and I have not recieved it. When I asked about the shippment the woman told me that UPS had damaged it and it would be shipping again in a week or so. I am the sort of person who thinks in pictures. The image of red wine-stained boxes immediately filled my head. Were there silk sheets in the truck too? What about a new Christening gown? And then I wondered if the UPS man had a very merry Christmas indeed.