Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thank you much

I pride myself on having polite babies. I used to hear it a lot when Bianca was a baby--how polite she was with her please and thank you(s). I taught them by saying please and thank you to them; they likewise learn to be polite. It's been a bit rough with Portia. She started saying "thank you" early on but then turned to saying "welcome" every time she needed to say thank you. We understood what she meant. She finally went back to saying thank you. But she doesn't just say thank you, she says, "Thank you much." It reminded me that the word "very" is actually superfluous. We don't really need to use it as often as we do.

It also reminded me of this quote by Mark Twain that I have listed on my goodreads profile: "Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

Maybe she's a step ahead. She's cutting out the superfluous word before anyone need tell her. I should be grateful she's not saying damn. That wouldn't be very polite, now would it?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I cried four times yesterday--Four Times! No wonder I had a headache all day. I hate the days I'm emotional; it's embarrassing really. Especially when the next day they seem like such silly reasons to cry.

I felt the need to apologize to my friend Rachel who had to sit through me crying my heart out explaining why Jude the Obscure (one of my very favorites books) was so tragic!

I cried again because ten minutes before my writing group was to arrive, my stupid dog thought he'd go in and use the couch as a potty pad! I hate the dog--I started to shove his nose in it and beat him (I couldn't help it; I was having an emotional day) and he bit me in the hand. I had to hastily move all the food down to the family room and am now planning to buy a new couch or get rid of the damn dog.

The last time I cried last night was because I was moved to tears by an act of kindness to my daughter. I was a little worried about what Kate would think when Bianca paraded in all her homemade purses when she arrived for Writing Group. I warned her to expect it. I considered offering her some money under the table so that it wouldn't hurt Bianca's feelings if she had just been kidding about wanting one of Bianca's purses. But sometimes people amaze you and she did last night. Kate came in and asked to see Bianca's purses. Bianca turned into this shy girl, hiding behind my bag clutching onto her four remaining purses. [I must mention that when I'm offering something creative of myself, like my writing, I wish I could cower behind my mom's back because it's just safer there.] But anyway, I nudged Bianca forward to show them to Kate, which she did finally. Kate asked if she could buy all of them. And when she asked how much and Bianca said $2 each, Kate replied, "That's not enough." She gave her $20 for the four remaining purses, and Bianca skipped off happily down to bed.

After my group left, I found a new purse on the steps where Bianca must have been cowering and stitching together her last bits of scrap felt to make another purse but too afraid to offer it up. I saw it discarded there before bed and picked it up. And I cried. I don't know why, perhaps for the kindness that Kate showed my daughter or for the sweet little girl who is trying out her creativity and is hoping that someone will love what she creates--or her for creating it, which I do. Maybe I was crying for me because everytime I send in some more of my writing, I hope someone will finally love what I'm offering. That my novel will be accepted, that I will feel it was worth the three years I put into it.

With morning, though, brings clarity. And while I still think my daughter is the sweetest girl in all of the world, I now think I see her intentions a little more clearly. Yes, Bianca was offering up another bit of her creativity but she realized that this group paid well. And I'll bet she was clamouring for some more money.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Purses, Purses Everywhere!

It all started with this


Bianca has been stitching away and she made me this purse so that I'd have a place to store my keys and cell phone (since I'm losing it all the time). I brought it with me to dinner with some ladies from my writing group. It's a little bright so it didn't take long for them to ask me about it. I told them my daughter Bianca made it and they asked how they might be able to get their hands on one. When I told Bianca about this, she started going crazy--stitching, cutting, threading away. She went a little too crazy and made a ton of these purses and asked if I'd start a store on my blog to see if we could sell some. So, here are some of her latest creations. They're one of a kind. You won't find another like them anywhere in the world.



"I Love a Bird" Purse ($3) SOLD


And last but not least, the creme de la creme of hand-stitched purses, the 3-D Bird Nest Purse ($4) SOLD


Get yours today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Colossians 3:14

"And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love."

I ran across this "scripture" on a listing on ebay for a dress I've been watching. It's long been known to me (and confirmed last week when I went to see the Shopoholic movie) that I have a problem. A buying problem. Buying dresses for my girls, especially.

I want my girls to be well-dressed. That's it. I remember wishing for clothes when I was a kid--only to be handed down both my older sisters' very used leftovers.

As a mother, I think I've modeled a lot of my style around my own mother. But the clothes issue is where I've run completely to the other side of the field. I want my kids to have it so very different from I did. I've seen this with my sister too. And yes, now our kids are well-dressed. But where does it stop? There has to be a limit. Portia has so many dresses that at most, she wears one dress twice. I know it's too much, but I just can't stop. And it increases my pleasure twofold if I can get said dress(es) for a good deal (yes, I remember the fight the protagonist in Shopoholic had over the half-priced boots).

In my defense, however, this all started when Miranda died and I realized that I hadn't bought her enough clothes of her own (translation: If I had bought her more, she would have felt more loved). I justify this by saying that the amount of dresses my girls have equals how much I love them. I know it's not completely rational, but at least I have an excuse. My intentions are good. And when my girls are all dressed up for church, they are cloaked in my love.

Admitting the problem is the first step. Next step, tomorrow I'm going to try to go a whole day without looking on ebay. Let's see if I'm strong enough. I have to keep telling myself that I love my kids regardless of what they're wearing. I do know that my mom loved me even when I was wearing those footie pajamas with my toes poking through.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I always thought that my daughter would be a gymnast. It's what I wanted to do when I was a little girl so much that I thought I would die if I couldn't do it. And I didn't get to do it. So, when I found out my first baby was a girl, I just knew that she would be a gymnast. I just knew it.

However, when I put her in gymnastics when she was three, she didn't really show much interest. I thought I'd wait and try it again when she was five. I tried. She didn't like it. So I pulled her out again. Finally, at seven, she started doing handstands around the house. I thought this is it! So I enrolled her again and we've been doing it for several months and I'm watching and she's just not showing any natural ability.

It's taken a lot of money and a lot of rollercoater emotions to figure this out: Bianca's not a gymnast.

However, there are some things that she does and does well--play the piano and write. She's being creative and writing songs (something I never realized I could do with my ability to play when I was younger).

A couple months ago, Bianca woke up on a rainy morning and sat up in bed. She was listening to the rain and this poem/melody came to her mind. At eight o'clock (when she's allowed to wake me up each morning), she came storming in to my room to tell me about her poem. That entire morning, Bianca sat at the piano bench and came up with the notes on the piano. She took her regular notebook and drew her staffs and wrote the notes. It was amazing to see her creativity flowing like the rain water through the streets.

I've finally accepted that she's not a gymnast as I'd hoped, but she's something much more. She's her own beautiful, creative self and I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, March 6, 2009

How Not to be a good date

Eric and I went out last weekend. He got free Jazz tickets--you know the ones with all the frills, the dinner before, the drinks and nachos and popcorn during halftime, the great lower bowl seats. My favorite part is the nachos. I asked Eric beforehand and he said I could absolutely NOT bring along a book to read during the game. Fine. I was trying to be a good date, after all.

As I sat in the arena, I was bombarded with all the overstimulation I could handle--the bright lights and colors, the music and cheering drilling into my head, the smells of the food everywhere, even the heat of sitting so nearby many, many people.

I tried to pay attention to the game, but all I could think about was this Jazz game was the very reason why people don't seem content to sit in the stillness of nature anymore. It's all this overstimulization. We get it everywhere--TV, fast-food restaurants, stimulate, stimulate, stimulate. I wish there were some way to save my children from it. But it's too late already. Portia's been overstimulated by Barney--those dinosaurs are every bright color you could possibly think of (I don't know who turned that on for her). =)

I couldn't help but make my snarkey comments to Eric all through the game about the overstimulization. He put up with it. I guess he just expects this from me anymore. He probably wishes he had just let me bring the book.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A sad day and a day of laughter

Last Monday, Bianca came home from school with a list of interview questions. She was supposed to pick one of her parents and interview them about what they do for work. She was excited to tell me that she picked me. I answered her questions about the skills a person needs to write for the newspaper and what my favorite thing about writing was. She was supposed to bring an object along as well to represent what that parent did (a copy of the newspaper).

It was that night that I found out the Salt Lake Tribune would no longer be taking stories from the correspondents. In an effort to save a little money, the full-time Tribune staff was going to be carrying the Close-up section from now on. I stared at the email from my editor in shock as I read that I was no longer going to have my job. I didn't cry until I told Bianca that she may want to interview Eric instead. Her little lips quivered as she said, "You lost your job?" And then the tears started flowing--hers and mine.

This was a dream job for someone like me. I got to write articles only when I felt like it and on the topics I wanted to write about. I got to see my name in print for a high-profile newspaper. It was exactly what I needed. And now it's gone.

I am sad. I know it won't affect my day-to-day. I was only writing articles every other month as I've been busy with my baby during her needy stage. And I didn't need the money. I did this for fun. I won't look for anything to replace this. I loved this job, and apparently so did Bianca. She went on so many of my "outings" with me when I'd write--like Christmas parties, plays, I even did my last article on her chess club. I guess she was proud of me.

When Eric asked Bianca why she chose me instead of him, I laughed. It's long been a joke around our house that nobody really knows what Eric does. Words like operations and analysis and data cannot be brought along to second grade to show your classmates what your parent does for a living. As a joke, I asked Eric to explain to Bianca what he does. So he explained about operations and data analysis. Her eyes were glazing over. When he finished, I immediately asked her what her dad does at work and she replied, "He makes models of electrical studies." I about died laughing. She's really a smart girl, but even I still have a hard time explaining to anyone who asks what he does.