It’s kind of the Alma show here, but it’s hard to photograph a baby in an Ergo on my back…
1. What are you working on right now?
Right now I have lots of ideas that need to get going. I’m working on creating an interview series with authors I know. I’m also working on a new series of Pinterest creations – getting things off my boards and into my house. I’m really inspired by wood burning, so I’m practicing and designing some things for that. My sewing machine needs to be serviced, so I’m working on finding time to take it in to a shop.
2. How long does it take you to create a project?
Totally depends on the project, and whether or not I’m getting naps from the kids. I can sew a simple dress in about an hour.
3. What are my favorite things to create with at the moment?
Wood burning, my sewing machine (when it’s working), Photoshop, food.
4. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
Blogs, Pinterest, Instagram. The getting inspired is easy, the staying inspired (or finding time to follow through) is the hard part. I feel like I spend a lot of time consuming rather than creating content these days.
5. What is my signature style?
What does that even mean? In terms of clothing, I don’t really have one. I’m trying out a capsule wardrobe, but without having the funds to go buy all new clothes, my capsule is a little confused looking. And since I mostly just wear sweatpants (I find that if I’m dress to exercise all day, I tend to work it in when I can), my style is a little sloppy.
In terms of creating, I’m not sure if I have a style here either. In photo editing, I am going for a more autumnal treatment with warm colors and softer focus.
When I first got my Fitbit, I was motivated and inspired and active. I loved it and I reached my goal every single day. I would always get my wrist party (when you reach your goal the Fitbit vibrates and lights up – a party on your wrist).
But then I got lazy. I had a few days without getting the wrist party. I have up. My weekly total hovered around 60,000. Not great.
Then my Rector posted that he had reached a summertime goal of getting 100,000 steps in one week.
Following his example – because we always ought to follow the example of our religious leaders, right – I set a goal.
I only had about a week off summer left, and my step total was abysmal, but I went for it.
Hattie and I have been using the time that Alma is in school to walk. The school is a fifteen minute drive from home, so it makes more sense to me to just park at the school and walk to all our errands, or to just walk to walk.
I love the neighborhood around get school, like love it. Like dream crazy dreams of owning a house and having a gardener. It’s also close to campus, and I love walking in circles on campus. Wrist parties come early on these days.
Side story: today must be Greek week because the campus was just a gaggle of girls. Hattie was walking around the quad when about 200 girls walked by. They all waved and oohed and aahed and loved my little girl. And Hattie loved the attention. She waved back and cracked up and tried to join their group. Not yet, little one. But, it was amazing and adorable.
Anyhow… My goal. Last Wednesday I took over 21,000 steps. Last Thursday it took over 16,000 and hit my goal.
Since Thursday, my total has always been over 100,000. I’m sure it will drop off eventually, but maybe I can keep it up.
No matter what, I am recommitted and loving our morning walks.
I’m on a train at it’s still light at the first stop. It’s a beginning of a journey I’ve been on for a long time already. We stay at the first station until dark – the train daring my new found light and inspiration to get off in Hajigabul, and stay stunted and frozen like the village itself. We start moving again, the light still sitting in the seat next to me.
Are we going backwards? No. It is just an illusion in the darkness outside the train. I begin this journey of discovery on a strange ride across Azerbaijan. Other trains go by backwards, making me blink, dizzy.
There was a time, on a train, at night, in Azerbaijan. I was sick and didn’t know it, but felt it. I was living in a country far from home.
I felt the greatness of being.
The greatness of my being.
I can still feel that greatness. The feeling of flying backwards on the train. The feeling of time-traveling as we passed villages so old and dark that they were in the past. The dizzy feeling of passing lights and smooth turns. The feeling that I was put here, on this earth, with a purpose.
There was another time, in the day, on my way to the mailbox. The lightning struck, and the ordinary moment of my life is permanently scarred in my memory.
There are more moments like this. Moments where the lightning strikes, leaves a scar, a reminder of the greatness I can have. The greatness I can be.
I am in the mundane moments of my life, trying to find the sublime.
I make choices every day to ignore the scars from these life giving moments.
I am here. I resolve to feel those scars, live in those scars, give thanks for those scars. Be those scars. Those fingerprints of inspiration left in my mind. The light in the seat next to mine. The memories of promise.
The first is obviously New Years. I love to clean up all the Christmas decorations and go into the new year feeling fresh and clean. The resolutions always feel a bit forced to me because there’s that overriding sense that we will all fail at these goals. But, there is also the choosing of the One Little Word. And the new numbers we have to learn to write in the date boxes on forms.
The next time of year when we get a fresh start is Novruz. It is the Spring equinox, and a time of growth and rebirth. At this time, we get to leave all our problems, worries, and bad things in a fire to get all burned up.
The third time is Autumn. After a long, hot summer, It always feels so good to feel the crispness in the air. The light starts to change. The leaves turn red, yellow, orange. The grass turns green again. Kids and teachers are making new starts in their classrooms. They buy new clothes, pencils, backpacks. The school year is full of amazing possibilities. I always loved when it was time to go back to school. It’s no surprise that I went into teaching with this kind of attitude about school.
The summer is hard for me. I don’t like the heat – it drains my energy and creativity. I don’t like how everything looks dirty – without a good rain dust and dirt starts to build up on everything. I do have to admit that summer is a lot more fun with kids. It’s been great getting to play outside and swim so much. I also loved all the fun things we did this summer – the track meets, trips, and lots of fun park dates with friends. But I’m pretty much ready for a cleansing rain and cooler weather.
I always get a surge of energy around this time of year. Energy for decorating my house (this is pretty much the only season I actually decorate – besides Christmas). Energy for making things. Energy to work in the garden. Energy to drink tea and do jigsaw puzzles. Energy to cuddle and wear slippers. Energy to stay up late playing board games.
I know some people hate to see summer end, but I say bring on autumn! And I’m already indoctrinating Alma. I have her on the lookout for autumn – whenever we’re in the car, she’s looking for the changing leaves and yells “MOMMMMY!!!! AUTUMN!!! OVER THERE!” whenever she sees some. Hattie even pointed out a yellow tree on our walk yesterday.
I will leave you with my autumn anthem by Laura Kemp. Enjoy!
Last night Alma was a baby. Today she’s the biggest kid ever. She had her first day of school.
I love first days.
Alma was excited to get ready and get her backpack on. She wanted to help get the snack ready. As families at the preschool, we take turns bringing snacks for the whole class. I signed us up for the first day because that’s the way I roll.
Perfect first day.
Alma, I am so proud of you. You are such a happy kid. I know you are so excited to get to be in school. To get to be around kids. And Rachel. You make me so happy with your desire to play all the time. You are the best, my dear. Have a wonderful first year of school!
These days I just want to hide my head in the sand and ignore all that is going on in the world. My daily dose of NPR just makes me sad. Even John Oliver’s ‘news’ show doesn’t seem very intriguing. There is just so much war and destruction and disregard for human life.
Maybe it’s because I have kids now, but I can’t even think about all the children who are in harm’s way. It’s easier to just ignore it. I mean, what can I even do about it? I can ‘like’ photos on Facebook, or listen to the news, but what good does that do, really? I can write to my congressman, but what would I say? “Make everyone stop killing everyone else!” I’m not sure that would work.
We are so lucky to be on this earth. There is no where (as far as I can fathom) else where life is so perfectly designed. Once, I got to hear an astronaut talk to a bunch of middle schoolers. One of them asked him, “Is there other life out there?” The astronaut’s answer was very interesting.
He said, “When I think about all the things that had to happen perfectly – the Sun being the right temperature, size, distance from Earth, oxygen and water levels on Earth – I don’t think it’s possible that there is life on other planets.”
So, yes, we are lucky. And what are we doing with that lucky existence that we have been given? Where is the focus?
I am here to suggest that our focus be on the beauty all around us. My favorite Anne Frank quote has always been, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” Yes, people are still good at heart, but that is only possible because of the beauty. If we stop seeing the beauty, what good is anything else?
Last night, we had a most beautiful sunset. I was struck – as I saw neighbors come out of their houses to watch the changing colors – by just how odd this is. The sun sets everyday. Every day for our entire lives. Yet, we are still amazed by this. We can still be surprised and inspired by something that happens like clockwork.
And that is beautiful. And it gives me faith.
My brother and his wife are adventurers. As my grandmother said about Nina, “She doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet.” They have been together for 9 years, 4 continents, 3 degrees, 1 dog, and countless adventures.
Their latest is a road trip across the US. Their destination is Virginia, where Nina will attend graduate school to be an architect.
They had a beautiful going away party at Nina’s parent’s house.
It was amazing. It was perfect. It was so beautiful, loving, fun.
They are somewhere between Oregon and Virginia right now with their dog, trailer, and their adventure.
My old preschool teacher posted a video of this on Facebook, so I thought we should try it. I mean, hey, she never steered me wrong in the past! (PS I love that my old preschool teacher is my friend on Facebook).
I saw the video while checking Facebook while the girls ate breakfast. I pulled out the ‘ingredients’ then and there. Why the heck not!?
Here’s what you need:
- Plate, it has to be deep enough to hold a good layer of milk
- Food coloring
- Dish soap
Pour a good amount of milk in your plate – when I first tried it, I don’t think I had enough milk, and it didn’t work as well. You want enough that the food coloring and dish soap can sort of float on the top.
Add drops of food coloring.
Add small drops of dish soap, and watch the colors spread and dance. It’s really fascinating!
We used this as an opportunity to talk about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors as they blended and mixed. Just kidding, that’s crazy.
We actually just used this as an opportunity to be amazed and have fun. Cause that’s what childhood is.
So cool. Thanks for the continuing preschool education, Mrs. Jones!
Do I need to add that you shouldn’t drink this milk? No, I don’t think I need to add that. Right?