Monday, February 28, 2011

dispatches from the artic

I thought I would just mention now, because I forgot to complain about it last week, that it was colder than a well diggers butt in San Fran.

I froze my tootsies off.  But man oh man,  we ate a trail across the city the likes of which my belly has never seen!  

We started with French food, because well, you know. It's French.  And at the frou frou frenchy cafe', we started with escargot.  In case you are wondering, because I always did, they taste exactly like a garlicky, buttery mushroom.  Exactly. But they are like a billion times more expensive, so next time I will just ask them to stuff some mushrooms into the shells so I can still use the little frou frou shell holders and fork to eat them.  I like to feel fancy.

We went to an art museum where I saw a Monet that I almost stole except I'm just not smart enough to pull it off.  In fact, I spent most of my time in the museum feeling like a great big poser. Which is really weird because when I was in collage I loved my art history classes and felt totally at home in museums.

You see what kids will do to you? They make you feel like you can't even act civilized. And damn it, I like art. I know a fair bit about it. I should be able to enjoy it.

Can you even imagine having your own Monet? I mean really.  How dreamy.

The Chinese New Year Parade was a let down.  I was hoping for a really big show. It lasted forever, but it was mostly local schools and dance groups. It quickly became obvious to us that most of the onlookers where parents waiting for their kid.

We skipped out early because we had more eating to do.  Which we did. And then we rolled our bloated bodies back to the hotel. 

Where we had dessert.

You get the picture.

The Sugar Daddy is running a half marathon next month so he and his running buddy braved the cold weather to run from our hotel out across the Golden Gate Bridge.  They had a great time and I think it was the highlight of the trip for them.

I slept in which might be the highlight of the trip for me.

San Fran I love ya. But your bitter cold rain this fair weather girl can do without.

Catch you in August?

Friday, February 25, 2011

a ride with god

I'm not sure why my sub-conscience thinks God is a llama.  In my dreams, God is always a llama. And he wears a monocle. Go figure.

Two years ago I had this dream.

Last night I dreamed I was riding an old carnival ride with God the llama.  It was one of those that have individual cars that go in circles and you feel like you are riding a huge protractor.  Our car was glitter lavender with mint pin stripes and red leather seats.  Many of the light bulbs on the ride were broken or missing and it made me worry that the ride was old and unsafe.

When the ride began so did the music.  It was "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.

God the llama was sitting with his legs crossed on the outside seat and seemed hardly phased at all by the centrifugal force that was pulling me into him.  My hair whipped around wildly and I kept trying to hold it out of my eyes with one hand and hang on to the car with the other.

He was talking but I couldn't make out his words and I kept saying, "What? I can't hear." And the music was so loud. And the ride was old. And I felt a little desperate.

And then it was if time slowed down and everything was in slow motion and I heard him say clear as day, "I hope you are doing your best my dear.  What a waste it would be if you weren't. A shame."

And then he said, "And don't forget to bring more toilet paper upstairs."

That was it. The whole dream.  Oh, I forgot to tell you I was wearing overalls and Converse sneakers. And now I'm kind of hoping that overalls make a come back because they were really comfortable. I can skip the Converse. They make my feet sweat.

God the llama isn't white like the above photo. He's brown with white spots.  And very fluffy.

So now I'm thinking that I'm not really doing my best. At anything.

But does anyone ever feel like they are doing their best? Strike that. Does any mother ever feel like she is doing her very best at everything?

But I'm going to go ahead and try harder. Because, you know, God said to and all.

image by banana republic

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Every so often I look at myself in the mirror and I don't recognize the girl staring back.  You know, I recognize myself.  I know it's me standing there. But there's a little bit of me that sees my face as a strangers face.

It's a very strange and curious feeling, and when it happens I try to hang onto the moment as long as possible so that I can try to see myself as others see me. But it is a fleeting sensation and seldom lasts very long.

A friend once told me that it is a phenomenon called moryfolk. I really wanted to get to the bottom of the whole thing so I called the radio show called "A Way With Words" and I asked them if they knew of this word, moryfolk.  Well, I asked their answering machine.  I have actually called them three times and they have never returned my call.  I think it is because they don't know the answer. Sugar Daddy thinks it's because it just isn't that interesting.

I have Googled the crap out of the word, trying all different spellings and such and I got nothin'.

But here's what I do know: (C.S. Lewis said it perfectly.) You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.

I know I am not my body.  Every time I look in the mirror and see a strange girl staring back, I know this to be true.

I am in here. In this body. Sometimes I wish I had another body, but mostly, I'm just happy that mine is healthy and strong.

Every so often,  Birdie will give me a look and all I can see is her birth mother.  A roll of the eyes or a lazy smile.  And at these moments I get the same strange feeling as when I don't recognize myself.

And I've come to realize something wonderful.

When I look at my children, I see their souls.  I see them for who they really are.

My children have beautiful healthy bodies.  I sincerely wish I could lay claim to Birdie's almond eyes and Frankie's button nose. Alas, those good genes were a gift from another beautiful girl.  I would like to point out, however, that The Boy got my childhood sprinkling of freckles across his nose, which makes him uber cute and irresistible.

No one would argue, (as least not to my face) that my kids aren't gorgeous.

 I love their little bodies.  But their souls, well, they take my breath away.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

sharing is for caring

Sharing is a problem in our home right now. Evidently Birdie owns every single item contained within  the walls of our house, plus all yard toys and garden tools.  No one else is to touch or even look longingly at anything that she is using/might be using in the next day or two.  If an item becomes boring, then someone else might be allowed to touch it until that time when it becomes appealing in some way. Then it is hers again. As long as we all abide by these rules no one gets hurt. 

Someone gets hurt every. single. day. That person is almost always Frankie. Poor kid. He needs to grow faster.

It occurred to me that I've been hoarding some of my hand carved stamps. I have a fairly large collection of stamps that I have made over the last few years and for the most part, they just sit in the drawer collecting dust.  Each stamp is one-of-a-kind so I can't very well share the actual stamp with all my readers. 

But I could make digital stamps of my hand carved stamps and share them that way.  So that is what I have been working on lately.

In honor of my little Birdie who hasn't learned to share, I give you "Birds & Bulbs". This is a set of seven photoshop brushes, or stamps as some people call them.  

There will be more sets to follow. Stay tuned.

The set costs $5. The license is for personal use. I will send the file within 24 hours of your purchase.

Birds and Bulbs Brush Set

Friday, February 18, 2011


Today the Sugar Daddy and I are flying away for a romantic weekend in San Francisco to celebrate Chinese New Year.

We are leaving the rugrats with my mom.  Poor Mom. They are going to eat her for dinner. I just know it.

I keep thinking I wish we were going longer but a) my mom would hate me, and b) I talk a big game but when it comes down to it, I just couldn't be away from my babies for very long.

It's the physicality aspect that gets me.  All day I have a baby on me in some fashion. Little arms around my neck. Slobbery smooches across my face. Little bottoms on my lap. Pudgy hands around my legs as I work in the kitchen.

It's that physical contact that I start to crave.  It's involuntary, like muscle memory.  My lips start to need a fat cheek to kiss. My arms feel empty.  I feel like a crab without a shell.  Naked.

Then again, the Sugar Daddy and I haven't had a romantic weekend day hour to ourselves in a long time.  Maybe I'll be getting all the physical attention I can take.

And I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

pin it baby

So I'm sure you've heard.  Pinterest is all the rage. And for good reason. 

It's such a simple concept but one that is oh so useful to those of us who gather inspiration like wild flowers, here and there, as we travel the web. Products we want. Ideas we like. People. Places. Things.

A virtual inspiration board. 

I'm addicted. 

Here's a few of my pins over the last little while:

You can follow my Pinterest pins and many others here. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

vintage love

What is it about vintage items that draws us in? Is it the life that has been rubbed into them?  Is it history? Maybe it's nostalgia. 

I love almost anything vintage. I'm partial to old school supplies, Asian art and mid-century dishware.  My current passion are printed table clothes from the 40's and 50's.

Found a couple unique table clothes on Etsy and made them mine.  I loved the look on Sugar Daddy's face when I opened the package. It was his "what in the Sam hell/I'm not even going to ask" face.  I like to keep him baffled a little at all times.  It's like an old card trick.  Keep them watching the busy hand and work your magic with the other.  He'll catch up with me one of these days, but until then my little debit purchases are bringing the sunshine in.

Here's a few more items I've been circling like a hawk. 

Only $29

I want to wish a very happy birthday to my mom. The woman who dedicated her life to raising her children. The woman who made dinner every night, careful to keep in mind all the food groups. The woman who cut my sandwiches into hearts on Valentines and died my milk green on St. Patty's.

The woman who gave me my love of crafting.

The woman who is coming on Thursday to watch my children so the Sugar Daddy and I can have a very much needed getaway.

I wish I could come up with a clever and fresh way to say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

But I can't. So I'll just say, Mom, you rock my world.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Hey hey. Happy V day.

I'm going to do something I have never done before. Rerun a post.

This is why:

I consider this to be one of my most important posts ever.

This is why:

This post is what Amelie's birth family read that made them feel connected to me when they were looking for a family.

I think it was the part about St. Valentine leaving me cash. I'm not sure.

So here is it.

Feburary 2009

Amour cliché

Sugar Daddy and I aren't too much with the romance. Never have been. I don't mean to say that we don't try to seduce each other. We do. It's just a little more subtle than average.

For instance, I might say, "You know, you're a real smart ass." And he will respond, "Why thank you. You crafty little minx." Then, well, it's on.

So Valentine's day really isn't our "thing". We might exchange little token gifts, but for the most part, we don't make a big deal about it.

BUT- what I do love about Valentine's Day is the kitchyness. I relish the cheesy cards and the campy store bought goodies. I mean, who doesn't love conversation hearts? Really.

Is Valentine's a Hallmark holiday? Why yes it is! And that's what is so great about it! Elementary school would never have been the same without chintzy little cards made from red doilies and decorated shoebox mailboxes.

Thom and I are all over it, getting ready for the big day. We have all the Valentine's ready to take to school.

The hearts are hung in the window with care, in hopes that St. Valentine will show up and leave a couple hundred bucks on the counter.

The big pink sugar cookies are frosted with almond buttercream and ready to deliver. Scrumdillyumptious!

And the campy handmade Valentines are in the mail to their intended sweetheart.

Here's Cupid himself, lips pursed in concentration, crafting a card for his cousins. Notice the chocolate smears all over his shirt? We needed sustenance while we worked.
This is my mantra for today: Let. Love. Live. However you do it. Don't quash the vibe. If you are fancy pants lovey dovey, do that. If you are simple and sweet like Sugar Daddy and I, put the kids to bed, break out the Netflix and Ben and Jerry's and nestle in.

So much has changed since I wrote that post. I now have three little lovies to dote over. We still don't make a big deal about Valentine's. However, we are taking the kids to the zoo today.

Let's all just pray that the spirit of love can last at least until mid-day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

simply the sweet life

Just in case you missed it, here is my feature in Simply the Sweet Life Magazine.  I was in good company. Rhonna and Margie also contributed and their Valentine's were amazeballs.

Check out the magazine. It's really quite extraordinary.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Have you noticed that this week has turned into a veritable "all about April's problems" fest? 

Bad form I say.

Deepest apologies. 

Can I offer you a consolatory chocolate?

And to further sweeten the deal, here's some link love for you to explore this weekend.

Alison of Diary of a Dairy Queen is a real life farm girl living and blogging in Vermont.  
This video is like magic to me.
The Curiosity Shoppe is a wonderful place to visit with various sundries and delights to behold.
I don't know if I can go on living another day without this gorgeousness in my possession. 

And lastly,

I love the way this girl thinks about creating the kind of life you love.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


There has been some incidents this week.  Happenings of the most unpleasant kind.  The kind of things that drive people to drink heavily.

Naturally it involves the children.  Children can be the proprietors of much unpleasantness. This is true.

Most of the displeasing behavior can be attributed to normal childhood menaces. Growing pains, teething and the like. But the most abhorrent episodes involve a little blond haired girl and fecal matter. Smeared.

You got that image thick in your brain? Good. Because these scenes will never, ever leave my memory.

So it's been a little rough. And stinky.

I've shed a tear or two.  I'm generally not a crier. But a human being can only take so much shit in their life. You know what I mean?  There's a limit.

Sugar Daddy took the boy to Costco last weekend and they came home with a five pound jar of Jelly Belly Jelly beans.  I have a few things to say about this, but I will save them for another day.

Needless to say, I've been trying to referee the consumption of said jelly beans all week.  So when I saw The Boy take the back way to the stairs with something clasped in his hands, I called him over for a search and seizure.

"Lemme have em."  I held out my hand.

"I don't have candy mom." he said almost convincingly.

"What cha got there then?"


"Open up. Let me see." I demanded.

And he did. And in his sticky little boy hand was a rock I had painted a heart onto.

"I was making a Valentine.  For you."

Now my kid is quick on his feet. This could have been a rouse. But his eyes said otherwise.

(Insert a piercing arrow to my heart here.)

I love my children.

I need to say that publicly to all the people in my life to whom I complain.  To those people who listen to me make empty threats of getting a full time job and a nanny.  To Jenny who comes in my darkest hours, and cries with me.

I love my children. I love my life and I really love the fact that Sugar Daddy and I are going away for a couple of days next weekend.

As for Birdie, from now on she will be napping in footed pajamas with the zipper safety pinned at the top.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

matters of the heart

I've been thinking.  Which gets me into a wee bit of trouble most of the time, but this time I've been thinking about how a girl like myself might keep out of trouble.

I've been wondering if it is possible to be kind and still get exactly what you want, when you want it, most of the time.

Take for example the Costco pharmacy.  It has been my experience that if you want to get your prescription filled correctly and in a timely manner, you must approach the little window as the Queen of Sheba.  Kindness and consideration haven't gotten me very far with Phil the pharmacy tech.  He seems to respond much better to haughtiness.

And then there are my children.  If asked to do something in a kind voice, they don't seem to hear me at all. It's actually quite astounding how their little ears don't pick up my voice until it is raised a few decibels and made to sound like Cruella Deville.  

I don't want to be that mom.  Or that woman at the pharmacy. But I do want things done well in a timely manner.

Look. I'm not a fighter. (Small disclaimer here that I can be a fighter if backed into a corner.) I'm a lover. I like peace and good will toward men.  I like cupcakes and sparkly things and long walks on the beach.  And I like for people to do their jobs well.

I have my big toe into the business world. Not my whole foot. Just the toe.  The right brained one. I'm starting to have business type interactions with people regarding illustration and other such businessy things.  

And I want people to do things for me and I want it done promptly and correctly and by damn don't screw it up. And I want to say all this in a very kind way. 

It's not personal. It's business. But don't these businessy people have feeling too?  I don't want to use the Cruella voice anymore. I'm pretty sure I look really ugly when I'm talking like that. I need to find a way to express my expectations without sounding spiteful or bad-tempered and still get good results.

So is it possible?  Do they teach these things in business school? Kindness 101?

As for Phil, he will still get Cruella. He seems to like her.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

a special kind of stupid

The problem is that I'm never satisfied.  That's the core issue.

I'm not thin enough, charming enough, talented enough, rich enough, perky enough (did I really just admit to wanting to be perky?), reserved enough or smart enough.

What I am today is never enough.  It's one of my many personality flaws that I am willing fess-up to, but I will probably never do anything about.  Because I'm lazy too.

But on with my story.

I get really excited about chemical peels. Because, you know, my skin is never smooth enough.  I love the idea of singeing off the dead, grossness that is holding me captive in ugliesville. Dramatic? Maybe.

So last Friday Shannon came over with her bag of tricks, and while speaking to me in a soothing voice about marketing and other such trivialities, she fried off the top layer of my face.  Then we had some guacamole and chocolate covered strawberries. It was delightful.

But today, well, the delight has fizzled and I'm a little worried that should I use any of the muscles in my face, my skin might crack open and leave huge gaping fissures.  I'm like the girl in the mask.  I can't carry on the way I usually do with all the laughing and yelling and general rowdiness. I'm talking to my children very softly through very tight lips.

The silver lining is that this new quiet way of mothering has scared the hell out of my kids.  I'm fairly sure they think I've finally gone over the proverbial edge I've been screeching about for years.

And here's another thing that needs getting to the bottom of:

I am never cool enough.

My theory goes a little something like this:

I have this incredible knack for making friends with super duper, over-the-top, talented and suave people.  I swear I sniff them out like a pig to a truffle.  Even my friends who are fundamentally just geeks are the coolest kind of indie/anarchist geeks around. Or so it seems.

So the whole time I'm with these people I feel like a groupie.  And I don't want to be a groupie.

With the exception of Sugar Daddy. I'll be his groupie any day of the week and twice on Sundays. (Wow, that sounded a little racy.)

Sometimes I lay in bed and analyze this whole cool factor thing.  And to be honest, I do a little positive self talk "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me.  I too, can be an anarchist if I felt like it."

It's not that I have low self-esteem. As we learned yesterday, that's generally not a problem for bloggers.

So I was thinking maybe I could go see a shrink and talk this over.  There might be some insight there. Then again, I'd probably spend the entire time on the couch marveling at how smart the doctor is worrying that should I start to cry over my inadequacies, my singed face might crack and leave a scar.

And I couldn't have that happen because I'm really excited to see how this whole chemical peel thing turns out.  I think I'll skip the shrink this week and just eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's on my own couch.

I'm quite positive it takes a special kind of stupid to publicly display your personal demons this way, but I also know I needed a Tuesday post.

I can't let my readership drop. A girl can never have enough readers.

Monday, February 07, 2011

the sweetest soap box

I'm going to share a little secret.  For those of you who blog, this won't be news to you. For those of you who don't blog, and wonder why people like me spend so much time and energy blogging it will answer that question.

When you have a blog you have a perpetual soap box.  Blogging is at it's core totally egocentric.  We bloggers work under the delusion that we always have something important to say, and that people are interested in our opinions.

Can you even imagine the gall?  And yet here you are reading my blog. Reading my opinion.  Ha!

You, my friend, are an enabler.

And I love you for it.

Here's a little Valentine craft I made for The Boy's teacher out of a real soap box.  It was moi easy and super cheap cheap cheap.  Just the way I like it.

I used Margie's papers because the girl hooks me up and the cuteness of her design work makes my crafts look good with minimal effort.  That's how I roll.

So.  I used a soap box.  I wrapped the box in paper and decorated it all up fancy.  I cut a slit in one end of the box and threaded ribbon through.  I cut the top of the box off so that when you hold the ribbon and slide off the paper, you can see the little treat inside.

To make the coordinating card, I hand cut hearts and sewed them zig zaggy onto pink card stock.  Then I used white ink to add a little doodleage.

Doodleage.  That's my new word.

This project is so easy you could have little kids do it for their teacher.  I thought of having Thom make it to give his teacher, but the super controlling, anal side of me won out as it is want to do.

Don't worry. It fades a little with each baby that arrives in our home.  By the time Frankie is Thom's age I will probably just let him give his teacher one of his old Hot Wheels or something.

Here's another supa supa cheap-o ideer that came to my brain.

I sewed M&Ms inside of glassine paper shaped in a heart.  Sounds kinda stupid, but it's pretty cute once you get some schmuckada on it.  I did mine on the fly.  I'm sure you could come up with other ridiculously creative ways to decorate these hearts.

You are crafty like that.

And Valentine's should be creative and most of all cheap.  We are just coming down off Christmas spending for crying out in the night.  I'm sure your mother informed you that money doesn't grow on trees. Let's keep that in mind shall we?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

shameless self promotion

These canvas are up in the shop for sale.  

Go ahead.

Make my day.

Buy one.

10 X 10 inches
mixed media collage

Sea Society 
10 X 10 inches
mixed media collage

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Welcome to the year of the rabbit!

Did you know today is Chinese New Years?  It is. We keep track of these things around our house. We like all things Chinese. Food, art, babies...

But we won't be getting a Chinese baby after all.  We are pulling our papers out of the defunct system.  We do not like Chinese politics.

And we have all the babies we could ever want or need.  We are full up with babies round here.

I'm hoping our local Chinese restaurant will be open for take-out tonight. I want to have a little family celebration.  I'm craving some fried wontons and spicy noodles.

I made The Sugar Daddy a little New Year's gift.

Can you see what that fortune says?  Here, let me zoom in.

That's what I'm talkin' bout.

He's half way there.  And in case you are wondering, he's not famous.


Chocolate covered fortune cookies? I say yes to that.  Let the good times eggroll.

We have a family chop.  We had it made in China Town in San Francisco. If you are ever in the area, have one made.  It is worth the money just to watch them carve the block.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

You are a rabbit if you were born in 1951,1963, 1975, 1987 or 1999.

Cuddly, warm and affectionate are the attributes of the Rabbit. Mysterious and a great party-giver and host, the Rabbit enjoys being the centre of attention once in a while. The Rabbit is occasionally over cautious and can be a bit boring. He is also one of the luckiest signs in the Chinese Astrology chart.

In case you are curious, and I know you are, I am a Tiger. Naturally.