Monthly Archives: October 2011

Restoration

As I’m writing this, my little gal, V is asleep in bed.  My husband is also sleeping.  We have had a sleep deprived few weeks with illness and teething and I really should take this extra half hour to catch a little undisturbed sleep.  But here I am at the computer, unsure where the keys will take me tonight.

 

I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk lately.  We’ve had a visit from my in-laws and during this time, I posted my prepared posts and I’ve only had an hour or so in the past month to do any writing.  I’m out of practice.  And out of topics…there are many things on my mind that I won’t write about.  Stories that are not mine to share.  Rants on the state of the universe that I don’t feel ennobled or impassioned or informed enough to write.  I’m out of energy, out of time, my house is in a shambles, our routines are off-kilter, and I feel like hibernating into the rhythms of family and comfort.

 

I’m looking forward to some visits from my parents soon.  First my mother, stepfather, and brother will come for V’s 2nd birthday.  It will be a low-key visit at our house and I know V will love spending time with them.  Later, my dad will visit us for Thanksgiving week; we’ll do some  catching up and I look forward to a relaxing time with him.

 

It has been a while since I’ve had a date night with my husband.  I’d like to connect over a fun evening where we can have a conversation not punctuated by rushes to the potty with our little gal, or replaying the same adorable but repetitive conversations about Darth Vader and Star Wars (her current obsession) that we’ve so frequently regurgitated over the past several weeks.

 

I’d like an evening to paint; something I haven’t done since my daughter was born, now two years ago.  I’ve forgotten the feeling of surrendering to an emotionally creative flow, rather than the intellectual creativity that I rely upon in my writing.  Painting and drawing are almost a meditative activity for me; I get lost in the creation and my focus is completely drawn into recreating the light and shadows of my subject (usually a person or a landscape).  I hope to put down my pen and pick up my brush sometime soon.

 

I want a day with V where I don’t have anything else to pull my attention away; a day where we can play and enjoy each other, have dance parties in the living room and work on “ahrt projects” and run around outside.  We need a day where I don’t have the weight of unfinished duties competing with my time with her.

 

I want to get my house back in order; the dust accumulation and clutter and chaos always reflects in my internal state and when order reigns, I am able to (literally) breathe easier.

 

I want to figure out my writing goals for the next year.  I have to prioritize some things.  I have a story idea for the paper I began writing for last year and I have to decide whether I want to pursue that commitment again.  I want to revise and submit some more poems (I did not meet my goals for this year, as our schedule got the better of me), and figure out how best to continue my education and network as a poet.  I have to figure out whether I want to narrow or broaden my focus on my blog and somehow lessen the load a bit without sacrificing so much that it falls by the wayside, another partially begun then abandoned project.  I need to take the next step to flesh out my identity as a writer.

 

But mostly, I’d like to curl up for a whole day, by myself, and sleep undisturbed.  I’d like to sit outside with a cup of coffee and just watch the birds and the ripples on the pond they call a lake in this suburban community.  I’d like to take a long walk to see the fall colors with my notebook and stop to write a poem if I feel like it.  I’d like to take a long, scalding bubble bath and listen to some meditative music.  I need to rest, to restore some of the missing energy I have so I can again declutter my life and make emotional space for my family and my writing again.

 

Somehow, I’ll make it all happen.   But for tonight, with my disheveled thoughts now listed on the screen, I’ll put the goals and wishes away for a bit and retreat into the long desired sleep that will hopefully enable me to begin the path to a restored spirit.  What gives you a sense of renewal?


Google-eyed Pumpkin Stick Puppets

Materials:      

Tempura paints

Paintbrushes

Paint palette

Popsicle sticks

Pumpkin shapes (you can buy these pre-cut and packaged at a craft store or cut your own from poster

board or construction paper)

Google eyes of various sizes

Mini hot glue gun and glue sticks

Newspaper to cover painting surface

Age:                18 months + (with adult assistance for the gluing)

Objective:        Motor skill development, color identification, seasonal learning, building toys for pretend play

Instructions:

Cover painting surface with newspaper.  Allow your child to select paint colors to put on the palette and then let them paint the pumpkin shapes and the Popsicle sticks.  Allow them to dry completely.  Adults:  use the hot glue gun to affix google eyes to the pumpkin face at your child’s direction; then glue the Popsicle sticks to the back of the shapes. Allow glue to dry and fuse, then the puppets are ready for use!  You could also use them as decorations for houseplant planters as well.


TV Treasures and Why We Keep Watching:

We are technologically stalled in our house.  I don’t know how to work a TiVo nor do I care about the improvement in picture quality that is now available with digital TV.  We have a TV in our house but we do not have a digital converter box or cable.  We’ve had cable before, but it is one of the expenses that we eliminated when we had our little gal, V, and went down to one salary.  Plus, we watch enough of the boob tube without having a steady viewing stream available with the click of a button.  So we rely on DVDs and the Internet to view our favorite shows; thus we are not up to date on every currently running show.  BUT, we do spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a rather outdated TV, immersed in the lives of characters. There are times my husband M, and I have decided to put a moratorium on TV watching in our house to spend more quality time together doing other creative things and actually living our own lives, but I have to say that both of us do enjoy the time we spend cuddling on the couch with one of our few guilty pleasures.  So, as we begin our period of hibernation over the next few months as the cooler weather begins to urge us indoors to engage in cozy pursuits, I thought I’d share our fave addictions with you (since my links are often unrecognizable, click on any underlined text to get to the show’s website for more info)…

Burn Notice:

American James Bond in Miami!  The cast is just great!  For those of you who are sticklers for detail; they made some quick changes in the first season that I was happy about (cutting Madeleine’s hair, ending her hypochondria, and getting rid of Fiona’s inconsistent accent), and since then, it’s been pretty enjoyable.  I like the trajectory with Fiona and Michael’s relationship and with Michael and Madeleine’s relationship; there is forward momentum rather than stagnation.  The endless layers to his burn notice sometimes feel a little strained, but the actors are so fun to watch, that it doesn’t matter if the plot is a little redundant at times.

Castle:

We started watching this show because we LOVED Firefly (why that show was cancelled, I will never understand) and our beloved Nathan Fillion (Firefly’s Malcolm Reynolds) was going to be playing the lead role, Rick Castle.  We kept watching because it was good!  I love Stana Katic and the chemistry between her character, Kate Beckett and Castle.  This show mixes humor, family interactions, romantic tension, and mystery with light and serious, episodic and extended story lines.

Dexter: 

My mother and sister went on and on about this serial killer show for the longest time.  We finally gave it a try, just to see what all the obsessing was about and found ourselves drawn into the gripping and intense storyline.  When you find yourself actually liking (and rooting for…) a character who is a SERIAL KILLER, (even if he does wipe out bad guys) you have to question yourself a bit, though…  AND season four finale…man, I have to say, I wanted to stop watching.  I wanted to.  But I just couldn’t; I was sucked in.  So still watching!  There are times when the intensity is overwhelming, but that’s the sign of darn good writing and acting.

Supernatural:

On our refrigerator, we have a picture of the two main Supernatural characters, Sam and Dean.  My husband, M, gave it to me, joking that I’d love to look at them each day.  I have to say, the picture and the show are both enjoyable. Where else do you find the cutest brothers on a lifelong road trip fighting Supernatural entities?  The only bummer about this show is the recent detour from funny, episodic storylines and a relatively solid central plot to delve into the battle between heaven and hell for multiple seasons.  So, I get that it’s a big battle, but too many “reincarnations” have occurred, and too many subplot points regurgitated.  It’s time to wind up that story and move in a different direction.  Still, we will see it through to the end, whether that is apocalyptic or otherwise.

The Big Bang Theory:

I think this is currently my favorite show.  And it’s not because my daughter, V, dances so cutely to the Barenaked Ladies theme song either!  As a nerdy type of gal, I dig the smart factor.   The characters are hilarious.  We own several seasons and have watched them all about four times.  Any show that can take super smart and make it cool and trendy (if you doubt its influence, check out the fashion trends in all of the discount superstores) is really accomplishing something good in my book.  If only a few more such shows could displace the Kardashians, Real Housewives, and Extreme Makeover, I think a cultural shift might start occurring.  Incidentally, for Halloween, I will be dressing up as Howard Wolowitz.  My husband, M, will be (or, um, already is) Sheldon Cooper; our good friends will be accompanying us as Amy Farrah Fowler and Leonard Hofstadter.

The Office:

So sad that Steve Carell has moved on.  I’ve only seen two episodes from this season, so we’ll see how it goes.  I do love that James Spader has joined the cast; his character in Boston Legal was a hoot.  The cast is lovely as always; if they can keep the writing on target, there is some hope left for the continued existence of this beloved comedy.

The Walking Dead:

My husband, M, is freakishly obsessed with zombies.  More specifically, the idea of a zombie apocalypse.  Having viewed oodles of zombie movies from Shaun of the Dead to 28 Days Later, of course we had to watch a whole SHOW about them!  Our nearly two year old little girl (who does NOT watch this show) is slowly receiving her own education re: zombies.  She has recently learned to say “zomies” and imitates her father’s impressions of zombies walking and groaning.  I’m waiting for her to start saying “Brains…brains….”  I do enjoy The Walking Dead and appreciate the way, Andrew Lincoln, who plays the lead character, Rick Grimes, has gone from his last noted role in Love Actually, to depict a very different sort of role.  Impressive.  The show is well written, suspenseful, and the acting is great!  Worth watching even if you aren’t as entranced by all things zombie as my dear husband.

Other past and current shows I like to watch:

The advantage to watching shows on DVD, is that you can return to shows that are no longer on the air. You can also watch foreign (though the UK doesn’t REALLY seem foreign) shows as well. Below are some favorite standbys that I enjoy when I am able to rent from Blockbuster or the library (or when I just give in and buy the seasons!).

MYSTERY:

Midsomer Murders

Miss Marple—Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot—Agatha Christie

Cadfael

Hetty Wainthropp

Sherlock Holmes

 

SCI-FI/FANTASY:

Firefly

Fringe

Smallville

 

COMEDY:

How I Met Your Mother

 

What shows keep you watching and why?  Feel free to share in the comment section below!


Spooktacular Magnets

Spooktacular Magnets

Materials:

Tempura paints

Paintbrushes

Paint palette

Wooden Halloween shapes (you can get these for about 30 cents at Michaels or other craft stores)

Mini hot glue gun and glue sticks

Magnets

Newspaper to cover painting surface

Age:                18 months + (with adult assistance for the gluing)

Objective:        Motor skill development, color identification, seasonal learning

Instructions:

Cover painting surface with newspaper.  Allow your child to select paint colors to put on the palette and then let them paint the shapes.  Allow them to dry completely.  Adults:  use the hot glue gun to affix magnets to the back of the shapes. Allow glue to dry and fuse, then magnets are ready for use!


Seeking: Moms and Dads Without Blogs

I know a lot of amazing writers without a home to publish their writing.  I know some writers who may not even identify as writers but who always have an interesting viewpoint or perspective to share in an eloquent way.    Not everyone is interested in embracing the commitment to blog, but as my high school news staff advisor used to remind us, “Everyone has a story to share…”  So here at The Ripple Effect 2009, with the goal being to share stories and touch lives, I have decided to host guest bloggers without blogs as part of a new Moms and Dads without Blogs series.

My first guest writer, Laura D., wrote a lovely post using the kitchen floor as a metaphor for finding acceptance and appreciation in the simple things in our lives amidst the chaos and clutter of parenting.  Please take the time to read for a sample of what I am looking for.

If you are a Mom or Dad without a blog, I am interested to hear and possibly share your story.  I am particularly interested in sharing stories that inspire or uplift or speak out about a parenting issue/topic from a fresh and positive perspective.  I am also interested in reflective, observational pieces about life (from non-parents as well).  I am interested in well crafted book or movie reviews. I am not interested in personal religious viewpoints, extreme or divisive political pieces, or deeply personal or combative mini-memoirs.  If you are interested in writing a piece for The Ripple Effect 2009, please respond to this post with your topic and I will contact you (now or in the future) if it fits within the site parameters.  Writing must be tight, fit within a 1500 word limit (give or take a few words) and contain few (or optimally no) grammatical or spelling errors.  Writing samples may be requested unless I am already familiar with your writing.

I have some creative crafty friends who I am hoping to convince to share their work on The Ripple Effect 2009.  If you have original craft projects for kids to share, please let me know.  I have a simple format to use for posting. Pictures are required for craft posts!

I may feature some poetry, but I’m extremely selective with what I post, and know that if it is posted online, you will be limited in your ability to submit your piece to many journals who will consider the piece to be “previously published.

I hope to hear from some of you soon and if you know me personally, feel free to contact me via e-mail with your ideas…


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