Sunday, December 28, 2008

Doing My Time

I am really excited because tomorrow I get to....... drum roll please... Go To Court!! Woo hoo!! I know. I am excited too. Remember my ticket?

Tomorrow I get my day in court. Or most likely, my morning in line with the other degenerates like myself. I also get to take along my own personal degenerates Ella & Nate. I know. I can't wait to hear how that goes either. Apparently at this courthouse there is no difference in the civil "just here because the cop was cranky" line and "I shot someone in the eye" line. I am especially looking forward to explaining colorful language to my four year old. That should be really fun.

Maybe it will go quickly and they will take pity on me since I have to shlepp my kids with me. Do you think you can blog from the slammer? Alex said I might have to actually write. You know, like with a pen. Don't worry Alex said he would type up my blog posts and post them for me. In Spanish. "Las Meditaciones del DesordenĂ³!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow on Christmas

When my sister invited us to her place in the mountains of NC for Christmas I had one thing in mind. Snow. I love snow. I crave snow. I have traveled great distances just for snow. It makes me feel alive and like a child again. My imagination returns and I can be transported to another place. Stepping out into the snow is like walking through the back of the wardrobe.

The place we will be staying is a beautiful vacation rental. Quite serene. It sits over a river and if it were set to be warmer we could open the doors onto the balcony and listen to the river flow over the rocks and gurgle on down it's path toward the ocean. I will be spending some time on those rocks I hope.

I will not have snow this Christmas. The balding man on the television annoyingly proclaimed there is little chance of that. Sometimes we don't get what we hope. Sometimes we don't get what we want. What I will have that day is the opportunity to spend time with the people I love most. Snow or no snow I will have my husband, daughter and son. I have been reminded recently how fragile that equation is. I am very grateful for this Christmas with all of them.

This Christmas I will also have a reminder that we are celebrating someone who loves me enough to not give me everything I want, not even snow. We are celebrating someone who loved me so much they were willing to give me everything that really matters.

Just. One. Thing.

Maybe one year I will have snow fall for me on Christmas day but this year I have one more year with the ones I love. For this I am deeply thankful.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crisp December Ocean Air


A special seashell - lost under the foot of a brother.


He could play in the sand for days I am sure.

Possibly the most freeing thing for this four year old
is dancing unabashedly on the beach.

I prefer the rain.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Santa Goes to My Church!"

So this blog needs a little Christmas sprinkled around doesn't it? So how about some Santa?

Did you know Santa goes to my church? He does. See last year Ella got to visit with Santa during our children's Christmas play then all year long she would see him at church, get this funny look on her face like she had a crush, get all shy and say "Mommy, there is Santa!"

I know it is blurry but I needed to show Ella's I've got a crush look

I wasn't sure years ago if I would get into the whole "Santa" thing with her because I had a hard time with the consumerism that tends to take over the whole "Jesus" thing. I want her to know Christmas is about Jesus not Santa. I was so excited about combining the two. After all, Santa loves Jesus so much he comes to our church every week.

Now this isn't just any old Santa. He is awesome and even gave me goosebumps last year. No joke. They go all out, asking the parents to fill out a questionnaire online before they come asking for information to feed Santa through an earpiece. Yes, an earpiece! No longer is Santa some creepy stranger guy at the mall people. Oh no. This is the experience you just love to see your kid have. So sweet.

I told Santa about Ella picking out gifts for "Toys for Tots" earlier that day so he thanked her for helping provide toys for other children and reminded her that giving is the most important part of Christmas. Among other things they discussed was his need for a little snack on Christmas Eve. We will be putting out three chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for Santa per his request.

This is no throw them up on the hairy man's lap, tell them to smile and shoo them off while droves of people stare. Oh no. This is a long conversation in a private room with Mom, Dad siblings Santa and one helper. The kids all looked star struck and so sweet when they came out. I saw no terrified looks of shear terror. Try saying that at the mall. Best of all? I didn't have to stalk or assault anyone to find a parking space in the parking lot!!

So thank you "Santa" aka the Charity Santa (he is a non profit Santa - the very best kind). You and all your elves made my Christmas that much more special. Thank you for loving Jesus so much you come to Ella's church!

Nate was too fast for me to get a good pic of him.
He couldn't have cared less about "the Snow Man" as Ella called him last year. There were lights to look at people!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Muddled - Raw!

I will not be posting details about what is going on with Alex and I right now. It would be inappropriate and disrespectful to my husband since this is not an anonymous blog. I have wished in the last few days it was, it would be nice to spill my guts. However, it is not.

I will say thank you to all of you. Your encouragement has left me smiling through my tears. Amazing what this forum can do. I have never before experienced pain like I have in the last 3 days but I am encouraged. Thank you.

It is so much easier to hide. It is always my instinct but I guess it makes me a little angry that apparently what I am dealing with is quite common yet no one discusses it. (Thank you Rod for discussing it) I guess that is why Oprah is so popular. She hosts a forum to discuss "these things" but do we know people in real life who will talk about real things? We choose to hide behind a smile so that no one will know we are vulnerable. If what I am going through is so common why the hell don't people talk about it? (I know I haven't actually said what I am going through - sorry. I am just talking here.)

I was blind sided my postpartum depression (not what I am talking about but it serves a point). It hit me and I had no idea what the hell it was. I mean, I knew the term. I knew the risk but I sure as hell didn't know a single live person who had felt the way I had. I guessed only people who were weak or already compromised fell to postpartum depression. Imagine my surprise. I try to talk about my experience with it with other pregnant women that way even if they think I am crazy while they are pregnant, while they may never have those feelings themselves, maybe if they do they won't feel ashamed. Maybe they wont need to put on that smile and deal with it all alone.

Is marriage like that? We see failed marriages left and right but we can not ask questions. It is too personal. We see successful marriages and assume that they have it all together, surely they have never had my problem.

I said in my last post that I think Christians need to open up more and be honest. I have always been dumbfounded by the idea of a whole congregation full of happy smiling faces. Two weeks ago I lost it in church and I am embarrassed to say that I was embarrassed. I was trying to hold it together just to save face, so I could just go on with the morning, get my coffee, do my job and be on with it. I did not want to let them know that I was actually unhappy, thought they were not judgmental and I had no reason to think they would react in such a way. Ahh pride. I guess. With me self preservation is more likely. I have little "pride", I just didn't want to have to deal with reality. Anyways, walking around my church with a red nose, splotchy face, and puffy eyes, I had a more genuine experience that morning than I had in a while. People were not simply moving about ignoring the mom trying to hold it together, they were sweet and supportive. I love my church. I know it is not like that everywhere.

We have to allow ourselves to be real. We have to open ourselves up. We all have something to share with each other. We have all been through things and if no one shares those experiences, no one benefits and it is all for nothing. I honesty think the world is made a genuinely better place by showing our shortcomings and sharing our wisdom, or even lack there of. You don't have to have figured out the answers. That is not the point. The point is to share with someone that they are not the only one in the world searching for answers. We are never ever alone.

Sara Groves - Toy Packaging

Just so I haven't turned into the most depressing blog on the internet I have a little ditty for you. It is my second favorite song of the season this year. So funny and I know you moms can relate! I wish there was a video. Let me know if you can't get it on this link.


I wish you a season full of little toy packaging and many smiling faces!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Warm Fuzzies and Tune-ups

***Edited

Hey guys. I am okay. I promise. I am upset and confused but I am okay.

Want the honest truth? I was about to delete my last entry just so I wouldn't have to deal with questions. It is so much easier for me to retreat and not talk. I debated about just shutting down from you all or pretending for the masses (read: 5 of you who read this) that everything was fine. Who would be the wiser? I seldom talk to any of you in real life so I could pretend that all was fine, post some cute photos of the kids under the tree, present that picture perfect warm fuzzy ideal of a family at Christmas but you know what? That is not real. I try to be real for you on here. I really do. Our world is owed a little real from people who have the balls to step up and be honest. Especially Christians. We all know that not all of those sweet families posed just right in front of the tree on the Christmas cards are all happy.

Sorry - is that a total downer? Did I just fizzle your warm fuzzies? My bad. Not my intention. Some blogs may be all about happy go lucky escapes from reality. Mine is not. This is real life people.

So anyways. The truth is marriage is work!! Did you KNOW that? Geez!! Also, it needs tune ups and oil changes. You know how your car needs those? Or it will come to a grinding halt in a big smoking spewing mess? (I hope you know that) When you don't pay attention to all the facets of your marriage it too comes to a grinding halt. At that point you have two choices, you can make the necessary repairs to get it running again or you can scrap it and get a new car.

We are in the process of making repairs so hopefully it wont fall apart later down the road. I say hopefully, I am realistic. We have some rebuilding to do.

Talk to your spouses. Do preventative maintenance. It is so hard to do, so hard to find time for, but it is worth avoiding the grinding screeching halt. While you have some time over the holidays, evaluate how your doing. Honestly. Then act.

Cheers. I am okay. Don't worry. You can please pray that both Alex and I will be willing to step up and face the facts, including issues from our past that cloud our future. Pray that we will have the fortitude to do the work and get us going again.



Also, sorry for the car analogy - I am thinking like a man today. I am in the zone.


***PS. DEAR ROD... (my brilliantly normal pastor)

Rod's Qualifications: 5 kids (insane right?) ranging from 21(?) to 7 (?). Married going on 26 years to the same woman who appears healthy as well as happy. They do not pretend to have a perfect marriage.)

Rod, in response to this post I have had the question "so what is preventative maintenance?" Since I have obviously missed this boat, what would you say is good preventative maintenance in marriage? Just some bullet points if you will. All of us are apparently thinking "What do I DO?"

My audience consists primarily of moms with small children like me. A comment when you get a minute would be great. (he is a busy man so check back) Feel free to mention the lots of sex part. You can be blunt on my blog.

(see this is why you need a blog Rod. So I can harass you on your own turf)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upside Down

My world seems like it is turning upside down right now. I might not be posting for a while. I can't seem to wrap my head around things. If you pray please do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Imagination

Since I was little I have had an active imagination. I could dream up wild stories and often convinced myself that such stories were not merely concoctions of an overly active imagination, but instead true. To be honest it has taken me years to weed through things that were real and things I had made up to comfort myself. Other things were less serious of course but I can always transport myself in my mind.

I have always loved taking photos of nature. I can remember standing atop Zugspitze mountain in Germany when I was little imagining what it must have looked like before there was a city sprawled out in front of it. When I go to the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC (one of my favorite places) I am always compelled into some daydream where I am the only one there a long time ago. I try to capture pictures where there are no signs of the human impact on nature. It is hard! I have long had a hatred for power lines. Aghh. It is hard to get a landscape without power lines.

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What was my point? Oh. So there is a little beach in NC called Fort Fisher. It has these amazing trees. Apparentlyu they are called Scrub Oak trees but I have called them Broccoli trees since seeing them around age 8. They are all narled and twisted and form this impenetrable canopy at the tops. They are the kind of trees your could build a tree house in and no one on the outside would see you if you were in a small grove of them. They are beautiful and they make my imagination go. I love these trees. They are dramatic and serene at the same time. Next time I make it to the beach I will have to focus more on these trees. Not only is this historically significant place amazing to look at but all your senses are treated there. You can smell and taste the salt in the air, feel the wind on your face and blowing through your hair and hear the waves crashing on the rocks. It is a great place and I am excited to return each time.

What about you? Have any specific place nature wise that gets your brain moving?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just A Quick Note...

*** Updated

So I promise a cute Santa post in the next couple days. I need to focus on not hitting Alex today. Just kidding.. I just need to stay off the computer tonight.

Actually Alex is rescuing me. Know what happened to me today?

That is a clue to the right. It is a very important component to your cars. It is your brake cylinder. When one of the gaskets(black things on the sides) goes bad on it your brake fluid leaks out and your car wont stop! Sound exciting? IT IS - I know!!

On the way to school, a 3o minute drive, my brakes went out! Okay, not completely but it was definitely very dangerous and I took the extra long way home where I might run into a cow or chicken, but less likely to hit a car. Not that I would want to hit a cow or a chicken. I made it back home in one piece after he came to rescue me. He is going to try to fix it tonight so I am playing assistant mechanic. Which I actually love. If I didn't know he was already testy I would take some pics for a post. Oh well. Not everyone is addicted to blogging apparently.

Never annoy your mechanic. Especially when you sleep with him.


***Update: It really is quite amazing we got home alright yesterday. My master cylinder broke. That is more expensive than that little piece up there. I really had to resist the urge to take photos of Alex fixing things last night. Really hard not to. He is doing it again tonight though so maybe....

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dealing

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I am having a hard time dealing today. I am also not PMSing so, sadly, I can not blame it on that. I like having that to fall back on. It makes me feel like there is some justification for my craziness. That way later I can go, "Oh! I am not crazy!"

Alex is dealing - or not dealing - with the passing of his Grandfather. I think. Really, I do not know because in true man fashion, he is not talking about it. That is okay but I am having a hard time dealing with the effects that is having. I am trying to be supportive but to be honest, I do not have any idea what to do or not to do. I am frustrated which is causing him to be frustrated. I think.

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I am off to color my hair.
Why?
That is more constructive than developing a drinking problem.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Restless

I have been feeling restless lately. Like I need to do something drastic. Getting a tattoo actually crossed my mind the other day. And I actually pondered it as opposed to laughing at myself. Back in the day I had my tongue pierced. I know. Anyways, I took it out when I got old - aka married. I have always been happy I did not get a tattoo when I was in college. We took many a road trip to Savannah Georgia for tattoos, they were not allowed in SC apparently. I never could decide on just the right location and all of the tattoos seemed pretty silly and commercial. I am guessing there are a few "trendy" people out there hating their looney tunes or "tribal" tattoos now.

So now I am thinking I need to color my hair crazy again. Maybe I am just bored. Or having a Quarter-Mid-LifeCrisis. Grr.

Any suggestions on how to shake that feeling? That sure is opening it up isn't it? Have you ever had that feeling? Have any funny tales or permanent effects as a result? Fess up!

Portraits - The Sister

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One of my goals while I was away at the beach was to practice portraiture a little. Lets face it, photographing kids is a bit like herding cats. Or squirrels. My camera is not really made for it - at least I haven't figured that out yet. Lindsey was a great muse. She is gorgeous and she can stay still to boot! Thanks for letting me stalk you hun!





Does she have the best dimples or what?

So what do you think? I would fix something on all of them of course.
I need to work on figuring out the manual settings on my camera.
I like these though.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Beaten

I tend to be drawn to things that are old and beaten. Old houses, old trees, old barns. I think these things are so much more beautiful than any shiny new of the same. They have weathered the storms already, they have been tested and stood firm. New and shiny tends to evoke a completely different feeling in me, generally one I do not relate well to. I prefer things that are established. That probably says a lot about me.

I take a lot of photos of things like that. Most people can not see the beauty in a rusty bolt but it makes me think of all the storms and turbulence, yet it still holds firm. I think that is beautiful.

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To all the rusty bolts out there. Keep holding firm.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mmmm "Jew Food"!

When I moved to Chapel Hill in 2000 I was in desperate need of money. That tuition for Culinary School apparently was not planning to pay for itself. I had a job at a hotel but because the greatest part of working there was the hotel room discount, not the pay, I needed a second job. I spent days scouring the newspaper and the internet for ideas and stumbled upon an ad requesting someone to help clean and cook. Well, clean I am not so good at but I can cook.

I was so nervous interviewing for Nan & John. Their house was so nice and they asked me if I even drank. I lied through my teeth. They hired me and a long relationship began.

When I started cleaning (which did not last long) and cooking for them it was so interesting. I had never thought I would find myself in the position of a "domestic" but they paid well and I enjoyed helping them. It was interesting being a fly on the wall in such a different home. They were well off, Nan a doctor and John a prominent member of the community as a Rabbi. They are lovely people and I was so privileged to work for them.

The only thing I did not like was ... well..... they asked me to cook food I did not like. I love them but every week they wanted salad, grilled dark meat chicken and some benign form of potato. (they did not keep kosher mind you - I learned some of that later) That. was. it. "I WENT TO CULINARY SCHOOL" was what I was screaming on my insides every week!! Let me experiment for goodness sakes!!! John did all the shopping. This was also an issue. After a while we would plan the menu together, me cheering him on into worlds unexplored, culinary adventures starting slow and working up to all sorts of fun things from areas all over the world. When I left I no longer had to coach him on how to pick out this food or that produce. He could do it all by himself and this made me so proud!

My greatest culinary accomplishment was the horizons explored in that house every Friday for Shabbat. See, not only was he trusting me to widen his horizons, but also the 10 or so guests he had over each week for this special meal. I met lots of people while cooking for them for those 5 years and the discussions I overheard definitely contributed to how I see the world now.

Not only were their tastebuds tickled though. Oh no. Ladies and gentlemen. "Jew food" is good food!! There were three tasty treats that I feel in love with. Challah, matzo ball soup and kugel.
Challah is this delicious doughy bread with raisins if you are extra lucky. Alone or dipped into a little honey. Yum. Alex is an addict. Kugel. This one eludes me. It is best described as Jewish comfort food. Noodly goodness. The one I feel in love with had apples. I don't know how he did it but I was so happy when this regular guest came and brought his Kugel. I miss that kugel.

Now to Matzo Ball soup. The first time I made this was so funny. See, I had never even heard of this stuff let alone made it so I was clueless. We use the packets of mix you get from the store, you can too. Just don't do what I did the first time. I asked how big the balls were supposed to be. They don't really cook Nan and John. Not their passion and they have little time so when they showed me the approximate size, about 2 inches, they left out an important detail. Do you know what happens when you roll a 2 inch Matzo ball?? 5 inch matzo softballs!! It was so funny. See you are supposed to make little tiny balls and as they cook they absorb the liquid and get fluffy and delicious. What I made were like Matzo balls on steroids. We all had a good laugh over that one. It was a bonding moment.

My kids love Matzo Ball soup. Truly manna from heaven. Anything (without sugar) my kids will scarf down in a heartbeat like that is good in my book!

So thank you guys! Love you!

Now go out and get adventurous - go cook something you never would have guessed would be utterly fantastic!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quiet Cold

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I was inspired by my cousin Rachel's trip to the dump pre-dawn for a shoot. I was also inspired by Nate scaring the crap out of me at a time no one should be awake on vacation. This vacation was not about sleeping for me but it did allow me some time to myself which is welcomed no matter what time it comes.

When Nate decided to go bump in the night and scare the bejesus out of me I decided to get dressed and head to the beach to see the sunrise. I was on the beach at Fort Fisher, NC not far from Wilmington. In two month's time I have seen the sun rise on the Atlantic and set on the Pacific. This was a fact not lost on me as I puffed out in the calm cold air at the beach. There was no one there but me and my camera.

As the sun rose it came to life with little else in the sky but one fluffy cloud, almost out of place as if watching the sun rising as well. I have never noticed so many birds but as the sun rose, so did they. I must have seen hundreds of sea birds that morning.

It was cold. I was all bundled up but as the sun rose you could feel the warmth spreading. It was great weather that day, Thanksgiving.

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Dawn is nice. I still look forward to sleeping in again some day. You know, past 7am.

ps. I took this panorama... can not get it to stitch together. Any tips?

To My Lurkers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lurker

Hey you. Yea you. You lovely lurkers who so generously up my hits each day. I love you. I do. I love you so much I want to know who you are! I have some clues. I know where you live don't you know. Nevertheless, I still want to hear from you. I told you. I am needy. So if you have been reading a while LEAVE ME A COMMENT!! Sure you can make it anonymous if you would like. Sure. I am okay with that.

So here is a question to help you out in case you need a prompt.... What evidence of foreshadowing can you give to support the claim that the main character was indeed brought down by hubris?


Sound like high school lit yet? Now leave me a comment. If you do I will post more pics from my holiday!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

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Here are a few pictures in no specific order. Our weather was once again wonderful.
Walks were peaceful. Some time to be solitary. I made moments for that. As in - before dawn.

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