Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My star

Using the bottom of a shoe box, bedazzled in glitter, and a painted toilet paper roll, I constructed my star this afternoon.

I am pleased with how it turned out.  Simple, but fitting.

Here's my completed tree.

Here it is all lit up.  I don't have a tree skirt so I used one of Andrea's blankets.  A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O tannenbaum

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house. I decided to surprise Paul by putting up the decorations without his knowledge. Tonight he'll come home to the glow of twinkling lights, the smell of cinnamon, and an adoring wife with tuna casserole. In the words of Andrea, "Num num num!" 

I'm quite proud of my tree this year. For our first Christmas I borrowed a little tree and lights from my mom.  We adorned it with mismatched ornaments I had loving made throughout the years.  While sentimental, the tree was a little sad looking.

And our "star" was even sadder.

But Paul and I didn't care.  That was our FIRST tree and we loved it.

Last year my sister bought us a tree as an early Christmas gift.  I filled it with my handmade ornaments and embellished it with hand-me-down red beads.  The lights were a string of white, twinkly and cheery, and a string of purple that once framed my mother's birthday coffin.  It was a frumpy tree.

This year I strung up the mismatched lights and sighed.  How could I make this work?  I dug through a box of ribbons and cords my aunt gave me until I found a roll of white wired ribbon.  I tied shimmering bows to the branches.  I decided against my red beads and replaced the garland with a silver cord.  I stood back and admired the way my theme was taking shape.  

While most of my ornaments are red, I searched for all of the silver and purple bobbles and trinkets I could find.  I even found a couple of green that went looked nice scattered about.  I stood back again and felt a sense of pride that I actually transformed those Halloween lights into a sophisticated and festive work of art!  Then Andrea finally noticed the tree so it probably won't last long.

But I tried to fill the bottom of the tree with ornaments that she can play with.

There's just one thing missing. . .  I'll be making that tomorrow.  When that's finished I'll post a picture of the whole tree.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The hangover

I'm feeling a bit bluesy today.  Yesterday I skipped round two of pie so I wouldn't have a sugar hangover.  Instead, I'm trying to shake the emotional hangover that seemed to appear about six o'clock this morning.  Yesterday was Andrea's first Thanksgiving.  I can't believe I didn't take any pictures.  Her year of firsts is almost over and didn't even bring my camera!  What was I thinking?

I think I was thinking I was too worn out for pictures.  I love that Andrea girl, but as much as I love her, she loves me twice as much and then some.  If she's tired, hungry, or in any discomfort at all, she just wants me.  Yesterday's festivities interrupted her regular schedule and after a short and early afternoon nap and the discovery of tooth number two slowly emerging through her pink gums, she was my little Klingon.  Except she's cuter than a Klingon.

But this seems to happen when we are around lots of people.  Okay, this happens at home too.  She is always underfoot, hands and knees moving as fast as they can to keep up with my adult strides.  I actually love this about Andrea.  But at home she will happily follow me and take a few minutes to play on her own as well.  At social functions she just wants to be held.  The constant holding overstimulates me.  Paul was able to take her for some short bouts in the evening while I decompressed, which helped immensely.

When we got home Andrea fell asleep while she nursed and had to be woken for a diaper check.  After being tucked in, she nuzzled her bear as we left the room.  Paul and I returned to the living room, cuddled on the couch, and watched Star Trek reruns for an hour or so.  We're nerds, I know.  But thinking about seems to be sweeping away the bluesy hangover that greeted me at dawn.  That and this little girl crawling circles around my feet.


In the spirit of Thanksgiving I'll publicly declare that I'm thankful for my family.  Extended, immediate, in-laws, all of them.  But especially for these two:

And I'm thankful that they are mine forever!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

From gimpy to grumpy

I've been having a hard time controlling my thoughts as of late.  Though there has been no devastating tragedy to usurp the joy in everyday living, it seems that a grumpy little imp has moved into my body like a bad mucus commercial.  When I step outside and observe the warm sun beaming down on my face and a soft breeze tickling my legs my new little friend materializes on my shoulder and whispers in my ear, "Isn't this just miserable?"  I turn my head to find the source of this absurd thought only to discover I am still alone.  No, I think.  It is lovely outside.  It is fall; leaves are dancing along my path like a ballet and watching them is magical.  Things are as they should be.

My imp retaliates.  "But that breeze is tickling the stubble on your legs.  Is it not itchy?"  It is itchy.  I notice that now.  I take a moment to scratch a days growth on my ankles.  Ugg.  My legs are dry too.  My skin always dries out when it's cold.  My optimism fights back because being cold means warm snuggles inside with one of the two beautiful people I live with.

"Yes, but how much snuggle time do either of them give you?"

My imp is right.  Paul is very busy and gone a lot, and I'll just put it out there, texting about snuggling is not the same.  Andrea. . . she is very busy too.  Crawling, cruising, finding hidden pieces of cereal to chew on. . .  pooping.  The reality of my loneliness starts to sink into my chest like pneumonia.  I search for a silver lining and find it just within reach.  But I do get snuggles, and they are sweet and precious to me.

It seems the more I search for joy the more this little imp whispers.

Today I watched Andrea stare into a cup and laugh.  She makes happiness look so effortless, I thought.  My little shoulder devil kindly reminded me that I wasn't blessed with that gift.  I looked over to the sound of the voice.  No, I thought.  I'm in charge of my mind, not you.  And with a swift figurative flick of the wrist I sent that little guy flying.  Then I metaphorically sprayed him with bug spray.  Then I flushed him down the toilet.

I ran over and tickled my daughters little tummy and she laughed harder, and for the first time in a while, there was nothing in the world to be grumpy about.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Feeling a little gimpy

I almost didn't marry Paul all those years ago when he asked for my hand.

I'd like to think I have a little art in my bones.  I've been drawing for years; I've dabbled in ceramic sculpture, cakes, digital art, photo manipulation, music, web design, sewing, etc.  I never found myself particularly talented at any given medium.  Rather, I was mediocre or fair at most of them.  But I hunger for the creative process.  My fingertips tingle and itch when they anticipate meticulous use.  My eyes catch glimpses of hidden details and flaws that my itching hands can influence, maneuver, and direct.

My mother's computer, conveniently equipped with Photoshop, made a few of these euphoric adventures possible.  Marrying Paul and moving out would mean no more Photoshop.  Could all of his love and affection fill the hole in my heart left by that blessed program?  Unsure but optimistic, I took a chance and accepted his proposal.  While marriage came with a tight budget, it also came with new art forms.  Many of my fears were laid to rest.  But on dark and stormy nights, my heart still longed for Photoshop. . .

Until this week!  No, I did not deny my family a month of groceries to purchase Photoshop.  I downloaded a free version called GIMP.  While it crashes easily and is a little glitchy, I'm just so ecstatic to have something!  My life is now complete.