Thursday, June 28, 2012

bottom of the list homemaker.

Lately, at the end of the day, I find piles of fabric stacked on my desk, a project ready to complete, jars of buttons, zippers, and spools of thread, a stack of dishes drying on the stove, because we have zero counter space, toys tucked into their evening spaces, floors swept a bazillion times.  The tea kettle whistles for tea and I sneak outside to steal the last moments of the sun dipping below the tall, strong trees, painting the grass with a golden tint on green.  A sketchbook or novel in my hand, because I can’t get enough of reading this year, stories, I love the stories.  At the end of this set of hours, I have given my all, used all my creative energy, all of my tolerance for messes and noises and whining. 

Countless things happen in the hours of a day, full of living and doing and caring and cleaning.  Trying to be a patient mother and a thoughtful wife and an artist, always, or as much as I can. Whoa, life, huh?

Last week, I thought of those forms where you check  your occupation, where your entire raison d’etre  (purpose and meaning) is supposed to be shoved into a tiny, trivial box.  Somewhere at the bottom, you might find homemaker, dull and uninteresting, an after thought.  The form tries to make it sound like a less than ideal choice, jesting with a sneer, too bad you’re not any of those other super successful important things, you’re just a homemaker.

Silly form, the trick is on you.

I mean, HOME-MAKER, maker of homes, makers of days and lives and families and childhoods and memories and comfort and food and and romance (bonus) and beauty and care and dreams and fun and knowledge  and laughter and discipline and cookies and paper cutout animals and dances and love notes and lunches and clean socks and silly songs and clever tricks and and and and love.   (consider this paragraph in revolt against the comma.)

The thing is, homemaker is awesome sauce. Homemaker is no joke, it’s powerful and huge and sometimes  unnoticed, but wildly important.

At this point, I am sure you are on your feet ready to chant, HOMEMAKER! HOMEMAKER! HOMEMAKER!, Alas, hush, the kids are sleeping and silence is a time of magic not to be interrupted, so quiet down already.

You know that scene in Mary Poppins where Mrs. Banks is preparing to attend her votes of women rally and throw eggs at the prime minister’s house, that’s the kind of excitement I’m talking about here. 

People, you makers of home, a home for your family, the family that you love, love that will impact the future and today and right now and clean underwear for all mankind.

You are amazing. Go forth and make.

It’s really a way of creativity, this homemaking, but you knew I would say that. 

Also, remember this…

Frank Navasky: Kathleen, you are a lone reed. You are a lone...
[sits down at his typewriter]
Frank Navasky: [typing] "... reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce."
[pulls the page out and hands it to Kathleen]
Kathleen Kelly: I am a lone reed.
Frank Navasky: Lone reed.

The Thing About Nora

On Tuesday night, I discovered the sad news that our beloved Nora Ephron had passed.  When my husband called me on his way home from work, I said, I’m sad, I need cookies.  Mostly, I just wanted cookies.  I would have wanted them regardless.  Food doesn’t negate sadness, it’s just food, but that is not the point. In case you were wondering, I was watching You’ve Got Mail, it was the respectable thing to do.

So often when celebrities pass, we are momentarily distraught, when we imagine the world without them, even  hardly knowing them, but we don’t feel the lasting loss.  Any life that ends should be remembered and valued, famous or not.  But, this news on this day felt more personal, you know?

The thing is, that even thought we never saw Nora on the screen or sat down to dinner with her, we knew her, her stories, her characters, the ones we quote endlessly and without thinking, they became part of our lives.  And we love them, like a dear, dear friend whose brightens the room upon entering.  On days that shook us, we’d make tea and toast or something stronger and sink into the couch to find comfort in the charm and goodness of the tales that testify how love matters.  On perfectly euphoric days, her best films would no doubt rank highest on our wish lists.  On lovely rainy afternoons, You’ve Got Mail, of course. When you wanted funny dashed with sentiment, Harry and Sally would be waiting.  And Sleepless in Seattle, oh sleepless, you know. Her stories became our stories and Joe Fox, Kathleen Kelly, Frank, George, Birdie,  Annie, Sam, Jonah, Harry Burns, Sally Albright, they became real to us.  And husbands, they knew it too, they never questioned when you reached into the bookcase and pulled out a Nora Ephron film. Perhaps they did, but they never let it show.

We daydreamed about that picturesque Kathleen Kelly life, her apartment that makes us want to move to New York right this very minute, picking up pumpkins on the way to work, own a children’s book store, don’t you just love New York in the fall?  And, yes, we are always in agony over whether that Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett with get together. Furthermore, our beloved Nora was always so great about making these dorky wacko Walter/Frank types that Meg Ryan was constantly breaking up with for the likes of Tom Hanks.  We love Tom Hanks. When her characters connected, it was magic, but still human, not in some lame romantic comedy way. They had depth and flaws and hopes and dreams and we rooted for them.  Don’t cry shop girl.  I wanted it to be you.

I could on and on,  but the fact is that Nora’s stories were special, and they waltzed off the screens and into our lives, forever speaking of beautiful things.  True gems.

So thank you Nora, thank your.


Also, this tribute here is perfect.

Tell me, what was your favorite?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

a story about how my children were abducted by aliens and the wisest thing my husband ever said.

Look, this is a sad story and before you start rolling your eyes at the next sentence on the screen, let’s get one thing straight, because you’re great, you really are and I’m only sort of complaining about 56-99% of the way, which is the majority and majority feels like a very long word to type at the hour of 7:04 AM.

On the morning of June 21, 2012, in the year of our Lord, I was rudely and unpleasantly assaulted from my slumber by sounds of life from that room where my children sleep. The time was 6:16 Ante Meridiem. What the auto spell? What in all of creation is this madness and calamity of the great modern world?  Who are these children and were mine abducted by aliens in the FEW-ish hours that I was able to finally embrace the lovely slumber that night brings. And frankly, hasn’t my daughter taken enough of my sleeping hours to last a lifetime. The answer is yes, and wherever they might be floating through other worlds, I’m sure they are sound asleep, because…

My kids, my beautiful offspring, those kids wake up between 8-9AM, first the small, loud one, next the long, skinny one who stumbles out of his bed and onto the couch, because he does mornings the right way, slow and easy and quietly.  Blessed child. The other one, she has done 156 things in the thirty minutes before he has enough determination to relocate from the couch to the kitchen table, where then he will consume his basic food group of cereal.  Including try to wake him up and laugh and poke. That girl.

I know, I know, I get it, I’m sorry about whatever hour of darkness and despair your kids wake up, I really am, because I believe that the world is lurking with evil before the sun has had enough time to stretch, and drink a large mug of coffee. What the sun doesn’t drink coffee, you say, well, you don’t know that. End of discussion.

It just so happened to be the time that my delightful, handsome husband had to get up for work, poor, poor, beautiful man, and I snuck in that room of noise to grab the baby, hoping as usual that I’d extract her and close the door without my three-year-old teenage sleeper even flinching. Blessed child, did I say that already? Oh, probably.  Well, my friends, four little blue eyes met mine on this morning that is today.  Four very awake and talking eyes.   Boy eyes that said, want to lay by mommy. Girl eyes that squealed with all the energy that is not natural at such an hour.  What was I to do, and they tucked themselves under my soft, cozy blankets, where I was supposed to be sleeping for two more hours. 120 minutes. And so for the next ten minutes, they humored me with the cute little game of pretending that they were on board with the idea heads on pillows, eyes closed, slumbering magic.  I knew it wouldn’t work, I could tell, too many words were being said, too many limbs were in motion.  It was a disaster waiting to happen. And then, they stood on my pillow and started jumping and laughing, conspiring against me in the worst possible way. After all I do for them, they were making noise and jumping on my pillow before the news was even off the television, of course, that is speculation, since I do not watch the news or know what time it airs.

And with great defeat, I surrendered as my feet met the floor, followed by four very active little legs, where they were so delighted to see their father at home in the morning.  He pretended to feel sorry for me, but really, I imagine he was laughing all the way to work.

My son, he grabbed the bag of sun chips from the pantry, because someone else must have left them in his reach and he started making demands.  Want cereal, want bowl, want strawberries, want chips.  I looked at him, blurry, sleepy eyes and all and I pretended that I did not hear, because you see, well, keep reading.

Next, that man I love, the one who was surely laughing on the inside said the wisest and most important thing in all of his existence, (maybe, probably).  Listen, children, if you are going to be awake two hours early and deprive your mother of sleep, it would be very smart to not ask her for too many things.  That’s not going to work in your favor.

Have you ever heard such truth in all your life? What a wise man. Thank God for him.

And I smiled as I fumbled with the tea kettle and faucet, which are rather tricky little pieces of machinery at such a dismal time of day.  I noticed how the sun was stretching out across the green grass for the first time in hours and I tried to pretend it wasn’t pretty enough to keep looking.  Whatever, it was lovely or something, that is not the point. Focus, here.

I made some chai, because it’s way too early for coffee, check back with me around nine, when mornings are supposed to begin.  I said, hey, here’s a giant box of toys, make a mess. Hey, there 66 episodes of Diego on Netflix, let’s dive in.  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t let them watch TV, I have nothing to prove to the collective cohort of parenting judgers who judge.

And then I sat down, because I felt that if I must be awake at least I’d try to make it a semi-entertaining story full of hyperbole and ridiculous statements. I’m surprised my fingers even know how to type right now.

Insert tangent here:  Before the hour we do not speak of, I was dreaming that I woke up on a Monday morning and didn’t finish my final book project for my English class (What, am I 17 again?) So, I convinced my mom to let me skip first hour, so I could make the entire project in time to get to school for second hour.  In my dream, I saw the entire project, based on a book series that I recently finished and in my dream I gave the entire explanation for how this project represented the characters, plots, and themes.  I know, major English nerd. True story.

So, now, I’m sitting here entirely out of words and I’m thinking about actually making that very project  for my kids.  But, mainly, because I want to see if I can replicate what I saw in the last moments of cherished sleep. You know, the ones that were taken from me unjustly and without cause.

Look, if you read this, go ahead and tell me how many times you rolled your eyes at this nonsense of a tale.  You’ll probably want me to know what time your little morning creatures rise and such, which is fine, but it’s not really going to make me want to sleep any less.  I promise. 

I wish I was sleeping right now. I wish this story wasn’t true, sadly, it is. Every non-sleeping detail.

Also, look, if there are typos and grammatical errors, you’ll have to forgive me.  Haven’t I done enough English projects for the day?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And we’re live.

Today launched a new adventure.  And it’s so fun to see how an idea that started once so small, is here and happening and it appears on a screen for eyes to see, not just your imagination eyes.

I found a page in my sketchbook last week, dated three years ago in May.

It’s funny how it a silly old sketch tells you that it’s all happening, and then you just take it in, what else can you do? (Although is there such a thing as a silly old sketch full of dreams? No, of course not.) 

Dreams take you new places and lead you down paths unexpected, when you take a possibility and grow it.  The time feels right and you say, let’s try.  All you can do is try.  Trying is living. Or else never try and how awful would that be.

So that’s where I am, changing diapers and seeing dreams come to life.

It may not be the ultimate dream or maybe it is, but each one is a step.  And every creative act launches us forward. 

All the steps, all the creativity, the forward… dare I say, could it the best part of the story?

All that to announce… The shop is now open and I’d love for you to  check it out and spread the word.

Simone and Jude Banner copy

And, I’d love to see your dreams alive too, tell me about them, please.

Friday, June 1, 2012

a scribbled dream in the margin

Today I wrote down a dream in the margin of a book that I’m sure to open time after time.  In a purple pencil, I wrote the date, June 1, 2012.  I sat in a yellow chair and saw glimpses of what that dream might look like in my head.

I wrote it down, because I want to keep it safe, from life and distractions and dream devouring nonsense.  I wrote it down on paper and then scribed it into the corners of my heart, a safe protected place, where imagination lives and keeps watch.

A dream of a place for art and worship and creativity and connection.

And I then I came here to record it, to plant it and to watch it grow.