Tuesday, January 24, 2012

on courage...

Sometimes the universe sends us little reminders... even in January.

Mr. Reporter's jump (photo by Mr. Tailor)

Be not the slave of your own past
plunge into the sublime seas,
dive deep,
and swim far,
so you shall come back
with self-respect,
with new power,
with an advanced experience,
that shall explain
and overlook the old.

                    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

giving thanks

I've heard it all my life.  And when I was a little girl, I couldn't see the sense in it.  How could someone's life pass by them as if it were a dream, when one hour seemed to last an eternity?  I once asked my grandmother, Mee Mee, after she'd shown me several of her pictures from when she was a young woman with her ebony hair and flawless skin, if life had been in black and white back then. She only chuckled at the perplexed look on my face when she told me no.

So here I am with a sixteen-year-old.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was sitting down with Mr. Tailor teaching him how to read and write.  We were living in Arizona back then and after attending a weekend homeschooling convention, I'd managed to convince myself and Mr. Hero that we should take that route with Mr. Tailor's education.  At the time, Mr. Tailor had his sights on being a scientist or a spy and for his birthdays between the ages of eight to ten he'd ask for spy gear from Target to get him ready.

Art was another area of interest and everyday Mr. Tailor would get out his pencils, crayons, and markers and sit at the table for hours to draw. He mostly preferred to make comic strips and cartoon-like doodles depicting his interests at the time-boy stuff that usually involved some sort of bomb, gun, or toilet.  For the past couple of years, he has been in a zombie phase.  The Adventures of Zombie Bird and Zombie Ladybug, based on the apocalyptic lives of the little pixies belonging to my best friend, have been some of my favorite.
the sign on the door reads: Bob's Portapotty (sic) Service
"You dump, We haul!"

precursor to the zombie phase

His latest picture was a gift for me.  I'd been thinking for over a year that I'd love for him to draw the header for this blog.  But we didn't have the tools he needed to do so.  So around Christmastime, after much consultation from Auntie Jackie, our own talented illustrator, we purchased a tablet for the family. And on Christmas day, after I'd given Mr. Tailor a basic sketch of what I had in mind, he sat down with the tablet pencil in hand and drew up the header- a process that took him hours to do.

After the header was complete and properly set up on my blog, I couldn't help pulling it up throughout the day just so I could take another good long look.  I'm amazed at how Mr. Tailor was able to catch Mr. Reporter's ruminating expression he's so famous for as well as Mr. Ninja's never-ending energy.  Mr. Cook is certainly just as exuberant to whip us up something to eat, and over the Christmas break, pulling Mr. Tailor away from his sewing machine was like pulling teeth from a tiger, with all of the t-shirts, monster hoodies and cardigans he'd been stitching up for friends.  Of course, he drew me with a much larger bust size than the one I've claimed since the age of fourteen and my hair hasn't seen that much curl since the 80's when my mother spent her money on all of those expensive perm treatments.  However, the one character he drew just right in every way was Mr. Hero.  Yep.  And I'll stand by that statement until the day I die.

Thank you, Mr. Tailor.  I wish I could slow down the clock a little so I could keep you in our home much longer than you'll need to stay.  But experience has taught me that that's not how life works.

Life isn't in black and white, after all.  And you've got places do go, people to see, things to create...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

...and then there was joy and peace

Harrisburg has a treasure.  Downtown on 3rd and Verbeke St., one can find a renovated bookstore that was once a theatre dating back to the 1920's. The MidTown Scholar, is gorgeous with it's wrought iron banisters, hardwood trim throughout, the custom painted mural depicting happy play along the banks of the Susquehanna, and the balcony which overlooks it all.  The books are stacked up high to the twenty plus foot ceilings and right smack in the center of it all is an unpretentious stage that provides space for local and upcoming musicians to share their talent with our community.

I had read in the paper that Joy Ike was going to be playing at the Scholar and that her music had received praise from NPR's All Things Considered.  Best yet, this concert, as so many of the concerts offered at the Scholar, was free.  So Mr. Hero and I headed on over with the hopes of discovering something new.

We were not disappointed.

The seating was limited and Mr. Hero and I had to scramble to locate our chairs that were tucked away in a tight little corner up on the balcony, while other individuals sat on the marble steps close to the stage and didn't seem to mind. There was a young couple who caught my eye that had brought their special needs son, who looked to be about ten-years-old.  The father looked tired and withdrawn as the mother tended to her son's needs and managed to keep a smile on her face.


Then Joy and Peace came out.  Joy played the piano and sang while her sister Peace, accompanied her with vocals and played the conga drum. Their music was captivating.  A mixture of "neo-soul" and pop, she took the audience everywhere with her voice as she told her stories of love, endurance, and taking the path less traveled.  She had a story for each one of her songs which she shared with her self depreciating humor and easy laugh.  Her sister smiling all the while with a confidence secured in the gift they would be giving us that evening.

After Joy sang her songs, How She Floats, which speaks of life's vulnerability and how one submits to it, and Time, a love song she wrote for a couple for their wedding day, I noticed the young family in the audience again.  This time, the woman gently caressed her husband's face who returned her touch with his surrendering smile. Their worries made a little lighter.

The following is a video of another song she sung for us entitled, Sweeter.  It is the first song on her latest album, Rumors.  Check it out:

Joy resides in Pittsburgh, where you can catch one of her shows when she isn't out touring somewhere else. We've been meaning to get to this beautiful city for many years and now have an even greater excuse to do so.
Maybe we'll see you there.

the paxtang grill

Kelly the waitress takes care of our husbands every Saturday night
by bringing them chicken wings in hot sauce and one dollar Yuenglings.
Tonight is the guys night out and they have agreed to let the wives come along.
The six of us sit in a corner booth with the guys at one end and the women at the other.  And for the next three hours we all talk-each gender sticking with their own.

Mrs. Numbers is here for the first time.  She has never met the Craft Queen before but you'd never know it as we effortlessly slip into our problem solving conversation surrounding our children and other things such as:

First kisses and their Consequences
Childbirth and unwonted Power
Love and Loss
Turning 40 and Fulfilling Lifelong Dreams

Here is one of mine:
Since I was in high school, I've always wanted to go to Europe.  I studied German, Spanish, and French so I'd be prepared when I got there.

I mention my ophthalmologist who likes to jump out of airplanes.
She has had over 1000 jumps.  I thought jumping out of an airplane might be a good story to tell when asked what I did on my fortieth birthday.  Told Mr. Hero, the boys and the Craft Queen all about it. Then Mr. Ninja came to me one afternoon and asked me to reconsider.  He was really afraid that if I jumped out of the airplane, I'd die.  There is that possibility.  This thought and his anxious plea made it easy for me to change my mind.

yarn bowl: a handmade gift from the Craft Queen
Mrs. Numbers and the Craft Queen understand my decision. We decide it would be much more fun to walk off the airplane instead.
In Ireland.
Where there are scads of yarn stores and red and blue sheep grazing everywhere. Where the three of us can drink at a pub full of the friendly Irish.
And cherish the meaning of friendship.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

the winner is...

Drum roll please...



It's Keeley! Congratulations... and just in the nick of time.
Send me an email and I'll get this out to you asap.

Thanks to all who entered to play.  If I were a sheep farmer with a wealth of time, I'd knit cowls for all of you.
Happy New Year!