Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a GAME for the tuesday-after-thanksgiving doldrums



I come to you from the great city of Boise, Idaho--- and if I had stayed longer than a single evening, I would most definitely (and finally) meet up with Midnight Rambler and coo over her delightful city (because Boise is delightful, usually). But today it stands between me and my home. A home I want to be in by clicking my heels three times quick and POOF. Alas and alack, my ruby slippers are somewhere between Utah and Washington and so we face the slog with a Jeep full of luggage and a travel-weary husband and fruit snack flinging 2-year-old.

I had the very best of intentions to bring you the Full! In-Color! Excitement-Beyond-Measure! Black Friday detail post, but I left my power cord in the car. So before the laptop dies I propose a GAME.
I am going to post pictures from the past several days and YOU dear reader, get to vote on which picture should be detailed in story form here at The Creamery on Thursday. I promise that each picture holds behind it a veritable CORNUCOPIA of dish--- be it in the form of hilarity, sweetness, sauciness or otherwise.

Without further delay, shall it be:

(Each comment counts as a single vote - and because I'm feeling generous you may vote as many times as you want. That means that if Alicia decides to come in here six times to vote for her favorite, she darn well can. Voting will be open until 12:00pm Pacific on Wednesday.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

#7 8:48am friday

Longest day of my life. Also: check out that bath & body works line going out the door. So glad to not be in it.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

#6 8:02am friday


And yet not. One more stop... Just because. I think it has something to do with slippers.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

#5 7:03am Friday

Two down, one to go.

Did you know that people will fill entire shopping carts FULL of fabric, and still go back for more? (not me)

In other news: mom appears to have forgotten where Old Navy is located. Surely the cold air has affected her brain.

And in still other news, breakfast consisted of a tube of fruit mentos.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

#4 5:59am Friday

One down, two to go.

And it's still dark outside.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

#3 4:43am Friday

give me your huddled masses yearning for a cheap $50 camera. Also batteries for $5, or so I heard.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

#2 4:13am Friday

Late breaking technology update: due to extreme cold temperatures and the crackberry's lack of outboard heater, the entire saga will be coming to you in one post with scattered picture updates throughout the day.

Full story to follow later.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

Thursday, November 25, 2010

#1: 10:10PM Thursday

In the coming few hours you will be privy to the shopping madness that is the day after Thanksgiving. Presented to you in real time via whatever crackberry updates I can send.

We head out in search of marvelous treasure (read: a price I can't ignore).

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

thank full


I am full of thanks for:

This country we live in and excellent music and good company and a body that works even when my neck is still iffy and Chip my lovely lovely lovely husband and sweet Alice Bean and dancing in huge sweeping circles in Las Cruces and Fergus the stripey and Phoebe the super hairy and speaking of super--- good movie quotes like Don't even joke about that because I'm super hungry and my mom who I'm betting will get up with me at 3am Friday morning for a brutal assault to the holiday shopping senses and Winston, dear Winston and the big sister Kimmie and the older brother Curtis (not-a-bum) and the Little Brother Steve who isn't so little and nieces and nephews who grow up to be wonderful human beings and God and my mother-in-law who is sweet and wonderful and patient all at once and a roof over our head and Chip's JOB even when it has him traveling all over creation and seven years (!!!) of marriage and Alice in footie jammies and my crackberry and good good friends and Kate and Amanda and excellent books and favorite writers who feed me with their words and Alicia my internet sister and naps and warm blankets and yes again The Rainbow Connection and my ipod and fuzzy socks and Advil when I'm feeling hurty and sun and ferglings (baby Canadian geese) and the movie Fly Away Home and Joss Whedon who is a genius and while we're at it: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and Firefly and anything those characters have ever said and my dearest friend Wandering Nana and my sewing machine and Nancy Wolff the designer because she makes the most delicious fabric designs and the way Alice says delicious which is something like de-yish-yush and speaking of Alice the way she sings the ABC song with all her heart and soul-- her voice rising at the peak of the song and cuddling and my friend John and knock knock jokes and Christmas and my sweet memories of Buddy and Buddy--- definitely Buddy and Matt and Ana and little Emilie and the time I spent in the beautiful desert and Amy the blogger and fabulous Eleanor Q and Chip, always Chip, Chip forever and chocolate and running and my trusty treadmill and my really great running shoes (Brooks) and Stacie and her family and Kathleen who I love hearing from and I still owe her a package and Clueless But Hopeful Mama and Midnight Rambler who I always think of when I'm in Boise and one day I need to MEET HER and yes Scooby Doo and Heidi W and all the wonderful e-minions and the MINIONLYMPICS because that was just awesome this year and driving in a car with Chip and pom pom fringe and corduroy and lotion and Angela with all the wonderful talks we've had and just about anything made with ginger (smelling things and eating things, just... anything) except savory things made with ginger because they are usually pretty yucky and the lovely song I Think I'll Go Back There Someday that Gonzo sings in The Muppet Movie because it's terribly underrated and oh so pretty and dear Spadoman and his wonderful gift to Alice that hangs in her room and wiggly puppies and painting and beauty and Fall and the first snow and boots and rainboots in puddles and my old friend Chad (so glad to have you around again!) and wonderful Karen and Sharon and how good it was to visit with them this summer and warm baths and quiet and my laptop when it isn't feeling sick and work and Alice's blankie Bo and cold cold water and bread pudding WITHOUT nuts and because nuts do exist in a world where my child is deathly allergic--- epi-pens and people who care about me and my family and Aimee and Tammie and Andrea and so many people who have impacted me and lovely Samwise and Michelle G who made me a wonderful cake and an even more wonderful book of thoughts after the whole neck debacle this spring and perfume and trees and leaves that change color and mountains and sticky hot sunny days to go to the zoo and polar bears and pajama pants and dessert and jelly beans and patterns and heaters that work and bright orange swimming pools and the things I learned from M and cream and caramel and our DVR and Jefe and sinus medicine and candles and soft kleenex when my nose is drippy as it is right now and the effervescent Shelly Overlook and Clueless But Hopeful Mama and overhearing this conversation between Winston and Bean (Winston: You're back again? Bean: Yes. Winston: What do you have this time? Bean: This! Winston: Why do you have that? Why did Grammy give that to you? I'm not sure you should be playing with that. I'll take it from you. Bean: Can we watch Super Why? Let's watch Super Why! Winston: Oh, that's just great. Grampy loves you. You're a good kid. Bean: Good kid!) and Pickles & Dimes and Erin P and Statia and Rose and warm cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven most especially when I didn't have to make them and Sara Hammond and Bzzzgrrrrl it's been far too long and watching Bean cook with Grammy in the kitchen and Parking at Home and Amanda from inside the computer and my sewing machine (have I mentioned my sewing machine?) and fabric fabric fabric and a tiny little girl child to sew for and sweater pants and every other commenter that I have failed miserably to mention (I am so sorry) and the GMBOA and cold medicine and sleep and our bed at home which is my favorite bed of all all all time and just there are so many things in this list that are repeats from last year because that's the way it should be: the things that exist in our lives, the small things and the gigantic things and the things we take for granted and the surprise things and the things that we come to expect, to count on--- I am so grateful for these things, and as last year: for you. I am thankful for you. Always.

Happy Thanksgiving, from this creamy heart to yours.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

storms of different kinds

If there was a timestamp for this entry you would see that I write to you from the ghostly hour of 3:33am. If there was something like an Inner Circuitry Stamp you would see that I write to you from the ever-familiar state of Conflicted; with a side of Watchful Worry. Since there **is** a signature stamp, you do see that I write to you thumb sore and squinty, from the trusty Crackberry. It is dark as I lie here in bed, thinking thoughts and hoping for a quick sunrise.

Bean and I happen to be suffering from the same cold. This simple fact pretty much sums up the reasons for that first paragraph of description. It also has me wondering over how much harder these bugs attack her small body, the speed of their onslaught, the disruption to her functioning.

It isn't what I would call a bad cold, really. It's irritating, for sure. Every swallow reminds me foggily of days of yore, when I took for granted the simple acts of talking and breathing and, you know: **living free of phlegm**. But it's no big deal, really truly. I carry around a fistful of kleenex and blearily stop every few minutes to wipe an ever-dripping nose.

Bean, on the other hand, is like a city under siege. Her nose is running in a continuous stream. She rubs her eyes, red-rimmed and drooping. And her sleep cycles are entering Day 2 of disruption and fret, thanks to what I call The Night Time Phlegm Laydown Affect.

There's a lot of coughing and snorffling and the added gift of Almost Barfing. (It really is a gift, you know, the Almost Barfing-- so much better than the Actual Barfing as so many of you can attest. I am decidedly not a fan of the sub-classification Late Night Actual Barfing.). But I digress.

In today's early morning black, I am wondering over a body's growing defenses. How things affect one small soul so differently than another. I don't think it is as simple as age, either. I know that my experiences have given me the ability to better face certain challenges over others. How some things don't phase me but others knock me flat. Anyone in my shoes would laugh over the molehills I have labeled mountains (erecting sign posts, engraving markers to their formidable girth). I know that some of my personal Everests are of my own making, while others are there for the blessed growth of my humanity (if you read that with a touch of sarcasm you would be spot on, though in my better moments, those of better timestamps and with less phlegm, I am grateful for the experience to grow).

And that is it, the point of this bout of early morning, wristshaking, neckbreaking navel gazing: the storms are going to come. And they might feel as if they'd break us. But our bodies are built to withstand so much more than we think. With each experience, we fortify our defenses. And with time and perspective, we come to know when the siege is really truly a blizzard or a small passing flurry.

This truth gets lost on me so often, you would laugh, if you could spend a few minutes in my head. I drop the thread of it time and again, to chew over something insignificant. Then something comes along to push me onto my knees-- in longing, in worry, in grief, and finally (too often **finally**) in prayer-- and my groping hands come upon that small thread of perspective to know what matters, what is important, and ultimately what I am made of. It is a cycle witnessed here at The Creamery far too often for my taste. But it is part of the unique experience of being Whimsy.

So as I stumble through my way it is nice to be able to tell you about it. To share my worries --small and otherwise-- and to entertain you, dear reader, as you patiently help me find my way.

Here is hoping for greater perspective and stronger defenses as the new year creeps upon us.

...and in other storm-related news: there is a state-wide blizzard warning for this afternoon. I am morbidly fascinated with such a thing, like the tourist that I am. I would be even more interested and excited for the inside snuggling opportunities if Chip weren't currently away in Salt Lake for business. Keep your fingers crossed for a safe passage into the coming few days.

...sent to you courtesy of the beloved crackberry

Monday, November 22, 2010

what i know


I know that I'm not alone in this, the comparing of myself to others. I know that because you've told me, and also because I do believe it is a hallmark of humanity --mostly female humanity-- but then again maybe the male set has their own version of comparison.


Yesterday afternoon found me in my parents' living room. (We sort of secretly commenced the Tri-State Drive of Crazy the other day and tucked ourselves in to my parents' place in Utah for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This trip was somewhat uneventful, in our repertoire of Tripping History, so it remained unblogged. Which wasn't so much a problem in itself except that now you have me writing a strange parenthetical that is far too long and far too run-on to be considered Good Writing. But now you know: Whimsy is blogging from the Great Land of Utah for the weekish -and change-. End parenthetical.)

So yesterday? I was sitting in my parents' living room while Bean amused herself by pretending that Chip's body was a jungle gym. Chip was trying to do some work on his computer while Bean rolled over his back again and again. The snow that had been falling off and on since Saturday night had gathering like white icing across the foliage. I was taking brief turns to watch Chip and Bean and then to read up on some of my favorite blogs (read: compare, compare, think, compare, laugh, compare). It made me tired to compare like that, to wonder how I might craft my writing to be more effortless, to pack more meaning in to short paragraphs (impossible), to encourage you to feel good - to share - to teach me how to be braver and stronger and more patient and above all to not be afraid to say This Is Who I Am.

But it was that last one that brought me up short. Because there are things I know for sure, and one of them is this: I may not always be eloquent, I may not say it using the right words every time, but I am not afraid to say that this is who I am. My voice may waver, shaking in the delivery, and I might even cry while I say it, but the words are here to read--- no matter who you are or how you decide to translate them--- the words are here. Sometimes I am grumpy. Sometimes I am short of patience. Sometimes I have too much to say. Sometimes I fumble for any words at all. But the words are here. I will not erase them or change them even if I look back and feel twinges of grief for things I've said before. They tell the story of who I was in that moment, even if it's terrible to behold.

I may not know a lot of things, but I know that I have tried, to the best of my ability, to be true to you dear reader. And that's comforting, even in the midst of comparison shopping for a better self.

Tell me something you know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

el paso


This is El Paso at daybreak.

It is blue. Blue of midnight and distant mountains. Bruised blue, purple blue, inky blue that is almost black. Shapes of buildings against a blueberry syrup sky. That's what you'd say if someone asked you to describe it: shapes, shapes everywhere. There's the distinct feeling of dimension in the landscape even when you can't see it: the stretch of desert and its rolling bare hills reaching far beyond the city. El Paso reminds you of a dark garden neglected: shoots of buildings well past their prime, bolting into the sky, still dusted with stars.

You search for a car in the dark, hoping to find it quickly. And when you do, you lift a sleepy child into the waiting seat; tell her to go back to sleep--- we'll be driving for a long while.

Directions memorized and repeated in your head--- this is how you find the interstate, fingers holding tight to the steering wheel. It's this rolling into the open road that gives you a glimpse of the darkening line of the western horizon. At sunrise you are riding out of the city, heading west, and north.

Passing the border of Mexico--- how could you have forgotten this strange detail of El Paso?--- where the dirty trickle of the Rio Grande is cradled by a concrete bed, where you can peer off this side of the highway to see the rolling slopes of Juarez. At first glance in the pre-dawn gloom it's like fairy lights dancing off in the distance. The yellow glow of them is enchanting, even dear. But as your eyes adjust you see the cracker-box houses, tiny and square, sprinkled higgledy-piggledy on the hills. They are a patchwork of corrugated steel and cardboard, crumbling cinder block. If you could stop the car and throw a stone, you might hit a small bit of the broken glass windows or tap the metal siding causing the sleepy family inside to come tumbling out to welcome the light.

The light is pink. It is pink dusted everywhere, everything, from the tops of your knuckles where they first rays of morning sun are reaching into the car, to the balding hill tops of scrub brush and Texas desert sand. Pink and salmon, nearly orange with a popsicle blush. There is music that should accompany such a sunrise, music ethereal and huge - music to explain this foreign place that is both beautiful and stark with pain. You'd like to take your mind off the road, close your eyes to see if the pink will turn your eyelids orange, or red. You'd like to wander the distant horizon to test if the intensity of this color will warm your bones that feel so cold. You'd like to imagine yourself glowing gold in this, what must be the light of heaven.

But there are more vistas to pass, more miles to go, and a funeral at the end of the road.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

in search of

The elusive BALLOON MAN.

Under the blue sky, in the brightest of sunny days, we came to count on his presence there on the corner. Expected to see him waving merrily.

But as the rain descends, the beloved Balloon Man becomes the recluse we secretly knew him to be. That smile, those waving hands--- too bright, trying too hard, hiding something.

Now when we pass the corner, we see him peeking out of the window--- face deflated, a misshapen mess. Sometimes we spy him sleeping, eating dinner with his family.

A whole world has been built around him. We construct bedtime rituals and goodnight songs, an out-of-town family consisting of brothers and sisters and cousins. (It so happens that Balloon Man has a bright green cousin who lives on top of a car wash in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Now you know.) Balloon Man himself has become a character in this growing montage, someone we talk about, someone we don't see.

But we have hope. Hope that on the next sunny day...

Friday, November 12, 2010

ghost towns

They're called living ghost towns - the bits of civilization once bustling with people: miners and merchants and settlers and soldiers. Now the streets are empty, choked with thick tumbleweeds and scrub brush. Buildings fold in on themselves, their foundations crumbling.

It's hard to imagine anyone living out here, but they did--- they founded schools and stores, they lived out the drama of their lives under the New Mexico sun. And they still do--- those few brave souls who live in houses built 130 years ago. They plant gardens. They attend church. They drive two hours to Walmart.

It's quiet here. The kind of quiet that seeps into your bones--- has you slowing your pace, bending down to pick up colorful stones. You can hear someone whisper from several feet away. I know this because we tried it: Chip standing beneath a cottonwood tree, its leaves burning yellow in the fall sunlight. I walked down the road as he talked to me in a low voice. It was uncanny how clear our voices were in the whispered quiet.

And it was uncanny how clear our thinking, too, as we wandered the ruins. I wondered over a town of people once upon a time: a population rising into the thousands now gone. How families were made here and grew into the generations.

And in the quiet, I felt each of us surrounded by ghosts. The ghosts that accompanied me weren't those of coyboys and gunslingers from the old west, or grizzled miners eeking out a living under the New Mexico sun. They were the memory remnants of people gone in my lifetime: my father-in-law, my grandparents, Aunt Chris, my friend Carol, Uncle Reed, Jackie and Ralston, my birth mother, Buddy. I felt them trailing after me in the rising desert wind.

I wondered over the rise and fall of a town, and the rise and fall of the lives surrounding mine. Their ranks are growing with every moment that passes. My own personal ghost town.

Where do you go to find quiet?

On a sunny afternoon in New Mexico, I found it in a ghost town. And though there was nothing but empty desert, beautiful and stark rolling hills around us for miles, we weren't alone. We never are.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

happy halloween from the creamery


Sid the Science Kid: coming to TAKE OVER YOUR BRAIN.

(We still haven't done that little pesky bit of HAVING HALLOWEEN, or at least dressing Bean up in her costume and taking a million pictures and then giving her skads of candy. And that's probably not going to happen until sometime around Thanksgiving. Really truly. Because I'm packing up her costume and taking it with us to Utah where we'll be eating turkey and imbibing in the pleasures of mom's apple pie. Until then, I'm doing laundry and packing suitcases.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

blog writing for the invisible, impaired, and undernourished


As I write this post, Bean is standing transfixed and immovable, UNBLINKING in front of the television as she watches another riveting episode of SuperWhy. Don't judge me: it's just that the schedule in The Last Homely House has been completely chucked out the window these last several days since we've been home. Chores go unfinished, work projects are left in bits on the kitchen table, and I do believe Chip is still looking for some business cards that we think might have been delivered sometime five days ago. I'm talking PILES and MESS and strange gift baskets sitting on the kitchen counter.

I'm also talking about the fact that I have some church projects that need doing and I haven't even begun to think about them, and I do believe I'm WRITING A BLOG POST instead of doing another work project that should have been done several days ago.

Have I mentioned that my computer was infected with something like 1,500 viruses and the dear Little Brother spent most of Sunday night remotely plugged in to my ailing laptop trying to breathe life back into it?

Also, it has stopped recognizing my camera completely (blinded by its beauty, surely) and I can't upload any of the pictures of Chip's belated birthday party from Saturday night where I made little topsy-turvy cupcake towers that looked like little layer cakes. Complete with white Mike N Ikes to look like candles.

I know you are so sad that you're missing out on the photographic evidence of my brilliance.

(I'm not really sure any of this is making sense, though it's making me feel so good to just throw it all out to you--- not the type of writing that I'd recommend... ever. No, I'd never recommend this type of throw-the-pasta-on-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks type of writing. But I'm doing it anyway.)

The thing is, I'm not sure if it's lackluster blog writing on my part (a huge possibility) or the fact that I've been bobbing in a sea of uncertain emotions and strange travel plans that has rendered me unable to write on a regular basis or the fact that you're all just busy people... but it seems as though your internet invisibility has become even more so lately. This is not the kind of thing that one should even talk about in polite society, but I'm doing it any way. Because I am crazy right now. And just generally wondering. And also: when you're trying to function on the questionable nourishment of leftover Halloween candy and old birthday cake, the first thing to go is your good judgement. I know you guys are out there, is what I'm saying, but I miss hearing from you. I'd like to know what you're up to.

I'd also like to know the following (please indulge me):

When your 2 3/4-year-old daughter is happy to do nothing but SNACK all day long, without proper meals, what do you do? I have tried to withhold snacks until lunch time or dinner time or whatever, but it feels wrong--- she's hungry. She's telling me she's hungry. She just doesn't want to eat everything at once. She's a grazer. So--- do you indulge the all-day-grazing? I'm sure she's going through some kind of crazy growth spurt because the sheer amount of grazing she's doing is off-the-charts (for her). So I'm also wondering if this is just part of this particular growth spurt and she'll settle into more of the breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner thing at a future date. What say you, internets?

Monday, November 8, 2010

belated and beloved


There are things he does that drive me crazy, push me to the ends of my mind and beyond, drive me to distraction until I want to pelt him with hundreds of olives in succession.

But Oh, this boy. I do love him so.

He is strong and brave, selfless and daring, humble and kind. I don't doubt the gifts he gives to the world every day for being in it. But let me tell you, it is the quiet gift of his presence in my life that I give thanks for each year on his birthday.

This year's celebration was fragmented by time and distance: he making the long trek by car from Utah down to New Mexico to join us for dinner last Friday night; and Alice and I, pushed to our limits with lack of sleep and the exhaustion that comes from bedding in unfamiliar places and trying our best to be strong. The whirlwind of travel and loss and visiting with so many wonderful people--- colliding last Friday night around Matt's dinner table.

Bean and I had been staying in El Paso all week and making the drive up each day, but Friday had us checking out of Texas and relocating to Las Cruces. The single parent duties wore me down until I was a calculating instrument only capable of single steps: Check out of hotel; Pack luggage in car; Fill car with gas; Drive the hour to Las Cruces; Find new hotel; Check in to new hotel; Unpack car. My thought as I did each item on my to do list was Chip's face, his warmth, his hands on my hands in a few hours.

There were so many delays in that day: the little volcanoes erupting in the middle of the road, trying to keep my temper in check as Bean insisted on sitting in the middle of the parking lot to refasten her shoes. It wasn't one small issue, it was twenty.

But by the time I had us checked in and almost unpacked, the afternoon had come and gone. We stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a cake.

I can't say if my heart actually burst at the sight of Chip standing in Matt's front yard, but if I know anything it's this:

Oh, this boy. I love him so.

Happy belated birthday, love. Thank you for being born.

Friday, November 5, 2010

ponies, pigtails, and pictures


We came home to red. Red leaves dotting the trees, drifting down in piles along the ground. The air is unseasonably warm--- warm as early September, warm enough to walk in the sunshine in just shirtsleeves.

But it's nothing like New Mexico.

Last Saturday we drove with Matt and his family to a nearby county corn maze and fair. It was our best attempt for normalcy and fun.
And it gave Bean her most favorite memories of the trip.

That of ponies and drums.

- - -

I've asked her a number of times--- last week and each day since, "Hey Alice, what did we do on our trip?"

"I rode a horsey! A horsey!"
"What was his name?"
So this is Buttons. Long-suffering kiddie pony extraordinaire.

She pulled his ears and touched his eyelids and pet his very fuzzy mane.
I'm not sure who had more fun: the small girl-child riding the pony or the adult father-figure holding her hand.

What do you think?

- - -

"Hey Alice, what else did you do on our trip?"
"I played drums. And pie-ya-no."

This is what we tried to do for her each day: a sense of fun, a gift of rhythm, a piece of something that she can carry with her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

dias de los muertos


Nothing ever happens like we plan.

Perhaps that's best for a week of surprises: we might anticipate how things are going to be, but there it is--- the fly in the ointment or the cake waiting in the oven, the good and bad peeking out in equal measure.

Unsteady ground. Nowhere to stand for good footing. The dirt shifts and slides, the world tilting until we roll in a jumbled mess: tumbling, tumbling.

What do you do?

If you're Bean, the answer is simple.

When the tilt-a-whirl spins, and you can't trust the dirt under your feet to stand--- you twirl, you leap, you fly...
You dance.