Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
You've met her before--- here, and here.
I don't always speak very kindly of her because she is annoying. That's the truth. She is annoying and always up in our grills at precisely the moments when we don't particularly want a fuzzy fatpants up in our grills.
Bean has taken to telling Phoebe to go away even when she's not in the near vicinity. I'll hear GO AWAY, PHOEBE from a room away and see Phoebe just sort of lazing at the doorway--- not bothering Bean in the least bit. But there it is: a gift we're giving Bean, one that I don't necessarily welcome. I've tried to say excuse me instead, but it's met with mixed results--- Phoebe doesn't get that it means I need her to move from the top stair or else she'll be squished flat, and Bean doesn't get that we are supposed to be polite to everyone, even our pets.
Here's what I don't understand about Phoebe: she doesn't deter from her task. She doesn't take no for an answer. She will come back again and again and again (and again). She pushes the limit of patience and does so with the sliver's chance that you will, one time in a thousand, turn to her and say come on up. Let me give you some scratches. Even if that one time comes directly after she has been ousted, bodily, from the kitchen--- here's Phoebe, purring already, glad to be of service.
Which is why I can't fault her. Despite the copious downy fur that sticks ON YOUR LIPS, despite finding her on our bed over and over again, despite the sheer fact of her COMPLETE DISREGARD to our house rules, she loves us. She loves us with the kind of love you want in a cat that's around a toddler.
Because Bean loooooooves Phoebe. I might hear the occasional GO AWAY PHOEBE from Bean, but more often than that it's me telling Bean to get off the cat or stop pulling Phoebe's tail or don't poke Phoebe's face or Honey, she doesn't like it when you try to kick her or DUDER WE DON'T SIT ON THE CAT GET OFF HER PLEASE KTHNXBYE.
I was watching the two of them on Monday--- Bean was chasing Phoebe underneath the kitchen table from one side to the other, weaving in and out of chair legs. I don't know which one was having more fun: Bean for the excitement of trying to catch the cat or Phoebe for all the loves and kisses she was getting (including tail pulls and face smashing).
This was the joy I pulled from my day, and I thought about it later when I ran across some pictures of a two-year-old me picking up a pack of kittens individually BY THEIR TAILS. And then there's me in the picture: grinning for ALL I'M WORTH. Seems she comes by it honestly.
I'm going to continue the joy ride until sometime next week... I figure it's a great way to round out a holiday weekend, yes?
Here are the bloggers that are playing along...
Eight Twenty Eight
One Day at a Time
City Mouse Country
You should play too. What's making you joyful these days?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
For more information about extracting joy - read here.
... ... ... ... ...
Capital Hill was my first Seattle neighborhood. It was outlandish. It was bustling. It was colorful. It was loud. And it was weird.
Even at 9pm on Friday night in the Safeway grocery store. Maybe especially at 9pm on Friday night in the Safeway grocery store.
It was in the early weeks of living and working here, when I had only a few friends and even less to do on a Friday night. So I went grocery shopping.
While I was busy strolling through the produce an older man came up to me. He asked me if I'd ever seen a fossil. This is when an informed and city-wise girl would not pass Go and would not collect $200 - and would proceed directly to security. But what did I do? I backed up a little, looked around to see if anyone else was around (a few others)-- and I mumbled something like, "Um, yes. I'm really not interested. Thanks." But the guy walked over to my cart and put a large black rock inside. A rock about the size of a grapefruit. "No worries. I'm giving it to you. There's a fossil inside."
And there was. The imprint of a large fern frond, sandwiched between the two pieces of rock.
I've kept it ever since.
... ... ... ... ...
I have rocks from beaches I've visited, the mountains, Oban castle in Scotland, my honeymoon. I've picked them up because of their shape--- round, oblong, flat. Or sometimes their color would catch my eye--- deep maroon, blue-gray, stark white, a lovely sea glass green. Rocks with deep pock marks, smooth rocks, one with a thick white stripe running through it.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
(Also let me take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to my very oldest friend Stacie and one of my very newest friends Alicia. Happy birthday, girls, you make my life brighter because you're in it. Thank you for being so amazing.)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I can promise hilarious results if your child, already familiar with the wondrous miracle known as "cake", the spectacular fabulousness known as "cup cake", and the fluffy gift of breakfast goodness known as "pancake" becomes intensely demanding that she taste this thing you are calling a "rice cake". Go on, see what happens.
... ... ... ... ...
To be filed under More Things I never imagined myself saying:
We do not put sticks in our eyes.
Honey, stop hiding goldfish crackers in my shoes.
We do not throw crayons at peoples' heads.
Take the stick out of your eye.
Phoebe is NO WHERE NEAR YOU. Why are you telling her to Go Away?
Batteries do not belong in the bathtub.
Your eye! The stick does not go there! Take. It. OUT.
... ... ... ... ...
And I present to you, this week's special moment of Of Course:
The day I posted a grand dare for us to find joy (beginning next week - stay tuned!)--- Bean started the day sneezing. She stood in the hallway, her eyes rimmed red. After each explosion, she'd bless herself. Bless you, Alice, bless you!
The afternoon I posted an exciting challenge for each of us to look for joy (beginning Monday - you should play too!)--- Bean wandered the living room with glassy eyes and a runny nose. I hoped for hay fever but cancelled playdate plans for the following day, just in case.
The evening I posted a call to arms, to search for joy (yes, next week - you know you want to play)--- Bean sat in my lap on the kitchen floor, puking her tiny little guts out into a plastic rubbermaid container (the first thing I grabbed), and I thought: Of course.
Just a bit later, this is Bean and me walking upstairs for her bath. She is making this heartwrenching moan/whine noise as we walk up each stair. I stop on the landing and sigh. "Alice, I can't understand you with that paci in your mouth. Take it out and tell me what you need."
She squinches up her eyes and makes the noise again. "Mwannnnnnnnnnnn!"
"Alice. I can't understand you."
"Mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!!" She throws her hand away from me, kicks the wall.
"Honey. Stop. I can't understand what you need. Tell me, but take the paci out of your mouth." I'm crouching in front of her now, trying to control my voice and be calm.
She lifts her face to me, tear stained, snot dribbled, terrible vomity bits dotting her chin. Pulls the paci from her mouth with a smack and sighs-- oh so irritated. With a deep breath she speaks evenly, "Alice said ONE. ONE!"
(She's counting the stairs. Duh.) Of course.
And this is my moment of seeing joy, even in the yawning void that is the first moments of a fit of unknown sickness. My little girl, growing. Of course.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Anyone who even skims the briefest bits here at The Creamery knows that I hold a special place in my heart for pain, a quiet reverance for the refining fire of sadness and what it teaches us about being human. You should know that I do not make this suggestion lightly. But I think it might be good. For me, surely, but maybe for you.
I'm proposing a challenge. A journey. An attempt. Something new.
This invitation is extended to the dearest hardcore Minions and non-minions alike, to anyone who even stops by on the smallest most flighty whim.
To find joy. To extract it from each day. And to share it.
Here's how it's going to work:
For a week, beginning on Monday May 24th, I'm going to strive to find something joyful in my day. And I'm going to write about it. For a week I will do nothing but focus on extracting joy--- pulling it out from beneath the surface, coaxing it forward, digging for it if the situation requires.
I'd love for you to do the same. Email me or comment here if you're in for the ride - maybe you can't imagine posting about joy for an entire week. Try for a single day. If you tell me that you're playing along, I'll visit your blog and post links here of your inspiring stories. Don't forget to link back here, that way we can try to encourage others to join in the game.
At the end of the week (or two - I'm reserving the right to extend it if it's going well), I'm going to choose my favorite post that someone else has done and they will get a bonafide Whimsy Care Package. I've been told I am talented in the ways of the wily Care Package.
Of course this isn't about the goods, but in a true challenge to find joy, doesn't a package in the mail make things even more joyful?
What do you think? You can tell me it's a terrible idea, I will love you anyway and I will find something to smile about (your honesty).
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I think I need to stop cataloging your vast repertoire of skills, because I know that I have the ladies just salivating over all this manly goodness. In the end, it's just you. All you--- and you make me love you more.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
My friends and minions. The fabulous Boise-dwelling Midnight Rambler has the Golden Minion Box of Awesomeness and she just put up the contest for the next recipient.
If you know all about it - just go here and enter. This is going to be an AWESOME contest.
And I can personally VOUCH for at least one of the items that will be included in the GMBOA-- and they are my FAVORITE STORE-BOUGHT COOKIE ON THE PLANET. Direct from Boise, Idaho.
If you don't know all about it, and want to understand, I'm going to approach this with my mother in mind. I love her so very dearly. Every once in a while she'll call me and tell me that she read my blog and has 'absolutely no idea what you're talking about'. So the short mother-appropriate version is this:
- The GMBOA is a box. It was spray painted gold and given a fancy acronym as the prize for the Minionlympics that I held here a few months ago.
- The box is filled with lots of goodies like candy and gifty items.
- A blogger holds a contest for the box, and when a winner is selected, the box is sent on (filled with loot) to the new recipient.
- That recipient then holds a contest for the box, and once a winner is chosen, fills the box and continues to spread the joy.
- There are rules to win the box. Namely, you have to be a follower of The Creamery to win the box. It's easy to be a follower (down there to the right).
- That's pretty much it. Mom--- does this make sense?
Good luck, all Minions!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Our days are about repetition, Bean and I. I roll through an empty bed with Chip gone on business. In the early morning hours, I listen to Bean engage in a toddlerese conversation with Elmo and her other stuffed friends over the monitor. She shifts and changes position, the crib mattress whispering. Later as she is calling for me, I walk down the hall to retrieve her. We start our day with a cup of pretzels and sleepy eyes.
Later, after Bean is dressed, I lace my shoes and exercise. When she says it, it's ESS-SER-SIZE!!!, always CAPS, always exclamation points. I move through my workout, cursing and sweating and generally loving every second of it. Most days we climb upstairs so I can run on the treadmill while Bean stages herself in various locations throughout the bedroom. She watches Sesame Street. I listen to music.
Usually a mix of songs on my ipod--- a group of songs that I put together a month ago, songs that struck me as useful for this specific point in my life.
A few listens in and I realized that a good majority of the songs have a similar line--- something about the whole world moving while I'm standing still. It's a recurring thought I have, wondering and worrying over the building and moving and changes occuring around me while I stand static and quiet in their midst. I contemplate this while pushing my body forward on the treadmill. I watch the numbers click by. I track my progress on a piece of paper, writing down the miles as they grow in the smallest barely recognizeable increments.
After cleaning up and getting dressed, we head back downstairs. Maybe there are errands to run or we squeeze in a visit to the park. Sometimes we hang out in our yard, pulling weeds. I walk along the side of the house, noting the small green shoots of new grass. They push through wet soil, their tips a thrilling shade of green I can't replicate in paint. It surprises me how quiet the yard appears, yet how busy it gets in the microcosm of a small 6-inch square of ground. Bean likes to pull bits of gravel from the dirt, throw clods of it against the fence.
We eat lunch together. Her usual chicken nuggets and some fruit. She pushes them around her plate, smacks her lips. I eat a cup of soup, some pretzels. Bean likes to comment on my lunch, pointing to my bowl. SOUP! she says, smiling. When I offer her some, she shakes her head.
During Bean's nap, I pace the house. I clean up the living room, the kitchen. Load the dishwasher. I can't sit still. As I listen to her soft snoring, I head to my studio to contemplate the latest project (wedding invitations for my very good friend Danielle).
And then it's late afternoon. Bean is awake and snacking on wheat Chex and raisins. She is hoping for some chocolate (MILKIES? she asks, a devilish pleasure twinkling in her eyes). We now both stand in the studio. I walk the length of my table, putting different shades of paper together, noting the texture differences and wondering what Danielle is going to like best. Bean eats Chex and scribbles furiously on paper. Her entire arm is alive with transporting the crayon across the page: over, across, over, over, over, up, down. The line creates a mass of blue, covering the other lines previously made: red, yellow, orange. She holds up her creation, ITSA RAIN-BOW, MOMMY! RAIN-BOW!
Evening gathers quickly in the corners of the house. We notice it in the the longer shadows, the sound of dogs barking in the yard next door. Before dinner, we walk to the mailbox. Bean runs alongside me, her legs working furiously. She likes to veer wildly onto the grass parkway. She wants to gather flowers. I want to focus on the task at hand; grab mail and get back inside for dinner. Every step is a compromise.
During Bean's dinner, I empty the dishwasher. I gather plates and bowls and spoons to put in their proper places. I circle the kitchen, keeping time with the steady clink of dish on dish. We walk upstairs together after dinner, counting each step. Bean lifts herself on steady legs. I can't believe how much she's grown. She counts as we pass the landing-- TEN! ELEVEN! TWELVE! TURTEEN! FOURTEEN! FI-TEEN!
At bathtime the water swirls around Bean's midsection. She likes to pour it from one cup to another. I rush around the bathroom to gather her towel, a washcloth, her toothbrush.
Bean lays warm and wet, wrapped in her pink towel post-bath. She stares at her bedroom ceiling while I race to get her ready for bed. Pajamas, lotion, diaper, cream. We sing the same songs in the same order and talk about the same quiet bedtime topics. We pray for daddy's welfare and ask that we all have good dreams. When I kiss her goodnight, she reaches into my hair. She tells me, PRETTY MOMMY, SO PRETTY.
This is when the quiet of the house seeps into my bones. I drift through the rooms, my body slowing as the dark descends. I finish cleaning up the child detritus in the living room. I pick bowls off the kitchen floor and think about Bean. Just two days ago she couldn't count past thirteen, and today I heard her get up to seventeen. The miles claim us as we move through them. They gather in our minds as knowledge and on our bones as muscle. We pick up subtle new wrinkles and new bits of green like I pick cups off the floor.
I put the ipod on, play the music as background to my cleaning rituals. There is another line that comes to me---
And all of this life moves around you, for all that you claim you're standing still-- you are moving too.