If I haven’t returned your phone call, or your email, or if you’ve been waiting for this blog to post something new this week — it’s because it’s true. I have been neglecting you.
But it’s not personal.
I’m just trying to keep from neglecting these guys this summer . . .
. . . or from neglecting the dogs, who think their world revolves around me and on top of me.
And I’m doing my best not to let summer demands affect my work commitments, which, while very fun, often make me feel like I’ve been running for days, long out of breath . . .
So yeah — I’m so sorry that I haven’t yet watched the YouTube video you emailed me which is probably lost under many pages of other emails. Sorry I haven’t called to arrange that get-together, or sent you the thank you note you deserve, or typed up that list of healthy vegan packed lunch options. Sorry I didn’t call to say we arrived home safely.
Is it possible to make amends to everyone I’m neglecting with one big blanket apology an explanation here?
It didn’t matter to me that two-years of dragging my baby blanket around was ripping it into shreds. The shredded corner was perfect for wrapping around my hands as I sucked my index finger — a dual combination that was the ultimate in security. I never went to sleep without my blanket and I took it everywhere possible.
By the time my blanket threatened to become two pieces instead of one — which would have been a great backup plan for those lonely times when I misplaced the beloved thing — Mom made me a new one. (Mom is holding the old one on the right while my big sister and I are holding the new one on the left).
“Look, it has two colors now instead of just one,” is what she probably told me. “And look how bright the colors are. Your old one is so faded.”
My old one? My “old” one had a built-in hand-wrap! It was perfect!
Plus, I hated the bright yellow side of that new blanket. It reminded me of the too-bright Arizona sun that often made my head hurt.
It was heartache, but my parents insisted, and I did finally put that old blanket into the trash. Mom and Dad hadn’t really convinced me, though. I took it back out later. They had to hide it from me until garbage day came around.
The New Blanket
Somehow I did learn to fall in love with the new blanket that my mother made me, and it went around with me everywhere, too. It was my steady and stable companion through four moves: from Arizona to two different houses in L.A., then to Michigan and finally to Kansas. Someone lost it when I went on to college (and it wasn’t me, I am sure!).
I wish I still had that blanket.
But as much as I learned to love my new blanket, I only ever loved the green side. I hated that yellow side for as long as I had it, and I kept the yellow side down so I didn’t have to look at it. The green side was calming — just what a baby blanket is for, right?
In fact, it took me until the spring of 2008 — when I was thirty-five years old — to realize that for all these years I’ve disliked the color yellow because I associated it with the overly bright side of my new baby blanket, to bright suns and headaches.
It was that spring that I finally questioned my dislike of the color yellow. Maybe it was because I’m back in Arizona again and I now love * love * love the crazy bright sun here, that it occurred to me that it didn’t make sense to completely rule out an entire hue! So I bought some yellow clothes and I was in love.
I painted my scraproom a bright buttery yellow.
And this year I hope to paint a bathroom and two walls in my living room the same happy bright color. My favorite color for painted walls is still green, though. The green in my kitchen is similar to the green on the “good” side of my new baby blanket.
I guess the walls to my home are becoming an ode to my old fabric companions. Or maybe my little home has just replaced the security I felt from my baby blankets.
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Ella Publishing Co. has nominated me as one of the nine Most Influential Scrapbookers of 2010. You can learn more about this award, the nominees, and the blog tour at http://ellapublishing.com/misa or http://ellapublishing.com/blog.
Many thanks to all the awesome congrats and answers to my “attachment” question from yesterday! I have emailed the winners, but in case you’re interested, here the random numbers and the names of the winners:
82-Pat Hines * 526-Lizzie * 583-Heather C * 311-Kate Blue * 804-Nitasha * 740-Britta * 278-Nancy * 689-Sylvie H * 172-Liz Freeze * 146-Jennifer Alfonso
Please help me honor my fellow nominees by visiting their blogs throughout the week. You could win one of 100 cool prizes! Click below to say hello to todayâ€™s spotlighted bloggers.
Traditionally, scrapbookers have had to hope for a spot on a prestigious design team, or get noticed by a magazine to get a place in our competitive little world. I didn’t do that. Izzy wanted to produce a scrapbooking video tutorial. I was a scrapbooker and I have performance experience. So we combined our skills and created the Paperclipping Video Tutorials.
People started watching, and then people started purchasing memberships. It was really an amazing experience.
Full of ideas, we have since turned Paperclipping into a multi-show and event website: I started the first live scrapbooking show over the internet a few years back, and we now have two audio talk shows where we gather together interesting people with interesting things to say about our hobby — again, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in scrapbooking. It’s been fun!
(the darkest blue legs in the middle of the stage are mine. Freshman year. 1980’s dancewear scariness)
I got lucky when my family moved to Michigan. There was a middle school that was part of the Michigan “Magnet” program. Abbot Middle School had a music-dance-theatre emphasis and even though my local school sat just down the street from where I lived, I took a bus to Abbot Middle School so I could get dance and vocal training and experience.
I had been choreographing dance pieces for fun since I was a young kid, but it was at this school that I got to choreograph on assignment and perform my numbers for other people. I also got to see other the other kids’ pieces. That is where I realized I had an intuitive sense for dance choreography, at least in one aspect — an aspect I realized was not a natural instinct for everyone: predictability. Or, rather, being unpredictable.
The other dancers in my class always repeated each 1-2 count movement on the other side of their body for counts 3-4, and then repeated the sequence a second time.
Right then left — again — right then left. (snore).
I preferred to keep the audience on constant alert so they would never know what I was doing next. Sometimes I would repeat a movement for three counts, but then do something totally unexpected on count four. I would often run a sequence beyond or just short of the standard 1-4 count or 1-8 count rhythm.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
I like the unpredictable and it’s the unpredictable, constantly changing guitar of John Frusciante that most stirs me in the song, Especially in Michigan, on the Stadium Arcadium album, which I blogged about a while back. I also mentioned the song, Charlie, in that original blog post. Charlie — a song about imagination and anything that happens to be your own personal inspiration — has the most unusual, unpredictable, tricky and complicated rhythm.
the Tricky and Complicated Rhythms of Charlie
First off, a disclaimer: I learned to count music for piano, singing, and dance. It’s been years, though, since I’ve had to count music and I’ll be honest — I don’t remember how it all works anymore. In the last fifteen years, the only motivation I’ve had to count music is to figure out how to count the musical timing of this song, Charlie, because it’s so unconventional.
To start with, there seems to be a regular 4-count rhythm for Anthony Kiedis’s lyrics, for the bridge and the chorus, and for the end of the song. As far as I can tell, Flea’s bass timing seems to be a 4-count, as well.
But Frusciante’s guitar goes nuts, playing its own rhythm. And somehow, while his guitar rhythm is totally different from every other part in the song during the verses and the beginning (I can’t even count his guitar parts because the rhythm seems to change mid-sequence), the song is somehow cohesive.
At the same time, Chad’s drum beat, while more conventional than Frusciante’s guitar, sparks its own surprise on every other fourth count. He drums a beat on the 2nd count, plus every other 4th. What about that missing 4th count interval? Chad hits it an eighth of a count later, every other time. Basically, he uses an even-note syncopated rhythm except for every other 4th beat, where he switches to an off-beat syncopation.
Unlike a lot of experimental or unusual songs, Charlie still has a great hook, so it’s unique qualities don’t sacrifice its ability to implant its melody into your psyche, or to capture a wide audience. It’s an absolutely captivating song from a band that, I still insist, is one of the most talented bands of all time. And totally unpredictable in the most endearing way.
Over the last few years we’ve made it a priority to take our kids on long visits to see my parents at their farm in Missouri. I love re-introducing my parents to these awesome young people I have in my life. I love acquainting my kids with the two loving people who raised me and gave me so much.
Below, Aiden and Grandpa are having a quiet little moment. Just enjoying the beauty of life on a farm, no frills…
Then they got a little conversation going and my dad got to experience the complete joy of talking to Aiden, my very funny and surprisingly articulate little boy.
He also got to see what a joy our dog, Gatsby, is…
After hearing how much Aiden loves to make stuff — 3-dimensional things out of paper and discarded pieces of plastic that normally go in the trash — Grandpa took him into his workshop, found some tools he could pass down to the cute little dude and taught him how to use them…
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We drove back into town yesterday to find that Ella Publishing would be announcing myself and eight other awesome ladies as the nominees of this award…
I must say, it feels good to have my work (along with Izzy’s) acknowledged for all we do with Paperclipping.com.
Normally I don’t put scrapbooky stuff on this blog (just my photos and stories), but Ella has set me up to run a week-long event with a prize-drawing here instead of on Paperclipping. So, all next week I will be here on this blog, linking to the other winners and their drawings, and on Tuesday we’ll have our own drawing!
Our decision to remove television from our daily lives was not entirely for the reasons you might think. Also, our kids are actually allowed to watch it a little from the internet. But they rarely choose to. So here’s how that phenomenon came about and why…
The Reasons: A Combo of Old-Fashioned Values, Creativity Values, & Futurist-Techie Geekiness
Old Fashioned Values: It’s probably obvious from my blog that I only embody some old-fashioned values while many others I shun. I’m quite strict and traditional when it comes to what I think is appropriate content for children — more strict even than many of the religious families I know. There are a lot of “children” shows that are surprisingly not really child-friendly.
Restricting content is the easy part, though. You just tell the kids why they can’t watch a certain show and then empathize with their wishes that TV producers wouldn’t deliver that kind of content to children. Kids understand honest reasoning, and they respond well to your empathy toward their unfulfilled wishes.
Creativity Values: It’s the general limiting of time on the television that I found difficult. For years we let our kids watch TV, more than I ever thought I would as a parent. I am an avid non-watcher. I always thought I’d be good at limiting the amount they watched. It turns out that if you’re also distracted with an exciting lot of projects you enjoy, it’s hard to monitor amounts. And when a child sinks into the TV habit, it’s hard for him or her to motivate themselves to do creative stuff.
Plus, all day, everyday, our kids were constant infomercials to Izzy and me, pitching sales lines like, “At Best Western, if you drop a towel, they’ll pick it up for you!”
We supposedly needed this mattress, and that kitchen device, and a million different other things. The kids were adding items to their own Christmas list every single day starting Dec. 26 of each new year.
Futurist Techie Geekiness:
Then something amazing happened. Television shows began to appear on the internet! Izzy loves diving into the future headfirst before anyone else has gotten there, and as soon as a handful of shows became available online he sat the family down and made a proposition. He told the kids that we would let them each buy a TV show episode from Netflix every week in place of the TV. They could also watch some shows online.
The kids agreed. We canceled the satellite. For probably four years now, absolutely zero shows feed though the big black box in our living room. It only works for gaming and DVD’s now. We don’t even have local channels.
Then The Magic Happenend
Something truly magical and amazing happened two or three weeks after we got rid of TV — the kids lost interest! They stopped requesting the weekly show we promised to purchase for them. Since that time, internet television has grown and shows are easier to access than ever (and are usually free) but our kids only sit down to watch them around once a month or so. It’s amazing.
A few weeks ago we were having dinner and one of the kids piped up, “It’s so weird how a bunch of my friends will start talking about some toy that they all know about but I’ve never heard of it. It’s because they learn about all this stuff on commercials.”
The other of our older two children agreed to noticing the same thing.
Uh-oh. Here it comes, I thought. They’re going to tell us that it bugs them how weird and different we are from everybody else.
“So, how do you feel about that?” I asked.
“It’s okay,” one said.
“Yeah, I don’t care,” said the other. “It’s just weird that they all know about the same things.”
Wow. I was not expecting them to be cool with that. I mean, I personally have never minded being different all my life. But I don’t know many other people who are cool with it.
So we talked about how much time they have to be creative and make things — which they do daily — and they said it’s a good trade.
We may be secularist, vegan, non-materialist, non-TV weirdo’s, but we’re a bit Leave It To Beaver, too.
2 Tbsp. ground flasseed
6 Tbsp. water
2 cups oat bran
1 cup unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 non-dairy milk (try oat milk!)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, or use less if desired)
1/2 cup strawberry (or any fruit) jam preserves, or fruit spread, preferably unsweetened
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease your muffin tins.
In a food processor or bowl with electric hand mixer, whip the flaxseed and water together, until you have a thick and creamy consistency. This can all be done by hand, but a food processor/hand mixer does a better job in 1 to 2 minutes. It also makes it creamier than can be done by hand. ( I use my Braun hand-held mixer).
In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed mixture, milk, and oil. Stir in the walnuts, if using. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended.
Fill the prepared muffin cups less than half full with batter. Place a dab of jam or preserves in the center of each cup. Add more batter to fill the cups two-thirds full, concealing the jam. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool in the tins for 3 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire.
Do you have any songs that define your personality or the way you view and live life? I’m sure some of us have a few, but Can’t Stop by the Chili Peppers — or at least my interpretation of it — is the big one for me.
A few of the lyrics that stick out are…
“Choose not a life of imitation”
“This life is more than just a read thru”
“Complete the motion if you stumble”
“Knock out but boy you better come to
Don’t die you know the truth is some do
Go write your message on the pavement
Burnin’ so bright I wonder what the wave meant”
“The world I love
The tears I drop
To be part of
The wave can’t stop
Ever wonder if it’s all for you
The world I love
The trains I hop
To be part of
The wave can’t stop
Come and tell me when it’s time to”
I’m not a huge fan of music videos because of the way they replace my own mental images for a song. But I love the Can’t Stop video by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a display of who they are to the core: passionate people who dive into life but don’t take it too seriously. At all.
I’m a people-watcher, and the best place to go people-watching is the community pool. I’ve been going to the pool to watch people about twice a week since the kids got out of school in May.
This week, among my finds, I saw a group of young moms with their tiny toddler and preschool-age kids, and I was thinking about how lucky those moms are to have each other. Later on, while Izzy and the kids and I gathered to have a snack break, I commented on the group of moms and we wondered out loud for a while how the group came together.
“All the kids are mostly the same age,” I reasoned. “I doubt they just all happen to be friends on their own. I bet they’re part of a mom’s club or something.”
“Or maybe their kids all go to the same preschool. That could totally be it…” one of us suggested.
We came up with three possibilities before our six-year-old, Aiden, cut into the conversation with, “But the real question is whether they have iPads and iPhones.”
Clearly, those are the all-important issues in our household right now.
Trinity asked for the camera when we sat down to dinner at Chipotle’s the other night. I handed it to her and made a face. I guess people liked it because the face caught on and took many dips and turns along the way.
â€œRemember there’s no such thing as a small act . . . Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.â€