I should have written this yesterday, when I felt full of words.

I have many life strategies and this is one: when you can't keep up with doing all the normal little things, do something great big instead. It will give you a kick! Sounds simple enough, but it requires you to dig deep and force yourself to do something extra super hard when you are feeling like you don't have energy to even do something easy.

On Monday I took down the Christmas tree, alone, with three kids crying in the background. I wanted it out of my house and life and gone gone gone, but it seemed so hard, taking it down, that part of me just wanted to leave all the ornaments on and throw it out into the street, with the light cords dragging behind. But I dug deep and (faking) like a sane and rational person, packed everything away with strained attention to detail, grudgingly pairing each glass ornament with a cloth one that will protect it.

I just had to "mark all as read" in my google reader. And "all" meant, well, all. All of you. There are so many emails I've never returned. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I appreciated your card and gift and love and I love you back, but I'm so ridiculous and tired. I feel like a selfish uninspired jerk. And yet all I can think about is how much I want a new camera. A camera. A camera to look at things through. Now everytime I look at one of my photos, I see noise. I have outgrown my camera. I need a new camera. I need something great big. I need a kick!

I am going to try to start posting little things, a little at a time. Little photos. Little words. I love you all and I have more things to say and tell you and share. 2011, I see you. Eleven has always been one of my favorite numbers. I am so ready for eleven. Here's to eleven.


Some of the people in this photo?  elizabeth, maria, lisa, stephmadeline, jessi, megan, and me!

Blogging is so friendly.




I've had a really bad, defeated attitude lately.  One that doesn't feel normal for me or all that familiar.  A good part of it has to do with processing my grandma's death.   It isn't so much missing her, even though I do miss her.  I am used to missing her.  I missed her all the time.  Every conversation I had with her after we moved away from her town 15 years ago included the sentence, "I miss you so much, I wish I could see you more."

In a couple of days we are going to have Christmas.  It is going to go on the same as it does every year.  This year, knowing that her house, my favorite house in the world, the one that gave me the coziest most definitive Christmases of my life, is empty?  That those people and that place are just... gone?  That is wrecking my joy.  It's depressing.  It's kind of like someone came and pulled the tablecloth right out from under all of my glass parts.  I am used to having the breakable pieces of my mind and heart lined up a certain way, and even though they are all still there and in the same order, they are resting on something different now.  Life feels less rich. 

I want and need to focus on my babies and husband and home and new traditions; on making our home a place where we can have cozy, definitive Christmases, together.  I can't wait to give that to them.  This year I am just a little low on energy.  This year I will have to fake it a little.

i made these cookies with my kids and my little brothers from trader joe's boxed mix. fake-fake-faker.


johnny mercer named my baby

First of all: you guys are sweet sweet sweet.  Your comments have been lighting me up.  Sweet sweet sweet, every one of you. 

Second:  a realization.  I listen to the same free Christmas music station every year. (You can listen to it too, if you click on that link.) I created it on Pandora a few years ago.  I think I finally have all of the random Josh Groban thumbs-downed into oblivion.  It's just old retro Christmas.  My favorite kind.

Listening to it this year, I remembered where Hal got his name, how it popped into my head and stuck there and ended up the baby naming table.

Minute 2:05

Thanks Johnny.


do stuff, make stuff, sing songs

The funny thing about my last post, about the puppets and the girl and her imaginary puppet house, is that I lived in a house like that except my house wasn't filled with puppets, it was filled with music.  All the time, every day, music music music.  I've mentioned before that my mom and I lived with my grandparents, my papa Dale and my grandma Sue, until I was eight.  They were so good, so much, so influential to me.  Papa used to play, by ear, his Hammond organ and pianos and keyboards all the time, and no, really, it was more than that.  It was more than a hobby or something he did two nights a week or to pass the time.  He did it like it was eating or reading or washing his hands.  He just sat down and played, without fanfare, no big deal, making something beautiful out of the air. He played like he was having a conversation with the whole house.  He played any song you asked, and he would make it sound better than you ever remembered, in his own way and his own voice, deliberate and with stride. I would pay a hundred million dollars to hear him play again.

my twenty-five-years-ago family

He taught me songs and music and sometimes we would make cassette tapes, him playing and me singing.  My grandma listened to these tapes of our songs up until the day she died; the last time I visited her (in July, 36 weeks pregnant, eeking in a last trip to see her before Hal arrived) she made us listen to them.  I hid outside in the yard because I was shy and she and Luke laughed at me and they smiled when I finally came back in the room, eyes all twinkly every time, they had been telling secrets. "I just always wish you had done more with your singing," she would say.  And I would smile because I didn't know how else to respond.

So anyway.

I decided to be brave and submit a singing video for The Fifth Annual Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert if for no other reason than than the knowledge that it would have made my grandparents really, really happy.  A singing video!  Like singing, on video, on YouTube.  This is the girl who wouldn't listen to the tapes of her ten year old self singing just four months ago.  But I made myself try.  Of course I kept getting two thirds of the way through and then forgetting a word or Alice would come in crying or Clark would run up and clasp his hand over my mouth.  I was frustrated and kept putting the project off and I wanted to say, forget it, no, this is silly, I quit, but Luke encouraged me after the crazies were in bed last night to just do something short and quick and so I did and it turned out okay, I'd say, even though I had to sing low and quietly to not wake up the kids on the other side of the wall, even though, like most things in life, it isn't perfect or exactly right.  I can't hold out for exactly right anymore, or I'll never jump.  So I sent my just recorded video (thank you iPhone 4) in five minutes before midnight last night and it felt like so... not a big deal.  Really.  Truly.  I don't even feel embarrassed.  It's just, you know, whatever.  Funny how you can get braver, just by making yourself be braver.

Merry Christmas lovelies.


topsy & turvy

Sometimes I think of people from my past and in a half-awake daze, look them up on Facebook.  I have no idea where these people are now, what they are doing, or if I am spelling their last name right.  I just type things in and start squinting.  Does her face look right?  Could that maybe be her?  As soon as I am reasonably sure, I start poking and spying.  A puppeteer!  She's A PUPPETEER?  The senior puppeteer in a University program?  Seriously?  Then I look at the puppets, read the job description over again, and start wondering how we both started out on the same street in the same small town and she ended up with this quirky fun life making oddly beautiful puppets, and I ended up with lots of babies and vintage Christmas tree ornaments and a blog.

And then I search a little more and realize the puppet lady is actually some other girl, a girl who shares a name, hair color, and complexion with an old old friend.  A girl who didn't live on my street, ever. For all I know this girl grew up on, I don't know, Sesame Street?  Surrounded by puppets?  Or maybe her parents make puppets?   And maybe I shouldn't compare myself to her?  Maybe I shouldn't compare myself to any one?

I had a whole second part to the Facebook thing typed out but it just went on and on and on and my point was totally out of focus.

I miss normal life but I also am beginning to forget what normal feels like.  Topsy turvy times in this house.  Will the topsy and turvy ever end?  There are so many things in the works, little tangents of my normal life, all with undetermined endings.  So many.

Oh, and I got a hair cut yesterday!  The same girl cut my hair for seven years, and then quit.  So someone new cut my hair.  It felt different.  She did a good job.  Just different.  She gave me cute little choppy bangs and pieces in the front.  When Alice was Hal's age (exactly two years ago) I cut all of my hair off.  As soon as I got home and looked in the mirror I decided nevermind about the short hair thing and to grow it out. I'm still growing it out.  I want to have truly long hair before it all turns gray.

And now here is a totally unrelated to anything mentioned here photo:


Oh, wait, no, I did discuss my kids and vintage Christmas stuff at one point. Not totally unrelated just mostly unrelated.  I think somewhere in the last month of insanity, I forgot how to blog.


And then.

We were late.

And then we all got bundled and out the front door and it was 16 degrees and the baby was crying and then Alice fell face first in the snow and then I realized the car was completely frozen shut and then I had to pour pans of hot ice-melting water over the passenger door while everyone wailed and then we all four climbed in that one door, one at a time, into the back seats and drivers seat and baby seat, and then we all buckled up and I shivered and took a breath of cold air and pulled out of the driveway slowly and then I turned Bing Crosby up very, very loud.