Monday, June 30, 2008

Measuring Up

I recently read guest-blogger Annette Lyon’s homage to Brillig’s treatise on the adoring younger sister, and my mind raced to my own experience, but in reverse -- that of the resentful older sister.

Earlier this morning, I read the latest from Kimberly at Temporary?Insanity -- in part, a realization that she had been comparing her wilder oldest daughter to the calmer second-born saint. And it struck me again that this sibling rivalry theme is screaming for attention (pun intended).

Measuring Up

Emily and I are exactly two years and two days apart. Frequently Mom would celebrate both our birthdays together on the day in between. (Seems like a good idea as a mom, but at the time it felt like a giant rip-off!)

My sister imitated me at everything, from coloring books to college majors. Even though her fourth-grade teacher pointedly warned her not to turn out like her big sister (true story) she kept on copying. It drove me nuts. (I now find it hilariously fitting that she actually got a part-time job in a copy shop!) The funniest part of all was that I was spunky and rebellious and she was the straight-laced, responsible one. (It’s like Beezus wanting to be Ramona the Pest. Go figure.) Anyway, I was sure Mom loved her best.

My sister was a really funny little kid. She had this wild, red curly hair, and our mom could never contain it or even get a brush through it, so she ended up just putting a headband on her most of the time. I remember when Mom and Dad would introduce us to friends, the people would say, “Look at that gorgeous redhead” and then they’d take a sidelong glance at me and add, “Hmmm...she has braces, doesn’t she?” I did not like being compared to her.

In her late teens, Emily transformed into an even-more-gorgeous swan. She decided to grow out her hair and really capitalize on it. Now she looks like a J Crew model. So. Not. Fair.

Unfortunately, I also remember how mean I was to my sister. (Probably jealous of the hair!) My earliest childhood memory is when I was just two years old and Emily was a new baby. We were at our Grandma’s house, and I couldn’t stand the way everyone was fussing over Baby Emily and no one was paying any attention to me. (I had clearly enjoyed being the center of everyone’s universe for two whole years and was reluctant to share that prized position.) It was bad enough that Mom and Dad were making such a fuss over the new baby, but now my very own special Grandma was doing it too? I was so angry and hurt, I went and crawled into Grandma’s bedroom closet. (I can still remember what it felt like groping under all those coats and dresses in the dark, like slipping through the wardrobe to Narnia -- although I came back as the evil White Witch.) I had found the perfect thing -- a sequined slipper. I sneaked back into the living room and marched right over to where Grandma was holding the newborn, and whacked poor Baby Emily on the head!

When I was several years older I remember chasing her down the hall in a fit of indignant rage. She, of course, ran into our bedroom and shut the door, and then held it shut so I couldn’t get in. Not to be outdone, I got the brilliant idea to go off in search of a ruler so I could poke her feet away from the door and let myself in. Jab-jab-jab....I kept poking and stabbing the ruler under the door. And it worked. But when she opened the door, she had all these little welts on her forehead -- it turns out she was down on all fours LOOKING UNDER THE DOOR to see if I was coming -- and I WAS ACTUALLY POKING HER IN THE HEAD! *Ooops!* [wince]

It drove me crazy how rule-bound she was. (Must have been that ruler episode! Literally had it pounded into her!) And I probably resented it all the more because that unquestioning obedience was one of the things our mom adored about her. But as we’ve gradually matured, I’ve come to completely love and admire her and actually enjoy being around her. Even the copy-cat thing worked out for the greater good. When I had to do 24 watercolor illustrations for a fragrance company in Santa Cruz, I hired my sister to do half of them. Amazingly, no one could tell who did which (but I secretly liked most of hers better than my own).

And, although we still have occasional power struggles, I think she’s finally forgiven me for all the rotten things I did when we were little. It’s funny -- she was the younger one, but somehow I was the one who needed to grow up. And she became one of my very best measuring sticks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Haiku Friday: The Taste of Summer

Haiku Friday

I'm trying my hand at a new adventure today: Haiku
I can certainly accomplish something that brief today, right?
So here's what I had for lunch today, all romantically zen-ified in 5-7-5:

chilled cucumber soup
summer tickles my palate
with green gazpacho

– or–

avocado floats
over a cucumber sea
on cilantro boats

And now here's the recipe, so you can taste summer for yourself. And remember: You can never be too rich or too thin...or use too much cilantro!

My friend CB sent me this recipe last summer when I was completely burned-out on cooking and fresh out of ideas. It was an instant hit, and I've made it several times since. But this is the first time I've made it this summer. Jeff was making those unmistakable "What About Bob" moans without even realizing it. This one could even rival the infamous "When Harry Met Sally" O: "I'll have what she's having." (Good choice.)

It's served cold. You cook nothing, even in prep. It's easy, it's delicious. It's healthy. What more could you ask on a summer night? (Don't answer that.)

Green Gazpacho
Yields a scant 6 cups; serves four to six.

1 ½ lb. cucumbers (4 to 5 picklers or 2 ½ large slicers), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (to yield 3 cups)
1 Tbs. kosher salt; more to taste
1 large yellow pepper
1 medium ripe avocado
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
3 oz. fresh crustless Italian country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 cups)
1 tsp. chopped garlic
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro - I use MORE. A good sized handful is about right.
1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh basil or mint
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for garnish
2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar

Put the cucumbers in a colander over a bowl or in the sink and toss with 1 ½ tsp of the salt. Let them sit for 30 minutes to draw out the juices and remove any trace of bitterness. Meanwhile, core and seed the pepper and cut three-quarters of it into 1-inch pieces. Wrap the remaining quarter and refrigerate; you’ll need it later. Cut the avocado in half, peel one half and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Lightly coat the cut surface of the remaining half with oil, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for later.
Rinse and drain the cucumber. Put the cucumber, pepper, avocado, onion, the remaining 1 ½ tsp salt, and the pepper in a food processor and purée. Transfer the purée to a large bowl and reassemble the processor. Process the bread, garlic, and herbs until the bread is reduced to crumbs and the herbs are fully chopped. Add the oil and vinegar to the mixture and process briefly to thoroughly combine. Add the bread mixture and 1 cup water to the cucumber purée and stir until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Let come to a cool room temperature before serving.
When ready to serve, peel the reserved avocado half and cut it into ½ -inch dice. Cut the reserved pepper into ¼-inch dice. Stir the soup and assess its consistency. If it seems too thick, add water until it’s thinned to your liking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among shallow bowls and garnish with the avocado and pepper. (I also like to garnish it with MORE cilantro, the avocado pieces, and quartered grape tomatoes,)

(adapted from Ruth Lively, Fine Cooking Magazine, Summer 2007)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jan in Real Life

I just spent nearly five days in Sun Valley, Idaho with my in-laws (minus my spouse for the first few days, which made things especially interesting.) I can already see you raising your eyebrows and envisioning flames, pitchforks, and red hot coals. So before I go on, let me tell you that my in-laws may well be the most respected, generous, powerful and widely loved people you could hope to meet. All of them. Right down to the toddlers. My amazing mother-in-law had all boys, and they are all excellent people: Strong, hardworking, handsome, faithful, charming, dynamic, chivalrous, humorous, and kind. All of them. They also cook and change diapers. (Some better than others.)

They married these amazing women who look like Barbie (I honestly used to describe them as Regular Barbie, Malibu Barbie and Skipper), yet they are anything BUT plastic. They’re intelligent, athletic, fun-loving, and kind. They’re also magnificent mothers. I love them all.

And then there’s me .
I supply my own pitchfork and flames.
No need for any outside assistance.

I try not to compare myself to these awe-inspiring people. But sometimes it’s so obvious I can’t help myself. I’m not athletic. (I’m not even okay. I’m a total spaz.) I’m no longer thin, and never have been beautiful, even when well-coiffed or well-dressed. Standing next to these people I am, to quote my mother’s biopsy report, “grossly unremarkable.” And if I dwell on it too long, I can make myself downright miserable. While my room bordered on palatial, I managed to make myself feel like I’d been relegated to the “special room” with the laundry and the dangling light bulb.

His family is great at getting everybody outside playing together. It was non-stop motion for 5 straight days. The kids had a blast. We hiked, rode bikes, played soccer, frisbee, tennis and kick-the can. We swam (I read), shot off bottle rockets, and raced handmade boats down the stream. The boys fished while the girls shopped and had a make-shift spa day (I read). The boys shot off guns at a rifle range (I read, and tried not to wince too visibly). We ice-skated on the outdoor rink (I took photos). The cousins slept over at each other’s condos, and it truly was like one big happy family.

Just like Dan In Real Life, we played together non-stop and enjoyed being together. And just like Dan In Real Life, I was miserably single for the first two-thirds of the trip. And just like Dan In Real Life, I realized that my real and ideal selves are not necessarily the same, or even compatible. I gained a lot of insight as to who I am and who I want to be, who my kids want me to be, and how I can improve. And while I may have lost a pound or two, I gained some weighty new perspective on all these complex relationships.

And then my hubby arrived, and suddenly I fit. He is my link to this group of astonishingly near-perfect people. Our being Together somehow made everything Right.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Bogeyman of Edinburgh, part 2

This post is a continuation of a story which begins here, as part of Soap Opera Sunday, hosted by Brillig and Kate. That saga and this continuation are also being written as a combined entry in Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for June: Going Places.

So a few minutes later we found ourselves reluctantly standing beneath the looming 200-ft. tower of Scott Monument. “Lovely.”
“Mm-hmm. Very nice. Okay, let’s go.”
But the Bogeyman wouldn’t hear of it.
“Ye have to go inside and climb to the top. Ye can see all of Edinburgh from up there. It’s most beautiful at Sunset.” Mr. Bogey even insisted on paying our entrance fees.

[What? So now that it’s FREE it’s okay? Hellooo...!]

The next thing we know we’re entering the monument and climbing this rickety, only-wide-enough-for-one-person spiral staircase up-up-up to the top of Scott Monument. As we climb, the morbid thoughts increase: “This is it. This is where he’s planning to do us in.” And there was no way out. Ahead, there was my friend Dottie, carefully and breathlessly making her way up the stairs of doom. Behind me there was only Thomas, the Bogeyman of Edinburgh, poised to hurl me down said stairs. So I kept climbing.

When I finally crept out onto the balcony at the top, relieved to see sky again, Thomas started in on another tale of how some unlucky lad fell to his death from that perch. A little breeze picked up and I got the shivers. Thomas made his way over to the edge of the balcony and motioned for us to come look. I stayed frozen, clinging to the stairwell for dear life. But Dottie was making her way to the railing where he was waiting for us. I can still see her, with her big black-and-white tote bag slung over her shoulder. And I called out to her, in that muffled, strangled, slow-motion-make-no-sound voice, like when you’re having a really bad dream: “Dottie...Nahooooh....!” But it was too late.

She was already there, looking over the edge, admiring the night vista from this amazing vantage point. What could I do but join them? I grabbed hold of Dottie’s purse strap, (as if that were going to protect me somehow) and she had hold of my arm. We each clutched the railing with an immovable death grip. And enjoyed the sights of Edinburgh in the cool evening breeze. Our hearts were still racing, but nothing happened. Absolutely nothing.

After we’d had our fill of gazing out over the city, we walked to the bottom of the monument, and bid Mr. Bogey adieu. Then we walked back to the train station to stake out our seats on the return trip to London, laughing to each other about how frightened to death we both were of the Bogeyman of Edinburgh.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers — Shaping Life and Death

Not surprisingly, my most salient memories of Fatherhood have to do with giving birth. Mine also have to do with death. One is poignantly heartbreaking. The other is filled with surprise and delight. Both are swimming rapturously in love and admiration.

* * *

My mom passed away from cancer when my oldest was still a baby. We shared so much throughout that pregnancy. We were both violently ill -- she with cancer and chemotherapy, and I with morning sickness that lasted the entire nine months. We talked every day, laughing and commiserating as we compared notes on who threw up more, who ached the most, and marveling at the similarities between birthing and dying. She was present at his birth, a miracle for both of us. My dad flew down to be there too – I think mostly to be with her.

She died six months later. And I remember stepping from her hospital room into the hallway with my dad, and catching sight of my white-haired 87-year-old Grandpa making his way down the hall, dressed in a suit. This look of total relief came over my dad, and tears came to his eyes. "That's my dad," he tried to explain. "After all these years, I still need him; he's my hero."

When I became pregnant with our second child, a daughter, I missed my mom like never before. The nausea and vomiting seemed so much worse because I was suffering through it alone. I couldn’t call my mom and commiserate about any of it. And I couldn’t imagine having another baby without her there. (Although I frequently dreamed about her during the most trying times.) The pregnancy seemed endless. In fact, it kind of was. She was due November 17th, and wasn’t born until December 3rd.

My water broke around midnight. Knowing I was in labor for 23 1/2 hours with our firstborn, I didn't bother calling anyone in the middle of the night to let them know...there was still plenty of time for that. The doctor said to wait until I was “really uncomfortable” before we went to the hospital, so I hung out at home, doubling over the kitchen counter when the contractions got fierce. All of a sudden, around 2 a.m. I declared that I was, indeed, “really uncomfortable” and we went to the hospital. By the time they checked me in, it turns out I was already dilated to an 8. They gave me an epidural to help me sleep -- and I think so the doctor wouldn’t have to come down in the middle of the night.

Our little daughter popped out in just two pushes at about 9:50 the next morning. We called our families to announce that we had the first girl, and wheeled her off to the nursery and me into the recovery room, where I settled in for a long winter’s nap! Jeff went home to gather a few things, and as I was just waking up, still groggy, I remember hearing the hospital room door squeak open. I slowly turned to see who it was, and there stood my Dad! (He said he knew where my mom was going to be this morning, and he wanted to be there too.) I have no idea how he managed to get there so fast, how many people he had to pay off at the airport to get him on the first flight out, but at a time when I was missing Mom and feeling very much alone, to have my Dad just magically appear at the hospital was about my favorite surprise ever. "That's my dad," I wanted to say. "After all these years, I still need him; he's my hero."

Amazingly, too, he stayed and helped. Like Mom would have -- fixing breakfast for everybody, taking turns with the baby in the middle of the night. It endeared him to me like never before. And Dad STILL does an amazing job of filling in as both mother and father to us kids, staying involved in our lives, hosting family dinners, taking care of our kids, loving and nurturing us. A natural giver, he blesses us in extraordinary and unselfish ways.

* * *

In October 2000, my husband, Jeff, was away for the long weekend, picking up some heirloom furniture for our daughter’s room. I was home with the kids, nearly six months pregnant with baby number 4, unpacking boxes in the new dream house. When I first noticed the baby wasn’t moving, I phoned him immediately. I tried to reassure him: “The book says it’s normal not to feel any movement for a few days at this stage” but I could hear the deep concern in his voice. At his insistence, I called the doctor and ordered a follow-up ultrasound. Just to be safe.

My husband was late for the ultrasound appointment, so I sat there in horror, alone, as the doctor found no heartbeat and told us what the options were for delivering a lifeless baby. They asked me to wait, alone (in tears that bordered on convulsions) in a room-that-was-more-like- a-closet until he arrived, 40 minutes later. I then had to sit through the whole painful doctor spiel a second time, for Jeff’s benefit.

As we walked into the hospital delivery room a day and a half later, I was struggling with all kinds of emotions that kept bubbling to the surface. It was strange to walk into this familiar maternity ward that had, until that moment, been such a happy place and now wore a shroud of gloom, knowing that this time there would be no treasure to take home. I fought back feelings of anger and resentment toward my sweet, wonderful husband for being away when the baby stopped moving, being away when I threatened miscarriage and had to go to the emergency room passing clots, being away when the doctor delivered the unthinkable news. Part of me wanted to push him away forever, but a bigger part wanted to pull him infinitely closer. My steps were heavy, and my heart was heavier.

Once we were settled inside the delivery room, Jeff gave me an incredibly beautiful priesthood blessing. He summoned our Father and poured out peace, promised a deepened understanding of how it pained a Father to lose a Child, requested health and healing, and said my mother would be hovering nearby.

The delivery was a physical and emotional hell, nothing I’ve known the likes of. The only things that could calm me, emotionally or physically, were classical music and the memory of Jeff’s blessing. Somehow I stopped shaking and survived.

When the baby was born, so small I could cushion her whole head in the pillow of my palm (I still recall the weight of it there), they made prints of both her hands and her feet, and allowed me to hold her and cradle her and look at her and love her for as long as I liked. I touched each tiny finger, each tiny toe, and marveled at how complete she was, despite weighing less than a pound. She had our youngest’s perfect little button nose. Our daughter’s beautiful rosebud lips. There was no doubt she was ours. She belonged. But she’d already gone home.

When the nurse came to take her away, Jeff was holding her. I watched as he wrapped her so lovingly in her little blanket and said his last goodbyes before he kissed her tiny forehead and handed her to the nurse. I cannot describe the rush of love that I felt for that man at that moment. It was overwhelming to witness the immense tenderness he demonstrated for our little departed daughter. His sweet, intimate farewell to her is among the most priceless images I hold onto. I felt unspeakably grateful for him and his enormous heart.

I’m thankful there’s a day to celebrate fathers—My own father; my grandfathers; the father of my children; and by extension, our Heavenly Father—all of whom I love, respect, and aspire to emulate.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cavorting as a Caped Crusader

This is a quick and silly follow-up to an earlier post, about the desperate measures we resort to when the chips are down. In our last episode, Wonder Woman had just discovered she could wield magic markers with incredible ease, skillfully covering her overgrown roots between salon visits, and making horrible carpet stains disappear with a flick of the wrist. But while the carpet remains presentable, after one shampooing the roots return, so at last she visits her faithful ally, Letitia the Hairdresser.

I finally got in to have my hair colored. This time by a certified professional, who does not use “permanent” markers. Hooray! But Letitia was running late. She always runs late. As do I. (A reputation I try desperately to live down.) No love lost. Except that this time she was running really, really late...and I happened to have my nine-year-old son along. (Because school's out, and, um, it seemed like a good idea at the time.) We waited nearly an hour while she finished up the woman ahead of us. (Still cool — gave us a chance to break for lunch.)

Now, I’m sure this has nothing to do with my patience level, but once she got started, it seemed to be taking FOR.EV.ER. (I even fell asleep under the hair dryer while it was processing.) Suddenly, as I began to awaken to reality, I noticed the time. 3:15. (We'd been there since 12:15.) And Mr. Cool had to be home at 3:30 for a tennis tournament. (Remember that reputation for running late?)

Never you fear -- Supermom to the Rescue! I checked with Letitia, then raced out the door with MY BLACK PLASTIC CAPE haphazardly flapping behind me, and wet, slimy hair-color goo tucked under a CLEAR PLASTIC SHOWER CAP. I also donned my sunglasses -- can't go dashing about town like a salon-bound superhero without a MASK! (As if that's really going to disguise my secret identity....)

So I'm dashing across town in my clever disguise, and I find myself suddenly paying rapt attention to silly things like stop signs and speed limits, with visions of being pulled over and sent directly to the state mental hospital! I pray I don't see anyone I know, and find myself increasingly grateful for semi-tinted windows in my mom-mobile. As I continue to fly across town disguised as Wonder-(what’s-wrong-with-this)-Woman, another nightmare crosses my mind...What if we got in an accident, and instead of taking me to the emergency room they check me straight into the psychiatric ward?! MUST utilize defensive driving skills like never before! *cue maniacal laugh*

It reminds me of my favorite Batman episode, where Batman and Robin are traipsing through the public library in full Bat regalia, and Batman says, “Walk slowly Robin, so as not to be conspicuous.” HELLO! Yeah, well, “Drive slowly, Salon-Cape Woman, so as not to be conspicuous....” Holy warped logic, Batman!

Somehow Wonder Woman and her incredible driving skills kept all the villains and criminals and gawking onlookers at bay. Nothing disastrous happened, and she got Mr. Cool safely to the tennis courts on the dot of 3:30, without compromising her secret identity. (Read: not running into a single person I knew or even recognized, thank heaven!)

Then I raced back to the salon, and ran inside, hair squishing, cape flapping. One whoosh in the sink and flick of the dryer, and presto-change-o! I was back to me (only with better-looking hair). It was an exciting flight as a superhero, but I think I'll stick to my secret identity as a mom and continue saving the world one carpool at a time — minus the cute cape.

Welcome, Scribbit Readers....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

I'm a graphic designer. More so in my past life than now, where I'm focusing more on my paintings. But I still have all the groovy supplies, including a really sweet Mac with a giant screen, and hundreds of magic markers.

This can come in handy. Like when our cleaning people (no longer employed here) walked down the newly-carpeted stairs with a bottle of leaky, bleach-infused toilet cleaner. We came home from vacation to these horrifying glow-in-the-dark drizzle-spots on the stairway (which just happens to be right in the front entry).

Never-you-mind. Designer to the rescue! I carefully selected a blend of three markers -- a gold, an olive green, and a grey -- and the spots completely disappeared. Until we shampooed the carpets a couple of weeks ago. Then I had to duplicate my efforts. But no one would ever know.

So this week I have another problem. I have roots. My hairdresser just bought a new salon and spends most of her time fixing it up. Instead of fixing me up. She can't get me in until next week. Meanwhile the roots continue to to the rescue! I carefully selected a blend of ash, brown and gold. And colored them in with magic marker!

It worked. Until I shampooed my hair. Never mind that it cost me nothing. This could become very tedious.

I also have nightmares that maybe my hairdresser has a blog, too.
And now she's going to blog about ME: "Guess what?! I have this crazy client who came in for a cut and a color, and it turns out she got impatient and covered her roots with MAGIC MARKER!"

So what? Everyone on the internet already knows. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Son, The Ax Murderer

While hiking with my friend Mary, she asked me the funniest (but loaded with truth) question: "Do you ever wonder whether you're raising a responsible citizen or an ax murderer?" And the answer is a resounding Yes. :)

Life with teenagers is like a fast-paced, whiplash-inducing roller-coaster ride – with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And for a long time we've seen a lot more Hyde than Jekyll. Which can be discouraging. And make your neck hurt.

Yesterday was an angry, blow-up-in-my-face Mr. Hyde day.

But today, he independently scheduled a meeting with his high school counselor (who lauded him for the progress he's making, and his maturity level). Then he was given the delightful mid-afternoon chore of hacking out a whole plot of 30-year-old rose bushes in the back yard. Which he did. Without complaint. With an ax. (I didn't even know we HAD one.) An hour or two later he fairly leaped up the steps to my office to report that he'd finished. And jovially declared that he'd make a great ax murderer. :) (Every mother's dream! )

Could it be that my beloved ax murderer is also a responsible citizen? One can only hope. But it looks that way today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Come-As-You-Are Party: Give Her A Hand

What IS that?!?

Here's one more part of the game I concocted as a guest blogger on my friend's site, Twas Brillig. You can link there and play along. (And while you're there, read some of her posts. She's a pro.) Here are the rules, in case you missed them the first time around: Link here, leave a brief comment, and post on your own blog a “come as you are” snap-shot that totally captures some aspect of your personality. The only rules are: No private anatomy pix, please, (eew!) and no sprucing-up before you shoot. Resist the urge to alter reality for a better public impression, and just find a little pile of clutter, or some sticky fingerprints, a bad hair day or some other instant snapshot that somehow captures a piece of the real you. My guess is it will endear you to us forever.

Ready. Aim. Shoot!

5. The French Manicure my daughter gave me. Okay, sure, it's a little bumpy and shaky. But she's only 13. And it was a sweet little moment, with her wanting to take care of ME for a change. (Plus, it kind of hides all the dirt under my nails from the garden.)

Am I going to fix it? Not anytime soon. For one thing, I'm particularly lacking in nail-painting experience and expertise. Besides, it's from her. I feel like it's one of those ornaments for the tree they make you for Christmas in kindergarten. It's meant to be celebrated. I could get a slicker, more professional-looking one at the nail salon next to the drug store. But this is a genuine mom-ified badge of honor! I wear it proudly.

Come-As-You-Are Party: Four Horizontal Surfaces

These photos are actually part of a game I'm concocting as a guest blogger on my friend's site, Twas Brillig. You can link there for the rules of the game and play along. (And while you're there, read some of her posts. She is wise, witty and original. She's the one who got me interested in blogging to begin with.)

Right now I'm re-reading a favorite book, The Ladies Auxiliary, and stumbled across this quote that seemed very a propos: "A person's house is like a photograph of themselves."
So here's my come-as-you-are photo compilation (more like a play in four acts): Four Favorite Horizontal Surfaces. A self-portrait.

1. My nightstand. I can't possibly be reading all those books at once. Or can I? Most telling is the one I just added: The Disorganized Mind. :)
2. Upper left corner of my drawing table/desk. Symbols of matter unorganized, creative projects yet to come to fruition. Work in progress.
3. Makeshift game cupboard (some essentials we moved upstairs while we remodel the basement). Note prominence of Scrabble®.
4. My garden. Never mind the scary weeds on the left. This is a living palette that greets me with joy. The Foxgloves (my symbol for perpetually over-crowding my yard and my life) are now more in proportion to the rest of the garden. --Ah, but that's another post!