Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lesson Learned

James got his birthday present a week early this year. And I learned an important lesson: 4 year olds can't keep secrets. Well, mine can't anyway.

I got James a ukelele and idiotically let the kids see it before I hid it away in the workroom.

That was Friday. We had a busy day and went over to Irene in the evening. We stayed late, drank mint juleps and the kids got good and tired. Messy too. When we finally came home around 10, I stuck the kids in the bath to wear them out a bit more.

James got Bea out of the bath and talked to her about settling down for bedtime. She said,"First I want to play the ukelele."

Said James, "We don't have a ukelele, honey. Do you even know what a uke is?"

"Yes, Daddy," said she. "It's like a guitar, but very little. And we do have one."

At this point, it was getting unfair. She knew she was right and James was saying she was wrong and she was getting mad. So I intervened.

"Bea, if we have a ukelele, where is it?"

"It is in the workroom, but we just have to find it!"

James put her down and she ran out there, but she didn't know where it was hidden. I discretely pointed and she pulled out a uke shaped box! Oh, you should have seen the look on James' face!!! It was so perfect! We all screamed and clapped and laughed.

Now the house is even more full of music. :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Nap time has gotten shorter and shorter for my kids! But today I had just enough time to patch my old jeans. They are wearable again!

Also, check out the great design on my t-shirt. It is by a friend from Greenpeace Action Camp.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I started to feel really hemmed in recently. Most days, I am in our house all day with both kids because we have just the one car that James takes to work. There are so many huge things going on in the world from Snowden to Istanbul to DOMA and Wendy. But it's all I can do to get these children fed and exercised and most days even that is a struggle. Things have been hard with Bea.

But I don't want to feel hemmed in. This life is my choice and I need to just make the best of it for what it is now. This too shall pass. Every time we go to anywhere, people tell me to "enjoy them while they are young because they grow up so fast." I just smile.

Anyway, while we were stuck here this week, I finally moved in!

We've been here well over a year now, yet our living room walls were bare and our sofa had no pillows. Recently new neighbor stopped by and she asked if we just moved in. Yeah, it was bad.

The first thing I did was cover this chair. We call it the Hudson Chair because Hudson's the one who pulled it out a dumpster back when we lived in Charleston. The seat and back have stains and holes, but these cushions cover them right up:

Then I put some art on the walls. It is all either by myownself or people we know:

Then I covered every pillow I could find with fabric I had lying around, re-arranged some chairs, hung up more art and brought in some plants!

I made a special corner for the kids. It is for when they get too mad to participate in family life and need to cool down. It has books. So far Amby hasn't had to sit there, but Bea spends a lot of time in it!

Friday, June 21, 2013


James and I are pretty stressed out these days. Parenting a difficult child is not for the faint of heart and it is taking its toll on the both of us. While James was away, I bore the brunt of the burden and now my nerves are more or less shot.


I am distracting myself by imagining a new look.

I wouldn't go pastel with it, but I think my natural chestnut would carry it just fine. I could let it swoop across my face, curl it and have it all wild on top, make a nice wave, slick it back like Tilda Swinton...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


James is coming home today. Oh, we've missed him! All you folks who wait at home for deployed partners, I salute you! A long weekend is too long for me. I did wear ugly dresses, I did drink beer and I painted. But I only painted a little.

The kids and I stayed around the house mostly (James drove up to WV in our only car). We went over to see the in-laws and my folks for Father's Day. And we went to Irene yesterday to plant some veggies. 

Bea and Am have done pretty well. I've been a little obsessed with their sleep schedules because I need bedtime to be easy when James isn't here. It's been ok, but I've had a kid in the bed with me each night. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Now's My Chance

James is being a do-gooder for a long (through Tuesday!) weekend. So I have more free time than usual. When I say free time, I mean after hours. During the day, I'm a single mom. O.o

So now is my chance to do the things I don't do when my husband is around. I am going to drink beer, wear ugly dresses and paint a lot. And I'm going to try to ignore the little voice in the back of my head reminding me that there's no way I'll be as productive as James was last week when I was away –he finished an album. Not just any album, but one that may very well be my all time favorite, ever, ever. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

How to Dream

I've thought more about dreams and dreaming since my recent post on the subject. Each night, I look forward to great adventures, yet it doesn't always happen. There's no guarantee. But going nights without dreams seems like such a waste, right? So to avoid it, I try these tricks:

1. Daydream. It gets the juices flowing and provides a continual source of amusement throughout each day. Remember the heroine of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca? She daydreamt so much that at times she couldn't tell dream from memory. That's the goal. (In addition to daydreaming during waking hours, try daydreaming yourself to sleep at night. I know it really easy to just think about projects and stress about daytime worries, but try this instead and see where you end up!)

2. When you do dream, write it down or at least tell someone. That helps you remember, but also boosts your dreamability confidence.

3. Set an alarm to go off a couple hours before you plan to rise. When you go back to sleep? That's prime dream real estate.

4. Don't drink too much. You'll just sleep too hard to dream at all.

5. Read lots of books.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

When the Heat Gets Hot :: Yoga

It's hot as hell already. South Carolina is disgusting this time around. I dread the dog days. We just turned our A/C on yesterday. It was in the mid-nineties outside and the upper eighties inside. So now that it is fixed at 79 degrees? Heaven! 

But there are good things about heat. Have you ever done Hot Yoga? I haven't, but it sounds like a really good idea. You do all those slow, deep yoga stretches in a a hot room. (Exactly how hot they have it in there, I do not know.) You burn a lot of calories while taking the fast track through suffering to enlightenment. 

So here's what I'm going to do. Hot Mama Yoga. It will take place in my own big old flat backyard on summer evenings. Not full sun kind of hot, but still hot enough. My friends are invited and welcome to bring their kids to play with mine while we work out. If you don't have kids, you can still be a hot mama! We can take turns leading. 

Yeah? Yeah!

*Men welcome also.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

origins may be found
I love dreams. They can be strange and fascinating, beautiful with a bittersweet twinge. They can conjure long forgotten memories or give insight into life events by revealing what's happening down in the subconscious.

I do not often share my own dreams simply because, no matter how fascinating it is to one's self, they say nobody really wants to hear other peoples' dreams. But I do. I love to hear what my friends are dreaming! Especially if I have an idea of what they are involved in during waking hours. It's so much fun to make connections and "interpret."

Hudson shared some of his dreams over the hospital week. They were just as strange as you might expect from him. It surely must be true that the more you fill your brain with ideas, the more ideas will show up in your dreams.

Had any interesting dreams lately?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time Enough

When I was sitting for all those hours in the hospital room, I occupied my mind with this book, Time Enough For Love by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a futuristic, sci-fi/fantasy novel that so far doesn't touch Dune, but still offers quite a bit of interest and fun.

I didn't get very far because we all talked an awful lot and watched this weird reality game show about competitive tattooing as well as the last half of Gladiator, the first third of Book of Eli and Fracture in its entirety. And I'll admit I took some naps. Because if I have to sit in a stuffy room, wear a hospital gown and sit in a chair that can't not recline, I'm going to get sleepy. As would you.

This last picture makes me want to start a new blog all about how to look ridiculous. But I don't know how, it just comes naturally.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What To Do In Case Of Fire

My brother Hudson is a larger-than-life character. He is Lazarus Long and he is Hemingway and he is Byron. Brilliant, eccentric and, at times, self-destructive. It should go without saying that people like this do not have ordinary campfire experiences; They go up in flames.

And when they are convalescing, the nurses bring them beer.

The event took place last Saturday night after Hudson had worked a long week and pulled a couple no-sleepers. He lives in the hills of West Virginia where parties are held outdoors, far from running water and electricity. Hudson was with strangers and he was manic. Since I was not on the scene at the time, I cannot testify to what actually occurred, but the long and short of it is that Hudson was transported three hours away to the nearest Burn Intensive Care Unit. His right side was covered in burns, complicated by gasoline.

Mama and I drove up there on Sunday. A six hour drive to his home in Hinton and three more hours to Huntington. (You know, Marshall University as in We Are Marshall and Go Herd?) We had no idea how long we'd be gone, but it turned out to be an entire week!

Because of the high risk of infection (in what is surely the least sanitary hospital stateside), visiting hours are more or less rigid. We couldn't stay the night. A nurse referred us to a hospitality house about 20 minutes away. It proved to be a Godsend. Great accommodations (including a double kitchen and private room with bath), lovely old ladies preparing home-cooked meals every other day and a price that couldn't be beat.

The first few days, I took pictures and was all upbeat. Mama and I did our best to advocate for Hudson and make him comfortable, all the while becoming more weary ourselves. It started to drag. Thinking every day that the next day we'd be outta there, only to get our hopes raked down by the bowels of disappointed endeavors, I lost the will to carry my camera.

Our ritual sundowners each evening were the highlight of our days. (Did you know about this?)

Finally, on Sunday, he got his discharge orders and we made the trip back to Hinton. Hudson was awfully uncomfortable in the car. But I'd found a copy of Ender's Game in Huntington and read aloud to my captive audience for those three hours which made the time fly. While he recuperates, Hudson will stay with his employers. They and my cousin Andrew will help care for him.

Mama and I took turns driving and reading aloud all the way back to Greenville, SC. We got about 3 quarters of the way through the book. (We left off at that part where the older boys gang up on Ender in the showers.)


Here is how Hudson looked when we got to him:

(That's a beer he's got! They brought him one with every meal, including breakfast.)

This is what we had to wear to be in his room:

This is our room at the Hospitality House: 

So, yeah. This should pretty well explain my absence.


To all of my readers who do not follow my facebook feed, you may be interested to know that I spent the entirety of last week in the Burn ICU of the Rural Care Center of the main hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, a full 10 hours from my home and children. Details to come.