Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back to School

I'm going to be honest and just tell you: This semester has gotten off to a rocky start. I have no doubt that I can totally turn it around and make it my best one yet, as I'd hoped it'd be. But right now? Sheesh!

My mother in law is in ICU with complicated pneumonia, so my disabled brother in law is staying with us and has been for a week. James is not better from all that stuff from two weeks ago, but at least he's done with his round of steroids. The heightened stress in the household has a big impact on the kids' behavior as well as their sleep patterns. All this to give you the backdrop to my school year so far!

I am taking only three classes. That may not seem like much, but to me it is a lot. I mean, it is literally the very most I can manage with these preschoolers under foot from 7am until 10pm or so. Maybe if I stuck 'em in daycare it'd be different, but that would also require a higher income bracket.

Anyway, I have a ton of homework, but I've come up with a tight schedule. Let the learning begin!

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Drug of Choice

Piano! I've been playing it every day. Usually, the kids interrupt me. A lot. But I still manage to go through a few pieces, repeat them a few times throughout the day and work out kinks. Few things in life are as satisfying to me as feeling my fingers speed over the keys,  relying only on muscle memory and a sense of fun. I prefer to memorize each tune I learn so that I don't have to fuss with sheet music.

I'm not great or anything. The pieces I play are fairly simple ones (I'm learning this) and I do mess them up a lot. It takes me forever to get a trill nailed down. But I'm in it for the fun.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our Overgrown Yard

We've pretty much given up on our yard. The lawn mower is no match for this summer. The rain has made the yard all soggy and the brush grows up too fast. It gets caught in the mower and chokes it up every two feet.

So instead, it is all wind and free, like Klimt's garden. There are so many spider webs that one can scarcely cross a space of 5 feet without becoming entangled. I can see them from my kitchen window, long diagonals across the width of the yard, catch the sun now and again in a breeze. The garden is overgrown, but somehow still faithfully producing tomatoes and watermelon. Clover and various ground covers now take the place of grass in most of the yard.

I can appreciate a well-kept yard. All neat and even, nice for picnics and lawn parties. But this is beautiful to me. There's so much to explore!

It's taking over the driveway!
There's a wasp nest in the fence. Yikes. 
This is a good 6 inches deep.
Uh, yeah, these chairs need to go.
These flowers are loving this moist, shady summer.
Watermelons grown in red clay. Sweet, if small.
This garden spider is almost 2 inches, including legs.
The kids pretty much stay in the driveway.
Clover, snakeberries and grasses mingle.
The inevitable guest. 

Friday, August 23, 2013


Amby likes to wear dresses. I'm sure it's just because he's a little brother who looks up to his big sister and wants to be like her. He can wear them around the house all he wants, but when we go out, he has to wear what I pick out. That goes for both kids equally.

Last night we went out for dinner and he wore this dress. It's blue and he had on that polo shirt underneath. It looked really boyish.

When we were getting ready, I got him dressed in his polo and little brown shorts. But he immediately put this on over. He's doing it all the time these days; he loves this dress. Normally I would have made him take it right back off, but this time I let it go.

I thought, we all have things we do that our outside of the norm, but we are so continually redirected that by the time we reach adulthood, we have given up and just conform. I have no doubt that Am will grow out of this phase, whatever, the point is that for this one moment in time, he got to have his own way.

He was so happy and joyful while we were out! So sweet and smiley. The folks at the table next to ours gave us some looks and I caught one of them trying to discreetly get a photo. But I think it was as good for them as it was for Amby!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wait, Already?

It's been really hard to blog this week. It's been hard to do anything. There must be some strange alignment of the planets or the cosmic balance has gone all rickety, because it's just too much all at once. And all I want to do is sleep.

School starts back tomorrow for me and, well, I have to go put together an outfit.

Monday, August 19, 2013


This picture is apropos* of nothing. I just like to look at it because my little sister Emma is pretty cute and my brother Justus is pretty dang strong to be able to walk around the yard like that. I don't know, it cheers me up.

It's been a rough weekend. James has been in and out of the hospital. They say it's pleurisy and maybe it is. There's been very little sleep between us and plenty of stress. And tension to be honest. 

The silver lining, I've decided, is that this whole ordeal has taught me how much need I have for a phone of my own. So now I have one. It's smart. Smarter than I am, at this point. 

And I'm on instagram, as you can see in the sidebar. #followback

*Reading anything by Alexandre Dumas will lead to the overuse of this word.

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Week :: a link and list post 3

So I just spent a few days at a leadership conference required by University of South Carolina Upstate of one officer per club. (Someone from Club Art and Design had to go or we could jeopardize our funding for the year.) It was held at a Presbyterian Conference Center. There was a church, prayer room, religious artifacts, etc. Is that ok? I mean, I had a great time and learned so much, but I'm concerned about state funding going to a religious institution for a group of people of whom only about 60% identified as Christian.

(Of those non-Christians, this was one. Interesting, eh?)

Ok, moving on. This is a pretty great post about real women.

I love this blog, Strawberry Mohawk. Check out this post about movies for little girls! I got some good ideas here. Ambrose is obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas. The comment section here reminded me of Coraline. I think that would make a good counterpoint. Right?

This article from Vanity Fair is totally fascinating to me. It's from back in, what, March? But I just got around to reading it. Glad I did.

A Nobel for Manning?

And just in case anyone needed a reminder.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I'm not at the beach, I'm not on a cruise. It's not a real vacation, but I am away. I'll be back to blogging by Friday. 

Our school requires one representative from each organization to attend an annual leadership conference. So I am here for Club Art + Design. It is three days and two nights of activities and lectures from 7:30am to 10:30pm. Yeah. Not a vacation, huh?

But at least it's a little break from the routine for a while. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Star Wars :: A New Hope

We figured it was about time to introduce our kids to Star Wars. It's the first "grown up" movie they have seen. I think of it as a kids movie, but there's a lot of fighting and a damn lot of people sitting around talking. The kids pretty much loved it once it got going. We watched it over the course of two nights. Bea wore her Star Wars shirt...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tell Me Your Dreams

I want to illustrate your dreams!

Up at the top of the page, there is a contact form you can use. (Or, alternately, you may email me at tinyyellowbird at yahoo dot com.) Let me know if you want your real name and a link or if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

Send me snippets or full dreams, as much detail as you can muster. Was it an all night epic, a fleeting vision at dawn, a vivid recurring dream? What feelings were attached? Did it have that nostalgic sense of longing or were you filled with terror or was it totally mundane?

If you can remember the date of your dream, submit that as well.

Readers, I'm excited about this! I've been thinking about it for a while and I really hope you participate. This will be an ongoing project, so there's no deadline. But I'm going to check my email now and see if you've already submitted something...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

This Week :: a link and list post 2

This collection on The House That Lars Built is so perfect!

I'd take anythings from this print shop, but the date posters take the cake.

These fonts are better for inspiration than use, pricey but pretty!

Here's plenty of beautiful hand-lettering. New favorite site!!

Online classes suck, right? Not when they are free and from top universities!
(There's one on the Ancient Greek Hero and another called Was Alexander Great?)

Ever wonder what to do with the broth left over from boiling your collard greens? 

These photographs are lovely, but they are freaking me out.

Friday, August 9, 2013


I may have concocted a solution to my class cancellation issue. (I mentioned it yesterday here.)

If I can get permission and approval and all that stuff, I'd like to get 3 credit hours for an independent study in advanced printmaking. I took Printmaking 1 last semester and totally loved it, but I felt like there was just so much more to explore!

My goal would be to go in with a strong concept and delve into it from various print angles throughout the semester, possibly with a research essay thrown in for good measure. I would like to have a hefty amount of exhibit-ready material by the end of term, showing a rich depth of subject matter, a high level of craftsmanship, broad appeal, creative variety and technical prowess.

Now to convince someone to be my advisor...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Week So Far


You know how sometimes you just need to get away? A freezing cold, silent hotel room or a day at the beach without any children...

Over the weekend, a relative said something really hurtful about my house. It's taken me this long to accept that the individual was trying to be ugly, not stating a true fact about my house. My house is fairly tidy. Not pinterest clean, not pinterest decorated. But for no budget, it looks pretty good. And for housing two tiny wild creatures, it's pretty damn tidy

I vacuum and sweep every day and mop, like, once a week! We always have three square meals, 98% of which are planned and made by yours truly. And we always have clean clothes. So there. 

So that happened over the weekend and then today I found out that a really essential graphic design class has been indefinitely cancelled. A class I was registered to take this Fall. Now I have to find another class to make up my hours when that was the last thing I needed. So for years to come, I will have to live with the knowledge that rather than paying off debt for a useful, much needed class, I'm paying off a superfluous waste of time. 

I'm trying to find a way to turn this around, but it hasn't come to me yet. 

It will.

...   ...   ...   ...   ...

I guess the graphic above could be misleading. The relative wasn't my mama. Or my husband. Or anyone in my own immediate family. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cooperation Bootcamp :: Reboot

Some things started to slip away (cooperation and quiet voices to name a few!), so this week is a reboot edition. Two days in and things are already looking up.

You know how kids are stubborn and think if they ask just one more time, they'll get their way? Well, if you go a whole day showing them that you are even more stubborn... Well, in our case, it gets significantly better. And I'm good at that whole stubborn thing.

It's getting better. (For example, we had more cuddles in the past two days than all of last week combined.) School is starting soon and it's really important that we have these things worked out. It takes consistency and stubbornness.

Today, the kids painted. We had craft paints, not real finger paints. Still, it was a lot of fun. I covered the table with trash bags and let them pick from the four available colors.

Messy hands, messy house, messy bathtub for me to clean up now... But I love their art!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I found this book at a thrift store and I can't put it down! Being slightly too lazy to scan my copy, I tried to find an image to show you what I'm talking about, but all I could find was this copyrighted image from amazon. The book is really old and not much in fashion at the moment.

It is fascinating to me! Back in college, I took a botany class and still feel pretty comfortable with the terms and parts. Having family members with a somewhat specialized knowledge of wildflowers and the like has given me a natural tendency to be interested in the area. And it is so practical. 

The Herbalist has a lot to offer for such a small book. There is an illustrated, encyclopedic section telling the various names, descriptions and uses of the herbs. Then a lot of recipes and directions for making teas, spices, wines, cordials, bitters, potpourri, sachets, dentifrices, gargles, cosmetics, dyes, smoke mixtures and curios. 

(Now I'll be able to get some use out of my Rosemary's Baby necklace...)

I think the next thing to do is start collecting examples of these plants, pressed for reference. And eventually do some further reading. Here are some other books on the subject. 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Delving into an area of special study for the purpose of independent enrichment is so good for the brain. Do you have an area of interest like this? For one of my brothers, it seems to be early roman emperors and for James it is American folk songs right now...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm So Excited

I had no idea there was a new Almodovar movie out. But, gosh, I'm excited. It's supposed to be campy, frothy and proudly absurd, according to Rotten Tomatoes. And a return to light humor. I loved his heavier ones, Volver being one of my faves. But for this one to be released and actually playing in my town? Estoy flipando!

If you happen to go see it tonight at Cherrydale, keep an eye out for me. I'll most likely dress up as one of his heroines. Because this is my kind of cosplay.