Tag Archives: holidays

Why I Disappeared From The Blogosphere

I’m a roofer, a baker, and a candlestick maker. Well, almost. The past two days have been a whirlwind of activity. The kind of activity that makes you fall asleep standing up and forces you to invent games like “I’m only resting my eyes” as you watch TV while your head bobs up and down and you drool all over the remote.

Saturday night Tiny-Small and I drove 90 miles to Grandma’s house so we could color Easter eggs with the family on Sunday and to engage in a slightly competitive family Easter egg hunt following the dye fest. When my sister and I were kids, we always had an easter egg hunt the minute after we woke up on Easter Sunday morning. We especially liked finding the plastic eggs filled with quarters and would sometimes rehide the eggs for each other to find. It was our way to prolong the festivities. The Easter Bunny would even hide the real eggs that we had dyed (usually the night before). That stopped after the year a few of the real eggs went missing and mom found them months later hidden behind the couch or on a book shelf or something. Yeah, thanks a lot, Easter Bunny (gross). So, Saturday night I packed the car with every item Tiny-Small might need or wear over the next couple of days, cupcakes that needed to be decorated, two dogs, and a bunch of food. We drove and drove and I had to stop twice on the way due to a lost binky emergency and screaming that drowned out the radio.

Once we arrived I realized I had forgotten to bring a few of the things I needed to turn my cupcakes into little chickens so we went to a new store in town. Tiny-Small got a free balloon. She was ecstatic because she had never had a balloon before (I know, she is SO deprived). We tied it around her waist because she kept letting it go. Then she just rolled on top of it and popped it. She was sure surprised. I kept looking around to make sure she didn’t just facilitate a heart attack or a call to the police, but nobody seemed to be in a panic accept for me and Tiny-Small. A popped balloon is the quickest way to break the heart of a 22 month old baby and possibly the best way to give said baby a phobia for life.

Finally we collapsed onto my mom’s couch and of course Tiny-Small stayed up until almost 10pm because she is at her Grandma’s house and the movie Annie is on. What kind of heartless wretch would I be if I yanked her away from the television, put her pajamas on her and forced her to bed all while the little girls are singing “It’s a hard knock life…?” I justified my indulgence by assuming Mrs. Hannigan was a walking public service announcement for why alcohol consumption was dangerous and not something to fool around with. Annie was educational. Yeah, that’s it! Plus, I know all of the songs by heart and the sooner Tiny-Small does too the stronger our alliance will be against her father who is already considering banning the singing of Christmas carols outside of the month of December.

At last, it was Sunday. We woke up all happy and hungry because brisket was in the crockpot all night. My mom started getting things ready. I started decorating the cupcakes. We were looking forward to the party-time that was coming. Then, my sister calls and can’t make it. I’m staring at the 24 cupcakes I just decorated and hoping I don’t eat most of them myself because my pants are already too tight. Jim is running late because, well, he’s always running late. Tiny-Small is in full melt-down mode because she stayed up half the night and mom and I are looking at each other and shrugging. What are we going to do? Well, I’ll tell you what we did. First we put Tiny down for a nap. Then we hid what felt like 50 plastic eggs filled with farm animals, candy and hair bows. Then we did other things that are gray and fuzzy in my memory at this point. Jim arrived, Tiny woke up and voila! The Egg hunt was on. The only problem was Tiny-Small lost interest after finding two or three eggs and then only seemed to care about the ones with chocolate inside. She carried one piece of candy around for 20 minutes until it melted into a slimy-foiled pile of goo. She couldn’t pick up more eggs because she wouldn’t put down the candy.  In short, we colored eggs, we hid eggs, we found eggs, we ate eggs. It was a long, strange trip or something to that effect. More like a rainbow day of food coloring, candy, crying, and eating. Oh yeah, and when Tiny-Small went to bed she had blue lips and she still has no idea what all the excitement was about or who the Easter Bunny is or why we forced her to look around the house for little plastic eggs filled with treasure. I’m certain every day of the rest of the week will pale in comparison. Especially when she isn’t allowed to eat candy at her whim.

Even Rosie got tired of looking for eggs!

Monday I was not on one, but two roofs repairing damaged shingles and metal roofing. Wind, wind, wind. It’s the worst enemy of roofs in New Mexico. It was even windy while I was on the roof and I am sure to the neighbors it looked like Cousin It from the Adams Family was up on the roof hammering away. Then I dug up Iris’s so I could transplant them, packed up the car, and drove like crazy to get back home before the snow started falling and froze my squash plants. The snowflakes started hitting my winshield about ten minutes before I arrived home and we dug out canvas and tarps to cover the plants with. Then I made pork with a date, rosemary, and apple dipping sauce. Tiny-Small cried for broccoli, rubbed potato in her hair and then took a bath.

Here I am, wine glass in hand, writing my blog (finally) after two days of blogcation. The dishes are washed, Tiny-Small is in bed, and I am ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap or whatever you do when it is supposed to be spring, but snowing outside. To those who ask Stay-At-Home-Moms, “What do you do all day?” I counter with, what don’t we do all day? Someday I am going to learn to make candlesticks even if it kills me. Right now I’ll just have to settle for roofing and baking. So, that’s why I disappeared from the blogosphere.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A good percentage of my genetic makeup is Irish. My husband has some Irish in him too. Yep, that probably explains a few things going on around here. He’s got the Irish charm and hot temper. I’m the one making all of the jokes about the problems we face laughing off adversity at every chance I get. He’s a bit stubborn. I’m a bit stubborn. Our daughter is very, very stubborn. She’s like an Irish poster child.

 

Not only has she developed many personality traits associated with the Irish, but she even looks Irish. My mom said she was watching a documentary about Ireland and all of the kids looked like they were related to our Miss Tiny-Small. She’s tough and she’s not even two yet. People make jokes about the Irish being full of “piss and vinegar” and about how we can sure hold our liquor. What you don’t always hear about is our resilience, our hard working natures, or our stubborn devotion to overcoming any and all obstacles. Don’t step on our toes or we’ll find a way to “fix you’re little red wagon” and don’t ever tell us we can’t do something because then we will spend the rest of our days (and yours too) proving to you just how very wrong you are about us. We take a lot of pride in suffering, our accomplishments, and of course in winning when the odds are stacked against us. They don’t call us fighter’s on a whim. We are ready to fight to the death over anything we think is important whether it is as serious as winning a war or as inconsequential as whether the kitchen wall should be painted white or off white. Yes, we are sometimes that bad.

 

Our little Miss Tiny Small is no exception. She’s determined to do everything herself. She carries the firewood up and down the stairs with us. She stacks it in the log bin. She’d even try to light the fire if we let her play with matches. Of course we don’t, I mean, parents have to draw the line somewhere. We don’t let her use knives, cleaners, or any other dangerous objects, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t already know how to use them (her brain is a sponge) or that she doesn’t ask to use them (more like demand to) every chance she gets. She lives by the motto “If I can’t do it myself then it’s not worth doing.”  How many times a day does she dive bomb the ground just because one of us dared to attempt to “show” her how to do something? Countless…and if she can’t do it she keeps trying, grumbling and complaining the entire time because she NEVER gives up. Not even once, at least not without a fight.

 

Tiny Small has been called “high strung” and “spirited” by people who know her best. We just call her Irish. It’s a little frustrating for us now, as her parents, to keep her in line. I mean seriously, she never gives up, she’s willing and eager to take on activities way beyond her skill level, and she wants to do it all by herself. That spells out T-R-O-U-B-L-E squared, then multiplied by infinity. I’m not much into math, but you catch my drift. I hope. Anyway, we have many battles of the will and on the days I am tired she is definitely winning. She keeps score better than I do too because her memory is long and vast and mine is dried up and shrinking at what seems a very hectic pace. She’s also got the luck of the Irish on her side. So far, with all the trouble she’s caused, she has come out relatively unscathed.

 

The weird part is I’m kind of proud of her for all of the trouble she gets into. When she grows up she won’t waste her life whining about what someone else did or didn’t do. She won’t depend on other people to support her or wait around for things to happen. She’ll be out in the world doing what needs to be done. She’ll be actively making decisions and setting a path for herself to follow. She won’t let anyone stop her. She’s too strong willed and tough for that. Yeah, she might be like me and hate to ask people for help. She might find herself in way over her head a few times. She might even push herself too hard and not know when to stop, but she won’t be soft. She won’t be a crybaby and she won’t just give up and stop trying because someone tells her what she is doing is impossible, or stupid, or boring. She won’t do any of those things because she is Irish and she is way too stubborn to ever admit defeat. I hope you all get to enjoy being Irish for a day and remember there is a lot more to it than drinking green beer and eating corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. This is also the day to “suck it up” and get on with things. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and say, “Watch out world because here I come and I refuse to take no for an answer!” Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. Make it a good one!

Celebrating My First Sale

 

There is a dance party going on right now. Yes, it’s only in my head, but I have good reason to celebrate today. I sold my first painting! I’ve finally been paid for my creativity and hard work. All of my blood, sweat, and tears have finally been recognized monetarily. Ok, so it wasn’t really that miserable. I didn’t actually sweat or bleed, but I must confess, there were a few moments of serious crying. That is all behind me now. Today I have become a REAL artist, much like the day Pinocchio became a real boy. When I tell people that I paint there is always one person in the group that asks, “Have you ever sold anything?” Now, now I can answer quite smugly with one small, yet happy, word: Yes! “Why, yes, I have sold a painting” I’ll say with a sly smile and wait for the applause. I won’t mention that I have only sold one painting. I won’t mention the little voice deep inside me that is quietly announcing, “It may be the only one you ever sell.”

For some reason, actually selling artwork validates you in the eyes of others. It means you have arrived, but arrived where I’m not entirely certain. I am sure it has something to do with something I should have learned in economics class (if I had been able to pay attention for more than five minutes at a time). In short, when someone wants something other people want it too. It’s the only explanation for why cabbage patch kids became such a big money-making machine. If I get lucky one sale will lead to other sales and I will become Little Miss Popularity like the Chihuahua’s were after starring in Taco Bell commercials. If I’m not so lucky I’ll be a one-hit-wonder like Sir Mix-A-Lot with his song, “Baby Got Back.” There seems to be a fine line in the art world between being a sellout, which is described as “painting what sells” and being a fine artist which is described as “painting only what matters to you” or maybe “painting what doesn’t sell.” Being an artist is like being a mom. If you let the baby cry you are a bad mom, but if you don’t let the baby cry you are still a bad mom. If you don’t sell your work you are not a “real” artist, but if you do sell it you are not a “real” artist either because then you are a sellout, which is apparently worse than starving to death.

I think maybe this is why I am happily an art outsider. I’m an outsider artist. I’m not quite formally trained. I don’t belong to any exclusive clubs. I’m not high up on the totem pole so to speak. I don’t have any papers documenting my art pedigree. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise because I also don’t have any preconceived notions about how to make art or how to sell art. I don’t have any rules to follow. I’m not worried about making mistakes and I’m not ruled by the words “should” and supposed to.”

 

However, today I AM a working artist. I’ve been acknowledged.  I have moved up one ladder rung towards my imagined artistic greatness and have arrived somewhere even though I don’t know where exactly. An artist friend recently encouraged me to put more effort and enthusiasm into the process of selling my work. She said I had a good chance of selling my pieces because most people just want something pretty to put on their wall. Most fine artists, no doubt, would have found this comment offensive. Not me though. The lifestyle associated with working artist seems much more enjoyable in comparison to the one associated with starving artist. I took it as a compliment because it meant someday I might make enough money to keep me in art supplies. It meant someday I might not have to starve (metaphorically of course because I’m not actually starving) to do the thing I love to do. I’m content with that. I like to paint pretty things and I am painting what matters to me. I’m a practical person. I have a bit of a business mind that was likely handed down to me genetically and through no scholarship of my own. It’s smart to make money. It’s even smarter to make money doing something you enjoy doing. So, today, I celebrate my success. Today is my proud moment. If my customer had paid in cash I’d staple the first dollar to the wall, but instead I’ll settle for attending the dance party in my mind. It’s free at least because we all know selling one painting doesn’t make you a millionaire or even a hundredaire. That is ok though because today I am so happy I feel like attempting to do the moon walk and that happy feeling is enough for me. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!