Tag Archives: fear

Working On A Mural With A Little Help From My Friends

I’ve been working on a mural lately. You may have noticed that the frequency of my blog posting has been pretty low recently. You may not have noticed. I still love you either way. Summer is just busy, isn’t it? We want to be outside doing things like the regular people do. My two most faithful readers commented on my blogging absence. God bless them! Both my in-laws and my Grandma checked in to make sure I was still alive. See what kind of people I have in my life? All the good ones, obviously.

I am still alive. Hi! Sorry the writing has been limited, but I have been busy. Don’t worry! All is well.

The roof blew off my old house. The one I have been trying to sell for years now. We fixed it. Phew. Tornado winds are bad you guys!

tin roof blown off
Tin Roof, Rusted…then blown away with the ceiling.

Tiny-Small started going to preschool in the morning three-four days a week to free me up to paint more and so she can play with actual kids. Instead of painting, I’ve spent most of my time cleaning and reorganizing. I had piles of paper to file. Two-three years worth. Trying to file with Tiny-Small helping is not a good idea. I did try to do it with her supervision a few times early on, only to discover later that the vet bills were in with the home loan information and that my medical history had been replaced with crayon drawings. Seriously.

Paper piled on my table
All the paper that needed to be sorted, discarded and filed.

The good news? It’s all done now.

The even better news? I’ve been working on a mural for a special little girl. A girl so awesome that awesome isn’t a big enough word to describe her.  What I want to share with you today is what I have done so far and how I have survived this new experience with a little help from my friends.

I cut a giant piece of paper out of a roll of white, watercolor paper. That took me a week of hemming and hawing and strategizing and coffee drinking, but I did it. I pretended to be fearless, which works even when you don’t feel fearless. Pretending has it’s purpose, right?

Then I nailed it to the wall and stared at the intimidating, blank, white paper for days. I cried about it on Facebook. I got support.

Facebook status
That’s me…a cry for help! I still don’t know what an ABC store is.

I sketched.

My cat sketched.

working on a mural
The beginning of the mural.

I painted.

My cat did not paint.

Progress on the mural.
Progress on the mural.

Tiny-Small helped me figure out where to put the paper birds…because she is better at design than me. Already, at the age of three. It’s unfair, really.

So, I’m working on a mural with a little help from my friends and my family too…and my cat! I’ve never worked this big on paper before. It’s exciting and scary and really, really fun. It’s so fun I sort of forgot about blogging for a while. I think I’m back now. I mean I am back now. I’m writing, aren’t I? Three days in a row and counting…so, yay!

I just got myself an accountability partner to keep me on track. She’s checking up on me daily to make sure I do the work I am supposed to do (for my own good). It’s wonderful to get a little help from your friends sometimes, isn’t it?


I Photographed a Snake and Did Not Die

Yesterday I was inside trying to take selfie-photo’s to prove that I do actually get dressed once in a while, when Jim started yelling, “Lily! Lily! Bring some scissors.” So I got some scissors and ran outside to see what the commotion was all about. That’s when I noticed a snake all caught up in my garden netting. I held onto a tree for moral and physical support. My chickens were dancing around it like the no-brained birds they are. I just kept breathing slowly. I really didn’t want to faint and land on the ground…eye to eye with the snake.

Bull snake trapped in the garden netting.
Bull snake trapped in the garden netting.

Jim assured me it was a Bull snake and not a rattlesnake. Tiny-Small was dancing with the chickens randomly telling the snake, “You be Ok snake! You be OK, Boy!” I don’t know how she and Jim knew it was a boy, but still…I mostly felt like fainting and what the heck do I now about snake sexing anyway? I do not like snakes. I dream about snakes and those dreams are nightmares. Scary nightmares with snakes exploding out of toilets and snakes filling up my imaginary basements. Snakes make my feet feel all tingly and I feel like I can’t move or breath or run away fast enough. I know other people love snakes, like my husband and his friend Chuck. They LOVE snakes. It’s just my luck, and his too I suppose, that we found each other and got married. I suppose this is what they mean by “opposites attract” …maybe. I mean, at least I never have to wrangle a snake out of the garden on my own, right? Unfortunately for Jim, I had to put my foot down when he thought it would be cool to keep the snake as a pet. I am pretty sure I would have a heart attack the first time the snake went missing, and they always go missing. I watch TV, I’ve heard about snakes on a plane.

Anyway, Jim kept cutting the netting off of the snake and then the snake would squirm into the netting even more. Just thinking about all of that squirming makes me feel a little nauseous. It took a really long time to cut the netting off of the poor snake. I felt terrible, but also really grateful that Jim happened to be home and that he was the one to discover the snake. Now I am worried about rattlesnakes sneaking into my space. I foolishly thought the dogs, cats, and screaming, banshee child would keep them all at bay, but now I know for sure that snakes can and will slither into my garden unannounced. I may never sleep peacefully again.

Jim holding the bull snake.
Jim holding the bull snake.

After Jim got the snake out of the netting he asked if I wanted to touch it. I wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me? Do I look like I want to touch that thing?” Instead I smiled and I touched the snake…twice. As much as I don’t like snakes I don’t like looking like a wuss even more. I didn’t faint and I didn’t die. Phew! Then Jim asked Tiny-Small if she wanted to touch the snake and she said, “No thanks.” I was relieved when she said no because I don’t want her touching random snakes in the wild. That could be dangerous around here. I also don’t want her to be scared of snakes like am so I tried to be brave in front of her. That is hard because I really wanted to run in circles screaming, “Ohhh my gawd! A snake! It’s going to kill us all!”  Nobody told me becoming a mother also meant I had to act like a princess in shining armor all the time or that I have to put my fears aside for the sake of my child. I guess nobody talks about that too much before you have kids because then people probably wouldn’t have kids. I mean, if someone had told me I would have to touch snakes, pick up spiders, and clean poop off the floor so often, Tiny-Small might have just been a gleam in her father’s eye forever.

Being the blogger and documentarian that I am, I mostly hid behind my camera taking pictures and making movies. It felt safer that way. Plus, now I can tell people I photographed a snake and did not die. I can’t wait to put that under the “bragging rights” section of my Google plus profile. Take that world! I pet snakes like a boss.


Want to read about other dead-eyed beasts that scare me to death? Try this: Have I Mentioned My Absurd Fear Of Sharks?


Monday Memories: Dress Codes

This week on Monday Memories we are writing about dress codes. I am not going to lie to you. This is a tough one for me because I never really had any dress code issues growing up. I do remember, when I was a kid, a big controversy over whether or not our school should adopt a school uniform policy. For a while that was all the rage in public schools across America. I remember my parents debating its merits and it’s disadvantages. I think, mostly, they didn’t want to have to pay for the uniforms. I thought uniforms would take away student individuality. Looking back on it, as an adult, maybe a uniform wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. I never had the clothes or brands that all of the cool kids had: dockers, esprit, jeans and shoes that weren’t from the boy’s department (my parents claimed they lasted longer). Maybe I would have been cooler and the uniform would have acted as a great equalizer. Probably not though, because I still had wild, untamed, frizzy hair, braces, and bad skin. Still. If everyone looked the same at least they’d have to rely on personalities and wit to stand out, right? Not that I would have stood out with mine because I was shy and my wit was reserved for the couple of people who had made an effort to get to know me well. Still, I like to pretend that a Catholic school girl costume uniform would have transformed me into a California-Barbie, popular girl-type over night. Sadly, that is probably every teenage girls dream.

As an adult I have donned many uniforms. Most of them included black pants and black shoes. That seems to be the go-to clothing choice for minimum wage employers everywhere. By the time I graduated from college and wormed my way into a professional job there were new rules to follow: no perfume, no sleeveless shirts, no open toed shoes, no cleavage. I worked with young children. I wore sneakers with dress pants and sweaters with cartoon characters. I had arrived.

Many people make jokes about the “mom uniform” which used to be sweatshirts and mom jeans, but now includes yoga pants and martini glasses. Sometimes you can get away with cute pajamas and fluffy slippers. No, seriously, I see moms shopping at Wal-Mart like that all the time now. Over this past weekend I actually saw a mom wearing jeans and a bra with a jacket over it. I was impressed that she didn’t even worry about finding a semi-clean shirt in the dirty laundry to throw over her half-naked body. Maybe she just forgot to. Motherhood does some strange things to your brain. Of course, nobody called the fashion police on her. She wasn’t arrested for indecent exposure. No school officials sent her home for being a distraction. It seems nobody minds seeing an adult woman in a bra shopping for eggs in the dairy department. That is celebrated in our culture, at least it is until she gets raped, or beat up, or left for dead somewhere. Then, then her clothing choices are a liability.

This whole dress code topic came up after Quirky Chrissy watched a video about a little girl getting in trouble for wearing a shirt and skirt with tights to school. I’ve watched the video several times and I can’t figure out how her outfit was a problem or a distraction. It kind of blows my mind that teachers and administrators were concerned over this little girls clothing. She just looks like a typical kid to me. Sometimes, in this world we live in, I get the feeling we make a big deal out of all of the wrong things. Kids are going without food, having trouble learning, and killing themselves after being publicly humiliated by other students. Meanwhile, we’re all up in arms over a little girl wearing little girl clothing to school? It baffles me. I want to shake people awake. We need to get our priorities in line. The authorities said this little girls midriff was showing. The mom said all they had to do was pull her shirt down (what 7-year-old kid doesn’t have a few wardrobe malfunctions on a daily basis?). I wonder, why are adults, in a school, sexualizing a 7-year-old girl? Her classmates don’t care if her stomach shows a little. Her stomach is just a body part…like an elbow. The students are 7 years old…come on!

You can watch the video here.

I have a feeling that the boys are almost never singled out for what they are wearing. Only the girls are. It makes me angry. Probably because I have a daughter who wears skirts and dresses every single day because she wants to. She likes skirts and ruffles and Hello Kitty. Girls and women are constantly being judged for their clothing. It’s ridiculous. It’s even more ridiculous that it happens to a 7-year-old kid. Not to mention, children don’t think about stomachs being sexy, adults do. So, I am wondering, what are these administrators thinking about when they call a 7-year-old girl with a stomach sticking out a “distraction” and why? That part gives me the creeps a little. Also, shouldn’t the punishment for distraction be placed on those being distracted? We can’t control the minds of other people. We can’t control their behavior. How can we blame a 7-year-old girl for distracting the other students just because she is wearing clothing every other little girl in America wears on a daily basis? Seriously, it baffles me. It worries me. These are subtle messages we are giving our kids. Messages that lead to people not taking responsibility for their own behaviors long into adulthood.

Our culture is too obsessed with what things appear to be and not obsessed enough with what things actually are. Yes, dress codes serve a purpose, but I am pretty sure they weren’t put in place to humiliate a powerless child. This sort of thing says more about the adults involved than about the child. Unfortunately, she is probably too young to understand that. Instead, she gets to be the little girl, who didn’t do anything wrong, that was singled out for dressing inappropriately and ended up on television. You can’t tell me that won’t affect her self-image or confidence going forward. This is what we should be paying attention to. These subtle and not so subtle messages we give our daughters (and sons) about their place in society. These messages do not further the notion of equality in our culture. Why aren’t we trying harder to change that instead of focusing on a little girls Hello Kitty outfit?


Quirky Chrissy is writing about dress codes and this video on her blog today too. Check it out by clicking on the box below.

Monday Memories