fireworks and fireflies.

I would like to preface this post with a l link to this silly (adults-only) video from the "Flight of the Conchords": click here to see it.

My parents have practically been begging us to let them babysit the little one and let us go out. So Alex and I went out on our first date since August 2nd (our anniversary). We left for dinner immediately after putting Lili down to sleep. We got out of the house and pulled ourselves up into the truck and before we turned on the engine we looked at each other in the dark and both admitted it felt a little weird. It is like Lil is our little appendage that we pass back and forth, so to be alone without her was... well... both wonderful and quiet. How quickly it happens that you don't know how to act when you are out of the norm. And sadly, alone time is out of the norm for us.
A long time ago a friend gave me this beautiful analogy for long-term relationships:
When you first are together with someone and falling in love it is like watching a brilliant firework display. A long term love relationship is like a field of sparkling fireflies.

I find so much beauty and wisdom in this idea. I think at different points in our lives we sometimes all long for the firework feeling. When being around this other person takes precedent over all things~ including sleep. When you can lose yourself in the romance and the joy of newness. I think what is particularly alluring about the firework time is the lack of hard self work that needs to be done. Everything is new and you are learning the intricacies of a new person... It is when you start to chose sleep over an all-nighter, and the day to day creeps into the relationship that the work begins. I have come to believe that so many problems in life stem back to issue of lack of self love or self confidence. In the beginning of a relationship it is easy to fill this void with the excitement. But over time we all find out that our partner does not fill this void. And as the relationship grows it becomes a mirror into our souls. And what is reflected back can be hard. and lonely. and sometimes almost unbearable. It is at these moments that many people (me) think about the grass on the other side of the fence and how refreshing it sounds. To begin again... I don't actually daydream of leaving my family, when I am having a hard time my daydream is more of a POOF situation. Like, POOF, transported, no troubles! Of course I know that no matter where you are, your own problems will cling to you, and start to surface when the firework show is over.
All this babbling to say that despite my flashes of daydreaming back to the fireworks, I love being married. I love the reflective beauty of the firefly lit field. I feel immensely appreciative of Alex who is honest and kind and supportive of me. In a time when we are literally changing poopy diapers, and never alone since we share a bedroom with Lili, and trying to build a house, and find work, and milk the goats, and keep the house clean... to find the time to listen to each other. To kiss. To go deeper than discussing the day... well, it can be a challenge. But it is important. If you give it space, being among the fireflies is quiet enough to love your partner, and love yourself. So it was nice to go out and talk, and dream of our future together.Alex: Being a good Dad.


stuck in one place.

Something happened to me a few days ago. Something dumb. and it directly correlates to me being a space cadet. Here is what happened:
My dear friend Sabe who I have been friends with since high school came up to visit me for the weekend. She took the bus from Boston. So after a splendid time together, Monday afternoon I was driving her to Concord to make the 3:00 bus back. Of course we were running a tad bit late, but had determined that yes, we were going to make it in the nick of time. That is, until I saw cop lights flashing behind me. Now I was pretty sure I wasn't speeding, but I felt instantly nervous. I haven't been pulled over in at least 5 years... I was driving Amy's (My dad's fiance) car that she had loaned me, and when I rolled down the window and the officer told me that the reason he had pulled me over was that my registration sticker was expired (Later I found out that Amy had in fact given the registration stickers to Alex but there was a miscommunication between Alex and I regarding this...). He asked for my license and registration. Sabe had handed me a big wad of papers, and I was flipping through them, not even sure what the NH registration looked like. Finally he told me to just give him my license and he would look it up. So I did after a bumbling apology and an even more indecipherable explanation that it wasn't my car and that I was not from NH... He went back to his police car and in an effort to make light of the situation I took these pictures:
As the minutes rolled by we realized that Sabe was going to miss the bus :(
When he finally returned he announced the good news first. That the car was registered, just the stickers were missing. He did NOT give me a ticket. Then the bad news. My NC drivers license expired on my birthday last year. Yes, 4 months ago. He asked Sabe if she had a license, which she produced. He said Ma'am you will have to drive. He gave me a court summons dated for mid March. "But, I won't be in NH then" I sputtered. He tilted his ear toward me and I had to repeat it over the loud highway traffic again. He shrugged and told me I would have to call and get it figured out. Soooo... I wish I could blame it on pregnancy or post-natal hormones, but surly those have steadied out after 15 months... or maybe on the holidays??? or the fact that NC doesn't alert you when your license is about to expire? Nope, I will take the blame and chalk it up to space cadetyness. So now I am relying on the kindness of everyone else to cart me around. I am sure there is some lesson in this all, but for now I am just trying my hardest to enjoy being stuck in one place.


round robin

Something exciting happened a couple of months ago that I wanted to share. What feels like forever ago, but in actual time only 3 1/2 years ago, I participated in an artist's round robin with 9 other women around the country. The way it worked was each person started a blank journal and decided if the book had a theme or what not, then each person mailed their journal to the next person on the list so that they could work in it. And around it went for a year, mailing off a journal each month and getting one in return, until you get your own journal back filled with all different art. I loved sharing like this, and looked forward to each unique journal arriving in the mail with anticipation. As my friends will attest to, I am not a particularly timely or organized individual, but somehow I found the discipline to work on each book and to mail it out within a month (all except the last journal, I did lag with that) And it all was great fun until I didn't get my own book back. It got stuck on the person in front of me~ for 2 years! Naturally, I felt a little burned at having put so much time and energy into everyone's journal, and to not get one back was disappointing. So then, when she finally mailed me my round robin journal it was twice as exciting to open. I wanted to share some of the other artist's work, but thought maybe it was too personal. So here is one of the pages I did way back then. Back before the baby, or the house, or the dog, or the chickens, or the goats. Back when we lived in the school bus and were dreaming of all this. Crazy.


cold weather artist blues.

It is cold today. Very cold. This is the view from my Father's deck~ see how the snow is all indented on the top railing? That is from the birds landing there. One of my first thoughts when I looked out there this morning was those poor birds...

I have had a discouraging art week this week. First off the tub carrying some newly covered artist boxes (Alex built them to mount my larger pieces on) and my large collection of scrap papers leaked on the way up, despite that it was double bungied. So the paper on the box frames got water damage, and all my papers bled and wrinkled and all sorts of disheartening stuff happened to them. Then the traveling, then I got sick, then fun visiting, general laziness, not having childcare... well these are my excuses for not having painted one bit in the last week and half.
Then last night I opened my Etsy site and saw that I had sold a painting. But soon after I read my inbox and saw that the customer had written me an apology to say she was debating buying my painting and accidentally hit the purchase button. So of course that is a big disappointment, and also a big pain because I will have to rescan and enter that painting into Etsy again as I don't have that in my files. I guess that only takes about a half hour, but still... I charge the bare minimum on my small paintings that I can so they can be affordable. So when stuff like this happens it is discouraging.

Really the only way to remedy it all is to find that spark inside me and carve out the time and start creating. That is almost always the way out of the cold weather, artist blues...


hangin' around with some good time friends of ours

An old friend of mine and her husband recently bought a house up a winding, snow-covered, maple-lined, dirt road in my home town. Alex and I went up for a visit and to see the house for the first time this weekend. We were miles up their mountain road when I spotted the classic New England house and barn on the left. "There it is!" I said just as Alex veered a little to the right to make room for an oncoming minivan headed toward us. In a split second we gently drove and tilted into the ditch and promptly got stuck.
Alex tried to use our 4WD to no avail, the minivan approached us and the gentleman rolled down his window and tried to coach us out, also to no avail. I looked behind us and there in a gray Subaru was Mrs. Rochan, my 6th grade math teacher (small town). She drove around us and Alex, Lili and I piled out the driver side of the truck and walked the short distance to Caren and Dave's. They were surprised to see us walk up with no car, and had a good chuckle that we had managed to get stuck in the ditch. Caren pointed out that she has never gotten stuck even in her little 2WD car. It turns out Mrs. Rochan lives further up the road and she went and got her husband who drove his truck down and pulled Alex out (ahhh small town). He took one look at our license plates and said "North Carolina huh?"Their house was just like I had pictured it. Quaint, cozy, worn, and lots of quirks from being built in the 1700's. Caren and Little C were in the middle of painting a kitchen wall orange when we arrived. They took a break to give us a tour and sit down in their living room and have some mid day tea together.
It is a good feeling to arrive somewhere new, and feel at home.


driving into my hometown

The moonlight is bouncing off the snow covered lawn of my childhood home.
The creak of the stairs, the sound of the front door's iron knocker- knocking as someone closes the door, the smell of the wood stove, and the warm, worn feeling of the antique brown armchair that I take over when Dad heads to bed...
We have arrived.


Off we go!

Well, we are going to spend a month in NH. We are getting ready for our big overnight car trip right now. All of our belongings are packed up in tubs ready to go in the back of the truck. Alex hasn't had work here in quite a few weeks, and Amy has kindly asked Alex to do some fix-up work on her house~ so off we go...
I feel very bittersweet about it.
I am excited to play in the winter and spend quality time with my family. I am really happy to see my family and grandparents in NY on our way there. I am excited to see old dear friends who I don't see enough of. I am looking forward to sledding and long walks amidst snow laden trees...
But, I also feel terribly sad for what we are leaving behind. Our cats Sal and Pip. And our dog Atticus. And the Carmona family who feels like home. The goats, our fun neighborhood. Our own bed... I know it is only 4 to 5 weeks, but packing up it feels like a long time. :(
It is hard to have your heart in two places. Part of my heart is certainly in New England, but I would be lost without this place too...
One thing to look forward too is that upon our return, our goat Windy will be giving birth and we are going to bottle-feed the babies!
Okay, I am off to finish packing and cleaning our house. I will write more when we get there!


January Third

journal page: 4.5" x 7"
papers, glue, sewing pattern, micron 005 pen, acrylic paint, silk


Alex's Art

I wanted to share this oak covered journal that Alex finished making last night (He finished sewing it as we watched episodes of The Office). He used to make so much more art, and in the last few years that has tapered off. I always worry that somehow I, or our family, is the culprit for him stopping creating. So, whenever he creates something it is doubly satisfying to me. Beautiful isn't it?