imaginary friends

The Teenager, had three very elaborately concocted imaginary friends when she was little. “Salad” was the first to enter her world.  She (Salad) was very particular about what she consumed, opting most often while dining for “just salads.”  “Black eyed Susan” didn’t actually have a “black eye” but was always referred to by her full name and really loved black beans.  “German” was a bit more elusive and was always traveling. When questioned about his whereabouts, The small Teenager would be ready with an extensive list of destinations that “German” was currently visiting.  It has been to revealed to us just last week that “German” was her imaginary boyfriend.  We have yet to delve into the reasons why he was never around, but I feel we will be informed in time.

Around the same time The Niece was very vocal about her Imaginary friend whose name was “Matthew Bloopbloop” sex, female.  “Matthew” was also an avid traveler and was known to visit her grandma who lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, but was originally from Managua, Nicaragua.  “Matthew” has vacationed in many real places that I didn’t even know existed, but such is the crazy smart brain of The Niece.  When I have the pleasure of her company I learn more from her than she does from me.

This cast of characters are a distant warm memory now that both girls are Teenagers, but The Associate did not disappoint. Approximately 5 years ago she appointed her very literal imaginary friends.  “Mirror” was the first to arrive, and being eager to hear her explanation, I questioned her immediately.  Her answer was very rational “I can see her in the mirror” – “so she is your reflection?” -“yep.”  Whenever we happened upon a reflective surface she would happily converse with it.  Next, “Shadow” appeared,  and The Associate explained that she is always with her, and you can’t argue with that.  Mirror and Shadow’s presence dwindled over the years until we went on a recent vacation, and they came back and multiplied.  Being the youngest by 7.5 years can be tough, especially because The Teenager is very mature for her age, and laughs at all the adult jokes. The Associate’s wit is quick and when the topic goes over head she kind of just wanders away to text her imaginary friends whose names have been changed to “Miranda and Shada.”  Yes, that is correct in the span of 8 years technology has come so far that you can imagine you have a smart phone and on it you can reach anybody you can conjure up.

We chatted about this quite a bit while we were away, and it came in quite handy when I was questioned while muttering angrily to myself about “Religious Freedom.”   When The Associate asked me why I was upset I could easily keep the conversation age appropriate without spewing my anger onto her.

me- “Well honey, Some adults have imaginary friends too.  The difference is that they feel like their imaginary friend can tell other people what to believe and how to live their lives.”

TA- “Why would you want your imaginary friend to be a bully?”

me- “good question.”

playground politics.

-I believe the children are our future, and that is why I am officially blocking out all presidential politics.  When the yahoos are weeded out, I may squint at the news for an update.  In the interest of self preservation I will concentrate on 2nd grade playground politics, and hope to help The Associate safely navigate her issues.

She has officially started to sort her feelings about boys. I know it is the first stage so I try to keep it light, because her drawings are a little dark.

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Apparently boys will die if they go in her room, and they have cooties.

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I especially love the sideways glance the cootie ridden boy is getting from the girl.

-There is a little boy in her class.  He is adorable and all the girls “like” him.  We have talked about this off and on for awhile now.  Slipping into the convo a little pep talk about girl code.  I am a proud mama because she instinctively gets that if all the girls like one boy that it is better just to stay away, and think of her friends feelings.  She came home the other day quite upset and we discussed.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent)

The Associate- Fred told us that he liked Sally so Jane and I decided we would back off.

me- Back off?

TA-  you know, not chase him around the playground.

me- AHHHHH. and?

TA- well, Jane isn’t backing off, and we made a promise.

me- You can only control your own actions honey, now it is between Sally and Jane.

TA- still sullen

me- what is it about Fred that all the girls like?

TA- He has dignity. (clutching her heart)

me- well that is a great quality in a young man.

TA- I KNOWWWWW.

-Now it is my turn to be confused because later that week she drew this picture.

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The girl is represented by a pony-tailed vampire, that wants to suck the blood of her mummy zombie boyfriend.

I am thinking we might want to grab the dictionary and look up dignity.

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Amid the nonsense, teachers are still teaching.

Social media has been bombarded by testing nonsense. I personally think the wrong people are making important decisions and changes to the public education system.  I do what I can, opt out if necessary, but I find myself angry and feeling very futile.

So today I would like to focus on the positive and draw attention to just one of the many good things that happened at my daughters  school yesterday.  It is quite simple, but The Associate thrives on positive reinforcement and I am not very good at giving it. I usually obsessively recycle everything that comes in her folder. I glance, I recycle. The other day she asked me if I saved her timed tests, I said no, but promised to keep them in the future.  After thoroughly ignoring this cue she sent directly to me, a reminder followed her home in her folder.

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Hey, your kid did well!!!! I just wanted to make sure that you saw how great your child is doing so please sign and return. Thanks for reminding me.  Teachers are awesome.

The Associate turns 8.

Me- (one day prior to birthday celebration) “Good morning sweetie pie, it’s almost your birthday, what kind of cake do you want me to make you?”

The Associate- (eyes still unfocused) “Can’t you just buy a cake like a normal person?”

Me- (quite taken aback) “No, your mother isn’t normal, and she never will be.”

The Associate- (resigned) “Fine, chocolate cupcakes.”

I think that it is important to mention that I am making her a duvet cover per her request.  It is apparently perfectly normal to sew a duvet cover instead of buying one, however it isn’t normal to bake a cake.

This was fairly easy because Serge is my friend.

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and I already had sheet size Bloomcraft fabric from the eighties.  A quick measure pin and sew.

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As if that would happen. Unfortunately Serge wasn’t feeling very well and in my rush I neglected to oil him properly.  He is now in hospital at the Husqvarna shop.  I did not finish it time for her actual birthday, which by the way it is perfectly normal for an eight year to request a new comforter for her birthday.

We had a fun friend party in which 10 little girls wore berets and painted with watercolors and frosting.

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Each little girl made her own wish, and she got 8 new fish!

snow days……….

 

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The Associate-  “I need to feel the sun on my face.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate- “I need a mental health day.”

Me- “ME TOO.”

The Associate got her wish.  It has been a chilly winter, and snow days quite common.  She is fine with this of course, what child is not.  Parcc Testing was postponed only to haunt some other day and it was so cold that the moment you left the house your face froze.  We tried to run errands after the first lazy day.  Hit the pet store for some additional fish to “help keep the tank clean” and met a sweet puppy.

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We left quickly and headed to the big box store to buy a whole bunch of stuff that will most likely rot. The Associate was wearing her camouflage outfit and I almost lost her.

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I bribed her with donuts so we could hit the thrift stores on the way home.  All in all a good day, but there was still another.

I am supremely lucky that I can adapt to these outages well, and I am most definitely not complaining.  Being an artist, and a stay at home mom I spend most of my days not knowing what I will accomplish, so why are these any different. I like to call these 2 birds one stone kinda days, although who would want to kill a bird?  2 venomous spiders one stone?  ANYWAY, I have been trying to get my children to accompany me to the Botanical gardens to see the orchid show, but every time I mention it, I get back some kind groan/grunt answer.  Who are these people, how can they not love plants?  The Associate finally agreed to come if her friend Hazel could join.

The orchids were lovely and the smaller people had a ball, while I wandered in my head and felt the warm air of the spiny desert and the rainforest.

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They insisted on staying so long that we were terribly hungry and I convinced them we should run over to The Art Museum for a snack.  The Associate and her Associate wanted grilled salmon.  A surprisingly healthy and inexpensive snack, I quickly obliged.

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They wouldn’t sit with me, and I pretended to be hurt when I was secretly excited to eat in the beautiful atrium all by myself.

They ran around and played in the kids studio and I read a book.

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Bring it on winter.

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Fastest Homework Ever.

The Associate enjoys lengthening the homework process.  What could easily take her 10 minutes can turn into a hair pulling, “you don’t care about me” exhausting dilemma.  On Wednesdays I drop The Teenager off at her dance class and I do a quick and scan of the thrift stores in that area.  Occasionally she asks if she can also attend a Ballet class before at a completely different venue and the schedule gets ridiculous. I usually leave The Associate at home for this because she despises thrift shopping and thankfully The Husband is usually home.  Today he was other wise engaged and she was going to have to come with me.  Her homework was still undone and as I was running out the door, grilled cheese for the taller child in one hand and my genius cap on.

me “I need you ready to go with me at 5:45.”

her “WHERE?”

me “daddy has to go so you are coming with me to take your sister to dance.”

her “WE ARE NOT THRIFT SHOPPING!”

me “If your homework is done by the time I come back we will not go thrift shopping, but if it isn’t we are going to scour all of them, your choice.”

I dropped The Teenager at ballet, hit CVS, dropped off my Zappos returns and picked up the prints from the sweetheart dance.  As I rushed back in, ready to battle, she was ready.  We picked up The Teenager from ballet and rushed her to the regularly scheduled dance class.  With two hours to kill, no thrift shopping :( , and a surprisingly flexible 7-year-old, we got more errands accomplished and had a little food and fun.

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Another Aisinine Adventure.

Yesterday I experienced complete cabin fever.  My brain was frozen, and my movement was strained.  I was excelling at sleeping, watching television, and giving into The Associates demands.  She is quite crafty and easily recognized her harried mothers pattern of acquiescence.

My friend Josh called, I reluctantly Facetimed with him and his phone beamed images of large tables and mannequins, and I was up and out the door in minutes. I called my friend Sarah and she was quickly on board.  Her husband soldiered on removing the mom jean wallpaper from their kitchen while I snatched her for what we thought would be an hours excursion.

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We found tables for Sarah within the first 10 minutes of wandering the post apocalyptic Macys.  I had a nagging feeling that someone was going to steal her tables so we rounded back to make sure no body else could have them.  I am pretty sure My Disorder will be thoroughly documented in medical journals soon if it isn’t already.  It is brought on by excessive estate and vintage shopping, and results in adverse reactions like paranoia and overpaying.  A secondary wave is always around the corner when you spy someone else’s name on all the good stuff.  In our case “Erik”  got there first and my anxiety spiked, I did some muttering and was calm again.  Muttering and deep breathing are the official prescription for My Disorder, in case you also suffer.  We were negotiating the price of a large industrial piece.  The price was high, it was massive and it did not break down.

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The manager wasn’t really willing to budge on the price and we were about to leave when our friendly sales lady mentioned that we should see the blue chip room.  The room was quite large and at first glance full of junk but after another turn I began to fixate on red powder coated shelving and pegboard, and guess what?  Yep.

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I have no immediate use for either of these items but they are really nice and would cost a ton to recreate.  We volleyed price quickly realizing that all of us were ridiculously bad at math and had plummeting blood sugar.  The entire staff seemed to be suffering from the same brain freeze/ blood sugar dementia and it took approximately 5 times longer than necessary to pay, only to find that our math was still off by 50 dollars.  We eventually shelled out our cash, and put our outer shells back on to endure the 1 degree weather (feels like -19.)  We hefted table number one and almost fit it in the car.  Sarah ran several miles to Sears to get a screw driver while I devoured a mostly frozen brownie that was in the car.  With brittle fingers we attempted to get the legs off of the table but they weren’t budging.  We dragged the big table back into Macy’s, put the small one in the car and I drove us back to Sarah’s house to gather tools.  After some light nourishment and our common sense restored, we drove two cars back to the mall.

I dragged my pieces from the second floor and Sarah set about taking apart her table with the drill.  Keep in mind that the staff is no longer allowed to touch the objects once they are sold so we were being observed from afar.  I was approached by a fellow customer to help with sizing.  It apparently didn’t faze them that I had both feet planted on the wall and was putting all of my weight onto a wrench to loosen one of many bolts.

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One person asked if we needed help just in time to lift the heaviest part.  I, of course I didn’t take a picture of that one. The Lack of photographic evidence will be especially damning when I go to put it back together and it is one giant jigsaw puzzle.  We laughed a lot, almost cried and froze but we got those bohemoths loaded into the cars.

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Josh- I am not sure whether to curse you or thank you.

P.S. They are still in the car…..

 

Darling Nicky

I am a wee bit of a fabric hoarder.  There is an unknown quantity available at any time, to people I like. Thank goodness my friend Nicky needed curtains.  It gave me an opportunity to hone those rusty sewing skills and bring some beautiful fabric out of the dungeon and into the light.  I had 50 yards of this glorious fabric that brought all the colors of her dining room and living room together.  We decided to use the same in both spaces, not only because I already had it, but we thought it would look more cohesive and cozy when you entered the front door and your eyes scanned the rooms.

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She just happened to buy a house built in the 50’s, which is my favorite type of home.  I had a difficult time not decorating it for her in my every waking moment, so I jumped at the chance to custom make some window coverings.  The bedroom and the dining room were simple.  Subtle decorative rods were easily installed, and a quick eyeball fold, press and sew method was used to create panel curtains that add warmth and depth.  We employed my very technical technique of using the stripes on the ironing board to measure the hems. This by the way is the most awesome iron ever.

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The living room was a bit more of a challenge because of the size and angles of the windows.

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These curtains were to be decorative, non operable and pretty to fit Nicky’s evolving style which I would describe as feminine elegance.  A long curtain rod was not going to work because it would be ugly even if we did consider Lucite.  I did the research on curtain rods for this type of angle, and not only were they expensive they required precise measurements which I don’t do.  I wish I did, but alas I do not.  So instead I wandered around the home improvement store (the blue one) and spent a whopping 11 dollars on the smallest, most basic rod you can buy.

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I bent the rod until the metal broke and fit the ends back together to create a 10 inch rod for either end window.  The center angles presented a challenge and I bent the rods right in the middle to fit the angle of the window.  I had to shorten the other half of the rod so they could fit back together, and added a center support that were leftover from the bedroom.  We used four panels for the center window to add a bit more luxury, and weighed them down with curtain weights so they hung straight, and felt more tailored.

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Nicky, my basement thanks you. Enjoy!!!

members only.

I started thrifing at a young age, which apparently is not a word. The outfits displayed on the mannequins at the mall and the need to look like everybody else wasn’t on my agenda, and I sought to express myself through my clothes. Another contributing factor was that by the time I was 14 I had a job and was told, rightfully so, that I could purchase my own clothes above what was “needed.”

As I recall, selling Birkenstocks in the late eighties was grueling.  All employed eyes would be on the customer silently hoping that they were just browsing in the back, and not be about to summon one of us to climb the rickety thousand degree stairs to retrieve a million pairs of shoes, one at a time.  It sounds dramatic, but I was a teenager, and that money was precious.

I can still hear her.  My mother commenting on my recently thrifted articles. Sometimes she just looked, sometimes I was called a ragamuffin, and more often times than not she said “I used to have that same dress, I wish I didn’t get rid of it.”  This statement used to make me cringe. I dreamt of all the cool 60’s and 70’s dresses I could be wearing, and reluctantly thought that my mom must have been pretty stylish.

Fast forward to my own Teenaged spawn. She is not employed yet, she has plans to be, but she also likes to thrift and has an eye for picking out awesome stuff out of the jumble.  I taught her how to shop just by looking at the fabric, color and the tag.  I love old tags, here are some I grabbed last week.IMG_8325 IMG_8323 IMG_8322 IMG_8321 IMG_8320

To my great astonishment The Teenager came home all excited about her “new” jacket  that she scored for 12 bux.  She had already taken a slew of selfies of herself in it, so a photo document was easily secured.

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However she didn’t believe me this time so I had to pull out the scrapbook and prove it.

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And now we are a part of this member’s only mother daughter club. Jealous? LOL