Wednesday, January 30, 2013

cannot sleep

Damn dogs.  On the bed, off the bed, ear shaking, loud yawning and stretching.

Okay, okay, I get it, you want to go out.


For the third time tonight.

Now how am I supposed to get back to sleep when all I can think about is the road trip to see the Californians later today?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

even still

I hadn't been skiing in a couple of weeks.  Recovering from a cold, then Jack was sick and recovering.  But on Friday I announced to myself that I was going skiing this weekend.  If not both Saturday and Sunday, at least one of them.

Today, Jr, Danielle, Jack, and I headed up to Alta.  As we drove towards the canyon, a few flakes started swirling around.  Then we drove into the fog.  Neither of these are unusual this winter.  We frequently drive through clouds and snow only to pop out into the clear bright sunshine when we get to the top of the canyon.

Today was different.

At some point, we probably should have done more than merely comment on the high volume of slowly moving vehicles headed down the canyon.  We probably should have noticed the amount of snow that was sticking to the roads.  We probably should have realized something was up when there was all kinds of parking close to the lift.  But we didn't.  Or at least I didn't think twice about it.  I was excited to get on the mountain.

We hopped out of Jr's SUV and that's when I noticed.  The weather was fierce.  There were gusty winds blowing snow everywhere.  There was hail-like snow falling and blowing everywhere.  There were clouds and fog and no sunshine to be found.

But that didn't stop us.  We donned our gear and headed to the lift.  Where there was no line.  At all.

Another possible clue, but all I could think was it was great and we were on the lift in no time.

The lift ride seemed slower than usual, but that may be because of the hail and wind.  We were all bundled up, so it wasn't like we were cold.  Mostly I started to be a bit concerned because my glasses kept fogging up.  Being able to see the terrain is a big confidence booster to me.

We slid off the liftchair at the end of the ride and started down the mountain.  It was slippery.  Probably seems silly to say that, but there is slippery and then there is SLIPPERY.  This was SLIPPERY.  I suspect there was ice under the freshly fallen--maybe six inches or more--powder?  It was hard to tell because my glasses were fogged up and covered with little hail droplets.

Okay, yes, I fell.  Once.  Not a big head-over-heels tumble.  Just a slipping, twisting, on my butt quick and would have been hard and painful--but for that beautiful powder. 

Yes, it was crazy weather.  Yes, I fell.  Yes, it took us nearly 3 1/2 hours to drive down the canyon.

But still.  It was good to be outside.  Moving.  Breathing deeply.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


The recipe (perhaps more accurately identified as directions) on the Hamburger Helper lasagna box have changed.  Less water and milk?  When did Betty Crocker decide I needed to add milk to this family favorite? 

And after the cooking and mixing and simmering and serving, Betty now tells me to refrigerate the leftovers.  I think she should have said, "Refrigerate leftovers (if any)."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

too much water under the bridge?

Last night I woke at 12:30.  Or at least eventually I woke.  I tried to stay asleep.  But I had a song playing over and over in my head--the theme to The Sopranos (or at least the music on the DVD menu for season 5).  And I was dreaming that I had to connect all of the cast members into their families on the show.  It was impossible.  Too much, over and over, until I finally gave up and opened my eyes and looked at the clock.  I got up, knowing I wasn't going to go back to sleep for a while and I was right.

I lumbered into the diningroom, started a fire in the fireplace, and moved into my recliner with a blanket.

So much on my mind lately.  I keep thinking about a friend from the old neighborhood who recently returned from a mission.  She is one of the kindest, most decent people I know, always looking for ways to help people.  Even though she's only a bit older than me, I've often thought that everybody deserves a woman like her as their mom.  Soft and caring and non-judgmental.  Giver of unconditional love.

Two times recently, she's left voice messages on our phone--just calling to say hello and see how we are all doing because she misses us and thinks of us every time she walks to the skywalk that was next to our backyard.

She is genuine.  Good.  Never gossips. Completely without guile.

She sent us a Christmas card that included a picture of her entire family. 

I know I should return her call.  I feel guilty for not calling her back.  It would be so much easier if we happened to see each other at the grocery store or at a wedding reception.  We could ease into a conversation.

But so much has happened in the years since we last spoke.  So much change.  Where to start?  How to describe everything and be as genuine as she is?  It is all too much, even though I know that no matter what I said, she would still love and welcome me and listen to whatever I said.  She would be excited that my children have married well, delighted that we have six healthy grandchildren, good jobs, a roof over our heads and our health.  She would mourn the losses and feel the pain I have felt.  She would share whatever she has if I needed anything.

These are the thoughts I have in the dark of the night. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

sometimes i'm so very productive

Today was an off-Friday and I was feeling productive.  I cleaned the bathroom cupboards and drawers.  I washed and dried the sheets and will have to get them back on the bed soon.  I cleaned out and organized the storage room downstairs and now have another pile of stuff to take to the local charity.  There are two boxes of wires and floppy disks that need to be sorted out, packed away, or tossed out.

And tonight, Stu and I went back to pottery class.  In his speedy new car.  Something pretty great about riding in a car that has enough power to push you back into the seat when the drive accelerates.

I realized tonight I do not only make bowls.  I made two vases.  Stu and I rocked out to 80's tunes, much to the delight of our classmates and teacher.  Last week's project was ready for trimming.  It changed from a smallish bowl/teacup with no handle into this:

I'm not sure, but I think it may be a small flowerpot now.  Or perhaps a paperclip holder.  Art is so subject to interpretation...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

making stuff

Stu and I braved the beautiful snowstorm last night and headed back to our pottery class again.

I didn't go into this with any preconceived notions.  I hadn't considered what I might make.  I suspected I'd make something round since we'd be working with clay on a spinning wheel, but beyond that, I was ready to be pleased with whatever happened.

It turns out, I make bowls.  Other people make pitchers, mugs, spoon holders.  I make bowls.

My bowls are each individually unique.  Similar in some ways, but different in others.  None of them is perfect, flawless.  But each is beautiful, and pretty amazing, if you ask me.  I can't hardly wait to see how they turn out after firing and glazing and firing again.

And even more amazing are the pieces that Stu has made, like the one on the left next to mine on the right in the picture below.  Mine are great in their own way and his are a step beyond, a reflection of him and his vision of how to create pottery.

This whole experience feels very much like parenting.  I didn't have any preconceived ideas about who or what my children would become.  I only knew I would love them, whoever they became.  And they have all turned into amazing adults who are creating another generation of beautiful, creative beings.

Yes, it is awesome indeed.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

working on it

Been working on my resolution.  Trying to find a home that makes sense for everything instead of living with the chaos in the hidden places.

I started by cleaning out my dresser drawers, in particular the top one that was stuffed full of various jewelry boxes I've collected over the years.  That drawer and those boxes were full of memories--Boy Scout awards and pins, cards from my kids, including a card from Jessie that came with a dozen coupons offering services (babysitting, dishwashing, bathroom cleaning, and one for a full-day of arguing-free kids although she noted she couldn't guarantee that the boys would behave).  I found a case full of jewelry my mom used to wear to work, another that contained jewelry that was my gramma's (mostly silver chains, crystals, and pearls), and also a couple of boxes with the jewelry of my childhood, my teen years, and my early marriage time.  So many memories.  It took me several hours to open and remember all of those boxes, but it was time well spent and I successfully condensed and grouped everything quite tidily.

I also cleaned out the cupboards in my master bathroom.  Who knows where I got so many bottles of lotion and foaming hand soap and so many partial bottles of shampoo and hair conditioner?  I don't know if anyone who comes to my house might be interested in any of the lotions and I'm not sure if the local charities accept stuff like that but at least I've organized it all and disposed of the old prescriptions and the mostly emptied make-up containers.

I also organized a couple of cupboards in the kitchen.  This one used to contain a bit of everything (the cheese grater, platters, candy dishes, serving bowls, Corningware, and Corelle dishes) but now it only holds serving bowls and Corelle dishes.  (The grater is now in the sharp-stuff drawer, the platters are all together in one place, the candy dishes and Corningware each have a place now.)

This cupboard used to have my pie plates and Tupperware pie takers, serving bowls, platters, big mugs, a couple of little storage bowls, and my cookie press.  Now it only has water mugs and insulated cups, pie plates and pie takers, the cookie press, and the little storage bowls.  The red bowl usually sits above this cupboard on the counter with fresh fruit in it, so as soon as I buy some fresh fruit, it will be back in its usual spot.  No more mugs and insulated cups in every cupboard.

This closet in the diningroom is probably the part of my resolution that I'm most proud of so far.  When we moved into this house ten years ago, I just wanted to get everything out of boxes and out of sight.  This closet was a very convenient place to put stuff.  I could go on and on about the stuff in this closet, but I think the pictures below say it all. 



Still a lot to do, but so much better, right?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Reading a book I got for Christmas.  Found this on page 43:

"The tendency to hyperbole is everywhere around us..."


Friday, January 4, 2013

time with my kid

For Stu's birthday this year, he asked if instead of simply transferring money into his bank account, would I be willing to go to pottery-making classes with him?

Seriously?  Would I be willing?  Silly boy.  I'd love to do anything with him, including playing with clay.

Tonight was our first class.  The only negative about the whole experience was that our hands were too messy to take pictures.  But boy was it fun.  I made three bowls and Stu made two bowls and one bowl that flattened out and became a plate.  So maybe that plate won't actually be a plate but might become a new bowl next week.  We'll see.

We left our creations drying until next week when we'll to back to trim them and then they'll get baked so we can paint them the next week and then leave them for a final baking. 

You see, pottery doesn't happen overnight.

And those irregularities that might be considered flaws if they occurred in a manufacturing setting?

Character.  Little bits of character in the bowls we created with our own hands.

We laughed, visited, and made art.  Together.  Such a good idea.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


When I was younger, my gramma had a cartoon drawing stuck up on her kitchen wall of a duck swimming.  The surface of the water was smooth, but under the surface, the water was boiling furiously.  The caption said something about keeping the surface calm but paddling like hell underneath.

It occurred to me in the past few days that that cartoon might bear some resemblance to portions of my life. 

For example, I've noticed that my countertops and other horizontal surfaces are usually cleared off. 

Okay, I may have just typed a big lie, unless I focus on the word "usually". 

By way of full disclosure, I could post a photo of my dining room table that currently has sitting on it six new empty totes of various sizes, a loaf of bread, my skies and my new ski boots.

Or my kitchen counters that in addition to the usual small appliances, knives, bowl of fruit, hand sanitizer and dishwashing soap spread about them, today also have a few freshly washed pans, an assortment of Christmas goodie remnants, a half-empty bottle of root beer, the Christmas bouquet that is fading fast, a new flannel shirt, a dozen new white socks for Jack, and my mom's 40-year-old wicker laundry hamper that Jack repaired yesterday.

But the point is, usually, my horizontal surfaces are mostly cleared off.  Or at least I prefer that to the current clutter that I can see from my present seat near the fireplace.

My usual solution to the chaos on my counters, my dresser, the bathroom counter, and apparently every surface in my house is to put away what I can and stow the rest away in a drawer, cupboard, closet, or empty room.

Everywhere I turn in the past few days, there is contained chaos.  Closets, drawers, cupboards, and even a storage room--all full of disorganized stuff.

I look around and see too.much.stuff.  Mixed up and disorganized.

Not just on the counters but hidden away.  Everywhere.

Stuff that is never used in places that I rarely go.

The hidden clutter must end.

No more paddling like hell under the surface.  That is my 2013 resolution.

And as soon as we get back from skiing today, I'm getting started.