talk to me. let's pretend we are sitting and sharing a cup of coffee. or a pretty cappuccino.
i have a sinus situation going on so my head has been throbbing (ouch) despite the steady stream of pain meds i've been taking. not so fun.
any posts you want me to write about? mom life, art action, deaf stuff, recipes, fill-in-the-blank?
also, the election is coming up. oh and look! my very own husband shared a snippet of why he is voting for prop 47. (spoiler alert- i am too. feel free to ask me questions about it in the comments section.)
are you registered to vote yet? do it by october 20th, my friends!
i've had a few conversations with friends lately about the depictions of life that can come through the filter of facebook, instagram, blogging, etc.
i sort of assume that anyone who knows me also realizes that i am a hot mess, and that the pretty pictures or magical moments that i post are also balanced out with the reality of the less documented life: loneliness, temper tantrums, a messy house, failed expectations, parenting dilemmas, marital discord, disagreements with friends, family drama, not-so-photogenic dinners, sucky days in which everything that can go wrong does, feeling like a less than stellar friend, daughter, sister, wife, mom....and the list goes on.
but maybe i've been assuming that the life any of us portray through social media is understood to be just a portion of one's experience. that all of us have moments of feel left out, or sad, or a disaster, or less successful than others. and that those pictures in our feeds, or the status updates are a snippet- often of the highlights.
lest you think i have it all together, here are a few moments from my life that may or may not be in my instagram or facebook feed: there are currently a ton of dishes in my sink, massive piles of clean and dirty clothes that i have no hopes of getting to today, a disastrous children's bedroom, and a bathroom that needs to be cleaned.
last night i was so tired that even though our house looked like kansas after a tornado i went straight to bed.
i have no idea what i am doing in my studio right now, and whether everything i am painting is terrible or just about to be great. really hard to not compare myself to other artist friends successes.
i spent my studio time last week working on new card concepts and ended up with not much of anything good, despite a deadline yesterday. that is super stressful since my entire income is based on royalties.
i am trying to work with monrovia on reading and subtraction and they are such a struggle for her, so homework time is less than awesome.
i know working out is good for me and makes me happy when i am done, but i just can't figure out how to fit it in to a daily practice unless i wake up earlier but i am so tired in the morning.
i am really frustrated with the state of my waistline but see earlier comment on working out.
my six year old is keeping me on my toes and by that i mean throwing daily tantrums and then needing a ton of attention and love.
matt and i are going out of town next week and we haven't even had an evening to sit down and plan any of it.
don't get me wrong, there is so much goodness in my life. i am incredibly thankful. i have an amazing network of people around me, wonderful children to snuggle, a home i treasure, a city i love, family and friends that make my world, and on and on....i am not complaining. just saying that i think all of us have glorious, beautiful, photo worthy moments. and all of us have terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad stuff too.
here's to more goodness! and listening to each other so we know each other's best moments and each other's less than perfect ones too.
this little love muffin, yes, this very one pictured above, asked me the following today:
"mom, can i have a chocolate chip sandwich for lunch?"
which proves two things:
1. i am raising very smart children.
2. although they obviously never listen to me because that request is just crazy talk.
meanwhile, i read this blog post today about qualities that teachers appreciate in parents. some good stuff, my fellow raisers of children. and let me tell you, since my own mother is a teacher who works insane hours every day not only teaching but grading and then responding to parents who need constant attention and feedback? she could use a few of these kinds of parents in her life. and i'm guessing so could all of the teachers in our school system.
now get off your phone or computer and go make yourself a chocolate chip sandwich.
first up! today i was the guest blogger for my friend brett's blog. he is doing a series on living with disability, and so i wrote about having a deaf daughter. i'd love for you to read it! you can find it here!
meanwhile, it's monday! i have a big deadline today, so i'll keep this short and sweet since you've obviously already either gone over or are about to read my other blog post...(insert winky emoticon here) i am trying to get back into the regular-blogging swing, even though slow and not-so-steady has been my pace the last few months.
last night had dinner to celebrate the life of a dear friend of mine who i've known since i was still in those years before i could legally vote or drink or rent a car. yep, it's been a long time! here is to friends with history, and to growing older and wiser, even though right about now all i can see in that picture is my patch of grays. (just kidding- i do see that, but i also see the beauty of over half a lifetime of friendship.) grateful for her friendship, and for the many seasons of life we've gone through together. the magical ones, the downright terrible ones, and the in-between ones too. i do not take the gift of friendship lightly, and i treasure the friends who have shaped my world for the better. happy birthday, amy! much, much love to you today and always.
next up? knocking out some freelance.
here's to a beautiful monday. let me know what you think of the guest post i did, and feel free to follow up with any questions in the comments below.
i went to grad school with melissa's husband ned, who is an amazing painter. we became friends after grad school, as we held these rotating dinners with other friends we knew through art school. here we are celebrating melissa's birthday last year. it felt a little miraculous and wonderful to be celebrating another year of her life.
i want you to know that she was a gifted and beautiful person. that she loved beautiful things, and travel, and good meals, and laughing with friends, and making art, and writing, and pursuing justice, and succulents, and flea markets, and cooking, and speaking french, and her husband, and her cats, and being an aunt, and her family, and celebrity trash, and all sorts of vintage treasure.
she was incredibly smart, and funny, and witty, and self-deprecating, and kind, and sarcastic, and patient with my children and adventurous.
i liked going on walks with her or sitting in her backyard in the sun talking.
i know you did not know her. i know that i only knew her for a portion of her life, and that what i knew about her is only a small part of who she was. but i want to honor her, and who she was, by telling you the part of her story that intersected with my life.
the last night i hung out with melissa was the week she died. matt and i went over to hang with her and ned. the boys played backgammon and i sat with melissa and watched mindless reality tv and hung out with her as she wandered the house. at one point there was a ridiculous reality tv show that came on. i think it was called dating naked, and the contestants meet each other completely naked and then decide through a series of faux dates if they want to keep dating or not.really? i don't think you can get more superficial. it was a profound juxtaposition - the most shallow and insipid version of relationships and what i was experiencing in their living room: ned gently taking care of melissa, rubbing her back, getting her what she needed, and the two of them loving each other through everything. our culture's idea of physical beauty and spectacle on the screen was in stark contrast to the true beauty of two people who love each other through sickness and health.
today, if you see something beautiful or laugh out loud or taste delicious food, you can think of my friend, and how she would have loved it. thank you for reading about my friend.
i will miss you melissa, and i'm grateful for all you brought the world while you were living in it.
it was a beautiful evening, just perfect to walk through the streets of san francisco. lovely light, balmy bay area weather but without the city's fog, and lots of people out an about. we stumbled into a great art supply store on our walk from parking to the restaurant, so i stocked up on some painting supplies! (my kryptonite: paint. paper. pens. pencils. ok, any art supplies.) that's my kind of date- one that includes buying new oil paint.
we got there early enough that it wasn't very sceney yet- but the time the sun set and the waves of young and moneyed city crowd came in we were finishing up our dinner that we ate at the bar. tips if you ever go: the food was pretty heavy so keep that in mind. my favorite was one of the most simple things we had- a cheese prosciutto panini that we ate as a starter. it was delicious! we got an oder of meatballs but no joke, matt's meatballs (from the a16 cookbook) are exceptional, and far better than these. in the future i might just go for drinks and a starter. but who can complain about sharing pretty good food with one's favorite person?
saturday morning we headed to monrovia's school's bike day, which i think is one of the most fun family events they do every year. kids can get their bike fixed for free, decorate or bling their bike out with craft supplies, ride an obstacle course, learn how to ride a bike, borrow a bike and helmet for free, make smoothies by riding a bike with a blender attached, race to see who could go the slowest without losing balance and do follow the leader with bikes. super fun community building time!
next monrovia went off to celebrate her papa's birthday by accompanying him and her aunt chrissy to a cal bears game (his alma mater and very close to his heart team!) i'm sure you'll be surprised to know that she was slightly obsessed with the route of the cotton candy man. my girls never miss an opportunity to get snacks!
at one point when she was actually watching the game, papa says she was mad at the ref's call.
meanwhile, ruby went to the discovery museum with her grandma, so matt and i went on date #2!
first we went to the new show at the oakland museum, fertile ground. it was kind of a look at my artistic lineage, as some of the artistic communities portrayed were students or professors at uc davis and san francisco art institute, my undergraduate and graduate schools.
then off to one of my favorite restaurants in the hopes we could slip in and find a spot at the bar. happily we got a table! and of course as usual the food was insanely good.
dear woodtavern, will you go to the dance with me? xoxo, me
holy burrata and tomato situation. so so good.
matt's family celebrated my dad-in-law's birthday saturday night with food and pinata action over at my sister-in-law's, but i had a date with deaf moms on the books already, so over the bridge i went to meet up with old friends. how amazing the sky was as i crossed the bridge!
i always love catching up with other moms who have kids with hearing loss. they are my extended tribe, and we get where we've been and the struggles and triumphs we have now. for the record, i ate a massive meal at lunch so i didn't need to eat a single thing, and yet a massive and filled with creatures-of-the-sea (which i don't love) and other assorted chinese delicacies was spinning by me on the lazy susan all night long.
sunday morning i rocked the flock by singing with my mom playing piano (did you know i did that sometimes? why yes, it's true.) then it was baby shower time! my dear friend kendra hosted a pretty shower for our friends peter and connie, who are expecting a baby boy at the beginning of november! you really can't go wrong with feting new babies, friends, itty bitty cute baby things, bubbly, treats, good food (mashed potatoes and flank steak? yes please), and pretty decorations! (plus kendra is an amazing hostess, so her parties are always fun.)
i made a four layer yellow ombre cake with cream cheese frosting and lemon curd between the layers and the cutest root beer float cupcakes in a jar! (peter loves root beer floats so they were in honor of him.)
peter is famous for knowing celebrity trash (see what i did there?), so i also made up a celebrity baby match game which isn't cute, but was fun! how many can you get right?
such a fun weekend full of celebrations big and small, so now that i'm back in the routine of a regular ole week it makes me happy that somehow tomorrow is friday again!
oh, also? i am trying to blog more often here and over at my website. for glimpses into my studio, my paintings or current freelance projects or a dash of creativity, hop over to my other blog! for now the working title is: Art is Doing
to be honest i am in a bit of a funk this week. i am finally back in my studio and so much is on my mind: the loss of a friend earlier this month, which is still very heavy on my heart, what i am up to professionally as an artist and illustrator and where to focus my energy, the roller coaster of emotions that is parenting (i am not kidding you, monrovia is pushing my buttons in so many ways. 6 1/2 is killing me!!!), some rough relational stuff that i can't shake, my (seemingly) lifelong battle with staying healthy and strong despite pretty strong genetic predispositions to being overweight (um, and not helpful that THREE females in the last month have asked if i am pregnant. really people? do i really look pregnant?!) and last but not least the looming fact that i am turning 40 in a few months.
i recognize that no one really reads blogs anymore, or writes on them much either, but headed back here today to start writing again. and now off to work out some of my angst in the form of studio time.
this month i've been driving our girls down to redwood city for summer camp at the oral deaf school where m went from when she was 7 months old until she headed to mainstream preschool at 4.
it's a schlep of course, but so worth it. worth it for her to connect with her friends with hearing loss, worth it for ruby to be around lots of kids who are like her sister, worth it for m to see littler kiddos with hearing loss who are learning to listen and speak.
i love little moments we've had this month:
morning music every morning
which takes me back to when m was tiny, barely talking, and would come to music
the play after camp is over. the kids play for at least an hour, and i love this free time for them to be with each other and build, create, problem solve, resolve conflict, laugh, and be crazy silly.
the safety and comfort that comes with being with kids that m has known since she was a baby, and ruby since she was born. it fills my heart. i wish our kids lived closer, but they also have each other as a home base, and that is a gift.
why it matters? as in why i don't mind the drive, and the time, and the expense:
monrovia has loved getting to see adults with implants, since two of the parents have implants this summer. and she always loves being around other people with hearing loss. she asked me one day this month why there couldn't be more kids at her school with implants like her. i want her to stay connected to her friends who also navigate the hearing world, but are also a little "different" from their typical hearing peers, like her.
this week on the drive down ruby asked, "why does monrovia need to wear implants?" i was a little taken aback- after all, every single day in the morning we say, "monrovia can't hear you; she doesn't have her implants on yet." and m talks about being deaf all the time. but i realized ruby needed me to connect the dots more for her, so i explained the hearing test that newborn babies take, and how monrovia didn't pass hers, and how we found out that she was deaf and that meant she can't hear anything. at the end of explaining it all, i asked her if she ever wished she had implants too. she said, "yes, and mine would be yellow with sunflowers."
it matters because monrovia is deaf, and always will be. it matters because matt and i am not, and yet i want to give her soft places to land, as many opportunities for connection with other kids who have hearing loss too, and as many times as possible for ruby to understand the world monrovia lives in.
um, plus? i've gotten three hours to myself every monday, wednesday, and friday, and i won't lie: it's been awesome.
i keep meaning to post pictures of the progress of our backyard, because it's changed so much since we first moved in to our home.
it used to look like this! and, wow! monrovia used to look like that too. teeny, tiny and two. this is when i was super-really-about-to-pop-pregnant with ruby and we had just moved in to our house.
now that same part of the yard looks like this:
and even though we have a ways to go, it is my favorite to be out there because we play and host and hang and make space for those who don't have their own and eat and drink and make merry and make bubbles and swing and hang from the monkey bars and garden and harvest and...it is good.
maybe i'll do a backyard tour sometime, but this is a glimpse of just the last week out there for now! it's a busy spot:
lots and lots of play
working on an interactive art piece for our neighborhood block party
sky watching above our orange tree
hosting a meal for youth from oakland leadership center
and just because tutus were involved and so that makes it cuter,
we made tutus and ate ice cream sundaes at a preschool ballerina party!
plus just sitting of course, because we all need to rest!
here's to rest, and places to just be, and home that feels like a landing place.