Friday, January 29, 2010

it doesn't look like an implement of torture

I made some curtains for the boys' room today. I really love the big circle graphic thing on the right side. I have two curtain-related confessions, though. The first is: these curtains are made out of sheets, sheets that I bought at a grocery store in Texas. Yes, sheets from a grocery store. For $1.99, no less. I saw those groovy circles and knew one day they would grace a pair of curtains. The other confession is that it required 65 minutes, a couple of zip ties and medical tape to get these ridiculous curtains hung. Why? Because I used one of these little numbers:

Yes, the kind of curtain rod I swore after college never to use again. But the hardware was already in place, courtesy of the last owner and I thought, "Why not? People use these things all the time. It'll work fine." This same logic has led to all manner of horrible TV shows, incidentally. "Survivor is so popular! Why not apply that formula to courtship, weight loss, applying for a job, dating, cooking..."

I digress. Suffice it to say that in the time it took to hang that ridiculous curtain rod, I could have gone to Target to buy a real curtain rod and picked up a Sonic Chocolate Diet Coke, thus avoiding a a great deal of frustration and swearing under my breath.

Ah, well. Sleep soundly, my children. There are some lovely modernish curtains to keep out the cold and harsh light of morning. And plenty of medical tape nearby should you require it in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the all-purpose room gets a makeover

This room was not a selling point when we bought this house. I like to let laundry pile up until it's 3 feet above the hamper and then do it all in one long day while I watch Hitchcock movies and eat black bean nachos. Unfortunately, this room can't hide that all-day process like a nice basement laundry room might. I didn't see a basement laundry room in my immediate future, though, so I updated this room. The Country Blue painted border was making me depressed.

Here's the room now, minus a cabinet above the toilet, depressing border, and towel rack. Pedestal sink to come (soon, hopefully). The current counter/sink situation is blocking the heat vent. Nothing should ever block a heat vent in a Michigan house.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

fake plastic trees

Maybe there's some corner of the internet devoted to FREE, scalable, simply drawn graphics that a person could use to make freezer paper stencils. I haven't found it yet. (If you google "stencil patterns" you get LOTS of ivy and even a few country ducks.) I wanted to find a silhouette of a tree, couldn't find it online, etc. As I was cleaning up the family room, inspiration struck in the form of a little plastic tree:

It was perfect! A little small, but I used the famous grid method for copying it onto a larger piece of paper.

Here's the final result--curtains for the kitchen window. Total cost: $2.00. (Clearance linen-blend fabric, fabric paint, freezer paper for stencil.)

(Sorry so dark--I took that picture at 10's not very sunny today.) Little by little I'm introducing some color into our very tan/honey oak house. Next up: the laundry room.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So the latest put-down in Elementary School World is "meaner" (apparently). Maybe it's been popular for a long time. We don't have cable so we're slow on the uptake for linguistic trends. Anyway, this week I've been one (a "meaner" that is--I sort of prefer "meanie," it sounds kind of cute and cheeky, whereas "meaner" is purposeful and deliberate). dh has been working late every single night. Super Q has been a trapped in a maelstrom of 7 year old emotions and fake injury. I've had the weirdest and worst sleep (trying to not use the Ambien but falling back on it more often than not). The cutie (the nephew I babysit) has been almost totally nap-resistant, to the point of careening around the house, drunk with fatigue and still waking up the moment his head reaches the pack n' play.

It's so crazy, this mothering thing. Such a struggle between order and discipline and demanding respect and getting the homework and chores done and then letting natural consequences happen and cherishing childhood and making warm memories.

I hope I'm not screwing it up.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist another beehive hairdo photo).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

arizona with no baedecker, er, camera cord

I'm not usually fixated on wealth (see last post). The attitudinal accessories of money make me a little queasy. I wouldn't mind a few extra thousand dollars to put toward plane tickets, though. After 2 glorious (and I mean glorious) weeks in Arizona I have decided that I need to visit way more often. 65 degrees. Sun. Siblings. Delicious Mexican food on every corner. I took it for granted for so many years. In high school I actually wished for gray skies and rain and real sweater weather. (My dark itchy thrift-store wardrobe didn't jibe well with that heat). But now... what I wouldn't give for flip-flops in January.

Highlights included many nights cooking with my mom and siblings with Aretha in the background, a lovely Christmas morning with thank-you hugs after every gift (I got 2 booklights--yes, I asked for a booklight--and one bright pink Snuggie), a little shopping, Avatar in 3-D, a few family parties, Rock Band, a reunion with a high school friend, and, as the grand finale, a night out on New Year's Eve. The theme of the night was BIG HAIR and delicious Mediterranean food. And no camera cord with which to charge the camera. I will rely on my facebooking sisters to provide the pics of my big beehive hair and post those later. (Thanks, Tony, for the pic).

At each (somewhat infrequent) family gathering someone mentions how fortunate we are to have such close relationships. It's true. No one is "not speaking" to anyone else. We keep in close contact online and on the phone. We're all best friends, the whole jolly lot of us.

I try to convince my boys how important their relationship is. Years pass and the people we tried to impress, the cliques we clamored to join, the masks we wore all fade away. Our families remain. I'm so grateful for mine.