Monday, September 23, 2013

Six dollars, well spent

I went to the thrift shop on Friday to look for a few kid t-shirts.  I came home with t-shirts, plus a giant polyester quilt top.
This could so easily have come from my late grandma's pile of handmade things.  She made lots of clothes for her husband and six children, and she wasn't one to waste the leftovers.  Remember how I put together a little collage of some of her fabrics?
Many of the prints are garish; I'm sure that the bell bottom pants made from that brown plaid are stunningly ugly.  But somehow, when you sew them all together and edge them with polka-dotted pink, they are beautiful.  To me, anyway.
The "projects to do" pile in my craft room is worthy of its own hoarding reality show, so I snuck this baby in the house and threw it in the washing machine without showing it to Matt.  You know how wet dog smell is so much more pungent and offensive than dry dog smell?  It turns out it's the same with the thrift shop/mothball scent of a polyester quilt.  After hanging it on the line to air out a bit, I tried to fold it up quickly and put it away, but I was spotted.
Matt: Why are you trying to hide your quilt?
Sarah: Oh.  Yeah.  I bought a quilt top today.  I didn't think you'd seen it yet.
Matt: Seen it?  I could smell it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deep thoughts from the carpool lane

Yesterday a lady said to me, "I like your outfit."  I thanked her, and she continuted, "How did you decide on it?"  We were working on a outdoor project in 97 degree heat, and I had chosen a tshirt and skirt that I didn't mind getting sweaty.  I was wearing green gym shoes, plus white ankle socks chosen primarily for comfort, so I suspected that my feet looked a little goony.  I didn't care much, because of the 97 degrees and all.
(You can see the shoes here.  They look much goonier paired with a skirt and white ankle socks.)

The lady in question is no snooty fashionista, but I still wondered if she was teasing me.  I answered something about skirts being more comfortable than shorts, and that was the end of it.
This morning I pulled up to drop off my kids at school.  "Woah, nice car!" said the patrol guard as she opened the sliding door.
"Thank you," I replied with a smile.
Wait.  What?
I've mentioned before how the patrol guards often have trouble knowing what to do with us.  They stand back, waiting for me to activate the automatic sliding door, and then I lower the window and say, "Yeah, you just have to open it.  You have to yank it kind of hard."  Then when it's time to close the door, they give it a pull, and it sticks.  "Yeah, it's kind of tough," I offer weakly.  Half the time, they don't close it hard enough, and it doesn't latch properly, so I have to pull forward and then get out and close it myself.
Last week, I kid you not, a boy successfully closed the door, and the patrol guard next to him called out, "Yeah!  That's the first time I've seen you do it right!"  I'm pretty sure that we actually have a reputation among the fifth graders.
So, back to this morning's "Woah, nice car!"  Surely this girl was not sincerely impressed with my 13-year-old Mazda van.  But SURELY this cute ten-year-old wearing a green and silver sequined beret was not being rude and sarcastic right to my face.  Right?

Ah, well.  It's the anniversary of September 11.  I'm doing my best to put a lot of good out into the universe this week.  Starting with assuming the best intentions.  I got it from a book about toddler behavior.  It's one of those cases I mentioned in this post, where a parenting book was mostly junk, but contained a nugget of truth. 

When you have two options, to believe that the person meant to harm you or to believe that they meant welll, choose to believe that they meant well.  Definitely easier said than done (especially if your kid has just stepped on that unreasonably delicate skin on the inside of your foot for the third time in so many minutes), but it's powerful concept if you can do it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sculpture garden

I met some friends at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden a couple weeks ago.  It was almost too hot and muggy to fully appreciate it, but it is a lovely collection.  Looking at the three photos I took, I feel they paint a fairly complete picture of my life at this moment.

This is exactly where we are in baby development: fold oneself in half; proceed to eat own toes.

The title of this next one is something about war or refugees, and I certainly don't want to make light of the subject matter.  But if you added a couple rowdy boys chasing each other around with sticks and screaming for food in the background, then that exhausted, defeated mom is me at least once every day.

But it's balanced out by this peaceful, serene moment.  I experience this often between the hours of 8 and 3 on school days.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Take some, leave some

I've read a lot of articles and blog posts offering advice on how to raise decent humans.  It feels like there is a new one every day, sweeping through the internet with thoughts on Miley Cyrus or two piece swim suits or Miley Cyrus.  They have titles like "Things I want my sons to remember" or "Dear Miley Cyrus". (The internet sure loves an open letter, doesn't it?)

The one I just read this morning is titled "FYI (if you're a teenage girl)", and several of my fellow mothers have shared it on facebook.  I must admit I'm getting a little tired of the "Ladies, please cover up your bodies so that the men folk can keep their minds pure" shtick.  And ironically enough, the blog post is accompanied by photos of the author's shirtless teenage sons doing muscle poses on a beach.  A quick look at the comments shows that I'm not the only one who calls baloney on that double standard.

However, I am also gettting tired of the "trying hard to look sexy in every photo" business that is pervasive in social media.  Put your kissy face away once in a while.  Let it rest.  Let it be gone long enough for us to miss it.  And once my sons are old enough for social media, I will scroll through their accounts and messages, blocking inappropriate content.  That includes braless selfies, raised middle fingers, and overuse of "d-bag" and its variations.  I'm a prude, y'all.

So I wasn't sure how to feel about the article.  Then I realized, I don't have to pick "love it" or "hate it".  It's like when I read a parenting book.  Keep the good ideas, the things that resonate, and discard the rest.

Regular audits of social media?  Keep.
Double standards?  Discard.
Open family discussions about appropriate teenage behavior?  Keep.

Once I finished reading "FYI", I read some of the previous posts on that blog.  I came across a phrase that is definitely a keeper, and I immediately posted it on the fridge, which means I'll see it many, many times per day:
"Why are you guys yelling so much?!?" she yelled.