Culture and the art of not getting it

As a mother I occasionally have a yen to throw something a little different at The Codefendants and see what pans out.  Most times we’re all pleasantly surprised and wind up feeling a little smug and worldly as if to say well, we never had any doubts.  Piece a cake, baby!

Unless it’s food.  Generally speaking, if it’s food what pans out is vomit.  Here’s a tip for ya: NEVER FORCE A CHILD TO EAT BROCCOLI UNLESS YOU’RE COMMITTED TO CLEANING IT UP.

Where was I?

So, school’s out for summer (any Alice Cooper fans out there?) and they’re already bored.  Fortunately, His Awesomeness’ boredom is somewhat alleviated by a little thing called a job.  Sonic slush, anyone?  

Which leaves The Diva.  

She’s already made homemade slime.  Think snot, only purple.  She gave me a makeover because, at forty-three, I have no idea how to apply makeup.  She fussed over my lack of appropriate brushes and primer (isn’t that for walls?) and bemoaned my crepey eyelids and orange-ish complexion a la The Donald.

And then there’s that mecca for all brainiacs…the library.  📚.  It’s the summer of the biography in our house and she’s already devoured tomes on CS Lewis, Audrey Hepburn, Henry VIII’s six wives, and Mickey Mantle while I’m over here speed reading through raunchy romance novels.

Not to cast aspersions on our town, but there isn’t much to do here.  Which means you have to drive.  And hope that what awaits at the end doesn’t require funds from a body part you sold or a bathing suit.

Dallas, here we come.


It’s deja vu all over again!  It’s like Dallas knows we’re coming and just rolls out the welcome mat right along with the crummy weather, traffic accidents and nutty drivers.

Yay.

We finally arrive, after driving the I-35 corridor at 50 mph most of the way, at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Four floors of old stuff (apparently that’s me); really old stuff (pottery, textiles, paintings, furniture); and ancient stuff (as in sculpture).


Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 by Leon Polk Smith.  I see a quilt here. 👆🏻

A Baltimore album quilt with trapunto attributed to Martha E. Keech.  👆🏻

We’d been there maybe thirty minutes when I realized The Diva was extraordinarily quiet and I looked over to find her stone faced, responding to my questions with one word answers.  Are you okay?  Fine.  Are you sick?  No.  What’s the matter?  Nothing.

Sensing a mood swing of epic proportions and not wanting either of us to lose our shit in what was essentially a mausoleum for old, really expensive stuff, I was trying to think fast.  And quietly.  

Light bulb 💡 

Are you overwhelmed?  

I got a look that was part relief and part duh 🙄 and after giving ourselves permission to skip the stuff that made us check each other for a pulse, we more or less hustled ourselves through the remainder of the early American section and most of Africa.  I’m pretty sure there was plenty of other stuff to see, but most of it was a blur interspersed with me asking myself  what is THAT and what does it MEAN?

Forgive me for being a philistine, but I don’t get art at all.  To me, it’s like attending car shows with Himself.  A car’s either pretty or ugly and sounds good.  End of story.

With art, I stand there, head cocked like an eager spaniel and hope I don’t scratch or widdle on the floor.

Like this 👇🏻.  It’s cool and it’d look great as a quilt, but 🤷‍♀️


Or this 👇🏻 by Christopher Wool.  What does it mean?  No more home and no more coats.  Huh?


This (by Leon Frederic) 👇🏻I get, but the gratuitous display of breast unsettled The Diva.  Do we really need to see that? she intoned.  Beats me, but it’s just so beautiful and nurturing and hey, I get it! 


The detail…swoon.

Anyway, we’d made it down to the lower level with all the sculpture.  My favorite!  It never ceases to amaze me how ancient dudes got the drape of fabric, the curl of a lock of hair, the detail just so from rock.

How did they do that?!  Genius.

I’m marveling at it all when I hear a huge sigh, one generally reserved for a climactic final cinematic breath and the words every mother wants to hear uttered aloud in what was a fairly crowded room.

Another penis.  What is it with all these penises?!

I was stuck somewhere between wanting to be zapped by lightning on the spot, hoping for a huge sinkhole to open beneath me and making that ugly braying donkey laugh I generate when I’m really amused and trying not to be.  Nevertheless, I had some splainin’ to do.  She didn’t believe me about the ancients’ love of the human form and isn’t it beautiful, etc, etc.  All she saw was nekkid men.  I’ll admit to never understanding the ancient use of urine to bleach items or grabbing ones testicles as a attestation of ones truthfulness (hence the word testimony) but whatever.  Naked people look good, even the fat ones and can we please bring back the appreciation of such from Rubens?!  Can I get a hallelujah?

Maybe I should just stick to getting my culture from yogurt.

En Provence Progress 

En Provence isn’t my first Bonnie Hunter rodeo (that was Double Delight…ugh and it still isn’t done), but it is the first one I’ve participated in at the time the clues have been coming out.  

I’m so glad Bonnie included paper piecing options for clues 2 and 4 as I’m a little intimidated by that ruler and paper piecing makes my perfectionist heart go potty pat.  Maybe someday I’ll use that ruler.  And add in the fact that these block pieces aren’t tiny like Double Delight and I am one happy quilter.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up kinda-sorta pretty well.  Clues 1 and 2 are completed and I’ve spent the weekend working on clues 3 and 4.  In fact, Clue 3 is finished except for the pressing.  That’s close enough to finished, isn’t it?!

  

I love batiks.  I pulled all the magenta, purples, pinks and greens from my stash and barely made a dent.  I’ve had to buy neutrals by the bucketload because there’s nary a one to be had at my house.  The LQS doesn’t carry many batiks and definitely no batik neutrals so I opted to use whatever non-batik neutrals I could find.  I reasoned that if I ordered fabrics, I’d have to wait and be behind when everything got rolling.  Also, I’m cheap.  Just ask The Co-Defendants.

This weekend has been perfect for sewing.  A cold front blew in Saturday dropping the temperature to an overnight low in the 20s.  And I didn’t cook…all weekend long (until tonight anyway).


Perfect weather for sewing, chugging coffee by the gallon and letting the dachshund in and out (and in and out) to chase imaginary squirrels.  I never convinced her the squirrels were holed up somewhere toasty.  Crazy dog.


His Awesomeness and I did get out some yesterday (he’s practicing for his upcoming driver’s license test) and I managed to convince him to take me by a quilt shop I spied on the way to his girlfriend’s house.  It’s a lovely shop I never knew existed because they don’t advertise at all.  I guess that’s how you miss something for four years!  Anyway, look what I found.


Neutral batiks and some pretty flannel plaid ($6/yd from Benartex…be still my heart)!  I’ll definitely be back.  Himself just cringed at the mention of my finding a new place to drop some dough.

I’ve started spinning seams on some clue 3 blocks I’ve actually pressed and cranked up some T. Swift while readying my paper piecing templates for Clue 4.


My children didn’t appreciate head-bopping and I suffered through plenty of head shaking and looks of horror before the day concluded.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I’m hoping to be fully caught up by the debut of the next clue.

Happy quilting!

The Diva Turns Twelve

I started a tradition of writing a letter to each of the kids on their birthday, starting with their first.  And then life happened and I got off track.  This is the first I’ve put on the blog. She’ll either love it or it’ll give her something to talk about in therapy.

—————————-

I knew it was coming; it was just a matter of when.  

At Hey Sugar in downtown Waco

Years of planning those friggin’ themed birthday parties.  Gag.  Little hats, matchy-matchy napkins and plates, glitter, pink, princesses and one year, that damn purple dinosaur.  How I loathed Barney.  And don’t even talk to me about Dora and her annoying backpack.  Trust me, if all life’s answers could be found in a backpack, I’d be toting one of those puppies.

The Diva and my mother, the kicker of cancer’s ass

And now those days are past me because ‘parties are for babies’.  I’m torn between a fist pump accompanied by an unladylike whoop and a bit of misty eyed nostalgia.  *sniff*

That first taste of a Health Camp shake

She’s been working on the whole tween thing, perfecting the eyeball roll, the derisive sneer for anything harboring a whiff of uncool and ‘Mom’ delivered in that tone that all girls eventually master that effectively conveys all your idiocy and unhipness in a flowing rhythm of syllables.  How the hell do they do that?  It’s a gift I suppose.


She decided on a birthday meal at a local burger joint that’s been around since 1948.  For this child, anything from the 80s is retro.  I, a product of 1974, thankyouverymuch, am practically an antique to her.  She once asked me when we got color television.  The snark is strong with this one.


But as I sat across the table from her and watched her take that first bite of a Health Camp shake, it occurred to me I haven’t said goodbye to my baby, I’m just saying hello to the awesome young woman she’s becoming.

And so I sit here in the middle of Barnes and Noble, tears streaming down my face as I write this post.  For the longest I’ve viewed motherhood as a series of goodbyes.  What an idiot.  

The Diva and His Awesomeness

There are so many more hellos to be had.  You’ll rock some of them.  Some of them will rock you.  But I watch you and I see you.  All you are, all you’ll be.  

I love you, P.

Love, Mama

While the Cat’s Away 

The bards were right on the money about distance and hearts and fondness.  I for one am an advocate of getting away for a bit from the spouse.  Isn’t that why quilt retreats were invented?  Himself gets to do his thing: cars, beer, scratching without nagging. And I get to do mine: shop, read, quilt.

Such was life at ye olde homestead this past weekend.  The Testosterone Twins hied off to Louisiana for the Power Tour (cars and, most assuredly, questionably clad female folks) while The Diva and I stayed behind.  

All alone.  On a payday weekend.  Heehee.

I’ve had some experience with being left to my own devices while my better half attends one of his car events and, I must say, for a brief time it is divine.

For one thing, I didn’t cook all weekend long.  Can I get a hallelujah?! 

I introduced The Diva to the wonders of Double Dave’s peproni rolls.  Yes, that’s how they spell it.


I’d already told Himself that I wanted new dishes.  It’s been almost twenty years and I’ve tired of them.  He looked a bit nervous until I assured him I’d keep him.  Unless Tom Selleck called and then I’d have to weigh my options.


Yep, that’s turquoise and avocado green.  They’re fun and funky and practically indestructible.  And they play nicely against my Lustro ware circa 1950s kitchen canisters.

We started our weekend with a lively discussion of fashion do-s and don’ts. Apparently, this is okay…


Camel toe, is not.  No pictures.  You’re welcome.

Saturday morning we set out for local antiques shops, on the hunt for vintage Pyrex and linens. Let me say up front: The Diva was a trooper.  Sure, we only made it to three places, but when they aren’t air conditioned, that’s the equivalent of ten.

Our first stop was to downtown Lorena and Just for You, which is in an old bank/post office building.

Check out the ceiling tin!




Funny how peeling paint lends ambiance in someone else’s place.  In mine it just looks redneck.

And look at the view into the courtyard.


Alas, no Pyrex, but The Diva just had to have this miniature.


As if one real live miniature isn’t enough. 🙄 

Then we crossed the street to Center Street Antiques Mall.  If I were one of those folks who takes pictures instead of standing in the aisles slack-jawed, I’d have something to show you.  But, no.  They had everything and then some as my grandmother would’ve said.  And they had these.


My covetous little heart spied a nearly perfect set of four mixing bowls, but my stomach dropped at the asking price.  What would it take to own them?  Could I hawk a body part, sell a child? 

I guess some of my Nana rubbed off because I talked him down and brought these home.  Along with all my parts.  Oh, and the kid.



Don’t they look right purty in my cabinet?


It’s the little things, y’all.

I’d scored the blue bowls a few days before the boys’ departure.


Next up: downtown Waco and Hey Sugar!

It’s the newest candy shop in town and a must stop for The Diva.  Retro music blaring, bright colors, and a hearty “hey, sugar!” as we walked through the door.  Whats not to love?!


It was packed to the gills with children who thought their grubby mitts were perfect devices for plucking unwrapped candies from their bins and harried parents.  I tried not to think of all the cooties.

The Diva was in heaven.



Here she is Saturday night, ripping the head off a gummy frog.  🐸


There are no words.  Ugh.

There was ice cream, too.


And an interesting door.


And this questionable photo angle.  Geesh.


There was the requisite visit (or two) to the bookstore; the pool; a viewing or ten of Zootopia (a kids’ movie that’s actually good); and a stop at the quilt shop.  We had a blast!

The boys have since made it home, complete with sunburns, tshirts and one cracked windshield.  Don’t ask.


We’re pooped, but what a weekend!

Revisiting Mary Ellen’s Sunflowers 

You remember this quilt top?


It’s the one my great-grandmother made, the one desperately in need of quilting, the elephant sitting squarely in the middle of the quilting room.  Since that blog post in 2011, I haven’t touched this baby.  I decided this was the time.

Luck and an escape from work allowed me to hit the road to Brazos House in Rainbow, TX again for the second time this year.  Squeal!  The Diva claims the chuckle I emitted and happy dance I performed were just this side of pure evil.  Something told me this wasn’t kid code for cool.  So I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I hopped on my broom and blew that popcorn stand, leaving behind His Awesomeness who may or may not have marked my departure as his good fortune; The Diva who bemoaned being left behind with two testosterone laden beings; Himself, whom I’m fairly certain I kissed as I blew out the door; and the dog, whom I’m sure is planning a retaliatory poop for my return home.  Be sure to flick it onto the carpet like last time, you little schnitzel!

Himself just stood there and looked like he’d been shot out of a cannon.  

There may be carnage when I get home.  At the very least, the house will look like a merry band of marauding Vikings encamped in the living room.  But for a few days of quilting in the country, I’ll take it.

The Diva and Himself (before becoming cannon fodder)

The more I make this trip, the faster it is to get here.  This may or may not have something to do with my willy-nilly adherence to posted speed limits and my general disregard for my own personal safety.  I like to think of it as survival instinct.  Only in reverse.  Because, even though I love ’em, sometimes a little distance makes me love them even more and want to kill them a little less.  Mommy loves you guys!

My mission this go round was to make headway with quilting the sunflowers.  You remember them?  Go back and read the beginning of this post.  I’ll wait.  Yes, I got sidetracked, but I’m back now.  Keep up.

The going is slow and tedious and requires significant snackage.  Yes, that’s a word because I said so.  Don’t argue with Mother.  Here’s a bit of progress.  I’m not showing it all because I’m mean and I want you to come back for more.  Plus, I haven’t had coffee yet so I’m not even human.


These colors aren’t true, but I’m making do.  They are, in fact, lighter and more toward the pastel side of things.  Eww.  Again, I digress.

There are twenty (pause for dramatic sobbing and liberal use of tissues) blocks.  Twenty.  Like what I was twenty-two years ago.  

I am going to die before I finish this thing (more sobbing and perhaps a fit of the vapors.  Where’s my fainting couch?) !!!

I did have a nice walk yesterday morning, with two lovely escorts.  I bet their bathroom business isn’t vindictive.  Take note my dictatorial dachshund!


And there was a trip to Babe’s for chicken fried steak.  Yes, that’s leftovers.  In my purse.  You can never be too prepared.


I’m not so Pollyanna or delusional as to think I’ll actually get this whole thing quilted, but a quilter can dream.

Until next time.

Of Quilts, Kids, and Questionable Odors

Mine is a world filled with the wondrous wonderfulness that is beautiful fabric: its softness, its supple textures, its exorbitant price tag.  Pretty fabric, lovely fabric, jump into my stash.  

I always say this weekend I will sew, which roughly translates to after tending to everything else.  

This weekend, ‘everything else’ has amounted to a plethora of experiences, some of which I’d just as soon avoid.

First up, letting His Awesomeness get behind the wheel. 😱  

This child, like his father before him, is a curb hugger.  I cannot tell you the times I’ve shrunk toward the driver’s side in an effort to, please, sweet baby Jesus!, don’t let us hit that mailbox!!  He doesn’t seem to appreciate that there’s plenty of asphalt for all to enjoy.  Never mind the fact that there is no oncoming traffic.  Meanwhile, my posterior is doing something my Mama nicely refers to as ‘working buttonholes in the seat’.  As much clenching as my butt cheeks have done, you should be able to bounce a quarter off ’em. Not that you’d want to since we’ve never formally met, but, you know.  Frankly, driving lessons should fall to the father, I mean biological here, not God, but boy have God and I had some pretty intense conversations during those drives.

In an effort to relax, I turn to Lennie the Featherweight.  Sewing for me is like a wonderful night on the town with a good looking man without all those pesky expectations of what happens when you get dropped at the door.  Lennie doesn’t care if I drink or swear, wear undergarments reminiscent of grannies and he certainly doesn’t expect to be invited in for a nightcap.  

On that note, I finished one flimsy and have moved on to another.  Clearly, quilting it isn’t high on my list of priorities, like shaving my legs in the dead of winter.

I don’t name my quilts, but this one reminds me of water flowing over rocks.  I love it.   

 
I’ve started another one that’s all flannel, because obviously, when the temperatures start to climb, you want to work with fabric that’ll  make you sweat like a hooker at a Saturday night tent revival.  Idiot. 

   

This past Friday, I said goodbye to my favorite volunteer who is moving to be closer to family.  I’ll miss you, Mr. Todd.  

And to round out my week, our newest furbaby decided it would be epically delightful to roll in something that smells of a wonderful dichotomy of sewage and death.  My Lulu never did this.  I can only guess that it’s a hound thing.  Bad Ziva!  

I’m hoping this next week leaves out the surprises and just leaves me with a tighter tush.

December hodge-podge

Every year it seems the Christmas season is upon us before I’ve even exhaled from the hubbub that is Thanksgiving.  You’d think after 41 years it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  You’d be wrong, but you could think it.  The whole Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas thing is such a conglomeration of activity. Kind of like this post.  Buckle up, buttercup.

So, I’d cleared the table of the bounty that was the last holiday and started hauling in the stash that represents 18 years worth of Christmases for Himself and I and our precious little snowflakes, The Codefendants.  

So.  Much.  Stuff.

We’ve lucked out the last few years, or maybe it’s that Himself and I have cried ‘uncle’ and said “To heck with it; it’s not about the tree anyway” and let His Awesomeness and The Diva have *mostly* free rein to decorate as they see fit.  Having a prelit tree doesn’t hurt either.  Two thumbs up for the prelit tree creator!

His Awesomeness , tree master

I always thought my husband was anal (trust me, that is the word for it) about the tree lights and branches being just so.  He’s got nothing on this kid.
Yes, this is my son shaping branches from under the tree!  Who looks under the tree?!  I wish he’d give as much attention to his rank as a locker room bedroom.

  
  

Still at it.

The Diva, being the expert on fashion (hoodies are appropriate for all occasions) and all things decor, none too gently informed me that aqua and lime green weren’t appropriate choices for Christmas.  I’m such a troglodyte.  🙄

And so it was silver and red for the front porch.  
   

The only place I was allowed to touch was the treadle sewing machine in the living room.  I swear I don’t know how I leave the house in the morning without being a complete embarrassment to them.  Oh, wait, haha, I don’t.

Still, left to my own devices, I didn’t do half bad.  I love the little olive wood nativity.

 

And I snuck in a wreath after they’d gone to bed.  We moms are good at that sneaky thing, aren’t we?  How else would the little darlings learn to do it right?  

At the end of the frenzy, we have a truly awesome tree.  Can anyone spot my favorite ornament?  Hint: it’s a hockey player.  

There’s even been a bit of decorating where I work.  Who says bodily functions aren’t funny?!

 

It was in the 70s here today with 80% humidity and won’t get truly cold until about February.  And the trees still look like this…  

I’m pretty sure Santa wears shorts and a tank top for his flyover.  That’s Texas for ya.

And on a final note, WordPress kindly informed me the other day of my three year blogging anniversary.  As I hopped over from another site, this puts me at the 5 year blogging mark.  Holy crap!  Five years of torturing folks with my ramblings on all things kid, mothering and quilting, with a few expletive filled rants thrown in for good measure. My followers are saints.  Or masochists.  Yep, y’all are awesome!

So, in the spirit of giving, I made a little something to give away in celebration of aforementioned anniversary and in appreciation of you guys.

 

It’s meant to be a mat for a sewing machine, but let’s face it, once it gets to your house, you can do as you please with it.
  

If you’d like a chance at it, leave a comment and I’ll have a minion, I mean a child, draw a name on December 18th.

So, here endeth my 5th year of blogging and my 495th post.  I leave you with this…

There’s enough meanspiritedness and asshattery to go around. I should know: I ride a broom occasionally myself. 

So…

While we’re all winding down to make merry and, for some, to await the birth of the Savior, please remember the spirit of the season and be nice to one another…not just for now.  Make an effort.  For the love of Pete, go spread some joy and good cheer!

Hijacked Accounts, My Email’s Whack and Offers I Can’t Refuse

Mail.  

As a kid, something in the mailbox meant a number of exciting possibilities: an invitation, a birthday, Christmas…a rubber snake.  Ahem.  As an adult, it means bills, credit card offers and the occasional postcard offering me a discounted rate on Playgirl.  Yay, me.

In my mind, email at least means freedom from someone wanting me to pay up…after all, I gave birth to two of those.  Sure, there’s the daily detritus in the form of school grade reports (grab the Xanax), little ‘just checking in’ notes from teachers (almost as bad as principal phone calls), offers for dates with hot Asian ladies and marriage to Russian brides and, my personal favorite, offers of male enhancement products.  Personally speaking, I’m looking for something  to shrink my badonkadonk, m’kay?  I’d like to know what triggers this deluge of horse pucky.  Is it me searching ‘kilted hotties’ on Pinterest?  Gawd!

Lately, I’ve been getting email wanting me to confirm my Friar Lawrence Twitter account.  I’m sorry….whaaaa?  Then there’re the Instagram updates from some redneck I’m not acquainted with who spends quite a bit of his time waxing rhapsodic about his girl and life in general, turning my account into something of an enigma.  Where’re the offers for Dr. Hardy Wood’s Root Stimulator?  Poof, gone.

Anyhow, in an effort to keep an eye on His Awesomeness and his many varied social media accounts, I decided to reactivate my own account and commence snooping.  I tried Instagram for five minutes several months ago and decided I’d have more fun ripping out my eyelashes, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.  

Eight follow requests awaited me, evenly split between pimply-faced dudes and buxom twits.  ‘What form of madness is this?‘, I asked His Awesomeness. ‘You’re just awesome, Mom‘, came the immediate retort, forcing my b.s. meter to full tilt.  No male on the planet’s that on his toes in the face of female skepticism, amiright?

By now you’ve reached the same conclusion I had.  My own son hacked my deactivated account…linked to my personal email, may I just add.  Criminy!  At least he had the grace to look chagrined.  It’s a wonder they make it through puberty.

Himself offered to patrol His Awesomeness ‘s account, a sacrifice he assured me he was willing to make.  I took him up on the offer.  At least now there’s time to place that Canadian Viagra order.

The Great Intimidator 

Move over, Dale, Sr.  I’m coming through!  

Don’t I look intimidating, especially with that mouth full of metal.

Attempting to fix Lennie the Featherweight

Intimidating is not a word that comes to mind when I describe myself.  Let’s face it, I’m a forty-one year old pudgy mom with more than a few gray hairs (the hairdresser, bless her heart, says they’re highlights) crows feet, a bosom that is rapidly heading toward my toes, a potty mouth and a side of sass.  

But I must bear the visage of one mean mutha because intimidating clings to me like a crop-dusted fart.

Case in point: 

The other night I e-mailed The Diva’s teacher about an incident at school (don’t ask) and asked her to call me the next day.  I wanted to say a lot more, but I tend to be blunt (another clinging fart I can’t shake) so I kept it short and sweet.  Hey, I said please! Imagine my surprise when the phone rang about an hour and a half later and it was the teacher.  Hmmm, that’s quick, I thought.  This can’t  possibly turn out well.

She started off by saying she’d prayed for quite some time before returning my call.  

Seriously?  While I’ll admit I may drive some folks, well, Himself anyway, to drink, I don’t think I’ve ever driven anyone to pray before picking up the phone.    Usually it’s me doing the praying when I hear the words ‘Mrs. Bowen?’ on a call from the school.

I think this is something I should work on a bit harder.  If I’m intimidating at my current age and state of physical awesomeness (hahahahahaha), how far up the scariness scale could I get with a few modifications?  Perhaps a facial piercing or spider web neck tattoo….

Good grief.