Monday, January 28, 2013

The Grouch Anthem

(Began this post on Sunday 1/27/13):
I'm still struggling with some grouchies for a lot of reasons. No, not the weather. It's been great, actually! Cloudy and rainy!

No, my grouchies are resulting from people who are moving from the neighborhood/ward. It's been an epidemic lately. The other grouchies come from what I touched on my previous post, The Big Picture.

Also, not that little things like this really make it to the blog, but I have a bad toothache and I am thrilled (that's sarcasm) that I get to skip aerobics in the morning to go to the dentist. I also see dollar signs coming as a result of what the dentist will most likely have to do, so yeah, more grouchies. And as I write this, my head is pounding. It's been pounding for awhile. And I know it's Sunday, but I'm trying to get Chris to go get ice cream and he's been Mr. Churchy about it. That shouldn't apply after sundown when the grouchy wife NEEDS ice cream. I mean, c'mon!

But the Oscar the Grouch reference does remind me of a funny story. Chris was living in a lovely (more sarcasm) apartment on Mesa Drive in downtown Mesa when we were dating and got engaged. One day, we were at his parents' house in Tempe, and Chris's nephew Mikkel, who was about 5 at the time, said his Uncle Chris was being a grouch.

What my father in law said next, and rather matter-of-factly, had me cracking up:

 "Yeah, he lives in a trash can on Mesa Drive."


(Didn't finish yesterday...continuing Monday 1/28/13) 
So we go all the way to the dentist this morning. Sure, there are closer dentists, but this is the dentist I had when I lived in Mesa (no, not the scary part of town in the trash can just referenced...Mesa is a big place. We lived in a less scary part of it...) just down the road from his office. Despite moving out further away over the next 15 years or so, I never changed dentists. But now it feels far away. Well, a half hour away.  And there is no point in changing to one closer now, because I imagine we'll be in Wickenburg in the next year or so and I'd have to change again anyway.

Aren't you glad you read all that?

For those of you that are still with me - so we go all the way to the dentist. Chris is off on Mondays and he came with me.  The doctor examines me only to say, "You need a molar root canal. I don't do those and Dr. X is booked out pretty far."" (By the way, Dr. X is my usual dentist and he DOES do molar root canals. I saw his partner in the office, whom I was dumb enough to assume also would be able to do the procedure!).

Therefore, I left in as much pain as when I came in. I could have gone to some of the referrals they gave me, but I knew there was chance they weren't on our insurance. So let's just say after all that, I come home only to make an appt at an Endocntic near the house for Wednesday after, of course, jumping through a few hoops to find out who was nearby that was also on our insurance.  Therefore, despite the fact that it's a molar root canal, I at least I get to have a root canal around the corner! Woo hoo! (more sarcasm). Well, that's only partial saracasm. Am I excited about the procedure? No. But I am grateful I only have to drive around the corner.

I think it's time to pause for the Grouch Anthem. (click on Grouch Anthem). the clouds were beautiful and puffy and gray. Hey, it was gorgeous. I know that makes me sound more like Oscar the Grouch, but it's no secret how the sun and heat is my nemesis. PLUS...The Gilbert Temple (set to open later this year) looked so bright and vibrant up against the contrast of the gray clouds.  I wish I had my camera and I wish Chris didn't forget his phone at home that has a camera.

I wanted to include the Pinewood Derby pictures from last week, but it doesn't seem right with the Grouch theme. But oh well, they're already overdue.

Christian did very well! He won two of his races, and came in 2nd or 3rd in his others. 6th Place overall! And one of our Cub Scouts broke the speed record for that particular track!

Nice face, Christian! Lol

I'm still waiting on that foot rub!

Speaking of Christian, this was the note I received from him just before New Year's:

He gets embarrassed when I share these little anecdotes, but how can you not? He's such a trip. I was reflecting again today just how difficult his pregnancy was. My humor tells me the reason it was so hard (a psycho nightmare, actually) was because Christian was immortal and I was a mere mortal expected to "survive" bringing an immortal into the world. No wonder he almost killed me.

I love that kid. (not sarcasm)

Until next time, grouch on, lovers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Big Picture

George Seurat Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
I've been trying to figure out how to begin this entry because I fear I'll have the wrong attitude. Or, the feelings I'm trying to communicate don't effectively manifest themselves. 

However, I'll try.

On the surface, I know that God has a Master plan and we're all part of it. We may not understand it now, but we will later. 

I go back to the analogy of the Seurat painting. If we're all looking at it up close, we just see blurry globs and dots. But it's when we back up and see the "big picture", we realize how each of those globs (yes, even the ugly globs) were an essential part of a huge glorious picture.

You can see part of the composition here, but it's starting to look jumbled.

Back away, and you have Seurat's The Side Show (1888)
Up Close, this looks meaningless and jumbled.
But this whole picture emerges when you back away. This is Seurat's La Tour Eiffel (1889)
And this snippet from YouTube is from Ferris Bueller when they're at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Cameron is looking at the Seurat painting (Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, seen above at top) and the camera continues to show the painting in close up successions until we end up at the jumbled and blurred dots. 

So why this little Art lesson and visual aids?

Well, one thing that has dominated my feelings in the last couple of years is how wonderful parents and wonderful people that are needed on this earth are taken from us prematurely. It happened with my Brother in Law in 2010.

It happened to a friend's mother last Fall. She was only in her fifties, and was recently happily re-married after years of being a single mom to numerous kids while going back to college. Then she is taken within months by pancreatic cancer. Her and her new husband had adopted two of her grandchildren too. 

She was loved and needed and she found happiness.  And then she was gone.

And Chris's mom was only 58 when she passed away in 2001.

And recently, this previous weekend, a loving husband and father of two passes away suddenly. He was only in his 40s...just like my brother in law.

It's frustrating to me, because like I discussed in the 2010 post regarding my brother in law, these wonderful parents and individuals are taken, while the less than stellar ones are still here. I know, I have a lot of issues to work out regarding the fact that I was "blessed" to have a father who was a bully, selfish and abusive. Part of my humor says "Well, of course he is still on the earth. God doesn't want to deal with him! God wants and needs the GOOD people!"

Still, it's frustrating. I know I've been repetitive with that, but saying that prevents me from seasoning this post with more "salty" descriptions.

I'm angry. I'm sad.  My heart breaks for those that have lost loved ones and have to pick up the pieces and miss their brother/sister/wife/husband/mother/father. 

And don't get me started on the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy last month. I am still avoiding seeing pictures of those little babies that were senselessly massacred...and just weeks before Christmas. 

But I have to remember that the anger I feel with these wonderful people being taken from us way before their time is the part of the painting where we are  seeing the jumbled up blurry dots. When the big picture is revealed, these jumbled up dots have their purpose and are part of a huge plan.

It's just so hard sometimes to back away from the painting. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Morning Bloomer...Can I Get a Hallelujah?!

This isn't a complaint. It's reality with my goofy children.

So for some reason, Alexander decided to be WIDE AWAKE at 4:30am when Chris was leaving for work. While Chris loved the cute interactions from his caboose (not his butt, his baby) so early in the morning as he was getting ready to leave, I know he felt bad that I had to deal with those big brown eyes so wide awaky at 4:30am. 

One of our saving graces is "Baby First TV" (channel 9400 on Dish Network. I don't know what it is on Direct TV). And I'm pretty sure it's on the basic packages for both services. There's no need to upgrade to something stupid to have that channel.
 Sure, some critics will say that we're expecting the TV to do our jobs. But Baby First TVs Nighttime Baby Programs have music and soothing pictures. It helps him calm down (and me too...the music is nice). Plus, being artsy, I like the photos and imagery.  Considering we read X-man so many books and chase him around the house and interact with him as much as we do, I highly doubt we're abusing Baby First TV.  So I see Baby First TV as a blessing bestowed upon me as a parent in the 21st Century.
No, this isn't Chris. But this isn't too far from reality around here.
Well, knowing I was barely conscious for this wide awake ball of energy of ours, Chris turned on the channel and laughed that instead of "Nighttime Baby Programs" it was "Early Morning Bloomers".

Well, that's exactly what we had! 

But this time, it didn't really work. Sure, X-Man sort of lied on the bed with me and watched it, but by 6am, he was ready to do more. Usually Christian would be up by then, but not this time since he was up later than usual with Chris working on the Pinewood Derby car the night before. 

By 6:30, I  was desperate, so I hoped Barney on PBS (a show I would never let the kids watch for the sake of my own sanity) would do the trick, but no such luck. 

Good, because I didn't want to try that one again. 

By the time I got the other two kids out the door between 7:30 and 7:45, I was in pain with exhaustion. This is the price I pay for staying up until midnight practically every night working on customer orders, artwork, and trying to get ahead with some block sets. Plus, I have two decorative items to make for the Pinewood Derby on Saturday. 
But then something amazing 8am, Alexander started acting cranky and tired. Could it be? Could this be a lucky break? 

Not getting my hopes up too much, I tried to lie him down in his crib...


Just imagine the choir singing Hallelujah too....You know the soundbite....

So I decided to take advantage myself and lied down on my bed. Well, first, I took the phone off the hook (well, this is 2013...there is no hook. But I clicked the button to accomplish the equivalent), and wondered if I should put a sign on the door that said a combination of these two:


But I took my chances. 

And let's just say, we're fully recovered. Alexander is in my good graces again and I feel like a normal human.  I am so glad I didn't have anything planned this morning. But if I did, I was so tired and desperate, I may have flaked out. That's why I'm glad two of my 4 weekly Jazzercize classes are in the evening. It's more hectic then, yes, but I am certain to be awake and Mikelle can watch Alexander.

I look so peaceful when my kids are sleeping.

Yesterday was "UGLY SHIRT DAY" at school and Christian said he wanted to participate. So the day before, I had a blank white T-shirt and I got him a funny necktie decal to iron on. Then I said we can use Sharpies to decorate the shirt. Well, he started acting weird about he whole thing and said he didn't want to participate anymore. That made me a little sad, but I didn't push it. But then later he said he did. He drew some pictures and Mikelle and I did too. This is what we ended up with for his "Ugly Shirt" on Wednesday.

I think he was still self-conscious about it and probably kept his hoodie jacket on the whole day. That's okay. We still have the shirt for another day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blocks...Who would have thought?

Blocks Here...Blocks There...
So I've posted my blocks before. Who would have thought I would have really gotten into them? I made a set at Halloween and then decided to do one at Christmas. I had someone request a set at Christmas (the "Be Merry" set from my Christmas post) and then a Valentine's Day set. 

Then a returning Etsy customer bought a set of "Love" blocks for her friend. Sure, my Etsy shop is called "Circle Motifs by Jill" but if Pottery Barn can sell items that has nothing to do with Pottery, a barn or a farm, I can add funky and whimsical blocks to my shop. 

Complete with the help of Alexander

So far the blocks are "Made to Order" because I can't catch up fast enough to have sets on hand! 

The "Love" block set is a gift for the lady who ordered this custom work from me. Her friend bought her the blocks. I hope the receiver of the blocks doesn't read this as her blocks have been shipped, but haven't made it to her yet! 

That's why I added the owls to the Love blocks. As you can see from the custom work below, she wanted a lot of owls. However, what made the below project really fun though was the Depeche Mode inclusion she requested!
Personal details obscured and blurred

Hell Hath Frozen Over! 
Well, for a few days anyway...
We're in the coldest streak this area has seen since 1988. I've loved it of course. Sure, we've had multiple days in the 40s before, but not 3 or 4 more days in a row below freezing. And it's been commonplace in the last few days for morning temps in the 20s. It was 24 yesterday morning when I dropped Christian off at school.

From Monday 1/13/13
Chris and I actually saw some ice falling like icicles off a neighbor's tree and bushes yesterday afternoon and took pictures, but he hasn't emailed me those pictures yet from his phone. I'll update this when he does. But I think that person had a sprinkler or something running all night or something in order to create that effect for the freeze, because the air was otherwise pretty dry.
This was from last week...
However, like all good things, it comes to an end. In fact, it probably won't get to freezing tonight. I wouldn't mind the "end" so much if it meant the temps would still stay nice and cool. But oh nooooooo. It's going to be in the 70s by the end of the week. 


That would be great in April, but not now. 

It's even more annoying hearing people complain about the "cold". What a bunch of wimps! First of all, daytime highs in the 40s is not a big deal. No ice snow to shovel. Get over it!  You want to see cold? Look at this:
Those that complain about the Phoenix cold streak should check this out in my sister's part of the world...

The second annoying thing? Hearing "I didn't move to Arizona for this kind of cold...." 

My response? "Well, you shouldn't have moved here then. Go back where you came from. I was here first and I love it." 

 Okay, okay. I know I'm cranky. But with record breaking heat every summer, it's nice to see the other end of the spectrum. And it is kind of funny watching those that thought they got away from the cold get all bent out of shape. 

And winter fashions are so much cuter than summer ones!  Cute jackets, scarves, fun layers, boots...adorable.

Also, these temps don't make me sweat profusely and get nauseated with awful headaches. 

But I will say though that for it being so cold for the area, it would have been nice to have it cloudier. The sun was still rather intense despite the cold temperatures.  Let's have the next cold streak be soon and with some clouds and rain!

Toddler Face of Disdain

This has nothing to do with the cold. X-man was just in a bad mood on Saturday and I couldn't get over his face! lol

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yep, It's Still There!

Yesterday was New Year's Day. We now have four different numbers in our year. That hasn't happened since 1987. Yes, I know. I'm nerdy about stuff like that. 

Also, New Year's Day 1987 was the day my family moved to our home in Gilbert from Laveen. I was 11 turning 12 in a few months.

Well, yesterday we didn't move anywhere, but we did visit our land in Wickenburg. Yep, it's still there. It's frustrating that no magic elves built us a house there. 

What's up with that?

Looking South

Looking more southeast

Mikelle loved going down that steep area. That would have been fine, but X-man kept wanting to follow her.

The road in front.

Hopefully this time next year, there will be more to report on the progress of putting a house on the land. 

Even better, that there is a house being built. 

I guess we will see.