Life. Its continues.

Its been over two months since Ive posted. Believe it or not, Things have been relatively good. Im working full time again, and that has not only halted my painting, but it has made me want to write again. So I finished my Novella and submitted it to a writers group for feedback. Look at me just continuing to act like I’m a writer. Like I believe in myself and have dreams. I also did something Id never done before while gone- I took a vacation. With a friend. Like not a child. Although I would have liked it to be Mr Amazing. He needed to be home with the smalls. work and stuff. So off to San Diego we went. It was amazing. I like the new job enough. I like that it is just a job. Not an all consuming hurricane of ambitions. I miss freedom. I miss taking care of everything at home so no one else had to worry about it. But I do not miss the self loathing that came with unemployment. Perhaps I will even earn a pension finally. 44 years old and finally thinking about my future. Its kind of nice. Mr Amazings small is with us full time now and I am enjoying that more than I can say. My Small, dropped on class, but kept the other and has so far survived his practice semester at college. WOOT!

I miss painting, and find my little bits of down time that I do have being spent on the couch under a pint of ice cream… but that may be due to the weather more than the new job. Knees. Again. I am still working out a couple of times a week and having my beautiful friend from the library come use the shower at the gym. I love her. Life. It continues. Today I find myself in the same offices writing this as I did about 5 years ago with my small. But today I am with Mr. Amazings small. I am hoping beyond hope that it gives her the support system she needs to succeed in all things. Tall child and the tinies are absolutely perfect in every way. Im sure she would disagree. That she struggles. But to me. They are the epitome of perfection and I love them… hard.

I intended to write more… but here are a few pictures instead. It will be several weeks before I get feedback on the novella. Im not nervous. I know it is my story. I know it is to be told. I just haven’t found its outlet yet. I had 50,000 words written before I edited it down to 20,000 and I am only half way through. I found a novella submission and sent it there. even though it is only half told. Because I could. LOL Fear Not my dears.

Like sand in an hourglass… these are the times of my life.

Soooooo Im gonna write… because I have so much in my head that is just screaming to come out….

I survived the summer… and the arts festival….

The above is a brief photo tour… but let me tell you about it… First off I stayed home this summer (Well not really… ever) but I mean I was unemployed…. So I brought in a Foreign exchange student and did an art show… and had what was probably the most stressful, and greatest summer of my life…. Aina was the College aged student who came to stay with us, and it was kismet… she was like our child from another country…. she is 21 and we instantly fell in love with her. The last photo is all of us crying as we said goodbye.

Small Child enrolled in school… I did the art festival… in 103 degree weather… and marked that shit right off my bucket list. We spent time with family and friends… the two tiniest tinys turned 1 and 2… and well…. look through the photos… memories were made… and times that will forever be irreplaceable are in our hearts.

I was able to stay with my smallest step daughter… who possibly will be us full time going forward.. and it was something that I wouldnt change a thing about. (More on that later)

The kids started school… and this morning I accepted a state job in the office of education. This is a whole different world for me, as Ive always had a fast paced marketing world… but I am turning 44 next month and have nothing to show for it. The state will offer 401K and benefits and some stability. Leaving me to pursue my passion outside of work.

Currently ive stopped with the street art… im sure just for a few days honestly… Im sick again… double antibiotics who’s side effects are worse than the illness… but at the end of the ten days the infection will be gone…. Small child is in college… wtf…. smallest is in the 6th grade and my first tiny has started kindergarten.

September is coming… in 48 hours and for the first time in my adult life i welcome it (If september confuses you… browse september in the blog history)

I will start work… and I just now booked my first ever girls weekend… San Diego here we come!

Our final summer adventure was a trek to get into the path of totality for the eclipse (Cue the photo montage again…because im on antibiotics and cannot think straight to type)

I really dont know why some of those are upside down… but there you have it… it was the perfect ending to the perfect summer…. Perfect means all kinds of things to me…. especially now that it is over.

OH! also!… we stopped being renters in our home… and bought it

.

Lastly…. This happened last night… and I need to say something

Mr amazing has been so fucking amazing… I cannot even tell you how blessed I am… this picture shows you how blessed… You see that HUGE family? its ours… And well… I am so grateful for everyone in it… but Mr Amazing most of all… He is my best friend… my biggest fan… and the love of my life. He has brought more happiness into my life than I can even express and continues to do so on a daily basis. I tell him all the time, but I think day to day he forgets that they are not just words… He is the best thing thats ever happened to me… and I love him beyond measure.

Fini!

Dear Johnathon

Dear Son,

Today you are a man… I feel like you’ve been one since before you even arrived but….In the eyes of the law, you are a man. I know, right? Weird? After all this time as a kid? But it’s true… You can vote… You can fight and die for your country.

These things don’t make you a man any more than your shoe size makes you a man… There are many so-called men out there wearing what amounts to clown shoes… They are not men… They are boys wearing the bodies of men… But let’s not dwell on them. I’m here to tell you what I think a man is. These are the things  important things in life.

 When you were small and we read stories together. Remember? Today I tell you the story of You… or the You I see in you. The seed of You that your father and I planted 18 years ago… the day you emerged and the day I first sang to you your Sunshine song.

You are a man because you’ve decided to be one

Is it really that simple? Can’t becoming a man be something more complicated, like finding the just the right shirt and wearing that man-shirt with just the right air of swagger that says to anybody who cares to look… “Hey there! I’m a man!”? Well, no. Sorry to say there is no man-shirt… No sign that you can paste to your forehead. Being a man is far more than looking the part. Man-ness comes from inside you.

So take a deep breath and decide once and for all to own your future, to claim your birthright as a brilliant star, and to walk the path that you create — you and your sweet magic in the jungle of rejection, mistrust, uncertainty, and misdirection.

If there is anything I’ve neglected to tell you enough times over the past 18 years, it’s this… You are a rebel. You were born for greatness. You were born to change worlds…  I tell you this because I know you. I made you…and although I’ve made many missteps along the path of my own life… you are not one of them.

You are here for a reason… Live your reason with every part of you… Don’t stop until your heart beats in time with the universe and you know you are magic.

What Sort of Man are you?

That’s up to you. Completely. Being a man… as I see it… is being your own man. Being your own man means not taking someone else’s path. It means standing up to people who try to tell you what to do or how to do it. It means saying no… maybe dozens of times a day. It means saying yes to what’s in your heart… even though your head says something else. It means knowing that your thoughts lie to you sometimes but your heart never will.

Being your own man means being a man of your word — saying what you will do and then showing you mean it by taking action. Being your own man means walking in tune with your unique and beautiful heartbeat. It means doing the right thing even though that thing may be scary…or difficult…or you think will piss people off…or even seems dangerous. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. You know it’s the right thing to do because your heart tells you so. Boys do what is easiest. Men do what is right.

Men are good.

A good man knows himself… first and foremost. He knows who he is and what his mission is. He knows his shadow side too. A good man enters the depths of his soul and stares his shadow in the face… to shine light upon what has lived in darkness. A good man treats others the way they would want to be treated. He is fair in word and action. He admits to being wrong when he is wrong… and he defends his values when they are attacked.

A good man knows how to love. He loves with his whole heart and he knows that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength. A good man tells the truth — his truth — and joyfully accepts the truths of others… knowing there is room for all. A good man lives for the joy of being alive and of knowing he is doing his best.  A good man constantly strives to be a better man.

A good man is a great man. And the world needs more great men. I believe you are a great man.

I LOVE YOU

There is truth in the saying that you cannot truly love others until and unless you love yourself. This phrase used to piss me off…but it was because I lived in denial of my self-hatred and wanted my love to count for something. Don’t let that be your legacy… instead… make love for yourself your top priority — always. You are an amazing being… a bright star.

 Maybe you don’t yet know your purpose. That’s okay.

I believe we are all here to love and be loved. So give of yourself generously… willingly…constantly. Wear your heart on the outside and let your love shine forth. It will be a beacon that calls other willing hearts to you. Yes… you will hurt sometimes. Yes… you will feel lonely sometimes. But let yourself love.

You’ve already lost some… you will lose more… what about sadness?

A great man has the wisdom to seek wise help when required. He knows he’s not an island and does not exist alone. A great man shines light on the shadow of his fears. He lets himself feel sad when there is something to feel sad about. He lets himself grieve what was lost and what might have been, but does not become lost in the loss and the might-have-been. He channels his anger into a force to be reckoned with…. for good

 

Choose to feel everything… then align yourself with joy
 
Find your community.

I believe we are all sparks of the divine. Remember the sacred places inside you and use them as your your inner compass. Spark your inner fire so that you may be a lighthouse for others to follow when their own lights dim.

There is god in you… A Light…  I see it even if you yet do not. Know it is there and remember it on those dark days and nights when nothing seems right and you feel lost. Remember the spark inside you — it’s light will never fully dim.

I believe in you, son. I believe in your heart, your wisdom, and your courage. I believe in the path you now claim that lies before you. I love you like the sun and I am deeply proud of the boy you have been and equally proud of the man you are becoming. A good man. A great man. It begins today. The world needs you.

 

I need you.

Mom

Happy Birthday Miss B!!

Today is celebrating you. It’s your day. It’s the day you met the world. Remember that celebrating you today isn’t simply about streamers… balloons… and presents. It also means creating space to think about your life…who you are… and who you want to be.

I have dreams for you… my step daughter… wishes for you that birthdays bring to the surface. I have messages I want you to hear from me… sometimes very clearly in word like today but always very clearly in my ordinary conversations and interactions.

I want hope for you. I want you to know that you always have hope no matter what… that you are never stuck where you are… hope that there is always another opportunity… always a way… that there is not simply always a “better” but there is always a “best” that you are moving towards.

I want meaning and purpose for you.When you wonder and you wander, I want you to remember that there is never a day—never a moment—that is without meaning and purpose for you.

I want joy for you. I want your heart to be filled with joy to the point of overwhelming. And… when it is not… I want you to choose to go fill it again.

I want connection for you. You were made for relationship; it’s how you are wired. I want you to fill your life with others to both serve them and be served by them. Within those relationships, I want you to experience beauty over and over and a picture of what it means to be in relationship with someone that is like your daddy… someone who knows how to love without bounds.

I want inspiration for you. I want you to be able to stop moving and stop doing long enough to be notice the amazing around you. I want you to not feel like you are competing with others but that you are inspired by them to press on in the unique path set before you.

I want kindness for you. I want you to seek to do good towards others without cause or reason not because it’s the right thing to do—though it is—but because you know what it feels like to receive undeserved kindness and that your response to the kindness you have been shown both from others and even me would simply give you a spirit of kindness towards others.

I want victory for you. I take great pleasure in having a front row seat to your success, my love. And… I know you will succeed in so much. But… you will taste failure … lots. It is what we call inevitable; life isn’t life without the experience of failure. You are not perfect; and…  failure will come in the context of performance and in the context of relationship. It’s unavoidable.

I want gratitude for you. In all situations, every day… when things are hard…when things are not… when you are energized and excited… when you are tired and feel unable to go on… when you cannot help but smile… when you want to rest your head on your arms and not move… no matter what… I want you to be able to call out the good and see that you are blessed.

These are the messages I want you to hear as we celebrate you today and dream about the young woman you are becoming. And… you know what? They are the messages I need you to read over and over until you know what each word means. And… then I am inviting you now to remind me of them when I need reminding. I may seem old to you… and maybe I sort of am. But… I’m not too old to want big things for me too…to not only be better but be the best I can be too. And, I think life gave you to me to help me get there.

I Love You!

Dear Tall Child… Your birthday is not in July…. Sooooo I suck at your letter writing

But here it is in July

To my angel girl,

As I sat in here writing this morning,,,  I was filled with panic when as I realized because your birthday is not in the same week as your two siblings I often forget to write for you…. when you are usually my inspiration and  I began to think about all the things I fear. I think what I fear the most would be losing my memory and not knowing who Mr. Amazing and my smalls are… or not recognizing my grandchildren. I was filled with dread… imagining a situation where I wouldn’t know who I really was. You guys are who I am

I think what I fear the most would be losing my memory…To me…this would be worse than death. For death is a final ending of life on this earth, and the continuation of the soul’s journey. But being alive and not knowing those who love you and those who you once loved—that was too hard to imagine.

Suddenly I decided you were an adult and I could write your letter anytime. I smiled with relief—The words were just lying there dormant… and needed to come to the surface… SO MANY WORDS!

And even though I wonder: what if this really was the beginning of a mental deterioration that… once started… could only progress? I realized that since we never know what is in store… we must take the time now to say the things we don’t want left unsaid. And so, my dear daughter!

Know that more than anything else… I wanted to be a mother. The longer I had to wait… and the weirder way children came into my life…the more I knew how important it was to me. When you came to my home I was never happier to be home… playing..  cooking (HA! I cooked!)… reading (DUMBLEDORE DIED)… singing or dancing with you. I always hoped you knew that in my life you all came first. Ahead of work… Mario… Everything…. I was proud of the fact that…  while we did not always have as much material wealth back then… we were able to get by…  and hopefully you were all content with the fact that there was never a day that I wouldn’t have given everything I owned up… Just to have you come to me.

Know that I am proud of you… Everyday. Of your accomplishments and achievements, but more importantly… of who you have become in life. Not what you do… but who you are. Your caring for others … your sensitivities to those around you… your love and compassion.

Know that I realize I made mistakes… Sometimes I pushed too hard…sometimes I did not push nearly enough. I may have seemed distant at times…  usually because I was preoccupied with concern for another of your siblings. Sometimes it may have seemed that one or another of you got all the attention… and you were left on your own. Though I do not really think any of you were loved with any less intensity…I imagine you may have felt neglected or unimportant when my attentions seemed focused elsewhere.

I have been blessed to see you grow and find your way in life. We have watched you stumble… and tried hard to let you trip and fall but still be there to help Band-Aid your cuts… The hardest thing for a parent to do is to let go… Your midnight call from Idaho helped with that (Bahahahaha – Im in Idaho… because what are you gonna do? ground me?)

When I light candles and meditate I plead with the Universe to watch over each of you…  your babies daddy… and your children… I know that in the chain of our untraditional relations I am but a small link. But that link connects me with you and it connects you and your children as it continues through time.

But if you did not know it before… then I trust you will know now that you are the greatest gift given to me in this world.

I’m sorry that I gave you a heart stronger than a bear….  because it will take you years to learn that not everyone loves like you do. I am constantly in admiration of your desire to help others and I know that you’ve felt the sting of being used… hold onto to your generosity against those who only know how to take.

I’m sorry that you see only the good in everyone.

Sorry … not sorry.

I wish that I could instill all of my lessons into you… but I know that you needed to learn on your own. I can spend days with you in the moonlight telling you life’s truths, but in the end my experiences won’t necessarily become yours.

I’m sorry that you feel everything as deeply as you do.

There are caverns inside of your soul that ache to feel everything that this life has to offer. I can see the way that you feel compassion for strangers… and how you sometimes just stop to look at me as if I hung the stars in the sky… yep… I’ve seen it! don’t deny it!

I can see the way that you are brimming with the ability to feel the world around you and with it… all of the heartache and magic it can offer.

You might have moments where you wish that this wasn’t so,,, and while I’m sorry that I have given this quality to you… it’s a gift.

And so.. while I am sorry (not sorry) that you are so much like me… I also couldn’t be more proud of you.

I see the way that you forgive everyone around you without a second thought… and how you already have learned to stick up for yourself and your needs.

I see the way that you’re already so much smarter than I was…so much better equipped to handle the ways of the world… and in those instances… I know that there is no doubt you will one day learn how to use your wings. Because you’re my angel.

 

You are so much more… my warrior princess… my fairy… and most of all…my heart.

As you grew older…  the world began to tell you that magic doesn’t exist… and while I know that you may have your faith in “fairies” tested… I hope that you continue to wish on falling stars and believe in all that is unseen in this world.

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl

I’m sorry that you are so much like me… but only because I know how hard this world will try to change you and at times break you. But more than anything else… I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

So, while every day you may strive to show how different you are from me… there is no doubt—nor has there ever been—that you are my angel girl… my daughter.

And I couldn’t be more proud of that fact.

You know your sweet babies are the light of my life… My failure to mention them was only because I wanted this to be for you… I fucking love you.

Mom

Like Disappearing Reappearing Ink… Kinda

Soooo I havent blogged again… by now if you read my blog you know that if I am not blogging I am painting…. and its Fairy Season…. Hence the Disappearing act…. but you guys… so much magic is happening… SOOOO MUCH! I would encourage you to follow me on instagram which is where I am posting this madness of a street art project… because seriously… Im @SMIFFBIB ofcourse…. at least check out the hashtag Fairy City

 

Live like the Italian

My son is leaving for Italy this June… right after graduation…. Lately being an American woman … an american anything…has been both a source of pride… and … well lets just say we will get this all sorted out.

But the Infamous

Light and Shade Challenge

… who I used to mostly respond with fiction short stories to their prompts… but I find reality needing so much more attention these days… have prompted my gypsy soul…. that travels the world… which apparently I have given my Small … a taste of Italy.

Image from WikiCommons, taken by Andrea Pavenello and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

 

      Yes.. I realize this is a bit of a stretch with this image… but it is what it sparked in my mind… and this is my blog… so we are going with it

Eat a Light dinner….Buy natural… fresh foods–preferably organic. Italians frequent local farmers’ markets every week and buy breads at bakeries,… fish and fish mongers and meat at butchers. Or… better yet… learn to grow your own food… Sure… they have supermarkets…  but on regular occasion… food is purchased fresh for use the same day…. Dinner is about celebrating a day of hard work…. and family…. Italians respect their elders much more than Americans. They also dote on their children and consider them as the most precious things in their lives… Slow Down and Stop Rushing… Most of the time we do not take a lunch break… or eat on the run during the day… Dinner can be an all night event… talk… drink… be merry…. and enjoy your time… Americans drink far more wine and hard liquor than Italians do… even though most Italians will have wine and occasional cocktails…. The difference is they drink wine with meals for the taste–not to forget the stresses of the day…  Italians will also have a small aperitif before a meal… Drink for the taste and with meals to drink like an Italian… Embrace people… The Italian hug and kiss. Old men walk arm in arm–women do too… Even men embrace and kiss each other on the cheek… We are way too distant from each other… Hugging a friend to show how glad you are to see them is a great thing… Don’t let a day go by without touching another human being… and animal… pets count! Take a walk with your family or friends. Each night in every town in Italy, Italians get out after dinner to walk in the piazza or the main viale (boulevard). They call it the passeggiata It’s a time to relax and digest… Meet and visit neighbors… relatives and friends… It’s also a time to shut off the TV and just be still for a moment. Finally…. Learn to live with less…Smaller houses and apartments and smaller cars… That is the Italian way… oh and PIZZA!

Dress for the position you want…. So I did!

 Tell us about the last time you dressed up.

When I quit my job over a year ago … I threw out anything and everything that I had forced myself to wear and be to fit into the mold I had gotten myself trapped in… and then Magic happened… Yes I am 43…. Yes I wear this tomfoolery to the new office… Its kinda magic.

Soooo I have a bit of a love affair with my clothes – Meet my Totoro collection

This fancy ensemble was my second Alice In Wonderland dress…. and man did I ever rock it!

May the 4th with my HUGE Small.

Oh! a Tardis Dress? Yes please! annnnnd if you look close at the weird position of my feet for picture taking reasons…. those are R2D2 socks

My first and FAVORITE Alice in Wonderland Dress – This one I need to have taken in… Im not willing to let it go… even though it is too big now

My Homemade Freddy Krueger outfit… I was going to meet him! It was a special occasion! Look at his MOOBS!

See! This happened!

 

A little Jack Skellington at the Symphony… As you can see I was not the only one dressed up

This was my actual Halloween costume for the office… I dressed up normal. It made everyone uncomfortable actually.

I leave you to be inspired by these Ariel shoes… because like the shirt says… Mermaids have more fun!

 

Sunday Morning is my favorite holiday

Every Sunday Morning I get a playdate with my favorite young men/toddlers and the newest little tiny princess…. I take this opportunity to take them places that they do not normally get to go… and it of course makes me the first to take them to the zoo… or to ride a roller coaster… or to go down a water slide… It has become quite legendary…. a great example of some of the lengths I go can be found throughout this blog…. but Ironically the favorite story ever came from a missed week… and if you missed… you’re going to want to see this – GrandParents Day Out

But just this morning I was tweeting our local news channel and museum about a lego exhibit… and then I saw the prompt from Kat…. must be a sign.

 List your favorite local kid-friendly activities.

Im pretty lucky… I live in a beautiful area…. that has all four seasons in their full glory…. Surrounded by mountains… and I live in the desert…. So there is quite a bit to do… However they are little…. and Sunday is ummmmm Sacred around here? Meaning nothing is open… ever… LOL so we get creative…

This weekend we will be at The Leonardo (The lego exhibit sounds amazing)

Some of our other small child adventures have included… The Zoo... The Natural History Museum…. Bounce Houses are always a hit!

The list goes on and on…. In fact we have been doing this for over a year now… If you don’t have a regularly scheduled adventure date with the smalls who hold your heart… I highly suggest it… here are a few images of pure joy 🙂 (You are just going to have to tilt your head… Its too early to fix some of these)

Ofcourse some of our favorite memories is just at home… in our toy room… with a home made breakfast and arts and crafts.

 i

 

Hope Sucks. Just Sayin

Never deprive someone of hope — it may be all they have
Unknown  

First and foremost…  if you’re feeling hopeless…  I want you to close this page…

I know that things will get better for you… I also know that a big part of that will depend on you choosing for things to be different.

But when lost in the rabbit hole of hopelessness….  it can be really hard to make that choice for yourself…. So save this read for when you have found your hope again.

I don’t know what it was … a divorce..  a death … a hormonal shift in the balance of the force…..

But I encourage you to cry the good cry … Listen to some music… Go for a walk… Meditate…. be kind to yourself …  if you’ve had hope before… you can feel hopeful again.

And when you do… I want you to ditch it as soon as possible.

Yes… I’m calling bullshit on some kinds of hope at this point in our lives

I once heard a quote that was something like this…. “Hope is the most poetic form of self-abuse.”

Decide now that you’re going to stop hoping…. hoping your soulmate will show up…  hoping the bills get paid…  hoping you lose weight… hoping that Carrie Fischer doesn’t die before she finishes filming the Star Wars movies (okay… I totally hoped for that one)

Start knowing that you are going to work to get what you want… or its equivalent… or something even better.

When it is beyond your control? (Star Wars) do what you can that is in your control…. Hug your mom extra tight today… or your daughter… Take care of yourself…. stand up and talk about mental health issues…. etc.

Hoping for things to change is a pretty sounding way of staying right where you are.

I know we have the power to change things… Bigger than us… But it has to be done when we have hope… So everyone can give hope to the hopeless..,. because we do not need it… we are going to rise.

Another Epiphany on life brought to you by my favorite writing prompts!

The Light and Shade Challenge