Monday, May 14, 2012

Tomorrow is going to be like Christmas morning

Well, hello there. Though this is my first post, I'm going to skip all of the introductory stuff for now (don't worry, I'll muse about myself, my family, and the purpose for this blog soon). I am a perfectionist (which is a theme I will actually address in this post) and because in my mind there are so many elements to a good blog and I haven't really worked any of those out, I've put off starting this thing. And while I don't have any pictures to complement this post, or a custom-designed layout, tonight I have something to write about, so tonight's the night.

Today was Mother's Day. My second as a mother, and probably my first not spending at least part of the day with my mother. She's alive and well, just on a trip to Savannah with my "aunt" (second-cousin, technically) and my great-aunt to see my "cousin" (third-cousin, I think?). I would have loved to have gone, but:
a) there would have been no one to watch my son, as my husband is a regional airline pilot based out of another city and works every weekend, and my dad, while adoring of his grandson, simply does not have the patience for a 17-month old for six days, and
b) with aforementioned husband's work situation and aforementioned son, I really should be saving the remainder of my unscheduled days off for when my son is sick and can't go to daycare.

Therefore, this Mother's Day was kind of anti-climatic, but that's okay with me. I made my son and dad this new french toast recipe that I found, took a nap during son's nap (I stay up way too late on the weekends), went out for an early dinner with son and dad, took son for a long walk around the neighborhood, and played/weeded/picked up dog poop in the backyard with son.

Once sonny was in bed, I spent another hour and a half outside. I made a diagram of my front flower bed so I will know where to plant bulbs to fill in the gaps this fall, which I've been meaning to do in some capacity for the two years we've lived in our house. You will notice this a recurring theme as this blog develops; there are a lot of things that I want/mean to do, but don't always have the time. Case in point: there are probably gaps in my bulbs this spring because I planted them last fall (2011). Yes, fall is the appropriate time to plant bulbs, but the problem here is that the bulbs were given to me as a housewarming gift (by the aunts mentioned above) in the early fall of 2010 but did not get planted that year. In my defense, though, I was in the last trimester of pregnancy and also live in Michigan, where the weather is unpredictable (can't remember if winter-ish weather came early that year, though...). 

Proof that I am getting better with these type of things is that after I diagrammed my front flower bed this evening, I actually potted the overflow herbs we bought last Thursday that did not fit in our garden bed. In the past, these herbs may have withered away in the little plastic containers; another personality trait of mine (and my husband's, too) is that everything should be done "right." In this situation, doing it "right" meant I needed to pull down my ceramic pots, clean them out with water and let them dry completely, bake them in the oven for an hour and cool completely, and get potting soil--because what's the point of planting these herbs if you're not going to give them a fighting chance with a sanitary pot and fresh soil? A lot of times, my need to do things "right" means things don't get done at all. My husband is much better than I am with completing tasks.  

One related thing that is very much on my mind and hopefully becoming part of my routine is the garden mentioned in the last paragraph. We have planted a garden each of the past two summers and have had mixed results. The first summer the garden did just okay, no thanks to me; my husband started the seeds, prepared the bed and planted everything, and was working a job with regular hours in town, so he also watered and weeded. I didn't help much getting the garden going last year, either, but then my husband got his new job and was away at training for two months, and I was left to tend the garden. The garden did not get watered, weeded, or harvested as much as it should have, and my husband was very disappointed with me. He still talks about the amount of strawberries we'd have this summer if I'd only watered the plants last summer. Once again, in my defense, I had a 8-month old that I was taking care of by myself (with a lot of help from my parents). I will say, though, that my son did have some squash, peas, and carrots that were grown in our yard and prepared in our kitchen last year. So, we planted our garden last Thursday, this year from plants bought from the nursery. We went to get some herbs and tomato and pepper plants, and came home with: herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, sage, rosemary), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, peas, sweet potatoes, okra), and flowers (marigold, begonia, dahlia, snapdragons, citronella, and some flowers that remind me of Super Mario Brothers) because the place was so cheap and had such a great selection. This year, I am determined to make my husband proud of my garden tending, and am doing well so far. I think the fact that my son stays down once he's gone to bed (and the fact that I'm not breastfeeding/pumping this year) will help tremendously.

The last part of my day, the part that lends itself to tomorrow morning being like Christmas morning for me, is this frame project I've been working on. I got these ornate wooden frames from my grandmother's house (that situation is a whole other post in itself) and wanted to paint them up in funky colors and put a pin board in them so I can very easily and very often switch out the boatload of masterpieces my son creates at daycare. It took me almost a week and several hardware stores to decide on the colors for the frames; I went with coral and periwinkle. Once spray painted, I was planning on brushing a complementary color on freehand, but the periwinkle one turned out well enough that I may just leave it alone. Not so much with the coral one. So yesterday I headed down to Hobby Lobby and picked out some acrylic paint in complementary colors, along with a bottle of stuff to give a crackle finish, and sponged one some Alizarin Crimson over top of the coral. They actually had a bunch of ornately framed pin boards in funky colors at Hobby Lobby, and part of me (the economical side, maybe?) thought that it would probably be cheaper and easier to just to buy a couple there and stick the frames in our upcoming garage sale, but I reasoned that these frames have meaning, because they came from my grandmother's house, and when people complement me on the frames (hopefully), I can say that I made them. Tonight I brushed on the stuff that's supposed to give acrylic paint a crackle finish, and I'm hoping that when I get up tomorrow morning, the red paint will be crackled and the coral will be showing through. So far, nothing. 

While I was brushing on this crackle medium and probably killing some brain cells from the fumes, I was thinking about how good it feels to be working on some creative projects again. Growing up, my grandfather would cut santas, easter bunnies, etc. out of wood and my mom would paint them up and sell them at craft shows. She kept a lot of art supplies around, and my brother and I would sit at the table and make something up while she was painting. I always enjoyed art classes in school, and I would say my creative projects peaked in college. But then came grad school, moving, getting married (though my paper craftiness blossomed and peaked during this time), moving, teaching/working, moving, looking for a house, buying a house, moving, getting pregnant, having a kid, taking care of the kid... and time for projects just evaporated. 

That, maybe, and that perfectionism thing. It is frustrating when you put time and money (however little or much, money's money, and I don't have a lot of it) into something and it doesn't come out how you want it to. Maybe it's easier to just buy what you want, instead of making it yourself (though maybe not for me, as I have been known to spend months and miles and miles on the car shopping for the perfect thing). 

But while I was brushing away, I thought, I am going to be okay with however this frame turns out, and I am going to hang it up. Maybe a little bit of the perfectionist in me has evaporated with all of the living and moving I've done over the past eight years or so. So I'll end this post with a hope and a quote. My hope for today: that I can keep at it, so that one day, maybe on a Mother's Day, my son (and any other future children) will think about me and remember me working on creative projects and maybe reflect that I helped foster creativity in him/them.

A quote: 

"we get a little further from perfection 
each year on the road 
I guess that's what they call character 
I guess that's just the way it goes 
better to be dusty 
than polished like some store window mannequin 
why don't you touch me where I'm rusty 
let me stain your hands 

when you're pretty as a picture 
they pound down your door 
but I've been offered love 
in two dimensions before 
and I know that it's not all 
it's made out to be 
let's show them how it's done 
let's do it all imperfectly
oh, let's do it all imperfectly" 
- Ani DiFranco

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