Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do Something

There was a phenomenal post from NPR this morning. it was kind of about marie curie, and it was kind of about the mega-rad comic xkcd, and it was kind of about being awesome. 

for anyone out there who has felt that gnawing, tearing, snarling need inside to DO SOMETHING with their life... here's the deal:

Diane of the Dew Drop Inn had a terrific post up the other day about being fearless in what we do, and about continuously re-starting. looking at each day as a beginning. it's been spinning around in me since i read it. 

Whatever it is that is  in you to do, go do it. no matter where you are, or where you've been or who's telling you what to do or how to do it. Do what you do with all that you are. do it for the world that needs passionate people who are committed to something. do it for the nameless people who have done it before. do it because you can't do anything else. 

radiation and resolve,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tea and the Galactic Resistance.

One of my favorite things about having kids... 
Some days you open your teapot, and find this

I didn't have the heart to disturb them.
Long live the resistance. 

oolong and obi-wan,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things that are happy - small but significant.


So it's been quite a week. or quite a number of weeks. i was talking to a friend recently and saying how i felt like i had been hit by a particularly grueling wave set, recently. Like in the ocean (yeah yeah, california girl... making ocean metaphors...) the waves come in sets... three, six, ten at a time, and then there's a period of calm. 

and i feel like i've been ducking waves for the past month, coming up for a quick breath and then heading back down to avoid getting thrown... but i'm hoping that the set has passed, and that i'll have some time to ... maybe just tread water and try to remember where i was headed before all of this... 

and there are certainly some things to be glad about. excellent times with family, i gained a beautiful new sister-in-law :), long talks with good friends. and all the little things that can somehow both lift and quiet your spirit. things like 

the fact that there are mustaches in my pencil jar:

Laughing like this:

Going on Nature Walks and making collections:

These sunny jonquils:

Good buddies:

Sunset Picnics:

These awesome faces:

and all the lovely things bursting into bloom outdoors. in the spring i always want to be out. the house is always messier and the yard always cleaner... mostly because outside looks like this:

my neighbor's frog :) anni calls him whiskers.. for some inscrutable reason. 

little bird

and because there is, finally, GRASS!! 
living in the high desert... grass is a big deal. the kids plopped down and rolled around in it for a good long while. long enough to get all itchy and happy. 

What about you? what are the things that lift and fill you when you're hollowed-out by life?

slow and easy,

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Post for my Grandpa.

Today was my grandpa's funeral. I was blessed to sit, surrounded by family and friends, (and only the occasional inappropriate question from my offspring) and remember the man who was the cornerstone of our family for so many years. The sky was a grateful blue, scattered across with clouds like faithful friends, the breeze blew soft and kind... and goodbyes, though difficult, were said with love.

And so, for him, and for all my beautiful family, are these thoughts:

What words are there to speak at the end of a life?
What words for the empty place at our side, at the table, at the golf game... in our hearts.

We would speak words of comfort, to ease the ache and sadness of these our troubled days.

We would speak words of love and kindness - the kind that is quick to offer help with no strings attached, that sees a need and is always the first to reach in and fill it...the kind my grandpa had.

We would speak words of life and joy and hope. Words that would recall to us his smile - that grin so bright and flashing it could light things on fire; or his laughter, that to me was always and only a laugh of pure delight - at being right there, where he was. In that moment.

We would speak words of adventure and daring. Words that would call us to go farther; to push beyond the things we know and to see and do and be more... as he always did.

And so - as words are such small things, and weak - let us speak these words not with our mouths, but with our lives. Let the way we see each other, and the way we keep and care for and defend the ones we love say it for us. As my grandpa did. He was a man who lived all of these words eloquently.

I find that now it falls to us to shoulder the mantle he has worn for so long. That of love, of enterprise and fearless undertaking, of compassion, and of the sheer, blazing joy of walking around for all our days on this darkly spinning earth.

Let us hold each other dear. Let us recall the things that are important, minute by minute. Let us be swift to tend to those we love, swift to laugh, and swift to dare.

His legacy is ours. To be grateful for. To internalize, and to pass on, as he did. The silent, singing words of a life well-lived.

the best of memories,
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rainbow City ... and a funny story.

Remember the Shoebox City project I made a big deal about a while back? ... yeah... so the project is done. And the fabulous lilla a has posted the results! It looks SPECTACULAR!

isn't that the coolest looking thing EVER?!  

... now here's why we're not in it. 

##1. This has maybe been the longest week of my life. ... My grandpa's passing (his obit is HERE, if you're interested), helping with the STAR testing at the kid's schools, and a few  other big things that have been occupying my mind and heart... time has been limited. 

We did try, however. 
Which leads us to reason

##2. Annika wanted to make a castle. So we got the shoebox out and were using egg cartons to make the bumpy parts on top of the castle walls (do those things have names?). We colored in some windows and a drawbridge and portcullis... and then Anni said it needed turrets... this is where things started to go south. 

I had the genius idea to use toilet paper tubes (sounds reasonable, right?) and top them with more egg carton pieces. So we cut things out and glued them all together. I set them on the table to dry and went about doing other things. Anni came up to me a while later and said they were dry and could she color on them... Go ahead! was my enthusiastic reply. i really needed to just get the thing done, so i left her to the task of decoration.... and when i walked in again about a half an hour later, this is what i found. 

... i wont bother telling you what this looks WAY too much like. 

And so, because i wasn't really gung-ho on sending the poor unsuspecting lilla a ... THIS kind of castle, and we didn't have time to make anything else... i laughed a lot, and then made the decision to opt out this time.


...thanks for playing folks, hope all your attempts were smashing successes, and that you weren't too offended by our... unfortunately-shaped castle turret. 

Snicker and Snort,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Something Pretty, Something Smart

How is it Friday already??
I'm stunned. And also happy. Friday nights are Family Nights here at the ranch, and I have some tricks up my sleeve... 

So, without any more ado, here's this week's picks, because every week should contain:

Something Pretty,
Something Smart,
Something to Do,
and A bit of Art.
... and maybe one or two things Just for Fun. 

Something Pretty:

## i really love paintings done over text. something about the dual forms of art coexisting so beautifully.... 
and these ones from Coco de Paris are a perfect example of how that's done. 

Something Smart:

## watch this wowwing video of the milky way.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

## Check this post from Black Eiffel for inspiration to read more classics. (and then spend some time walking through the rest of the blog.. its tip top) love the visuals.

Something to Do:

## loving these DIY Rope Bracelets from Honestly WTF, via Poppytalk. Aren't they the nifty-est! 

## and could someone please bring me one of these Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cakes... pleeeeeaaaaseeee!!??

can that be for real? five minutes? ... seems too good to be true.

A Bit of Art:

## Hop over and read this super-cute and sweet Book called Extraordinary by Sarah Mensinga

## and how about this art made out of STAPLES!! Yes, thank you. 


Just for Fun: 

## i'm not sure if i should thank my friend Tina, or shoot her for sending me here. Awkward family photos. i'm not even remotely kidding when i confess to you that i spent way too many minutes convulsed with laughter ... i nearly gave myself a concussion, when - in one badly timed convulsion - i hit my head on the corner of the desk... you might want to consider grabbing a helmet before you open the link... don't say i didn't warn you. 

you know you just real-life laughed. :)

Frolicking Ferrets,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grow Project - Project two

So I'm horrifically late doing this thanks to a missing USB chord, and all the family stuff... but, since i did it, i thought i might as well share. 

The Project this time was to make something and give it to someone else. Totally my favorite kind of project!

I was inspired by the awesome and fun things that are always going on at Color Me Katie

Like This One where she wrote tiny little notes and hung them all around the city. 

or This One which is one of my all time favorites, and reminds me of a super special and dear friend of mine. Plastic ducks in rain puddles!! How great is that! 

So, mine wasn't quite as clever as either of these, but here it is, regardless:

I made a little crochet heart, and wrote out a little poem of mine (since it was supposed to be something we made ourselves), and put everything inside a jar (we all know how i feel about jars) 

and left the jar in a park. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah!

Magic carpets and Muffin men,
- shawnacy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sad days

It's been a quiet week here at the ranch. My grandfather suffered what appear to be dual brain aneurysms last Friday, and this week has been plowing through the long, drawn-out aftermath of that. 

I will spare you the heartbreaking details. 

I've been making the six-hour round trip drive the past few days and spending time with him and with family that I don't see nearly enough. 

So many things stand out to me as important from these past few days. 

Watching my grandmother, and the care she takes of him. Such exquisite tenderness. It's breathtaking. It's what nearly 65 years of marriage looks like. Like devotion. Like love. 

Hearing the stories. The ones that shape our thoughts. The fragments of life that we use like bricks to build our monuments. The fragile threads that hold our hearts together. I was looking around the room, at each person there. Each individual, and thinking of all the stories that make up our individual lives. And wondering a little which ones people will tell of me, in hushed, smiling tones, standing in hallways. 

The unthinking sacrifices of family. The way everyone has been looking for ways to care; for whatever small office they might perform; for any possible place that might need filling. We are blessed to be surrounded by such generosity of spirit.  

And, too, the laborious work of death. It is never a pleasant thing to think on, or ... battle through, but it is as big a reality as our living. The way the body clings to life, when everything has narrowed to the pinpoint focus of the growing immensity of the task of drawing breath. Thinking, of it all - of the weight of years, the accumulation of days and moments and words and thoughts that make up a life. Golden appreciation for all the times I was able to share any small part of that with him. 

The funeral will be sometime next week. And now is the time for arrangements and the signing of papers and the adjusting of the world to the absence of a remarkable man. 

So I spent some time today with the girls, sitting in the park. Watching Annika do wheelies on her tricycle. Pushing Naomi in the swing. Soaking my worn-down self in sunshine and the marvel of the blue sky. 

Hold your loved ones close today. Breathe in, and remember the way the world feels with them in it. Take pictures. Make memories. Tell stories. Make your lives rich with the lives of the ones you love. 

Love and Gratitude,
- shawnacy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shoebox City Craft Exhibition- Call for Entries

The always inspiring Lilla A has another amazing craft exhibition coming up. 

If you haven't seen any of the others she's hosted, take a moment and check them out. They are stunning and so amazingly creative. 

How it works: She puts out a project and specifies some parameters for photos, and you send yours in and she makes it into an unbelievable photo/collage/exhibit.

Here is the Self-portrait Exhibit:

Such a fun project and a way to encourage creativity and interconnectedness around the world!

This project is going to be a shoebox city. 

So head over to lilla a for the quick instructions, and then grab those extra shoe boxes you've been squirreling away for crafty purposes, and the paint and paper and get creative!

After you've entered, be sure to post here too, so we can see what everyone's houses look like.
Happy crafting!

City blocks and Skyscrapers,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Boy Craft

Sometimes it can be difficult to get boys involved in (and excited about) crafting. Especially when we insist on making 'cute' things that involve glitter and stickers and fluffy bunnies. 
But once in a while, when things go right, there are times when they totally take the craft out of your hands and run amok with it. 

These are some of those times. 

I saw This Post a few weeks ago from Last Minute Mel (don't you LOVE that blog title!... maybe the degree of my love for it is proportional to the 'last-minute-ness' of my own life...sigh) and called the boys over to see how Mel's boys had made the COOLEST Lego ski resort. 

Here's a picture of thiers: 

And I was immediately kicked off the computer so the boys could have a chance to study the above handiwork. About an hour later they called me into the bedroom to see this:

Not quite as fancy, but entirely theirs. It stayed up for about two weeks. 


Then there was the embroidery day. I had been working on improving my (aka acquiring any kind of) embroidery skills, for a while making easy little handkerchiefs  (see This Post), and was completely taken aback one day when the boys declared that they wanted to make some of their own. 

So we sat down and i showed them a few things, and said, go for it. 
They went. 

 This was the result. 
Max wanted his smack in the middle of the hanky, a wonky little happy face. 
I love it to pieces. 

And how cool (and ... well done) is Owen's robot guy. 
Great job.


That one day during spring break when it rained and everyone was going nuts inside the house, I gave the boys a free pass to build a fort right in the middle of the living room. 
They built this.

I was pretty impressed. It was like a mini circus tent, strung up with pulleys and held up with chairs and tables and even stitched together a little bit so there wouldn't be any gaps in the ceiling. 


And who could forget the day of the cups... 
If you missed it, Here's the Link
When Max gave us a run-down on how to build a super-cool rocket out of plastic cups,
and Owen built the largest cup-tower ever. 

It's so much fun being mom to some seriously creative boys. And I've learned that, while instruction and step-by-step crafting is good, there are also times when you just need to provide the materials and the occasional suggestion, and let them see what they can do. 

I'm always amazed and impressed. 

What have your kids made on their own that surprised you?

Slips and Snails,