Thursday, December 30, 2010

This kid is all right.

This year, I treated Christmas like a "Do Over" from last year. Last year I was miserable. This year I was as close to fine as I've been for fifteen months. The setting was back in Michigan, and my sister's family was incoming. The weather was perfect--it had snowed, but was not snowing, cold but not icy.

For some reason, I had boundless energy when I got home, I helped out a bit with last-minute chores and goaded my parents to stay on task. When you have 3 1/2- and 1 1/2-year-old children running about, the house needs to be ready. I helped clean and set out a few decorations, and made space for the tree to come in. By the time the family arrived, things were sufficiently Christmasy, with room for the kids to play.

Both kids like our homestead, and there were lots of things to explore: old toys, Christmas decorations, the stairs, and books by the bushel. And then, of course, the presents were arranged, and the house was exactly as it was when my sister and I were little, with new toys and paper strewn everywhere. My niece was old enough this year to help pass out packages, and she profited even more from the fact that my nephew is not, thus she got to open his packages, too.

Beyond the chaos, there was nothing but love. My niece is my sweet little barnacle, following me about while I put up the tree lights, climbing into my lap whenever I had a sit-down, even having a rest with me in my own room. We had "picnics" on the floor while she chattered away to me, making my dad chuckle in the other room. My nephew is a smile champion, and he's walking now, so we were all chasing him around. He thought it was hilarious when I played with his feet at the dinner table, and he enjoyed looking out the window with me at the "car" (my dad's aerial lift--anything with wheels is a "car.")

Some of my favorite moments with the family:

  • Playing with the kids upstairs, wrestling, tickling, climbing on the beds, and shaking our hands and feet in the air.

  • Watching my niece and her grandma making cookies.

  • Having my nephew charge at me with his arms up and a big grin, to be picked up and cuddled.

  • Reading Peter Rabbit to my niece before we both passed out in my childhood bed.

  • My nephew's rapturous shout of "CAR!" when he saw the car I bought him (whereupon he immediately started bawling because we were taking too long to get it out of the box).

  • Making my sister laugh so hard she cried.

  • Having a firearms lesson with my dad.

  • Watching my brother-in-law and niece sledding in our yard.

  • Teaching my niece the difference between translucent and opaque, using Christmas lights (both of those words, from the mouth of a 3-year-old, are adorable).

  • The first time my mom's "Got a hug for Grandma?" to her grandson was followed not by running away giggling but by arms shooting up to be hugged (albeit not at the best time, when she was trying to shoo him away from the stove).

  • My nephew holding his hand out to me at the dinner table to be kissed.

Truly, it was a glorious holiday. We all made it back safe and sound, and...well...God bless us, every one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Homage to My Sister

Happy Birthday, Sister!

My sister is a pretty amazing person. And, an amazing pretty person. She has done so many things that I have not done, things I'm not able to do, some even things that I would be afraid to do. Here are fifteen:

Skied. (Toboggan! Snoooooww Tractooooooor!)

Studied Abroad.

Done archaeology.

Worked in a museum.

Gotten a 4.0 in college.

Traveled to Israel.

Gotten married.

Had two beautiful children.

Started a fashion/art blog.

Drawn lovely pictures of Renaissance and medieval ladies.

Made wonderful shadow boxes.

Lived in three states.

Sewed her own wedding dress.

Studied Latin.

Taught me how to put on makeup.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fashion vs. Food

Last night I was reminded of a valuable lesson.

I chose not to go grocery shopping so that I could instead trek out to the Franklin Park Mall in Toledo. I had an errand to do up there, and knew there was some weather coming in this weekend, so thought I'd get it out of the way while the getting was good.

Despite the title of this post, that's not the point of this story--I had a reasonably productive trip, picking up a few things for other people and a few things for myself. I'm into tights lately, so picked up some of those and also some new lounge pants (because Lord knows I don't have enough jammies--actually, I wear them so often I am wearing out a few pairs).

No, the point is this:

On my last trip, in November, my eye was drawn to a beautiful jacquard dress in Dillard's, from BB Dakota. I saw it on my way into the mall, and I stopped back to "visit" it on my way out. I didn't try it on. It was $109, which is more than I usually spend on a dress. I didn't even really glance at the sizes.
I always park in the same place at Franklin Park, and once again as I headed into Dillard's I was arrested by this dress. I went about my business--I truly was looking for a holidayish dress, and didn't find anything the whole time. All too short in the skirt or too low in the top, or not fancy enough, or too fancy. So, as I went back through Dillard's on my way out, I thought, what the heck. I picked up the size 4, the only other option being a size 6, and headed into the dressing room.
I knew it was going to be too big. I could tell even as it hung on the hanger. And it was. Today, I called the Maumee Dillard's, and was told that they don't actually carry that line in their store. The next nearest Dillard's is...well, it's not close. I can't even say that the 0 would fit, so I don't really feel comfortable ordering it.
So, I learned (and you should learn from me) that if something arrests your attention that much, and it's not outside the realm of possibility, then you should probably try it on right away. The saleslady told me that the dress had been flying off the rack. She also asked me what shoes I'd wear, as she'd had varying responses (my answer was obvious--red T-straps). I'm not inordinately upset about all this. I'm perfectly capable of making such a dress, even, but I have other projects going. I'm just a little rueful...who wouldn't be, with such a lovely garment?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go get some groceries.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Admittedly, I'm not a good photographer. It isn't part of my giftedness. My sister could certainly do a better job. But I received this amazing dress in the mail from my aunt and cousin. I know nothing of its beginnings, only that it came from ebay and received some "adjustments" as my aunt put it, to take care of some repairs. She seemed sure in her note that it would not fit, but it most certainly does.
Other elements of the outfits:
Gloves: bought at Jeffrey's Antique Mall in Findlay. I just noticed yesterday that I may have two right gloves, though I have no idea how that happened.
Necklace and earrings: pearls, provenance unknown. Probably a relative.
Combs: Pearl and gold, provenance unknown. Possibly Great Aunt Elsie.
Hosiery: Victoria's Secret, seamed.
Heels: T-straps--can't remember the company. Probably purchased at Dillard's or somesuch.
Rainboots: Chooka
Fan: Gift from my sister, purchased in Middleton.
Purse 1: Gift from Aunt Karen
Purse 2: Gift from friend Karin
Choker: Ribbon, purchased at Hobby Lobby (I think)

This last one is my favorite. There's something French about it I can't quite define.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I have something tres charmant to tell you about and show you. The only trouble is, it requires some time that I haven't had lately. I have some excitement about working on it tonight maybe, if I get enough work done, and then will try to do some posting Thursday or Friday.
My weekend ahead is very, very busy, and I haven't done the best job at getting my work done lately. I'm grateful for the mood boost that my med has provided, but it has destroyed my once brilliant willpower. When you are not as capable of feeling guilt as you have been your entire life, it's hard to make yourself perform tasks as opposed to, say, cuddling up on the couch and watching TV and reading a book (simultaneously--my ability to multitask is undiminished).
So, rest assured, I'm working on something amazing for you, revolving around something amazing that was given to me. Hint: Aunt Deb and Maggie, this is all about you.