Diapers and Dragons

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, Hello

I have been notified today that apparently some of my beloved readers are concerned about my lack of posts. So I'm here, although without much in the way of Wonderful Words of Wit and/or Wisdom.

I'm okay.

But I'm tired.

I'm tired physically, with not enough sleep at night and not enough sunlight as this long and dreary winter drags on and on. I don't care what the calendar says, IT ISN'T SPRING. Not here in Michigan, at any rate. We get hints and teases here and there, but I've long since learned not to get my hopes up. Not until after Memorial Day, really, and that's a good couple of months away.

I'm tired mentally, because it's that time of year and I have seniors (oh dear God give me strength) and am teaching three core classes including one that has a brand new curriculum and please shoot me if I ever agree to do such an idiotic thing again.

I'm tired emotionally, because the grim reality of politics and society in this state and this country and this world has me threadworn.

I need a break. I need some solid time filled with rest and laughter to give me the wherewithal to fling myself back into the fray. I'm hoping I'll get some of that this next week on Spring Break. The boylets are in Florida with their father (and have been since Sunday) and won't be back until the 10th. While I do miss them, I have to admit...I can use the break from mommying as well. The Padawan will be at his mother's during the next week as well. The thought of DAYS (and nights) with no kids around at all has me and MTL doing the kind of happy dance that most parents would understand.

So...yeah. I don't have a lot to say on here right now, but I am okay. Hopefully this time next week I'll be at least good, and by the weekend I'll be great.

In the meantime, I'll keep obsessively reading the archived stories over at Etiquette Hell, alternating between horrified laughter and paranoid fear.

Carry on.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Style and Stylability

Warning: Many links to many amazing things ahead. I've already gotten a couple of other people hooked. This is fair warning. You may be as well...


I've never felt like I have much of a sense of style when it comes to home decor. Other than the boylets' nursery, I've never even decorated an entire room. The Ex and I always had plans for the basement, when we finished it (we never even started), and for the dining and living rooms (we never moved beyond an area rug and some paint chips.) Even in my home with MTL, we never did get around to painting the bedrooms as we had planned. Time ran out, school started up, and other than choosing paint chips yet again...nothing. There are a few desultory photos and pieces of art on some walls, and decorative pieces placed on bookcases and the entertainment cabinet.

The most cohesively decorated room in our house is the downstairs half-bath, which has developed a soft seaside theme. It's nothing overwhelming.

I don't have much confidence in my ability to pull together cohesive, lovely interior design. I've doubted my instinct for it, and it's certainly never been put to the test. I was recently in the home of a friend-of-a-friend who had every room beautifully painted, with just the right decorative pieces and pillows and furniture and art. It felt pulled-together and homey and elegantly artsy. Even though I might not have made the same choices for my own home, I felt a streak of envy over her design instinct.

As I mentioned in my self-pitying moan yesterday, I've become addicted to Etsy.com, the home of many many beautiful handmade things (along with the downright bizarre and fugly, much celebrated on Regretsy.com, which I discovered first.) The brilliant and very artsy Heidi finally got me hooked on Etsy a few weeks ago, and I've been obsessed ever since.

As my list of favorite items and stores has grown, and as I've channeled my creative and obsessive urges into crafting thematic treasury lists, I've begun to recognize definite trends in what I like.

Apparently I am much drawn to stark, elegant trees and branches (like these pillows and these drawings and these incredible woodburnings and this pendant and this print collection and the breathtaking photography of a fellow Michigander). I can picture the art and pillows in my dream living room, with lots of wood and soft earthy tones in the furniture.

I knew that I like birds--at least when they're outdoors--but did not realize how much I love their images in art and jewelry until I started recognizing the trend in my Etsy picks. From stylized art to Poe-esque gothic photography to fantasy illustrations to incredible watercolors, birds appear in much of the art to which I am drawn. They even show up in some of my jewelry picks, sometimes combining both bird and tree, as in this elegant pendant.

I also love a number of quirky items, such as the work of the artists OddFauna and Kellie Schneider and Studio Lyon, as well as the slightly less weird but still left-of-center Eastwiching (check out the adorable foxes and elephants, especially!)

I'm beginning to create rooms in my head. I'd have the living room done with trees and birds. Animals and fairy tale creatures would frolic in kids' and guest bedrooms. I already have a huge gorgeous stick-and-ink drawing of three female figures in my bedroom (courtesy of my sister from her art class days), and I'd continue on that theme with work from artists like Krystyna and Kellie Schneider. (I don't think MTL would mind.) I'd increase our collection of wood carvings with work from the Natural Selection Studio and DD Wood Creations.

My dream house would be filled with rich earthy tones and soft blues and greens. Brighter colors would pop in accent decor. There would be wood everywhere, along with comfortable but streamlined furniture. It would be a place where I would be surrounded by beauty in every room, but where my heart and mind and soul would be soothed.

I have a home wherever I am with My True Love, but I can dream of a place that would our home in physical as well as emotional expression.

Now I just have to win the lottery...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


It's one of those days--a day when I wake up in a ragingly foul mood and little can shift it during the course of the day. Thankfully, they aren't too frequent, but when they do happen, the best thing I can do is shut myself away from the world so that I don't turn into the Queen of Hearts and stomp around calling for mass decapitations.

I could not get restful sleep last night. I had odd dreams that I cannot recall but that nevertheless disturbed what little sleep I did get. I woke every hour or two, unable to get comfortable. MTL was also restless, and at times I couldn't tell whether he had woken me or I him. DramaBoy came knocking on the door at Dark Ay Em to report that The Widget was crying in pain with his ongoing bout of Unmentionable Difficulties. I soothed and medicated the poor boy, then crawled moaning back into bed.

By the time MTL and I dragged ourselves out of bed this morning, bickering over who should get up first to get breakfast going before the childrens filled themselves up with cereal, my temper was at DefCon 4.

Coffee (brewed by me) and a scrumptious breakfast (cooked by MTL) eased me temporarily. So did an indulgent session with my latest obsession, creating treasury lists on Etsy.com. But then I had to oversee the boylets in taking an overdue shower, an experience that never fails to frustrate me. And then there were the dishes to wash and the kitchen to clean. I bit my tongue the entire time, knowing full well that if I opened my mouth, whoever was nearest would suffer its lash regardless of cause. MTL finally paused in his own cleaning to ask what was wrong, and I nearly burst into tears. Scratch that: tears there were, though muffled and suppressed.

He, lovely man that he is, hugged me, reminded me that he loves me and that everyone else in the house loves me too (though sometimes I wonder), and suggested that perhaps I needed to hole up in the bedroom and rest.

So here I am. The door is firmly closed. My Emptyself station is playing on Pandora.com, I created another treasury list on Etsy, I chatted briefly with DraftQueen before she abandoned me for a trip to the fabric store, and now I'm pouring myself out here for what few readers I still have in these days of infrequent posts.

MTL is right--it's better that I shut myself away for a while, because the alternative could be ugly. It doesn't matter, though: I'm still fighting with the guilt. I can't help but think of all the things I probably should be doing right now. I can't help but be angry with myself for being in such a horrible mood in the first place. It's not like I even have a decent reason for it, other than a bit of sleep deprivation.

Argh and Grr. I need a real vacation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I find myself in an odd limbo, strung between utter happiness and gloomy despair. Utter happiness because in just under five months MTL and I will be married, and while I am having to watch myself carefully for signs of going off the deep end in preparations for the shindig, plans proceed apace and almost everything is falling smoothly into place.

We're overly organized, really. Honestly, the only reason I don't have the wording for our wedding programs completely set is because one of my beloved bridesmaids is still trying to figure out whether or not she'll be able to attend and stand up for me. Pesky miles. I keep telling her that she and her family should just move over here, but for some reason Michigan doesn't seem to be much of a draw right now...

Cue the other extreme.

The gloomy despair? All it takes is for wave after wave after wave of news and worse news flooding through the television and Internet and email. I love my job, but am seriously wondering if I will be able to continue teaching for much longer. The politicians of this nation and most definitely this state seem intent on destroying the public education system, and sadly enough, too many people seem quite willing to let them do so. I find myself in tears, considering a nation where only those who can afford to do so will be educated (whether through private schools or homeschools--because yes, you have to be able to afford to homeschool), where corporations will get even fatter off the profits of charter schools, where the Least Of These will be once again forgotten and shunted to wither away in their corners and holes.

We are not a democracy. We are not a republic. We are a corporate oligarchy, and the bloated barons are laughing as they feast on the fat of the land.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Through The Haze

I hate it when I'm blogging-blocked. I have five or six posts in various form both in my drafts folder and my head, and none of them are transforming into real life posts.


Lots is going on. Planning proceeds apace, my real ring finally arrived and is GORGEOUS (seriously, my man--my FIANCE--both knows me and has awesome taste), my parents are flying in tomorrow, all my classes are diving into major research projects in addition to their regular work, dear friends of mine are in various stages of distress and I'm having to practice active listening, and then there's normal everyday life.

And then there is Politics, which is taking over my life and creating Rage.

I think I'll avoid that topic for now. I'd rather not throw my laptop at the wall.

At any rate, I am here. I just can't get words onto the screen very well.

Still love y'all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Please Excuse The Dust

As you may or may not have noticed (it's still in process) I now officially have my own domain! The Google Gods have granted me a "blogspot"-free URL in exchange for a small token of my worship. However, they then apparently saw fit to remove every single link to every single other blog/website I had in my sidebar.

Le sigh.

So please bear with me as I figure out how to make the damn thing work again. Because I loves my peeps.

As you were, Beloved Readers, as you were.


Well, that was easy.

That, or I'm just Teh Awesome.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Like A Wedding Speed-Walk Than A March, Really

I've been meaning to sit down and write a post for, oh, ages now, and I haven't done so because of two reasons.

The first is gross. A fingernail cuticle became infected about three weeks ago and unlike most annoying little infections of that sort, this one did not go away but instead decided to Colonize The Nail and attempt to destroy any chance of my ever becoming a hand model, as the lovely and all-too-kind momsicle suggested I do in order to fund the wedding. Epsom salts and tea-tree oil proved limited in their defense capabilities, and so at long last (and probably later than I should have, considering the sad state of the nail itself) I filled the scrip for Keflex and started popping pills. Two days later, I can finally put pressure on that finger without feeling like my nail is about to begin the apparently painful process of zombification.

A lovely image, I know.


I love filling you in on the beautiful little moments of my life.

The second (and more exciting) reason is that I have dived full force into Wedding Planning, and for good reason. MTL and I had originally thought we would marry next fall. This would have meant my parents would be unable to attend. At first I shrugged this off a bit. I mean, they live in Africa. They can only come here every couple of years. Scheduling is hard.

By Wednesday, however, MTL was starting to say things like, Hmmm. A year and a half is a long time. One and a half times as long as we've been together. and Are you really sure you're going to be okay with your parents not being there?

Then I chatted with one of my closest friends, the amazing and talented Heidi (she's a bridesmaid, by the way) and she started asking about how I would really feel about my parents not being there, and finally I admitted that yes, it would matter. If they weren't there, I would regret it.

I had a feeling, said MTL.

There are SO many reasons I'm marrying that man. Other than him asking, I mean.

So we sat down and looked at our finances and we talked to people and I emailed my parents and lo, behold, we were shooting for an August wedding instead. THIS YEAR August, as in. Five and half months away.

Enter panic. Would we be able to afford this? What venues would be available? How much did you say that costs?? WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DAMN EXPENSIVE???

I had already asked my closest friends to be bridesmaids, and they talked me down rallied 'round. And then MTL crunched numbers and helped me look up venues and ideas online, and then we went to tour a possible reception venue and drove by a possible ceremony venue and went to a bridal expo MTL had heard about on the radio and BAM!

Things started falling together instead of apart. We fell in love with the reception and ceremony venues, and they both offer beauty as well as budget, and we even found a bakery we love and could afford at the expo.

It's really happening. We're getting married. This August thirteenth. In five and half months. Under twenty-four weeks. One hundred sixty-five days, when you get right down to it!

So DraftQueen, oh sweet Mistress of Honor? Heidi, darling bridesmaid mine? I'm seeing you here in MICHIGAN, ladies! You better be saving your pennies!
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