Sunday, July 6, 2014


In the golden light of the morning
she was astonished by the details:
The saw-toothed ridges
on the leaves of the ash tree
as they waved in the breeze.
The sequined glint of sunlight 
on the drops of dew, 
yet to be absorbed back into the atmosphere.
The motes of dandered dust,
dancing in the shaft of sunlight
that warmed the sleeping dog.
And his thousands of little acts,
that when added together
over the years, equaled love.

For my husband, on our 23rd anniversary. I am one lucky woman.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

For My Children, On The First Day Of May

My Dear Lovelies,

Today is the first day of May. You have a scant four weeks of school left. You are in the final count down. (Sorry for the '80s ear worm, btw) There are about 20 days left in which you must pack up your things and tote them to school. This means, by my calculations, that you have already been packing and toting for about 8 months. Or approximately 32 weeks. Or somewhere around 160 days, give or take a snow day. That is many, many days, my sweets.

What I'm saying is, you've had lots of days to practice at being organized. You've had quite a bit of time to get your, um, "stuff" together. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit, so you've had the opportunity to make or break 8 different habits.

My question for you is, why isn't Remembering All The Things I Must Have With Me At School In Order To Properly Get Through My Day one of them?

Why, for the love of Pete, am I still receiving frantic ALL CAPS texts shortly after you have left the house for the day? Why, am I still asked to bring x to school at y time? I have never liked algebra and these different equations which I am being asked to solve before I have even had a cup of coffee make me want to weep.

Today, for instance, I was asked to please, pretty please (Gosh, you're pretty, mom!) bring a jar to school. Before first period. Shortly after that, another child asked if I was feeling nice. That sent my spidey senses to tingling, because I try really, really hard to always be nice. But I knew something else was going to follow that sentence. And really? It left me feeling not so nice.

Do I look like a Fed Ex driver? Nope. I drive a crappy, white minivan with a sliding door that refuses to budge and a piece of red electrical wire holding up my cracked front bumper and an odor of rancid french fries that permeates the interior. (This is not a rant complaining about my van. I will drive Blanca until she dies and I will love her for taking all the abuse we have heaped upon her, lo these past 10 years. This is merely to compare and contrast the differences between what I drive and what a Fed Ex driver drives.) Do I look like a UPS delivery person? Nope. Brown is so not my color. It makes me look washed out. My point here, in case for some reason you are unable to suss it out, is that I am not paid for or compensated in any way for making deliveries.

And no. Texting me that I'm so pretty or I'm the best mom ever do not count as compensation. At least not in the context in which they are being used.

I have driven to school in the pouring rain. I have driven to school on icy roads. I have driven to school in the snow. I have driven to school during the peak of the high school rush hour! You have no idea how I have endangered my life for you! I have run to the school in my pajamas. I have run to the school in exercise gear. I have run to the school with no makeup. The secretaries have seen me without makeup almost as much as your father--and we've been married over 20 years! Those poor women don't get paid enough to have to encounter the Crypt Keeper as often as they do. I'm begging you, don't worry about my pride; think of the secretaries.

I love you more than all the sand on all the beaches on the planet. But hear me now and know that I say this because I love you and want what's best for you: I am not afraid to let you fail. Many of life's greatest (and hardest) lessons come from failure. I speak from experience. I know you are all smart and resourceful and resilient and you will be okay. Even if you don't have x at y time. I have worked hard for you and with you all year. You are in the homestretch. You are nearly there. You can do it! I'm sure of it. I will continue to cheer you on from the sidelines until you reach the finish. But me? I'm out. Dunzo. Finished. I have responded to my last ALL CAPS EMERGENCY PLEASE DELIVER text. Unless your hair is on fire and I am the only person left on the planet who can help you, DO. NOT. PUSH. SEND.

Now, my preshus snowflakes, have a great day. Only 21 non-emergency-text, non-please-bring-me, non-are-you-feeling-nice-you're-so-pretty more days to go!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ugh: A Post-Migraine Poem

It's a new morning,
my migraine has fled,
I look around the house
and am filled with dread.

The cat was down
 for just one day
and in that time
the mice did play.

The dishes are dirty
 and stacked in a heap,
the laundry is a mountain
stinky and steep.

There are millions of socks
strewn about the floor,
and smudgy dog nose prints
all over the door.

The island is stacked
with papers and stuff,
the dog hair blows about
like so much brown fluff.

The tables and couch
of the family room
are littered with crap
adding to the gloom.

The people that live here
are rabid feral goats
that haven't even a clue
about how to hang up a coat.

Toothpaste globs dot
every mirror and sink,
the garbage is overflowing
and starting to stink.

The fridge is empty
and the goats all whine
that there's nothing to eat,
on what will they dine?

I survey the sorry
state of this place,
and I scratch my head
and I grimace my face.

Where to start? What to do?
With which task to begin?
This is a losing battle.
There's no way to win.

But I know that the answer
lies in my brainy little head:
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
So I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In Which I Make Light(s)

YOU GUYS! I am amazing. I created light! Like, first, there was no light, and then BAM! Light!

Okay. Before y'all think I've seriously lost my mind (right, I know, debatable. Shut up.) and have some sort of delusional God complex, let me explain.

Remember my last post about my problem with pillows in which I included this picture?

Dude. I MADE those lamps.

Can you tell I'm just a wee bit proud of myself? I think it mostly stems from the fact that the finished product came out just like I envisioned it in my head. This does not often happen. Mostly what happens is, I have an idea in my head, I try it. It doesn't work out right so then I have to try 432 different ways to fix it before it's either fixed enough to sorta kinda come close to the picture I had in my head, or I declare the project dead to me and walk away vowing never to ______ ever again. (Hey sewing machine, I'm blaming so much of this on you.)

Anyway, I had seen in various places in blogland where people had made their own lamps out of vases or bottles. They swore it was simple and cheap and they swore they weren't electricians. (What exactly is up with the prices of lamps? Why are they so darn expensive? I know for a fact it's not because they're made of gold. I walk through lamp sections with a furrowed brow and think, "Really?! Um. NO.") This made me happy because I, too, am simple and I, too, am cheap, and I, too, am not an electrician. The equation in my head went something like this:


True to form for me, there was a little more to the equation than I first thought, but not much more. The true equation looks like this:


I ran across these gold speckled vases at Home Goods. (Hello, Home Goods! I shall have to start referring to you as my Dealer.) I spied one and thought it would be perfect for a lamp for my living room. I started looking for another, and spied its mate, shoved behind a bunch of other merchandise, almost like someone was hoping to hide it and come back for it later. Sorry, sucka! (For those of you into hashtagging, I'll just say #sorrynotsorry) I quickly scooped them both up (for $12 each!) and ran for the checkout.

Then I stopped at the Lowe's next door and picked up two bottle lamp kits (around $10 each) and Target for a lampshade (around $20). I only needed one lampshade because I already had one at home. Then I went home and started to put this thing together.

And then my head exploded and I pictured the picture in my head crackling into a bazillion little pieces because the rubber nipple thingy (oh dear Lord, save me from the weird google hits that will come from that phrase!) was too small for the opening in my vase and the lamp part wasn't going to fit right into the vase part and I was going to wind up in that special circle of hell reserved for my projects that don't turn out and I was going to have to forsake my gold sparkly vases. This made me want to cry.

So I thunk and I thunk, and I figured I could make a circle out of cork to thread the lamp thingy through and make it fit the size of the vase. I know this sounds confusing, but trust me, I have photos and all shall be revealed, Young Grasshopper.

This McGyvering turned out to work (I needed a little hot glue to keep it stable, but you can't really see it.

I had my beloved help me with the wiring of the first one just so that I would be certain that I was connecting things correctly and wouldn't cause the house to burn down just because I needed gold sparkly lamps. It was extremely simple. I mean, like, I'm pretty sure I could've done it while consuming a glass of wine, simple. It involved a couple of screws and a couple of wires. Easy peasy. And YOU GUYS. When I turned on the switch and actually had light? I danced around like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he finally made fire. Seriously. My husband just shook his head at me and walked out of the room. I am woman. I can wire a lamp with a lamp kit. HEAR. ME. ROAR!

Now, before I show the photographic evidence, let me apologize for the quality of the photos. I took them with my phone. Apparently I am not so lazy that I can't run all over God's green earth to find all the things I need to make a lamp and actually make the lamp but I am too lazy to walk into the other room to grab my good camera so that the pictures will actually be decent. Priorities. I has 'em. Um...or something?

Anyway! Pictures!
See? Gold and sparkly! Hello my love! Also: the walls are not actually that weird purple/blue color. Thanks, iPhone.

*Sigh* Luuuurrrve. Also: Dear Laziness, You have made so many things about this picture bad. It's a good thing the lovely lamp makes up for it.  Also, also: The walls are not actually that color.

See how I McGyvered the cork below the ribbed nipple (ugh. google.) to make the lamp part fit? See the hot glue holding it stable? You cannot see this in real life. I was a champ and got super close to take this photo just for you. You're welcome. Also, also, also: The walls are not that weird brown.
Yes, the cord hangs from a weird spot. You cannot see it from most angles. If this bothers you, you could take some sticky tack and stick it to the vase to make it less obvious. Or, you could just have a glass or 3 of wine and then you'll be all "Cord, schmord! Another tankard, please!" Also, also, also, also: The walls are not tan and the word "also" is starting to look and sound weird to me.

So, dear children, what have we learned from this post? Let's see:
Home Goods is my Dealer.
Sparkly gold lamps are the bomb dot com.
Making your own lamp is fairly easy and inexpensive.
The new feminism involves wiring a lamp from a lamp kit and being an independent woman who don't need no electrician.
I am lazy.

Now, I urge thee: Go forth and make some light! (And if you do, can I see it?)

Monday, March 31, 2014

I Think I May Have A Problem

Hello. My name is Sara and I am an addict.

I didn't know my problem was this bad. I thought I could handle it on my own. But I've come to believe that I cannot control this myself. I need help.

I am addicted to throw pillows.

It was harmless fun at first. I would buy a fluffy pillow thinking it would solve my decorating problems. But I'd get the pillow home and after a brief high, I'd realize that I was still unhappy. And so I'd go to Home Goods or Target thinking that I could handle myself. I could get out of there without a pillow. I'd just avoid the pillow section.

But we all know how that works out. You think you are strong enough and that you can just stroll through the pillow section and take a peek. You won't buy anything. Because you definitely don't need a throw pillow. You can get by without a throw pillow.  Throw pillows don't rule you, you rule throw pillows.

And then you see it. The color is perfect! The texture is divine! You have the perfect spot for it! And you say to yourself: Oh what's one throw pillow? I'll just get this one pillow this one time and then I'll quit. So you buy it and take it home and put it in the spot that would be perfect for it and you look at it and it just... isn't. Oh well, you think. It's just a pillow. I'll put it in the closet and when I re-do the  next room, I bet it will work in there.

Except it doesn't.

And you promise yourself you will just. stop. And you do.

Until the next time.

And you keep going this way on this crazy throw pillow train, collecting pillows and tossing them in closets and collecting pillows and tossing them in closets.

Then you discover that you can make a pillow using place mats.

And you think to yourself, this is it! This is the solution I've been waiting for! Place mats are cheap! Fiberfill is cheap! I can totally make a pillow that will be the perfect pillow and all of my problems will be solved!

Place mats are like the methadone for throw pillow addiction. Soon you find yourself addicted to them as well.

So now you find yourself trolling all your old haunts and instead of just being drawn to the pillow section, now you are also drawn to the tableware section.

You find your children pulling you by the arm and hustling you away saying "NO! Mom. Come. On. You do not need another pillow or place mat. This is not okay. It's time to stop."

And you are embarrassed because you have been found out. You thought you had hidden your little addiction so well. But now your kids are on to you and things are just going to have to change.

So. You force yourself into your closet and you pull out your stash of pillows. And it looks like this:

And your face flames in shame as you realize that none of these pillows have solved one decorating problem for you. So you go through them one by one, pat them lovingly, and relive the memories of their purchase or creation. And then you force yourself to choose. Some of them must go. You will allow yourself to keep a few which come into play around the holidays, but after that, you will make yourself be brutal and get rid of the rest. Even--horror of horrors!--the matching ones that came with the couch that is now covered with a slip cover and don't even match any part of your house anymore. Yes. Those, too, must go. You were holding on to them "just in case." But you have realized that just in case never happened. And even if it did, you would be okay without those pillows.

So here are the last throw pillows I've made: (the floral ones)

Yes, they are lovely. Yes, they bring in a burst of color for spring. But you have seen the light. Pillows will not get you out of any sort of decorating dilemma. They will only steal space in your closet.

So now my living room looks like this:

And I'm going to live with it. And it's going to be okay. Because I've done the hardest part; I've admitted that I have a problem.

But see those lamps? Did you know you could make a lamp out of a vase? Want to meet me at Home Goods? I'll see you in the glassware section. I mean, I know I was just there, but I could go again. I don't have to buy anything. I totally have this vase/lamp thing under control...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bear With Me

I've been sitting here, glass of wine in hand, staring at this blank screen with its accusatory flashing cursor for the last 20 minutes. I am forcing myself to write even though it's the last thing I want to do. Yep, even less than laundry, and that, my friends should be extremely telling. It's not that I don't have anything to write about, because I do. Plenty has happened in these last six weeks that is totally blog-worthy. I just can't seem to find the energy or the will to care enough to write it.

Perhaps this winter, in all of its frigid bitterness has sapped me. But I think the more likely reason is that I am simply out of the habit. It used to be that I found something to write about at least three times a week and went at it hammer and tong. Now, even though I have some things to write about, there are other things that feel more off limits. As my kids get older, I feel like I have to be more judicious in what I post about them. And the dog has somehow found her middle age mellow. I'm not that all interesting by myself. (Although I did recently have a procedure done that you may get to hear about. Because medical stuff just screams funny, right?) The neighbors have been, if not friendly, at least not openly hostile. House things are coming together, but I don't know if anyone even wants to hear about projects I've taken on.

At first I didn't write because I didn't have much to write about. Then when I did have some things to write about, sitting down and staring at a blank screen and a hostile, blinking cursor made me uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable in a place that I had never been uncomfortable before made me resent the whole idea of writing. And instead of writing my way through it, I simply shrugged my shoulders, and said "meh" to the whole thing.

I don't want to be that way. I don't want to not do something that has meant so much to me just because I'm uncomfortable. I want to be the kind of person that sits in that uncomfortable spot and says, "how are you going to change it?" And so, you kind, sweet people, please bear with me as I find my way back to the sweet spot. It's likely to be a little awkward and lurchy around here, as I find my footing again.  But I'll get there, because I've decided that there is a better place to be than here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Haps

Hey y'all. As my kids say: 'What's the haps?'

Okay. I'm lying. My kids don't actually now say, nor have they ever said that. This is what happens when you are out of practice with writing. You just make stuff up just so you can get going. But now, having lied and having started, I'm pretty sure I can keep going without resorting to lying. I shall, forthwith, update you on "the haps" at Chez Sara and I shall tell it like it is. Or was, depending on when things happened. Time, it's a tricky business, dontchaknow.

First off, let me start by telling you that I was slain by that dastardly little drummer boy. It was an unholy pairing of an army of fake Kardashians and that evil song that pah-rum-pum-pummed me right out of the game. Thanks SNL for your Kimye skit. You really should have a warning. Anyway, it was only 24 hours before the game ended that I was done in. I was sitting in my room, watching a dvr'd episode of SNL with my daughter when it happened. I screamed. In agony. In such a way that my beloved, who had just finished showering, ran out of the bathroom to make sure that someone hadn't actually lost a body part. (Well, he couldn't see it, but I'm pretty sure The Boy took part of my soul.) Then, after hearing my explanation for the ruckus, he just shook his head in disgust and headed back into the bathroom to finish grooming himself and his manly, manly beard.

We had a joyful Christmas with most of my family. My folks and Uncle Grumpy and his kids headed down and we celebrated. And they left this for me:

Yep. I was given the dreaded owls, dressed as a drummer boy, ox, and lamb. The HORROR!
After they left, we had a day to recover and then we had a houseful of friends over on Christmas eve. And then Christmas morning dawned bright and early and this happened:
Select. Fill. Relax. Lying liars!!

Guess who's still finding random styrofoam beans?
It'll be easy, they said! Just select a cover, they said! Just pour in the foam beans, they said! Then relax, they said! Lies! ALL LIES!

Mary was trying to help me and when my father finally came upstairs to see what all the laughing/cursing/crying/screaming/shrieking was about, he shook his head in disbelief. It wasn't long before he, too, was covered in the liesbeans.

After Christmas, Mother Nature decided it was time to bring me to my knees by sending us 12" of snow and a polar vortex that kept my children out of school for the whole first week that they were supposed to be back. Instead of having a two week winter break, they had three. And I almost and a nervous breakdown. The laundry! The food! The different waking/sleeping/eating schedules!

3/4 of my children working on a tunnel. The 4th was off being cool with his friends.
Taken about two seconds before having snow thrown at me.
Then they were back in school for 4 and a half days when they had an early dismissal and a day off for MLK day. As I told my daughter, I'm fairly certain that the Reverend King wouldn't have minded them celebrating his day IN SCHOOL. You know, where they could LEARN and EXPAND their tiny, little MINDS. The bonus this weekend, was seeing my folks again. They came over because my other brother--my TX brother--Uncle SupahJeenius and my niece were here visiting a University and having an audition. It was a fun visit because snow! While my brother grew up here in the midwest, it's been many years since he's been here on purpose in January. He said it was a matter of pride not to wear his hat, but when it got down to about 14 degrees F, he decided he'd rather be warm than proud. He also had a hard time remembering to button his coat and THEN put his gloves on. Winter FAIL. My niece, who has experienced snow a handful of times and wasn't quite mesmerized, was fascinated with the fact that the snow squeaks when you walk on it. Yep. Winter--it's entertaining on so many levels.

I'm hearing now that next week may rival the first appearance of the polar vortex. Yippee. Even my children, who were delighted at having an extended break, are starting to grow bored. They are not hoping for anymore snow days, since their school year has now been extended into June. Now they are just looking for 2 hour delays. I, however, am no longer on speaking terms with the school district's Director of Transportation. Um, not that I ever spoke to the man before. But boy! If he tried to speak to me now, I would give him one heck of a cold shoulder!

Let's see…


There was also this:

I got a disco ball for Christmas! So. Much. WIN!

It's just part of my decor--I'm not actually hanging it and doing the hustle or anything. And the best part is--well, besides the faces of people who come over and then exclaim "You have a disco ball? WHY do you have a disco ball? Now I kinda want a disco ball!"--if the sun decides to show up in the morning and do its job instead of hiding behind the gray, gray clouds that are trying to make me curl up in a ball and die, it looks like this in my family room!

And do you know what happens next?

The Dumb Dog loses her mind.

Winning on two levels. Feels good!