Wednesday, September 26, 2007

project runway v. 1' 6"

i couldn't decide what to title this post. at first i thought of "further proof that i've gone off the deep end" and then, "bow down to your 18" overlords!" but i settled on the title that seemed the more positive of the three... 'cause we're running LOW on positivity in this house...

the porkchop caught a cold and the paloma is coming down with it... which makes both of them increasingly irritable. the porkchop finally surrendered to his nap after fighting it for an hour and a half.... and as we all know, i will also catch this cold. and i will be fit company for their misery. it's only wednesday and already the week seems a little too overscheduled. i may have to drop the kids out of one class or another for our sanity's sake....

anyhoo back to my silly post... a couple of weeks ago, the paloma was invited to her first birthday party at American Girl Place (AGP). i did a little homework and found out that girls usually bring their AG dolls to dine with them. if girls don't have an AG doll, they can BORROW one.

so (after having a nightmare about an angry paloma returning a borrowed AG doll) within a few days, i found two "knock offs" the our generation dolls and the springfield dolls. i ended up buying lindsey from the springfield dolls ( i liked the skin color better and the price) BUT unlike what she looks like on their website, she comes stark nekkid.

i bought one outfit and a pair of shoes with the doll. i figured i could make more clothes for the doll later which might encourage her to play with her new doll more and hopefully, turning the tide on the whole barbie doll fiasco.

in an effort to keep the doll and the birthday party a surprise, i kept both a secret and pretended that i was making clothes for two of my old dolls, crissy:

and tiffany taylor:

the dresses above were made just in the last day or so specifically for the thinner dolls... the paloma kept asking me why the doll clothes were so big. it was like i was back in college for a critique! finally, the party was this past weekend and i could reveal the doll and the doll clothes (there are two other outfits but they're like the first pancakes):

the paloma flipped out. she LOVES her doll (she christened her "mary") and carries her around all the time by her ponytail.

but the thing is... i think i'm kinda addicted to making doll clothes. it's like a miniaturized project runway! they're so quick to make and without trying to pat myself on the back AND break my arm, i'm pretty good at it (i better be - w/ five years of fashion design classes and ten years in the industry under my belt).

i'm in desperate need of an intervention. it's like veggie booty (before the recall)! i have other things to do/complete that are more important/higher in priority. but i think it's getting worse... i've already bought some matching kid size patterns so i can make some outfits for the paloma that match her doll (i have oodles of fabric left over...)

and here's where i'm sure i've gone insane... i actually agreed to make the paloma a costume for halloween this year. she was changing her mind so often that i didn't think she'd decide. but for a few days, at the suggestion of a friend, she had decided that she wanted to be wendy or princess tigerlilly (from peter pan), mary would be tinkerbell (yes, there is a pattern and yes, i have it) and that the porkchop would be capt. hook. i was ECSTATIC. no, really!

and then? THEN! this morning she changed her mind. :( now, she wants to be sleeping beauty and mary (her doll) will be one the fairies - flora, fauna or merryweather. she said maybe, the porkchop could be the owl. :(

i'll have to write a separate post about the party at AG Place. it was an amazing, horrifying, humbling, memorable, heart tickling, ridiculous, hilarious experience. i think i've finally recovered from it. i only spent $32.00. but i was there for five hours. i know, i can't think of anything i LIKE to do for five hours... honestly, i'm too tired to write the post now, because i was up late last night (11:30) making that maroon/gold jumper and got up early (5:45 am) this morning to shower for a ride i hitched with a mom who was going by the fabric store. i'm SO not kidding.

oh look, now it's 11:16. it's official, i'm my dolls' b*tch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

cure for blogging hiatus? a random ignorant nanny.

every once in a while i notice that i feel slightly overwhelmed/intimidated by posting, reading and commenting on blogs while simultaneously being a wife and mom and daughter and sister and friend and yada yada yada.... i realize that i have to ease up on my inner accelerator and just let my life get hurt and wounded. then, heal itself and scar up around me...

i observe a little more and overanalyze a little less... i also noticed that the blogosphere itself was feeling a little darker than usual so i thought i should take a little break. at first i thought it would just be a day or two and then three days passed... ergo blogging hiatus... i apologize if you were worried at all... especially with the tone of my last post and my dramatic leanings... i know i worry about my fellow bloggers when they inexplicably drop out of sight for a while...

anyhoo, i'm slowly playing catch up on my blog posting, reading and commenting... today, i went about my daily routine hoping to find something i might blog about next.

(incidentally, i'm still taking pics and videos of the kids that i'd love to share with you, but as i mentioned before, i'm uncomfortable doing so. but, if you'd like to see some pics/vids and you're already a member of flickr or youtube just contact me and i'll add you as a friend or subscriber.)

today, i woke up. i dressed in something clean and cool. i got the paloma ready for school. i changed the porkchop out of diapers/pjs. we had breakfast - a bagel and juice for the paloma, cheerios and milk for the porkchop, and a tea for the paloma's doll, mary. i decided to pick up a coffee and coffee cake at a local cafe. (btw - i still haven't gotten a minute to eat the coffee cake or lunch - it's 4:50 pm now)

we took one last look in the mirror - i brush my hair quickly, fix her pink hair clip, slip on her sock and shoes. in the backyard, i schpritzed 7% deet (yes, they're still biting here) on all of us and we were off.

we walked to school. on the way, we picked up some leaves. and rocks. and a neon pink feather - must be a flamingo says paloma. we said hi to and ruffled to the fur of a yellow lab and a sheepdog. after a kiss and a hug and a few words of encouragement, she walked into the school.

after a quick coffee and vanilla milk run, the porkchop and i headed to the park. the park was already busy with a group of local preschool kids and some grandparents with other toddlers. i didn't see anyone i knew... but there was a young woman - college student maybe - with a young boy, he looked about preschool age. she was very attentive and playful with him - which was refreshing since many of the moms/nannies usually let their kids run amok while talking to each other or on their cellphones. i don't necessarily helicopter/hover, but i also don't allow the paloma or porkchop to do or sometimes say anything willy nilly. i think i really do have bionic ears and eyes in the back of my head.

so, while the porkchop and i played "unnydog!" (again! again! again!) in a babyswing, the young woman came over to push the young boy on the neighboring big kid swing. she started some small talk with the pork chop, "hi there! how old are you?"

she was met with the deafening porkchop silence.

me (smiling): "he's twenty months old or so."

young woman (smiling): "he's looking at me like i'm an intruder"

me (jokingly): "he does that with everybody. he owns the park and wants to know who invited all these people he doesn't know."

young woman: "this is such a great park. we usually go to ridge (another nearby park). but, i don't like the wood chips or the sandbox."

me: "yeah, i don't like the sandbox or the wood chips either. my daughter somehow attracts splinters and she's dug up some really disgusting "treasure" in the sandbox - usually cat poop, the occasional empty 40 oz and once (whispering) a used condom."

young woman: "yikes. really? wow. the kids are always trying to run around without shoes on and i worry that they're going to get something like glass stuck in their feet. they say, 'amy, mommy lets us run around without shoes all the time.' i tell them 'then you can do that with your mom. but you can't run around shoeless with me.'"

me: "my kids are the same. they hate shoes. they get that from me. as a kid, i hated shoes and socks."

young woman/nanny: "the other reason i don't like that park is because usually i'm the only white woman there with white kids. and those black kids just play too rough. you know what i mean... (eyes rolling)"

me (furrowed brow): (silence)(look of utter disbelief and total confusion on my face) "um. uh."

young woman/ignorant nanny (smiling): "well, we gotta go. it was nice to meet you. we'll see you here again!

me (furrowed brow): "yeah. bye!"

i know. i dropped the anti-model minority stereotype ball. trust me, i'm angry at myself enough. i was off my game today. i cannot always let this happen to me. i swear i do not have "racists welcome here" tattooed to my forehead. i wanted to calmly tell this young ignorant white woman that it was not ok to say this to a complete stranger who happened to be asian. i wanted to tell her how offended i was. i wanted to ask her to examine why she thought it was "ok" to have said this to anyone. but, i dropped it. i lazily let racism happen in front of my son and another mother's son.

i desperately want to write a scathing email to the local moms group in hopes of alerting the mom of her ignorant insulting nanny and maybe even write a post to isawyournanny. but i won't because i know neither of those things will have a positive effect. but, i need to do something.

sometimes i think i'll just have to resort to being the weird lady who carries around copies of "white privilege: unpacking the invisible backpack" around with her and randomly hands them out to white people who upset her. no, really. then, i think about that book guerilla art kit and it also gives me some ideas. but, then i imagine the backlash on the kids and the thin man.

lately, i've been thinking starting some kind of group, maybe a real life anti-racist parent group in the neighborhood to raise awareness and to support other parents who encounter stuff like this in our very diverse, but not remotely integrated neighborhood. it overwhelms me and i stop thinking about it so much - hoping that i'll have an epiphany about it.

i just don't know where to start. how do i find all these parents? where would we meet? how often would we meet? how would i moderate such a meeting? what would we talk about? how could we collectively affect positive change instead of encouraging the rift that already exists? how do i keep parents constantly interested and involved?

so, i'm open to any and all the helpless, fearful, angry, anti-racist mama out - comment on, comment on...

Monday, September 10, 2007

postcard from the outlands of h*ll, IL...

sometimes when i wake up, i feel rested... or tired... or nothing... or dread... like yesterday.

it's been a tough 10 days or so... i kinda lost count after the first few days. the thin man was preparing for a trial and then, he was in the midst of it. so, our days and nights were long, trying and chaotic.

it was also the paloma's first week back at school so there were changes to our routines again and then there was the rain.... i'm also due for a visit from "aunt flo" who is remarkably different and *ahem* pronounced, emotionally and physically, since the arrival of my two children....

i needed a break yesterday and so the thin man offered to drop me off downtown... when he asked me where i wanted to be dropped off, i couldn't think where.

i mean where could i go when all i wanted to do was lose myself in grief, anger and loss and then cleanse with a celebration of spirit, friendship and joyful love? what place would be quiet and sacred enough for me to think clearly and meditate deeply and loud enough so that i could scream until i was mute and breathless?

so, i punted and said, "drop me off at the art institute."

my best friend, andra, and i would spend our free time together one of two ways.... wandering aimlessly in evanston or wandering aimlessly downtown. evanston is too much of a hike, now that we've moved so far south ergo downtown.

as soon as i walked through the art institute's monstrously heavy door, i regretted it. i wasn't even sure why i was there. so much of the art has been moved or taken off display that it was almost insulting to her memory to be here at all. but, i didn't have any better ideas... so i kept going on my bitter unfocused way...

i entered the thorne rooms first - one of our favorite exhibits. we used to say that teeny tiny people lived in the rooms because the accessories in some of the rooms looked as if someone had literally walked away to use the bathroom, to get the mail, to pick up the baby, to have clandestine sex in the broom closet, etc...

i thought about her room in her old house and what it would be like to make a diorama of it... a book open on her bed, dollops of paint still wet on a pallette on the floor and an unfinished canvas propped up against the lower part of a wall. a green jean jacket hanging slack from a chair. as i turned the final corner of the horseshoe shaped exhibit, i thought i'd feel better, but the memories made her more distant and the detailed intricacy of the thorne rooms more ridiculous and fanciful.

i made my way back up the marble stairs. looking down at my aching feet, wondering, "should i stay or should i go?" i forgot about the soft worn slopes of the stone steps and how we couldn't imagine calculating how many feet had tread them to make them so.

eventually, i always find myself in front of the chagall windows, but they've been removed to protect them from the construction of the new modern wing. defeated, i veered right and up into the rice building hoping to find something... anything familiar. aside from finding the jeff wall exhibit (which i can only describe as dramatically cinematic transparency theatre), i happily found where - the o'keefes, american gothic, and the ivan albrights - most of the american stuff had been moved.

and then, i remembered that i hadn't seen the baccarat paperweights in a while, another one of our favorite things to see in the museum. i made my way down two levels and found them again easily... they're a bit dusty but still breathtaking and stunning to me... especially, my favorite paperweight - the large one with the blood red glass gecko frozen inside a bubbly sphere surrounded by flowers.

and then, it was clear why i came to the museum.

there's a native american proverb that goes something like "we will be known forever, by the tracks we leave." and she, andra, had left tracks on everything at the museum - every painting, sculpture, drawing, every thing was a mutual friend/acquaintance of ours... i needed to be around something or someone who knew her and remembered her. and andra had left her tracks on me. finally, my mood lifted.

after spending some more time (with andra) at the museum and its store, i left at noon. i went across the street to watch puppetbike (my new favorite thing to do in chicago and something i'm sure she would have LOVED). i crossed back over to au bon pain, got a sandwich, an orange scone and a tea - another of our old traditions. my heart and my tummy were full. :)

so, i walked to the macy's protest. it was so old school, so heartwarming, to see passionate chicagoans banding together for a really worthy cause - CHICAGO! when i got there, i got interviewed by a reporter (no, she didn't quote me in her story - even though she kept saying, "that's a GREAT quote!") and after answering her questions, i actually got all choked up and almost started to cry. i'm sure this reporter thought i was crazy for getting so emotional over a store (don't get me started).

but really... all i was thinking was, "i get it. sometimes change is good. like puppetbike. but othertimes, like Macy's... not so much. and MOST times, like no... today, sept. 10... not at all."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

methinks i doth protest too little... or DIE! MACY'S DIE!

just an fyi - i have a new post up at chicago moms blog titled "methinks i doth protest too little... or DIE! MACY' S DIE!"

btw, a new sister site to svmoms, chicago moms has launched - *APPLAUSE!*

DC metro moms

"We are thrilled to announce the “official” launch of the DC Metro Moms Blog , a collaborative group of moms writing about their lives in Washington, D.C.; where moms live and work in the shadow of the Capitol, Beltway driving is the adventure sport of choice, the Mall is flanked by national monuments instead of anchor stores, and bipartisan playdates easily gain constituency approval. The DC Metro Moms Blog is building a community of mom bloggers, voices, and resources for and about families living in the DC Metro area and its suburbs."

incidentally, nyc moms are still being sought for the nyc moms blog.


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