Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scene in a Rearview Mirror

While driving home the other afternoon, about 1pm – ish I stopped at a stoplight. I glanced in my rearview mirror and found a not-so-out-of-the-ordinary scene, albeit hilarious. A young man in the car behind me was combing his hair. Then he leaned to the side, pulled out a spray bottle of what had to be cologne. He spray it over his torso 3 times, paused and then a final shot behind his neck. So funny. Then he reaches behind the passenger seat and pulls out the largest bottle of Orange Listerine mouthwash ever seen. I could read the letters from the rearview mirror! I chuckled out loud. The light changed and I went on my way. I have no idea what he did with the Listerine, or how he disposed of it. Now that’s what I call a 10-second tidy up!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Truly Amazing!

This past Friday evening marked the first "Amazing Mama Race". It's a race created and organized by myself and partner in crime, Roxanne. Uh oh, Beck and Roxanne together - another crazy caper! This time we roped all the mamas we knew into our fun! This was an outing originally organized as a Mom's night out for our Mom's group. But we opened it up to the other mamas in our life. The race visited various businesses in Lincoln Square. At each location the mamas had to complete specialized tasks; from martial arts to eating sushi. After the race, the mamas returned to my house for some food and fun. We made smores in a backyard firepit. Not a common occurrence in the heart of the city. My daughter, Indigo, was a huge help and a wonderful hostess! Thanks Indi! My husband, Rob, also played a big role, managing the home front and heating up the ovens while I was out orchestrating the race. Thanks Rob! My mom and sister, Cindy, took one for the team having dinner at Garcias while racers tried to find them asking only "mama caliente?" (hot mama? in Spanish). Thanks gals!

Roxanne of course, being on an equal plane of crazy as myself was her fabulous, fun, industrious self. Two snaps up Wox. I must say that I was really impressed by the generosity of donations and participation from Lincoln Square businesses; Costello's, Degerberg Academy, Tank Sushi, Fleet Feet and Starbucks.

My favorite part was setting up tiki torches in Welles Park! Not quite legal after dark but hey I set up in the sand pits! :-) Then of course hearing some of the 'yo mama' jokes the mamas had to tell in order to get their next clue at one of the stations. What a great bunch of fun, energetic women! If you missed it be sure to join us next time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bewitched, Bothered and bewildered...

Indigo, my 4 year old daughter, would like to be Cassie from Dragon Tales for Halloween. This is only upon learning that a ‘Zak and Wheezie’ costume doesn’t exist because kids only have one head where Zak and Wheezie have two. The other dragon head would just flop around. The Cassie costume has a foam mask and a kid puts their own head through the mouth. It’s a strangulation hazard. For this reason it’s dangerous to sleep in this costume. I explained this to Indi and she clearly understood. I was surprised by the ease of her understanding. She added that the costume (thin fleece) is also hot and itchy hence uncomfortable for sleep. Wow, I thought I caught a break as costume warden. Before I retired for the night, I checked on the girls. It was to my true surprise (and there aren’t many surprises in life) to find Indigo in full Cassie costume, in bed, sound asleep with the face mask on. Not to mention the ceiling fan, formerly turned off by me, was at full throttle. I immediately undressed her as the costume was on over her jammies. She woke up in the morning none the wiser. Clever stinker. I count myself fortunate. Last year Indi was a Yellow school bus! I lovingly made this out of upholstery foam and wall paint.

Indi is always thinking of “excusable” reasons to get out of bed (go to the bathroom, needs a drink, etc.). The other night topped all. After wrangling her to bed and 20 minutes of peace and quiet Indi called down the stairs to me in desperation and frustration. “I need help, I can’t get this diaper crème off of me!”. Huh? I thought. Perplexed I ran upstairs. She ‘says’ she had to use the toilet. When I asked her why she got in to the diaper crème she said her “butt itched” (she’s learning how to wipe her own bottom these days and may not have been as thorough as is required -lesson learned). When I entered the bathroom, there was white, pasty diaper crème everywhere. A solid hand print on the mirror over the sink (accessible only from climbing onto the sink counter). There were fingerprints all over the door knob, toilet lid, cabinet doors and especially the faucet. I turned her around to find her behind loaded with white, waterproof diaper crème. Good ol’ baby wipes did the best job. Toilet paper just smeared it around. I had to change clothes afterward as I was covered in diaper creme too! That must have been quite an itch Indi!

Indi loves elevators, escalators, and anything mechanical you can ride on. While at Ikea I decided to take a nearby escalator down rather than walk half way across the store to the elevator. With Aislin in one hand, the other hand holding the balanced stroller, I stepped onto the escalator. Indi, at my side, usually gung-ho to ride, decided to chicken out. She stayed glued to the floor at the stop of the escalator. I could do nothing but coach her through the boarding process. She didn’t budge. Mid de-escalation, Aislin filled her diaper (I, literally, just changed a big peepee diaper). There I was loudly coaching my tiny 4 year old onto an escalator which I was halfway down. All the while black, not green, fog of a dirty baby gas wafted around us. A word picture if you will; think of blinking broadway lights in the shape of an arrow announcing - "horrible smell is here!" (sidebar: this was the escalator that leaves the food court. Sorry to the folks who had to de-escalate from lunch through the funky, weird Smog of Aislin). I thought I could merely step off the escalator and go right back up. However, at Ikea the UP escalator wasn’t parallel to the DOWN. It was on the other side of the room! Now I started to panic! Indi was up there on her own. I parked the stroller, and sprinted UP the escalator with smelly Aislin on my hip. I was fast! Yeah, I quickly distributed stink everywhere! It was a loft environment, so there were only 4 seconds where Indi was out of sight. The entire time we played the “Indi, are you?” game. Our version of Marco Polo. I taught Indi this as a baby and fortunately it stuck.
Me: “Indi are YOU?”
Indi: “Here!”. (repeat ad nauseum until reunited)

I had some gawkers looking at me but I didn’t care. I arrived to Indigo who was smiling ear to ear. Perhaps she wanted to have a little adventure on her own. I never let her see me sweat! We took the elevator down to the first floor and took care of black fog. Fortunately I was prepared.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gimme Steak

I'm the small one.

I’ve been a fraternal twin my entire life. When a kid, I asked for a bike as a gift. I added that it wasn’t “expensive” to my mother. She would respond “you can’t get a bike! I’d have to get two, one for you and your sister. And that’s really expensive”. Some of you may think having a twin is a wonderful experience. I thought it stunk. I was never singled out. I was always compared to my twin, always had to share or be thinking about sharing. Especially on my birthday. I wanted to be my own person. I thought time would sort out my twinness and I’d be individually fussed over some brilliant day.

When I got married I thought people (friends, family, co-workers) would kinda make a big deal out of it. Out of me. Afterall, many had a big deal made for them when they married. I felt it was a right of passage. This wasn’t my personal experience. No surprises. No extra special gifts of sentiment. No one came in from out of town to see the newborn. Generosity from some family but no "specialness". I don't want to sound ungrateful. I'm grateful! It was weird.

I felt optimistic to that I would enter this “right of passage” when pregnant with my first child. I was attending Fashion Design School and working hard as a leader in a church ministry. (I had tons of friends and multiple social circles. One of them had to do something special). No special sentiments or parties. I thought "It must be me". I had tons of friends and couldn’t understand why I watched others (less likeable) enjoy surprise bridal and baby parties showered with blessings, heirloom quilts and hand-made gifts. I made hand-made gifts for others all the time. I guess I just wasn’t worth it. People just didn’t feel that way about me. I didn't know how else to "understand it". I know I may sound ungrateful but I'm not. I wasn't "fussed" over. Maybe that was too much to ask?

October 4 marked the beginning of my 36th year. My beautiful daughter, Indigo, greeted me after school exclaiming “hello birthday girl”! She touched my soul. Later that evening I was surprised to see many girlfriends gathered together for a special dinner. Rob did it. Wow, something that required significant organization (sorry if that sounds crass). We had fancy food, endearing sentiments and touching hand-made gifts! Woohoo, finally a proper partay. (My friend, Cyndi, organized 90 upper grade school children (my Artsmart students) in writing birthday cards to me. All individually crafted, hilarious and colorful). No new baby, no impending marriage. All this simply because I was born 36 years ago – an insignificant age. It’s true what they say when you’re not looking: great things happen. I’m glad I wasn’t too jaded not to enjoy it. It was a blast! I will always remember and cherish this birthday. And that’s not a medium-rare occurrence – that’s rare - and will be savored. It's nice to be fussed over at least once in life. Once a year would be great. Maybe from now on it will be on my OWN birthday.

*Due to a lost camera and our own camera malfunction I don't have photos of the party to share. Sorry!

Beck Becoming a Painter

Arrrggghhh! Each Sat I paint with the PAPC. It takes an grade latte and a good half hour before I jump into each painting. Sometimes trying to begin feels so overwhelming. But I am not going to let fear beat me. Not at painting. Jeesh. We all have to begin somewhere.

Fortunately, you all get to see me grow and progress as a painter. Sometime you may chuckle, sometimes say "hey, I didn't know she could do that" or perhaps just give out an audible "meh".

Here are my last two paintings done in watercolor. The lighthouse was done at the Evanston Lighthouse. The other was in Edgewater at the SW corner of Brwn Mawr and Ravenswood (garden area).