January 30, 2011

-image-queen of the new year 2010

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Rosette, The Queen of the New Year 2010. As suggested by Original Banshee. (Yes, last year.)

The backstory.

On New Year’s Day of 2010, we were up at my brother’s house, eating, hanging out, etc. I took my entire “Club of Curious Friends” girls to show them to my sister-in-law who had asked about them, but Original Banshee caught a glimpse and just freaked out — in a good way — at the sight of them. She immediately began talking in all capital letters.

“TEE TEE! WHAT ARE THESE?”

“Well, they’re some girls I painted.”

“I LOVE THEM, TEE TEE!”

“Thanks, sweetie.”

“I WANT TO HAVE THEM ALL!!”

“Aw, thanks, Banshee.”

“WHY DO THEY EACH HAVE AN ANIMAL??”

“Well, the animals are their friends.”

“THEY’RE KIND OF FUNNY FRIENDS!”

“Yep. I know.”

“I LIKE THAT!”

“Thank you.”

“TEE TEE, CAN I LAY THEM ALL OUT ON THE FLOOR?? I WANT TO SEE THEM ALL AT ONCE. CAN I??”

My sister-in-law interjected. “Banshee, if Tee Tee says yes, you need to be very very careful with them, okay?”

“YES, MOMMY!!”

She was just so ramped up. Could not modulate herself. While I love that about her, I also wondered if I should check her vital signs because I’m a caring and diligent aunt that way. Her eyes were spinning around like pinwheels in a gale force wind. She was breathing in fits and starts. Basically, she was going to need to be institutionalized and lobotomized, all over The Club of Curious Friends.

Well, it is curious.

I sat and watched as, one by one, she held each painting like a feather on her palm and placed it on the carpet in front of us. She laid them out in three rows, adjusting each one until it was perfectly straight, perfectly lined up in the row. She is adorably OCD. I enjoy it because it’s her problem, you see, not mine. She continued speaking in all capital letters until her mom shushed her a bit, reminding her that Baby Banshee and other babies in a 53-mile radius were trying to nap.

“Tee Tee, do they have names?”

“Yep. Well, most of them. Some of them I haven’t named yet.”

“Do the animals have names?”

“Yep, they do too.”

She pointed to each girl and creature in turn, asking their names and didn’t spare me her candid opinion on each of the names.

“What’s her name?”

“Ursula.”

She wrinkled her nose and shook her head.

“No, Tee Tee.”

“No?”

“I don’t like it.”

“Really? Okay. Tell me why.”

“Well, Tee Tee, Ursula is the mean lady in The Little Mermaid. She can’t be Ursula!”

“Oh, you know what? I didn’t even think about that. You’re right. She needs a new name.”

She glanced up at me with pleading blue eyes.

“Can I name her, Tee Tee? Pleeeeease, can I?”

Hm. I’m thinking no, actually. I mean, would I end up with Rosie Fallulah Flowerbeam or something?

Despite that thought, I heard the words “sure, sweetie” coming out of my mouth. Too late now. I can’t say no to those blue eyes. It’s dangerous.

She gently picked up “Ursula” and held her in her lap, staring intently at her.

Uh-oh. Here comes Cherry Gingerbread Poofadoo.

“She looks like a Phoebe.”

Wow.

“Banshee! What a great name! I love it!”

“Really, Tee Tee?”

“Yeah. That’s perfect! She does look like a Phoebe.”

With that, the floodgates opened. The Banshee became a naming machine. She searched through my bag for the smallest drawings or the merest scraps of sketches and began proclaiming who they were. She was good at it too.
She even decided the narwhal in one of my unfinished Curious Friends paintings should be named Larry.

Larry the Narwhal. Perfect.

Late on that New Year’s afternoon we all went for a walk. The Banshee held my hand — a rare thing for her to hold anyone’s hand — and discussed The Club at length with me. Out of the blue, she exclaimed,”You should have a Queen of the New Year, Tee Tee!”

“That’s a good idea, Banshee. What would she be like?”

“Well, her dress would be pink and have flowers and she would have a crown and her name would be Rosette.”

So that’s who she is. She does not have a friend. She is not in The Club.

She is the Queen.

On New Year’s day of this year, the Banshee requested a new queen for 2011. All I can really remember of the truly dizzying details/parameters/commands set forth by Banshee for this new queen — which I swear involved armatures and slide projections at one point — is that her name will be Coral.

Coral, Queen of the New Year 2011.

Don’t tell The Banshee I’m procrastinating on Coral.

But, honestly, I’m a wee bit terrified.

January 26, 2011

-image-rings

Our anniversary is coming up on Groundhog Day. It’s one of those multiple-of-5, kind of a big deal ones.

So I came up with this idea.

I thought I could keep it a secret from MB, but I couldn’t. Well, I could, but I actually couldn’t for practical reasons.

Back in December, I stumbled across this site for wooden rings. Sounds kind of weird and quaint and who but a hobbit would want something like that, right?

Oh, pippa. Not so fast.

Look at them:

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(Juniper heartwood with greyed maple interior)

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(A tapered Blackwood ring with narrow greyed maple inlays)

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(Hawaiian Koa Wood with birch interior)

(I like the simplest ones or the ones with the knots the best. Go check out all of his galleries.)

They’re pretty much breathtaking, don’t you think?

I went through all the galleries on this site, drooling over this man’s work. On New Year’s day up at my brother’s, I went through all the galleries again on his laptop, with Original Banshee sitting next to me. Every time I clicked on a new image, she proclaimed her approval or disapproval. Literally, before I’d even opened my mouth to render my opinion, she was making declarations loudly in my ear. Precious, you’re snuggled right next to me. It’s okay if you don’t shout. I promise.

We liked exactly the same ones every time. Exactly. Without me saying a word first. I’m beginning to think we’re more alike than not.

So, basically, all December, when I should have been shopping and decorating and baking, I was on that site, drooling and dreaming and pining for a pair of those rings. MB had lost his ring recently and he was a bit allergic to it anyway. My ring is a ruby ring — my birthstone — not a band, and I was suddenly jonesing to have matching or complementary wooden rings. It just seemed so “us.”

Really, all I wanted was to live in a hobbit hole, grow hair on my feet, and smoke pipes whilst wearing not some pain-in-the-ass One ring but a gorgeous, simple wooden ring.

That’s all I wanted.

But, sadly, I didn’t have the moola to purchase a pair of these rings and become a hobbit.

Then one day, a possible solution hit me.

Dad.

My renaissance man dad.

My tie-dying, rock-stacking, stained-glassing and wood-turning dad.

Dad could make the rings. Okay. True, he’s never actually made wooden rings, but I know two things for sure about my dad: He loves a project and he loves a challenge.

So I sent him a proposal immediately. He accepted. I offered to pay him. He refused.

Instantly, he became like a little boy about the whole project. He talks to me in excited tones about things like lathes and waxes and mandrels. He talks about thickness and edges. He talks about angles and degrees. I have no idea what he’s saying. All I know is he’s in full-on GO mode. It’s kind of adorable.

At first, he was so over the moon about it, he wanted to keep it a secret from MB. The ensuing conversation went like this:

“But Dad, MB lost his ring. I don’t know his ring size. How am I gonna get that secretly?”

“Just cut a piece of thread and wind it around his finger while he sleeps.”

“Dad, that’s not gonna work.”

“Why not? Sure it will.”

“It’s not very exact. What if he wakes up and sees me wrapping a string around his finger? Yeah, that’s not weird at ALL.”

“So what?”

“Okay, genius. What do I tell him if that happens?”

“I dunno. You’ll figure it out.”

“Oh, thanks. You know, I think I’ll just tell him.”

“Okaaay.”

And when I did, MB was over the moon about it all too.

Dad is using wood from a tree in my parents’ yard. I love that. I love that my dad is making them and I love that he’s making them from one of our trees.

The meaning in these rings ……… I can hardly stand it.

Tomorrow we have a “fitting” with our designer.

We are so excited.

January 24, 2011

-image-tracey’s list of 20 irredeemable critters

My list of 20 critters that would be discontinued in heaven, if I had my way.

Because they are past redemption. Beyond hope. I do not like them. For significant or flimsy reasons. It doesn’t matter. My hatred has no logic.

These are not terribly specific. Some are just broad categories, meaning I will most likely be intolerant of any version of this critter in my presence. I reserve the right to add to this list at any time, should some critter frighten or upset me or just bother me in irreparable fashion. (Actually, there are more, but let’s just go with 20 for now.)

In no particular order, they are:

1. Spiders

2. Camels

3. Hyenas

4. Sharks

5. Crocodiles/Alligators

6. Cockroaches

7. Rodents

8. Possums

9. Hairless cats

10. Hairless dogs

11. Chimpanzees

12. Crows

13. Any ugly bug-eyed fish from the deep deep bottom of the ocean. These were obviously made from leftover parts. Admit it, God.

14. Dung beetles

15. Chihuahuas

16. Komodo dragons

17. Snakes

18. Bats

19. Ear wigs

20. Warthogs

Please feel free to post your own similar list in the comments.

I feel better just saying it.

January 21, 2011

-image-i’m a horrible person but …

Enough already with the constant updates on Gabrielle Giffords.

Seriously.

It’s annoying me. I’m sorry she was shot in the head. It’s horrible. I’m amazed she’s alive. Maybe she’s the Antichrist, like one of my friends suggested. (Friend was serious, alas.) But who knows? If she suddenly becomes very powerful, I guess we all need to watch out. It’s gonna really piss me off to waste all this energy hearing about her recovery and trying to care only to find out in the end that she’s really the devil incarnate. “666 for you. 666 for youuu. 666 for youuuuu.”

So that’s why I’ve stopped caring now. It’s a preemptive strike against potential Antichrist-ism.

Honestly, I got fewer updates on my BIL when he was in the hospital post cancer surgery AND I WAS THERE. I was family. It was sometimes hours and hours between updates or visits from an actual doctor. The guy was in the SICU for several days, he wasn’t doing well, I was there, and still, I knew less about his condition than I know about Head Wound Hattie. I don’t need to know when she opens her eyes and when she blinks and when she stands and what color the pee in her catheter bag is.

I should be ashamed of myself, but I’m kind of … not. The channel is now changed the minute I hear her name. The more they talk about her, the less I care.

I have recovery fatigue.

Plus, she’s probably the Antichrist.

January 20, 2011

-image-solving “american idol’s” too-nice problem

Get Ricky Gervais. I love him.

There. I solved it. You’re welcome.

-image-i refuse

I refuse to let others’ treatment of me be the setpoint for what I think I’m worth.

Last night, out of the blue, I said that to MB, and he said, “Finally. Thank God.”

For various reasons, all the events of last year and the actions of The Outing Person did a real number on my psyche. I haven’t talked about it here because it’s too damn embarrassing, frankly, how badly it all messed with me. It was a cumulative effect for me of too many of the same kinds of things over too many years. That situation was a kind of last straw. I became this open wound that couldn’t be touched or healed. I faked my way through everything, even this blog. I did my schoolwork and that was it. On typical days, I rarely went outside of the house and I rarely spoke to others besides MB. That’s the truth. There were family things — many things — that required my presence and my care, which I tried to give, but I just didn’t have enough. Or I felt like I didn’t have enough.

For some reason, the weight of all the crap from Christians over the last decade finally came crashing and crushing down on me and left me feeling — pardon me — like a piece of shit.

But this year I renounce that. I rebuke it. I realize now that all of these things — these same types of things for YEARS — are spiritual attacks. And I’ve just allowed them. I haven’t fought them. By that, I’m not saying I brought them on. No. I’m saying that on some level, once they happened, I simply believed I deserved it. I believed I deserved to be treated as if I’m worth only gossip and judgment. That I deserved to be treated as if my humanity was somehow less than that of others. That I didn’t matter so neither did my hurts and wounds. That I wasn’t even worth being spoken to. Or worth an apology. At the bottom of it all, I believed I was simply the lowest thing, the least thing — nothing.

When that enemy of our souls whispered to me over and over that I was a piece of crap, I was weak and weightless and simply said “You’re right. I agree.” It became hypnotic. The repetition of that lie.

I repeated his mantra, told myself “I am nothing,” and spent an entire year of my life living that lie. I let that enemy of my soul, my heart, my spirit paralyze me. The weight of the lies became the most substantive thing about me. I imagine he watched, triumphant, as one by one, I let myself become each and every one of those lies.

But not anymore. Not anymore. The spiritual disabilities of others are not my responsibility. I will not let them paralyze me anymore as if they’re mine. I will not let them own me anymore. They are not mine. They are not mine. That’s a lie straight from the pit.

What comes from the pit needs to back to the pit. That’s its home. That’s where it belongs.

I am not your home.

I am not your home.

I refuse to believe the lies anymore. I will fight you with whatever I have.

Because I refuse. I refuse.

I refuse to let others’ treatment of me be the setpoint for what I think I’m worth.

I REFUSE.

So my anthem for 2011.

January 18, 2011

-image-banshee’s party invitation

Original Banshee was 4 the day she created a carefully handwritten scroll with a party invitation for the unnamed princess. She summoned us all to the living room for The Reading of The Scroll.

We sat, her parents, MB and I, while she unrolled her old timey 8 1/2 x 11 Staples copy paper scroll, dramatically cleared her throat, and read in proper old timey English:

Dear Princess,

Please come to the party. You can wear good clothes or awful clothes. But let us know what the deal is. You should probably wear pretty clothes. And tell us what pretty clothes are. That is all.

Let us know.

Yes, Princess, please let us know what pretty clothes are as I, myself, sometimes struggle to discern this.

I just need to know what the deal is.

That is all.

January 17, 2011

-image-pictory

Pictory is a beautiful website dedicated to photo stories. People’s own stories told in their own words with just a single photo.

Here’s one called “Note to Self.”

Another called “The One Who Got Away.”

It’s touching, haunting. This one is going in the sidebar because I need to hang out there regularly.

January 14, 2011

-image-sister-wives

Actual email exchange this morning between Cara and me:

CARA: I will be marrying (MB) this afternoon because obviously he is the best guy in the world.

ME: Well, obviously, you will be marrying (MB). I will be your maid of honor, of course. Then we will be sister-wives and you will have to help out with laundry.

January 13, 2011

-image-uhm, what?

I found this a while back on a photographer’s site that featured, among other things, photos of expectant moms and couples. There were a lot of the traditional hands on belly photos — the mom’s hands, the dad’s, the siblings. All soft focus and boring and benign.

And then there was this.

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Nothing says “We eagerly await our baby’s arrival” like performing a naked handstand, mooning the camera with your eerily hairless man butt while gouging your naked man heels into your baby mama’s sore boobs.

I mean, one assume she’s your baby mama. If she’s not — if you’re just a very agile and very sick second cousin or something — well, it’s worse than I even thought.

Whose idea was this? How do people reach these ill-advised artistic epiphanies? How?? I must know.

And, seriously, that’s the smoothest man I’ve ever seen. It’s messed up is what it is.

Still, I can’t stop looking at the shadows this photo creates.

I can’t stop.

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