My First Pottery Class

Before you conjure up images of scenes from Ghost where Patrick and Demi throw a pot linking fingers with Unchained Melody in the background, let me say my first pottery class wasn’t like this, although the young instructor did place his hands over mine in order to show me how to guide the clay. But he was a mere 22 so it was more like my son or very young kid brother helping me navigate.

It was rad though. One reason I’ve always wanted to do pottery is because I love to watch the clay grow and shrink as it’s being formed and I LOVE to watch the swirls bending in and out. It’s hypnotic. This is my first time ever making pots and cups and my instructor said I caught on very quickly. They have yet to be glazed.

The bottom of the pots will be cleaned up before glazing

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A new studio space

Chloe's creations

There are weeks that go by where I deeply miss my friends back in Madison; I even miss a bit of the snow….just a bit. Really. If it snowed a bit then melted, then snowed again but remained above -12 six months out of the year, I really would want to be in that snow. Lately, though, I’ve been very stoked to be back in T-town.

Today Lori and I took our kids to a space that is screaming for a new name: The Tacoma Art Place. It was more of a studio than a ‘place’. It’s Art Month in Tacoma and this means that there are tons of events and workshops going on all over town, all month long. I may just have to check out a dress rehearsal of A Christmas Story this year at the little theatre. I swear, some year I’m going to audition for the mom in that production.

Potter's wheel and kiln

This particular studio was opened all day and it turns out that it’s just down the street from  us. I have passed by this space several times since we moved here and haven’t thought much of it since I usually see really old women in there selling their crafts. Isn’t it funny how pompous one can be when trying to delve into their artsy side? Anyway….

Turns out these women are pretty much rock stars. They volunteer their time and they loved interacting with my kids who were able to throw a few pots today on the potter’s wheel, along with making a few pieces of jewelry and copious amounts of glitter-invested pictures. It’s a studio space that is all volunteer run, resources are donated (good quality resources, I might add- dang! Impressive!). They have totally reasonable annual fees to rent the space and…wait for it….whatever you decide to make, you can keep or sell for profit in the shop. Unreal! So they have a potter’s wheel, two kilns, a plethora of glass beads for jewelry making, canvas stretchers along with canvas material, paints and what-have-you, sewing machines and a serger and endless amounts of materials to use. I was blown away. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to tap into but we’re on a tight budget so unless a studio is willing to take payments in pine cones, we’re pretty much left to our own creative devices around here.

Olivier's creations-not bad!

Well, it’s very reasonable to get a membership (in the end it’s about $12 a month- WHAT?) and I get to hang out with these amazing, old ladies who are super creative and who are aged like a fine Bordeaux. Today, I feel blessed and well taken care of. Today, it’s good to live on the Hill!!!

Time to deck the malls, again

I took the kids to my mom’s for a few hours today in order to de-stress and gain my sanity back. This past week has been hard with the kids, for some reason. I met up with Matt for his break but, because I was at the mall, I decided to get some shopping done for Christmas. I know, not the best way to spend some much-needed free time without the kids.

I stopped at a store which I am embarrassed to say the name but I ….ok it was Forever 21! I can’t believe how enormous that store is; two floors of clothes all ‘organized’ by color. I almost had a heart attack inside while looking for a dress for my friend’s wedding. To top it off I hadn’t bothered to use deodorant today (this is a step in the grooming process that honestly gets skipped quite often) and I felt myself beginning to sweat more and more the longer I was in there. I worried for the next unlucky girl who would try on my salmon cocktail dress. In my defense it wasn’t that pungent but I did notice.

Then I noticed the line and thought, “Not too bad. I’ll just go grab a scarf for my friend who recently had a birthday”. When I came back the line was stretching all the way to Cleveland and, again, I started to sweat. Did I mention that I had coffee an hour prior with Matt so I was kickin the foul, left over coffee breath as well? I was like your high school math teacher who has trench mouth and insists in helping you work out your math problem right up in your face as you breathe out of the side of your mouth. Yep, that was me today asking the nineteen year old girl with the skinny jeans and Ugg boots where to find salmon colors throughout the store. Maybe it was the fact that I was surround by tight, unflawed youth that made me so self-conscious about what my breath and body smelled like. See, I remember being that young and thinking a lot of stuff was gross and that old women’s butts looked funny. Today I was the old woman with the funny looking butt and funky underarms in the kid’s store.

To top it off I waited so long in the blasted line while the mom and daughter duo in front talked to the cashier about each and every item that they were purchasing. Then the girl went back up stairs for another shirt while we all got to stand and wait for her. WHAT THE !@#$??? Now I’m really feeling the fact that it’s like 100 degrees in the store and I’m still sweating and the girls behind me in line are now really quiet. Hopefully not because it smelled like someone just cut up fresh onion in the store. Damn! When did I get old? When did I get so uncool? Was I ever cool? Probably not.

Well, at least it’s that time of year again. Enjoy the malls, the shopping, the overpriced lattes and underpriced clothes all made in a large Asian country! Just remember to rock the deodorant and take some Altoids with you.

 

The Weather Outside

Trick Or Treat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now

My friend, Leslie, posted this article and besides the fact that it’s incredibly moving and heartbreaking I was trying to figure out why her story seems sort of freeing to me. I don’t mean to say that I’d like to be in her situation. I don’t think any parent would want that.  I’m intrigued that her journey in having a terminally ill child has freed her from a heaviness that a LOT of parents struggle with; parenting for the future.

She mentions that her style of parenting isn’t typical because her son has no future so their family must focus on now; enjoying kisses, naps together, cuddles and kisses and little milestones that will be very short-lived. Over the past six or so years I have come across so many books, magazines and blogs that try to point a parent towards a better and brighter future for their child. In the end I have literally thrown books across the room because I’ve felt that I can’t possibly live up to the standard that’s set before me by “experts” or just mommy bloggers who seem to have it all figured out. “Homeschool your kids in order to ensure they will actually be smart and creative. Teach them to read at age four, so that they can live a productive life without the likes of Elmo and Power Rangers. Give them enrichment classes and enable them explore their inner creative genius. Spend every waking moment intentionally investing into your kids to ensure they have a better future, you know, the one you wish you had!”

Dramatic? Me?  I don’t believe any of these models are wrong, per se. But I have felt an enormous pressure to do it all properly, to have thought through any and all of the implications on how I parent. What lies behind all of this intentionality seems to be so future focused; so they don’t end up screwed up; so they change the world by how well I’ve trained them! It makes it hard for me to relax and enjoy today with them.

I recently read The Idle Parent and had a good laugh. For a few days I even felt so free to be ok with my own imperfections as a parent. It was glorious to not feel the daily pressure of parental failure. I’m certain most of the message comes from the Western-cultural view that we are to make our mark and leave the world different than we found it; become Steve Jobs! “He changed the world, what’s your excuse”….slacker!

This article moved me in a variety of ways. It must be unbelievable to lose a child. I have a few friends who have and the grief they carry is alien to me. Yet, her language suggested a freedom to live and enjoy her child now; to let the future take care of itself and to deal with it when it comes. Something else that is total alien to me. I am trying though. What’s your excuse?

Sometimes, you just have to wear poodle slippers! You know?

Halloween with children

I’ve loved this season so much more since having kids. There was a time that I sort of opted out of Halloween just because it didn’t seem to apply to me anymore. I wasn’t too into dressing up, although I often dressed as Princess Leia when I had my long hair (that was pretty rock!), and I wasn’t going to be one of the ‘big kids’ that you see going around trick or treating with a pillow case full of candy.

After having kids I never knew I would find Halloween to be so much fun! Trick or treating with a little person who is dressed as some sort of fuzzy creature is the best. When Oliver was two we took him out dressed as a fuzzy, green monster and he kept running into people’s homes when they opened the door. He didn’t really understand the concept. It was awesome! Now that the three of them are dressing up and actually understand that they receive free candy for knocking on a door, they are beyond stoked to head out into the cold air.

I know that there are a lot of people who believe Halloween has some sort of evil attached to it due to it’s history and, although I do respect them for it, I totally don’t understand their fears or what they feel they might be exposing their kids to with allowing them to participate in Halloween. Don’t we give meaning and power to inanimate things? A holiday, in itself, is no more evil than money is as an inanimate object. I’d be more concerned with the message we send them in dropping 50clams down on a Halloween costume for them every year. These days we’re more of a consumer culture than a pagan culture (we don’t seem to worship trees and fairies as much).

Every year there seems to be less and less kids out as parent’s growing fears of poisoned candy and razor encrusted apples seem to take over. “Let’s make it a safe holiday and all go Trick or Trunking!!!” Yes, it’s true. You can pull up in a parking lot while car’s trunks open up and the adults give all of the children candy out of their car. I thought we were teaching them not to take candy from adults in cars! If you don’t live in a neighborhood and this is your only option, I get it. But for safety reasons? I keep hearing that, statistically, Halloween is one of the safest times of the year for kids; they travel in groups and most of the neighborhood is already opening their door every few minutes to pass out blessed candy.

I took the kids out Monday and talked to our neighbors, saw children running around that go to Oliver’s school, watched parents out with their kids in their homemade costumes and was amazed with how many grown adults stayed home all night, sat out on their porches and talked to all the kids that came up for free candy. People got really into different ways to make it entertaining for all the kids. It felt so rad to be a part of a neighborhood with neighbors that we know or are still getting to know. It’s like the one time of the year where it’s ok to go door to door and have a two minute conversation with your neighbors while your child steals their candy. I loved it! I took our kids out with the intention of hitting only our street but we were having so much fun I kept going block after block. Then I waited until they slept to take out all of the Snickers and Almond Joys. Mommy tax!

There are even a lot of people in our own neighborhood who go to the nice, posh North End to gather candy, maybe thinking it’s somehow safer over there because the houses are nicer. Well, it’s all candy, folks! There just happen to be a lot more kids and families in our part of town so I saw TONS of people out all night long. It was a blast and I already have plans for taking them out next year. Here’s to enjoying a favorite of every child’s memory! Happy Halloween!