Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Guitar Hero, that is.

I am.

Photo by Doodlebug

This could be a serious addiction.  Icy D.  That's my stage name for my band, "Evercool."  Too bad we had to box it up to move to DC.  I'd be playing right now.

The truck is packed - all but the last few things we'll need in the morning.  We're not staying up to watch the ball drop - the new year will just have to start without us.  We've got a long drive ahead of us.  Needless to say, there won't be a long post tomorrow, unless we get there and get unloaded in record time.

But I'll still Twitter from the road, so you all can follow my every last move. 

I know you want to. 

Don't try to hide it. 

It should update over there on the right hand side of the page, or you can click to follow me on Twitter.

Dr. SmartyPants will be driving the big Budget moving van, and I'll be driving his car - so no long travel naps for me, darn it.  I love to sleep in the car.  I'm sure Doodlebug could drive, right?

Stay tuned, peeps.  This weekend, I'll be back in action, laying out the 2009 plan.  It's still being formed in my head and I'll have about 8 hours tomorrow to contemplate whilst driving up the Shenandoah Valley. 

I hope your New Year's Day is peaceful and full of hope.  And I hope your new year is peaceful, full of hope and rife with adventure.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Christmas packages have all been opened, packaging discarded. 

Different kinds of boxes have taken their places.

Joshua's Camera 123

In two days we begin our next adventure.  In two days we leave.  In two days.

I'm excited and nervous - wondering.  Doodlebug is struggling with it.  "Why do we have to go?  I don't like change.  I like my house.  I like my room.  I want to stay."  Junebug says he's kind of happy, kind of sad.  The adventurer in me is eager to go.  The mother in me is having a hard time watching her eldest son suffer.  Even though I know it is the right thing.

The best thing.

I met with Linda yesterday evening - for far too short a time.  For the last couple of years, we've met on New Year's Day to set goals and encourage each other.  This year, we had to revise the meeting date a little, but we still accomplished a lot.  We set new goals, reviewed the last year and vowed to do better.  Both of us had years that started out very differently than they ended up, and our goals didn't keep up with the changes.  We'll strive to be more flexible and attentive in the new year.

I'll write more about that later.  Right now, I'm checking off lists and strapping tape around cardboard and worrying that I'm forgetting essentials.  I'm trying to let go of the perfectionistic tendencies that sometimes paralyze my ability to sort out the mess and pare down the boxes. 

I'm missing Ben, and so thankful to all of you who left such sweet and sympathetic comments on my last post.  It just reminds me of how wonderful a place this internet can be.  Thank you all so much. 

I talked with his sweet veterinarian yesterday, and she believes he suffered some sort of acute event, such as a stroke or sudden heart failure.  I think he was just a gift that was here for a short time to remind us not to take ourselves so seriously.  He also reminded me that an afternoon spent napping in the sunbeams of the back door is an afternoon well spent. 

Especially in the short days of winter.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Joy. Wrapped in Sorrow.

Santa's Goodies

Christmas was a success.  Much Star Wars was had by all.  We had a lovely restful day of Lego-building and Guitar-Hero-ing and Wii-ing.  I hope that yours was wonderful, as well.

Last year, on the day after Christmas, we brought home a wiggly, feisty little cat that Junebug named "Ben."  He quickly grew into to a wiggly, feisty ginormous cat that kept us on our toes. 

He's been my faithful lap-warmer and constant muse - always good for a pose or two.

This morning, Dr. SmartyPants woke me and asked me to come upstairs.  Ben was laying on the floor, as he often did, sprawled out on his side in complete relaxation.  Except he wasn't asleep.  There was no warning.   He was fat and healthy and feisty last night.  He came to cuddle up with me around 4:00 this morning, as insistent as ever that I move my arm so he could curl up under my chin.

The internet says cardiomyopathy or heartworms are the leading causes of sudden, unexplained death in cats.  We'll take him to the vet tomorrow to see what we can find out.


Goodbye, Sweet Ben.  I hope there are lots of Rokenbok balls to chase, wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


3,285 days ago today, I became a mom.


I'm still hopelessly in love with that kid. 

I still remember the first time I saw him - all red and covered in goo.  He was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

And the loudest.

Still is.

I still remember when they gave him to me for the first time and I looked down into his perfect little round fat-cheeked face.   Gorgeous. 

Still is.

He is halfway to "adulthood."  Halfway to the point where he can vote.  Halfway to the point where he could join the military or get married without my signature.   I choose to not think about that.  He was my first baby.

Still is.

I can remember sitting and staring at him during those first few weeks when he slept all day long.  I didn't do that with Junebug - because he was the second, and I had a 20 month old Doodlebug running around.  I could have stared at him 24 hours a day - just watching him squirm and dream and coo and pee and poop.  He was the most interesting part of my day.

Still is.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This blog, that is.

We're camping and enjoying the Christmas festivities in Stone Mountain, Georgia.  My folks met us here yesterday, and we celebrated the Doodlebug's upcoming birthday with them.  The lights are spectacular here - they really do it up right.  Too bad I didn't lug my tripod around with me - no clear light shots.

But they are still pretty...


We'll be back tomorrow, eager to celebrate D's big day on Tuesday!  Woo hoo! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tic. Tac. Toe.

I just had to share this with you all.  My friend, Cathi, gave this to us today.

Tic Tac Toe

It is so simple, and so fantastic.  Just a piece of slate and some river rocks, but add a grid, some X's and O's and's a game.

Isn't that the best?  And it just illustrates the idea that the best gifts are those that cost almost nothing...Cathi and her husband own a flooring business (FloorDomain, if you're in the Knoxville area and need flooring - look 'em up - her husband is a MASTER craftsman), so they had the slate already.  They traded a couple of pieces of slate with a friend who had river rocks, and voila!  A perfect gift.

I just love crafty people.  Don't you?

Monday, December 15, 2008


In light of the last two posts, I give you...

Buzz in Blue

Doodlebug and I were drawing together this afternoon, while Junebug caught up on his long winters' nap.  D had been rifling through his bookcase, when he came across some NASA postcards we'd ordered back in Kindergarten for a project.  He brought them to me and we picked one each to draw.  I picked Buzz Aldrin, as photographed by Neil Armstrong.

It's such a cool photo, with all the reflections in the face shield, including Armstrong, the American flag and the lunar module.  What I really love is how the horizon of the lunar surface lines up with the horizon line in the face shield.

I did this as a contour drawing for the most part.  Not a BLIND contour, but I tried to not lift my pen as I traced around the image.  I love the quality of the line when I do this, and it always makes me wonder why I don't do it more often.  It is so freeing to use cheap-o pens on cheap-o paper - to draw with and as a child - simply and with reckless abandon.

Lesson learned.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Lunar Perigee cropped

The clouds finally parted and allowed me to take a photo of the moon last night.  I really wanted to see the moon rise, but the clouds just didn't get out of the way quickly enough.  Still, with the clear night sky and the cold air, the moon was crisp and bright. 


I realized after I posted last night, that it was my 501st post.  I had all these plans to make a big deal about post #500, and I totally forgot.  So - I'll make a big deal today.

Woo Hoo - 502.

Look.  I even made a rhyme.

Five Hundred and Two posts ago, I really had no idea what this blogging business was all about.  I'd heard something about it on the Today show or something, and I had to go check it out.  Now?  I'm still not sure what it is all about, except that it has given me an outlet for a lot of pent up creative energy and a lot of wonderful people I've been privileged to know in some small way.

To all of you who stop by on a regular basis - it's been a pleasure to have you...I'm looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring - in your blogs and mine.  If you've just stopped by randomly - HI!  Good to have you.  Have a seat and hang out a minute - I'll grab you a drink and some popcorn.

And to all of those lovely 18 people who have clicked "Follow this blog" in the sidebar, or the untold millions 6 who have clicked on the subscribe button...

Thanks.  I feel pretty.

And I'm saving you the good tequila.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Or trying to.


(Photo from National Geographic - please click on it for story)

Stupid clouds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I hope you all enjoyed yesterday's guest post from Snivel E. McWhinybritches.


Anyhow. Today has been rainy and rainier, with temperatures dropping and expected ice tonight. Dr. SmartyPants is on travel, and so the bugs and I slept in an extra hour or so. Junebug came and crawled into bed with me around 6:30 this morning, gave me a big hug and we cuddled, listening to the rain for a few minutes. He sighed, snuggled in a bit closer and said, "Do we have to go anywhere today?" I told him no, and he smiled. "I think today would be a good day to stay in our pajamas, don't you think so?"

I did.

It was also a good day for baking my favorite kind of cookies. I got this book, The Cookie Book, by Eva Moore, a hundred years ago when I was in elementary school - through the bookmobile or weekly reader or something. It has a copyright date of 1973, but I am sure I picked it up around '76 or so. The pages are browning - almost the same color as the cookies I baked. I can remember baking almost all of the different kinds of cookies in the book at one time or another, but Peanut Butter have always been my favorite. The book falls open to this page without effort.


My mixer is a lot fancier than the hand mixer my mom let me use, but the cookies still taste the same. Perfectly peanut-buttery goodness.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Cades Cove

The end of the year always gets me thinking about what I've done over the past year, and what I would like to do in the next one, and this year is no different. Only this time, I'm less sure of what I've accomplished and what I'd like to do. I know that I've checked almost everything off the list that the guys and I sat down and made last December 31...but I'm just not sure how important any of those things really were in the grand scheme of things.

Hey - learned to play some bar chords on my guitar...woo hoo! World changer...I am not.

Sometimes I look at the world and I feel pretty darn insignificant. I am not looking for anything here, people, even though I know you all - you're too dang nice. You'll say I'm raising children and that's world changing, etc. and I know all that and I appreciate your thinking it far more than you know, but some days I'd just like to know that I'm really making a teensy difference in the world at large, you know?

So, I draw a little, and I make a little music and I knit a little and I write a little. Little, little, little, little.

As we used to say in high school...BFHD. And if you know what that means, welcome to 1986. Please set the Aqua Net down and move over so the rest of us can squeeze our giant bangs in the room.

There's just this really restless part of me that needs to accomplish something big, just for me. There's this curled up giant sleeping in the core of my spirit that needs to stretch out and show the world that I CAN DO THIS.

Whatever this is.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


We had cookie decoration time last night after supper.  Nanny and Pop Pop gave us a kit of four pre-baked gingerbread cookies, frosting and candy decorations, so each of us took one and got creative.

Doodlebug made a Santa cookie,

004 005

and Junebug made Santa's son.

006 007

Dr. SmartyPants made Santa's brother,


So that, of course, left me with Mrs. Claus...


Such a happy little family...


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Staple it Together and Call it Bad Weather

If you don't know what that title means, you haven't been listening to Jack Johnson

Shame on you.

Anyway.  I saw on the Everyday Matters group that this week's drawing prompt was "stapler," and I knew that I had one, and that it was already sitting on my table, just beside my glue gun that I still haven't put away.  So I drew it.


Don't hate me because my life is so exciting. 

In other news, the Dell tech came and installed my new hard drive, and I'm happy to report that as of now the computer is happily humming away and working fine.

I hope that is a permanent fix.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I Love a Parade

Gets me in the Christmas spirit every time.

Even if we did freeze our, uh, noses off.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Quincy Park

Things are gearing up for this move. I've been making lists and checking them, uhm, 900 times. It's kind of nice to not have to move my entire household - I don't really feel the stress of it like I would if I had to pack everything up in this short amount of time. Now - I'm sure that if you call me the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, it will be a different story.


This is the neighborhood park near our townhouse. It's a lovely, big tree-filled space and I can't wait to spend some time watching the boys cavort on the playing fields. Doesn't it look pretty with all those fall leaves still remaining? I'm sure it will look quite a bit different once we get there - bare branches and all.

n n n n n

The Dell technician showed up today. Pretty fast service, I'd say. I called Dell on Tuesday, the tech called me on Wednesday saying he'd received the hard drive and he came this afternoon and installed it. The hard drive came pre-installed with all the software that the computer originally came with, and it's cycling through the decompression, opening everything up right now. I'm keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this will actually be the fix.

And people? Back up those files. Way more often than I do. 'Cause they are all gone...

n n n n n

My community is having their annual Christmas parade tomorrow. It's got a really small-town feel, with homemade floats and folks throwing candy. The boys and Dr. SmartyPants went last year, and I stayed home to wrap gifts, but I think I'll go this year. Should be a lot of photo ops, I'm imagining. And I need to get a little more Christmas spirit in me. Steviewren posted about it yesterday, and she asked what we were doing to get into the spirit, and I had to answer, "NOT ENOUGH." I haven't even loaded up my Christmas playlist on my iPod.

And that's just wrong.

Once the Dell comes back to life, I'll have to make a new Christmas-y banner, too.

How about you? What really gets you in the spirit of Christmas?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Merry Fishmas

Merry Fishmas

Why a tropical fish on my Christmas tree?

Why not?

People. I'll tell you what. This parenting thing ain't easy. Nothing about it is easy. It is full of worry and self-doubt, of frustration and the occasional outburst. Our children fail and fall and flop. So do we.

How is it that the same child who, when asked to use the word "pretty" in a sentence, says, "Mommy is very pretty," can turn around and look at that same mom with hate in his eyes when she won't let him go to right now.

And yet.

We continue to parent. They continue to grow. We hope and we pray and we nurture and we love. And sometimes it works. And that deepens our resolve to try even harder. To push through the resentful eyeballing. To pull them into our laps and hug them one time more than they really wanted.

What does this all have to do with fish? Well - nothing, really. Except that fish stink and sometimes kids do too, and that a little Christmas goes a long way in making them both a little more attractive.

So. Plug your nose and hug your stinkers today. Maybe if you say, "ass, please," they'll even hug you back.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Do you all remember last year when I was complaining about my lack of the appropriate Christmas tree on which to display my prized ornaments? No? You mean you don't really remember every little thing I say?

I'm crushed.

Dr. SmartyPants remembered, however.

My tacky white Christmas tree.

It's so bright, you can actually read by the light of it. It glows and shimmers and sparkles.

Yes. I am aware of its completely tacky nature.

It is unrepentantly fake. It is undeniably plastic.

And I LOVE it.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Customer Service.

So. Computer issues. They seem to be going around, and I hate to get left out of anything.

About 6 weeks ago, Dr. SmartyPants bought me a shiny new pink Dell laptop, because the last one we purchased was, uh..., let's just call it troubled, shall we? I put quite a lot of strain on my computers, with all the pictures and graphics and videos and STUFF, and it just couldn't handle it. It's working just fine, now that I've unloaded the high-intensity photo- and video- editing programs and the many (MANY) gigabytes of photos. The boys use it for school, and it is happily chugging along.

The Dell - what can I say - it has been pure bliss to use. Not only is it shiny and PINK, but it is fast...blazing fast. Or, rather, it was blazing fast.

Now? It's dead. Or it is really infatuated with the welcome screen on start up. It is a lovely shade of blue, after all.

The Smarty managed to run a self-diagnostic on it and found some serious hard-drive errors, so I called Dell just a few minutes ago to see what they would do about it.

Turns out they are going to send me a new hard drive, pre-loaded with all the software, new memory modules and a CERTIFIED! LICENSED! TRAINED! TECHNICIAN! to fix it all up.

Oh, I do so hope that he or she does. I'd love to add Dell to my list of companies that take care of their customers - companies like Crayola and UPS.


I woke up this morning with the urge to draw something. I haven't drawn in a month - November is all about the photo, you know. So, when I sat down at the school table for the boys to read to me, I picked up my new softcover Moleskine and a #2 pencil and stared off into space, waiting to see what inspiration would come.

I got nothing.

So, I drew on the advice of Danny Gregory and others and just drew what was in front of me.


I used this hot glue gun back before Thanksgiving and it is still sitting out, because I'm such an awesome housekeeper. But, now I can say it is still sitting out because I needed something to draw - so it is art, not clutter.

You'll back me up, won't you?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hello December.

Snowy today...must be December!

Hello December.

I'm having some computer issues that are limiting my blogging, but I hope to be back tomorrow with more to say.

I wouldn't want to deprive you all of the daily minutiae of my life.