Monday, April 23, 2012


Isn't it interesting how all worlds seem to connect? Lately a lot of the blogs I follow have been talking about goodbyes. Specifically with family members. I was going to write about something totally different this week and then I experienced my own goodbye, and my heart has compelled me to write about it.
A few weeks ago I said goodbye to my brother-in-law. He is moving to England. He will be the furthest away of all the family members.  It will be so strange to go home to visit and not have him there with his quick smile and witty observations (always said under his breath)  there will be a definite hole there. 
     My brother in law is a quiet person. He comes from quiet people, as I have discussed before. He is also shy, so I felt a kinship with him, since I am shy myself.  But his spirit/aura/presence, call it what you will, has always been there quietly and gently announcing him.
A constant gentle and loving presence, never forceful or overbearing.
     You know what I mean, something that has always been there and now it will be gone. Obviously not forever! The hope is to see him a few times a year, but after having been there will be WEIRD.
He has been there from the beginning, and by beginning I mean my beginnings with my husbands family. 
15 years. I have known him for 15 years. In that length of time he has become my family, my brother, as real and dear to my as my own brother is. We have been through good times and bad times. Extreme grief and Joy. And I am not even going to mention the time when...well let's just say he is probably scarred for life. ;)
     He is closest in age to my husband and their youngest sister, so he was always there, around the house.  He keeps me up to date on the latest pop culture trends, because honestly other than knowing that Yo Gabba Gabba is the hottest thing for the under 12 set I am pretty out of the loop. His love of Marilyn Monroe is legendary.  In fact I watched Some Like it Hot the first time with him.  We share a love of The Beatles and he makes the BEST bread pudding on the planet, at least in my opinion! 
     Now he will be an entire continent away.  And it makes me quite maudlin.
     I console myself with the fact that he is going to be with his fiance. He is the happiest I have ever seen him, and he now has a quiet confidence he never had before. This makes my heart so happy. Knowing he is so happy and in love and the wonderful changes it has brought about in him. On the other side of that coin of course is the worry that he will have his heart broken, but he is getting married and I must believe in his happily ever after as much as I believe in my own!
So we hung out, talked about his upcoming new life in his new home, and in the end we hugged tightly knowing it would be a year before we saw him again. There is of course Facebook and Skype and email, but it is never really the same is it? However I am grateful for these technologies which allow us to connect over the vast physical distance that separates us.
   And no goodbye is final, not even the last and greatest one. We all meet again, eventually. So we look forward to the day when we can embrace him again and ply him with questions about England over a cuppa. 
Until then we will have to fill that missing piece in us with the memories and laughter and Skype dates. 
And hey now I have a far more compelling reason to visit England, a country I have always wanted to see!
How do you handle tough goodbyes?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Looking at hobbies, obsessions, and a few things in between...

     I was sitting on my couch, reading a few of the blogs I follow and wondering "what in the world am I going to write about this week?" I don't have much on the home school front this week, we are currently fighting off some sort of nasty infectious germies, needless to say it has been a laid back week. So I decided that this week I am going to write about a few of my hobbies (read obsessions). Hobbies keep us sane right? Allow us to be creative and have some time to ourselves to think, to re-engage with our heart space. Now some of my hobbies/obsessions are more of a window shopping variety. As in I love to look but know I can't, and won't buy.  Because with some of my obsessions-what would I do with the stuff? Case in point my first, and probably strangest (unless you are a stage manager) Office supplies. Yup, office supplies!
     When I walk into an office supply store, I get all giddy. I usually say something like "OOOHHH (giggle giggle)" I want one of everything, even if I have no idea what it is for, even if I don't need it. I want it. All those pens and pencils and paper and other stuff that the store easily convinces me I can't live without makes me breathless. Weird? Perhaps. You have to understand when I was in college I was pursuing a degree in Stage Management. It is sort of a prerequisite to be in love with office supply stores they are an essential part of the job. So, for me, I guess it worked out.
      Now however, I am a stay at home-home schooling mom. Now I go to stores like Utah/Idaho Map Supply, it has all those amazing classroom essentials you remember from grade school. The big calender with all kinds of pictures-apples, suns, clouds, birthday cakes, you know the ones! The handwriting paper, the craft supplies, the borders for the bulletin boards...sigh....I lust after it all. In fact if I were rich, and if my husband would let me, my whole house would be decorated with it. Of course I realize how ridiculous it would look to have my entire house look like an elementary school exploded inside it, but it is a nice thought. What else would I do with all of it? LOL So my obsession has gone from office supplies-I don't get to office supply stores much anymore, to Classroom supply stores. My husband is shaking in his steel toed boots!
     The same thing happens to me when I walk into a craft shop, or a yarn store. I get giddy, my heart starts to beat faster, what will I find? What treasure will I see that I can't live without? I love to crochet, knit, cross stitch, and sew. The funny thing is I didn't learn some of this until my early 20's. And sewing is a totally new obsession that I have only begun to explore in the last few years. So no I didn't take Home EC in school. It wasn't required and I had better things to do than learn to be a homebody. I had THEATRE. Yeah I know, pretty pompous, but that would be my 16-17 year old self speaking (Cringe). If I hadn't been such a snob about it I would have had more time and willing teachers to show me how to do things that I now struggle with. Things I have to look up on YouTube to figure out.  Ah the follies of youth!
      My grandmother was an amazing crocheter. She made table cloths, doilies, blankets, she made all my Barbies clothes while growing up and they were way cooler than the stuff at the store. I remember my favorite one looked like that dress Scarlet O'Hara wears, the one made from curtains. Yeah my sister and I fought over that one a time or two. She made me a king size blanket in my favorite color. The thing is huge! Weighs a ton, is super warm and I love it. She made blankets for my babies, in fact she made a whole lot of baby blankets for the great grand children she knew she would not be able to meet.
      She always had bags and bags of yarn, two or three projects going and two or three she was going to start.  When I took up knitting she gave me some antique knitting needles. She had a grandmother, or great grandmother, not sure now, from the old country who made knit lace. She gave me the needles in the hope that I would learn and continue a tradition that had all but died out in our family. My plan was to become good enough to make her some knit lace with the knitting needles. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.
     If I had paid more attention when she tried to teach me things I would be a better crocheter now. My sister-who had the advantage of living close to my grandparents-learned so much from her about crochet, different stitches, how to read patterns. Things I have had to figure out for myself.
Whoa I digress, and am getting all misty! Onward!
     My Doctor introduced me to cross stitch when I was 17, (yeah sounds strange but she was probably the coolest Dr. on the planet and a friend) and I love it! I always have a project or two going, and they usually take me awhile (read years) to finish, but I do love it.
     When my wonderful mother-in-law passed away suddenly a few years ago, I was given her sewing machine. I was touched. It was something I had wanted to try for awhile, and now I had the chance. I put it to good use too. I suppose I felt that I had to prove that I was deserving of such a gift. She did a lot of sewing. Quilts and clothes, Halloween costumes. So I taught, well am still, teaching myself how to sew. I have made several baby blankets and lots of nursing covers in the past few years. I have not been brave enough to try clothes, except for one dress I made for my son's baby doll. LOL. Soon I will try to make a dress, maybe a few Halloween costumes, but not until after my sisters wedding this summer. Too much else to do!
     Not that I am making any clothes for that! I thought about making my own dress, but I am not confident in my ability and I don't want my first attempt at clothes to be for my sisters wedding. How sad would it be as I walked down the aisle with a dress that has three arms or something! LOL Okay so I am not that bad, but I will wait and do something that doesn't need to be that perfect.
Again I digress, sigh...
     Where was I? Oh yes, yarn stores. All those rows of yarn, all different all so colorful! The spark of endless  project possibilities peeking out at you from the bins. Sigh...good thing my hubby took the car today! I am wanting to buy a bunch of yarn just talking about it! And it isn't like I need it. I have two, maybe three big plastic bins of yarn. All just waiting for me to figure out what I am going to do with them! I have several projects I have been working on. A scarf for my husband, yeah I know it is spring time now! I am a slow knitter. A Darth Vader granny square blanket for my eldest son. (It was due on his birthday-a month ago) a shawl for me. And soon I will be starting a cool bracelet for my sister. Oh and lets not forget my nephews cross stitch baby blanket, he will be 1 in May! And his brother is due in June!! Yikes! And my own son's cross stitch baby blanket that I haven't even started on. And the samurai cross stitch to go with my geisha cross stitch. The geisha is finished the samurai just started.
And that is usually how it goes with me! A whole bunch of projects going on at the same time, and a whole bunch of projects waiting in the wings!  Are you like that?
     And I am always looking for new patterns! My favorite website is I love it! They have thousands and thousands of free patterns for everything from hats to food! They also have a lot of patterns you pay for, but for the most part they aren't very expensive. It is free to join and you can keep track of your projects, put up pics of the finished products and follow other crochet/knitters and their projects. They are also super helpful if you have questions. If  you love to crochet or knit or if you are just starting you should check it out.
       My other obsession is makeup. For years I never wore any. Oh I would buy it. I would wear it for a few months and then throw it all out and go without any, sometimes for years at a time. Then I started wearing it again a few years ago. The problem? Every time I wore it I got a huge migraine. Weird? Coincidence? Maybe. I did a few experiments. You know, wear it for a few days, go without for a few days, etc...and yeah it was the makeup. Something in the make up was giving me migraines. Can't function, light hurts your eyes, you want to puke migraines.
     What to do? I consulted my friend who is a Homeopath and Chinese medicine practitioner (is that the right word?) and she suggested mineral makeup. I looked into the big name brand Bare Minerals. I wasn't too impressed with them, they added stuff in the make up that I wasn't thrilled about. And then I found Alima Pure. (Cue the  trumpets, choir and flying cherubs.)  There is nothing extra in their make up just pure minerals, and they have the most magnificent colors!
     I was at first take aback at the price of mineral make up in general. "20 bucks for foundation!! You're kidding right?" But I took the plunge ordered some samples and fell in love! 20$ for foundation, but let me tell you, I have had mine for over 6 months and it is still mostly full! It lasts forever! Now I admit I do not wear it all the time. There are days, sometimes weeks when I don't wear any make up at all. But I wear it more often that not simply because it doesn't feel like I am wearing anything at all. Which I absolutely love!
     Now here is where the problem comes in. They have a beautiful range of colors in their eyeshadow, just gorgeous, and sometimes-I just can't resist. I think I have enough eyeshadow that I will be leaving it to my sons when I die! (Hopefully they have daughters!)  And I love their brushes. They usually have a new one on sale every week. I have been refraining from buying any, because well, I have what I need. But we have been bred to be consumers right? It is really hard to draw the line between need and want sometimes, especially with your obsessions! :)
     But I am trying to cut back, being a grown up can be such a pain sometimes! LOL. I haven't bought anything in awhile because well, I don't actually need it. And that is what I tell myself every time I get a new email from them. would be nice but...I don't really need it.  (I am on a mission to consume less, trying to become better at distinguishing need from want.  Anyone else out there working on that?)
     The other thing I love is that they send you samples with every purchase. If I already have them I send these on to my mother and sister, who I have now corrupted with my love of Alima! If you are interested you can check them out at but I warn you it can become an addiction ;) (Come over to the dark side heehee.)  So proceed at your own risk.

*I am not a spokesperson for Alima Pure, they don't pay me (I wish LOL) and all of the above is just my opinion. Nor am I a paid spokesperson for, I just love their website*