In 2010 and 2011 I learned to knit, cook, bake, raise my own chickens and ducks. I bought a used sewing machine. I started to thrift shop more and retail shop a whole lot less. I fell in love with vintage. I planted more food grown in my own little garden, I became more clearly committed to helping the environment by simple, conscious everyday choices with food and general consumption. I began to truly enjoy the movement of the seasons, AND I found a "style" for my home that I liked after almost 40 years of not having any heart-directed sense of home style. (The style of my home? A little to the tune of bohemian flea market, of course.) All this, of course, in root was inspired by my kids and the desire to be a "rad homemaker."
Because I'm an songwriter by career, I have always been open to the creative. I always made things, quilts, gardens... But....it was almost as if I needed an affirmation saying TO me: you CAN do more. You can go deeper. If you want to, just dive in and DO IT. Amanda Soule's blog certianly helped. And many other bloggers out there. Also: inspiring books, rad local thrift stores, supportive parents, appreciative kids, a patient husband.
And so... I am slowly getting better at all of it. When I started my blog about 400 posts ago, I was crying over knitting and throwing my needles. Burning food. Making bread that looked and tasted like bricks. Bringing home a lot of things from the thrift store to The Brad's disapproving look, then a few months later taking them right back to the thrift store (I've found having an eye for interior home design isn't a natural born quality, but getting in tune with the heart is.)
I've made progress. I've continued to follow my heart. And into 2012 I go, following it all the more. Going deeper. What lies waiting?
We have a chicken who was very sick for a long time. She never was a good layer, her pretty blue eggs broke inside her. We tried everything to no avail and figured her sickly. As you may or may not know, in late Fall and Winter, when daylight is more scarce, chickens don't lay much if at all (they need a certain amount of light to lay an egg!). This is exactly the time, when all our other chickens stopped laying and our gal, named Lily, began laying perfect pale blue eggs almost everyday.
This is why I have chosen this path. The path of a little more hard work and a lot more gratification. Because one day when you least expect it, on the exact day you never should, you start getting beautiful perfect blue eggs.
Yes. A little more work, and a lot more gratifcation. I'm glad I made it past the starting gates, because learning new things is never easy. But the thing is, you get better at it. And there is always further to go.
I have other visions too for the New Year- ones that are career based. But somehow they seem secondary to what I do in my home and with family. Perhaps these career dreams are not secondary, and the misconception that they are prevents them from fruition. Rather, I choose to now think: all if it is part of it. (Hint: I would love for 2012 to prove that to me.)
Much Love to you and I will be seeing you in the New Year.
(By the way- I just found out several of my albums are available on Spotify. I can't figure out how to send you the direct link to my music..but if you go to Spotify and search "Cory Sipper" you should get access.)
We had a wonderful Christmas break full of family, friends, thoughtful gifts, holiday recitals & homemade baked yummies. (And a little champagne too. Why not?!)
I'm not sure if I'm ready yet to come back to the world of the computer even though Christmas is officially over.
Not quite yet.
I really went all out with my knitting, baking and general festivity-making.
(I was still knitting at 6 a.m. on xmas morning finishing up a shawl for my mama..a bit of a funny story actually to be shared later. Where knitting and I are concerned, you can be sure there is a funny story.)
I'm still recovering from it all.
(I fell alseep at 7 p.m. last night.)
But I wanted to check in and say I hope your holiday is still dancing along as well.
I don't know exactly why, but I've always held onto a very playful part of myself. During the worst times of my life, when that playful part of me was buried, I was not right at all. In fact, when I met The Brad, soon after turning 30, I was the oldest I've ever been. I had just come through years of painful, personal challenge and I was raw as a badly skinned knee.
I will never forget sitting at my kitchen table with The Brad right after we very first met, the both of us laughing so hard about one silly thing after another. It felt like years since I had been my naturally goofy self and it was instantly apparent that he shared my sense of humor. He sat across the table from me, somehow seeing my true essence beneath the layers of confusion and pain, and I began to grow younger. A few days later, Brad walked to my book case, pulled all the self-help books off the shelves and told me: you don't need these anymore.
I don't know if there is such a thing, but I'm not going to be a "normal" 40-year-old. I just somehow doubt there are many 40-year-old wives who chant things such as: "Na na na na na you are poo- poo head." to their husband on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes when The Brad comes downstairs from his office for a second cup of coffee and a cookie, if I'm even just slightly irritated with him for anything at all, I'll wait for him to put the cookie down on a plate and then hide it when his back is turned. If he doesn't have a cookie, I'll hide the cup of coffee, the iPhone, etc...Then I'll leave the room. Soon enough I can hear him laughing while swearing and saying with slight disbelief: I married a 4-year-old.
Yep. It's what keeps me young. The antics. I was like this before I had children and I'll hopefully be like this when my children have children. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that this is true about me and that I'm also serious and introspective. I'm a four-year-old with a big happy heart, a slightly tough edge here and there, and the occasional mild existential crisis.
If you want a visual, think small. The Brad often looks at me, shakes his head and says, "I married a legal midget!" (I don't know what he means by legal. I wasn't aware that extremely short people were otherwise against the law.) Anyway, it's true that I barely pass the 5 ' mark. (I'm more than 1 ft. shorter and about half the weight of my husband.)
So. The legal midget is hitting 40 this week. And I don't get what the big deal is. If we're lucky, it happens to all of us. I'm just a babe, as far as I'm concerned. Toddling along in an amazingly beautiful and, yes, often mysterious world.
I look out the window and see the trees and birds hanging out in the gentle end of last nights windstorm. Nature simply does not look confused or let down at all. So why should I ever be ?
Last night, after a long day, after a long week, in the middle of a busy month, Brad and I watched our funny little three year old rock out to Christmas Carols as if she were listening to Def Leppard. Brad was still working and just paused in the kitchen for a quick dinner. As he got up to leave, he looked at me, the 5-year-old on my lap, the Christmas tree and the rocking three-year-old and said: This is sure worth all the work. Exactly.
This is awesome and I am so blessed. Thank you universe for giving me this wonderful life. I'd promise to get younger every year, but since I'm only 4, I think I'd better stop here.
If you would like to help me celebrate my birthday, I am asking that readers donate to this wonderful cause: The Elephants Umbrella Fund, a non-profit created and run by a passionate woman in her 90's (who still goes to visit the elephants in Asia she has saved). In brief, this org. buys ill-treated Asian elephants one at a time from their abusive owners (who use the elephants for logging or tourism). The elephants that are saved are always in need of great care and often on the brink of death. They are brought to a sanctuary where they can get medical care and peacefully live out the rest of their lives. As you know, in situations like these, any dollar amount helps. And as you know, I'm a big time elephant lover. This is how I feel about elephants:
As for me, I will be taking the rest of the week off to enjoy my family and the holidays (and finish those darn knitted gifts!) I send you so much love and joy this Holiday Season! Thanks for reading. See you sometime next week.
A single & lovely moment from the week which needs no words.
inspired by Soulemama.
Anyway, I "came to" a little bit last night and was able to walk a bit. So, I made Three-Layer Peppermint Bark. You know the recipe. Everybody who is anybody is talking about it.
I couldn't taste it while cooking or even try it when it was finished as my stomach was (and still is) unright. But. I had to get this damn bark made. It was one of those things I had to achieve. Like those silly "Members Only" jackets all the cool kids wore in school. I had to have one. I dragged my mom to Sears to get me one. See. I just had to fit in with the pack and make the freaking Peppermint Bark. Okay? It looked so cool. I wanted to be cool. So I made it.
It was really fun, actually. And I'd like to make it again. But not today. Today I don't give a crap about being cool. I need to get that laundry going that I told you about three days ago. Though, admittedly, I did promise my eldest child that later today we would make Christmas Cookies. You DO realize I've never made bark or Christmas Cookies before, don't you? You DO realize this is all part of my awakening as a homey mother. I love being a homey mother and I will go to great lengths to be one. But I hate Member Only jackets. Please do not ever make me think of them again. They were so ugly really, and the kids who had me feeling I should wear one were really not very nice.
By the way, before I toodle-loo, if you click on the link for the bark, and you see how pretty it is, just know mine does not look like that. But The Brad DID say (when I gave him some bark) to get it out of the house which means: it is very good and will make him gain too many pounds. Score one for the bark maker.
And I just want to say, Three Layer Peppermint bark and Members Only jackets are like...sooo different. You know that right? Because the bark turned out really cool and provides love and joy (if not a few pounds). The Members Only jacket: not so much. Sometimes "following the pack" is a good thing...but only when the pack is really rad. Know what I mean? Perfect.
And. Well. That's it for today. Must keep it short around here as I am finally ordered to make food for my kiddo who is on the couch. She ordered a lettuce, pickle, mayo sandwich. Hmmm. Ok. Can do.
Oh. And maybe I just have to share this one more thing. These two always meet here in my bedroom around 11 a.m. to lounge in the sun patch. I had to quickly snap this pic. Cute no?
Two girls have the flu
One mom is tired and headachy and generally rough around the edges
Way too much laundry has stacked up in the corners
Way too many xmas knitting projects stacked up in the corners
And why the hell did my husband feed the dog spaghetti last night?
Let's leave it at that.
For me, being perfectly honest
is the only way to keep up a blog.
This is it today.
Not bright and cheery
No inspired nothing nada zip.
I didn't even
take the darn photo.
This Weeks Joy Moments:
Great Granny's Molasses Cookies (will share recipe later this week.)
Being the highly excited parent of a small person who is doing her first "Christmas Show"
Ducks laying eggs in Winter (when the chickens stop.)
The constant knitting and crafting of presents (Wish I could do everything on the list here.)
Noticing (and enjoying) the seasons (while blocking out The Brad's whining about it being Winter.)
Having the best family in the world to share my Christmas with. I get happier every year.
I have decided to make an online Christmas card via my blog. Why? Mainly because it saves paper. Also because the cards I wanted cost $60 (WTF??)
If you were invited to see this card via email, welcome to my blog. (You might want to visit more regularly now because it pokes a lot of fun at Brad, always a good pastime.)
Briefly: it's been a wonderful year. I've deepened many areas of my life. Knitting, cooking and baking have all received a lot of attention from me in 2011 (and I, from them.) I'm a lot easier to live with now that I am no longer a "beginning knitter." During the process of learning to knit (and bake) my kids learned a decent amount of fancy and useful swear words. Also, for the first time in several years I've recorded some new songs down in LA. (I look forward to giving a sneak peak here in early 2012.)
Brad is kicking butt. He is not only continuing to perfect his photography, but is constantly expanding his creativity. This year he beautifully re-purposed many old torn down fences into frames for some of his large canvas pieces. (Fully "eco" of him, no?) He has also gotten into HDR photography and has some stunning peices to show for it.
The girls are doing great. (They are the light of our lives, of course.) Chloe started school in September and loves it dearly. Her school is tiny & public with big mountain views. It located in an otherwise rural area between several orange groves. Olivia is in love with her ballet class and is most usually dressed in her ballet attire. She also loves our newest family member: the cat. Sometimes three-year-old people don't know the difference between torture and love. Let's leave it at that.
Both girs are hilariously funny, creative and intelligent. (Brad and I often quibble over who gets most credit for this.)
We are so thankful for our lives together: the four of us humans, 2 dogs, 1 cat (with dislocated shoulders), 6 chickens and 2 ducks. (Ok, we are not always so thankful for the dogs as they often do gross things. Like eat the other animals poo and such.)
And nooo, the cats shoulders are not really dislocated from Olivia making her "dance a pretty kitty dance." Ok? Or. If they are dislocated, maybe that is why she is meowing so much. I just keep filling up her food bowl.
Happy Holidays (and general happiness) to all of you, from all of us.
reindeer card from sugarcubepress
Hello. This morning come and see my random collection of gift ideas.
A free and very cool folder of Winter music that a friend told me about. I wonder how the musicians get paid for this? Hmmmm. Guess I'll just enjoy it since I've given away a lot of my music in my time.
The Brad's Etsy Shop. This is what the man does for a living if you've ever wondered. Neato!
My friend Jen's Etsy Shop. Innovating and cool accessories. She even has what I call "veather" products: vegan leather. I know it's supposed to be pleather, but I have my own way of saying things.
Random pick from Etsy. Hella cute for the baby in your life.
Add this amazing blankie to it if you have a few extra bucks. I love this gals store in a big way.
Rad letterpress goods (cards and other things). A dear, talented friend. You will love the designs. I PROMISE! (The shop online button is about halfway down the site.)
Homemade Lotion. I plan to do it myself if I can get beyond all the knitting projects. This one you have to make yourself.
K. There you go, honey.
Me: Back to knitting.