Friday, January 16, 2009

What are you scared of?

Cherie asked me the other day if i was scared of the future. I said that i was and she asked, "Why? What's the worst that can happen?" Knowing my personal beliefs, she knows i'm not afraid of death. I'm not. I'm afraid of the part before death. Cold. Hungry. Scared. Hurt. Watching others hurt. Discomfort. That's what it comes to: i'm afraid of not being comfortable.

I spent the day at Yvonne's house Monday, finishing up our latest illustration project and i froze! I asked Chris if he had fallen prey to that whole "turn your thermostat down one degree and you can save $50 a year" crapola. It felt like he'd been turning it down one degree a year since they've been married. Seriously, though, he said they just keep it cool because he is miserable if it is too hot. And I was a little uncomfortable. But i also realized that part of what made me so uncomfortable was the fact that when I heard about the energy savings, i thought to myself, "so it only costs $50 a year to be a little warmer?" and i turned my thermostat up a degree. I have acclimated myself to being 6 degrees warmer than I was that day.

That got me thinking. If i'm so afraid of being out of my comfort zone, maybe what i need to do is get myself used to a little less cozy lifestyle. Maybe i need to be a little cold and a little hungry and a little sore and a little scared. Just possibly i will be a better, stronger person if i turn my thermostat down a degree (or two). I might be better off if i exercise more. And eat a little less. If i stopped procrastinating the organizational tasks and awkward phone calling i'm supposed to do every day, i might even benefit in other ways.

So i'm doing that. Slowly. But i've also done some things that have made my lifestyle a lot cozier and more beautiful and fun. And i'm okay with that. When we decided to add on to this cute little house last Spring, we knew that it meant that we would probably be here for a while (God willing), so we decided to make it a little cuter and more functional while we were at it. We added a family room and a garage and we dug a basement under the family room to use as storage. Well, that meant the storage would be joining the house through our bedroom, so to me, that only meant one thing: WALK-IN CLOSET!!! We have a kind of funny shaped bedroom. it's long and skinny, but the closet on the end was really smallish. I'm to blame, but when we finished the basement the first time, i couldn't see any way around it. I should have covered up one of the ridiculously teeny totally useless windows. Okay, i'm sure if my life depended on it, i could get out of it, but maybe not if i was pregnant, and no way could a fully-dressed fireman get in or out. Our closet was built by Michael and Grant and Roland and Paul Crowther, and painted by me (thank you, thank you) but the shelves are from IKEA. Brilliant. I even put some of it together. William and Conor and Grant and Michael and Darlene helped, but i couldn't believe how easy it went together. Above is the view from the entrance. This is "my" wall of closets(closed and open).
To the left and below is Michael's wall. He thinks this is unfair somehow.
Don't feel too sorry for him, though.

He has two fancy drawers to organize his ties and he has another whole closet on the other side (not as deep, but still, he could have 20 pairs of shoes and a trunk full of sweaters if he wanted to. It's got tools stored in it right now. hmmm.)

This is (not to brag) the IKEA jewelry insert that holds just some of my Tallulahs wealth. Tawnie asked me when she saw my list of favorites, "What's a Tallulahs package?" I'm going to answer that question, Tawnie, I promise. Soon. This is just a sneak peek.

We have one of those fancy (read: expensive) keypad locks on the door from our closet to the storage room, but believe me, even though that means i have to go get the new bag of flour or the can of olives, it's worth it. Plus, Santa has a place to store his stuff. I had a friend in Jr. High whose dad used to lock the food storage and i thought that was so wrong. I couldn't believe he didn't trust his kids. I get it now. He trusted them implicitly. And he knew that next time he wanted to make cookies, the chocolate chips wouldn't be there. And in the future, I may be a little uncomfortable, but by golly, i'm going to have my earrings and some chocolate chips!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crayola, the Religion

Since becoming a pirate, i've realized how evil crayons are. They ruined my life when i was 9 because someone put a green one in the pocket of their pants and it ended up in the dryer with my yellow gingham dress. The "dust" from crayons is waxy (a hazard to books and clothing) and have you tried getting it off the wall? I know, Magic Eraser. But still, i have usually preferred a set of washable markers for my kids to make trouble with.
Well, Wade spied a renegade box of 64 that i had hidden on the top shelf of the library. He isn't the first to have noticed it, just the first lost boy tall enough and nervy enough to get it down without asking. So after the lecture on how sacred the "Box of 64 crayons with a sharpener" was, i resigned a ream of paper and myself to however long it would take to decimate that many crayons.
I'm surprised. Maybe my kids are old enough to understand the doctrine of this ancient sect. Maybe they are more civilized than i've given them credit for. It's been 3 days and only 2 crayons have been broken (they've been taped) and only one is lost. This is no thanks to Landon, who has ripped the flip-top lid off twice (taped and re-taped) Why. Won't. This. Darn. Lid. Come. Off!? and drawn in one school library book (grrr). I'm pretty sure he's also responsible for the 3 or 4 tips broken off in the sharpener.
These last 3 days have opened a page in the book of my childhood. I had forgotten how good it feels to draw a rainbow. And the good feeling it is to see all the crayons lined up in the box after having them scattered all over the table and floor. My life was defined by those 64 colors. There was a time, I'm sure that i could have named them all and shown you which was which. Actually, i was pretty surprised this morning when i tried to list them and exhausted myself at 43. I can't think of any more. The pack of 64 didn't include the 8 from the fluorescent pack did it(Hot-Pink and Ultra-Violet~remember those)?
Stop reading right now if you want to test your own color-name memory. I won't name all 43, just a few. First, you have the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, then you have the combos: green-yellow and yellow-green. Weren't those two mixed up? I would've named them the opposite way. then you have black and white and gray and the browns: burnt umber, raw umber, raw sienna and my fave, burnt sienna. Whatever umber and sienna were, i didn't care, just the thought of raw color and how you could burn it mystified me. Silver and Gold, which, on paper were very disappointing. Then you had cadet blue and brick red and olive green and maize and cornflower blue and midnight blue and periwinkle and carnation pink and salmon and magenta (was that one of those "hot" colors?). Oooh, and wasn't there an Indian Red? Why isn't that as controversial as when Peach was called "skin color" or "flesh" or something equally as alarming?
Crayola defined color for everyone. We all knew what forest green was or plum, but when "Mauve" became the vogue, it was always a fight, because there was no crayon. Was it like this lavender or like this dusty plum? Is it dark or light? is it more red or more purple? Well, problem solved. Crayola now has a color named Mauvelous. I don't know. Maybe they are a little late on the mauve question. Maybe they are a little late on anything but the original 64 since we have gone all artsy with color naming. I mean, what is Turkish Towel, anyway? Hint: it's the color my bedroom used to be. A little taupe, a little mauve, kinda tannish, with a pink tint. Still I think it would be fun to name colors for Sherwin Williams or OPI. You know what color of nail polish "I'm Not Really a Waitress" is. "Catherine the Grape" or "Yucatan if You Want" or "Cozu-Melted in the Sun" or "You're a Pisa Work" or "Louvre Me Louvre Me Not" maybe aren't as obvious. Still I wish I'd named them. Who do they hire to sit around all day thinking of color names/plays on words?
Shhh! Don't tell my kids. In one of the dusty tins on my shelf , i have a "collector's pack" of 8 of the original Crayola colors. Never-been-used. Virgins. I admit, some of the new Crayola flavors have good names: dandelion, macaroni and cheese, timberwolf, cerulean. I'm glad we have color and I grateful for the ever expanding palette de colour and for fun names. It makes me feel happy. And okay, I guess I'm grateful for crayons, too.