Prepping to Roll

Bean is already stressing about being in the car “FOREVER,” as he wails plaintively. I’m hoping the new DVD player my RS sisters brought by will aid and abet his pain- as well as the extensive video catalog, recently freed from their plastic cases and popped into a binder. Amazing how many movies fit in little plastic sleeve things… and how much money is in those same little sleeves. Don’t lose them!

Scout camp closing ceremonies last night were an illustration of just how little it takes to get large groups of boys to literally roll around in the dirt. My washing machine may not recover from Scout camp. Also, Bean can disappear into the woods in 3.7 seconds flat, and take the remainder of the ceremony to find. My apologies in advance to his scout leader come September when he joins the ranks. Rest up, fair leader. Rest up.

I’m off the thrift store to find some baby-shades for the windows. Already anticipating Bean hating the sun and the glare offending him. The suburban had limo-tints; not so with littler car. Anticipating as well as I can all the things he might hate.

Nevermind that we’re trying to leave for Zion tomorrow- we have two birthday parties today an X has visitation. It’s gonna be a doozy of a day.

I’m speaking at the Sunstone Symposium at Weber State University in Ogden next Friday and Saturday. Friday I’m the respondent to a paper on the artistic face of God, and on Saturday at 11 a.m., my co-panelists and I are revisiting the presentation we gave in Independence back in April. I’m chairing another panel on Saturday as well. Anyone who’d like to come is most welcome- there will be lots of other people way smarter than me speaking, so you might find something that interests you.

So the Come Play at the Park with Me and My Insane Monkeys Day is set for Wednesday, August THIRD (!) Sorry! at Southfork Park (subject to change- we need a park with shade and lots to play on, and no wilderness for Bean to escape into) in the Provo area. Most likely 11-3, but I’ll put up a post from the road with more details. I can’t wait to meet anyone who feels like showing up. This has the potential to be fun, and hey! you might get to see a real life catastrophic melt down, or Abby Vader. One never knows with us, as you know by now.

I’m attending my very first sealing at the Timpanagos temple on Thursday. Really looking forward to this- for so many reasons. Never been to a Mormon wedding!

Utah streets confuse the crap out of me. Oh, it’s been explained to me, and I understand it in theory- but in practice? Bafflement. SO! Yesterday, thanks to my kind ex-mother-in-law, I picked up a Garmin Nuvi from Craigslist for $40. Now Karen soothingly tells me where to go in her luscious Australian accent, and I can ignore the chaos and dismay bellowing from the backseat. That’s the plan anyway.

O’dark thirty is gonna come mighty early… I’m hoping to get several hours on the road before Bean even wakes up. I’ll let you know how that goes… (are you laughing too?) fingers and toes crossed, mighty prayers ascending to heaven. Wish us luck!

(I’ll be Tweeting as we go… check the feed if you’re bored enough) And no, I won’t Tweet as I’m driving, Mo! I Promise.

Wanna Come Play at the Park?

So hey bloggy friends! I’m heading from the great grey state of Washington down to the sunny valley of the great Salt Lake for a couple of days next week. I’m staying with some good friends in Provo for a few days, and I’m picking a park on Wednesday and having a free-for-all with sugared-up children and some blankets tossed on the grass in the shade for mamas who want to hang. Anyone in the area want to join in for mutual chatter and benign neglect of offspring? I’ll bring the diet Dr. Pepper!

In Which I Disgorge an Enormous Emotional Owl Pellet: But Oh! Wait! There’s More!

Feel like going for a little walk with me along the shores of the salty sea of discontent? Want to let the bitter brine of the acrid water kiss your toes and make you sting with confused and frustrated malice? Come, join me, my friend…

Some days it’s like getting on the moving walkway at the airport- only going the wrong way. Race just to stand still; today, even racing sped me backwards. I spent all morning putting out domestic fires and keeping the kids from killing each other. The list of chores never even got touched, and somehow I found myself near noon, still in my pajamas and looking for a string of cohesive moments to jump in the shower.

I have two presentations next week in Salt Lake City that I was fielding emails from all morning, and for which I am not yet prepared (but I will be). We are leaving, all three kids and I, to visit the great basin next week. I won’t even touch on the anxiety over having Bean in the car for so many hours, and the packing and the laundry and the prep work for such travel and doing it alone and my fear of them ganging up on me somewhere near Dillon, Montana. They can smell my fear.

There is a huge snafu with my financial aid for last quarter and it never funded. I know this is a solvable problem, but the snarl is huge, and is exacerbated by it being summer and the gears turning painfully slowly. What that also means is I never received the automatic transfer to my bank account. Uh oh.

So I’m in Target picking up some stuff for the trip, and my bank calls. Turns out some of the things on auto-pay came in and since the fin-aid never funded, I’m overdrawn. Crap. Nice of them to call me though, right? How much? $140?! What the $#&%?? How did that happen? I haven’t written any checks, and I haven’t spent any money. Oh… it turns out the entire amount is fees for auto-payments that never went through- $35 each time, and each one was tried twice. In one day, between the YMCA and Netflix, $140 in bank fees piled up. No money was spent, and it wasn’t my fault, but now they say I owe them this cash. In fees. For electronic failed transactions. I cannot wrap my brain around how the YMCA could try and charge me twice in one day for my membership and accrue $70 in fees. For nothing!

Nevermind that the YMCA isn’t even supposed to be charging me for membership because of the work I’ve done for them! That’s another story entirely- and one I can’t look into until I figure the rest of this crap out.

So I have to leave Target, because, oh, I have no money! Literally- nada. It was merciful at least that I didn’t find this out with a cart at the checkout line. So there’s that right? Abby starts to whine that she wants this and that, and I admit being too sharp with her and dragging her to the car, while I tried to get hold of my bank again. One of the reasons I was at Target was because Bean broke the PC mouse, and without a mouse, the computer is useless.

I figure I’ll go by my ex-mother-in-law’s house and see if she has a spare mouse, since buying one is now out of the question. I’m also hoping maybe I can get some idea if there is any child-support coming. I know- it’s a pipe dream, but a girl has to have some hope to hang her hat on, right?

While I am there with her, my phone buzzes, and it’s my Relief Society president, wondering where Jeffrey is. OH CRAP! Scout camp starts today, and he was supposed to be at the stake center 20 minutes ago. I completely forgot. The phone jammed between my shoulder and ear, I call Jeffrey and tell him to get his scout shirt on and get ready, that I’m coming to get him. By the time I shove princess Abby Vader back in the car and get home, the carpool to camp has left- but they left directions shoved in my screen door. I pack a sack lunch and dinner for Jeff and throw everyone back in the car and off we go. Forty minutes late, we arrive at Camp Sekani to a dusty melee and a traffic jam of all the other parents late for dropping off their spawn.

On the way home, we got caught in rush hour traffic, and Bean started to freak out when we had to sit through a green light for the third time without moving. Then we got caught at a freight train crossing. What should have taken 15 minute took almost an hour, and by the time we got home, my bank had closed.

So. No child support. No student loads. Buttloads of bank fees. Single mama, full-time student, three kids. Can’t get blood from a turnip, right? What am I supposed to do?

Mercifully, I picked up a freelance design job this week (thank you Jami) and once that’s done, I’m wide open if anyone is dying for original artwork. Hopefully I can make an appearance at my bank tomorrow and talk the out of some of those fees and get things back on track. Then I have to go out to the school and try and shake the trees there. Did I mention that my advisor (and I use the term loosely) had me take two classes I didn’t need? And that I don’t have my classes for fall yet?

Then, my mother-in-law brought over a very complicated Transformer toy for Bean which has had him crying and throwing things since we got home. He’s sitting outside my room wailing, and I’ve had to take the damn thing away from him to keep him from hurting himself.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Jeffrey gets out of scout camp at 8:30 tonight on the other side of town. Did I mention Bean and Abby go to bed at 8:00? This day needs to end. Right now. This too shall pass… right? Right?

P.S.

So get this. It’s 8:30. I’m on the phone with a friend, confident in the arrangements I’ve made to get Jeffrey home via carpool. The other line rings, and it’s my son- in tears and terrified because he’s the only one left at camp- WAY ACROSS TOWN, in the now DARK. He’s borrowed a cell phone from a camp worker who was directing traffic, he chokes out between sobs “Where are you mom?!” Is there any worse sound to a mother?

Frantically grabbing Bean and Abby I throw everyone in the car and speed, quite literally, off towards camp, cursing under my breath. As I’m merging on the freeway, my phone rings again, and it’s another mother from church, and she has grabbed Jeffrey. She says she will bring him home, and relief floods me that he is safe and not alone.

Pulling back into our driveway, Bean is in the backseat, and decides now is the right time to scrub his consciousness. “MOM!” he says. “There’s something I was afraid to tell you, but I think now is a good time, since Jeff is okay.” Oh dear Lord…. I steel myself. “Yes Bean? What happened?”

“Well, you know the TV downstairs?” He says. Um, the big one in the armoire? Why yes, I do know that TV…

“What happened Bean?” I am calm I am calm I am calm…

Getting out of the car and hitching his pajamas up, he says “Well, it’s kind of on the floor now. It kind of fell. But don’t worry! It still works!”

Exhale. “Bean, what happened, and why didn’t you tell me? It still works?” I key the back door and the three of us head downstairs to the TV room, and sure enough, face down on the floor, talking importantly to itself, in our very large TV. It’s all I can do to upend the thing, and all I can think of is what if it had fallen on him.

I sit him in my lap and tell him he is way more important than any TV and that he should always tell me if something like that happens. How did I not hear it? I wonder.

As I’m wrangling it back into the armoire, I notice all the wires and cables leading from the cable box and the dvd player are neatly snipped, right at the connectors. “Bean? Tell me what happened? What were you doing? Why are these cables all cut?” Calm. Calm. Calm.

“I didn’t do it mom!” He won’t look at me. I am so weary I want to cry, but I have to deal with this. “Bean, tell mama the truth. It’s way better to tell the truth- I will always forgive you. I love you even when you do bad things.”

He looks at me, shaggy red hair and growing-in big-kid teeth.  “Mom, if I were going to do that, it would have been because I was looking for a place to plug in my headphones., and I would have put the scissors right over here.” He points to my easel, where the orange handled scissors are sitting. Exhale.

Cut to the kitchen, where I am sweeping up the detritus of the day and waiting for Jeffrey to arrive via rescue carpool. Bean comes in and hugs me. Its unusual for him to offer contact, so I know something is up. “Mom. I’ve decided to forgive myself for my fibs and ask you to do the same. It says in the church magazine when I lie that I need to forgive and not do it anymore. That’s what I’ve decided to do.”

And with that he went in his room and crawled in bed. I stood in the kitchen holding the broom, staring after him, wondering what else life has in store for me that I could never, in my wildest dreams, have imagined.

Star Iron

There was no moon. Despite deep nightfall, the surface of the black lake was balmy and warm and as I lowered myself silently into the silky darkness, the water cooler the deeper my legs slipped, and my breath caught in my chest. Slick plants tickled my ankles as I pushed away from the worn wooden dock, still holding heat of the August day. Acrid smoke from forrest fires hung heavy in the air, carried on the evening breezes away from the lake, but making the air pungent with cedar and off-season holidays.

Pushing gently further from the dock, I slipped the floating tube under myself and laid back into the embrace of the water. The sky above was inky, but the show was supposed to start soon. My eyes closed, the rolling edge of the lake tickled my neck and I breathed in the silence.

I was waiting on the Perseid Meteor shower. Peacefully and and deeply content, I floated alone on the vast still lake. Silently the meteors began to rain down, the only light in the deep black summer skies. I imagine them reflected in my eyes, and wondered what things the world had in store for me. I felt magical- like God put on this show just for me, while everyone else slept. Everything was possible.

That night was fifteen years ago now. Life has unfolded in ways that girl could never have imagined. It’s been both better, worse, deeper, happier, and more scathingly real than anything I could have imagined. But isn’t that life? No matter what we imagine, it’s always more. Since that night, that girl has loved, married, birthed three children, split her heart wide open repeatedly, divorced, cried an ocean of tears, laughed and found joy in the new life of broken places and grown into a woman she never expected to become. God’s plan for me was so much greater than my own. And I’m so glad.

Today I had the experience of someone holding up a mirror to me. Two people, actually. One held up a mirror that was fractured from the human desires and impressions of others. That reflection was not about me, but had I known less about who I am and who God expects me to be, I might have been lost in the image. But another held up a mirror that told me, like those meteors so long ago, that God has a show just for me- that the light reflected in my eyes is not lost just because not everyone can see it, and that anything is possible. One mirror wanted to cage me with expectations; one mirror wanted to set me free. I know which light my eyes reflect.

Random Crap: Summer Doldrums

All week I’ve been trying to come up with something good to write. Clearly, my plans panned out successfully! Yeah. Oh well. Honestly, for me, my best writing is effortless and just pours out. I never revise Dandelion posts- and other than a quick look-over for grammar and repetition, I just spill, and post. So when writer’s block hits me, I kinda don’t know what do to with it. It’s just the lazy, unstructured days of summer.

I took Bean on a mama-date the other day, and we went to the Pink Pet Store- which is not pink, but he’s always called it that. Finally realized it’s because the word PET is written in sun-faded red on the front of the store, and it looks pink. Anyway… there was a parrot there that was mimicking him, and I can’t remember seeing him so delighted. It was beautiful.

Speaking of Bean- check out his awesome go-go boots. He got them at the thrift store for $1, and doesn’t care one whit that they are girls boots. The ankle chains were a major selling point. This outfit, more than even him wearing a dress, had be steeling myself and mumbling “it’s not about me…it’s not about me…”

Abby and I went on a Mama date too- guess where she chose to go? Yep. Sephora. It’s bad when the sales ladies greet her by name and help her into the high chair with the lighted mirrors. She was giddy. It was worth it. Did I mention she had on her Vader outfit with a purple sundress? Yeah. At least you all would be certain to recognize us if you ever saw us anywhere…

We’re having some freaky July weather. 90 degrees one day, then 65 and raining the next. Bizarre. Can’t say I like it.

Getting ready to head down to Salt Lake here in a few- stay tuned for a Dandelion play date announcement. I’m thinking of just posting a time and date and inviting friends to meet us at the park. Would anyone be interested in that kind of chaos and, um, fun? I promise, my kids will choose their own clothes, so the freak flag will be flying.

If you haven’t watched HairyShorFairy’s tutorial on how to curl your eyelashes with a spoon, you must. So cool!

My Make-up Table

Okay, so this is kind of embarrassing. Hairyshoefairy gave me the idea to give a tour of my make-up bag, but the truth is, I don’t have one. I have an antique sewing machine table I picked up at an estate sale that I use as a vanity in my room. I have a tufted stool that I sit on, and it’s a total girly-indulgence. But years ago, when Mo first laughed at my tiny bag of crumbly beige shadow and one pencil, I decided to conquer this thing and embrace it. And I have- it’s a fun and huge part of me now, and I one that I like. So here’s my make-up stash:

I know, I know… it’s more than most people want or need. But remember! It’s my girly indulgence! And most my make-up budget is non-existent now- but I have lots of creative ways to get new products- including Sephora points, testing and writing new product reviews for companies and websites, and having Mo for my bestie. The perks are many… So. Here’s the scoop:

  1. Brushes. I have many- they are divided into face and eye, and I absolutely have my favorites. I don’t spring for super expensive brushes, and love the set the have at Costco right now. If you need brushes, go get it. Sonja Kashuk at Target also makes a lot of nice, inexpensive but good quality brushes. You can also find deeply discounted bushes at places like TJ Max and Ross.
  2. Eyeliner. My favorite, hands down, is Urban Decan 24/7. It’s smooth, glides on easily with no tugging, and lasts all day. It’s pricey, but if you watch sales and use Sephora points, it’s worth it. As a second favorite, Revlon colorstay is a passable drugstore option. I have every color under the rainbow, but browns, purples, blues and greens are my failsafe.
  3. Blush. I vacillate between powder, creme and stain. My current favorite is Benefit Coralista, and MAC blushbaby for powder, and Stila Illium for creme. For bronzer, I like Cargo 02 Medium. It’s nice, and doesn’t make you look streaky or orange. I’m also a fan of Benefit PosiTint and have several Tarte cheekstains stashed in the drawer you don’t see.
  4. The is a catchall basket of UD shadows, Benefit creme bases and gel liners from various makers. Gel liners are fantastic, but do require a little skill with a brush. But their staying power is fantastic and the color payoff is great.
  5. Foundation. I use MAC StudioFix foundation, and Smashbox PhotoFinish. MAC offers more coverage, and PhotoFinish is more light-reflective. Both have decent drugstore knockoffs in Revlon Colorstay for the MAC, and Revlon PhotoReady. Really good quality at a fraction of the price. I have some mineral foundations and tinted moisturizers as well, for days I feel like those.
  6. Shadow: Loose pigments. This whole tray is lose pigments of pure colors that can be combined, pressed, used wet or dry for liners or shadow and are versatile in every way.
  7. Shadow Palettes: My go-to everyday fall-back no matter what palette is Urban Decay Naked. After being out of stock for months, they have it again at Sephora. It’s the best neutral shadow palette, and works for everyone and every skin tone. The quality is amazing. There are a lot of things I’m willing to skimp on, but this isn’t one of them. The palette above is Kat Von D, and I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent, creamy quality of her shadows and staying power with intense color. I’d put it right beneath UD, which is really saying something.
  8. Compacts and sets: there are quads and trios of shadow from various makers. I think my Nars Orgasm blush in in there, too- which no woman, really, should be without. There is no good drugstore knockoff for that one, unfortunately.
  9. Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous mascara on Carbon is my go-to favorite, and at less than 1/3 the cost of DiorShow, it’s so worth it. I go through mascara like crazy, and am willing to switch allegience and try anything. Mascara isn’t something worth spending a ton on- you use it up quickly and it needs to be tossed regularly.
  10. Lipgloss: Also not somewhere I want to spend a ton. Drugstore glosses are fine- though every once in a while I like to spurge. I like MAC lipstick over every other brand, hands down- no smell, great color payoff and terrific staying power.
  11. This little bowl is full of primers and samples from Sephora- another great way of trying high-end products. Sephora will give you a sample of any product they carry.
  12. My favorite primer, hands down, is Too Faced  Primed & Poreless. It’s silky smooth, lasts forever, and if you’re going to go to all this trouble with quality make-up, don’t you want it to last? This is your guarantee. Also, Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Locks your shadow in place. I put my make up on in the morning, and now matter what, it’s on until I want it off. Worth it.
  13. Brush Cleaner. Get some. Use it. You can wash your brushes with a mild baby shampoo, but they require overnight drying each time you do. Brush cleaner is a great way to swipe and keep them sanitary and clean each day. Brushes that are not kept clean will spread oils and can cause breakouts. Keep ‘em clean, and prolong their lives- and your skin.
So that’s about it. Do you think I’m insane now? Anyone want to come over for a make-over? Here are some different make-up looks: Retro, heavy eyes, neutral lip. Navy eyes. Trying red lips at Mo’s insistence (still not sold on it, and sorry about the cleavage) And a silver eye for a wedding: