OK, here’s the thing…

I lost my wallet this week.  I have no photo ID, no social security card, nothing.  No one is going to pull me over and detain me because of this.  I am white, but have no proof that I am not here illegally.  Hell, I could be an illegal Canadian, but who cares?  I don’t fit the profile, so I am harmless.

What is happening right here, right now, in America is shameful.

No Muslim Ban Protest in DC- Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dean and I took Isabel to two separate protests on Sunday in DC.  The first was in opposition of Betsy DeVos as the nominee as Secretary of Education.  I’ll get back to that.  It was important.

The second that we participated in was the No Muslim Ban protest.  This is a pressing matter, in my opinion, and I feel that it will have dire consequences if not stopped.  I have photographs from the event, which I am happy to share, but I would like to speak my mind for a moment.

This past Friday, Trump signed an executive order to “protect the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States”.  Sure.  Sounds great.  Who wouldn’t want this?  Know anyone that likes terrorists?  Nope.  Neither do I.  It wasn’t the thought, it was the way he wants to go through with it.  However, most terrorist attacks in this country were committed by citizens of this country.   Half were born here and five were naturalized citizens.  Only five had green cards or visas.  This ban makes no sense.  It blocks legal workers, students and families from visiting their loved ones.

Listen, I am all for tweaking the system that was in place, but the way Trump put this in place was wrong.  There was no review by others that should have been able have preview the order.  It is vague and was confusing to enact.  A FIVE year-old was detained…and they defended this!  I mean, a five year-old child may have a tantrum or act defiantly, but they are NOT terrorists.

Oh, and the fact that no terrorists’ acts have been committed by any of the countries on the ban!  What?!

A person that I went to school with wrote a post on Facebook.  He stated that he didn’t know any people affected by the ban, so why should this concern him?  I find this stance terrifying.  It should concern people because….well, because…EMPATHY.  It doesn’t matter if it personally affects him or not.  If no one stands up to this, it’s not going to change.  And that is just wrong.

 

Anyway…

After the DeVos protest, we walked back to our car and drove toward the White House.  The closer that we got, the more people that we saw with signs.  There were men, women and children.  Some wore pussyhats, but most didn’t.  It took us awhile before we could find parking, but when we found it, we grabbed it and started walking for several blocks to get to the White House.

Along the way, we started chatting to a Muslim couple that had parked behind us on the street.  They were very nice and we talked about our lives, the ban and DeVos.  The woman had a special needs child and she was worried about what would happen if DeVos was to be appointed.  I agreed.  I wish we would have gotten their names and picture, but we ended up parting ways when we got near the White House.  They went right up to the front and we walked around the block to enter from the far side of Lafayette Square.

As we turned the corner, we saw the huge crowd that had assembled in front of the White house.  There were people filling the park, in the street, on statues and in trees.  All colors, all ages, all religions…all speaking out against this ban.  It was lovely.

Dean, Isabel and I meandered throughout the crowd, taking it all in.  When the crowd became too thick, I moved over to the side of the walkway and invited Dean to go out to take pictures while I waited with Isabel and held up my sign.  After he finished, he came back and we switched places so that I could go out and take some pictures as well.  These are a combination of our pictures in Lafayette Square:

We gave each other a big thumbs up after I took her picture.

After awhile, I noticed that the crowd seemed to be thinning out.  At first, I thought that perhaps people were going home.  I quickly realized how wrong I was.  Instead, people were taking to the streets…so we followed along.

The stream of people turned left from Madison Place in front of the Department of the Treasury on Pennsylvania Avenue, right onto 15th Street and then left to continue on Pennsylvania Avenue again.

There was chanting.  There was music.  It was beautiful.  So many people from so many different walks of life, all united.

And can you guess where we were headed?  Yup, you guessed it…the Trump Hotel.  I seriously don’t know why anyone stays there, you would not have a peaceful visit.

So, yeah…there is generally a barricade around the front of the Trump Hotel…with guards.  Well, the people just sort of took it down.  They did not go in, but they stood on the steps, chanted and waved flags.  To be clear, there was no violence at all.  I’m pretty sure that they just sort of jumped the barrier.

It was here, however, that I had my one heart-in-my-throat, huge dose of reality.  This picture here:

This.  This, right here.  This is why this protest means something.  This is why the travel ban is wrong.  This is why we should care.

It is important for us, as Americans, to stand up.  It is important that our voices are heard and our bodies are seen.  I fear that we risk losing young Muslims to extremism if they begin to think that the views of the Trump administration and the Alt-Right are common and normal.  We need to be visible to them.  They need to see that they have our support.

 

 

I would like to add…DC police and law enforcement agencies…they were awesome throughout this event.  Kudos for a job well done.

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My students built a wall.

Our dramatic play is an igloo.  To give the children a new building experience, I covered boxes in white paper in order for them to build their own “igloo”.  Today, they worked together to construct a wall stretching across the room and boxing them inside the dramatic play area.  “What a lovely wall that you built,” I started to say.  The words left an “ick” feeling in my gut.  I wanted to ask them to build something else, to build something that didn’t feel so ugly.  But, I didn’t.  They had cooperated with each other to build it, and to be honest, it looked great!  They had worked hard.  So, I watched them to see where this would go.

I’m glad that I did.  Whenever anyone wished to enter the area, the wall magically opened.  It was inclusive to all.  It made my heart happy.  Children are amazing.

I wish that adults would follow suit.

Women’s March on D.C.-Saturday, January 21, 2017

Last Saturday was an amazing day.  It started off at 2 o’clock in the morning when I awoke from a sound sleep with the horrible realization that I still had two more pussyhats to make.  Part of me was just going to let it go, but the other part knew that if I did, I would just be staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep anyway.  So, I stealthily tiptoed into the living room where my sailor son (he’s home on leave) was sleeping on the couch.  I searched through the bicycle basket (they make lovely yarn holders) for yarn and needles and retreated to my bedroom.  There, I turned on the bathroom light and parked myself on the floor for the next several hours.  I hoped to have time to make both hats, but unfortunately, only had time for one: a black-and-blue checkered one for my son, Lars.  His brother is still waiting patiently for his.

Lars got a blue and black checkered pussyhat.

The rest of the family started to get up around 8 and my son, Keegan and I worked feverishly on our signs as everyone else finished getting ready.

After walking the dog (got my first complement of the day for my hat by a passerby walking to the metro), I think that we finally left the apartment between 9 and 9:30.

Leaving the apartment. Isabel got a hat, too!  And she’s wearing a pantsuit. 🙂

Walking down the street, you could see large groups of people in pink hats with signs walking towards the Vienna metro stop.  Dean accidentally forgot his phone, so he walked back to get it.  I haven’t seen so many people at the metro since Obama’s inauguration!  It was incredible!  With all of the people there, we were pretty sure that Dean would be able to meet us before the train left.

The entrance to the Vienna metro.
Line on the bridge into metro station.
Line going around past the one parking garage. There was another the same length on the other side of the highway.

Luckily for us, we had put money on our metro cards, so we were able just to walk right in.  The platform was fairly crowded, but not awful.  A full train sat on the one side.  After a few minutes, another train pulled in and we got on.  Anais and I even managed to get a seat!  Unfortunately for the people on the other train, it went out of service causing a rush to get onto our train.  People were still in a chipper spirit however, and everyone was excited to be on our way.  Dean missed our train, but caught the one after.

Waiting for the train.
Happy passengers.

It was a long ride into the city.  You could tell everyone was from out of town because they really didn’t know how to squish more people into the car and they kept trying to tell the passengers trying to get on that there wasn’t enough room, but they loved them anyway.  Silly tourists.  Isabel did great and didn’t really get fussy until the end.  Everyone loved her hat and she even got her picture taken!  People sang and were happy.

People on the platform cheered as we pulled into L’Enfant Plaza metro station.  We got off onto the platform and found our way to a line for the elevator.  Since there was a line, Lars, Keegan and Anais’ friend, Georgie (hope that I’m spelling that right) went up the escalator while Anais, Isabel and I waited for the elevator.  It took us up a level and we merged into a massive line trying to leave the station.

People trying to leave L’Enfant Plaza metro station.

As we were waiting in line, some women pushing a stroller yell out to us that there is no elevator in this line.  They had waited until the front of the line, only to discover that they couldn’t go up.  We joined these ladies, as well as another family with a stroller and made our way against the stream to the other end of the station where we found the elevator.  This elevator took us up one flight to another completely filled platform and another very long line to the elevator to the street.  When there were only a couple of trips left in front of us…the elevator broke.  That left us with the options of waiting to see if they would fix the elevator or taking Isabel out of the stroller and carrying everything up escalator (we would have to walk up the steps, as they were all turned off due to the amount of people in the station).  We chose the latter.  There was also a couple with a wheelchair and walker that decided to attempt the steps (they were able to walk, but couldn’t for long).  People in the line offered to carry the equipment for them and told them to take as much time as they needed.

Leaving the metro at 7th and I want to Maryland Avenue.

We emerged to a sea of people.  It was just incredible!  It also had pretty much zero cell phone coverage.  At least in the metro station we could sort of send texts, but now there was nothing.  And we didn’t have a clue where the others were.

So, I took some pictures as we looked.  Also, a head’s up…there are plenty of bad words and pictures of reproductive organs from this point forward.  If you can’t handle it, don’t look.

Now, while this was happening, Dean was looking for us…as was Lars, Keegan and Georgie.  While Dean waited, he took some pictures:

He took a lot of pictures. Haha.

After several spotty text messages, our three groups miraculously managed to find each other.  We then spent a good portion of time looking for a bathroom.  I really needed to pee!!  I figured it might be easier to go into a museum, but there were so many people jam packed-together that we couldn’t fight our way through…and we even left Isabel with Anais, Georgie and Keegan so we wouldn’t have to mess with the stroller.  We eventually gave up and made our way back to them and took some more pictures before returning to our search for bathrooms.

I want to say that these pictures were taken at the intersection of Independence and 4th Street.

We eventually found some porta-potties…3…with a line halfway down the block.  Across the street, there was a McDonald’s.  It had a line halfway down the block, too.  So, we continued walking.

We decided to walk up a block and try to make our way over to the Mall.  Some officers advised us to try the porta-potties by the Capital.  They weren’t sure if they would be open or not.  We split with Anais, Lars and Keegan at the Capital (she had to work and the other two were tired).  They headed home on the metro.  We did find some some porta-potties that were available, but decided to wait to get to one of the museums because I had to change Isabel.  The crowd was too large to get into the American Indian Museum, so we continued across the Mall, walking another block and entering the art museum.  The staff was happy to point us toward a clean, fairly uncrowded bathroom, just asking us to leave the signs outside.  Also, while we were walking, we found out that they weren’t able to formally do the march because there were too many people.  Everyone was just making their way to the White House any way that they could.

By the way, these pictures are out of order and a combination of my photographs as well as Dean’s.  I will have to fix later.  Super squirmy baby on my lap.

Before jumping into the crowd walking down the street to continue our journey, we took a couple of quick pictures.

Isabel and I. I had several people compliment my shirt and take a picture of it. Thank you, Anti-Flag!
Georgie and Isabel

We then entered the mass of people walking between the museums towards Pennsylvania Avenue.  As we turned onto Pennsylvania we noticed that marchers had taken over the parade stands. Heehee.  We cheered and chanted as we made our way down the street.  A cheer would start from blocks down the street and grow into a roar as it got closer to us and then soften again as it continued on its way.  My favorite cheer, by the way, was “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!”  And in the middle of all of this, Isabel fell asleep.  I have no idea how she could have slept through that.  She even stayed sleeping as a police car put their siren on right next to us (crazy loud).  Impressive.

And then we came up to the Trump Hotel.  Protestors do not like the Trump Hotel.

Now before anyone gets all huffy about anyone’s parenting skills, let it be known that as we approached the hotel, marchers were indeed encouraged to feel free to flip off Trump as they passed. This kid obviously knew that he was being naughty.

We continued down the road, turning onto 15th Street to pass the White House  The White House area itself was blocked off, but we marched a couple of more blocks before people started going their own ways.

The crowds were still incredible as people started to go their own ways.  Lines at metro stops wrapped around buildings.  Restaurants were packed.

We actually continued walking all the way to Dupont Circle to take the metro there.  We sat in a crowded Starbucks for 45 minutes or so drinking coffee and watching marcher after marcher continue on down the street.

By the time we got to the metro stop, it was fairly easy to get down to the platform, and we settled in for a nice ride home.

I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing march.  I am proud of my family for coming along for the ride.  I enjoyed the unity and love that I saw there.  The diversity made it so special.  Young, old, straight, gay, whatever, women and men, all colors, different viewpoints…wow.  We need more of this.

Thanks.

 

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A Comparison between Obama’s “We Are One” and Trump’s “Make America Great Again” Concerts

First off, I will say right from the start that I am NOT a Trump supporter.  I could go on and on with why, but I’ll save that for another post.  I would like to say that this will not be biased, but who are we kidding?  I’m sure that my admiration for Obama and disgust for Trump will be evident at times.

Since living in the DC area, we have gone to inaugurations, rallies, concerts and more.  Even though we are fairly liberal, we have attended conservative events as well.  We are open to listening to opposing thoughts and I enjoy taking pictures of events to record the events as they unfold.

This post is in regards to the pre-inauguration concerts for Obama and Trump.  I attended both, Obama’s in 2009 and Trump’s on Thursday.  I was honestly shocked at the difference.

I will also say that there may have been many logistical reasons why the “Make American Great Again” concert had so few attendees…because, yes, it was quite noticeable.  It was on a Sunday.  It had some well-known entertainment.  Most of D.C. and surrounding areas had voted for Obama and the concert was easily accessible.  Trump’s concert was on a Thursday, the entertainment was pretty lame and he did not get the votes from the DMV area.  Heck, maybe people couldn’t get off work.  I’m sure that played a bit of a part.  But even I was shocked to see how empty it was.  Especially because I had heard how packed his inauguration was going to be.  Maybe Trump supporters got in late.  Maybe they didn’t think it would be worth the time and effort.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the fact that the attendance for Trump’s inauguration was pretty gosh-darned pathetic (no matter what they are trying to tell us…it wasn’t nearly as amazing as they would like to believe, but that is another post).

Let me share some pics so that you can see for yourself.

On Thursday, when I finished work, I drove home and picked up my granddaughter, Isabel.  She is 15 months old, and sweet as can be.  I also grabbed my pussyhat, because…fuck it, I’m not going to pretend to be something that I’m not.  I am all for women’s rights and pretty much against anything on the Trump platform.

I had put money on our metro cards the day before because I was expecting a long line.  We walked down to the Vienna metro stop to see no line.  Seriously.  NO LINE AT ALL!!  There was a family of maybe five, mostly wearing camouflage (I swear).  That was it.  Granted, we were a tiny bit late.  We left around 3:30 and it started at 4.  That said, we went right in and boarded a train.  As the train left the station, there were three people in the car: myself, Isabel and one other lady.

 

Isabel loved the metro, especially the starts and stops!  It was a very quiet trip.

We arrived at Farragut West and walked towards the Lincoln Monument.  It was lonely.  Most people were walking the other way.  It was weird.  As we got closer to the entry point, buses blocked streets in anticipation of crowds.  Not needed at all.  We had a very short wait to enter, although some people in line thought that it was huge.  No, a five minute wait is tiny.  Really.  We did see the one crazy religious protester (he protests everything.  Every single thing.)  I was going to take a picture, but the line was going too fast.  Already, I was in shock.  This was totally different from my previous experience.

Going through security, they were happy to see that I had a clear bag (thank you Women’s March for the advice!)…super nice and thorough.  Good for them!  Went through and met up with my son.  We actually met up close to where we watched Obama’s “We Are One” concert.  It was pretty empty.  I could see grass.  Again…shock.

“Make America Great Again” concert. This was on the right side of the reflecting pool in front of the World War II Monument

Sure, there is a bit of a crowd here, but behind us?  Pretty much empty.  Granted, there isn’t much a view from much of the monument, but there weren’t even many people gathered in the center, which would have been a great view.  The area between the World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument was completely empty.

 

MAGA. World War II Monument
MAGA In front of World War II Memorial.

 

In contrast, the same areas from Obama’s “We Are One ” concert were packed.

“We Are One” concert. Right hand side of reflecting pool, in front of World War II Monument.
WAO This was a view of the World War II Monument.

Ok, yeah, the World War II Monument looks a little sparse from this angle.  However, there was a fairly large group in the center closer to the reflecting pool.  Oh, and can you see the masses of people on the other side towards the Washington Monument?  That was empty on Thursday.

After meeting up with my son, we decided to walk around a bit.  We were able to walk all the way up to the ticketed section’s fence at the front of the reflecting pool…with a stroller…and room to sprint a few times without needing to worry about running into somebody!

MAGA Sorry for the bit of blurriness, but the sun was going down and I didn’t have a tripod. This was at the front of the reflecting pool.
MAGA The front field closest to the Lincoln Monument was completely empty. There was a sad jumbotron over to the side and no one to watch it.

I have no pictures of this area from the “We Are One” concert.  It was too packed to even attempt to get there.

Some pictures of the “Make America Great Again” show.  Notice that the obstruction of Lincoln is not nearly as bad as the one meme going around shows.  They did have some funky scaffolding that was pretty high.

MAGA Lincoln Memorial
MAGA Lincoln Memorial
MAGA Somebody entertaining. I don’t know who they are .

Here are some photographs from the “We Are One” concert:

WAO Lincoln Memorial
WAO Crowd watching concert.
WAO Reflecting pool and Lincoln Memorial fairly early in the day.

 

WAO Entertainment. Hello U2!

Let me talk about the people who came out to watch the concerts for a moment. (Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures of the people at MAGA.  It got dark quickly.)  Both groups were thrilled to be there and having a great time, but there were some differences.  Although there were some people of color attending the “Make America Great”concert, they were few and far between.  Most, actually, were vendors.  So, a very white crowd…which isn’t much of a surprise.  The “We Are One” concert had an incredibly diverse group of people.  They were kind and friendly.

WAO This couple didn’t have a camera and asked if we could take a picture of them to send them. We did.
WAO
WAO
WAO
WAO Dancing guy with Obama cut-out.
WAO
WAO Somewhere out there is a picture of me taking a picture.
WAO
WAO
WAO
WAO
WAO

Most of the people at the MAGA concert were very nice, as well.  Most.  Actually, I had several folks complimenting my pussyhat, some discreet and some not so discreet.  Since I was actually a little worried about wearing it there, I was surprised and pleased.  So, when the woman acting like she about to complement me didn’t, I was a caught a bit off-guard.  “Glad to see the pussies coming out to support Trump!!!!” she barked at me.  I was pushing an infant in a stroller at the time.  Nice and classy.  Oh well, I hope that I made her day.  Whatever.  So yeah.  She wasn’t very nice…but I was wearing a pussyhat.

Another interesting difference that I noticed: the lack of security at the MAGA show.  Besides the security at the entrances and around some of the boundaries, I didn’t really see much.  At WAO, there was a LOT of security.  Security with big guns.  And cameras.

WAO Security was having a good time, too!
WAO
WAO
WAO

Although the MAGA concert wasn’t very long, we got bored and started to head back to the metro before it ended.  They had some cute fireworks at the end.  They even spelled words!  So yeah.  Cute.  I didn’t listen to Trump.  Didn’t care to.

Leaving WAO, we followed a sea of people to the metro.  Here are some pics of before and after the concert:

WAO More security.
WAO Red Cross
WAO
WAO This might be the same guy still protesting.
WAO Leaving

Oh, and some pictures of the space between the World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument during WAO concert:

WAO
WAO Washington Monument and Capital
WAO

And my hubby and myself at WAO:

WAO Hubby
WAO Me

I would like to add…numbers really don’t mean anything here.  But they seem to matter a lot to a certain someone.  Just saying.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Friday. Sure, sure it is.

Geez, 11 year-old boys are freaking bundles of joy.

15 minutes before the bus, he’s watching Duck Dynasty.
“Are you dressed yet?”
“Ugh….”
“Did you brush your hair?”
“Ugh…..”
“Have you brushed your teeth?”
“UGH!!!!!….” STOMP, STOMP, STOMP.

3 minutes later…
He returns with a “hopefully” clean shirt (can’t tell because it’s under his nasty jacket with pie stains from “pi day” that he refuses to give me to wash.  The pants, however…I know are dirty.
“You’re wearing dirty pants.”
“No.  These are clean.”
“No.  You wore them yesterday.”
“No, I had black pants on yesterday.”
“Then you wore them the day before.  I remember them from the pockets.”
“No.  These are clean.”
“Did you get them from your drawer?”
“No.”
“Were they folded?”
“No, but they were in my room.”
“They are dirty.  Go change.”
“UGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”  SUPER STOMPETY, STOMP.

He goes up and changes.  Comes back down.
“Did you make your lunch?”
UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!”
Apparently, that’s a “no”.
“And you need to WASH your containers before you use them (he won’t if he can get away with it…gross).  You know what?  Forget it, just get new containers from the cupboard.”

Hugging him goodbye, I noticed his hair was pretty gross and there’s no way that he has actually brushed his teeth.

Awesome.

The Making of a Minecraft Lunch Bag

The Making of a Minecraft Lunch Bag

I need to be more than one person.  It would make life so much easier and free up some time.

A couple of years ago, Dean was unemployed.  I’m a preschool teacher.  We live in Northern Virginia.  Do the math.  Not good.  I tried to apply to places to gain secondary employment, but with my work schedule, I wasn’t in high demand.  I racked my brain trying to come up with ideas to help supplement our income.  What could I do to that people would pay me for?  Not too terribly much.  But, I can be crafty so I figured that I might be able to make something to sell.  I looked a bit online and found several patterns that I liked that I could get a license to sell.  I also wanted to stand out a bit, because…let’s face it, I had no clientele yet.  I also can’t stand doing what everyone else is doing.  I’m a rebel like that. Haha!

That’s when I found Spoonflower. Oh my god!  It’s a little pricey, but the variety and fun that can be found there!  Hot damn!  I was going to make something Doctor Who themed!  Hell, I might even make myself something Doctor Who themed!  Woo hoo!  Happy dance!

I opened my Esty store, “Just Kristn’s Shoppe”.

And then I realized that it was summer and school was right around the bend.  I had found a lunch bag pattern that I loved.  Maybe I could make something cute.  I should probably make my son one as well, since he didn’t have one.  I asked him what type of bag he would like and he replied, “Minecraft”.  What in the hell was this “Minecraft”?  I had no idea.  Did a search on Spoonflower and what do you know?  They had Minecraft fabric!  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at the time, but whatever.  I bought some fabric.

The bag turned out really, really cool.

Keegan minecraftIt was such a hit with Keegan, I decided to make more.  At first, I was able to sell them to some friends, but business quickly picked up.  It picked up so much that I couldn’t keep up!  After a stressful pre-holiday when I bit off more than I could chew (and my dear hubby’s reintroduction into the workforce!), I slowed down…way down.

Now, I keep a list of interested persons and let them know when things become available.  It works out much better that way.

And for you folks that are interested, here’s what goes in to making one of these babies:

Patience.  You need lots of patience.  They are not too terribly hard to make, but man…they have a LOT of pieces!  We are talking fabric for the outside, fabric for the inside, insulbrite, netting, and interfacing.  Lots and lots of cutting things out.

DSC_0935So, yeah.  Give yourself plenty of time to cut things out.

Next up…adhering the interfacing!  I fucking hate adhering interfacing.  Just saying.  It bores me to tears.

DSC_0937Now, get some coffee.  After working on the bag for ages already, it is finally about time to head to to the sewing machine!

DSC_0938First, you sew the tops of the pockets, the handle, and the trim on the netting.  At this point, I generally sew the netting and back pocket on to the bigger pieces so I feel a little more accomplished.

And now, you really get started!  The side pockets get sewn to the outer gusset.  The front and back of the outer shell get sewn to that gusset piece as well.  One side of the handle becomes attached to the lunch bag shell.

On to the flap!

DSC_0940I usually baste the insulbrite to coordinating canvas piece to keep things from shifting.  Add a piece of velcro and the Creeper face, sew, and turn right side out.  Attach that bad boy to the back of the outer shell and pray that you’ve lined it up correctly.  Woo hoo!  We’re halfway there!

DSC_0941Pretty much repeat with the inner canvas and insulbrite.

DSC_0943Fit the inner into the outer so that you can figure out where to place the other velcro piece.  If need be, try to get the cat off of the table without getting scratched.  Optimus Prime may be cute, but she is a domineering little thing.

DSC_0946Finally, attach the inner to the outer, flip, sew around the top…and if you didn’t manage to break the sewing needle or screw something else up…it’s done!

DSC_0949Hot damn!  Thank God!  Someone get me a beer!  Seriously.  A beer is deserved after finishing one of these lovelies.

When you start to sew again, you may want to try something different…because, to be honest, one really cannot be expected to stare at green-tiled fabric for long periods of time without going insane.  Perhaps a Man on a Bag is in order? (If you are fast, you might be able to pick one up from my shop…

DSC_0952

 

You know when you’re just looking through old photos…

You know when you're just looking through old photos...

…and then you find a gem like this one?

This was Lars’ old soccer team, circa 2002-ish?  Maybe even earlier.  Dean was the coach.  What in the hell is wrong with the little boy on the right?  Although Dean is insisting that the boy wasn’t crying, the poor thing just looks pathetic.  Was Coach Dean being a meanie?  I seriously doubt it.  Just goes to show how a photograph taken out of context can be misleading.  (There is actually another photograph that was taken right after with the kid as happy as can be.)

Oh, this growing up thing is going to drive this mom nuts.

Oh, this growing up thing is going to drive this mom nuts.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I was unmarried (engaged).  The image I had of parenthood was idealistic.  My child and I were going to be close.  We were going to be open with each other.  I would never have my child feeling like she couldn’t talk to me.  No, we wouldn’t be “best friends”, because that’s not what parents are.  But…we would not be afraid to speak openly.  That baby was going to be my world and would always be my world.

Part of the above came true.  She is my world and will always be.  I will always be proud of her and be amazed at her awesomeness.  This world is a better place with her in it, because, let’s face it.  She’s amazing.

Other parts never happened.

We struggled with bonding from the get go.  After being in labor for more than 24 hours, I had to have a c-section.  They took her away immediately afterwards and gave her a bottle.  When I tried to nurse, she would have nothing to do with it.  She would just beat my engorged breasts with that damned splinted arm (they had to give her an IV because my water had been broken for so long before she was born).  This child that I loved with all of my heart from the moment that I found out I was pregnant…she couldn’t stand me. It sucked.

But Dad?  Oh my god.  She adored her daddy.  I would hold her and she would cry.  He would pick her up and she would be as content as can be.  Bastard.  (By the way, we did get married, dad and I. We are still together.)  I cannot tell you how envious I was.

It took time, but she came to like me.

I have always tried to be open with her, but I will admit…I perhaps should have been a little more open.  I do not like confrontation.  At all.  I fought a lot with my mom and I didn’t want that with her.  So, at times I just clammed up.  I didn’t want the conflict, so I kept quiet.  In retrospect, that was the worst think that I could have done.

She moved out and didn’t bother to tell us.  We didn’t find out until two weeks later.  We haven’t spoken to each other since Christmas day.  She’s stopped answering texts or her phone.

Like mother, like daughter.

Oh sweetie, don’t be like me.

Ignoring things leads to anxiety…and anxiety…she’s a bitch.  Don’t go down that road.

Anyway, my mom died when I was 16.  I never got to talk with her about some of the most important things in life.  Not that I would have if she were there…I was also very private with my family.  I talked with my friends about things.  But friends don’t always know all the answers, especially about things that will only be understood through experience.  So, knowing that, I wanted to share some bits of wisdom that I have obtained along the way:

1. Be happy.  Trust me, this is not always easy.  In fact, it can be downright hard.  Sometimes it seems almost impossible.  It may feel like the world is falling down all around you and there isn’t a damned thing that you can do about it.  Find something, no matter how small, that makes you feel good.  Watch the sunrise, take a walk, appreciate the beauty of a flower, something.  As long as you have that something, it will all work out.

2. Be honest.  Be honest to yourself and others, even if it may disappoint or anger them.  Otherwise, it will fester and come to bite you in the ass.  Trust me.  It’s not worth it.

3. Have fun.  Enjoy life.  Have fun with your friends.  Have conversations, dance, party.  Life is too short to waste it.  Enjoy it to the fullest.

4. Do stupid things.  But don’t be an idiot.  If you drink until you throw up, that happens.  Learn from the experience.  But don’t do it to such an extent that you need your stomach pumped.  Don’t get into a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.  I’ve known way too many people that cut their life short that way.  I wouldn’t recommend anything harder than pot if your are going to do drugs.  Pot won’t kill you, but other things will.  I certainly wouldn’t take any hallucinogens.  You have some of my anxiety issues and that is just a really bad combination.  Trust me.

5. Be polite.  Hold the door open for others.  Pick up things that people drop.  Greet people that you walk by on the street.  Good deeds bring good kharma.

6. Be smart regarding boys.  Seriously.  Make sure they like you for being you.  You are drop-dead gorgeous, but that isn’t necessarily to your advantage.  Being beautiful in many ways can make you a magnet for assholes that are only interested in one thing.  Make sure that the guy you are with would be just as happy with you when you have no makeup on, messy hair, and snot pouring out of your nose.  Make sure that they are attracted to the awesomeness that you are, not the outer shell.  Be treated well.  You deserve it.  If they make you feel bad about yourself, leave.  If they ever raise a hand to you, leave.  If they cheat on you, leave.  If they force you to do something that you don’t want to do, leave.  And then report the son-of-a-bitch.  Fall in love.  It’s worth it.  If it doesn’t work out, then it just wasn’t meant to be.  Regardless, appreciate the good times that you had.

7. Go on a road trip.  Take time to see the world.  Don’t limit yourself to tourist attractions.  Enjoy the ride and discover everything that this planet has to offer you.

8. Honor commitments.  If you make an agreement, stick to it.  If you want to get out of it, talk with the person, don’t just ignore the situation.  That’s not fair, and it will make others think you are untrustworthy.

9. Be responsible.  Again, easier said than done.  Being responsible means not just paying your bills, but conducting yourself with dignity.

10. Be respectful.  Think about others.  If you think that you may do something that might hurt others needlessly, rethink your options.  If you treat others with respect, that respect will be returned to you.

11. Respect yourself.  Acknowledge everything that makes you amazing.  You have a lot, but I don’t know if see it always.  You should.  You are kind, creative, funny, expressive.  So many things.  Don’t forget that.

12. Ask for help.  It’s ok to need help sometimes.  It doesn’t make you any less of a person.  It makes you human.

13. Help others.  On that same note, help others.  If someone needs a shoulder to cry on, give it to them.  It’s the decent thing to do.

14. Don’t shut people that love you out of your life.   Your family will always love you.  Accept that.  They may not be the family that you want or think that you deserve, but they love you.  You don’t need to tell them every detail of your life, but keep them in the loop.  Even if you don’t feel comfortable telling them out loud, don’t.  But send a text, write a letter, something.  We won’t judge you.  I’m begging you…if you are ever planning on getting married, tell us.  Having a kid, tell us.  I don’t want to find out I’m a grandma when the kid is three.  By no means am I suggesting that you anything like this is even on the table, but someday it will be.

 

I’m sure there are more things to add, and I will.

Dang, who would have thought that being the parent of a 21 year-old would be harder than when they were a toddler?