Monday, January 04, 2010


Hello my bloggy Friends.

Since it was utterly impossible to live my life AND recap it at the same time, I had to settle for just living for the last month. I shall try to recap now for the sake of posterity.

I couldn't actually blog about what I was up to because December is a month for secrets. This secretive stuff lasts well into January since Robb's birthday is January 8th. But now that most of the cats are out of the bags, here are pictures of the mosaics I made for Robb's sisters. I literally dreamed the design one night and woke up with it on my mind. Karen's is multi-colored and I debated over the use of the letters, fearing it would be too preachy. But when I showed it to Robb, who is frankly, the MOST easily-annoyed-by-preachy-ness-human I know (considering his calling, this is ironic, no?), he said it worked. Cathy's mosaic stayed true to a pallet of apple green and brown, the colors her bedroom was recently painted. They were made with much love for these two women who have endured so much this past year.

With these mosaics finished, I actually had to whip up a few more pieces for the gallery, where business was extraordinarily good. I have already bored all of my friends with the tale of working my shift on the 23rd, but you are a juicy new audience to tell. It is often slow there, without much fuss. But on that fateful Wednesday, I rarely sat down, had people standing in line at times, and recorded the biggest day in Gallery history. I am still a little shaken when I recall a single order that included two paintings, three prints, 6 painted gourds, two of my mosaics, and a
hand-painted ceramic piece that had been in the gallery for two solid years, just waiting for the right buyer to come along. It was a BIG day and I will continue to buttonhole people to tell them about it since outwardly, I was just as calm as a cucumber and pretended to be a regular art expert who routinely wrapped up paintings, while inside I was wishing I had somebody to exchange saucer-eyes with.

Now, some of you are curious about my big box and I will show you now what was in it:
That's right, it is a lovely flat screen TV. We are not technology people. The newest things seldom make there way into this house. But the first time I laid eyes on a flat screen tv, I knew that someday SOMEDAY I would own one. So FLAT, so PRACTICAL, so MINIMAL....not like the unwieldy and oddly shapen tv I got at a garage sale for 20 bucks two years ago...the one that struggles to converse with any modern remote control. Not like the black box we got before Vinny was born, that once fell out of the TV cabinet in Michigan like some top-heavy idol. I hoped for it. I drew pictures. I told large groups of people. I had a bad moment when three days before Christmas, I prophesied to Robb that he was getting me a tv and he crinkled his nose and said, "I was hoping you were getting ME a tv." I was 60 percent sure he was lying. Because we regularly tell bold-face lies around here in December. Straight up falsehoods told with utter conviction. Because the secret IS the thing. The surprise is paramount.

Which is why I really was ambivalent about the kid's BIG present, which they already knew all about. The Wii. In case you have forgotten we were free of all manner of carbonated beverages in this household for the entire year. Not so much as a sip of punch at a baby shower, not a Sprite at a school party, not a root-beer float for the Super Bowl. Was it worth it, though? UM. Two words.....HECK YEAH! The Wii has been way more fun than we would have imagined, especially when played on my big beautiful TV!

ok. so Mosaics. Secrets. Tv. Wii. What else? Ok, Company.

We had two solid weeks of company with the annual Vintage Christmas Party sandwiched in between like the double stuff of an oreo cookie. With the loan of an air-mattress and a day or two devoted to rehabbing the spare room, it was not stressful at all. We were able to outfit the guest room for about 60 dollars...a new double bed and frame, curtains, paint, a desk for a tv stand, and new pillows. Not too bad, huh? I still consider my biggest score to be the curtains. I found these two panels at the Salvation Army for six dollars. I didn't look too closely at them...just liked the feel of them. When I got home, I realized they were 100 percent raw silk from Pottery Barn. (as my nephew says, SWEET!) As for the paint color, we just mixed all the leftovers we had from all the other rooms and got this perfectly calming shade of blue-green-gray. (I just spent about a half hour looking for a before picture of this room and couldn't locate one. It was black on two walls, silver on two walls, and boasted a half-deflated air mattress and my old foot-locker trunk from college as furniture)

It occurs to me that "stress free" is not exactly accurate. The day before our first wave of company arrived, I made a list of at least 150 things I determined MUST BE DONE before everyone arrived...which included everything from organizing the pantry, painting the upstairs bathroom, removing the red dry wall anchors above the windows in the living room that have made my eyeballs ache for three months, and hanging curtains in the laundry room so that somebody-who-will-remain-nameless can run in there in his boxer shorts and not give the neighborhood a nice little morning show (giggle giggle) I was, in short, obsessed. Because, you see, if one cannot achieve perfection for a holiday AND company, then one cannot pull it together AT ALL. I think my family is still recovering from my frenzied spree, which I of course, pressed them all into helping me execute.

The good thing about this plan, however, was that I got ready once, and when it was time for my sister and her husband to arrive on the day of the Vintage party, we had very little prep work to do.

Now, you already know that we took two day trips to Eureka Springs, saw a bald eagle in the wild for the first time, and that my sister likes to jump in all of her pictures...and she was absolutely determined to have her picture in front of the University of Arkansas Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. Most people would have chosen the football stadium across the street as a backdrop, but no...she simply had to have it here. So determined was she, that I attempted this photo not less than 8 times. That's a lot of jumps. She was breathless but triumphant to have this one.

Finally, I have saved the best part for last. We had just walked into one of my favorite little shops in Eureka, where the kids always run downstairs to play the musical instraments and I stay upstairs to admire the pottery. I turned to Cathy to point out the earrings that Mars (my Mother in law) had fallen in love with at her last visit. Just then Robb appeared at the top of the stairs and announced..."Karen and Matt are on their way to Florida. They are getting a baby boy!" We exclaimed. We cried. We thanked God. We bought the earrings for Mars.

Jaxson Robert was brought in to the adoption agency by his birth-grandmother. She and his birth mother had determined that they could not care for him and terminated parental rights then and there. The agency did not even call Karen and Matt until the 48 hour waiting period wherein she could change her mind, was completed. They still have finalities to go through for the next four months, but this little man staying forever is a pretty good bet. They arrived to pick him up on little Emilie's birthday. And the baby's birthmother's name? Emily. Defiant Hope indeed.


Jess said...

Wow. I feel like I just ate an entire meal at my favorite restaurant! Very fun!! I'm totally with you on going into freakazoid mode for company. We are expecting a long-term guest (as in probably the entire semester) and I am reevaluating all my household systems. Is the toaster in the right place? Should we be a one-plunger family, or two, so we don't have to know about each other clogging the ancient plumbing...etc. :)

Sara said...

Wow...tears and cheers and lot's of excitement for you :)

bina said...

This post gave me chills. Thanks for sharing--so happy for your family.

Into Vintage said...

Happy New Year! Wishing you, your family and friends a wonderful 2010. I don't know about you but I'm SO OVER 2009. And congrats on the success of your mosaics - love those! -amy

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