Monday, December 28, 2009

Be. Just Be.

Eckhart Tolle calls animals "keepers of being."
I know what he means.
When I take a moment to be with one of our pets, I am able to do just that.
That is why, no matter the mess, the bother, or the expense,
pets are in my life.
Because I need more being and less doing.

Santa knew this.  Look what he brought our family.
Introducing Simon (the red boy) and Jenny (the gray girl).
(FYI, we also have Trudy the sheepdog mutt, Mackie the chinchilla, and Smokey the hamster.  We are one big fuzzy family.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Night

 I found this sentiment in 1995, when Rose was just five.
Soon she will be twenty.
Olivia is nine.
I consider the juxtaposition.

 A Father's Christmas Reflection
by Richard Paul Evans

Christmas Night.
"As the evening falls like a curtain on a long-awaited show,
I hold my daughter, just one last time this season,
in the warm bath of the Christmas tree lights.

And I wonder.

Have the Yuletide parties and gatherings
filled her with a sense of family?

Have the Christmas rituals united her in a shared commonality with her fellow men?

Has the music of Christmas healed her of a cynical world
and inspired her with hopes of something greater?

Have the gifts she shared taught her that the greatest gifts are received in the giving?

Have the once wrapped presents of Christmas reminded
her of a greater gift given many Christmases ago?

And I wonder.

Is there enough awe in my child, enough magic left, to save a world?

For within my heart I lament a great truth:
That the only promise of childhood is that it will end.

And I wonder what I have given her to take its place.

And is it enough?"

I read this every year.  And every year I cry just a little.
And I wonder.

I love the magic in Olivia's eyes.  Whether for her own gifts, or watching someone else open a surprise. 
It's in the eyes, right?

An original Livvylulah painted just for Rose.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Do you have POP? and I don't mean soda

First let me say that I have long ago let go of the notion that I get to dress my children.
I console myself by saying, "this lets them express their creativity."
Some children express their creativity a little more exuberantly than others.

 Olivia styled herself for Music in the Mall.
She was pretty creative.
And festive.
And sparkly.

And frustrated.
Because she was not the stylist for the rest of the clan.
She said to her brothers,
"You have no Pizzaz!  Your clothes are so boring.  Is your hair up? Do you have a headband? Are you wearing Taffeta? Does your face sparkle?  I have ALL of those things.  Nothing about you pops!"
I think teenage boys prefer not to have pop.
But they sure like soda.
The boring Jackson and Eddie beside the lovely Rose

 (and happy 22nd anniversary, Doug)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's in their eyes!

 (sorry for the poor quality of photo.  I did mention I need a new camera, right?  One that allows me to take a super zoom picture so I can people watch from afar.)

If you have been following my Christmas Simplification Plan, you know that I am really trying this year to make the holiday season about happiness and joy.  Not stress and hurry.  I am using the joy and light in the children's eyes to center me when I get a little freaky.  I am trying to channel my mom who was happiest at Christmastime and passed that feeling on to us.  It has worked pretty well.

Most of the time.

However, we did have a particularly tough time getting out of the door to the Music in the Mall recital.  By tough time, I mean I had a meltdown and got mad at everyone.

Really, I'm trying...
And it did get better as the evening progressed.

The recital was lovely, the feeling was festive, and I recovered.

Afterward, Doug and I sat in the mall food court enjoying the not so fine Chinese dining for our 22nd anniversary.  We people watched, of course.   That is when I saw this poor fella having a hard time feeling the joy.  I couldn't resist taking his picture.  Then Doug quipped, "it's in their eyes."  Smart alec.  I guess this crying baby in the big Santa's lap shows how I was feeling earlier in the evening.

Are you feeling this way yet?

I'm a work in progress.
(Happy 22nd anniversary, Doug.  I really loved our unconventional date.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice

The thing about Atlanta is that she knows her seasons.

(the view from my front door)
Growing up in Idaho, I always wondered why it wasn't Winter on the calendar until just before Christmas.  It was winter outside long before that.

(frosting on the bushes)
Atlanta knows that Winter starts on December 21st.  She gave us a good frost for the first day of the season.

(the view from my back door, it's kinda hard to see the frost, but the rooftops look ready for Santa)
Thank you, dear Atlanta.
And to my Alaska friends, you've made it.  Here comes the sun.

Friday, December 18, 2009

As Long as I'm Dreaming or My Bad Self

I loved reading your hearts' desires.  Now, since Tessa requested, I will share mine.  And I will confess that I pilfered a few ideas to add to my list.

First, world peace and an no hunger
and all that blah, blah.
Sure, I want the altruistic and peaceful ideals, but I also want some stuff.
If money were no object:

An exotic vacation for all 3 sides of my extended family.
I want to go to a beautiful place.  I want to spend time with people I love.  And, if money truly, truly were no object, I would pay for everything.  Bora Bora would be nice.  Where would you go?  

A new camera.
One that does not require me to wedge the lens cover open with my fingers.  But really I need two new cameras.  One that is small enough to tote around with me, and one that has more creative options. This one appears to be a realistic combination of both needs.  Do you have other recommendations?
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

A MacBook.
I want my own MacBook (but with a regular keyboard attachment, I can't seem to type on a laptop keyboard very efficiently).  I want Leopard.  I have a fantasy that I would spend less time on the computer if only I had the newer program and its easier photo manipulation.  Is this true?

New dining room chairs.
The marigold cafeteria chairs I thought would look so clever in my dining room are not the right scale for my table.  IKEA chairs, like the ones in Amy Butler's studio, would be so nice.   I need eight.  In white.

Truthfully, I'd just love to have Amy Butler's studio.

Or Anna's.

They are entirely different, why do I love them each so much?
I think Amy's represents the me I wish I were--spare, orderly, efficient, uncomplicated.
Anna's is the real me.  Full of color, stuff, family and possibly some chaos.
There's a psychoanalysis opportunity here.
Which do you prefer?  Is there a happy compromise somewhere?

I want boots.
Like these Vivienne Westwood Pirate boots:

Or, Frye Boots.  Almost any kind, but these are all lovely.  What boots do you want?

An authentic motorcycle jacket.
Like one from a Harley shop.  Maybe?  Could I really pull it off?

Do you notice a theme in my clothing dreams?  Is the bad girl trying to come out?  I swear it is because I love the juxtaposition of soft and sweet.  Or do I love a Harley?  Am I a little rough around the edges or just trying to toughen up a little?  Like sandwashing my saccharine self.

Doug says it is "my bad self." 

A trip to NYC.
I would love to go with my husband to see the Christmas lights, like Amy did on her date night.  And I do love the crowds.  There's more people watching to do when there are more people.  Wouldn't a new camera capture this for me?  Have you been there at Christmastime?

But, since money is an object, I would love for my kids to have something on their lists that makes their eyes light up.
ha ha ha ha ha

And, I'll take any of these:

Steve Madden riding boots
Steve Madden Reinaa
 or tough girl boots like Steve Madden's Buck

or Piratey boots like Steve Madden's Winddy

Black Chuck Taylors (my high school boyfriend's name is Chuck Taylor.  Don't misunderstand which is on my list).   I like this Red version.

A Russian Sailor shirt like the one Meg Ryan wears in French Kiss (and can be found on ebay from real Russians.  Size M, if you are wondering).

A new cardigan.  Something frilly and girly from Anthropologie (to balance my bad self).
I like this one.

Anna Maria Horner dishtowels

Eckhart Tolle The Art of Presence CD.
Prisma pencils.
Any spa goodie in lavendar or eucalyptus.
Africa Spa dry oil from the Body Shop.
Running clothes, including socks.

And, finally, a Diet Coke and a magazine would make me really happy.   Because it is not about what is in inside the gift, right?  Right?

Okay, okay, and I do want to see the light in the children's eyes.  Really.

This dreaming is dangerous...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucky, lucky you

Jennifer won the contest!

Okay, I confess that she was the 2nd winner.  I went to and this was the first random winner:

which just happened to be my darling daughter, Rose:

(not to worry, I will let Rose choose a pair, too)

The 2nd "random" try came up with this:

Am I a cheater?
Or just sharing the wealth?

So, Jennifer, go to Tallulahs to pick out your earrings and I will get them to you in time to admire the wrappings under the tree.

This is Rose on the Tallulahs home page.  You see why it would seem unseemly to let her win...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I think I can I think I can

I am a big talker.
Until it comes down to the wire.
With shipping deadlines approaching and the beautiful lace cowl I was knitting now just a puddle of noodles, I am searching for the joy in the children's eyes.
Too bad my child has been sent to her room for inappropriate behavior...

I can do this.
So can you.

Don't forget to enter to win a pair of Tallulahs earrings by leaving a comment on Dec 7th's post:  What Your Little Heart Desires.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Simplify, simplify, simplify

I have the greatest memories of Christmas as a child.

back: Dad, Mom, Clyde.  front: Julie, me, Kevin.  1965
For years I have felt the importance of creating these memories for my children.  I worried that they would be disappointed if I left out one tradition (and yet I was still adding more!).  I wanted their gifts to fulfill every wish and fantasy (even though I knew it was important to not place an emphasis on material things).  I wanted them to feel the magic of Christmas (and yet know that it really is about Christ).  And I wanted my house to represent my love of creating beauty around me (without spending a lot of money or getting stressed about decorating).
Do you see my contradictions  in thought and action?
Do you see how impossible I made these expectations?
I wanted to pass my childhood Christmas memories on to my children.

Kevin, me and Julie.  1968
This year Eddie told me that he didn't want to help decorate the tree because I forced him to do it last year and it was a bad memory.
Did I really?  Maybe I had just been having a meltdown about the boxes of ornaments and decorations cluttering the house.  Didn't the tree need to be "done" so I could have the boxes put away and we could enjoy the season?
Or maybe I was having a bad day.  Or season.

I heard this quote recently:
In response to several friends talking about how stressful Christmas was for them, an elderly Marjorie Hinckley "listened patiently, and then without the slightest edge of criticism in her voice said,
'I love Christmas.  It is the most joyful of all seasons.  I love seeing the eyes of little children light up on Christmas morning. I love giving gifts. I love being with my family. We just need to simplify and remember what we are celebrating.'" (quoted by Janet Lee).

Rose and Lanae at Grandma's. 1995
"I love seeing the eyes of little children light up."
And then it hit me.  Like a brick on my head.  Or a feather in my heart.
That was my real memory.  My mother loved the children's enthusiasm and anticipation.  She loved their laughter. She loved seeing their eyes light up.

Me,  Julie and Mrs. Beasleys all around1969

Santa, Kevin, Julie and me.  1970
When I reflect on it, the Feeling I had at Christmas when I was a child is the thing that really formed my memories of childhood Christmases.  This was the time of year my mother was most happy.  She loved teasing us with the anticipation of gifts, laughing when we thought we knew what we were getting, looking at the lights on the tree and having a fire going while we drank hot chocolate.  She loved putting the Santa and reindeer scene on her giant living room mirror.  She didn't stress about it.  She loved the process.

 Eddie, Nicole and Jackson at Grandma's 1997
 So this year, I will not care that the ornament boxes are still in the living room.   That the clutter of Christmas wrappings are around me.   That I didn't get all of my handi-work completed.
I will instead focus on the smiles, the eyes and the anticipation.  I will let my children know the things I love about Christmas so they can see how happy I am.
And I will be grateful for Christ's birth so we can celebrate these joys.

Mom with Ben, Nicole and Rose, 1993
I miss you, mom.  But I will try to carry on the happy memory of Christmas for my family.
And I will notice the eyes of the children.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretty packages all tied up with string or Judging by the Cover

More about my love language...

Let me just state up front:  I have a gift wrap station.  I have tried to hide this fact for years, and now it is out there in cyberspace.  Someday it may be a whole room, but for now it is a tall and shiny silver table that makes me happy.

I love a pretty package.  

(photo by my lovely and talented SIL, Jen)
Even if I am only buying a bar of soap at a boutique, I float out of the store when my bag has tissue and ribbons.  Barbara and I knew this when we started Tallulahs.
We wanted our customer to always float away with a pretty package.
We laugh when we tell customers that even if the item is for themselves, they can put the beribboned box on their pillow at night and feel loved.
After years as the two lulus, it is still flattering to hear how much others look forward to receiving our little black pinstriped box as a gift.
I am happy to spread the joy.

(photo also by Jen)
My love of gift wrap started as a child when I wrapped our family Christmas presents.  Many friends complained about this chore.  I secretly enjoyed it.  And cafeteria spinach.
Maybe the joy of wrapping was from creasing the paper, or tying the ribbon (even though my family always had the cheap kind that wouldn't really tie), or maybe it was thinking about the anticipation of someone else opening it.  (Or could it be I liked knowing what everyone else was getting that year)

Does it get any better? 

It naturally followed that my first job was gift wrapping at a "mom and pop" department store in a little Idaho potato town.  Good times.  Seeing the packages leave the store and thinking about them under the trees and about the anticipation that goes with them...
well, I could get a little sappy here, but I've already gone on too long.
You can tell my passion for packages is a little warped.

And, since you've spent this long reading about my packages, jump on over to Lorinda's blog.  She wrote about Tallulahs' packages being one of her favorite things.  I am a little embarrassed about all the kind things she says, but I am willing to share this information with my good friends.  And to share a glimpse of one of my favorite people.

(one more confession:  I like my Christmas packages to coordinate and to have a theme.  You may call it a sickness.  I call it a joy) 

Now, I'm off to wrap some gifts.  Lucky me.

And don't forget to leave a comment on the previous post to be entered to win your own pretty package.  I will draw a name on December 16th and ship it in time to put under your own tree (or on your pillow).