Monday, October 21, 2013


I can't lie:  it's an effort to write, these days.  My whole person feels drawn in, silent, increasingly put off by the noise of the television, the radio, the unending online chatter.  Writing here is a mystery.  Not so much an aversion to communication; I don't even know what to communicate right now.

There is a slowly solidifying possibility that my time alone at home is drawing to end - that I could be working, soon.  I should be blazing through the hours I have.  Taking care of paperwork, filing, mending, organizing, marking off those last projects still stubbornly stuck on my list.  I should be writing, drawing, endlessly.  I should be climbing that hill.

All I want to do is curl up and read in the silence.  Or cook.  Which - yes - is downright crazy coming from me.  I can't explain it.  I am feeling just fine, in general.  Just fine, just humming at the lowest frequency.  No bother.

Not to worry.  This post right here - this is working through it.  I'm working through it.  Head down, eyes on my own paper, but most certainly working through it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

soft focus

Life is generally good these days, just generically busy and rolling along quickly, days mushing into weeks that pile into the corners like cobwebs needing to be swept up, thrown out, whisked away.  I am fine, but lacking focus for anything much more than accomplishing the minimum.  On the other hand, sometimes the minimum has meant crawling into a book for an hour or two (if I can get it), and that's hard to disparage.  I've missed reading.

Now that Lena's sixth birthday has passed, I some have time again for myself, and I really need it.  I feel soft - inside and out.  I miss writing, and I need exercise.  I have drawings to do, and goals to accomplish.  I'm just having a hard time remembering how to focus my energy, or maybe my body is rebelling.  All I really want to do in the moment is read, or nap.  Hosting a party for Lena and her school friends last week just drained about a month's worth of energy out of this introvert, maybe.  I am tired.  But I will keep moving forward.  I will find my drive.  And maybe, if I need to take a nap in the meantime, it wouldn't quite be the end of the world.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shop news & SALE on custom home drawings

Hello, everyone!  Caught up from that fabulous three day weekend, are ya?  All settled back into school?  Back to work?  Wondering when this heat will go away so you can justify a pumpkin spice latte and new boots?  ME TOO.  And I have the perfect thing to cool you off:  a winter holiday sale!

Okay, so sales-speak isn't really my thing.  But I can make a lovely drawing of a treasured home for you, or your mom, or your grandfather.  These drawings make wonderful heirloom gifts, but they do require a little lead-time, so I am letting you in on a deal if you order between now and November 1st.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating:  I absolutely love working on these drawings.  Home has always been important to me, and I understand personally how one house can, in some ways, encapsulate everything in our world.  Drawing a home I know is loved and dear to someone is a responsibility I take seriously, and as I work I hope that the finished piece will evoke those emotions and memories in the recipient.  It really is a privilege to be able to work on these drawings for you.

So.  Order now with coupon EARLYBIRD2013 and you will receive 25% off your purchase of a custom home drawing, now through November 1, 2013.  Custom orders have already been placed, so reserve your spot now!  Yes, really.  For realz.  HONEST.  I am already filling holiday orders.  I know!

Oh, and the other shop news, which perhaps I should have mentioned earlier, is that my shop is now happily titled Lena + Eve.  A post on Lena + Eve and the new children's drawings available there is forthcoming.  But these home drawing slots do fill up, and I want you to have a chance at getting in now while, oh, you know, while the gettin's good.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to message me and ask.  I can't wait to work on a drawing for you!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So, that was summer.  Where did it go?  It already feels like a dream I have to work hard to remember.  Two days back to school, back to schedule, and I'm struggling to recall what happened in July.  Small fragments of sunshine, of beach, of salt air hair blowing across my face; rinsing sand out of the girls' wetsuits, their faces constantly smeared with ice cream, popsicles, cotton candy, chocolate milk.  We spent three weeks this month in the Midwest with my parents, and I still remember that: the luxury of sleeping late in the morning and the smell of bug repellant in the evening, the days in between packed with comfort food and family time.  We visited the zoo, went peach picking, rode a miniature steam train, saw a ball game, and we swam.  I hope, I hope, I hope the girls remember these days.  I hope they remember them forever.

I guess I needed a break from writing.  Not sure why.  A January baby, I always seem to hibernate in summers, in a way.  But I am ready to be back.  Hi there.  What did I miss?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

because paychecks and pickle jars

A few people have asked me if the recent lull in writing here is an indication that I am not doing well.  Formulating a response to this has been tricky.  In a way, no, I am not well, but only because I haven't had any time to write.  Really, I am fine.  Summer is just too busy at our house.  We've been traveling and traveling again, packing, unpacking, running to swim lessons, juggling odd summer-hour schedules, entertaining visitors, managing everything with one car, and trying very hard all the while to keep up with a three-year-old whose three-year-old-ness is in major overdrive lately.  It's all very hectic and nerve-wracking and tiring, but generally fine and good, except that I haven't had any time to write.  And not having any time to write makes me cranky, to say the least.  You see?

Well.  It may not make any sense, but it's true.  Writing helps me think, and there has been so much to think about.  One thing I can tell you about is that it looks like I am going to be heading back to work in the fall.  Where, I have no idea.  I've been a stay-at-home mom (with some freelance work on the side) for a solid six years, now.  The company I previously worked for was great, but it's a long commute away and now I have kids to worry about, so I'm hoping to find something closer to home.  Maybe something part-time?  I don't know.  I suppose we'll just see what's out there when it's time, but my years at home, the bad's hard to pretend these things won't be obstacles.  Not to mention this blog, which I love, but I made the decision back when I re-launched it that I was going to be up front about who I am, here.  Putting my name on this site has kept me conscientious about what I write, and I don't regret it.  But I always knew that if I needed to go back to work one day I might have to make changes here, and those changes might be coming quickly, now.  You tell me - if you were an employer, would you hire someone who wrote openly about living with depression and seeking psychiatric help for it?  In this economy?  If my full name disappears from this site in the near future, I am sorry.  I hope you understand.  Because, unfortunately, I need a paycheck.  Hello, reality.

Another change I have been considering is to stop posting so many photos of my girls.  Lena is nearly six, after all, and I'm beginning to feel like she deserves some privacy.  (Although after spending some time with various teens and pre-teens in our family over the past few months,  I'm wondering if this generation will EVER care about privacy.)  This may be another reason to scrub my name from the blog, though.  Oh, I'm not sure how this will all net out, yet.  Maybe it will be a slow migration.  It just feels like it's time to make a few adjustments, that's all.

There has been a lot on my mind.  So many things about to change, I think.  I feel it in my bones.  Yes, really.  I feel it the same way I can feel bottled-up emotions in other people, the same way I know which random person from my past my mom is about to tell me news about before she's said two words.  It's sort of like knowing just exactly how to rap the unopened pickle jar on the counter so you can pop the lid with ease.  I just have this sense that the day-to-day routine of our lives is eroding quickly, invisibly, and that this time next year we will be....different.  How much different, I don't know.  Maybe all it will mean is a part-time job at the grocery store for me.  Maybe we'll finally have replaced Jimmy's beat up car.  Maybe I'll just have a new haircut.

But it feels like it it is going to be more than that.

(I'm excited.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013


This is an improvement, yes?

Right now it's late, and I can barely stay awake to type this, but I wanted to let you know that at this moment, things don't seem so bad.  Or maybe they just seem farther away.  Yesterday was Lena's last day of kindergarten (I only broke down into completely irrational tears once!), and after school let out we whisked the family up the 5 to San Francisco for the weekend, Sacramento for the rest of the week, and back home on Friday.  Or Saturday.  Or possibly we'll wait to head home until after the Fourth, because why not?  All the things that are worrisome and bothersome and upsetting, all those things still exist, they still need attention, answers, prayers.  But this picture?  This picture was pretty much our day.  Such a good day.  And I wanted to let you know about it.  I want you to know when there are good days, too.  Wonderful days, even when things aren't going the way we wish they were.  Beautiful days.

Just like today.

Friday, June 14, 2013

no alarms and no suprises

For those of you not following me on Instagram or Facebook, I posted this today (slightly edited, because I can't not edit and re-edit and re-edit myself - it's basically an illness):

Hey, friends.  Forgive me for putting it this way, but it's been a shitty couple of weeks around here.  Some of it I can't share, some of it I don't know how to share, and the rest of it, well, I just haven't had any damn time for it.  Things can always be worse, obviously.  What I can't figure out right now, though, is how to make any of it any better.  But I do so appreciate having friends out there, like you.  Just knowing that makes an enormous difference in my life.  Thank you.

I posted that about an hour ago, and already I've received a heap of lovely comments, messages, texts, and offers to get together right away.  And I know my phone will be ringing approximately .5 seconds after my mom catches it.  No kidding - you guys are the best.  Absolutely the best.  There's a lot going on that just can't be fixed, at least not now.  Such is life, right?  Yeah.  That will never be anything other than completely annoying.

I'm not sure if or when I'll have time to say more.  I don't know if I'll have any time to write again before we leave to visit family in a week.  It's possible I won't even be around this place at all until mid-July.  If so, I'm really sorry.  No one misses my being able to write here more than I do.  That's a guarantee.  But, as always, thanks for sticking around.  Did I mention you are the best?  You are.  The best.



Monday, June 10, 2013

there are only so many hours in a summer day, you know

All right, I'm crying Uncle.  It's time to add "Summer" to the list of things I'll never understand.  Or, more specifically, "How it is possible to have Jimmy home for the summer to help me with the girls and the house and yet somehow I seem to have significantly less time to accomplish anything around here and my To Do list gets longer every day."  Seriously, this is possible how?  Is this one of those things I would understand and be capable of fixing if only I had sat with my brothers while they watched all those endless hours of Star Trek?  Yes?  Well, it's too late now, because I don't have time to catch up, because laundry and swim class and bills and email and shopping and sick kids and phone calls and reheating my coffee five times in a row before I remember to actually drink it.

The house won't fall down if I don't finish the laundry.  But I am more than a little frustrated that I seem to have lost that time in my schedule I had hoped would be filled with writing, drawing, reading, and walking.  And I think, if I could give up my desire for those things, I wouldn't feel quite so stressed for time.  Maybe I'm just being selfish.  Or maybe those things are vital.

One of these days, maybe I'll find a moment to figure it out.

Of course, plenty of what is keeping me busy lately is absolutely worth sacrifice.  To wit:

Saturday ball games


(lots of snacks)

swim classes

little girls' clothes shopping

end-of-year school projects

learning to let someone learn to climb trees

(but staying close by just in case)

taking care of sick babies

enforcing nap times

(loving nap times)

((hey, I got a *little* bit of drawing squeezed in!))

spending time with friends (Hi, Julie!)

assembling costumes

being ridiculous

ensuring our girls' education is on track

and eating meals outside.

(Yeah.  Absolutely worth it.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Memorial Day weekend 2013

a nearly ancient photo I took of Morro Rock in Morro Bay in 2003

Late last Friday afternoon we piled the girls and all our gear into our car and began that long drive up the coast of California - the drive that should take three and a half hours but really takes us six.  In all honesty I wasn't very keen on making the trip this time.  We usually see a lot of family when we visit Morro Bay and Cayucos, but this time there would only be Jimmy's Grampa Al, who is 96 (or so I thought - he said he was 97) and having more and more trouble leaving his apartment, and Jimmy's cousin Dylan, who is graduating this weekend and who has, you know, a life, and who probably didn't need a family of four crashing his last high school weekend.

But we went, and it was wonderful.  It was extra tiring to be away from home without all the built-in babysitters we usually enjoy when we visit family.  And we missed everyone so much.  It was so good to see Grampa Al, though, and so good to see Dylan - Dylan who actually spent time with us voluntarily, without complaint, and on more than one occasion.  He either genuinely enjoyed himself, or his mom gave him a really nice bribe.  Either way, though, we won.  He was great company, Grampa looked as happy to see us as we were to see him (very happy!), and Auntie Barbara came home and hung out with us the last night of our visit.  So good.  We got to see family after all.

We also got to see some stunningly beautiful land on Saturday.  We have another family member who showed us around some private property above Cayucos, up in the hills, past miles of dirt roads and cattle gates.  The property was just gorgeous, perched on a high hill, covered in barn swallows, and the girls had a ball.  They explored outbuildings and chased cats and climbed fences.  Jimmy caught a lizard for them to hold, and another lizard snuck into the car only to appear on Evie's lap later on.  Thank goodness she didn't even see it, particularly while we were driving!  I saw it after we stopped and shooed it out (and then I worried about more lizards in the car during the whole ride home.  Obviously!).

And on Sunday we hit the beach.  Idyllic.  Two California girls, that's what I have.  Lena who looks like she was born to live on the beach, and Evie who is determined to learn to surf as soon as humanly possible, DAD. (Pay attention to your swim classes, baby, and maybe it will happen!)  As a Midwesterner, it baffles me to be raising beach babies.  But it's the best thing in the world, too.  Beach babies who chase cats on farms and swordfight with sticks on mountaintops and who prefer to wear wetsuits on the beach because it means they can play in the little surf for that much longer.  It's all just the best thing in the world.

We had a fantastic time last weekend.  How about you?

photo credit - Jimmy