Robot scavenger hunt for Russell's birthday
Two reasons for failing to return/answer calls and chronic lateness:
- I got rid of my purses two months ago, keep forgetting to buy a new one, and am toting around a record bag that looks more like a diaper bag than anything a normal person might use. Thus, I can’t hear or find my phone inside that enormous thing;
- There’s been an extra amount of ass-wiping going on at work recently — both good and bad varieties;
- I’ve been slammed with an awful lot of What I Always Wanted.
I guess that’s more than two excuses. Cut me some slack. Let’s time travel.
Russell turned really old, and Tyson Summers was cool enough to crank out a super-fast commission even though he was moving at the time. I was expecting something really simple because of his circumstances, but within the first twenty-four hours, Tyson wrote:
I’m almost finished. It’s a risque piece based on deep ellum / fair park. I love the statue at fair park of the lady and cactus. I’ve used a very pretty nude model in halftone dots standing in the middle of a cartoon cactus. The two big characters of the cactus are landlord / property owners fighting. On the cactus will be 4-icze and a boarded up tunnel. Shazam, I think I’m almost done. The background is pink with my stars looking on. I added a halftone dot Uni looking after the lady as well.
Russell loved it.
First Weekend of April:
The Bell and I met Madre in Austin to celebrate this year’s ATPE awards; she was one of the top three contenders for Texas State Teacher of the Year. While Mom tried staying awake during boring meetings, Bella and I toured the Capitol, the Austin Museum of Art, and T O Y J O Y.
Texas State Capitol
Bella took this one. What a fantastic weekend.
April Never Ending:
The Bell needed a new bed, so we punished her with hours of IKEA. Sometimes, IKEA can be so sad. Luckily, Russell had a plan.
Alas, another case of IKEA blues was defeated.
Ongoing Family Bidness with the KLG (is gonna rock you…):
Grace asked me to quit calling her “Gracie.” Sniffle, sniffle.
"Hey, Grace, do your Dio rock hand."
Here, Ken and Lindsay reenact a scene from 'Jacob's Ladder'.
With a side order of May:
Isata and her family deserve more than just Honorable Mention; she’s a great kiddo with great parents and an incredible back story.
I loved Isata about five minutes after I first saw her as she handed my very sad Bella Monster a toy and patted her on the back. It was 1999, and I’d just dropped Bella off for her first Mother’s Day Out, which — for neurotic moms like me — was more like Mother’s Day to Freak Out.
Isata came with a bonus prize — her parents. Idrissa and Ada left their native country of Sierra Leone in the early nineties. Recently popularized by the film Blood Diamond, Sierra Leone was amongst one of the world’s most unstable regions at that time due to, perhaps, the cruelest gang warfare and rebel fighting in modern history — fueled entirely by our greed for diamonds and Sierra Leone’s corrupt leadership and shaky relationships with its Liberian neighbors. Isata’s folks tell incredibly sad stories coupled with extreme optimism. They understand what matters in life in a way that isn’t as humbling or demoralizing as much as it is liberating for me. Truly, their spirits set me free.
Last week, I drove Bella over to Ada’s braid shop in Irving. (Ada has superhero fast braiding fingers.) Idrissa ordered pizza for us while we chatted about the girls and foreign affairs and how Bella had been handling the divorce all this time later. We talked about their African Muslim wedding in which Bella stood in Isata’s place of honor when they were four years old. I listened intently as Idrissa shared stories about his sister still living in Johannesburg, South Africa: “They asked me to come, but I cannot. The region, it is too dangerous even for someone like myself.”
Bella and Isata talked on the other side of the salon about the Black-eyed Peas and Hannah Montana and Paramore and The Jonas Brothers, though. That part of the world was far away.
There is so much more to add, but for the sake of sacrificing another five million in text, I’ll wrap it up with Isata’s most recent parting words: “Kristan, I love you. You are my second mother.”
I needed that an awful lot this past week. I love my families and am immensely grateful.
kristan and ada
the bell and my other daughter, isata
You can’t stop this party:
On Friday, I accompanied Bella’s honor choir to the yearly competition at Sandy Lake Amusement Park. (I need some coffee and a pretend cigarette already, and I haven’t even gotten but one sentence into this excuse for not being able to return your calls.)
One parent. One grandparent. One teacher who is retiring next week and can’t walk. Twenty-six fourth and fifth grade WIIIILD and CARAZAY KIDS. When I think “Last Friday,” I also think “Xanax.”
To the four parents who canceled at the LAST MINUTE: you lost out, but there was no fun lost (except for the little guy who threw up all day, but you know…poor kiddo).
First Place Division!
Is there a collection somewhere of past gum trees from other years? Hm.
Saturday, Saturday, yes, Saturday, oh, Saturday, Saturday:
I wrote all about the whale scarf Julie made in L.A. via her Spiderbot Etsy store. Well, Russ and I managed to make it through the morning rain to the Etsy Dallas convention at Southside Lamar, and it was something else. I didn’t see anything I liked more than the whale scarf, which I wore like a medal, but I did find some interesting items for our jewelry-making endeavors. Russell stopped to investigate a funny doll.
Etsy treasure by Deb at anklebiter.etsy.com
I tried to be sneaky, but Russell knew I’d gotten the monster for him before we even got home.
“Let me see if I can find those snacks in your purse.” [Grin]
“Russell, why are you smiling like that?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” [Grin]
“Ugh, here’s your monster.”
Later that afternoon at the Grapevine bead convention (yes, you read that correctly), we found loads of cool stuff for projects. I bought black, bead wiring for jewelry crocheting, so if you receive something that looks like a bird’s nest, well, just humor me. I’m trying. I have to do something besides bitch and moan about politics, you know. After waging war on the Vote Yes campaign for the past two months, I’m ready for something less controversial — like wire crocheting the Big Bang Theory. Wait…
Don't call it "crafting." It's a scientific experiment, cough, cough.
There were so many booths at the bead convention that we lost track of time and spent four hours inside that thing. I call it the “IKEA Phenomenon”. At one point, I stopped to admire a woman’s wire coiling and button bracelet, and she was kind enough to demonstrate her technique. Everything was fine until she added, “…and if you will recall [insert famous beading guy’s name here, unknown to non-fanatics]’s 2002 cover for Bead and Glass Magazine, there was, I believe, an instructional guide to this method in that issue.” That was when I realized I was way out of my league, thanked her, and quickly turned around to giggle with Russell as we made our way into a different room of the exhibit.
“Russell, I think I know what I sound like now when I talk about stuff like, ehhhh, I dunno…4AD record cover art around people who aren’t V23 fans.”
“Yes, that’s exactly how crazy you sound.”
Luckily, I spotted a ring artisan in the next area and quickly forget about my plaguing new revelation.
Lori is thirty-seven this week. I don’t know how that happened so quickly. Russell and I attended her anniversary dinner with Xtos, so I could present her with trinkets appropriate for an old lady, heh. I explained to Lors that my company recognized my ten years of service this past week, so I’d decided to give her a similar token celebrating her twenty years of service as my girl. There was sushi. A glass of wine. Oh, god, there was creme brulee. Then we both fell asleep during the movie while X-tos and Russell laughed at us (but not before Lori’s top semi-fell down at the restaurant). Hurray for pocket cams times ten thousand.
Birthdays come but once each year.
As dinner ended, Russell passed a napkin across the table.
“I love you!”
I got out my pen and scribbled, “I love you more!”
That’s when he dug around in his pocket for a moment, tucked something into the napkin, and passed both back across the table toward me. He said, “You don’t love me more than I love you.”
Wrapped inside the dinner napkin, was a beautiful new ring:
Maybe you guessed it: from the aforementioned ring artisan at the bead convention. He’s a sneaky guy, that Russell.
I think I’ve covered much of the “What I Always Wanted” portion of my excuses for not checking voicemail and returning many calls. One of the great lessons Idrissa (and Ada) taught me goes something like this:
“In America and in no other country in the world, there is a sense of nothing but work, work, and work. It’s 24/7, this working. There is no time for family or happiness because so much emphasis is put upon job and career. Here, you are only about your job; it is who you are, and people think they must achieve success in that way only. In Africa, my father was surrounded always by his council and many bodyguards, yet from the time the sun came up until the time the sun went down, I was by his side. He made the time for me because I was important to him; I meant more to him than his duties. He made sure everybody knew this, too. In America, we must remember to love each other and to care for one another as if we are also family.”
I have time left for Now. I’ll call you back later.