Friday, July 19, 2013

Norwegian Inspiration: Figgjo Flint

I've been getting a little wild in my embroidery designs lately and have been scouring the interwebs for inspiration. If I stitch one more bunny or kitty for the girls, I might just implode from too much sweet cuteness.

I love sweet cuteness as much as anybody. But seriously.

Still love Scandinavian design and as I fell down the rabbit hole on Etsy (my favorite place to spend all of our money and dream about how creative I might have been born if only....)

I found a porcelain company called Figgjo Flint. Just a humble manufacturing company founded in's like Ikea, only less American.

All of their stuff has the straight lines and edges of the minimalist Scandinavian look I love, but the thing that hooked me was the people illustrations. Like jolly, round people I want to have hot chocolate with. Even their vikings!

Check out Etsy's Figgjo Flint collection of finds.

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My Name is Eeyore and This Is My Cloud

I can't say that I was always vain in the sense that I was a preening silly, little bird....

But, I mean, I used to show up in family photos. Seriously. Lots of them. I was in at least 1 in 4 family photos back in the day. These days, we're lucky if I'm in one once every three months. I look more like a frequent babysitter or aunt that lives two towns over than a daily presence thanks to our photo album.

And it's not like I don't have the power to put myself in these shots. I just...don't.

I collapsed in bed two nights ago and thought about why it might be that my kids will have very little visual proof of my existence between the ages of 29 and, well, 35.

I turn 35 in a week and I'd say I look like I'm turning a solid 39 or 40. There's nothing WRONG with being or looking 40 when you are 40. But when your 34, it sucks.

I promised myself I'd lose the 20 pounds from three pregnancies in four years by my birthday. Do you know what I did? I gained an extra TEN  just for good measure. In case I wasn't already solidly defeated in my self-esteem and motivation, I figured a few extra donuts and pizza slices would do the trick. Silly rabbit.

I foolishly figured as I'd age, I'd have to deal with looking old OR being fat. Imagine my surprise now that I'm facing 35 looking old AND fat. There's a word for's called despondent. :)

This is the year of the gray hair (f$#& you, gray hair). The spider veins (f$#&  you, spider veins). The cellulite (die, cellulite dimples). The exact same outfit or combination thereof for 365 straight days. The overgrown Kahlo-esque eyebrows. The stomach that resembles unrisen bread dough (lovely, right?)The shaggy, split end hair. The ponytail that can last four days straight (it never comes down). The hair dye job gone wrong (I'm sporting at least three different colors in this  mop...FOUR if you count the gray!)

Vampires are starting to look appealing to me. I mean, sure, the diet sucks, but at least you don't have reflections. I could do without reflections.

I am hard on myself lately. And then I beat myself up in round two for being so lazy and not really trying to look like a bonafide adult (I dress just like the local high school soccer players do, folks, honestly). And then in round three of my mental beatdown, I'm mad at myself for being so wrapped up in my looks.

So here we are. I'm not a vampire. I'm not in my kids' pictures. Something's gotta give soon and since I don't see myself growing any sort of gym devotion overnight or the means of a complete cosmetic and wardrobe overhaul, the solution is pretty simple.

I'm going to dig up all those great photos of me in 2008 and I"m going to learn how to Photoshop myself into the family pictures. Win-win, right?

Donut time, ya'll...
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Slow News Day

Not much to report these days, but it's a numbers game for me. I'm trying to keep the posts going and beat my all-time high for a year of blogging.

The end result?

You have to look at pictures of my very silly dog looking like...ummm....this.

P leaves tomorrow morning for a few days. I have to question his devotion to me if he's willing to leave me with these kids. They've been a little......trying lately. Well, not all of them. Just a couple Okay, one. Just one has been driving me bat-shit crazy.

But can you blame her?

She just turned two.

So there.

Carry on, friends, carry on.
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Linus Blankie and the Life of a Fighter

I've made three other quilts in my life.

One for Aoife (owls and dark blue blocks), one for Kyra (penguins, I believe) and one for Riley (an applique Little Red Riding Hood that now has a suspect stain on it. Darn.)

This fourth quilt I made was so simple I should probably be ashamed. I ordered a layer cake (42 precut squares that are 10" each) and couldn't decide what to do. I also knew that one of my "birthday sisters" (I have TWO of them--girls who share the same birthday as I do. One is a sorority sister from my days at A&M and the other is Lauren Taylor, a sister in the jiu jitsu fraternity and all-around badass in women's MMA).

Anyhoo. LT turns 30 this month, whereas I will celebrate the 6th anniversary of turning 29. (Hush, ya'll.)

The quilt had two purposes. First, it was her birthday.

Everybody needs a handmade quilt or blanket given to them at least ONCE in their lives.


It's important to know that somebody in the world worries that you'll be warm enough to the extent that they poke the bejeezus out of their fingers with straight pins or crochet hooks or knitting needles. (My aunt Cheryl made a gorgeous white blanket for my mom many years ago that she loved to pieces. I remember. I just can't remember whether it was knit or crochet and where it is today. Hopefully she'll chime in and let me know.)

Now, Lauren is the type of person that doesn't really need reassurance of how much she is loved. People adore her and her new fan base is taking off as her MMA career is skyrocketing. And she's got an amazing partner who loves her to the moon and back, a mama who is crazy about her, an adorable son,  along with a couple best friends who would probably take a bullet for her (and I wouldn't be surprised if they have stories like that between them).

But still...

My MMA career was short-lived all those years ago and I only had to travel once (to Las Vegas). But what I remember the most (aside, you know, from the news they'd found a brain aneurysm in the obligatory MRI), was how lonely I was in the hotel room waiting for the fight to happen. Hours of nothing to do but wander around by yourself in a crowd of strangers or lay on an unfamiliar bed and watch god-awful daytime TV...missing your loved ones and worrying about the madness to come.

The second reason for the blanket is that the life of a fighter, when you get down to it, can be pretty painful and lonely.

Honestly. Fans love you. Your family and friends are proud of you. But the nature of the business is you are alone a lot and waiting more time than anyone can imagine.

Waiting for the gym to open. Waiting for medicals. Waiting for weigh ins. Waiting for the tape and wrap guy. Waiting for your fight to be up. Waiting for your flight to board. Waiting for the shuttle to come get you and take you to the hotel.

Waiting waiting waiting.

And Lauren? Well, despite her ginormous pythons and the fact that she makes people bleed for a living...she's pretty sensitive. She gets emotional under the Godzilla-sized stress she carries and she misses her mama and her Joe and her son and her friends and the pressure of the life of a fighter bears on her every now and again and, as her friend, I can see it in her eyes.

This is not an easy life for those who are fortunate enough to be successful. 

So when I thought about what I needed to do with that pile of fabric, I thought about LT and her fight next week and how her life is going to be full of traveling and fighting for the foreseeable future. And how she'll spend plenty of lonely hours waiting when Joe or Aurora or Patrick or Alex can't be there. And then the Boy Wonder and I had the idea to make her a Linus Blankie.

And, well, here it is. A noble, poorly bound quilt for LT to drag around hotels and planes and wherever else this journey is going to take her. Hopefully it will serve her well.

And hopefully, she won't need to suck her thumb like Linus. (Ha! I has jokes.)

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A side note. Lauren (6-0) fights next weekend on the Invicta FC 6 card. It's available online and on PPV television. You should watch. Really really.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

We hold these truths to be self evident...

No witty complaints hidden behind the guise of humor today for me folks. Just a posting of our nation's most important document...a guarantee of equal rights for ALL. 

All, not some, not the blessed few, not those the church deems worthy...but all. 

I haven't really read it since my poli sci days at A&M, but it's still pretty powerful. 

Take a minute, read the words of these 56 brave souls and be thankful. 

Be happy. Be blessed. Happy Independence Day, friends!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton