Saturday, December 26, 2009

Follow up from Leapfrog

We apologize for this inconvenience. Our system must had encoded the information that you typed during you placed the order online. Our home office already investigated your concern.

Should you need further assistance, feel free to let us know.


hilarious.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Civil Matter or Cyber-Crime?

On Monday morning I was just taking a look at our checking account when I noticed a charge I didn't make for Leapfrog Enterprises. I called Jason right away to ask him if he made it, and he didn't.

I called my credit union and explained the situation. They hotlisted my debit card and said I should call Leapfrog. They used some language that really rubbed me the wrong way, like "IF" I didn't make the charge... But maybe I'm being too sensitive.

I called Leapfrog and went through the menu of choices, none of which seemed exactly right for this situation. I got through to customer service. I explained that there was a charge on my debit card and I hadn't ordered anything. It took a few times before they stopped asking me what the problem was with my order. After a while they were able to pull up the order. They repeated my name, my billing address, but when they got to the email, it wasn't my email, and when they said who and where it was shipping to, of course I had no idea who it was. Eventually he said he was putting it through to the "home office" and that they would be emailing me after a period of 24 hours. I told him I would prefer a call much sooner than that and he said he would make a note of it.

I didn't feel great about that interaction. I called the bank again and told them about it, and the woman I spoke with said I should wait for Leapfrog to contact me if they said they would. I told her I had serious doubts about whether they would contact me or do anything about this. She told me I should forward the email to her if they emailed, and send any more information to her if I spoke with them on the phone again. I asked if they could do a chargeback and she said they couldn't because it was with a debit card.

24 hours passed and I called Leapfrog again. I was sort of alarmed that it sounded like the same person I spoke with yesterday, and he was saying a lot of the same things he'd said yesterday. Between everything he said, it was silent, and when he spoke there was background noise. I suspect I was dealing with a very intelligent computer and not a live person. "Alex" was his name. He had no record of the phone call from yesterday and couldn't pull up the order. I told him he could pull up the order YESTERDAY... He put me on hold about fifty times before he said he'd pulled up the order. First he said it was shipped, then no wait, it was ready to be shipped. I asked him to cancel the order then, and he put me on hold fifty more times, saying, "Thank you for patiently staying on the line, I'm just" dead air "um" dead air" processing that information"... Finally he said he was so sorry but that it had already been shipped. I asked for the name and address and had him spell it out for me several times.

The order was shipped to a "Lisa Toothman" at:
514 N. Lemon St. Apt. B
Ontario, California

He told me he could not reverse the charge until he received the returned item and I felt like I was really going to lose it. "You won't receive it because I don't have it because I didn't order it and I want to know what you are going to do about it" or something like that... He said he was going to put it through to the home office. I asked what home office. I asked for a phone number of this home office. He couldn't give me one. I asked for any phone number and he could not provide one. I asked if he was a computer. He assured me he was a live person. That's when I asked his name and he said it was Alex. I asked to speak to his supervisor and he put me on hold fifty more times, in between telling me "Thank you for patiently staying on the line," dead air, "Um," dead air, "Hilary," dead air, "Please stay on the line,"... Then he told me what he was going to do is put it through to the home office... and you see, it all went around and around like this and I was on the phone with this garbage for about 45 minutes, during which time Cullen woke from his nap and was crying at the door, and I was trying to keep the girls busy in their rooms. He said I could email leapfrog at leap(crackle)com. "What was that?" Then he said "Oh so sorry, that's leapfrog, " dead air, "uh," dead air, "leapfrogsupport.com" and I said, "That's not an email address, it is a website..." then he said some more "I understand" and "You're right" and then told me to write a letter and gave me the address. I told him this was an urgent matter and I wanted to talk to someone about it right away and writing a letter from Wisconsin wasn't a very efficient way of doing things.

Well anyway, you get the idea.

I got the following email:

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.


Subject
order inquiry
Discussion Thread
Response (Dave Gregory A.)12/22/2009 03:20 PM
Try to contact your bank and try to verify if you indeed charged by Leapfrog on an order you did not placed.

Should you need further assistance, feel free to let us know.

Thanks, Dave Gregory A! Really.

I told him that I did, then asked why they shipped the product today when I told them YESTERDAY that it was a fraudulent charge... Of course I haven't heard back.

I was really upset about it when Jason came home. He decided to call the Ontario, California police department to tell them about it since we had the address the package was sent to. They told him to call his own police department. Well, he knew this was kind of silly but he did anyway, and they said it was a civil matter and not a criminal matter. Then Jason said he could see why I was so upset!

...

I'm just so disappointed. I am disappointed in Leapfrog, I'm disappointed in people, and my Christmas spirit is shaken. I'm not too thrilled with my Credit Union, either. And now I'm scared to death to use a debit card for anything since if I'd used a credit card this matter would be resolved by now.

Special Christmas Wish

Grandma Char (she is "sharlea" and often signs with "GG" when she comments here) went to the ICU over the last week for some pretty serious stuff. She has been on my mind pretty constantly. I know she will be really upset about missing Christmas at home. I am just hoping so so so hard that she gets better soon. She's so important to all of us, she's been so supportive and active in our lives, she makes sure we never lose touch, she keeps up with everything--she reads my blog, she facebooks, she's on twitter, etc. She is the matriarch at the center of this family... I know it's hard for her to be out of commission and away from home. She's a worrier. I wish I could go over there and make sure there aren't clothes mildewing in the washer because I just know she is thinking about all of that stuff!

Grandma Char, I love you and I miss you and all I want for Christmas is for you to get well!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And so it begins...

...Is it bad that I think this is funny?

Spread the rug?

I like that "Eat kake" is first on this list...

If only we had an extra room. I would probably never clean it so it's good that Mina's got it covered.

I think these might be Leta's...



Their room was LITTERED with these to do lists. I expected to find drawings, not this! Maybe we make too many lists...

Rahel's Cake





Mom-to-be is into monsters...






This is pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and it was fun to do. Rahel and Brett, I hope your baby isn't a monster. ;)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another post about grocery shopping?!

I always want to know what other people have in stock on a weekly basis...

I did my weekly grocery shopping today. Keep in mind that I am still finishing off chicken soup, we have plenty of rice, spaghetti ingredients and things like that...

Soy creamer
Vanilla yogurt
Sour cream
Marble jack
Soy milk
English muffins
GF Waffles
Rice chex
Salsa
Spinach
Clementines
Red bell peppers
Onions
Pears
Bananas
Apples
Frozen corn
Cough drops
Chicken breasts
Eggs
Chocolates
GF crackers
Tortilla chips
Corn puffs
Pretzels
Trail mix
Tostadas
Flour tortillas
Couscous
Refried beans
Cornbread mix
Pinto beans
Great northern beans
Diced tomatoes
Coffee

So there you have it... That's what we're made of. I'm going to be making chili and then using the leftovers to create different meals throughout the week.

What are some of your favorite foods/staples? Meals that make good leftovers?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's going on up there?

  • I'm bummed about missing Thanksgiving with my mom.
  • I read an article about a custody battle over a 7 year old autistic boy whose mother is attempting to cure him with chelation and chemical castration among other things, and whose father disagrees...
  • I also read about Autism Speaks bullying autistics who can speak for themselves, like this t-shirt designer and this 14 year old autistic girl who created a spoof website NTSpeaks.org ...
  • I'm imagining what will happen when the children of curebie parents become angsty teenagers who feel like their parents hate who they are...
  • I'm thinking I didn't drink enough water today...
  • I'm patting myself on the back for fighting the urge to lose my temper at Mina tonight, instead setting the timer on my iphone and letting her watch it while she cleaned up...
  • I'm thankful for my cozy home and the family inside it, for the car that took me to the grocery store and the job that provided the money to buy the slightly unsavory frozen fried Chinese morsels, and the husband who likes talking to me, laughs at my jokes, and wants to make me happy...
That's about it. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back in Business

(Woops... I forgot to post yesterday.)

The kids are going back to school today. I think. I am really behind on stuff...

Edit: Just kidding! Mina is staying home!

Edit: Just kidding! She really did go to school! AHAHA! Fooled you there!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Little Mysteries

We've noticed over the last few days that Mina has been pulling out her hair. This is one of those things that could be nothing but could turn into something huge, that parents like me lose sleep over. I'd find a little pile of hair and yell for her, show it to her, become upset. The wrong thing to do, I know.

I imagined her with bald spots, or masses of hair in her stomach, in treatment...

I read about it. I fretted--even though I have definitely spent a lot of time plucking out hair, enjoying the sensation, studying the root, and I don't have that problem today nor was it ever really a problem. I was also a nail biter as a child, and am still a terrible skin picker with scarring to prove it. I used to peel the skin off of my lips with my teeth and make them bleed. That's just how I roll.

Anyway, today I asked Mina if she just started doing it. She said yes. I asked her if she did it because she liked looking at the root of her hair. A slow smile spread across her face. She said yes. Then she told me that about a week ago she pulled a hair out by accident, and noticed the root, and has been wanting to look more. Then I asked if she wanted to look at pictures of hair on the computer and she said yes, and we had a wonderful time then... I told her we could look at more pictures anytime.

So there you have it. She's not suffering from a mental disorder. She's just curious! If anyone is looking for Christmas ideas for her, I think she would love a book with lots of gross, weird, cool pictures... She is always asking me to google "gross stuff". Like mother, like daughter!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's My Mama's Birthday

Hip, hip, hooray! Happy 55, lady! Here's to 55 more!

XOXOXOXOXOXO

WE LOVE YOU!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Was I complaining about Not Really Sick Days yesterday?

OKAY I get it, I get it.

Mina woke up with a fever today. It was pretty high, so I gave her some Motrin. She ate some cereal, then laid around a bit. When Jason was taking everyone outside, Mina wanted to go with. A minute later she was back inside saying she was too tired. It all went downhill from there. We went back and forth about what to do, reading "when to contact a doctor" criteria over and over. I was actually more worried because she keeps getting these mysterious fevers. Then all of a sudden today she started coughing...

Jason talked me into calling. I was happy that I knew the doctor on call. She said all signs point to it being H1N1 and talked about that a bit... I told her that my husband is on immunosuppressants and she said he and Mina should both take Tamiflu... Jason once daily and Mina twice daily.

Mina has been so, so, so miserable. She has been in bed the whole day and needs help just walking to the bathroom. It's heartbreaking. Coughing makes her cry. Her voice is so weak and pathetic.

I really hope no one else gets sick! I guess my posts for the next few days will be about how everyone is feeling since that's pretty much all I can think about.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not Really Sick Days

Mina's drawing that I colored. Do you see what's happening here? That bird just snagged a big juicy worm from the ground. That is the worm family crying out for the doomed worm. The sun is crying. The big thing on the right is a shoe.

Umm... My drawing wasn't as creative. I like the way Mina colored it, though.

Mina was up all night with a fever, so I couldn't send her to school today. However, she is feeling JUST FINE, and has pretty much been talking my ear off all day. Not just talking, either. Asking questions. Drawing pictures for me to color, and asking me to draw pictures for her. Then not being able to find exactly the right crayon.

It's messing with my routine.

I am thankful that she isn't sick, that she can talk, that she is super creative and inquisitive and interesting, I really am. I just need two minutes of quiet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I don't really have anything to say

If you read that title and said, "OoooOOOOooh! Must read on!" then you are... Something special.

I just felt like writing. For some reason the fact that this posts on facebook creates more pressure to write something that isn't totally stupid. It doesn't always work...

I'm going to do my own NaBloPoMo or whatever starting at this totally random mid-month day. I'm going to write and post something every day, no matter what, and hopefully I won't lose too many readers from cranking out this garbage. It will be cathartic and that's the most important thing. That and FAME! Just kidding.

It's been a long day. It's almost always been a long day. In fact, I'm beginning to suspect that all days are the same length!

Someday soon I'd like to put the kids to bed in a good mood. Today we told them to get ready an hour early and read in bed. This plan backfired, though, because Mina couldn't find her library books. They must be at school. She wouldn't accept this. She was upset, almost hysterical, we turned this place inside out looking for them. Finally after 35 minutes, she stopped and said, "I could read a book I've already read!"

*blinkblink*

Yyyyyeah. Why didn't I say that? I guess I thought it was implied? Am I new here?

Alright people. It's TV time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bug Cake


Happy Birthday, Tim!
I hear Tim's daughter, Morella, calls all insects "Bees". Obviously she doesn't have a degree in entomology like her dad. You'll notice there are no actual bees on this cake.





Who's hungry?!





Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and gum paste (edible) bugs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Update

As of this morning the price tags were the same. It's nearly every type of fruit cup, whether it says each or per pack or whatever the unit is, they are all wrong. No sign, no indication of unit price error, no sorry for the inconvenience. Cullen wanted to start knocking displays over and stuff but I managed to get him out of the building before he gave them a piece of his mind. You don't want to mess with Cullen when he's angry. Ohohohoh, no, no you do not.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The unit prices of food v. the actual retail price at Copps: a tale of deception, anger, and love of one's family


Says Wisconsin Legislature:
100.183(1)
(1) No person, firm, corporation or association shall, with intent to sell, or increase the consumption thereof, or create an interest therein, make, publish, disseminate, circulate, or place before the public in this state, or cause, directly or indirectly to be made, published, disseminated, or placed before the public in this state, in a newspaper or other publication, or in the form of a book notice, handbill, poster, bill, circular or pamphlet, or in any other manner, an advertisement of any sort regarding articles of food, which advertisement contains any assertion, representation or statement which is untrue, deceptive or misleading.


I try to be a smart shopper and I always look at unit prices when comparing products to see which is the best deal. It helps you compare a 1lb bag of corn chips with a 10 oz bag of corn chips without having to do math, because the unit price tells you that one brand is 18 cents per ounce and the other bag is 27 cents per ounce (or even 60 cents per ounce in some cases...) when they all look sort of the same.

Yesterday while I was shopping at Copps I was considering buying some sort of fruit cup/apple sauce cup kind of thing for the girls' school lunches. They all seemed like a rip off but I decided to look at unit prices anyway. I looked at some Dole fruit cups that were on sale. 12.8 cents per pk? Maybe not such a rip off! How many do you get? Four? So let me get this straight. This should cost $0.51? Seems like a better deal than most! But hold on a second. Do you see it? It's $2.05. The PER PK price for a 4 PK of this should be $0.51. But if you were just glancing at unit prices you would be tricked into thinking this one is a better deal than that one. I took a look at some of the other fruit cups and found similar mistakes, and I started to wonder about the whole store.

As I went on with my shopping trip I started getting upset about this. By the time I was finished and the Customer Service Rep who was helping out asked if I was ready to check out, I was ready to take on all of the wicked injustices of the world.

"I have to show you something..." I said, and brought her over to the fruit cups.

I told her that I rely on unit prices to tell me how to get the most food for the least amount of money and I noticed that their unit prices were incorrect. "I want to pay THIS PRICE," I said, pointing to the misleadingly low unit prices.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, this is the actual price of the product. The unit prices are wrong. I don't know how that happened."

I wondered aloud about the REST of the store. I told her those labels needed to be fixed immediately so other customers don't compare unit prices and think they're getting a deal.

SHE said she didn't think other customers were looking at unit prices.

"I guarantee I am not the only one looking at unit prices. People are broke! They have families to feed! They are trying to be smart shoppers!"

She told me that the labels come from "Corporate" and it could take a while to get the right labels out.

"What are you going to do RIGHT NOW?"

"Ma'am, I... Don't know what to tell you... We can't do anything right now... We can't go through every single product to check the unit price right now. Like I said, we can't change the price tags right now."

"REALLY? What would make it worth your while to DO SOMETHING about this? Should we stand here together taking all the prices down? I spend $12,000 a year at this store feeding my family of five! Price comparison helps us pay the bills and there are lots of people out there who are worse off than us. This is important! Do I need to call Channel 15? What needs to be done?"

"I don't think you need to do that. Like I said it's going to take time--"

"You need to inform your customers of this NOW."

"I understand that, ma'am--"

"I don't want to come back tomorrow and see that nothing has changed."

"I can't guarantee--"

"I don't want to come back in an HOUR to see that nothing has changed."

"I don't know what to tell you..."

I sighed, "Just make a sign to tell customers that the unit price is incorrect and attach it to these shelves, please."

"O-okay."

"You're going to do that?"

"Yes."

"Excellent."

I got out my iphone and snapped the above pictures, then went on to check out.

I realize that I may have gotten more steamed than I needed to about this, but as a "mama bear" I feel that when I'm getting deceived on unit prices, these people are taking food out of the mouths of my children, and boy do those instincts kick in.

Please, smart shoppers, pay attention to this stuff. They need to know that you're paying attention, and that these mistakes aren't okay.

And if anyone is shopping at Copps, do me a favor and check the unit prices on the fruit cups. ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sometimes I get stuck

reading livejournal archives for hours. It's like when you get out an old photo album and then you end up looking at all of them. Anyway, here is something from when Mina was 3 1/2 or so...

I was trying to get the pen ink flowing so I thought I'd write down conversations I was having with Mina. It was during the height of her "pretend play with letters" phase.

HILARY: I want to write a story, Mina.
MINA: About E!
HILARY: What is E like?"
MINA: A flower.
HILARY: What does E like to do?
MINA: The E wants to talk, mama.
HILARY: What does E want to say?
MINA: E say, BUMMER.
HILARY: What's a bummer?
MINA: Leta's a bummer...no, how 'bout E's a bummer, mama."
HILARY: Is E sad?
MINA: Or E happy?
HILARY: What is E happy about?...(no response)...What does E LOVE?
MINA: The flower...
HILARY: What else?
MINA: Pickle. E likes to talk to pickle.
HILARY: E likes to talk to the pickle? What about?
MINA: E talks of POWER, mama.
I want some more peanut butter please, mama.

-fin-

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cullen goes to the doctor

I should re-name this blog "Our Health" since all I ever talk about is going to the doctor and kids getting sick.

Anyway...

He was perfectly happy until he had to take off his jacket, and then he started with the kicking, screaming and crying. I held him against the wall to get his height, and managed to catch his weight in the split second before he ran off of the scale. He went crazy when the nurse was trying to get his head circumference and there was no way he was going to let her anywhere near him with the stethoscope.

He wasn't any better for Dr. Dude. "What happened? We used to be buds!" he said when Cullen was hiding behind a book yelling, "NO!"

Sad.

He's a big kid. Off the charts for height and 95th percentile for weight? Something like that. A big, healthy kid.

Just have to work on the attitude.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CULLEN!

I'm saying, "Let's have this baby!"

Two days old

Today Cullen is TWO YEARS OLD! So of course, we must travel back in time to the day he was born. (Labor story, possible TMI)

The night before, I was determined to have a baby, even though my regular doctor ("Dr. Awesome") was out of town and the resident "Dr. Dude" would be delivering my baby...

I had a funny feeling in my toe that conditions were right and with the proper encouragement we could have that baby. Jason and I had twinkles in our eyes as we laid down to bed that night. I woke up in the wee hours with a sort of quiet crampy, icky feeling. It was quiet enough that I wasn't sure. I laid there for a short while, riding out some more icky cramps, feeling a bit sick.

Finally at around... Oh, I don't know, 4am? (Should have written this when all the details were fresh!) I got out of bed to see if I could time any of it. I don't remember timing anything though, I just remember having one that I definitely for sure felt was a labor pain. I was posting in my livejournal when that happened. I knew then that it was time to call Laura.

*ring...ring...*
"NO... NOT YET..."
"Sorry..."
"Okay... See you soon..."

That's about how it went I think. I think it was after I called Laura that I woke up Jason and we got ready to go. I was mostly ready. Anything we were doing to be ready at that point was extra. I was feeling okay. I remember having one or two big contractions in the kitchen before getting in the car, and was mostly okay in the car which was one of my big worries. The car can be a terrible place for pain. I vaguely recall listening to the Cure which is a GREAT place for pain. ;)

I think it was maybe 5:30am when we got to the hospital. I spent some time in triage, getting checked out. I was just starting to have some pretty bad contractions, but some were okay. It was kind of inconsistent and I was surprised when they said I was 7ish cm dilated. I thought I would be maybe five, or worse, that it was false labor.

Still, it took about three hours to get to ten. I was in a hospital gown, on all fours on my birthing bed with my bare butt in the air when the doctor arrived. That is a story that, I'm proud to say, made my friend actually spit out her coffee. I should maybe point out that at the time I sort of... well I felt a little funny about Dr. Dude, because he's the same age as my peer group, and I don't know, I didn't get the "doctor" vibe from him? So here's this young dude who isn't my husband being greeted by my bare butt in the air...

Of course, it only gets worse from there. Suffice to say... I got over it.

Anyway, I remember he kept checking and telling me, "There's just that last bit of lip yet..." As if I could do anything about it. I suppose he was telling me so I knew not to start pushing yet.

I sat on the side of the bed for most contractions, with my feet on the ground, leaning into Jason, and breathing in his t-shirt. My husband always smells good. I don't know what it is. When I smell his skin I am instantly calm. During the postpartum dark days I frequently took little "smell Jason" breaks. This probably sounds insane. Anyway, it's true, so now you all know my secret to happiness--huffing Jason's pheromones.

It was about 8:30 when Dr. Dude gave me the go ahead to start pushing. I wasn't in a good position for pushing. I was just a smidge too reclined. I was past the point of being uh... verbal though, so nothing was done about this. I felt a little powerless at this point but kept pushing anyway. Dr. Dude started applying some pressure on the perineum and telling me to push "right here"... It wasn't long after that! At 9:11am on this day one year ago, our baby boy was born!

I had one stitch and Cullen was perfectly healthy.

I had so much fun that evening with Stephanie, Laima, Laura and Tim sitting around (while I was a bit doped up) thinking of baby names and laughing. I'll always remember that. I was so glad to have them there, passing the time, sharing hearty laughter.

Cullen, my sweet baby boy... You're no longer a baby, but deep in the throes of toddlerhood. You are my most stubborn child. You are a stereotypical boy, drawn to balls, trucks, trains... When we give you a doll you throw it as hard as you can. You plow other kids over and steal their toys, and are always wrestling with your sisters. You only recently stopped hating baths. Sometimes when we scold you or you don't like what's going on, you close your eyes and wrinkle your nose... You frown... I think you are trying to cry. It's hilarious. Especially when you open one eye a little, then close it again...

Right now you're wearing an oven mitt and carrying an etch-a-sketch around. Those two things seem to go together...

Kid, I have to admit, I'm head over heals in love with you. You brighten each and every day of our lives. I'm so excited (and a little scared) to watch you grow into a big boy!

xoxoxoxoxo...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mina goes to the dentist!

Mina had a cleaning today. Those of you with AS kids probably know what a big deal this is. I mean, it's a big deal anyway, kind of, but a much bigger deal for a kid with sensory defensiveness. There is a long list of things about an appointment like this that could go horribly wrong. She might not want to get in the chair. She might freak out when the chair raises/goes back. She might cry about the light. She might be scared of the television. She might hate the music. She might not open her mouth. She might not bite down on the bite-wings. She might not want to separate from me during x-rays. She might not want to go to the bathroom and have an accident.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I sound crazy. But these are all things that would have bothered her at one time, and today I'm happy to report that she seems to have outgrown all of it--or at least has established trust with the staff at the dentist office.

It was fine. She did great and she wasn't scared at all. She even went to the x-ray room without me. Wow.

And guess what else. NO CAVITIES!

Dr. Tony said he just couldn't believe that tooth she pulled out was still there. He said he wouldn't believe it if he didn't see it with his own eyes. The hygienist asked, "You remember that?" and he said, "How could I forget?"

He called Mina "Princess" (he does this to all the little girls) and she didn't even yell, "I'm not a princess!" She has matured to a simple eyeroll. Love it.

He thinks she might have some crowding issues and need to see an orthodontist down the road... We'll see. I seem to remember dentists saying that about me when I was a kid and my teeth are Just Fine.

Anyway...

I think we should celebrate no cavities with root beer floats, don't you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Healers

When my friend posted something about how her stylist never remembers her, it made me feel pretty grateful for having a stylist I love.

I feel that my life is better because of it. When I lived in Appleton I really liked the boy who did my hair, and I was really bummed when I moved to Madison because I kept trying people out and just not feeling the love. Pretty soon I was snipping away at my own hair and looking like a crazy person.

Then I started going to Lowen and everything got better!

I wish for everyone I care about--that they could have two important people in their corner--A good stylist and a good doctor. I'm pretty sure these are both equally good for my health.

When I go to the salon, I am taking care of myself by seeking help. When I go to the clinic, I am doing the same. I don't want to do either if I don't feel comfortable with who I am getting help from.

It's not so crazy really. They apparently stem from the same roots... I just read this interesting article about barbers and surgeons...
Specialization of professions is a relatively new invention. Back then, barbers were also dentists and surgeons, versatile performers of tooth extraction and enemas, bloodletting and wound surgery.
And as a bonus, a bit about Sweeny Todd:
A Spot of Trivia

If barbers had once been popular for being administers of therapeutic medicine, they were certainly made unpopular by the appearance of Sweeney Todd. Sweeney Todd (a.k.a. the Demon Barber) was a character from a 19th century horror flick, made popular by Stephen Sondheim’s musical, a razor-wielding barber who killed his customers for cash and turned them into meat pies. He first appeared in 1846 as a secondary character in a short story called ‘The String of Pearls: A Romance” (by Thomas Prest) that was published in The People’s Periodical. A hack playwright by the name of George Dibdin Pitt, who commonly filched other people’s stories, dramatized the story for the stage as “The String of Pearls: The Fiend on Fleet Street”, and advertised it as “founded on fact”. This play debuted at London’s Hoxton Theatre on March 1, 1847, and ever since then people have been speculating as to whether Sweeney Todd had really existed, or if he was simply an fictional bogeyman invented to sate the appetite of the morbid Victorian imagination.

Did Sweeney Todd really exist? Up until recently, nobody knew. A number of daily newspapers at the time had reported real-life horror stories that bore certain similarity to the ghastly tale of Sweeney Todd. (Stories of fainting ladies aside, the Victorian community had an enormous – and morbid – appetite for all things ghastly. Shocking tales of crime like this would have been spread through word of mouth like wildfire… although they were also probably embellished along the way) Also, many horror tales in the 19th century – ‘penny dreadfuls’ – were actually fictionalized accounts of real stories. And it was known that Thomas Prest, who first wrote about Sweeney Todd, had the habit of scouring newspapers for story ideas. However, these were just written off by most as a story to scare bad children and to thrill audiences.

All of this changed when British author Peter Haining recently revealed, through painstaking research, that there was once a psycopathic barber named Sweeney Todd who lived in the 19th century and who did actually murder his customers for money, although his tale is somewhat less exciting than Stephen Sondheim's famous musical. Unlike the Sondheim/Prest dramatized character, Sweeney Todd was simply an amoral, bitter man who was not adverse to killing for money. (The Victorians would have been disappointed) To know more, click here.

Man or myth, one thing is for sure - the tale of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber, is not likely to be forgotten anytime soon. As Anna Pavord of the London Observer wrote in 1979,

“Sweeney Todd will never die. We all need bogeymen and he was bogier than most.”

You're welcome. Sweet dreams.



Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I AM AWESOME. And other random stuff from this week.

Two weeks ago I made my whiteboard with a ridiculous amount of tasks on sticky notes all over it. I gave myself two weeks to complete these tasks. Well, folks, I'm happy to report that today my whiteboard was EMPTY! I finished things I've been trying to do for MANY MONTHS. And it wasn't all that hard! I just had to do one thing at a time--and if I got interrupted, I didn't have to waste any time trying to think of what I was doing.

Let's say I have five minutes. I look for something I can easily do in five minutes. Maybe Cullen is sleeping--I look for something that is more involved but can be done quietly. If there are children around, I look for something I can do with them or around them... You get the idea. It worked out beautifully.

Leta was even sick last week, and I was sick over the weekend.

Yes, I was. I got sick. It happens sometimes. I was so sick on Saturday--it was as bad as my pregnancy with Cullen before I started taking the miracle drug Zofran. The nausea, the incessant vomiting, the dehydration, the backache. Horrible.

Jason was such an angel and he really saved my hide the next day at Mina's birthday party. I was recovering, but still feeling weak and not ready to eat anything. Jason brought everything in (to the YMCA where we had the birthday party), set it up, chased Cullen around for two hours while the kids swam and bounced and I did the easy stuff--sitting and gabbing with the other moms. He dished up food, blew up punching balloons, and was basically my hero. Thank you Jason.

Oh, back to me being awesome. It's come to my attention that I have a little problem with letting little setbacks bring me way way WAY down. I don't feel that way about life, generally, I think I take things in stride, keep my chin up in the face of adversity, etc. However, when it comes to my own productivity I really have a distorted self image sometimes, and once I fall below a certain line, forget it, I'm going to be down there for weeks. Anyway, the whiteboard helps me with this, too.

And now I will shut up about the whiteboard.

Good night.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Seven Years Ago Today... (some old, some new...)


Can you believe this chubster? I thought we were getting a newborn!



I get a little choked up every single time I look at this black and white picture. The day Mina was born, I realized there was so much about life that I knew nothing about. So much that this little baby had to teach me.

September 30th, 2002... In the evening my sister-in-law-to-be Laney called because she was procrastinating practicing the violin. I remember telling her nonchalantly that I would be in labor that night.

I was sort of disappointed as we climbed into bed and nothing was happening.

I fell asleep watching Conan O'Brian... and woke up at 12:30 am, October 1st (Mina's due date!) having a VERY strong contraction! My water broke when I went to the bathroom. It was CONSTANT gushing, I remember sort of laughing and fumbling around trying to do something about that.

I woke Jason around 1 am and he suggested we try to sleep some more, which is what they tell you to do in Lamaze. I laid down to have another violent contraction. I told him there was no way I could sleep and that we should get ready. My contractions were coming full force. Jason started timing them--3 minutes apart. He called the doctor, my mom and dad and started getting the car packed up, while I was on all fours just trying to hold the baby in.

The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever. We got there at 2. I went into the emergency room doors and fell to my hands and knees, having contractions, breathing, sweating, my pants falling down... I remember imagining that my pain was going out through my fingertips and into the ground. It was the most surreal thing... Jason came in after me and they wheeled me up to the maternity ward.

They checked my cervix--8 cm they said. The doctor was called and he got there very fast. They strapped a heart monitor to my belly and the baby's heart rate was dropping, so I had to lay on my side while they gave me oxygen and it came back up. It wasn't long before I was at 10 cm dilated. I pushed through a few contractions and out she came, at 3:27 am, a very plump, hairy, healthy girl. Jason was crying and I was so relieved. She was 8 lb. 13 1/2 oz and was 21 1/4 in. long. It was a Tuesday morning. I had a frozen diaper in my disposable panties and a new little person in my arms. We stayed until Thursday morning. I had one stitch.

...

I just can't say it any better than I said it last year:
Mina, you are a very strange kid and I love you for it. You are curious and sensitive, thoughtful, creative... You are endlessly fascinating and beautiful. I wish that every moment of your life could be happy and I get sad when you are sad. I hope we can make you strong without making you tough, make you wise without making you jaded. I hope we can teach you to behave without traumatizing you. I hope we can teach you to create without stifling you. I hope we can give you wings that will take you far. You think being a kid is scary--it's nothing compared to being a parent hoping and praying for their child.

Thankfully, I suspect that you need our help a lot less than we think you do. You're already strong. You're already wise beyond your years. You know things before we have a chance to teach you, and you are already so much more creative than I could ever be. We just have to try, try, try not to crush your wings.

...

This year you aren't sick on your birthday! You're at school enjoying the cupcakes I brought in for the class! You get to have a birthday party with your classmates, and your grandma is even here. I hope that makes up for the lousy day you had last year a little.

This year you are so much more confident than I've seen you in a long time. I love how proud you are of being a big kid, showing your sister the ropes. You say things like, "Think of how that ant must feel..." You can read chapter books! This is such an exciting time for me to be your mom! This year the ophthalmologist said our efforts were likely to be futile--that there was little to no hope for your lazy eye. We didn't give up and your eyesight is improving dramatically! This year the dentist said he didn't believe you would be able to keep the permanent tooth you pulled out, but you were very good and careful and it stuck! You're the kid who beats the odds.

I'm so proud of you and I hope you always know how much your mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone who is lucky enough to know you LOVE you. Keep on being awesome.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Good Grief!

Jason was totally grossed out by the picture of my mouth ulcer. He says I shouldn't have posted it. Now I'm embarrassed. I really have no idea what's gross and what isn't. I guess I like looking at gross pictures of injuries and diseases. *shrug*

Sorry.

Quiet Week

This has been a quiet week for me. Usually when I'm having a quiet week I'm busy thinking. This week I'm not thinking a lot. I'm just sort of resting, and keeping busy--if that makes sense. I've been living in jeans and t-shirts, no make-up. I'm not interested in being pretty or looking well put together this week. I'm not sad, I just feel like laying low and doing busy work.
I've been working on this painting for a lovely little boy I know who thinks pi is beautiful. And it is. It's also a little maddening, I think, but that's me... I get upset about things that have no end.My whiteboard which reminds me what I'm doing, and that I've been very productive, and allows me to see all that needs to be done, big and small, neatly categorized...
These are the bane of my existence. No, not teeth. Mouth ulcers. I don't get them as often as I used to, but I've had one all week and I don't want to talk, or eat, or even drink. This little guy is making the whole side of my face hurt. It is right on a saliva gland and it rubs just so on my teeth, so that it is always being aggravated.

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not a bad Sunday

So far today has been... Good/interesting.

This morning every time I got to thinking anything about anything, I sort of started freaking out. Finally I was just going into the kitchen when it caught up with me and took me down. So I had a little crying jag on my kitchen floor, and my gracious husband talked me through it. It made me think of the cat litter dream. Who knew he was so good at dealing with messes?

Mina spent the morning in her room because she lied yesterday. It was a totally funny lie, too. I was taking Cullen's toys out of the girls' room and Mina was cupping her hands together, saying, "I don't have one of Cullen's cars in my hands!" Oh, Mina.

Jason made omelets for brunch. He saw Julia Child make an omelet and wanted to try doing it exactly the way she did it, right down to using chopsticks to beat the eggs. They were delicious! He even cleaned up the stove. Jason, you're hired!

Leta and I went down to the Willy St. Fair. I don't think either of us really enjoyed it. We got a smoothie and some egg rolls, walked up and down, and then left. She didn't want to listen to any music. I enjoyed walking with Leta and holding her hand, but we could have done that without the crowd... Though, she probably only allowed me to hold her hand because she didn't want to lose me in the crowd.

Now Leta is asleep next to me on the couch, huffing her doggy blankie as usual. She'll be bringing that thing to college someday. *sniffle*

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dreams -n- Plans

Last night I had a bit of a nightmare.

I realized, in my dream, that I had a cat! And I'd completely forgotten about the whole litterbox thing for a few years. I was so mad at myself for not remembering to clean the litterbox. I kept thinking, "What is WRONG with me?"

As I went downstairs I braced myself for the horror. Halfway down I realized a pipe was spraying water everywhere... When I got down to the bottom there was a big pile of litter that was about five feet by five feet. I cried as I scooped it into bags, and then there was a knock at the door and the doctor came in. He got down on his knees and started scooping cat poo into bags with me and explaining what can happen if you let it build up. I was really embarrassed but relieved to have the help.

I was really glad, when I woke up, that it was just a dream! But of course it never really is "just a dream", is it? Thanks for helping me clean up the mess, doc.

This is going to be a good weekend. I wish it were a little cooler, but I think we can still have fun. I don't think we'll do the farmer's market, but maybe the Willy St. Fair at some point and perhaps the arboretum to let the kids run around... Maybe I can talk my lovely husband into taking pictures... Yessss...

Bon week-end!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Need: Pastry, Chocolate, Cream Cheese Filled Things

And girlfriends. I could go for a night of cheesy movies, yoga pants, delicious things to eat, lounging around with good friends. Who wants to have a slumber party? ;)

I wanted to try to write every day but I've got nothing going on upstairs...

I promise to come back in a week or two full of zest and pizazz. I'll tell you what I think about cherries in my soda, kids today, the law of conservation of energy, and most importantly, how many small animals I've got tangled up in my hair.

See you then!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's that time of the year

Time for using the light box, taking vitamin D (thanks for the reminder, Dr. Dude) and taking happy pills.

We finished watching Six Feet Under last week and that has had me in a rather stormy, internalized state--thinking about life, and what makes us who we are, who I am and what I want my life to be...

What makes us who we are? The things we like or don't like, the way we feel, the way we treat others? Why are some people driven by motive x and others driven by motive y? Are you the things you think about? Are you the ways in which you've touched others lives? Do I exist when you take away my hobbies, the people I love, the things I want to do... When you take away all context, how is Hilary? What is Hilary? Is Hilary? Is there something wrong with feeling like I need all of these things to know my place in space? Is there something wrong with needing to lean up against a wall to know that you have a body?

Babble...

I have decided to start a new series of paintings and try to keep very busy with that. I picture my brain oozing out through my fingers and my paintbrush and onto a canvas... I picture smiling and feeling at peace in my vacuous state.

I need this.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

How to Traumatize Your Kid

We made Cullen cry today just by singing the ABC song.

Cullen only likes two songs. The "I love you, you love me" song, and "Rock-a-bye baby" because I pick him up and rock him like a baby, then pretend to drop him during the "When the bough breaks the cradle will fall" part. All other songs, ESPECIALLY the ABC song, make him cry. How will he ever learn his letters?

He cries and yells, "NOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" like it's the worst thing in the world. We're not the best singers but we're not that bad either! Unfortunately for Cullen, we all think this is hilarious, and his yelling and crying only encourages us to sing more. He probably has perfect pitch and can't stand to hear sub-par music and we're literally causing him pain and invalidating his feelings but...

Sigh.

Sorry, kid. We like singing. And apparently, we like laughing at your pain. We hope you'll forgive us someday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When I met Jason...

Cullen Carter said he wanted to know more about when Jason and I met...

It was at the tender age of thirteen. My very good friend Suzy had this crazy wild look in her eyes one day at Damrow's Restaurant as she told the table jammed with teenagers (who were only buying coffee--IF that...) how the drummer for Lugnut had SMILED at her during some show. For several days we listened to this and then inevitably the two were spotted together.

Jason says he met me walking down Union St. with Suzy, and how she'd introduced me as one of her best friends, that I was wearing an army jacket and oh so grunge. Unfortunately, I don't remember! I remember her introducing him to all the kids at Damrow's. Then, soon enough, we were going to Jason's house and jumping on the giant trampoline, listening to him rant about this, that and the other thing, playing with the microphone in the basement. I remember that he didn't ever sleep and he was always excited about something. One day I listened to him go on for an hour about speed reading.

I never went to a Lugnut show except for one year I saw them play at Battle of the Bands. I just wasn't into shows, unlike most of my friends.

Later, when I was going out with a guy named Ian, the four of us would go out for coffee and suffer through listening to Ian and Jason talk about computers. Suzy and I would roll our eyes and try to change the subject...

Eventually Suzy and Jason went their separate ways, and years later, I RE-met Jason.

And yes, I did get Suzy's blessing to date Jason, because I love that girl.
:)

Good News!

I didn't have to get up with sick kids last night, after all! This morning everyone is in good shape.

...

I want to be clear about something. The existing programs that help those with autism are good and useful. I'm just trying to find where my idea fits into the picture.

...

I really like Costa Rican beans.

...

That is all. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Problems with current programs

Right now I'm just doing a lot of research to find what's out there (Autism & Art in my community and elsewhere). That's all I set out to do. It didn't take long before I started getting a bad taste in my mouth about it all. What was it?

Something about having to google and find these ugly sites that list other ugly, non user-friendly sites that you have to sift through and then sign up, fill out applications, call for information, pay fees... Well, it all reads like something that was not designed for the actual people who would be using these programs. Not anyone who is looking for something on his/her own, not even most overwhelmed parents who are already dealing with multiple therapies, IEPs, meetings with family support and dealings with medicaid to whom it just seems like MORE stuff to complicate life.

Then when you GET anywhere, what do you have?

Classes.

What's wrong with classes? There are oodles of art classes. Paint with seashells. Fun with pipecleaners. You know what I'm talking about. You have a teacher on one side. You have students on the other side. And folks, my six year old could school all of you in her sleep when it comes to arts and crafts.

The classes, and the programs, and the sites... They're all about "US" helping "THEM". That's what rubs me the wrong way. I'm NOT about that. I don't want the studio to be about that. I want the studio to give people freedom to create and possibly teach others. I want people to bounce ideas off of eachother, not get taught by some neuro-typical how to tear paper.

I'm talking about a self-directed program. I don't mean that I want you to just come and be brilliant and I'll promote you and help you clean up your mess. But maybe I do. Maybe. Maybe that's what's missing. You share the ideas. You tell me what you need. We help eachother. We invite the community in.

Hmm. Hmmmm. Lots to think about. And it's midnight, and I have dishes to do, and I might have to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of sick kids, so I have to force myself to stop thinking about this. I know this sounds rough around the edges and even kind of hostile... I'm just brainstorming publically so bear with me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Name That Project!

I've been doing a lot of thinking. Something I thought about a long time ago and has always sort of been in the back of my mind has come up in a big, screaming kind of way.

I want to put together an art studio for children and adults on the autism spectrum. I've been scouring the internet for evidence of other studios like this out there. So far I have found a couple of them for adults. I've contacted them to see if I could ask a few questions. I got a response from one, so now I have to think of some good questions (how did you get started kind of stuff)... I think given that people are moving here from all over when they find out their kids are autistic due to the services available in WI and particularly in Dane Co, and for other more obvious reasons, I'd love to include children in this.

It's a huge project. Most of the time when I have a big idea, the more I think about it, the more I think of why I don't want to do it. So far with this, just the opposite is happening. I think, oh my god, this is what I HAVE to do.

I've dedicated a lovely new pink Moleskine to this project and have been very busy gathering info and brainstorming. I even have friends and family helping me come up with a name. Everyone loves naming things! You can help, too! I'm particularly interested in the input of others on the spectrum.

Mina thinks Space Mission Computer is a good name but I'm not so sure everyone will get it. Comment just to throw some words around and keep ideas flowing. Anyone who wants to help with this in any way should contact me at hilarysamsa@gmail.com. I think everyone has at least one skill that will help this project, whether it's spreading the word, making connections, helping with some of the writing, helping me to organize my to-do list, web stuff, and just sharing any ideas whatsoever... I'm all ears!

...

Now that I've spent some time tonight on "important/not urgent" stuff, it's time to enjoy some "not important/not urgent" Six Feet Under with my darling husband who brought me a lovely pair of Smartwool socks tonight. Yay Jason!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Funniest Woman Alive

I will be so sad when my kids stop thinking this of me.

Leta: While I'm waiting for mom to feed us I'm going to pretend to make a big, huge pizza. (Starts playing with pillow)
Here is some pizza, do you want some?
Mina: Sure!
Me: Sure!
Mina: This is just a pretend pizza, right--you know that, right?
Me: It IS? I didn't know that! I was just thinking, 'Hm, why is this pizza green?'
Mina: (Laughing) no way...
Me: 'Hm, why is this pizza so THICK and FLUFFY?'
Mina: (Hysterical laughing)
Me: 'Hm, why does this pizza look EXACTLY LIKE A PILLOW?!'

Mina was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe. I love making them laugh this hard. It's so easy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good Year Blimp Sighting - Madison, WI

Is this lucky or something? It is, right? REALLY lucky, right?


I wrote happy birthday on some cookies with peanut butter frosting for Lowen's birthday. I love peanut butter frosting. I also love cookies. I may have eaten half of them before the day was done. Ooops!



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can I help you?

How do you feel about what you're doing with your life? If you are living your dream and happy with your path, when did you realize that's what you wanted? Was it a difficult decision? Did it just happen? Was it something that was hard to stick to? Did you have help? Did you make sacrifices? How many times did you change your mind?

I'm having a bit of an existential crisis. This happens fairly often but each time it's more intense. Something inside of me needs to be expressed.

I know what I do within my own family to help, and am secure in that department. I realize that this is number one for me, and that doing a good job here is meaningful on a much grander scale, but I want to branch out. All of my writing and painting and childrearing just feels kind of small. I'm reaching out within my own little bubble and everything comes directly back to me. Does that make sense?

What should I do?

Let's look at the facts.

...

Let's look at the facts later, because right now my purpose in life is taking the children to the movies! Tra la la!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hugging my laptop

Aside from getting a great haircut, I've been hovering over my refresh button anticipating any shred of news about the progression of Laura's labor.

I love childbirth! It's so exciting. I need to know everything. I love this age of blogging and facebook and twitter, where we can all be in a thousand places at once. I know it isn't for everyone, but I think it's pretty great that I can have my morning coffee with all of you, sharing your experiences.

I know it isn't for everyone, especially those of you with a concept of privacy... I don't really get that, as Jason can attest. There's just something about putting thoughts into words and trying to make others understand them... And wanting people to see the real me, sharing hardships so that others who might be going through something similar will know they aren't alone. I've always enjoyed everything more if it's shared with another. Maybe there's something wrong with that. Maybe not. I don't really care. I like it.

What is my point...

My point is...

It's...

Well...

I enjoy you, internet. Mmmmm-wah!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Diiiiirty confession

Yesterday the kids did a photo shoot for Umi Shoes. They basically just put on fancy boots and played on the playground at Wingra School while they were photographed. It was pretty painless. And now we get to pick out new shoes for everyone!

Today I had an appointment with Dr. Dude. We talked about Dr. Sketchy's, the job situation, marriage, the kids, depression and... Smoking. I've got a dirty secret and it's that I've been having an occasional cigarette all summer, and I need to come clean, and stop this nonsense. So, there you have it. I am sorry for it, and I am done now. He said he wasn't going to lecture me and I put my head in my hands and said, "DO IT. Lecture me. Tell me how bad it is to smoke the occasional cigarette." He told me that my risk of stroke was still just as much as well as my risk for pneumonia and stuff like that if I got sick. He told me that his mom had a stroke recently and she was an occasional smoker. Who knows if this is true, but man, it didn't make me feel good!

Anyway... I just thought I should come clean to the whole world about that. I don't want to be the mom who smokes, and strokes scare me a lot, and I don't want to kill myself, and I don't want to feel like a sneaky dirty hypocrite anymore.

I love my family and I love myself and I want to be nice to my body, not treat it like garbage.

I am grateful for the life that I have and I don't want to trash that either.

Now please give me a hug!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

LOOK at that face.


I can actually see some of me in his face here. Maybe it's the expression. I don't think the members of my family resemble eachother all that strongly but somehow we make the same faces. I'm thinking of a picture of my brother and me as teenagers, sitting together at a wedding, making the same hilarious, sarcastic smile. I wish I had that picture right now...

My husband took this picture on the way to the farmer's market today. The girls love the farmer's market because of the smoothies. It also means fresh cheese curds and fresh gluten-free pasta. Fresh pasta is just... so amazing. It makes me never want to eat the dried stuff again. Oh, and vegetables. We got some of those too. Jason bought some scary chocolate milk that was ummm... heterogeneous. I hear it's delicious but there are just some things I like to be super processed. I know, I'm not very cool.

While Mina and I were picking out a cute bookmark from a stand down at the end, Jason and Leta were off getting FLOWERS for me. Hooray Jason! I love them! Keep them coming! I will look at them and feel loved when you are at work tomorrow. :D

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kids, Shoes and Writing...

Cullen has been giving actual kisses and saying, "mmmwah!" It melts my heart. I love that little boy so much!

All of the kids are going to do a photo shoot for Umi Shoes next week for their fall line. I'm nervous about it. I had to buy school clothes already so they have appropriate things to wear.

My friend Laura is having a baby any day now. She also has a little girl who is Cullen's age. It inspired me to read some livejournal archives from when Leta was born because Mina was just 18 months old then. Without those journal entries I would hardly remember anything from that time.

From April 13, 2004: Is it worth it?

Anyway, I got stuck reading for a good hour the other day. I'm so glad I was writing so much and I really want to write more now. It doesn't take long to jot down a few thoughts and it's so rewarding later on.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School


(The prize winner)

This afternoon I went with my friend Lowen to Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School at the High Noon Saloon. Rather than have people pose nude, they have people in burlesque costumes. This lovely lady spent some time with little more than pasties and a corset, in addition to the waitress costume. If you'd like to see all the sketches and you aren't offended by the female form or pasties or feathers or interesting poses, you can see them here: http://hilarysamsa.blogspot.com

Thanks for coming out with me, Lowen!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Impacted"



Here is the last painting I did, back in APRIL... Hmm, I should maybe consider getting my art supplies out soon.

Butterfly Cake




Excuse the poor image quality. We're a bit crunched for time otherwise I'd have asked my husband for help. This is a 6" birthday cake for a special birthday princess. The little lady likes pink and orange, flowers and butterflies (sorry, there's just the one...) but she likes green too... If I did this cake again there are certainly things I would do differently. I would spend more time thinking about what flowers to do and I would make a gum paste butterfly with it's wings up, and not laying there all floppy. This was a short notice cake though and I'm pleased with how it turned out.