Monday, December 29, 2008

an interview on my reaction to the sharp knife denial

"Smart mama how do you feel about this judgement from your parents?"
I am not so sure the rejection was really about the knives per say, so much as the fear that I would be overcome by the power of such amazing new knives and they would inspire me to take on some other extravagantly huge project, like wedding catering, in my already busy life. For those of you who didn't know me when I did a season of this once, not by any intention of mine at all.I had a full time faculty position at a college teaching, but Ii would get these imploring phone calls- how to say no?(Let me caveat- People accuse me of not being able to say no- this is not true I am actually good at saying no,I can go to a home based business jewelry-kitchen tool-make-up- muklti-level marketing party and walk out empty handed, but when it comes to something creative, or a new challenge that's where I have a problem) In fact it got to the point that my husband would answer the phone and tell people who called inquiring that I was really a college instructor and I was not catering anymore!). Really I think it was a case of them being too afraid to add one more thing to my life, even though it was only kitchen tools.
My parents have been know to sometimes skip steps in terms of the logic of their explanations, like the time I was in high school and getting something out of the hall closet and the popcorn popper fell down. It started my dad on a seriously concerned discussion that maybe I shouldn't drive yet because I had not sufficiently developed the ability to foresee and prevent accidents (this story lives on in infamy in our family lore).
"Do you really think you can care for the said knives in a manner necessary?"
I like to think so. While I am a firm believer in letting my dishwasher reach the full measure of it's creation. The power of these knives to cut anything as though it were butter does engender a deep respect and as well as proper care and handling. I could rinse and dry a knife, I think...
"How do you respond to the statement about your children and the knives?"
I do not take this as a slight to my parenting. Those of you who know my crew know I do have a very independent 3 year old who has helped himself to sharp knives, by way of kitchen stools, on numerous occasions in attempts to cut cheese and fruit for himself. Although we know dull knives can actually be more dangerous, the calphalon katana knives could easily sever limbs in a single action. I actually like to think of myself as very attentive mother. I spend most of my day playing with and facilitating wholesome activities for my children, who have little to no TV time (the result of way too many hours of lectures on child development). While I may take my eyes of my children for brief moments like a 30 second bathroom room- 1x a day- Ii have perfected the camel's art. I can accept that in those scarce moments glasses can be flushed down toilets, cake servings procured by way of a lacrosse stick and other such unfortunate events.
Maybe this fear is simply explained by the fact that I have 3 energetic and creative boys whereas I was one of two well mannered little girls which we know create very different domestic animals.
"What did your parents do to make up for this?"
They requested picking up the tab from my recent bedroom redux as an alternative gift. After all sleep is something they can support wholeheartedly for me. In fact they implore me quite regularly to get more sleep. Maybe there was a moral component to it, buying something that might encourage my creative habits would be like supporting the diamond trade.
"How did you parents feel about this post?"
They have yet to know it is posted.
I told my mother as I wrote the post. She laughed then whacked me on the shoulder (insert strong laughter here if you know my mother) and threatened me that Ii should not post such slander about her on the Internet. She said she would rebut with comments saying I did not tell the full story. I reminded her I had full comment delete power.
My father, I told him about my intentions to post as we were buying him a pair of charcoal Perry Ellis wrinkle- release pants at Macy's. He immediately defended himself saying he had been bidding for them for me on ebay but without success (remember I come from thrifty practical stock). He also said he was looking into other knives that required less maintenance that he thought would be fitting for my life. I told him in earnest I desired the knives and he said he'd check his stash in the closet because he had some extras (Whhaattt??) and he might give me, ONE!
my mother just threatened that she would not help me wean my baby if I dared to post my story- can you believe the emotionally controlling behaviors? she accused me of being opportunistic and exploiting the situation in the name of good, never!
1. parents who help with the kids 2. creamsicle smoothies 3. playing football in shirtsleeves

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm not mature enough for a sharp knives

My parents asked what I wanted for Christmas so I told them a set of Calphalon Katana knives. My mom got these for Christmas a few years ago and my sister got them last year, so I knew these were an acceptable Christmas list request. A few weeks ago, my mom called me back and said she and my dad had discussed it and they were rejecting my request. They said they did not feel I could manage the proper knife maintainence at this time in my life. Seriously, this conversation took place.

"Your life is very busy...Do you have time to wash and dry each knife immediately after use? If not they will rust." they implored.

"Well, I would try," I promised.

"Well, we just you're too busy right now. You have so much going on. We just don't think you have time for them right now. And they are very sharp and we are too afraid your children might get into them."

So I am left to slave away with my dull J.A. Henkels knives I got as a wedding gift, until I can demonstrate my ability to make that kind of knife commitment. No slicing and dicing with the big boys and girls... I am stuck at jr sous chef.

1. sharp knives 2. parents who make me laugh 3. homemade fudge

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Want to watch a movie?

"Want to watch a movie?" I ask my husband.

"Sure, are you going to stay awake?"

"I don't know, I'll try," I reply jokingly. My favorite way to spend a vacation evening in lounging against my husband, curled up under warm blankets, watching a good movie. This is the scene that replays almost nightly on vacation. It's my before bed ritual.

I rarely make it through the movie though. I usually fall asleep about 15 minutes in and awaken a 1/2 an hour later and trudge groggily to bed, while my husband finishes the movie. sometimes I wake back up and watch the rest but the remaining chunk of the movie is peppered with questions to my husband like "So wait who is that?" or "Wait I am confused what is going on?". Suffice it to say my movie recall is often sketchy and i sometimes add sequences from my sleep-dream state.

The trouble with movies before bed is it leaves you in a certain mood. Like a few nights ago we watched Exodus with Paul Newman about the partition of Israel and Palestine. The next movie on TMC was Yentl and I told my husband we could stay up really late and watch it and celebrate our Jewish heritage, but then I remembered we didn't have Jewish heritage (except for an uncle by marriage) so it would be best if we went to bed instead. Trouble was though after exodus, I was afraid some militants were watching me through my parents sun room windows and I lay in bed wondering if the someone was going to put a homemade dynamite bomb somewhere in the house or if we should load the kids on our backs and carry them to a secure location. Again in my sleepy state I had to remind myself - I was not in British occupied Israel/Palestine and I should just roll over and go to sleep.

1. movie nights 2. thinking about other times and places 3. safety

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the fruits of my midnight hour labors

Still tweaking design and layout issues and still uploading more pieces, but in case you wanted to see my new website-- here you You can peruse the galleries by clicking on portfolio then select a collection and play slideshow.

It's funny how you can spend hours on a project and in the end it feels so insignificant.It's actuallly kind of disheartening. Seeing my paintings as tny thumbnails they feel so puny and the collections feel kind of sparse. I try to remind myself most of them represent about 5-10 hours of time! grandpa's fudge 2. simplifying 3.a baby knocking off early

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Am I really that old?

When I look in the mirror I don't feel old enough to have a half grown son, but somehow I am. Today was my oldest son's baptism. Turning 8 just feels like a huge milestone. I am no longer just a mother of small children. We now enter the "scout stage" (just never ask me to wear the yellow shirt- please?!?).

Anyway, the day was great. The night before was not. There were program snaffus, jumpsuit issues, a baby who refused to go to bed. A mother who could be heard saying "You will all endure the wrath of the little red hen!" as she slaved over the specially requested lemon pound cake, the perfectly tinted fondant CTR, the simmering homemade sauce, 4 batches of breadsticks, chicken and rice casserole and other sundry things. While I wish I could just be the buy it all at Costco type, I can't there is something in my genetic code that prevents it. I must say doing a "destination baptism", one not in your locale, also adds to the the logistical trickery.
I am still very sleep deprived and recovering from our traumatic, torturous drive down. Yes the fiercesome snow storm that ravaged New England, we drove through that. It felt ominous and eerie as we drove into the sqwall. I wanted to call all my friends and warn them- its coming it's really coming. We prayed we'd stay on the road and not be one of the dozens off in ditches, or crashed against guardrails or pulled over because our inspection was 3 mo overdue (yep just noticed that). Try 4 hours getting through the state of Connecticut alone at a screaming 10-15 mph pace, skidding and correcting almost the whole way. I was reviewing our will, and the bequething of my possesions (my plan if i die young is to line things up on tables at the church and let me friends have at them) in my head the entire way and was a seriously nervous nellie front seat driver.

(Let this also serve as a reminder to any of you planning on concieving- Christmas is not a good time to have a baby. While it has it's advantages, it just loads the plate at an already full season. I, in my desires to not slight my dear first born, december babe usually wind up doing 3x as much there was the cake on the actual day (a coffee cake as requested) the pound cake for today then there will be the birthday party cake when smartmam will be required to break out her mean fondant skills and craft something exotic like last years R2D2- but I digress)

It really was a beautiful day. So nice to be with family and friends- there were adults there who i once babysit, adults who i was there young women's leaders (see getting old- more clues). An important ritual to celebrate my loving, good son. We were so proud of him for completeing his goal of reading the entire book of mormon himself- every single verse all 531 pages and marking as he went. When my husband suggested we propose the goal I thought it kind of intense and a first was not sure I was on board. 531 pages of scripture for a 7 year old? He assured me it was possible, that he had been challenged to do it by his dad ad did it. So I take this to be a lesson in parenting. Set high goals because your kids can reach them.

1. an amazing committed son 2. a powerful blessing 3. family and friends

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Painting of the Day- moment of grief

Funny story about this piece. I started it, and hated it- it was seriously ugly, wretched, not working (it looked totally different then). I put it up on my shelf and whined to my husband about how it wasn't working. A few days later I decided to take it in a new direction and paint over essentially everything. I asked my husband to get down "THE ugly painting" from the shelf for me. He looked very nervous and asked me to clarify. So honey you think alot of the paintings on the shelf are ugly ? HUH?

Acrylic on Canvas, 18"x24"
1.projects getting done 2. clean playroom 3.a wrapping husband

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Cupcake Ideas

The annual small town Christmas festival = smart mama making Christmas cupcakes for the cake walk. Little trolley's carry you around to all the local establishments- orchards, farms, candy factory, churches, the school each is filled with festivities- oh to live in new england (now if we could just warm it up a few dozen degrees). Here are some ideas if you are doing holiday baking.
If you want come join me on Segullah today, where I talk about the importance of ugly Christmas tree ornaments. While you're there catch Shelah's previous post on writing a great Christmas letter and Jennie's great post "For Zion must increase in beauty..." -- a guaranteed laugh.

1.waking up (after a bad dream) 2. no school 3. a few paintings completed

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Okay so I am a bit bed obsessed these days. I have been tired, really tired (remember that seminary teaching gig I have got and that baby that gets up 4x a night!) all this has yielded a fixation with sleep. I have bedroom on the brain. So what is on my Christmas list this year? The ultimate sleep inducing bedroom. (You may remember I like Christmas gift themes--last year's theme was floor care: 2 vacuums and a steam mop).

Yes, me, a dream, the credit card, and make a lovely combination.
Down pillows- check
Extra warm, oversize, 700 power fill Siberian white down comforters- check
Perfectly hotelly crisp new duvet and shams-check.

I decided to take a new approach to decorating... starting from scratch...building a room from the bottom up. Channelling in the vision of what my dream bedroom looks like and adding the ingredients.

oh and did I mention faux fur blankets?

Totally essential component for luxurious relaxation in my "dream bedroom". I have a thing for texture. (You too can score some right now at Christmas tree shops for 19.99 (deal) or you can really shell it out at William-Sonoma or PB).

A few items I already had: my white noise machine (homedics sound spa a must!) because I like the sounds of rain or thunder when I nap (it drowns out my kids), my Saarinen inspired table, dim able lights, Bose wave radio (got some hookups there), a gigantic mirror (because I hate shrimpy partial view mirrors which either cut off your head or your shoes-- ick), and some seriously high thread count sheets.

So I am counting down the days until I will be basking in fresh pillow frost. Until then sweet dreams.

1.progress paintings 3.sweet boys

Monday, December 08, 2008

Did you hear the Hallelujah shouts?

Hope shines brightly here on two fronts. Yes, choirs of angels can be heard singing. The first...they just called a seminary co-teacher for me. Don't get me wrong I love teaching-- really I was born to teach. But it is the early am hour that kicks me to the curb- well that and my babies penchant for 4 wakings between 12 midnight and 5:30, my husband's employer sending him on errands across the country in the name of creating great Bose products, my currently slightly overloaded life, and a plethora of microbes thrown in every week or so to bring some ailment of croup or fever or vomit to my house. The every day thing was literally mowing me into the ground. Now I will only live extreme sleep deprivation 50% of the time.

The second reason for hope-- I am currently buoyed up with reinforcements (the illustrious SUPER Sherry is here). She is subjected to my tireless broken record recording which says, "I'm really, really, really tired" (one of my famous lines from childhood) she also gets this line, "Do you mind taking the boys, I just need to lay down for a few minutes." All I can say is smartmama is actually getting sleep (could it be a 2 hr nap?), crossing a few things off the to-do list, the house is running like a well oiled machine (no thanks to my doing) and my children are happy as larks (again no credit to me)
1. Brother N. 2. painting again 3. eye appt alone~

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thanksgiving truths

(11 days in Utah and Nevada)...
1. My boys love Foosball and ping pong
2. The new bridge being built over Hoover Dam is so freaky- scary -high I hope to never drive across it.
3. The red dirt of Saint George can occupy my kids for HOURS.
4. My baby loves the fountains at the Bellagio.
5. I never knew there were so many varieties of cacti (many neat new plant shapes to inspire paintings).
6. The best friends are the ones you don't see for years, yet everything picks up seamlessly despite the passage of time.
7. Time with family is always valuable.
8. My 3 year old has no fear on the windy hiking trails at Zion's
9. My seven year old loves taking pictures but needs to learn more flattering camera angles when shooting mom.
10. 11 days of eating at Toto's (in Lv - rocking cheese enchiladas and carnitas), in-n-out burgers and milkshakes, cafe rio salads, sonic limeades and onions rings, and a few trips for frozen custard will yield a +3 increase when I step on the scale.
11. A red eye with 3 kids in the last row of the plane yields sleep for them and not for me.
12. au bon pain at the airport makes killer cranberry macaroons dipped in chocolate.
13. My baby does not like the St George Temple Visitor Center.
14. The Philadelphia Airport has very cool art- love love love their sculpture displays!!
15. About all sorts of dinosaur tracks- gallator tracks, swim tracks anyone?
16. One promised round of on star wars vintage pinball machine can cause tears.
17. I still love city lights at night.
18. Tuacahn, live nativity, is colder than New England, and also where Elder Holland hangs out.
19. Red rocks are beautiful.
20. I need a down comforter.
21. I like hot tubs better than luke-warmish pools.
22. Indoor/outdoor pools amuse all children.
23. Parenting efforts can pay off.
24. Don't pass up free cookies.
25. My husband doesn't want to spend money on expensive chocolates.
26. Edward Herrmann, best known for playing Rory's grandfather, on Gilmore Girls, flies coach USAir with his family and also spent the holidays in Las Vegas.
27. No pets are allowed on top of hoover dam.
28. Cafe Rio workers can rival Tom Cruise's showmanship in cocktail while making a salad (I only recieved this special show- I guess I have the non-native utahn look about me)
29. A trip this long= much laundry.
30. Showers with 5 spraying heads rock (no wonder they always have droughts here!
31. I have way too many pictures to post.
1. catching up 2. getting naps 3. a mom to help out

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Piece of the Day- Attracted

Yes I am finally home from thanksgiving vacation and seriously swamped. That is swamped with a capital S. To pass the posts until I have time to write- I leave you another new painting.
1. fridge now full 2. online shopping 3. teaching