Thursday, September 27, 2012


by Deborah

**Passing a mom and her pre-schooler as they walked through the busy preschool parking lot:

"Mom, know what I'm going to do once I turn five?"
"No, what?"
Proudly, "I'm going to punch your lights out!"
Gasp, followed by a red face, followed by the barely audible mutter,
"No, that's what I'm going to do to your father when he gets home."

**Sitting near a table of young college students:

"What's your roommate's name?"
"Blanche!  That's so pretty and unusual!  I love that!  I'm going to name my daughter that someday."
"Or maybe just my next lizard."

**Youngest pointing to my Oldest's ankle:

"What's that?"
Oldest, struggling momentarily to remember the correct term, answers authoritatively,
"That's my foot wrist."

Sometimes, if you listen closely enough, there's a giggle waiting for you.  Some people call it eavesdropping.  I call it paying attention to life's little absurdities.  Share some of your favorites with us!

***What's new?***

Join us Sunday, October 21, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. for our monthly Gather & Giggle crafting date. We'll explore visual journaling (as always), but if you have your own craft, bring it!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reporting from Staging Area #1

     ~by Emily Cline
This Saturday, I'm participating in my very first ever art sale. Yikes! In my preparations, our living room is officially...
Staging Area # 1
Leftovers from last weekend's police-busted tag sale:
Bags of clothing, home goods, a lamp, and a borrowed card table...
...mounds of toys, books, and men's suits...
...a hanging rack (now drying clothes), and yes, even a pack-n-play.
Today, I added more mayhem to...
Staging Area #1
I bought folding chairs...
...two 6' industrial strength folding tables (only $49.99 at Costco!)
...and started assembling my necessities (clockwise from the top right):
   Original collage pieces (signed, dated, cellophaned)
   Velvet giclee prints (signed, dated, cellophaned)
   Receipt book
   Cash for change
   Marker, pen, box cutter, tape, price tags
   Soon-to-be trimmed bookmarks for promotion
   Bulldog clips
   My 2010 Journal book

What you can't see is what I haven't done: set it all up. The tables will be set up Doodlebugheart style: covered with antique table cloths and propped up chalk boards (see Home Depot reference above -- only $9 each!). I'll glue down the bulldog clips so I can easily attach prints and originals for display. On the side, I'll set up our vintage-esque metal ladder with framed prints and my 2010 Journal book.

I'm anxious about all of this -- this is my first show! And even though my friend suggested not to expect anything, to simply go "for the experience", let's face it. I am hoping.... just a little... for some sales.

If you're in the area, stop by! I'd love to see a friendly face. (If you mention this blog, I'll give you $5 discount!)

Larchmont Arts Festival
September 29, 2012 (rain date of September 30)
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Constitution Park (across the street from the Library)
Larchmont, NY

***What's next?***

Join us Sunday, October 21, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. for our monthly Gather & Giggle crafting date. We'll explore visual journaling (as always), but if you have your own craft, bring it!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Good and Mad

by Deborah
and i'm not talking about the magazine

Earlier this week, I was angry.  Enraged, furious, frustrated, helpless, poisonous.  I roared at my children, I threatened my dog, and I iced out my husband.

I was angry because....well, I don't know entirely.  A large dose of it was probably from sleep deprivation.  A combination of my husband's travels with very early departures and very late returns, following a couple of nights where my children were up repeatedly because they didn't feel well or they were having a developmental spurt or the crazy satellite passed overhead, who knows, mixed in with a weekend trip to my parents where I tried to sleep in the same room with an insane and energetic 4 month old Doberman puppy, bookended with the disastrously overdue phase of Getting Rid of Pacifiers Once And For All Even At Bedtime Gah This Is Awful.  All of which meant about 6 nights in a row where I had interrupted or little or sometimes no sleep.

My reaction to not sleeping is to become very...not nice.  To become irritable and fuzzy and mad and resentful and petulant and self-pitying.  And screamy.

i have a rare ability to yawn and scream at the same time
Particularly, I chose to focus my rage on the fact that I had been in my new town for over 2 months.  In that time, I had handed out my card to numerous people, had attended a newcomer's brunch, had suggested dinners with my husband's colleagues, had encouraged possible playdates with people at the mall, the pool, and the school, and tried to reach out to neighbors.  Yet two months later, I had no social dates.  No friends.  Nada.  An awful lot of out-go with zip coming in.

I was pissed.  Tossing-and-turning-in-bed-with-heavy-sighing pissed.  Thinking about what a mistake this move was and how I had sacrificed too much and I needed to be more selfish and not worry about my family so much and just leave and go somewhere where I could be with my friends and how everyone is just mean and they can just go bebythemselveswhoneedsthemsothere.

I self-righteously indulged this train of thought for a good long while before I finally started to cry.  Then I took a deep breath, realized that I had chosen to be where I am, and I was going to have to just gut it out, and that the only changes I could really make were within myself.  So I resigned myself to waiting, to trying again and harder, to accepting.  To setting new goals and opening my mind and reinventing myself.  I gave up.  Perhaps surrendered is a better word.  Finally, relaxed, I slept deeply.

The next day, a mom from my daughter's class emailed to see if we could have a playdate that afternoon.  My husband emailed me to see if I could set up a sitter for Friday so we could have dinner with his boss and wife.  A colleague of my husband's called and we planned a day to meet at a park with our kids.  And my realtor called to set up a lunch with me and client of hers she thought I would hit it off with.

All in one day. All on Wednesday.  All the day after I finally got some sleep, and perhaps more to the point, surrendered.  A veritable deluge of socializing.

Isn't that always the way?  It irritates me that it's always that way.  That you have to struggle and suffer and finally grow.  Stupid maturing and growing.  Surrendering to being a bigger and deeper soul.  Whatevs, man.  I'd settle for a little shallow, superficial easiness for a while.

Ok, but it felt nice.  I don't have friends exactly, but I have people to talk to who can pronounce the letter R and don't constantly tell me they are a dinosaur.   I have somewhere to be that isn't an errand or an appointment.  I have to put on makeup.  (And stress out about my weight and my skin and what to wear, like I'm a teenager on a first date again.)

So I'm not as mad anymore.  I am mollified, anticipatory, and chastened.  I'm making a life, one tantrum at a time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm a Lawbreaker! ...Adventures of My First Tag Sale

     ~By Emily Cline~
Two separate police cars screeched up to the house. The officers jumped out and approached me: "Sorry, ma'am! We're going to have to shut you down." And here I thought I'd done everything right....
I lugged all the boxes and bags of clothes, toys, and home stuffs I'd been stockpiling for the last year down from the attic, into the living room. I sorted through piles of old memories and forgotten treasures.
I washed. I organized. I separated. I hung. I folded.
I listed on line. I bought bright orange tag board, made signs, and posted them. I gathered change.
I carried everything outside. I lined it all up.
I considered. I priced. I tagged. 
I waited.
I met fun adventurous people. I sold some things. I gave chocolate away. I picked up what the wind blew over. I was doing my duty as a member of my community: I was holding my first tag sale!
But when the two policemen walked up to me and said, "We're going to have to shut you down." I realized I didn't follow the rules: I didn't use their signs. I didn't have a permit.

And yes, I feel like a lawbreaker. Not because I didn't follow the rules. Because I stole a moment in time that I'll never forget. My very first tag sale... complete with a book, a snuggle, and a growing boy on my lap.
***What's next?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New....

by Deborah

For some time now, Emily has been ridiculing the condition of my wallet.  With justification.  Not only is it bulging and overstuffed, it is old and faded, with frayed edges, leather that has worn through, and a zippered compartment so torn that things fall out or catch in the zipper. She begged me to find a respectable replacement, something at least presentable, since she despaired of me ever finding something actually fashionable.
Ok, she might have a point

It is surprisingly difficult, however, to find a wallet that meets all my requirements.  It has to be large enough to carry everything--and I carry a lot--but small enough to fit in a normal sized purse.  I need it to have a coin purse, a photo display, pockets for credit cards, an easily accessible pocket for my driver's license, a place to tuck a checkbook and register, and I like for there to be a zippered area with several sections for money and coupons and business cards.  This apparently is too much to ask of most wallets.  I looked.  Emily looked.  No luck.

Lately, I have been feeling like I need to make some changes in my life.  One of the best ways to do this is often to begin with something symbolic.  For women, that usually means handbags.

I'm not a purse fanatic, but I do like them to be nice, and now that I'm a parent, roomy.  My last purchase was an impulse buy at a sidewalk stand in NYC, a structured brown bag that I gave to myself, although the tag on my Christmas box said it was from my toddler girls. 

Old Faithful
Over the course of the last two years, however, this bag has weathered a lot, and not being super-high quality to begin with, is definitely showing some wear, with a cracked strap and fraying edges, dulled material, and a distinct slump.  Like me, it's just too tired to stand up straight anymore.  Not to mention, it has that Old Purse Syndrome of stray items lost at the bottom: crumpled receipts, broken makeup, bits of crayons, and a heavy dusting of something I'm going to optimistically assume was crackers.


So I've been in the market for a wallet and a purse for quite a while now, but I didn't want to just settle for anything.  I wanted some very specific things, and I was determined to wait until I could find them.  Well, today I took the plunge.


I really like the soft leather, the size, the length of the straps, and the color of the purse.  It makes me happy.  I probably wouldn't have normally chosen a purple wallet, but I liked the layout of this model, and I think the color makes it zing against the butter yellow of the purse.

As women, we often say things like "I carry my LIFE in this purse."  And we do:  our ID, our makeup, our cellphones, our to-do lists, our money, our keys, kids' items, snacks, reading material, pictures of our children, pens and notebooks, and other things we'd perhaps rather not admit to stashing.

So it seems appropriate to me that since I am seeking to change some things in my life, the first step is finding an appealing way to carry it around with me.  It feels lighter, fresher, newer.  I hope it is the beginning of a lighter, fresher, newer--and more organized, less crackercrumbly--me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Really Good Day.

   ~Emily Cline

Andrea Rich held her Divine Design Lab Work/Playshop this weekend. In her {dharma}, her life work, there is so much she is creating, inspiring, teaching. I will tell you about my experience later, but for today, just for today, two things:

(1) Watch this, and tell me how it fills you.

"Gratitude", by Louie Schwartzberg

(2) Read this and consider: What are you making?

"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dacne to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."    -Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Small Victories

by Deborah

It all changes once you become a parent.  My husband and I were reminiscing about life pre-kids, about waking late on a Saturday morning, the day stretching out lazily before you, a swath of possibility you could either fill with football and shopping and friends and workouts and restaurants, or absolute glorious nothing, as you saw fit.

Here's how your Saturday goes once you are a parent:  My Oldest woke at 4am this morning, got me up, then got me up again a half hour later, and then the dog joined in the party about an hour after that.  Then everyone gets up at 6:30am and you are launched out of the cannon that is Life With Young Children into a packed schedule of Frantically Trying to Drain All That Energy OMG Where Does It Come From.

The thing is, I'm ok with it.  I really love my kids and my job right now is to take care of them and I want nothing more than to make them happy.  But it does make me wistful.  

I recently read this book by Amy Wilson, which I enjoyed and much of which I related to my own life.

It's about motherhood, obviously.  I bought it mostly because in the back of my head I keep thinking I might write my own book someday about motherhood, and I thought perhaps this is the vein I might pursue, a memoir told with a healthy dose of humor.

It's a good book, and I plan to send it on to some of my friends.  Strangely, though, the book was not the source of inspiration I expected.  Rather, it triggered a potent case of doubt and second-guessing myself.  Not because of the writing, but because of the author. 

Amy Wilson is an actress living in New York City with her husband and three children.  She still does acting work, has developed a one-woman show of her own that tours around the country, has written one book and is working on her second.

This is exactly the life I wanted.  That part of me still wants.  But not exactly the life I am living.

Most of the time, I am at peace with the choices I've made.  I've made them deliberately and carefully, out of love and concern for my family as well as myself.  But I am not an actress in NYC with a successful career, 3 kids, and a published author.  And I would like to be all of those things. 

Rather than envy and defeat I should try to find the inspiration in this:  If she can do it, so can I! sort of thing.  But instead I am second-guessing my choices, and wondering in a tiny voice.....did I make a mistake?

Everyone's life journey is different and mine has brought me here.  And it is a good life.  A very good life.  I have a terrific husband, two beautiful, vibrant children, a sweet, goofy puppy, and a lovely house not far from most of my family.  I am blessed.

I think what this bout of self-doubt shows is that I lack direction.  I need to stop dwelling on who I was and figure out who I want to be now and then I need to take action.  Easier said than done.  Which is a cliche more recognizable than I've Been Saying That For a While Now But Still Haven't Figured Anything Out.

Just like those Saturday mornings we were remembering, it's easy to coat your past in a golden sheen of perfection, to long for what used to be, to focus on the freedom and success and ease.  It's less comfortable to be in the hard work of early mornings and incessant demands and long-term goals.

I don't know what I want to do exactly, besides raise my children.  I spent my whole life becoming an actress and a dancer, and that's not who I am anymore.  So I have to decide what my next chapter is going to be and then do that.  There are many possibilities, but I'm uncertain where my next passion lies.

I used to judge my day's successes by how my audition went, how much money I earned, how well I danced that day, how many resumes I sent out.  Now my successes are not yelling at my kids, remembering to buy more wipes, getting the dog to the vet, ordering the waterproof stickers for their clothes and school items, and maybe making it to the gym.  Not as impressive a roster, although arguably more important in the long run.  The victories are small.

It's finally updating your equipment to stream Netflix instead of having to be on the DVD program.

It's watching your daughter conquer her fear and learn quite suddenly how to swim underwater.

It's sleeping until 7am.

It's not a published book or a Broadway show or a fat paycheck.

At least not yet.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quickie Cards

Just a quick {late} post...
We held our half Gather & Giggle/ half Etsy Craft Party here in Larchmont recently and made "Wish You Were Here" themed postcards. Working from a very generous Orly Avineri email full of great advice (she has fabulous classes about making very same postcards!), here's a quick glimpse of a few I created...

They were super easy and quick to make. I'd love to tell you how I did them, but I can't just give out my secrets. Come to the next Gather and Giggle -- if you dare. I'll tell you then. {insert evil "Moohoo, Hahaaaa!" laugh here}

***find us***