Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Art of Playing in the Rain

The first week of summer brought a downpour out of the blue. It caught us by surprise as we were leaving the grocery store.

We were soaked by the time we got to the car. It remained pouring as we unloaded the car at home.

The girls asked if they could play in the rain.

Why not? 

It's summer. 

They stayed out there for awhile. 

They screamed. 

A lot. 

They giggled.

A ton. 

I snapped a few pictures from the safe dryness of the overhang by our kitchen door.

I remember playing in the rain as a kid. Running around the block with my brothers. Letting the rain hit my face and soak me down to my blue striped tube socks.

(It was the 80s).

It was a special kind of fun. 

Better than a sprinkler.

It felt wrong to be out in something that others ran to get out of.

But that was the whole point, wasn't it? 

To make fun out of what some could see as a downer. 

It was all I could do to finish putting the groceries away and NOT join them.

As I watched them, I observed this art of playing in the rain. 

At first, there is a hesitancy.

The shock of just flat-out getting soaked. 

See the hesitancy in McDaniel's face?

Then there is a resignation.

An easing into the downpour. 

That is when the dancing starts. 

The splashing in puddles. 

Then there is a need for more.

A raise-your-face-to-the-sky-to-receive-the-rain moment. 

Even a mouth-opening-to-catch-a-raindrop-on-your-tongue moment. 

What a great way to start the summer!

But don't fret over me missing out on all the rain playing fun. 

Yesterday, as I was filling out emergency forms and waivers for an open gym, I got caught in another pop-up rain storm. 

Cats and dogs.

I waited for awhile to see if it would stop as quickly as it started. 

But it didn't.

I could tell McDaniel didn't want me hanging around open gym and I had left Ellie home alone thinking I was just going to be gone for a second. 

So I did it!

I took off running for my car.

Did I mention I didn't park close?

And that I was wearing flip flops?

It didn't take long for my shoes to get water logged and as I sped up, the left one put on the brakes.

I almost fell.

But that's when it happened.

The hesitancy turned into

The resignation.

(I'm wet.)

I eased into the downpour.

I laughed.

(I lost my shoe!)

(I almost fell!)

So I pirouetted the rest of the way to the car!!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Keeping You Abreast About What Is New

OK. I had a little fun with that title.

But I couldn't help it.

It is borderline risque, forgive me.

I was invited to accompany a good friend to the doctor's office yesterday. She is having surgery.

Plastic surgery. 
But it's not what you think. 

Nothing is getting added.

Or liposucked. 

Something is getting subtracted.

Two somethings. 

No cancer or threat thereof. (Thank you, Lord!)

Just lightening a load that has burdened her for some time.

If you know what I mean. 

Now that we are on the same page.

Enter me. 

Not-so-mature-can-find-humor-in-EVERYTHING me.

I am going to be helping my friend recover after the surgery so she wanted me to be at the appointment so I could ask questions about what that will entail.

Because I am SO NOT a nurse. 

I was prepared for the "this is what you do with the bandages" conversation.

I was even prepared for the "put on this robe so the doctor can examine you" part.

My girlfriend was good enough to prep me for that. 

I wasn't prepared for illustrations being drawn on the dry erase board.

Of course I took a picture!

Or the flagrant use of the word that rhymes with cripple. 

(I have always not loved that word. It is just too "out there".  
No beating around the bush or slipping in the back door. 
Can't handle it.)

I know, I'm naive.

The surgeon is someone my girlfriend and I know. He was an elder at a church that we all belonged to some time ago.

We trust him--professionally and spiritually.

He preciously prayed at the end of the appointment for my friend's anxiety of the surgery and for God's guidance over an issue he was concerned about involving that word that sounds like cripple.


In prayer. 

That word was dropped like it was not the bomb to my ears that it was.

Now I know that this is his business.

God made that word. 

Fearfully and wonderfully. 

So why not pray to him for guidance regarding altering it?

I mean, he is the ultimate physician. 

It just took me off guard. 

My friend said I made a noise after the word was said.

Not sure if it was a gasp

or a muffled snort 

or a grunt of disbelief. 

I don't remember, because I may have blacked out for a second. 

To my credit.

I didn't laugh. 

Not once. 

That is my go-to when I am nervous. 

Not when the dry erase illustration looked like a sting ray.

See the sting ray?

Or when another illustration looked like an erupting volcano.

I won't discuss what this was really about. 

That's huge. 

(The non laughing, not the volcano. 
Or anything else for that matter. 
I should stop talking typing. 

I didn't even laugh when the nurse told me to be careful to keep my friend's dogs away from her drain balls because they have a tendency to chew on them.

Although that may be because I was too busy throwing up in my mouth a little. 

Now I will admit to chuckling when not one.

Not two. 

But three. 

Hear me? 

THREE people asked which one of us was having the surgery.

If you knew what my front half 
(that's as far as I'm taking it) 

looks like compared to my friend's front half--

you would've laughed. 

Or taken the nurse's temperature. 

It was.



After forms were signed (that I accidentally took to the bathroom with me while my girlfriend was standing at the front desk waiting to sign. Oops!), blood tests arranged and final instructions given, we left to pick up my friend's daughter from her high school finals and the three of us went to lunch.

You know when a 2-liter of soda gets shaken and you just barely twist the cap and you can hear the hiss of the explosion that is just beneath that cap?

That was happening inside of me and I didn't even realize it.

At lunch, my girlfriend did one silly thing (believe me, she is capable of much sillier things).

She tapped her elbow on the table in melodramatic frustration over a dessert she couldn't have since she is on a diet and

The cap of my internal 2-liter of soda was removed.

Out came all the uncomfort of the morning.

Out came the word said too much--(most astonishingly) in prayer.

Out came sting rays and volcanoes. 

Dogs and drain balls.

I dissolved into a laughing howling hyena.

I laughed until I cried.

People stared.

My friend's daughter did not get it.

Like the good friend that she is, my friend joined in. 

You see, the morning was no less uncomfortable for her. 

Laughing until you cry is EXERCISE.

By the time my friend dropped me off at home, my eyes stung from the tears, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my ribs hurt from the howling.

I was exhausted.
 It was glorious.

When you open that 2-liter of soda, right after that first hiss, there is another sound. That sweet release of carbonation.

Like a happy sigh. 

Yesterday afternoon I basked in the happy sigh of a good, cathartic laugh.

Shared with a dear friend who I delight in. 

 Laughter is the best medicine after all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Spoon RIver

I keep humming "Moon River" when thinking about writing this post about this wreath.

Spoon, moon--that's how my mind works.

Yep, it is made out of plastic spoons. I love using things around the house for crafts. 

One day I will show you all the wreaths I have made from things found in my pantry. 

[The teenage girl that lives next door thinks I have a problem. Like a Strange Addiction level of a problem. ]

I saw a few spoon wreaths done a few different ways online, but mostly I did my own thing.

Here is what I used to make this:

•Cheap white plastic spoons (2 boxes of 48 and then a few extras)
•Cardboard cut into a circle (to glue spoons to)
•Hot glue gun
•Yellow and black paint

I started out with the cheapest white plastic spoons I could find at Kroger. They came in a box of 48. I used 2 boxes and then a few other spoons I found loose in my pantry. I had to seek them out because I broke a few spoons. 

You see, you have to remove the handle from the spoon. At first, I tried cutting it with scissors. It worked. 

For a little while. 

Then it shattered a few and I decided to just snap the handles off by hand. 

And snap it did. So much so that my family complained they couldn't hear the TV. 

Much better.

I started gluing the spoons on the outer edge of the cardboard circle leaving a spoon's width between each spoon. That is so a Chrysanthemum-like petal effect could happen. 

Don't you just love that children's book, "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes?

 I love the way her name was always said three times. 

"Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum!" 

Which makes me say it three times whenever that word ever comes up. 

Whew! Do you know how hard it is to correctly type/spell Chrysanthemum as many times as I just did just now?!

Moving on.

Keep gluing the spoons row by row until they form a center.

I really liked the flower white. It was pretty. Regal even. Especially if I added a bedazzled jewel of some sort in the center. 

But it is summer and I am ready for COLOR! 

Maybe for another season I will make another one and keep it white.

So, as you can guess, I decided to paint the flower. I decided to go with yellow. I really think spray paint would've been WAY easier for this project IF I didn't want a separate color for the middle (imagine all the taping off I'd have to do!)

So I painted each spoon using a little paint brush and my iPod for entertainment. 

I soon realized that it was easier to paint once I elevated the wreath on a glass. 

The paint didn't want to adhere to the plastic with one coat. Grrrr.

Something isn't right.

Still not.

Better. (But it is hard to know when to stop painting.)

After a second coat of paint, I hot glued a little piece of ribbon to the back of the cardboard and hung it on a suction cup hanger on my favorite mirror. It was my grandmother's.

But I like it on my side door better. 

More sunflower than Chrysanthemum now but I still like it.

I decided to paint the sunflower red. I wanted it to look like a gerber daisy but now that it is the Christmas season, it is looking quite Poinsettia-like.

I used the spray paint that is made for plastic. It went on like a DREAM compared to hand painting each spoon.

My friend's daughter found this big diamond-like jewel on the floor of church one Sunday this summer and thought to give it to me.

It was perfect for the center of this new red spoon flower wreath.

Makes me wonder what that big jewel's original purpose was.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Ruler of All Rulers

Over the past year I have seen a few large rulers on Pinterest and saved them in my ever-growing file of projects I'd like to do (or have my dad make). The big ruler was one of them.

Since my dad lives in another state 4 hours away, I can't just run to his house with my requests on any sort of regular basis.

But that would be AWESOME.

I showed him a picture of the big ruler I had seen and he immediately measured my baseboards.

That is key. 

If you want the ruler to be a true and accurate growth chart, you have to know your baseboard height so you can start your hash marks considering the measurement starts at the floor.

Are you following me?

Because I think I got lost for a second and I was the one talking (or typing).

My dad used a piece of poplar 3/4 inches thick, just over 7 inches wide and 6 1/2 feet tall. He put a light stain on it. He measured and marked off the hash marks with a pencil. I went over it with a black paint pen. I used Word to print out large numbers in a font I liked. It was a typewriter font. I cut out each number with an exacto knife and traced them onto the ruler with a pencil. I filled in the numbers with the paint pen.

That's my dog Nigel. His head cocked like that makes me smile. 

It took no time.


But then I decided I wanted the ruler to be darker. My dad suggested shoe polish to deepen the color and it worked beautifully. The waxy stuff in the round tin didn't work nearly as well as the bottled stuff with the sponge tip.

Who still polishes their shoes?

I like the inconsistent coverage of the shoe polish. 

The trickiest part was trying to figure out where to put it and how to hang it. We tried to use picture hangers on the back but realized the board was warped.

So we just leaned it against the wall for awhile.

It looked good. 

But we couldn't get accurate height measurements.

People loved it. 

So I had my dad make two more for friends.

He's good like that.

By the time he came over again, the ruler was still leaning against the wall looking good but acting like a poor growth chart. So I had him figure out how to hang it. He used screws and anchors making sure it was being drilled into the wall's stud (which is difficult when you have plaster walls like ours. Stud finders do NOT work!) That is why our ruler isn't centered on the small wall, we had to use the stud we could find.

We can't find the paint from the kitchen to cover those patch marks. [Sigh]

I will tell you about the chalkboard door soon. 

It has become a fun conversation piece for our kitchen. Especially for our oldest daughter who is checking daily if she is yet 6 feet.

Almost. She is 5' 11 1/2"

(We know this because we have THE RULER OF ALL RULERS)

Almost 5 feet.

Even adults measure themselves. It's fun.

I think I have shrunk.

Not fun. 

If you'd like a ruler and live in the Columbus, Ohio area, leave a comment and my dad will make you one.

At $30, it is a steal!

Okay, just for fun, let's compare:

<---   Ruler from Pinterest. 

Ruler of All Rulers -->

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