Family Storytelling

Do You Struggle Finding Enough Time for Your Extended Family?

For those of you looking for my satire deconstructed piece, please go here.

Yesterday I tried to FaceTime my sister.  Deborah and her little cousin were so excited about it that I had to take this picture.   They were just mugging my phone.  If you look carefully, you can see me hiding behind them.
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I’ve been thinking about how children are so right on so many things.  They get so excited to see their grandma or their cousins or their old friends.  We adults, on the other hand, saddled down by our responsibilities, don’t have time to make that call or get together for lunch.

The thing is, I also get really excited when I call my sister.  She lives all the way in Germany, and I really really miss her.  We have a time zone issue which is often a problem, and mornings do tend to be busy for me.  But I do get a little giddy when I call her.  I love seeing my little nieces jumping around, and it’s just miraculous to think that they are all the way in Germany, and here my nieces are showing me their new Rapunzel figurine and their new bed spread.   I just need to give myself permission to call them more often.

Children on the other hand, just drop what they’re doing to run to the phone.  I could learn a thing or two from them.

Today we’re celebrating my mom’s birthday by taking her to lunch.  She was a fantastic mother raising us kids, and she’s still a fantastic mom helping so much with the grand kids.  She’s just one of those people that just does good things quietly because it gives her joy.

She helped give me a love of the English language—she read all the time, and she read the good stuff like Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens.  I grew up thinking that’s just what adults read.  She helped me with so many of my English papers.  I would bring my paper to her, and she would do a great edit, pointing out mistakes in grammar, words I had forgotten, and adding a comma or two for further clarification.  She taught me to love the language and to take good care of it by using it precisely.  I should ask her to edit my blog too.  Much as I try, I still manage a lot of typos in my posts.  (Please leave comments if you notice them!)

She taught us both scriptures and poetry and I can still recite from memory several of Robert Frost’s poems, verse by Emily Dickinson, and scriptures found in the book of Matthew.  I believe that meter and cadence all come more naturally to me because I learned those poems.  We recited a scripture and poem once each morning until we could say it from memory.  Reminder:  start this with my own children.

She took us to plays and theater as much as a mother from a small town could do.  We saw local productions such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and large Broadway productions such as Les Miserables.  (Please add the accent over the “e” as I am too lazy to do it myself.)   She got us up to productions like the Nutcracker even though it was a two hour drive.  Even recently, she’s organized and paid for a somewhat annual trip for her daughters and daughters-in-law to the Utah Shakespearean Festival.  Thanks to her, I’ve got the Shakespeare bug pretty badly.

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I love you Mom!  I love you Mindles!  My sister Mindy is flying in on Thursday.  I can’t wait to see her!

 

Paintbrushes, Fairy Tales, and Chore Charts: The Life of Artist, Emily McPhie

This is the rest of the interview I started last week with Emily McPhie. You may want to read the beginning of the interview first.  

Becky Blackburn:  How Did Your Father Influence Your Decision to Become an Artist?  (McPhie’s father is the well-known James C. Christensen.)

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Portrait of Emily McPhie

Emily McPhie:   Really only by his living it himself. He did not encourage any of his kids. He knew how hard it was to be successful as an artist. He calls it the burning in the belly. If you have it, you have a chance. It doesn’t matter as much how good, how skilled you are versus how much you want it. He knew that if we wanted it, it would happen for us on our own. I think it was kind of a defense that he knew it’s really hard so he didn’t push or encourage any of us, and the two of the five of us that are artists came into it in college. We went to BYU and both thought, “There is nothing else more for me to do, I have to do this. I could do this or this or this or this but I can’t, I have to do this.” So we both fell into it on our own.

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Girl and the Crocodile

BB: We talked about some of your mother’s interests. What did she teach you that influenced your art?

EM: That’s hard to say because she’s in a different category. She’s the glue, she runs the business, she holds it all together, she’s the gatherer, she keeps the family together, she takes care of everybody. I think she recognizes and takes pride in the fact that she’s holding this whole show together. But as a mother and an artist, I feel like I have to embody the skills of both my parents, because I don’t have somebody to run my business, keep the books, make the phone calls, schedule everything. I have to do both, run the household, run the business and create the art and try and maintain my sanity in the process.

BB: And how has that worked? How have you figured out how to balance that?

EM: That’s the million dollar question! What I get asked most, “How are you a mom and an artist? How do you do it all?” and I want to say, “Do I do it all?” I wish I could say I did. No, it’s hard, it takes a lot of really hard work. You have to really really want it, because it’s enough of a job to keep your house clean and your children fed. That’s full time. And to make room for art, you just have to have your house in order, none of this crazy artist, who’s just free. That’s unreal. That’s unrealistic. You have to have your house in order. You have to have chore charts or whatever it is that you need today to get things back into balance, and it’s always changing, it’s always something else. Take your sketch book with you while you take your children to dance lessons. You have to figure it out: How can I make this work?

BB: In Genesis, when it talks about the creation, “create” in Hebrew means to organize. And yet we see creative people and organized people on opposite ends of the spectrum. Is there a way that you have reconciled that as an organizer and a creator? How do you see that relationship?

EM: It rings so true to me. The first time I heard that I thought, “Oh that makes more sense of what I do.” I definitely feel like I am more of an assembler than a creator. You know, I take scrap and paint from it, I take pictures or pull images out of magazines or off the internet and I piece them together. There’s a lot of organization to it, and I feel more that I’m piecing things together as opposed to just creating straight out of my head. I don’t pick up a brush, dip it in paint, and start going.

BB: So your father always painted alone while you often paint with your children beside you? How have you made this work?

EM:  You know, it certainly isn’t by choice. I like to be alone. I kind of need that sometimes, and I like to get into a flow, but that’s something I learned right off was too much to ask when I have little ones around. I could hire babysitters. I’ve done that off and on. I’ve tried to schedule time when (my husband) could watch them, but really I just have to open the door, let them in. They have access to all my craft supplies and tools, they can make things to their heart’s content. Pipe cleaners are usually a big hit. The trade-off is watching them make things and express themselves. They express creativity as a way of life. I am realizing as they get older that I get to have my door closed sometimes too. I crave that alone time so much. But even now, especially with them homeschooling, they can come into the studio whenever they want and we listen to music, or sometimes we listen to books together, and that gets them to be busy enough for me to work!

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Serena and the Lion.

BB: How do you feel they (your children) have influenced you art?

EM: So much of my art is about motherhood and because it’s what I’m in the thick of, and I’m always grappling with my inner self, trying to find that balance—

BB: A mother’s work can be mundane and repetitive but still really important. How do you balance this work with things that feed your soul? Is there a relationship between them?

EM: I love that question. I’ve tried to overlap them as much as possible. I tried at first—I have a couple of paintings that have two separate personas. This is the artist me and this is the mom me, and I tried really hard to force this separation. I think mothers a lot of times go through this emotion of losing their identity when they are knee deep in babies and children. They can feel like they are being taken over by mom-duties, the “Where did I go?” I felt like I needed to tear those personas apart and live them out separately. As I’ve matured in my motherhood, I’ve realized I’m just changing, I’m growing, nothing is lost, everything is gained. Let all the aspects of me overlap, intertwine, paint about motherhood, paint about children and the lessons they teach me, do projects together and count that as much as a creative outlet as making a painting.

BB: You said on your blog that you try to make time for reading and writing. How do you find time for this and how is it important to your artwork?

EM: Reading is a lot easier because I can listen and paint at the same time, it uses different parts of the brain. I listen to book on audible while I paint all the time, (while I run, while I clean, drive… I’m a bit of an addict). I love being influenced by stories, and I love getting lost in stories. Some paintings I can look at recall what I was listening to when I painted it. Like, a Jane Austen type novel, and it got a little ornamental or this was a dark, Harry Potter kind of thing. A lot of times too, what I have to deal with is not being able to sit down for two hours and get into a flow. I have half hour spurts before I have to go and change the laundry or go pick somebody up or change a diaper, and tearing my mind away from it and then coming back has this moment of, “OK where was I? What was I doing?” Being able to push play and the story picks up where I left off somehow takes my brain right back to where I was. So it’s really helpful to have a book going while I paint.

BB: What relationship is there between art and story? I know that you’ve used some fairy tales in your art. How does that work?

EM: Fairy tales are great to work with because they are supposed to teach you something, but they can be so very bizarre. The Grimm’s tales leave so many gaping holes, I think that’s kind of why I like them because you can fill in the holes. How do they get from point A to point D?

Something had to have happened and I like taking my mind there. That’s what I did with my Old Rinkrank series. The girl gets captured by Old Rinkrank who makes her be his servant, and then she’s old. At some point she decides that she’s going to escape. How does she get to that decision? What happened in that whole time when she went from a young woman to an older one, and that’s what got me thinking on that series was what changed? What made her finally decide after all of those years that she’s going to take this on and get out of there? Thinking on that, drawing about it, pondering on it, led me to thinking, What is it that holds us captive? Our fears? What does it take to get us to say, ”Whoah! I don’t want that to hold me back anymore.” What gives us that moment of clarity or the drive needed to face a fear and push past it?

BB: I just love the title of the painting, “I have washed your dishes, I have made your bed.” What inspired you with that title?

EM: That’s a line right out of the story (Old Rinkrank). “I have washed your dishes, I have made your bed. No, Old Rinkrank, I will not open the door for you.” It’s about being all consumed with your daily activities – not seeing the forest for the trees kind of idea. The mundane can hold you back from making something magnificent happen. The dinner table and bed ended up on her head, always on her mind. It’s a motif I’ve used a few times where things have ended up on women’s heads. I put a whole circus on a woman’s head one time, and she has this really strong neck. It’s Poise amid the Hoopla. My life resembles a circus, and I can barely keep up with everything that’s happening, but I will do it with poise, I am determined to.

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Poise Amid the Hoopla. This woman carries a circus on her head. Sound familiar?

BB: Your husband was a musician in college, and you are doing music lessons?

EM: Yeah, I am taking piano lessons—

BB: You’re taking piano and your daughters are taking piano, violin, and cello is that right?

EM: I love music for the same reason I love art. It speaks peace to the soul. Music has a very immediate effect. I love warming up with playing some beautiful music before I go into the studio. Getting in tune with that emotional level, just inhabiting the emotion, I could live there.

BB:  So how do you see music enhancing your art or art enhancing your music. How are they related to each other?

EM: They speak the same language, the ineffable, no words or explanation needed. They get directly to the emotions. Sometimes I think that can be easier with music because you can feel in real time, and I think there’s more of a thought process with art, but I hope to be able to obtain that, where you can look at a painting and you can just feel it. You know, to get that to translate to other people can be awesome.

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Keep the Lantern Bright

BB: And I think you do it really well. What are some of your favorite paintings on motherhood and family, and what emotions do you think mothers feel more intensely? How is that reflected in your art?

EM: Windows of Heaven is a piece I did, and actually the church owns it. It’s hanging in the church office building in the Young Women’s hall. The mother figure is bent over and knitting a sweater right on to her daughter, and when you look closer, you see that the yarn is coming from the mother’s sweater which is unravelling as she knits this sweater onto her daughter. I like how you asked that question, “What emotions do women feel more intensely as mothers?” Whatcame to mind is this idea of self-sacrifice. You’re unrecognized, you don’t get the praise of the world, you don’t get noticed for being the best mom to your specific children. It takes a certain kind of humility and selflessness and hard work and a pure love to successfully pull off being mother, and I think that’s definitely something you have to experience. There are people who can look at that painting and have tears because they get it on that emotional plane. My publisher, he didn’t get it. I said, “You need to make this one a print. People will like this painting. It means something to mothers. If there ever was one that you needed to make a print of, it’s this one.” It took two years for him to finally make the print. He just didn’t see it, didn’t understand it. So I definitely think you’ve got to live it to get that emotion.

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Windows of Heaven: The Mother is Using Threads From Her Own Sweater to Sew Her Daughter’s Sweater

BB: Fear and determination seem to be a prevalent theme in your work. How do you think women overcome these fears and how is this reflected in your art?

EM: I think fears are overcome by facing them, recognizing them, naming them, and doing what you need to do to overcome them. Sometimes that is what I’m doing in these paintings is facing a fear, recognizing it, and as I’m painting, I’ve got a lot of time to think through it and to ponder and think about the balance or the emotions—

BB:  And I think you really address that in your Old Rinkrank series, that fear becomes that seems to be a really big theme. What painting do you think really embodies those emotions?

EM: There is a transition she goes through; in one she’s a little more fearful, and in another she’s a little more, “No, I got this,” and then when she escapes, she’s wearing armor. I liked that idea, she put on her armor to go to battle, to face the challenge and the danger of getting away from that Old Rinkrank. In the earlier moments of the series, she’s wearing a sweater, kind of wrapped up in security, not ready to take action yet. I love those different expressions.

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I Have Washed Your Dishes, I Have Made Your Bed. A portrait of the captured princess in the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, Rinkrank

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Her the princess shows both focus and determination.

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Preparing Her Escape

 

Rinkrank Decode (as posted on Emily’s blog).

  • The Glass Mountain is our perceived hopes and dreams.
  • Old Rinkrank symbolizes fear that holds us captive, preventing our potential greatness.
  • Red, whether fully exposed or covered and protected by sweaters or armor, is for

vulnerability.

  • Dishes and Beds represent the everyday things that busily keeping us from progressing.
  • Gray and sweaters are for pondering; quiet on the outside while actively engaged in our

inner landscape.

  • The Ladder is a tool to work our way out of a fix, to get us back on our mountains.
  • Armor is for determination, protection, and strength.
  • The Landscape is stylized as a tribute to Arthur Rackham, illustrator of the Brother’s

Grimm and Other Fairy Tales

This interview in its entirety can be found at Deseret News.  Want to know more about Emily McPhie?

What artist or musician has inspired you?

 

An Interview with My Favorite Artist

Emily McPhie takes a sketchbook to her daughter’s dance lessons. She draws for a half-hour between dinner and a load of laundry. And unlike her father, artist James Christensen, who had the luxury of painting alone, McPhie lets her children paint alongside her in her art studio.

Her artwork reflects her priorities. She paints depictions of mothers and children, often in unlikely and usual settings.

Emily McPhie Portrait

She also finds inspiration through stories and fairy tales and recently painted a series of pictures based on the Brothers Grimm tale “Old Rinkrank.” The story tells of a princess who falls into a glass mountain where an old man finds her and forces her to be his servant. After years of making his bed and cooking his dinner, the princess finally finds the courage to climb out of the mountain.

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In this interview, McPhie talks about the relationship between art and story, how she finds balance as a mother and painter, and why children need both art supplies and chore charts.

Becky Blackburn: You have said that imagination was touted as the most precious faculty one could foster in your childhood home. How did your family help you cultivate your imagination?

Emily McPhie: A lot of that came from my dad. He is a creative person and a creator, and everywhere we went there was an adventure to be had. When he would go running, he would dress up as a ninja and wear all black. Everything had some creative element to it. And we traveled a lot. I went to some neat places, Europe a couple of times, Tonga, and my dad would always point out, “They’re going to do things differently. The stores will all close in the afternoon. Make sure you get your lunch before everything closes for siesta. And that’s not wrong; it’s different.” I thought that was a really important thing that he taught us when we travelled. Observe. See how other people do things, and look at it as a different way of doing things, not right, not wrong. And that taught us to observe. But coming up with ideas, doing creative things, that’s where we got praise.

BB: What were some of the things you did as a child?

EM: It was always exciting when we had a book report or a creative project to do for school. If we had math questions, we were out of luck, but if we had to build a replica of a mission (like) the San Clemente, and we had to re-create (it) with little trees, moss trees and go out and clip a branch and make those kinds of things, that’s when my dad would get into a project and get excited about it.

BB: Were there any kind of rituals or traditions you had that fostered your creativity?

EM: Halloween was always really big. My mom sewed. She would make our costumes, and our dad would paint our faces. We really got into Halloween, and I do that now probably even more so with my kids; I always make them dress up with a family theme. I keep thinking, “How many years are they going to go for this?” but they do. Sometimes they ask, “Can I be Elsa?” (I answer) “No! We’re being skeletons!”

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BB: How did your father influence your decision to become an artist?

EM: Really only by his living it himself. He did not encourage any of his kids. He knew how hard it was to be successful as an artist. He calls it the burning in the belly. If you have it, you have a chance. It doesn’t matter as much how good, how skilled you are versus how much you want it. He knew that if we wanted it, it would happen for us on our own. I think it was kind of a defense that he knew it’s really hard, so he didn’t push or encourage any of us, and the two of the five of us that are artists came into it in college. We went to BYU and both thought, “There is nothing else more for me to do; I have to do this. I could do this or this or this or this, but I can’t. I have to do this.” So we both fell into it on our own.

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More continued tomorrow.

How do you make time for your talents?

This interview was originally published in the Deseret News.  

We Show Our Nickel Swallower Pictures of Germs: This is How He Reacts

A week ago, I wrote about how Ricky keeps swallowing nickels.  I also asked you for some advice on how we might cure him of this dangerous habit.

One of you shared a great idea with us: show him pictures of bacteria on the internet.  While I thought it was a great idea, I didn’t think about it again until we caught him drinking the honey. It seemed time.

These are the picture we showed him.

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This is how he reacted.

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For the first time in his life, Ricky grew concerned.

“What is the name of this one?  What does this one do?” he asked.

I was so busy taking pictures of him that I wasn’t able to capitalize on this great opportunity.  I wish I had told him that the pink one was called, Datrowupalot bacteria or that the purple one made you clean bathrooms or that the green one gave you headaches every time you played Minecraft.

Oh well.

“What does this one spiky one do?” he asked.

“Oh it just likes to roll around in your body,” I said.  He grabbed his tummy.

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Ricky clutching his stomach.

“I think it’s rolling around right in my tummy right now.” he answered.

“Oh look!”  I said, pointing to the computer.  “This one has a tail!”

It’s true that Ricky hasn’t swallowed any nickels since Sunday, but he still is very generous with his germs.

At dinner we caught him licking all of his fingers with gusto so I asked him how he liked licking up so many germs. He looked at me concerned and then started rubbing the top of the salt shaker–just so he could share his slobber with the rest of us.

What do your kids do that are gross?

On another tangent, want a delicious healthy fall breakfast recipe?  Oats and pumpkin included.

Now It’s My Turn to Visit Urgent Care

On Wednesday morning, after dropping off Deborah for preschool, I called my doctor.  I had been feeling chest pains all morning and finally realized that they were not going to subside.

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The urgent care had the sweetest nurse ever.  (my regular doctor couldn’t see me).  She was soothing and very adept at hooking up the EKG machine to me.  I told her how silly this all was, really I was fine, but she just kept putting these warm little suction cups all over my body.

I get a little nervous about heart stuff because my father died when his heart just stopped on him.  It’s happened to several cousins in my family too.

“Has it happened to anyone in your family under 40?” the doctor asked.

“Well, yeah.  One cousin died when he was 39 while he was playing at a softball game. But he’s like a first cousin once removed so, you know, pretty distant.”  He nodded his head.

Fortunately, after some computer glitches, they told me that my EKG looked great.  Then the doctor started pressing different pressure points that really hurt, and he told me that the muscles around my rib cage were inflamed.  He asked if I had felt stressed that morning.

“Well no,”  I said.  “I was mostly just mad at everybody.  You know, bugged.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“Well I was trying to get Debi out to preschool, and the cleaning ladies were coming over, but everything needed to be picked up, and I was just mad at my whole family for being such slobs,  and wondering why can’t my boys just find a hamper instead of throwing their clothes on the floor.  But, no, I wasn’t stressed. I was just mad.”

Because if I was mad, then I was still strong, but if I was stressed, I was weak.  I had been fighting tears the whole time I was in that blasted examination room, but hey, they were angry tears.

The doctor was really kind, spent a lot of time with us.  The advice was pretty simple: take Ibuprofen, drink lots of water, slow down.  Anxiety and stress can cause heart problems, so yeah, don’t get stressed.

Anyway, I felt relieved and sobered and foolish after we left.  Sheesh, why hadn’t I just taken some Iburprofen that morning?   But deep down, I knew that I needed to slow my life down. I’m always trying to get so much done, but dabgumit!  I am not an automaton!  I was not put on this earth just to be efficient!

Still, my brain was still stuck on efficiency and kept offering me suggestions: maybe grafting in two more arms?  Finally I accepted that there were some things in my life I was just going to have to drop.   Even if I could get everything all done, would I be happy?  Would I feel peace? Would I be the kind of person that people wanted to be with or would they just give me space so I could get my grocery shopping done in under fifteen minutes?  Yes, Becky, I think I saw the syrup two aisles down.  

This morning, my husband and I went to the temple, and there I received clarity.  Instead of asking myself, Do I need to drop this?  Can I still do that?  I asked, What is most important to me?  

It was amazing when I asked myself that question how few things came to my mind.  Loving the Lord.  Loving my family.  Loving my neighbors.  Keeping this home in order.  Learning as much as I can.

I needed to just focus on the priorities until I felt I had a better control of things.  (Ha!  Ha!) Once (or if) I did, then I could start thinking about slowly adding more to my life.  So for the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about this process of prioritization. I’ll talk about children’s books too, but you guys don’t really read those posts much anyway.

And here is my first day of simplifying.

How have you learned to manage stress in your life?

I Do Not Swallow Nickels and Other Self-Affirming Statements

Last night, as I was on my way to my aunt’s house to return a photo album, my husband called me to tell me that my seven-year-old had swallowed another nickel.

This was his third nickel of the year.  He swallowed one in spring, and he swallowed one in summer, and given that it was now October, I guess we should have been expecting it.

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Our first object was to try to figure out where the nickel was.  Originally, our son claimed it was stuck in his throat, but now he tried to assure us that it had gone down into his tummy.

My husband then wanted to know the why of it all, but as any well-grounded parent knows, there never is a why.  Unfortunately, my husband’s cross-examination proved fruitless as somebody had obviously already read our son his Miranda rights.

After my husband left, I decided to play good cop.  I sweetly asked him where he found the nickels.

“On the floors by the doors,” he said.

“And why do you put them in your mouth?”

“Because I like the lick of them.”

“Ah, I see.  And before you pick a nickel up, do you ever think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t put this nickel in my mouth?’”

“Not until I’ve swallowed the nickel.  Then I think it.”

“Ah, I see. Do you think you could think it just a little bit earlier?”

He looked at me confused.  I tried to explain.

“So this is the problem.  We have a choice.  We can either take you to the hospital and pay lots of money for them to do tests on you or we can hope that the nickel is in your tummy and not sleep very well tonight because we are so worried about you.   What do you think we should do?”

“I think you should hope the nickel is in my tummy.”   We actually went with plan C and called doctor.  I won’t tell you what he said as I don’t want to be dispensing medical advice to any of you other desperate parents out there, but I will say that calling your doctor is a good idea.

Our dear boy is alive and well today.  He wrote twenty sentences that said, “I do not swallow nickels.”  I thought this more as a self-affirming exercise than a punishment.

After all, the poor boy had to endure just a bit of razzing.

Dad:  Hey I know what you should be for Halloween?  A vending machine!

Mom:  Noooooooo!  Then he’ll start taking quarters!

Brother:  Hey, if you keep this up, you might be worth twenty bucks by the time you leave home!

Mom:  Again, will you please not get him thinking about quarters?! !

The sweet boy asked his dad if he could hang up a sign in his room that said, “Don’t swallow nickels!”

“Ah,” asked his dad.  “But what if you find a nickel in the living room?”

He was stumped, and my heart went out to him!   Come this winter, I will do a thorough sweeping of our floors by the doors because no matter what anyone else says, our nickel swallower is priceless to me!

If you haven’t done so already, would you like us on Facebook?  And thanks to all of you that already have!  You guys are awesome!

What have your children swallowed?

The Boo Stops Here!

I don’t know if this is just a Utah phenomenon, but we have been “booed” every year since we moved here.  What does that mean?  It means that someone leaves a plate of treats at your door with an assignment to “boo” two other families, which means you get to leave treats at their door, and then they get to boo two families and on and on. I know.  If you do the math on this, you do not come out ahead.

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By Halloween time, everyone has been booed and feels really fortunate to have been included in this great community builder.

But then there are people like me.

It’s not like I’m a Halloween scrooge, but there are just far too many details for me to handle here.  For one, I have to make two copies of two pages, and I don’t think we have a copy machine although if we do, I have no idea how to use it.  Then I have to make lots of treats and find plates for these treats and then find aluminum foil to wrap them in and then coerce one of my video game playing boys to make the delivery.  This is all so beyond my skill level.

And besides don’t get me wrong.  I love getting booed.   In fact, I love getting booed several times a season.  Yes, we are supposed to put up the sign on our door that says we’ve been booed, a sort of Halloween passover if you will so that other people have the opportunity to be booed.   But hey, if people want to boo us, why should I stop them?  We were their first choice after all.  Can I help it if we are popular?

And if I choose to eat the brownies and destroy all the evidence that we were booed before my children come home, really, who is hurt?  It’s a service because my super busy neighbor doesn’t have the time to boo other people so why should I add another thing to her plate?  I will absorb ALL of the plates because I’m just that kind of person.

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This set up has been working great for me until my husband decided my behavior was unacceptable . . .

Tomorrow you will here the tragic end to this saga.