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4 kittens

Maybe everything will get ruined!

Posted on 2018.04.01 at 22:26
Pokey helped Ace practice piano last weekend, and then this weekend again. It's amazing. I personally currently find Ace the most exasperating to practice with. She lolls around languidly, plays a note and sings out the note-name boldly, waits five seconds, and goes onto the next note. I don't think she gives a flying fuck that it's supposed to sound like a coherent song with a melody.  I find myself in a state where I'm both irritated to no end and struggling against falling asleep. It's the worst.

But Pokey and Ace, at the moment, have a camraderie of sorts and he sat with her twice today, to go over her songs. And they sounded like songs.

Also today, Pokey was helping Rascal find his last few Easter eggs, and when it was clear that it needed to wrap up, Pokey discreetly tossed one of his own in Rascal's path for him to find.

Both are such kind, nourishing things to do! He is a very sweet kid.

That right front tooth is dangling by a thread there.


Geebie Family Day Weekend  was this weekend. We decided to buy ourselves an extra day by holding it over Easter weekend this year.

GFDW is funny: Jammies and I both swing wildly from proclaiming, "This is the best idea ever," to "This is the worst idea ever," and back again. Mostly we settle on it being the best idea, but punctuated by truly tiresome parts.  I love all the rituals: the interviewing of the kids, napping with Rascal, planting of the cheerios, the party with our friends.

The napping with Rascal.

The planting of the cheerios.

Here was the hot tub on Friday morning:

Here is the hot tub, full of kids:

Here is the final color of the water by the later afternoon:

Really, compare that with the aquamarine of the first photo again:


What did we do with our extra day? We drove out to Pedernales State Park and hiked around the falls.

I love this font so much. When I first moved to Heebieville, the Chamber of Commerce had a giant sign proclaiming themselves, in that font, and it is a great regret of mine that I didn't photograph it before they replaced it with a slightly less dated choice.

Pedernales Falls: that entire landscape can turn horrifyingly dangerous under a single surge of water, during flash floods. It can be easily deadly. It doesn't even have to be raining, so long as it's raining somewhere upstream.

I got that photo from here, taken during a 2007 flood.

It was the best of times, and then abruptly became the worst of times when we all got hot, tired, and hungry. We all fell asleep in the car (besides Jammies, driving) and recuperated back into the best of times, with some ice cream sandwiches back at the rental house.


I've largely recovered from my panic attack last week over these tattoos. I was tortured by two things:

1. I never emailed the artist the actual files of the cats. She was working from photos she snapped with her ipad - she'd held her ipad over pages in my notebook and casually snapped a photo at our first meeting.

Daddy cat was stenciled on my body, and I studied him and said, "The proportions look off. His legs are a bit too small and short, relative to his head."

She reassured me, "I promise I traced exactly over the original image," and so I let it go.

But driving home, it hit me that she hadn't ever had the original image - just that quick photograph. I felt like I'd swallowed an anvil when I realized that.

2. The artist only has a handheld mirror in her office, and a little face mirror. The studio has a full length mirror, but she was trying to spare me the indignity of having to walk out there semi-naked, and so offered to show me what was going on by showing me photos as we went, together with the small hand mirrors. I didn't push back, because I didn't see any problem with this.

I got home, and looked in a big mirror and realized: I hadn't seen how any of the cats look when my skin stretches as I move. I'd only seen myself holding one single, static pose. That was a nasty shock. One kitten in particular gets a stretched out head when I lift my arm.

So, those were the things. Plus I was desperately hungry but nauseated, and it's pretty physically grueling, and I just felt like everything was terrible. Then I got desperately riddled with anxiety over the shading-and-coloring process

How am I now?  Here are my conclusions:
1. I do not like the adrenaline of the tattoo process. It's too intense and not fun for me. Eyes on the prize, Heebie, but I can't imagine ever doing this again.

2. Within a few days, I got used to the flaws listed above. They don't seem like they'll haunt me and give me big tragic feelings of regret. And then: I started to get delighted when I saw corners of cats peeking out from under my clothes.

3. I went and talked to a local tattoo artist, just to air out some concerns. It was great. He sternly admonished me not to be a perfectionist, because tattoos have mistakes, but also told me that everything looks good so far and on track.

He also gave me the following excellent advice: to set up a consultation with my artist between now and my next session, and spend 20 minutes asking her all of my questions about the shading and coloring process.  He particularly said that for him, he'd want it to be a separate occasion, because when he's got a tattooing session scheduled he's in a different headspace than when he's in consultation mode.

That accords with how everything seemed to go so fast once we were live. Let me be clear: my artist was absolutely solicitous, collaborative, and generous. She's being exactly the way I hoped she'd be. Nothing went wrong, in a factual sense. I just have never had a dry run, and didn't realize fast enough about the computer files and full length mirror.  It's hard to do a big thing just right on your first time through.

Let me be explicit about the good things:

1. She gamely moved three of the cats to different spots after she'd already stenciled them on me. All the positions of the cats are just right. (I might have chosen to keep the stretching-head-kitten in this spot anyway, knowing it stretched -  it just would have been a choice instead of a shock.)

2. She solved the problem of the configuration of the Ace kitten, with a new location altogether that I'd never considered and is so much better than the spot I'd chosen.

3. She got all of the faces just right. That's what I was most nervous about - that the faces would be distorted and creepy, uncanny valley territory. But they're all wonderful and cute.

I'm still very petrified about the shading and coloring! Maybe everything will get ruined! Tomorrow evening I'm driving up to ask her all my questions.

Old stories I've been saving:

1. Hawaii stayed home sick from school. We watched Ella Enchanted. (It's fine. Fine.) When the evil king comes in, Hawaii said, "HEY! That's Cary Elllswuh." She kind of mumbled the last name.

"What'd you say?" I said sharply.
She said, "It's Wesley! From The Princess Bride! He looks different."
I said, "You're right! Same guy! He's about 20 years older here, but yes!" But then I paused and asked, "But what did you say at first?"
Hawaii sheepishly said, "Cary I don't know how to say his last name. Ellswuh."
I said, "Cary Elwes. But how did you know what the actor's name was?"
Hawaii said, confident again, "Oh, I read the credits."

So there you have it! That'll do it. Who knew the kid did that sort of thing and committed it to memory.

2. Hawaii's first piano teacher - the hairy Italian gent - was in town, giving a concert. This was last Sunday. Hawaii and I went to watch. It was Schubert's Winterreise, which doesn't mean anything to me, but Hawaii and I gamely read about the story of  this sad jilted lover who looks at a river, some trees, and so on. Near the end the sadsack ends up in a town, and a juggler-clown type says something ambiguous and sad. It is 24 songs written to go along with 24 poems in German.  Her teacher was accompanying a bass singer on the piano.

Before it started - in a very small venue - a man said, "They will be performing without a intermission. If you need water or to use the bathroom, you should go now. It will take about an hour and fifteen minutes."  I suspected it was a terrible idea for us to come.

It was pretty, but it was relentlessly monotonous, and every little motion echoed and disrupted. Hawaii was doing great, but after about 20 minutes, I handed her a little notepad and pen from my purse and wrote: if you're very quiet, you can draw on this pad. I sort of daydreamed and meditated and we all survived.

After, the teacher was so extremely pleased to see us and greet us, and fawned over Hawaii who reverted back to her shy four-year-old self. He called her the smartest pupil he'd had, which made me puff up proudly. Also the refreshments were all homemade giant cookies and brownies, made presumably by some of the grandmas in the audience.  All in all I was glad we went.

3. Ace, at her piano lesson, told her teacher that the metronome is actually a Time Machine, which delighted the teacher to no end.

4. Here are some shoes that I bought back in 2002 or 2003:

I've worn them a LOT:

BUT! I loved them so much that back in 2003, I bought a duplicate pair, because I'm neurotic about things I love. Not to have a back up, per se. But so that, emotionally, I feel like I can I freely wear the original pair. As in, if I only bought one pair of sandals, I'd never wear them out of a misplaced desire to extend their lifespan and make them last. This way, I can relax and just wear the damn pair of shoes.

Here's the back-ups:

This weekend I threw out the originals and started wearing the back ups. They're much more comfortable than the dead pair.

V. pleased with self, thx!

Then I went on Ebay and found a new pair of back ups. Hooray! Ebay wasn't even alive when I bought this first pair, you know.

5. The kids had an art factory. First, Ace would draw a picture. Then, Hawaii would color it in. Finally, Pokey would build a similar object out of origami.

They were very Paper Chase about it - they each had a station in a different part of the house, and you were supposed to do your job as fast as possible, and run it over to the next person like a frantic courier.  It was great.

6. Over spring break, Jammies left this note for me on Wednesday, the day he and some friends slipped out in the morning dark to go climb Mt. Emory:

Kids meds are in the toothbrush bag. Sunscreen in front of car. Keys in tent. xoxo Jammies

Now this a love note. It was so sweet, I kept it in my pocket all day long.

7. A nice thing about a small town is that your kids get in the paper easily:

This was from last New Year's Eve:

and Pokey is the third kid in a window, in this which is obviously from Mardi Gras:

For the record, Pokey had nothing to do with building the float. Ace's classmate's parents constructed it. They got a big trophy for their effort. 

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