Mud Balls in the Basement

Bryan shared this with me this morning. I have a tendency to collect in a similar way – scraps of paper, ticket stubs, random colored wrist bands, etc. Since the fire I think it’s gotten worse. We lost a lot of family photos and memories. Many of the losses I don’t think have even been accounted for yet (they may never be). Reading this makes me want to start scrapbooking or art journaling again right now. It’s hard to realize that it’s the essence of a family or a person or a relationship, even just a moment in time, that you’re really trying to hold on to when you save that scrap of paper. The longer they sit – the further away that essence and story becomes if it can’t be captured in some manner.

edenstream.com - catherine whittier

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I can’t seem to let go. It’s not so much the practical things. It’s the words scrawled on little slips of paper. It’s the cement-hard mud balls that were rolled up by tiny hands. It’s the heartfelt message on a Christmas tag. It’s the smooth rock from a happy shore.

Bereft of so many of my own childhood memories, I have always clung to little things. I’m so obsessed with not losing something meaningful that I have been known to dig through my children’s trash as they purge their bedrooms. “WHAT!! You can’t throw that away,” I gasp, as I snatch it and add it to my pile.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not real big on ticket stubs or figurines.
It’s the more important things — like the little construction paper leaves we cut out at Thanksgiving time. Each of us would take one out of the basket, which sat in the center of the table, and write on it what we…

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The Habit of Habit

Well, I need to get back into the blog space but I didn’t expect to kick-off like this.  Without regard, though, it is one of those moments that a facebook status cannot cover and that cannot sit and fester in my head all day.

I had a phenomenal weekend.  I was feeling happy and accomplished and really content with where the family and my closest relationships were.  And like being interrupted after an hour of reading a great book, I have been snapped back to “reality”.  I’m a little shell-shocked.

So this “reality”, which I will continue to put into quotes, is the big crux right now.  Does “reality” have to include constant stress about what the kids may or may not have done wrong?  Do I need to hold my breath every time I’m presented with the word “So……”, waiting for the other shoe to drop?  Do I need to leave Bryan feeling like he’s left holding a big stinky bag of life without any relief or support?  My heart answers all those questions with a big resounding “NO!  Absolutely not!”.  My brain seems to be getting in the way and having a hard time catching up (or vice versa depending on the day).

So……I’m kicking off my blog again.  Not exactly how I expected but in a moment of clarity nonetheless.  Here are a couple of reminders, primarily for myself, as I try to wade back into the too-cold waters of our daily routine.

  • Emotions are fleeting. A statement may be met with an emotional reaction but it is just a moment.  The anxiety around kicking up those emotions cannot have any more control over me.
  • The plan for our family that we’re working towards is important and it makes sense and if my stupid brain would step in at the right times and let rationale thinking take over more often than not the stress that I’m creating for myself will fade away.
  • I was able to create a happiness habit. I am starting to create a fitness habit.  I can just as easily create a supportive habit and provide what my family, and most importantly my husband, really, really needs right now.
  • In the end, our reality is right there for the taking. I just have to get out of the damn way.

Here’s to me getting out of the way today and creating more new, positive habits.

From Blakow! Must be Tuesday: A Buffy Inspired Collection

They Got the Mustard Out —find more at Blakow!

An etsy treasury featuring….


Beaded Headband – Must…

$22.50

Beer. Hops, barley and …

$40.00

Lyra…Mustard yellow m…

$44.00

Yellow and green, flowe…

$21.00

Mustard seed cross neck…

$7.00

Felted necklace with w…

$23.90

Bow Headband in Mustard…

$10.00

Ceramic Bird Box Trinke…

$42.00

Mustard Bridal Pouch or…

$22.00

Mustard Yellow Glass Ea…

$18.00

Gothic Vampire Necklace…

$45.00

Decorated Clothes Pins …

$4.00

Autumn fall leaves – Au…

$10.00

Infinity – Mustard Yell…

$28.00

Mustard GOOD LUCK ELEPH…

$159.00

Vintage Sign Photograph…

$30.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Flashback: Constant Struggle

constant struggleStruggle builds character….

I’m feeling like we have quite enough character for right now, thank you Universe. How about some more progress? Just a little?

Flashback: Warped Tour 2008 – The Horrorpops

The Horrorpops at the Cleveland Warped Tour 2008

The Horrorpops at the Cleveland Warped Tour 2008

I don’t know if The Horrorpops really got a lot of love at the Warped Tour here in Cleveland. I don’t think a lot of the people there really got them.

I like psychobilly. I’m not always prepared for it in large doses but I like the aesthetic of it. The Horrorpops didn’t disappoint me. I had first heard of them a few years ago on Rancid Radio, I believe. I loved the whole look of them. The retro look that goes along with the genre is right up my alley. I never got out and bought an album, though. I guess it was out of mind just as quickly at that time.

I loved them live. I was completely surprised that Patricia Day played the upright bass (I hadn’t seen them play yet). She rocks – she’s tough and hot and feels like she’ll at least speak sweetly to you while she’s kicking you ass. Nekroman is a great matching front man for her. I love the play of the two of them together. I don’t think too many people in the crowd appreciated that – I think a lot of them were jammed in there waiting for the rest of the acts that would be on that stage later. But hopefully their stuff stuck with some of them.

The best part? A band called Automatic Loveletter, who to me looked and, for the 3 minutes I listened to, sounded like another cookie-cutter emo-pop-psuedo-punk outfit*, was supposed to be playing on the stage next to Hurley.com immediately after The Horrorpops. The Horrorpops were running a little behind and they certainly didn’t seem to care. Automatic Loveletter came out to start their set and at the same time The Horrorpops started up their last song. AL was left standing on the stage looking like idiots for a good 5 minutes at least – it was great. It was just nice to see some of the punks come out on top for a change.

*I have a number of those bands on my playlists so I’m not really knocking them. We found a new one that we really like, Between the Trees, at the tour this year. I’m just getting tired of them making up SO much of the Warped Tour line-ups.

Flashback: New Vampire Jewelry line available

“I bet she’s tougher than that…
…she runs with vampires.”
– Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

From More Everything: We’re designing a new line of jewelry inspired by our favorite books and one of our favorite subjects – vampires and werewolves, of course.

The first piece is a sterling silver wrist cuff, customized to declare your allegiance to the vampires or werewolves. The vampire edition comes complete with a cubic zirconia heart and garnet teardrop charm. The werewolf version comes with a pewter wolf and mahogany obsidian charm.

Here’s a sneak peek:

I Run With Werewolves I Run With Werewolves I Run With Vampires

I Run With Vampires

Visit the More Everything Etsy Store to purchase yours today!

Flashback: Now there’s just enough fluff in my TV schedule.

I’ve been watching some reasonably enjoyable TV as of late. The big stuff is missing, obviously, but I managed to fill enough time in my week to keep me from going through withdrawal. Eli Stone is a keeper, even though we’re 4 weeks behind (thanks to Mark) and Jericho was fun while it lasted. I had my quota of reality TV watching Real World/Road Rules challenge (and I still can’t understand why I subject myself to that anymore) and World’s Best Dance Crew (JabbaWockeeZ is AMAZING). I even have educational programming – somehow I’m completely sucked into Escape to Chimp Eden. I really didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

And then I watched the Greek season premiere (insert obligatory Cappie photo here):
New cappie

Towards the end of the episode, when Cappie, Casey and Evan all converge on the kissing booth at the same time and I yelled out loud it hit me – this was exactly what I needed. The teen drama section on my DVR has been completley empty. Without the likes of Buffy or Veronica Mars anymore I didn’t have anything on the list that had the right amount of fluff. New Degrassi episodes seem to air inconsistently and their topics try to be too heavy to fit the bill. Friday Night Lights has the relationship drama but isn’t unrealistic enough to qualify.

This episode of Greek, though, was exactly what I was looking for – and thank goodness because the to do list on my DVR is conspicuously empty.

Flashback: A little nail polish, a bit of Coraline and an email from Neil Gaiman…

[Updated 11/25/2008: I’m starting to find more boxes appearing online. I’ll post links as I can at the bottom of this post. I can’t wait to see all 50 together!]

The most amazing thing happened to me.

I got a comment on the blog by someone with a question asking me to email them. I was to send an email to “TheTeam@coraline.com”. This comment was on my post about the Buffy quote on Neil Gaiman’s blog. “Coraline.com?” I asked. Hmmm…what on earth?

So I sent the email and here was the response:

Dear Sara,

We are a group of artists, puppet-makers and animators who, for the past three years, have been working on our new film, Coraline. We are great admirers of your work online and therefore want to send you something special. Something handcrafted. We only made 50 of these something specials, and we think yours will be right up your alley. We’d love to send it to you soon, so please email us back with your mailing address at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

The Coraline Team
Portland, Oregon

Intriging…but I have to admit I was skeptical. I wanted to instantly believe that it was true – it sounded amazing and they had singled meout for 1 in 50 of something. Something that was never for sale, something that was hand-selected. Of course I wanted to shout my address from the rooftops (figuratively speaking)! But I can be naive and it felt a little strange. So what did I do – I emailed Neil Gaiman.

Yep. I’ve read his blog long enough to know that from time to time things such as these come to him through his FAQ line and since he is the most awesome of them all he actually responds.

And that’s how I got an email from Neil Gaiman. In my mailbox. He pointed me to another site who seemed to have received the same invitation. The next day the link showed up on his blog. And I had it in my mailbox before anyone else saw it.

I raced to my email to respond to the original. It had been about a week and I was afraid I missed my opportunity. But I got a response and today I found this on my doorstep:

My Own Mystery Box

My Own Mystery Box

On top of the box was a letter, sealed with black wax and a black button.

On top of the box was a letter, sealed with black wax and a black button.

Here’s what it reads:
Dear Sara,
Since ancient times, strangers who work on feature films have sent strangers with great websites mysterious gifts in the hope that they can connect over a mutual interest and come to love each other. Some people think that receiving random gifts from strangers in the mail is illicit. Not when the gifts are awesome, right?
Inside this old box is a one-of-a-kind collection we’ve amassed and cataloged with you and you alone in mind.

Why? We at Laika are nearing completion of Coraline, our first full-length animated film. For the last three years, 351 or the world’s oddest and most talented animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators have been hand-making one movie. Led by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. This team has created the first stop-motion feature shot in 3D. Based on the beloved best-selling children’s classic by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a fairy-tale nightmare steeped in classic storytelling, craftsmanship, and the old-fashioned art of moviemaking magic. That means everything is handmade. Every leaf, drawer pull, and roast turkey. Even the rusty shower water.

The plain truth of the matter is, we are pretty obsessed with Neil Gaiman. Like you. No shame there. That’s why we admire kissthelibrarian. It’s weird. It’s funny. It’s got a wicked point of view and that’s why we’re writing you. When your byline is “How Neil Gaiman Changed My Life” you know you’re dealing with an honest fellow devotee. Neil’s been to the set of our movie and each visit has been inspiring. We’ve tried very hard to keep true to his magical vision. Please keep up the super work. We’ll be reading.

Coraline is coming out this February. If we have guessed correctly that you are a curious person with access to the internet, perhaps you’ll look for more cool things about this film. This is not a secret we hope you won’t want to share. And so, we say thank you for your time, enjoy and hello.

Sincerely,
The Coraline Team

There have only been three times when I have been close to being as geeked out as I was when I opened this box: 1) When Mark presented me with a Buffy prop for Christmas (I can’t believe I’ve never posted that here before! It must have been pre-blog days), 2) When Mark got me the Strangers in Paradise panel for Christmas last year and 3) When I met James Marsters. I can’t quite describe what I was feeling. I was actually speechless when I lifted the lid and looked inside.

Whoa...are you serious?!

Whoa...are you serious?!

All I could do was blink and point until Mark came over to look. Here’s what was inside (click to enlarge):
Black Button Seal

Black Button Seal

Twitchy Witchy Blue Nail Polish made for Coraline

Twitchy Witchy Blue Nail Polish made for Coraline

The Black Key

The Black Key

C's Necklace

C s Necklace

Still of the props in the actual footage

Still of the props in the actual footage

Signed by Henry Selick!!!

Signed by Henry Selick!!!

There are no words...Need I say anything else? How about one last picture, then? And go to Coraline.com, enter BUTTONEYES for a special meet the cast feature (more passwords are floating online, such as STOPMOTION, MOUSTACHIO, ARMPITHAIR). Then be sure to watch for the film coming in February – it’s going to be amazing.
What?!

What?!

All I can say at this point, and keep in mind I’m on geek overload, is that I have learned to be grateful for my little idiosyncrasies and quirks – I am passionate for a lot of things and each one makes me who I am. It’s ok to embrace that – good things come to those who are authentic. You never know when you might find your own mystery box of sorts on your doorstep.
Thank you to the team at Coraline for putting a little more magic out into the universe.
This blog is doing a much better job of tracking the Coraline boxes than me. Check it out: http://jspake.blogspot.com/2008/11/mysteries.html