Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quote of the Day

It's not a lot of fun parenting teens.  This is not news, I know.  Like millions of parents, we are going through the natural, normal, but still uncomfortable process of children separating from us to forge their own identities.

I've been having an especially hard time with our youngest.  He was always "Mama's" boy.  Even at his most temperamental in his preschool years, Mom was the one he was slightly more willing to listen to.  I was the one who covered his ears during fireworks shows, holding his head to my chest to help him feel secure while watching the bright lights.

At times, this was itself a burden, when I was elected to manage him in difficult moments.  He would still react negatively to the medicine, or consequences, or disappointment.  Just less so if it came from me than his Dad.

When he turned 10, it seemed to me like he was irritable all the time.  It got so that his Dad became the enforcer of discipline instead of me, as the old dynamics reversed 180 degrees.  Barley tried to apologize to me one day after a particular blowup (we have similar temperaments, btw, so we can both blow up at the same time.  DH and Teddy duck for cover), by telling me he was sorry, then explaining, "Lately, you just annoy me every time you talk..."  That didn't really make me feel better, but it did make me laugh that day.

On the eve of a trip out of the country, which I am secretly looking forward to escaping all the teen drama in the house, Barley and I are irritating each other again, just as usual.  With Mother's Day around the corner, I keep thinking about how little he really loves me at all.  I don't like looking at old photo albums which just remind me of the closeness we have lost.  Today I commented to him that it really makes me sad how he doesn't really love me as much as he used to.  For once he didn't take the opportunity to reply sarcastically, and instead, he said,

"No, I still love you just as much as always.  I just don't express it anymore."

Did he come and give me a hug and affirm how much he really does love me and will miss me while I'm gone?  No, of course not.  He's still a teenage punk.  But that was definitely the nicest thing he's said to me in a very long time.  I had to write that one down.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Writing Scents

The image above links to an interesting article by Alistair Gee in the New Yorker.  A friend posted this to his FB account, and it caught my attention immediately!  I love this article--please take a moment now to read it.

I thought, I could probably write a blog post about smells--then realized I already had in my FB status.  I have a very strong sense of smell, and my spouse does not. He once asked if it was good or bad for me to have that, and I realized it's probably good for survival and health (I can easily tell if food is "off"), but not particularly pleasant. Usually when I notice a smell he does not, it's something foul.  Lucky guy--he doesn't ever smell skunk--wish I could say the same!

BUT, I've also had the joy of returning to the East Coast to visit a friend, after living in CA for over 10 years. The smell of the Atlantic was different than the Pacific, and evoked "home" for me. Lacking the "smell lexicon" from the article, I couldn't describe the difference, but it was very clear to me. 

I had similar experiences returning to Korea after leaving at age 6. Smells I had not encountered for almost 2 decades smelled of childhood to me.  I blogged a while back about the persimmon taste memory.  The smells were more elusive during my trip.  I would walk down a block, and a smell that was totally familiar would sneak up on me, but attempts to trace it (is it that plant?  Did we pass a restaurant?) were usually fruitless.  Some melange of the chemical, household cleaners, maybe b.o., no doubt the difference in diet all played a part.  (OK, fire off the kimchee jokes now!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sewing Upgrade

I have a lovely friend who has passed her sewing cabinet to me, and it is changing my life!

Here is the before picture:
Because the steelcase fold-up table is large and ugly, I only pull it out when I have machine quilting to do, and a few other tasks before banishing my sewing machine back to my bedroom.

Instead, I now have this:
Note the handy cubbies on the swing out door to the left.  And the sewing machine sits on an elevator, which goes up or down.
Here it is lowered, with the plastic inset for a flush surface--I was able to have the existing inset recut to fit my machine thanks to the lovely people at TAP Plastics!

And when I am done sewing for the day, all nice and tidy:
 The basket on top is my defense against the temptation to pile ON the nice flat surface.  Next up, replacing the metal rolling chair with a nice wooden one, if I can find one comfortable/ergonomic enough.

Having my sewing machine in the main living space means I can sew for short periods of time (the table in the bedroom is covered in archaeological layers of stuff), and without separating from the rest of the family.

Instead, I think the space upstairs might get turned into a reading corner, when isolation from the television and family sounds might actually be more desirable.

When we first discussed this a few years ago, I pictured my mother's sewing table.  Four thin legs, and a table in which the sewing machine resided sideways, to be lifted out.  One small swing out leaf for an extended table.  Nothing like this modern wonder!