Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Several different Jake attempts
I sat beside Dylan at a loss for how to help as he hung his head heavily in deep despair.  Strewn around him lay several attempts at drawing Jake, the most recent of which had caused him to declare, "This looks nothing like him," before taking his forlorn pose at the table.  Somehow, his plans to draw a book about Jake had taken a turn for the worst, and I knew better than to think that my high praise of his drawings would do anything to change his own critical eye.

"Should we call Aunt Michelle?" I asked.  "Maybe if she came over to draw a picture of Jake, you could try to draw one like hers."  It was the only idea I had, and I was pleased when he agreed. 

Artists at work
"What part of his drawing is he upset about?" she asked over the phone. 

"I don't know.  He just says they look nothing like him, and he is really upset."  I added details about the pile of discarded Jakes all over my table.  "There must be six attempts here, and he isn't happy with any of them.  Is there any way you can come over?" 

Well, Aunt Michelle came to the rescue, and the pair got straight to work.  Jake even got in on the fun, posing for his portrait.  I had to laugh when Michelle started criticizing her own work, erasing a too-long neck.  "I think it looks perfect," Dylan said.  "It is just right."  But Michelle pointed out that he likely gets his perfectionism from her and proceeded to work on the proportions. 

Michelle's quick sketch
They studied the dog, trying to get his spots in just the right places.  And Dylan, usually stingy with his compliments, pronounced the final product to be "so good."

And then he realized his kindergarten motor skills wouldn't be able to accomplish the detail.  "I'll never be able to draw it like that," he complained, back to his dejected square one. 

This time, I knew what to do.  I taught him how to trace Michelle's version onto his own piece of paper.  It was like magic.  He was thrilled to be able to get the basic shape right using the guide and then color it on his own.

Later, in speedy and high-pitched tones, he told his brothers all about his process. 

"Are you satisfied?" Adam asked.

"No!  I'm not SAD!  I'm happy!" he answered.

Kirk and I giggled silently while Adam carefully tried the question again.

"No, Dylan... are you sat-is-fied?"

"I don't even know what that means."

Finally sad-isfied

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Gift to be Simple

I think Jack was in 5th grade the year that he gave me my favorite present I ever received.  That year, the school he attended held some sort of activity where students could exchange tickets for gifts for their family members.  Jack had carefully selected one item for each member of the family and informed my mom that he wouldn't need any help Christmas shopping that year.  He had it under control.

He wrapped each gift and started what became a several-years-long tradition of including a handwritten note in each.  I don't remember exactly what mine said, but I still keep the gift he gave me displayed proudly with my prized possessions. 

I had been collecting porcelain dolls for several years, generally receiving one each birthday and Christmas.  By this time, I must have had nearly twenty, with two favorites in particular marking important milestones in my life.  My mom gave me a beautiful doll with brown curly hair clad in a beautiful gold and black dress when I graduated from high school.  The second I received on my wedding day. 

I guess Jack knew this about me, although I hadn't realized he had paid any attention.  But when it was my turn to unwrap my gift, I revealed a six-inch tall porcelain doll in velvet and fur carrying a Christmas package.  That he'd picked it out on his own meant so much to me.  That he had paid for it with his own tickets added to its sentimental value.  But that Jack knew I loved porcelain dolls has stuck with me ever since.

It's that time of year when I probably ought to start thinking of Christmas.  When gifts need to be bought and wrapped in preparation for the joy of Christmas morning.  As I head out into busy stores with flashing lights and noisy advertisements, I hope I can remember my joy on a Christmas 12 years ago and remember 'tis a gift to be simple.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Important Questions

There I am, fully engrossed in Scarlett's giggles, when I hear Dylan's still-tiny voice pipe up from a few feet away.  "It's fun to have a baby around, isn't it Mom?"  I nodded and smiled, still cooing and receiving huge baby grins in return.  He continued, "Maybe we should get one."

I laughed and asked him where he thought we should get one.  "I don't know," he said, pausing to think.  "Maybe you should ask Michelle.  She knows how to get one."  I laughed, and he looked up questioningly.  "Oh... are you just kidding with me?"

"Yes, I am just kidding, honey.  I know how to get babies."

For the record... bad answer.

"Oh.  How do you get babies, Mom?"

I gave him a brief, euphemistic explanation.  "Well, usually babies come from moms and dads who love each other."

"Well, you and Dad love each other every day."  Another long pause.   "I think you might accidentally get a baby." 

And so explained that Daddy and I decided not to get any more babies.  So the doctors made it so we can't accidentally get any.  I reminded him that is why we get so excited when Aunt Lisa and Aunt Michelle have babies, because we get to borrow theirs.  I told him he would have to wait until he finds a girl to marry before he gets any more babies.

"But you and Dad will be dead by then!" he exclaimed. 

"No, we won't.  We get to be your babies' Grandma and Grandpa."

"Oh.  Will I still be living at this house?"


Glad we cleared a few things up.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Are We Friends

I love to sort through my blog drafts and find half-written gems I can finish.  I especially love the super random kind that make me wonder, "Where was I even going with that...?"  It is in that spirit of generally questioning my own sanity that I bring you a quiz I wrote in January. 
1 point for each of my siblings that you can name
2 point for each of the Casdorphs you have met
5 points if you know what Casdorph means
5 points if you can tell a funny story about Charlie
5 points if you have played games at my house
10 points if I have played at yours
5 points if you have been awkwardly hugged by Kirk
10 points if you don't think it's awkward
5 points for every time you have seen me cry
10 points if we hug regularly
1 point for every show
    We were in together
    You saw me in (or that I directed)
    I saw you in
    Or a member of your immediate family was in with me
10 points if you can name one of my favorite authors (James Dashner isn't one, btw)
1 point for every time you brought me food
And... go.