I went in to get something off of the printer and was confronted with this:
That’s me, 15 years ago, with hair halfway (or more) down my back. And I contrast that with this:
Taken just a month ago. Hard to believe I actually wore a tie, isn’t it?
I have hair again, by the way. Not as long as that top picture, but more than the bottom one. I’m not sure where that old picture came from (well, I know where it came from, I’m just not sure where it has been hiding all this time, or how it managed to surface now).
This is what I care the most about. Making sure that these unhappy faces …
Look like this …
As often, and as much, as possible.
That, and teaching this one some better make-up skills.
Yes, it’s cute now, but as she gets older I hope she learns to be a little more subtle with the colors and the application. Though, from what I understand, subtlety in make-up seems to be ‘out’ right now. I’ve been seeing more TV lately, and I’m not impressed.
I’ll also look for more natural beauty like this …
whenever I can. But mostly it’s about the smiles. More smiles for the ones I love. More beauty in the world.
The Tot has been introduced to the concept of Chapter Books. Books longer than a single reading can cover, so she has to keep the continuity from one day to the next. She gets about 3 chapters each night, and she loves it. Her first chapter books were the “Ivy + Bean” series by Annie Barrows. Even I found them to be entertaining! Sadly, we have finished them. But in them, Ivy is always mixing potions for various things. She never has quite all the right ingredients that her potion recipes call for, but she always makes do with what she has.
Needless to say, The Tot was entirely taken with the idea of making potions. She now has a potion-making station on the back deck, and has collected all sorts of things to use in her potions. Fresh (well, now dried, but it was fresh when she picked it) rosemary, some basil, some other grasses and weeds from around the yard (I wish she’d pick more weeds, for sure) and food coloring.
Her potions are complicated, and take a lot of mixing, and they are for all sorts of things. The most recent batch that we made and poured all around the outside of the house was to keep “bad guys” out. Mrs. Tot took a whole series of pictures of the food coloring going in to one of the potion jars that The Tot uses (she has a pretty fancy collection these days), and I was so taken with them that I strung them all together in (yet another) animated series. Check it out below:
Now if she could just make a real potion that worked for love.
I’m raw. I feel as if 30 layers of skin have been sanded off of me, leaving the nerve endings exposed, sensitive, screaming out in their raw pain. Nothing to protect them from the chill air that only ignites them further. No protection. Nothing to deaden them. Nothing to soothe.
In turn, each organ has been taken out, laid bare upon the table and examined in front of me. One at a time. Kidney. Spleen. Churning stomach. Until finally my heart, always hidden and never exposed, was placed beating on the table in front of me. I could do nothing to protect it. Could not move to cover it. But just sit and watch it beat as others looked on. Watching as if in a dream, yet fully awake and feeling every second as each held it in turn, and passed it around the room. Each one gawking at its flaws and imperfections yet treating it with care. Each beat an eternity of immeasurable pain. The care and loving hands hurting worse than the exposure at first, though lessening over time.
And once the examinations were complete I was simply packaged up in plain brown paper and tied with the cheapest of twine before being sent back out into the world. A world that knows nothing of the exposing of my nerves. A world that does not see that I am still holding my own heart in my hands, desperately trying to keep it beating while shielding it from damage. I look at each passing person and am sure they see the scars, the throbbing nerves, the open, gaping wounds. Surely they see this damaged heart in my hands. Surely they see what is wrong.
But to heal I cannot hide my damaged heart. I cannot cover the abraded nerves or wrap the wounds in layers of gauze and tape. To heal I must leave them open. I must hold my beating heart out and offer it to others. I must show the wound and speak of the depth and length and breadth of it. I must be careful not to dive too deeply into it lest I become lost. Overcome or swallowed up in the chasm of darkness and unending hurt. Blind to the care shown by my comrades.
And I stand here, holding this damaged, barely beating, scarred and imperfect self in my hands, offering it to another, hoping they don’t turn away in revulsion at the wreckage. The nerves jangle at every minute perception, looking for any reason to convince me to cover them, bandage them, soothe them and hide them from the world. Everything on high alert. But the healing will only come from allowing them to remain open and exposed and seen by all. The pain is an illusion, though it is at the same time so astonishingly real. It will heal. The excruciating jabs will become warmth and joy and life. Somehow. Some day.
Last spring, at the neighborhood garage sale, I found a small espresso machine for $5.00. That’s about what a good Cappuccino costs at most coffee houses. I couldn’t resist, so I bought it. I know, most people that own one use it seldom, if ever. It’s a novelty that quickly wears off.
But then this happened one Saturday morning.
The Tot thought it looked like a Paw Print. We all agreed with her assessment and chuckled. Then the next morning this happened:
Some of us thought it looked like a heart. Or a turnip. Or … we realized that my coffee was a homemade rorschach test. And that’s when it hit me. I wonder what would happen if I took a picture of my cappuccino every morning for a while, just to see what sorts of changes and interesting images we might see.
The “Coffee Project” was born. The challenge wasn’t in motivating myself to make a cappuccino every morning. That was the easy part. I was getting god at making them, and thoroughly enjoying drinking them. No, the hard part was in taking a picture, every morning, from exactly the same angle, the same height, the same perspective, the same view. I considered setting up a small tripod, or duct-taping a camera to the underside of the cabinet, but all of that seemed to be too much effort. No, I would just use my iPhone and eyeball it.
I wasn’t sure how long to go. A month? 6 months? A year? Wing it. See how long it lasts. Well, the time has come. This will likely be my last blog post for a few weeks, and I thought I’d go ahead and knock this out while I could. It may be a while before I get back to making Cappuccinos in the morning as well, so this seemed like a good time.
I’ve truing them all together in an animated GIF for you to see the whole month (well, 38 days, actually) of the Coffee Project.
I will try to put up a gallery of all of the individual images as soon as I have some time (but that won’t be for at least a few weeks, so check back!)