Creative Blocks and Rocks

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Back in April, just about the time I was trying to untie my creativity from a paralysis of over-analysis and get the last few pages of The Truth about Trolls laid out, Thing2 was exploring his and putting my resolve not to limit it to the test. 

His spring time creative effort led to a rock pile in the middle of his room, the fruits of a “quarry” he and a couple friends had started near the kids’ Lord of the Flies training ground in the woods behind our house.

That was three weeks ago. The rock pile is still there.

He’s cleaned his room. I have cleaned his room-a bit. Laundry has been done. Baths have been had. But that rock pile is still there.

At first thing to wanted to hang onto it. Then he was afraid he wouldn’t clean it up the right way. 

It was a story writing itself (Élly has been very understanding, as long as her pages keep developing). 

Thing2, aware that the rock pile and the absurdities of our undeclared battle are serving as inspiration, is more determined than ever that it should stay. To his credit, however, he has moved it out of the center of the room so the rest of us can get from point a to point B without breaking or next.

I’ve decided to exercise my mom authority and remove the “inspiration” as soon as he goes to camp or I finish his story, whichever comes first.

In It Together

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My sons are the center of my life.  They are the center of my husband’s life. 

Today, Congress began changing the future drastically for my eldest son by endangering his ability to obtain insurance when he is an adult. 

Today Congress rolled back Obamacare, and with it, protection for millions of people with pre-existing conditions (replaced with high risk pools).  My son is one of those people. He was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (a lifetime diagnosis) that requires medications that would be unattainable for us without insurance. 

He’ll be a man soon, and, again – through no fault of his own –  he may find it more difficult to get coverage or possibly even job, since he will have to evaluate the laws in each state and not every employer will want to cover hires in his situation. It will  Even so, he’s lucky compared to the millions of Americans who will lose insurance outright. He’s still on our insurance plan, and we’ll keep him there as long as the law allows.

Jimmy Kimmel hinted at some of this the other night in his emotional monologue. He briefly touched on the fact that, prior to the ACA, a child like his would have reached his lifetime insurance cap before he left the NICU. If that child had appendicitis, or a broken bone, or cancer, that cap would have left many parents bankrupt at best or burying their child at worst — even if they had insurance.  

I have thought a lot about those other parents in the months since our son was diagnosed. When we get our meds, I silently thank our company for making it possible and then shake my head that anyone in a country as rich as ours might have to watch their child suffer or even die.  I shake it when I wonder how many people die prematurely because they don’t have access to the same healthcare we do, and I wonder how we benefit as a society from treating children and poor people like disposable objects. 

I call my representatives. I donate. And I shake my head. But today I’m done shaking my head.  I’ve thought about moving our family back to a country with stronger healthcare, but I’d still be shaking my head at the drugstore, wondering how people back home were managing without access.  

So now I’m still calling my representatives and donating, but I’m also looking for new ways to show solidarity with my son and with all the other people who are being pushed out in the cold. Because, as Jimmy Kimmel so beautifully stated, “We need to take care of each other.”  

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Pea Picker


i’d like to tell you I have a veggie garden because I’m really into organic everything, but the truth is there’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching my kids fight over fresh greens.  In my defense, I have stopped telling them the peas were candy.

You can buy prints and cards of this painting here

Jitter Bug

Jitter bug medicine blog 4 8 2014

There’s a bug going around the school this spring.  I usually resist the urge to pump my kids full of unnecessary antibiotics, but last night Thing2’s nose was runneth-ing over, and I got out the purple stuff.

Literally taking his sniffles in stride, Thing2 came limping over to me (apparently this particular strain of flu is being sponsored by the American Branch of  the Department of Silly Walks) and opened his mouth.  I popped in a spoonful of grape-flavor.  He danced on one foot and then the other quickly and then looked at me and smiled.

“I’m just making sure it gets everywhere, Mom.”

“The flu?”

“No, the medicine through my body.”  His legs regained functionality as he slid around the floor, jitterbugging to his internal iPod.  “And, I think it’s working, Mom.”

One of us clearly doesn’t understand how the purple stuff is supposed to work, but it might not be the guy dancing around the kitchen in his jammies.