Friday, December 31, 2010
Many people aren't aware that while lovebirds do naturally pair themselves in the wild, they are better kept as pets without a partner... well without a bird partner anyways. If they are introduced to their human companion prior to pairing up with another of their same species that person will be their partner moving forward and they are very compassionate little creatures. I am aware that birds are not the first animals to come to mind when conjuring up images of cuddly, lovable pets. They can't curl up on your lap like a cat or dog, and they aren't exactly hugable. I have even been informed by numerous people that they are actually quite scared of birds, and for this I blame Hitchcock (although I admit there are some rather menacing birds out there). My experience with Cami, however has proven birds to be a very loving pet.
I put in my request to be notified by a privately owned pet store when their lovebirds hatched and upon receiving the call I made my very best attempt at convincing my parents to drive me out there that very moment. The babies weren't ready to take home yet, not until they could eat on their own (6 to 10 weeks), but I was instructed to choose one of the newly hatched and come back to visit as regularly as possible.
Originally I had wanted a blue or green lovebird, and despite them being nearly featherless it was fairly easy to tell which color each would turn out to be... Cami had other plans; as I reached into the cage of newborns, towards a soon-to-be green birdie, she plopped herself right down in the center of my palm. She was strange looking... red eyes and a few scattered tufts of white feathers sticking out here and there, but she felt just right. To identify which bird belonged to which patron they made a colored mark on each one's forehead... Cami's was orange and it just so happened that the feathers that later grew in on that spot were of the same hue, however what was white turned yellow and her red eyes became a slightly darker more muted version of their original shade (though still red).
She came into my life at a time when I really needed a silent confidant, an unconditional admirer. There were many tears in those first few years and she many times sat with me on the rim of my glasses cleaning my eyelashes from the dampness with her beak. She gave kisses, nuzzled my chin and fluffed up her feathers until she looked more like a fur ball than a bird and cuddled up to take naps with me quite often. I have never had a more compassionate pet in my life, or a more knowing friend. Sure she bit on occasion and chewed up more than one of my favorite books... but when I really needed her she sensed it. It didn't matter that she couldn't speak to me or embrace me in consolation, it was better that way. I believe that her wings worked double duty. She was not just a bird, she was an angel, sent to bear some of my deepest emotions for me when I was unable. She came into my life to remind me that I wasn't then, nor am I ever truly alone.
I have rebuilt many of the relationships that were broken when she came into my world, and have made many new ones since then. I can confide in people now the way I was once only able to open up to a "voiceless" bird. My secrets are safe with my husband, and I share my idiosyncrasies that I used to hide with my family and friends again. But, Cami will always be the one who taught me how to find my way back to me. There were plenty of other contributors to that journey of course and I wouldn't be here at all today if it weren't for my family... they were the foundation upon which I was built and walls that kept me safe (from myself). I do believe, though, that Cami was sent to me on purpose, and for a purpose. She was a message from my Creator. She couldn't speak to me in my own language, but her intimation could not be ignored. Her communications were not lost on me.
I know now that it was the right time and that, that chapter of my life had ended, but her death still came as a shock to me. It wasn't that her physical deterioration was not obvious, or that I was unaware that her lifespan was drawing near it's end. I was more taken aback by just how natural it felt in spite of the pain her passing inflicted on my soul. It felt right, as much as it hurts to admit that. She waited for me to wake up that morning, the 23rd of December. It wasn't until I came over to her cage to refill her food dish that she began to act strange. From that moment it happened extremely fast. It was within mere moments that she was lifeless in my hands. I did not expect to witness her death. I really thought I would come home one day after being out to find her gone. Maybe I assumed it would be easier that way and was naively expecting at the very least a physical detachment from her death. But instead it was the other way around. Emotionally, though I cried many times and did indeed feel much grief, I also felt relief. Relief for her and for myself.
Rest in Peace my dearest Cami. You will never be forgotten.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Step 1) Purchase itty bitty picture frames and holiday themed scrapbook paper from your local craft supply store
Step 2) Use cheesy generic model photo as a template to outline and cut out the proper sized background for your frames:
Step 3) Replace all aforementioned insets with your scrapbook paper cutouts:
Step 4) Dump a heap of awesome vintage buttons on your workspace so that you can easily view them all and properly determine which ones will work together in terms of size, style and color. (My buttons came c/o my Mother-in-law)
(the ridiculously cute mug directly below was from Modcloth,
alas they no longer sell this item)
Step 5) Cut off protruding button loops where applicable to create as flat of a surface as possible to glue onto your frame:
Step 6) Try not to burn yourself while using hot glue gun to affix three buttons to framed background (from largest to smallest working from the bottom of the frame up). Then, as haphazardly as you can, draw on little snowmen arms with a sharpie (Note: I learned that a brown marker has a more aesthetically pleasing result when using a combination of light colored frames, backgrounds and buttons)
Step 6.5) Enjoy some much deserved Buffalo Wild Wings:
Step 7) Gift wrap however you see fit and distribute to the intended recipients.
Step 8) Graciously accept all the "Thank you"s and "This is so clever/creative/cute/etc..." comments all while thinking to yourself "that tutorial was rather unnecessary, an image of the final product would have been rather self explanatory"
Step 9) Stay tuned for more "I could have figured that out myself" tutorials!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Ok, so there was still quite a bit of black involved, but what can I say I'm a little goth girl at heart!
Christmas Eve 2008 I wore, almost exclusively, pieces picked up at Target in a last minute dash (dress, over-the-knee socks, bracelet and necklace). The earrings were from a little boutique I cannot remember the name of, two towns over from me. The boots were a gift which I believe came from Kohls. The swallow ring was from Modcloth and the feather headband (which unfortunately is not extremely visible in these photos, trust me it's gorgeous) from thefourthstar.
Last Year was even more fun, but it seems only one photo was taken that documents my attire. Had this photo been a full length of me standing you would have gotten the full effect of the skirt as well as a visual of a pair of the most amazing black ankle boots.
From top to bottom
Hat - thrifted (stolen from Mom)
Scarf - Kohls
Faux Fur Shrug - thrifted
Black turtleneck - H&M
Silver Skirt - T.J.Maxx
Red Petticoat - Spirit Halloween
(nylons & ring unknown)
At the risk of family seeing this year's outfit prior to the Christmas Eve party I am going to include what I will be wearing this Friday night.
Note to family members: it may be silly but I would prefer you wait til then to see what I am about to post so kindly scroll no further
From top to bottom
Hat - thrifted (stolen from Mom)
Dress - Modcloth
Belt - Hot Topic
Footless Tights - no clue
Over-the-knee-socks - Target
Boots - DSW
For the record I am not intentionally ignoring green as a holiday color in my ensembles (as I am with gold, which looks terrible on me) I am just so drawn to the black, white and red combo that I have yet to get bored enough with it to force myself to be creative with a new pallet. If I had the money to drop at the moment however, I would be wearing this dress in a heartbeat!
What will you be wearing to your upcoming holiday festivities? I'd love to see!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
As is often the case I made the process much more difficult than it needed to be, but was proud of the results and therefore do not regret the effort expelled. So if you are looking for DIY Christmas gifts to give out in bulk (co-workers, party favors, or just extremely large extended families such as mine) read on.
Layer the following ingredients in your jar (note there are multiple layers of flour which for easy reference add up to be 1 and 1/8 cup):
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Note: I use slivered Almonds when making these cookies for myself
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line
with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1
egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and
mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the
prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown.
Cool on baking sheets, or remove to cool on wire racks. Makes 18 cookies
It is rather unfortunate in my opinion (and my arms, if they had an opinion, I'm sure would agree) that my favorite cookies cannot be prepared using my most favorite of appliances, my red Kitchenaid stand mixer. Trust me though, it is worth it!
The gift bags are a matter of personal preference, you can buy ready-to-go ones from your local shop or you can do what I did and cover your floor, yourself and maybe a pet or two in hot glue adding buttons, fake poinsettias, and other holiday paraphernalia to green paper bags (from Walgreens). I used a hole punch and some raffia to thread the top edge of the bags with a festive-type bow and filled the empty space inside with that pretty, but really annoying colored paper-shredding stuff! (my crafting tutorials are bound to be very technical and specific as you can see)
The final step is the most important of them all... use your leftover ingredients to bake as many cookies for yourself as possible and pig out in the name of Christmas Cheer!
Stay tuned for the next installment of DIY Christmas.
Friday, December 17, 2010
The date came quickly and soon my mother and I were sitting side by side in a small intimate theater both in awe of the amazing talent and passion being displayed on the stage before us. As the concert went on and I sensed it was nearing it's end I remember thinking to myself "I won't be disappointed at all if she doesn't play "I Don't Want to Wait" or "Where Have All the Cowboy's Gone", she probably feels tied down by the obligation to sing the major hits. I'll be happy as long as she sings the song, the one that made it's home in my heart all of those years ago... Please, oh, please." And then as if she read my mind Paula began telling us that she had been informed on many occasions by therapists that this next song had helped a sizable number of their teenage patients. I knew then that a lifelong memory was about to be made... I felt the tears well up in my eyes before a single word left her lips. I grabbed my moms hand and we shared a knowing look as Paula filled the air with the words I had repeated to myself so many times "I am not the person who is singing, I am the silent one inside, I am not the one who laughs at people's jokes, I just pacify their egos".
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The reality of the matter is I am beginning this project as a challenge to myself as well as an attempt at re-establishing a measure of accountability now that I am a stay-at-home mom and don't have much of an audience. You see, I do truly believe in the old adage of dressing for success. As a woman I am particularly aware of the effect my appearance has on my mood and overall state of mind. There is something magical that happens when we feel comfortable in our own skin and the garments that adorn it... we can begin to focus on other things and get on with the business of living our lives. Doing the things we really want to do.
Truth be told I love it that way. Simple it is not, but that is life, and what are our wardrobes really if not a reflection of our lives? Most days I revert to jeans, a t-shirt and my trusty old Chuck Taylors out of pure confusion (generally coupled with the fact that I am always running late). But the older I get the more I've realized that the days I've chosen to take chances with my ensembles and live it up seem to also turn out to be the days I choose to really live my life not just get by. This correlation is the true motivation behind the "Schizophrenic Style" portion of my blog.
So comfort zones and comfort clothes be damned! Today was meant to be lived not survived, experienced not just checked off the calendar. Lets do something truly groundbreaking in today's world and come alive. Get dressed in what feels great, then forget all about it and go do whatever it is that you are really meant to be doing!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
As it so often turns out I have assigned a disproportionate level of importance to a detail that has little to do with my end goal.
I have spent a good deal of my life trying to solidify in my own my mind, as well as the minds of others, the belief that I am a truly unique and valuable individual. At the same time I have been painfully aware that in and of itself this desire puts me among the vast majority of people who are striving for the same thing making me the opposite of unique. So based on that admission you can now easily pinpoint the origin of my "name" dilemma.
So here it is. 'Taxidermy Worms' is a random band name that popped into my head a while back (and currently holds the esteemed position of my avatar's moniker in the embarrassingly addictive Rock Band video game). The name has been rolling around my brain ever since. I never seriously considered this title as an option for my oh-so-important blog as it lacked depth of meaning and try as I may I was unable to invent one where there hadn't been before. Maybe someday a deeper reason behind my affinity for this combo of words will reveal itself to me but for now I present myself to you (the internet) as yet another blogger with a not-so-much-clever-as-catchy name writing in hope of adding something of value to the world wide web.... or maybe just the world. I will come up with something equally as odd if I ever get around to learning to play an actual instrument and starting a band, since this is now taken.
In addition to the title conundrum I have been going back and forth on several other blog related decisions internally for some time. I told myself these were issues I could figure out as I went along but in an insomnia-induced moment of clarity I realized that the name itself made no difference to me, the real issues at hand were whether I would attempt to anonymize myself and more importantly if I was going to join the ranks of the "mommy bloggers" by discussing my son (and future children) on my blog... and if so what do I feel is okay to write about in terms of children who do not yet have the ability to discern for themselves what they do and do not want posted about them on the internet? One thing I have internalized from having a computer genius as a husband is that everything.... every little tiny thing that you post on the internet can be traced back to you with enough effort and expertize. With that in mind I have decided I am not going to go the anonymous route, or create some awesome alter-ego 'stage' name, although I have to admit it does sound mighty exciting in that "I am a woman of mystery and intrigue" sort of way. In contemplating that option I found myself skating dangerously close to that original impulse go all out and invent an entirely false version of myself, since you know, I'd be playing at the anonymity game anyways. That route, I believe would only take me away from the true point of this blog, which is real honest vulnerability to the purpose of uncovering truth and beauty. A place to reflect, purge, and most importantly grow.
Where, then, does that put me on the issue of logging the on-goings of my offspring in such a permanent and unforgiving venue? Well, to be honest, I have a feeling that there will be much evolving over time in my stance on this issue since it's far to early for any of us to know the ramifications of this form of "record keeping" on this upcoming generation and on our children as individuals. For now I will simply run everything I post through the "how would I like the world to know I did _________ as a baby (kid)" filter in my brain before posting. Of course you can also rest assured knowing I will not be posting details such as locations, dates, and times of upcoming events for the safety of everyone involved.
Bearing all this in mind I welcome you to join me on this journey! I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I intend to!