Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Giving Tree

I had gotten use to being half present in conversations about selecting the perfect tree, dusting off the many boxes of last year's holiday cheer, and of course, the holiday rush.

I had not expected the pint sized tree that was delivered to my desk, or the bag of decorations that was brought with it. The perfect showcase for the beautiful ornament that Emma made for me.

I was not ready for what happened next...
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Here Goes Nothin'

The application has been completed.

The documents have been compiled.

Copies have been made.

Money order will be included.

Outcome: an exchange of keys?

We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Well, She Did Ask

According to Emma, I never buy her any toys for birthdays or holidays. I'm guessing she must have forgotten that the majority, if not all, of the boxes marked Emma's Room are toys. I will admit that when it comes to gifts, I'm on the clothes buying end, but I wouldn't say that I never buy her any toys. Video games are toys, right? After a little thought, I'd decided that, given the fact that she has been separated from most of her things for the past 10 months, a few toys this Christmas couldn't hurt.

After looking at the couple of American Doll catalogs that we've gotten in the mail, Emma had added one to her list. Although I'm not a big fan of their baby doll accessories, I thought that maybe the American Doll could be a good investment for her since these dolls lean more toward reflecting the girl herself, rather than playing on that whole "mothering" dynamic. However, after realizing that the choices were really limited when it came to choosing a doll that reflected Emma, and after reading this, I was completely cool on spending my hard earned money with the company. Instead, like many of the other dissatisfied moms out there, I surveyed the dolls that Emma can better relate to. I shared the Journey Girls Taryn Doll with her and she loved her, AND, Taryn is a hell of a lot cheaper than the American Doll.

Word got around my office that a doll was on my daughter's Christmas list and my co-workers presented the idea of gifting one to my daughter to show their appreciation and understand of our situation during this holiday season. I accepted their generosity, and so Miss. Taryn and her 4x4 are on the way!

This week I spied a cute little drum set at Target that I could not pass up. My girl loves the drums. She is always drumming her little heart out, all over the place, with whatever she can get her hands on that resemble drum sticks. As much as it drives me insane sometimes, I never want to stunt her developing love for the arts, or her creativity, so drums have been an idea I have been playing around with for a while. When I saw the electronic drum pad on sale, and saw that it comes with headphones, hello! I knew it would be the perfect gift for her... And then I made the mistake of stopping in the doll isle.

I think the beautiful dark skinned Barbie in the Barbie Basics collection is such a must have, and since she was on sale, I picked her up. I think Emma will get a kick out of the fact that she has a hairstyle like mine.

Barbie Basics Doll #12

I noticed that Target had another natural Barbie on the shelf too, so I could just leave her behind now could I?
Barbie Red Dress Doll

After making an executive decision to leave the drum set that I had originally gone there for, I made a second executive decision to go back today and pick it up.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for my little girl's smile. Which is why I'll also be surprising her with the bike she is expecting, six months early.

What do your kids have on their Christmas List?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Like New

No more broken glass covering the back seat, and no more annoying plastic blocking our view of the free world. I know Emma will be very pleased to find things back to normal back there in her domain. Its been like driving Miss. Daisy. I've shared her level of frustration though, and then some. I've never been so happy to see glass in my entire life. This is an experience I don't wanna revisit. Hopefully the neighborhood crazies have found other things to do with themselves.

In other news... I couldn't be surrounded by more amazing people. There have been folks that I barely even know offering up their homes to us for the holidays. Its nice to feel that warm and fuzzy feeling, and to know that there will always be someone out there who genuinely cares. We'll probably be hanging at my grandmother's for Family Holiday Extravaganza part 2, but its nice to know that we now have options.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ask and Yee Shall Receive

I'm probably one of the worst sales people ever. I don't like being one of those people that you hate to see coming. You know the ones. The ones who are shoving their books and products in your hands before your butt even hits the sofa. That's overwhelming, and I definitely can't be the moderator of an overwhelming experience. That relation can make direct selling a delicate dance. You want exposure, you want to let everyone know that you exist, and you want to make sure that they don't forget, all while not sounding like a broken record or having a one track mind.

My approach is much more subtle. I put it out there and wait for things to happen, which isn't always the best option either. Balancing the two is the key to getting products out there without cramping them down folks throats. Even though Baby Squares has been doing very well here at my 9-5, I am still reluctant at times to push, to advertise, to ask. The holidays have given me a reason to get over that. I am being told to push, to advertise, to ask, so why not? By taking that extra step, my business will not be on vacation this holiday season. I'm grateful for that.

Operation: Nyumbani

Photo Credit

Nyumbani: Swahili term for Home

Somehow, I expected this whole apartment search process to bring about more glee than stress. Not so much. I rushed over to view a place after work yesterday that left me scratching my head. I tried not to look in the owner's direction during the viewing in an attempt to shield him from the "you've got to be fucking kidding me" expression that was stuck on my face. This space was advertised as "beautiful" and "move-in ready". The pictures in the listing did a hell of a job covering up the dirt and raggedy ass trimmings and fixings in that place. And the gigantic water heater located RIGHT NEXT TO THE FUCKING STOVE. It was beautiful alright. A beautiful disaster. And I thought the place with kitchen-so-small-I-could-possibly-light-my-ass-on-fired-while-cooking was bad. Ha!

In the few days that I've been searching and viewing, I have learned a couple of valuable lessons:

1. If a building looks old and rundown on the outside, chances are its gonna be the same way on the inside, no matter what story the pictures try to tell, apparently. I had been told good things about this guy's properties, so I was in "benefit of the doubt" mode. Didn't want to knock it until I saw it. Didn't want to judge the book by its cover. I should have just gone with my first damn instinct and saved myself a trip to hell. Lesson learned.

2. NEVER fall head over heels in love with a place, because after you've fallen head over heels in love, and you've made your very best impression, upon learning that you are coming from a low-income playing field, the owner will turn their nose up and tell you to take your broke ass elsewhere. Or at least that's what it'll feel like. I mean, I really did love that apartment. Everything about it was so right, and so right for us, or so I thought.

My grandmother says the right place is out there. I sure hope so.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh Merriment

Photo Credit

"So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf,
And just enjoy yourself"
- Michael Jackson

I wasn't going to go.

Even though I was excited to see the email pop up in the inbox. I wasn't going to go. I wasn't going to ask if it was ok for me to go. Since I'm not exactly on the company's payroll, I wasn't sure if the invitation extended to me. My way of keeping a safe distance from this place and these people that I am really, really growing to like. My way of safeguarding myself against that familiar disappoint of thinking that I am a member of the team, only to be reminded otherwise. My very basic way of self sabotage. Apparent because I am the only person that I would be kidding by believing that I did not want to go. I love holiday office parties! I've gotten to hang with my bosses and co-workers in a more relaxed setting, get to know their families, gotten gifts and let's not even get started talking about that nice holiday bonus check, what's not to love about holiday parties?

I wasn't going to go.

But, my co-workers kept coming in, one by one, asking me if I was going, telling me that I should go. And when I asked the office manager if that invitation extended to me, her reply was "of course!" I was glad I went. The glass of wine with management was nice, meeting the husbands and wives was great, and getting Baby Squares orders in the process was the best. A true lesson to self to see every single opportunity, no matter how small, as one that can be beneficial. Lesson learned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Baby Squares News...

Brimmed Beanies. Sizes 0-3mths and 6-12mths shown. Pattern courtesy of Crazy Socks Crochet.

I can cross another one off the list. Another pattern successfully read and executed, and well received, as I had just churned out a few samples of this hat and got 2 orders as soon as the photos hit the Baby Squares fan page on Facebook. Those hats are now warming their new owners heads! There is nothing greater than a happy customer, especially when that customer is a wee one.

I'm thinking of investing in a better camera soon. With this winter weather and my schedule, its just not possible to always get the best shots, in the best locations, exactly when I want them to be done. My camera does not take the best indoor pictures. But, I'm not gonna let that stop me from sharing my pieces or listing them. These hats are now available in the Facebook Storefront. I'm hoping to spend some more time with them as we head into winter break. Emma really wants one. I'll be finishing up the majority of my Christmas crafting, and making a few donation pieces too.

QuellyRue Designs

I was really excited when Karen of Naturally Beautiful Hair contacted me to let me know that I was the winner of this super cute tote! I have been sporting it ever since I took it from the packaging, which was equally as cute. The designer was so sweet to include a card and everything. I thank her for being generous enough to offer such a beautiful piece of art up for grabs. That's exactly what this bag is, with its hand painted reflection of natural black beauty. Natural or not, if you are a woman of pride, this bag will definitely state that as it hangs on your arm. I've thrown everything from my crochet projects to my Macbook in this bag!

If you're as in love with this bag as I am, you're in luck. QuellyRue has one available in her Etsy shop! Same great hand crafted statement of empowerment, different collaboration of beautiful color and color placement. Have a look. Also, check out all of the other cute accessories that QuellyRue Designs has to offer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Picking Up the Pieces

My Saturday morning surprise

The fact that its Sunday morning, and I'm here at work peering out at my car, which still has a backseat covered in glass, means that I obviously shut down at some point yesterday. The fact that my backseat is still covered in glass, and I am due at my company Christmas party this evening before picking Emma up, obviously means that I'm internally overwhelmed by this experience.

Although nothing was stolen or even touched, I feel an extreme sense of violation. I tend to shut down when my personal space and/or personal things are violated. I want the situation to be remedied immediately or it all just becomes too much. Seems silly, but for me, that's just the way it is sometimes. It could have been a LOT worse than what it is. The car could have not been there when I came out yesterday or it could have been a window other than the smallest that was busted out, however, it doesn't exactly make this easier for me because it just adds one more thing to my already full list of to-dos. I'm working this weekend, and working tomorrow, which leaves my window covered with plastic until Tuesday! Not cool. This would be a perfect time for a clone. To be able to push a button and have her appear. Close my eyes, and when they opened everything would be like it was before the neighborhood Crazy decided it would relieve his stress by smashing a couple of car windows.

According to the officer on the scene, that's who was responsible. Break ins are not unusual in the area either. The neighborhood fiends like to break in cars from time to time. I was hoping that it wouldn't be just a matter of time before they picked mine out of the bunch. Which is another thing about this situation that pisses me off. If you're gonna come along and bust my shit up, at least have a fucking reason behind it. I can completely understand if you were looking for some shit to steal, but damn, just because you saw it there and you couldn't control yourself? THAT is some bitchassness, to like, the millionth power. Anyhoo...

So now I am literally left to pick up the pieces, which are covering my child's car seat. Berkeley, we can't get back to you fast enough!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Crafting

The beginnings of a scarf and a blanket

Its December! Since most of my funds will be going toward our new future apartment, I thought I should get started making a few gifts. You can never really go wrong with something handmade. Emma has been asking me to make her a blanket for the longest, so I finally spotted the perfect yarn and picked it up the other day. I started her new blanket last night. It will be a classic large granny square, in colors that coordinate with her Princess and the Frog bedding. Thought it would be a nice touch to her new room.

Along with this blanket, I'm making a puff stitch scarf as a gift for someone else. This is my first time trying the puff stitch. I got off to an interesting start, but as the rows progressed I started to see that I was right on target. Its gonna be a nice one. So grateful for Teresa's tutorials! I'll be throwing a few hats into the mix too, and my Christmas gifting will be complete.

How are you handling holiday gift giving this season? Will you be getting crafty? Will you be buying handmade?

Bits and Pieces

Each Thursday, for the past 5 weeks, we have been attending a class, in which we sit around in a group, without the kiddos, and listen to what the doctor has to tell us about conscious parenting. I like her, the doctor. She's unconventional. She has to be one of the most unorganized people in the world, yet extremely well put together in her thinking and delivery. Her approach is holistic, which I really dig. A nice break from those peer-over-their-glasses-at-you types. She's funny, yet serious, and she isn't afraid to be organic, which is a must when you realize that you've forgotten half your teaching materials at home. Each session just flows on its on, a collection of bits and pieces.

Last Thursday, the doctor asked me what I've gotten out of the class, the ways in which the class has helped me with my parenting. I struggled with the answer. Emma is only 7, so I clearly don't know all there is to know about parenting, however, I do feel that I kinda have this whole conscious parenting thing down. I am very much in tune with the little human being that once grew inside of me. Probably, even more now due to this journey we've been on for the past eight months. I struggled with the answer because I realize it is "me" that I am not in tune with. But that's nothing new.

I remember doing my grandmother's laundry, and noticing how many nice pieces she had. Remembering how, when I go to the store, I will often put everything I've picked for myself back, and end up over-buying for my daughter. Its not all about you anymore; The children come first. I never treat myself, I only buy out of necessity. And even when buying out of necessity I am trying to hit the best bargain possible, and grilling myself about if I really need those new underwear, or that new bra, or those work pants. Obviously I am also very conscious of putting everything and everyone else before my own needs.

Last week, as I removed my boots after work, I noticed why they don't quite wear the same.

I've literally walked the sole out of my boots.

So guess what goes on my list of things to buy?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

1. The best thing about a birthday celebration is its atmosphere of appreciation.

2. If you aren't careful, you could get lost within the passage of time.

3. I went shopping recently and the most interesting thing I bought was the book, Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks.

4. My favorite child's game has always been Candy Land.

5. The reason is always important to know.

6. Its always exciting when the Bay Area experiences snow and cold.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finding a special place for my new plant, tomorrow my plans include shipping an order and Sunday, I want to get to bed early!

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