Spark of Madness: Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

12 Aug

You’re only given one little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.

Robin Williams 1951-2014

I began to sit down at my computer, eyes full of tears, to try to memorialize a man I’ve never met. Knowing first hand how galling it can be for those bereaved who are left behind after a suicide with their demons and their questions, forced to listen to others pretend they “feel” their pain, I tried to think of what I might say that could adequately and appropriately describe what this man and his comedy meant to me. How he touched my life with necessary laughter after the suicide of my baby brother, during a year when I felt as if the bottom had fallen out of my entire world.

How to convey that I grieve for his loss while understanding in the grand scheme of things his was not my loss.

As I made myself comfortable with my cup of coffee and my pathos…the button popped off my favorite jeans. Not just my favorite jeans, my ONLY non-maternity jeans that still fit my rapidly expanding ass. Something inside me snapped and my watery eyes turned into full blown crocodile tears, no longer for the loss of Robin Williams, but for my jeans and-most importantly of all-my ass.

And then I started to laugh.

How appropriate.

24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Dazzled by Market Square

24 Jul

Things To Do In San Antonio-Andi Kay edition! If you’re looking for something fun that does not involve the River Walk or the Alamo check out this eclectic attraction…

Anakalian Whims

When I was in San Antonio Saturday, my best friend dragged me to the old Farmer’s Market – dragged is too harsh, that makes it sound like I was kicking and screaming and I wasn’t.  I was happy to go and see something new, was excited about it really, except I looked past the archways from the street and my stomach sank… people.  Lots and lots of people.  Crowds didn’t bother me much when I was younger, they couldn’t, I went to a 5A highschool and if you were nervous in a crowd you’d drown in a sea of elbows.  (I realize now that maybe they did, I just often had a hand to cling to – my now husband – when walking through those crowds, not sure my bestie would be down with me grabbing her hands to hold in public… doesn’t stop me from wanting to.) Doesn’t change…

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My Summer Playlist

11 Jul

Ella-girl and I have been bee-bopping around to these songs all week, her in her little sundresses and I in my yoga pants. Reminiscent of the days when Andi Kay and I had playlist upon playlist in college for every mood, season, and weather pattern within the mood-seasons, I created this one two summers ago to enjoy as I wrote on coffee shop patios in the sunshine. I’ve barely touched it since, but I adore it.

Tonight as my children are asleep and my husband is out and about and my peppermint tea is steeping, I sit in my almost quiet house and…

…enjoy.

  1. Motorcycle Drive By-Third Eye Blind
  2. El Cerrito Place-Charlie Robison
  3. Hands Down (Acoustic)-Dashboard Confessionals
  4. Springsteen-Eric Church
  5. God Of Wonders-Third Day
  6. Come Over-Kenny Chesney
  7. Never Gonna Leave This Bed-Maroon 5
  8. Resolve-Tonic
  9. Look At Miss Ohio-Miranda Lambert
  10. Summer Skin-Dashboard Confessionals
  11. Fake Plastic Trees (Acoustic)-Radiohead
  12. Anything But Mine-Kenny Chesney
  13. I Want It To Be-Tonic
  14. I Never Told You-Colbie Caillat
  15. Blinded-Third Eye Blind
  16. Alabama-Cross Canadian Ragweed
  17. Stolen-Dashboard Confessionals
  18. A Murder of One-Counting Crows
  19. Stay In The Clouds-Zee Avi
  20. You Wanted More (Acoustic)-Tonic

WRC 2009

Log Off and Smell the Lattes

3 Apr

Adore.

Anakalian Whims

DSC03062 The phrase used to be ‘stop and smell the roses,’ I don’t know that it’s an entirely accurate turn of phrase anymore.

I am a busy lady with lots of activities, but mostly I’m busy on the internet.  I have my personal accounts, and most things started out as hobbies, but somewhere along the way all my hobbies turned into jobs – and most these jobs include manning facebook, twitter, pinterest, and a whole host of other social media.  Not just for me and my writing career, but for my art company, bookstores, and, well, everyone.

Because I do all this from an actual computer, because I don’t have what I call a ‘fancy’ phone or any kind of ‘spectacular device’ (smartphone, ipads, and whatever other twenty-first century gadgets the world has at their fingertips these days), when I go on vacation, or even a business trip, I get a…

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An Unquiet Mind: Buying The Horse

9 Mar

I did not wake up one day to find myself mad. Life should be so simple. Rather, I gradually became aware that my life and mind were going at an even faster clip until finally…they both had spun wildly and absolutely out of control.

I have no idea what it’s like to live with manic-depressive disorder, but I do know what it is like to live with an unquiet mind. A brain that is broken. Because of my deeply rooted anxieties, my attention deficits, this book by Kay Redfield Jamison  had many quotes that resonated with me. 

There was a neuronal pileup on the highways of my brain, and the more I tried to slow down my thinking the more I became aware that I couldn’t.

Otherwise known as a Tuesday afternoon in Emily brain.

I had developed mechanisms of self-control, to keep down the peals of singularly inappropriate laughter, and set rigid limits on my irritability. I avoided situations that might otherwise trip or jangle my hypersensitive wiring, and I learned to pretend I was paying attention or following a logical point when my mind was off chasing rabbits in a thousand directions.

I’m not sure what is more exhausting some days…actually chasing the rabbits, or pretending that I do not see them. My life revolves around my “hypersensitive wiring.” The same way I coddle my children, planning their day around when they have slept and eaten and when they will need to sleep and eat again, I must coddle my nerves. My moods. I’ve always viewed this as a weakness, but perhaps it is a strength, a blessing from God…in the face of faulty wiring, the ability to recognize and maintain.

Well, mostly maintain anyway.

I occasionally laugh and tell [my husband] that his imperturbability is worth three hundred milligrams of lithium a day to me, and it is probably true.

It probably is.

High Fidelity: A Jock’s Review

6 Mar

For the past few weeks I have been picking my way through High Fidelity by Nick Hornby as kind of a candy break for when my brain hurts from picking my way through Possession by A.S. Byatt (review pending). So far it has been a light-hearted read, though I do find myself highlighting unfamiliar English phrases to run by my Lincolnshire brother-in-law next time I see him. I assume most of them to be profanity. I just want to better grasp how things are being profaned.

Last night while I was at work my husband read the first fifteen pages or so, and was not impressed. He said the protagonist was whiny and made too many excuses about his problems with women. To be fair, my husband looks like this:

...but with long hair now. Yeah. Let that image simmer for a minute.

…but with long hair now. Yeah. Let that image simmer for a minute.

So I’m not sure that he is the best candidate to offer sympathy to men who have fallen on hard times with the ladies. I’ll be taking his opinion with a grain of salt and finishing the book.

“I just don’t have any sympathy for him.”

“That’s because you were a jock who got all the bitches he wanted.”

“Yeah. That’s pretty much it.”

Crafting: A Beatrix Potter Birthday Party

4 Mar Confetti Paper (AKA "The Introduction")
Birthday Booties

Birthday Booties

My Ella-girl will be turning one in a few weeks and her first birthday party is sneaking up on me. Sneaking in the sense that I am not losing sleep over it this time around, not that I have forgotten it.  I don’t do parties as a rule. I don’t attend them and I don’t throw them. First birthdays are a big deal, though, and they demand some special attention so for the second time I am rolling up my sleeves and ordering everything from Etsy…

…or am I?

Confetti Paper (AKA "The Introduction")

Confetti Paper (AKA “The Introduction”)

When my son had his first birthday party we were moving the same weekend. I remember sitting down with my sister and a computer and my debit card and after a few hours on Etsy-blamo!-we had a beach themed swim party that arrived neatly in a box two weeks later. No muss no fuss no drinking into the wee hours of the morning, and it was stinkin’ adorable. For Ella’s birthday I was prepared to do the same thing.

Maybe the prices in the Etsy shops have gone up. Maybe I’m no longer prepared to drop $20 on glued cardboard pieces. Maybe being surrounded by turbo crafters is beginning to rub off on me, because I conferred with my cousin who agreed that, yes, I could do it, and for less.

The First Cut Is The Deepest-Tristan Puzzle Piecing Mr. Jeremy Fisher Back Together

The First Cut Is The Deepest-Tristan Puzzle Piecing Mr. Jeremy Fisher Back Together

I made a trip to Hobby Lobby with my kids and picked up supplies to make the cupcake toppers and confetti, along with some other garden decorations to go with the theme. A few months ago I bought a Peter Rabbit Treasury-identical to the one I had as a child-out of clearance for $2. Today, it became my hapless confetti victim (after I double checked online that I would be able to easily find the same edition again).

I bought two craft punches, one with the three flower and leaf designs for the confetti, and a larger stamper that Tristan dubbed “the cracker one” for the cupcake toppers. I started by mangling the pages of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher in the back of the book for practice because, umm, eyew. Even as a child I thought he was gross.

With my son by my side-finally getting to do all the things he has been dreaming of doing to books since birth-I worked for an hour with my new tools, amassing the courage to tear out the all important pages of Peter Rabbit at the front of the book and turning them into flowers of their own. I’m confident by party time I can have an Etsy-fabulous day without shipping and handling fees.

And if not…who would like to volunteer to bring me wine?

Working On It

Working On It

Narnia Briefly At White Rock Lake Park

28 Feb

One of my favorite things about living in Dallas is the availability of badass parks. Whether you are an extroverted or introverted human with extroverted or introverted dogs or a mix of little brown extroverted and introverted children…somewhere, there is a park in Dallas to take your menagerie. We like Crowley Park in Richardson for weekend picnic breakfasts, Haggard Park in Plano to meet our Colony living cousins at halfway, Flag Pole Hill Park at White Rock Lake for a windy view on a hot summer afternoon, and White Rock Lake Park (if there is an official name for this playground near Mockingbird I could not find it) for a sunny spot on a day that could otherwise be too cold in a windy place.

Feeling Better

Feeling Better

After this week-this week, that had everything they expressly leave out of posh parenting magazines (in order that humanity should continue to procreate and keep Baby Gap afloat)-I really, really needed a great park to take my recovering children. This week there was vomit. There was fever. There was diarrhea. There was midnight cartoon watching with one sick kid turned into emergency room trip with other sick kid. Ninety-seven loads of laundry later, we emerged unscathed from the seventy-two hour poop-a-thon and in need of only the brightest of sunny spots.

After a trip to my store for snackage we found ourselves at what I have always called (and I am open to correction) White Rock Lake Park. We were only there for twenty minutes, as my son took advantage of a sweet mother daughter moment (pictured above) to sneak away from the playground and back into my car resulting in a frantic tri-mother search of the park that lasted far longer than I was comfortable with.

Before this unfortunate episode-that my husband is hopefully not hearing about for the first time here-I did get the chance to take some pictures of Tristan with one of my favorite features in the whole of Dallas: The Trees.

Fallen Tree or Entrance to the Land of Narnia?

Fallen Tree or Entrance to the Land of Narnia?

I half expected Mr. Tumnus to pull him through to the other side.

I half expected Mr. Tumnus to pull him through to the other side.

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?

Fireside Reading: The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid

15 Feb

For two days while it snowed and melted and snowed outside again, my kids and my dogs and my hamster and I lived in our house with the central heat off. This proved to be a fun experiment in saving electricity, and a free one, as my father sent me home with boxes of wood over Christmas from a tree he cut down just for us.

Alternative Title: Normal Can Be Interesting Too

Alternative Title: Normal Can Be Interesting Too

I lit a fire in the morning and for 12 hours each day we did nothing that was not within five feet of its flames. My son watched a lot of Disney movies (including 101 Dalmatians three times in a row) and I felt no shame because-as someone pointed out to me recently-everyone knows television your kids watch during a snow day doesn’t count.

Having began and subsequently lost my copy of Bill Bryson’s Made in America, I decided to read another one of his books off my shelf during this unexpected period of guiltless downtime that had fallen into my lap (or rather into my yard).

My kid days were pretty good ones on the whole. My parents were patient and kind and approximately normal. They didn’t chain me in a cellar. They didn’t call me “It”. I was born a boy and allowed to stay that way. So what follows isn’t terribly eventful, I’m afraid.

In The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bryson puts to rest several of my concerns, the worst being that my husband and I are ruining Tristan’s chances of being a great writer one day by not being abusive tyrannical alcoholics. We may not be the best parents, but so far his childhood does not include much that would fill a memoir by today’s standards. How can one have anything to say while growing up surrounded by warmth and love and food and parents who keep their crazy somewhat under control? Bryson shows it is possible not only to write about bizarrely pleasant circumstances, it is possible to still make them interesting. Proving even though my son has a house and a yard and a dog he falls asleep with and bookended sisters to teach him the ways of women so he’ll never have problems getting one and parents who like each other and most days like him too…he can still grow up and make the New York Times best seller list.

Do non-literary parents lose sleep about these things?

My Own Thunderbolt Kid

My Own Thunderbolt Kid

The Thunderbolt Kid also helped rid me of one last fear by reminding me of this: It’s ok to let little boys be bored. I don’t know that it necessarily demonstrates that it’s wise to let little boys be bored (I would detail some of the mischief they got into here except my nine year old daughter is reading over my shoulder…) but the guilt I feel to be a “helicopter parent” (booking my kid’s every moment with activities and ensuring that not a second of their day goes unplanned) disappeared as I read about the adventures little boys were having in the fifties while left to their own devices. Not only did Bryson grow up during the appearance of television without his brain melting (hooray!), he came away from his childhood with stories and memories he could never have made if his mother had been planning his every move.

It was a cheerful book, that left me feeling sad at the end. My son will never be able to roam his city with a group of other little boys, it’s not the fifties anymore. On the bright side, he will also have less of an opportunity to blow us up in our beds.

It’s a difficult call.

No Winter Lasts Forever

13 Feb

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

Snow Day

Snow Day

Hal Borland

I’ve had the Counting Crows’ A Long December trapped in my brain in the most emo way possible since the start of the new year. I always feel this way in February, as if I may never be warm or sane again. When I was childless this meant hunkering down for days in the local coffee shop with my journal and my books and my latte fetish, waiting waiting waiting for sunshine and tank tops and bare feet to make their appearance in March. Coffee shops make everything better. Now the February blahs are even more powerful, trapped inside running up catastrophic electric bills trying to stay warm while my son, Tristan-The-Uncontainable, wistfully stares out the window day after day pining for the outdoors (if he limited his grief to pining the winter would not be so bad; the pining lasts for maybe twenty minutes at best and then it is replaced with The Hulk levels of destruction).

December is my friend. December is my salvation. December is a carnival distraction filled with twinkly lights before the novelty of bulky sweaters and hot fires with my hotter husband wears off, leaving behind it an emptiness that begs to be filled by lying on the beach in a teeny tiny bikini for a week (…with my hotter husband).

If one of my talented friends could write me a song and title it A Long February, I would be grateful.

Brenda Knowles of space2live

Honor your introversion, sensitivity and relationships. Pay attention. Reflect. Evolve.

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