I had the privilege of keeping watch over a four month old today. It forced me to slow down... to clean out my desk... to watch Oprah with the delicious smell of baby powder mixed with formula swirling around my head.

I snapped this photo right after she fell asleep. Looks kind of perfect, doesn't it? The cozy blanket, the chubby cheeks... you can almost hear an audible sigh.

And yet, if I hadn't cropped that photo, you'd see even more of my faded couch. You'd see shavings from a rabbit cage all over the floor. (Yeah for us! Pip won the class pet by a "hare".) 

You'd see TV remotes and coffee cups. You'd see magazines, art supplies, and carelessly strewn couch pillows.

I'm not saying we're pigs around these here parts, but we're not perfect. We're humans. We are a big slice of running late/can't find the ballet shoes/woops left my car unlocked so got my purse stolen/oh no out of milk again/really did you just say that, Stink/sorry to disappoint you again, Pip/Rex I HAVE NO IDEA where I left your keysSHUT UP ABOUT IT life pie. 

It was only in sitting with Baby V... in that stillness... that I realized, truly, what I've been fighting against this past year. It wasn't just loneliness. It wasn't depression. It wasn't anger, or Tourettes or writing angst. It was not my marriage or my body or my home or my bank account. 

It was my desire for perfection. Even though logically I knew/know I can't have it, I want it. And that's about as crazy as thinking that Baby V is going to sleep EXACTLY when I want her to because I have a column to post.

To borrow a term from an art salon I hosted a few months back, life is really about Wabi Sabi. This is a Japanese term that means finding beauty in imperfection. 

For lack of a more spiritual term - DUH.

That's what has been missing!

That is what I long for!

A word and a name for what my soul has been dying to sing about but couldn't quite put my finger on.

And now I know.

And I can't turn back.

That's what I want my blog to be about. That's my book. And most importantly, that is going to be my life goal. Every. Single. Day.

If I could wake my children up right this moment, I would beg them for forgiveness. For putting up with a cranky, sullen, and funny only in bursts, Mommy. 

Somewhere, along the way, I found God (Thank God) but I I lost my verve. I lost my humor. I lost my blog. I lost me.

But now I'm back - soon with a new name.

I'm so ready to Wabi Sabi my way into June. 

What are your perfect imperfections? Who's ready to embrace the crazy insanity that makes up our wonderful, insane, BEAUTIFUL lives!

(And on a totally selfish, self-absorbed note, what do you think of a blog called "Wabi Sabi Mommy" where my posts are similar to the ones I already write, but with a focus on the chaos that makes life fun? Is that name too long? Thanks for your input.)

As I watched my daughter bike round and round the cul de sac this morning, I saw this bird perched on the passenger window of my SUV. It would alternate between flying up and down, pecking at itself in the sideview mirror, and finding its spot on the door again.

At first I thought this routine was sweet. But then I realized, "Poor birdie! It sees itself in the reflection, but thinks it's another bird! It will forever be in agony for it will never break the facade in front of it for a soul mate behind the glass."

I couldn't take it any longer. I lugged a baby crib mattress from the garage (which I was bringing to my mom's in a grand effort to Spring Clean) and blocked it. With an obstacle that large, what could the bird do but fly away?

I thought of Harry Potter's Mirror of Erised: A magical object where one can look into the glass and see what is not really there, but desperately wished was.

What do I see in my mirror? I see a son who doesn't tic. I see a husband who doesn't work so much. I see a daughter who isn't smarter than I am and parents that never die. I see perfection. And really, who can attain that? No one but a person peering into a magic mirror.

For a moment I felt a sense of accomplishment. I felt, like that bird who flew off, that I, too, could free myself of burdens that really weren't burdens at all, but instead just little droplets of life that form the rivers of our existence: Joy, sorrow, disappointment, ambition, loneliness, fulfillment, peace, pain... everything mixed into colors as vibrant and brilliant as my K-Mart geraniums.

Just as Pip made her tenth loop around, and I took a deep breath... quite pleased with my assessment of life, I looked across the street.

There, perched on top of a weather beaten sedan, was that same damn bird.
 Apparently, if it couldn't obsess about its frustrations in one location, it would simply find another spot to do so.

I knew, like my furry little friend, that I, too, would probably fall into the same trap. Different location, same problem.

But I'm trying. Be patient with me. But if I sprout feathers on my ass, please call a doc pronto.
Every night my daughter cooks with me. She pulls up her little black chair, leans over the counter, and works.
Sometimes she grates cheese with my 1970's metal block slicer..."I'm making soft slivers tonight," she'll say.

Sometimes she chops veggies with dull steak knives. "I'll be careful, Mama. We don't want any blood on the carrots."

Other times, she'll stand like a hound dog on a porch, just waiting... waiting... waiting for that darn water to boil.

"It's ready!" she'll shriek, asking me if it's okay to put the unruly pasta in the pot.

"Go ahead," I said tonight. But be careful. I don't want you to scald yourself."

This evening she put the long yellow sticks in like a pro. At first the second half of the bundle peeked out over the lid.
But as I stirred them, they folded neatly under the bubbling water.

"Do you know why all the noodles don't fit at first?" I asked.

"Because they are hard... but then they soften up," she offered, already moving on to the all important task of fork selection.

"That's right, sweetie," I answered. "In a way, this angel hair is kind of like our hearts. They might seem hard and tough, but given enough time, they become more elastic and flexible. You know what I mean?"

"I get the stuff about the heart, it, Mommy. But did your brain remember to buy sauce?"

There's always a rub now, isn't there?

Happy weekend, friends.

My kids pulled a fast one on me the other day. "We're in our pajamas!" they shrieked.
More giggles. Then lots of action. So much action, my camera couldn't focus. It was exciting... trust me.
And then... would you believe it! I mean, I couldn't... they had their SCHOOL CLOTHES ON UNDER THEIR PAJAMAS ISN'T THAT SOOOOOOOOOOOO FUNNY????!!!!!!!!!
Pipsqueak  - who had somehow morphed into a rabbit slash super hero - was good to go.

My son, however, forgot the all important underware component. Had he gone to first grade with his wizzer dancing in the wind, that would have been funny.

Happy Wednesday to you. May you have lots of laughter and not forget your undies.

Unless you want to forget them. In which case, all power to you, my friends.

It's been a week of field trips for Pipsqueak...

And field trips for Stinker...
Pipsqueak MC'd her school assembly...
And had to bake 22 muffins for starving kindergartners...
While I'm thrilled that the seniors at the rest home got a good dose of first grade entertainment and gardening...
I'm feeling dog tired. (That's TC. Because we really needed to dog sit this week on top of our other ten trillion to-do items.)
Since Rex can fly off to Florida for a two day trip to see friends (and there's nothing more I hate than moms who martyr themselves) I can certainly take a break, too.

I might not be flying to Maui (which is where my in-laws are at this moment...lucky bastards...)
But I can carve out time every week just for me. One of those things is touring this place on Wednesday.

I've sold several cards there in the past, and I might be able to do something else with them in the future.

Funny, goofy and a little bit out there? I'm in.

Even better, I could get paid for it.

Which will get me one step closer to this.
I stole this photo from Amy's blog. I have no idea who she is, but she has great taste in kitchens, so she's welcome to share a cup of Yuban in my home any time.

Unless she's an ax murderer. In which case she can stay at her own house.

But if she brings a six pack of Diet Coke, I'll consider chancing it. (Yup, back on the evil juice.)

May all of you go out of your way to find time just for you! You deserve it! More to come next week! I've missed my little website.

More of my writing can be found at Goodhousekeeping.
Every day I have to bug my kids to clean this:
So I can go ahead and make this bed (which matches very nicely with my sister-in-law's childhood teenage furniture. All we need is a John Hughes movie and we're good to go.
Then I do dishes at a sink that's been having nightly sex with a jack hammer.
And fold the laundry that my husband daily "line dries" (on my patio furniture) in an effort to save five cents which we won't be spending on lunches out....
Which are really no big deal because at least once a month they shoot a movie on our street at someone else's perfect house (which they are able to make perfect due to all the money they are making having movies shot there) and craft service (the food people) set up a fancy bbq on the other neighbor's lawn next door.
Except I'm never invited to eat there. But that's okay. While I"m mopping my floor I can smell the teryaki. Mixed with Pine Sol and Yuban it's quite lovely!
I always get the stink eye from some big fancy grip or director for coming off like a tourist ON MY OWN FRONT LAWN when really all I want to do is back the bleep out of my driveway without going head first into the dressing room truck.

But who cares. Because I have the best life ever. I wouldn't give up my leading lady....
Or on set comedian...
For all the house bookings in Hollywood.

Though I'd appreciate if they'd clean their rooms a bit more.
Perhaps I should start screaming "I need a TAMPON!!!!!!!!!" during their next shoot. The director would have to pay me off, then I could pay a maid and a cook to come weekly - make that daily - to my house - for a year. I wouldn't feel bad at all. It's the biz, baby.

PS: My husband is mindful of our pennies since we are brats and actually own a cabin also. It's just easier to be snarky sometimes. I love you, baby.