Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quotable Sunday: Intelligence

Saturday, February 18, 2012

SMMS2M: Voices In My Head

Some people have a conscience. A little voice inside their head that tells them how to do things. The voice in my head has always been my mother's. Even before she died, what she wanted, how she wanted things done held sway over me. When I read the YA novel Ella Enchanted, I understood how hard it was for the main character to resist the compunction to obey. The control that Mom had over me was sometimes frightening.

Now that she is gone, I still struggle with choosing whether to rebel or obey. A little thing, like opening a can of vegetables for dinner, can ignite an inner battle:

"Always wash the lid of a can before you open it!"

"There is nothing on this can. I just bought it."

"You have no idea as to how many people may have touched it! Wash it!"

"No-one's gonna die if I don't wash this can."

"Those are my grandchildren you're feeding! Wash the can!"

"This is stupid. I'm just going to open the can." I pick up the can opener.



I wash the can. Because not washing the can is stupid. Arguing about washing the can is stupid. Especially when your opponent isn't there. And this goes on every time I have to open a can. One example among many. Does that sound crazy to you? Yeah, me too. Guess who I'm blaming?

Every Saturday I post under the title "Songs My Mother Sang To Me" (SMMS2M for short.) If you are reading this, and if you are occasionally moved to write about your mother, or
being a mother, or that mother-f6@%er that flipped you the bird on the street, and it's a Saturday...please feel free to grab the button in the sidebar and leave a link to your post in the comment section here so that I can read it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fridays Fill-Ins: February 16th, 2012

1. Finally, I got the living room picked up again!

2.Being a grown-up sure takes some getting used to!

3. Daddy says: "You don't even really know who you are until you're forty." I will never be forty. Because I will always be twenty-five.

4. "Yip-yip-yipyipyip!" is my favorite nick name for the boys today.

5. It took a long time, but I've re-claimed the artist within.

6. Having kids means that I spent all afternoon driving to and from school commitments yesterday, though I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to I'm not telling you, tomorrow my plans include I'm not telling you and Sunday, I want to I'm not telling you! Because if I tell you, it won't happen!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Making Squid On A Bed Of Seaweed

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cookie Montage

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! I miss my husband.

"I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal." ~Vita Sackville-West

This morning, as we wished one another a happy Valentine's Day, I said to Jesse, "I don't know why holidays matter so much to me." It seems silly to miss him more on days like this. I mean, is he any less gone on other days? No. But he said, "Well, you're a sentimental creature..." and something inside me sighed, because he knows me and he loves me anyway.

I usually write a "Love is..." post for Valentine's Day, but I've had a rough day and all I want to do is call my husband and wish him goodnight. Priorities.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday's Muse: Stuff That I Finished This Weekend

I finished the blanket shawl that I started for Lisa about ten years ago. I looove this photo of her and my niece. Aren't they beautiful?!

The Modern Alchemy Afghan from the Lion Brand Yarn site. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I learned to crochet to make this, but it was weaving in all of those ends that was the real bitch!

Katie thinks that it's hers.

The dog sweater that I started last winter. She seems to like it more than the others that I've made for her.

She really hates having her picture taken. This here is her "baleful stare".

The second time that I've ever fried something for dinner. Let the boys use the tenderizer to pound the chicken breasts flat before cubing, breading and frying them. A little quiz for you: Who really liked the homemade, not mechanically processed nuggets? A)Winter B)West C)Walker or D)Katie? Hint: The answer is D, Katie. Katie loved them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme Parts 1-3

1) Put your iTunes on shuffle. Give me the first 6 songs that pop up.

Yeah. I don't know where my iPod is. BUT: I've been planning to find it and wipe it and load all of the boys' kid music onto to it and then hook it up to my iDog so that they can listen as they fall asleep each night.

2) If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be? or dead? I'll go with living: Jason Mraz. I'd explain, but I think that his awesomeness speaks for itself.
He inspires the hell out of me.

3) Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.

"They like things, you know? Good food, comfort, they're very materialistic. If you need to win him over, that could help." ~from Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

4) What do you think about most?

What I have to do next.

5) What does your latest text message from someone else say?

"Hey Mom, I'm staying after for costume measurements for the play. Can you pick me up when I text next please? Thanks. Love you! :) "

6) Do you sleep with or without clothes on?

Both. It depends on the night. Rarely sleep in more than bra and panties, though.

7) What's your strangest talent?

I'm not sure that I have a strange talent

8) Women.... have vaginas; Men.... have penises.

9) Ever had a poem or song written about you?

Not that I know of. But Jesse's drawn pieces of artwork for and of me.

10) When is the last time you played the air guitar?


11) Do you have any strange phobias?

White spiders. Usually, I'd link to a picture, but then I'd have to look at a white spider. *shudder*

12) Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?


13) What's your religion?

I was raised Roman Catholic. I'm now...less Roman Catholic.

14) If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?

Planting or caring for dahlias.

15) Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

Behind. Obviously.

16) Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?

Hot Chelle Rae.

17) What was the last lie you told?

I don't lie.

18) Do you believe in karma?

You bet your sweet bippy!

19) What does your URL mean?

"My Bella Figlia" is italian for "My Beautiful Daughter".

20) What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?

I'm not very good at taking care of myself. I rock at taking care of others.

21) Who is your celebrity crush?

This is a weird question. I don't know if I have celebrity crushes. There are celebrities that I think are really, really good-looking and there are celebrities that I love for their talent/contributions, but I don't want any of them, not truly. There are certainly celebrities that I care about, and care about what happens to them. Like Sandra Bullock. I sometimes think that God speaks to me through Sandra Bullock movies (yes, I know how crazy that looks now that I've typed it out) and I was sad and outraged on her behalf when her marriage ended and really happy for her when she adopted her son. Does that count?

22) Have you ever gone skinny dipping?

Yes. A lot.

23) How do you vent your anger?

Screaming, crying, throwing things. You know, the usual. It takes a lot to get me truly pissed, though.

24) Do you have a collection of anything?

Books. Peacocks. Pysanka. Fiestaware. Carlton Walking Ware. Cut glass. Dahlia tubers. Dachshund stuff. How long ya got?

25) Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?

Phone. Faster and easier.

26) Are you happy with the person you've become?

Yes. Although I am often disappointed with how I've squandered the brains and talent that God gave me.

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?

My boys crying or whining; laughter.

28) What's your biggest "what if"?

"What if I could turn back time? Fix my mistakes. Save Mom?"

29) Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?

Yes and yes. It is arrogant to believe otherwise, I think.

30) Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm.

My keys. My cell phone.

31) Smell the air. What do you smell?

Sissy's perfume. It smells like cotton candy.

32) What's the worst place you have ever been to?

Wow, nothing's coming to mind. How blessed am I?!

33) Choose: East Coast or West Coast?

East Coast. Broadway, duh!

34) Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?

I'm going to have to bend the definition of singer to
include Gerard Butler, because he is gorgeous.

35) To you, what is the meaning of life?

To love and be loved.

36) Define: Art.

"Art: Something created by an animal that a) brings more beauty to the world or b) helps the animal understand the world or themselves better." See

37) Do you believe in luck?

Good luck or bad luck? When asking, it pays to be specific.

38) Patriots or Giants? Or, who gives a rat's ass?

"Rat's patootie!"

39) Will you watch the game? If yes, with who?


40) Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?

Yes. I've been hit by other vehicles.

41) What was the last book you read?

Precious Bane.

42) Do you like the smell of gasoline?


43) Do you have any nicknames?

Ange, A, Anga. Mama. Dove. Shangrila.

44) What was the last movie you saw?

28 days.

45) What's the worst injury you've ever had?

I don't really know how to answer this question.

46) Have you ever caught a butterfly?


47) Do you have any obsessions right now?

Making stuff. Knitting, crocheting, painting, drawing, collaging, cooking.

48) What's your sexual orientation?

Mostly straight, a little bi. Most people are somewhere within the spectrum; few are completely straight or completely gay, I think.
I've dated couples, and enjoyed that, but ultimately identify as straight.

49) Ever had a rumor spread about you?


50) Do you believe in magic?

I have children; how could I not?

51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?

It takes a pretty grievous error to really anger me. That said, I'm Italian enough to subscribe to the old "forgive but never forget" idealogy.

52) What is your astrological sign?


53) Do you save money for anything? What?

Yes. Taxes.

54) What's the last thing you purchased?

A soda and three ice cream cones at McD's. Yes, I'm going to hell.

55) Have you ever had a relationship that you realized was lust not love?

Yes. But I still cared about him.

56) In a relationship?

Married for nearly nine years, now. We've been together much longer than that.

57) How many relationships have you had?

Four that were serious to me. A few more that were just for fun and another few that were mistakes.

58) What do you want to tell us about your day?

I was sad and tired and I'm still awake.

59) Where were you yesterday?

Mostly home, with a side-trip to the grocery store.

60) Is there anything interesting within 10 feet of you?

I'm in my LR, and currently have all of my ongoing art projects in here, so yeah, plenty of interesting.

61) Are you wearing socks right now?

No. I don't like socks and rarely wear them.

62) What's your favorite animal?

In general? Cats. Specifically? My dog, Katie.

63) What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?

Hang on their every word.

64) Where is your best friend?

Driving truck somewhere on I-80.

65) How did you end your last relationship end?

My mother half carried me from my bedroom to the front of the house to break up with him. I was crying too hard to get there on my own steam, I loved him so much.

66) What is your heritage?

Italian and German and a smidge of Polish.

67) What were you doing last night at 12 AM?

Checking on the kids, climbing into bed and setting alarms.

68) What's new?

This blog post.

69) What is the key to seduction?

Touch. A low voice. Being honest about what you want.

70) What was the weirdest thing that happened to you this week??

I was abducted by an alien named Globnark. Srsly? This is a stupid question.

71) You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?

Save the damn dog. It's alive, dammit.
This shouldn't even be a question, it should be a given.

72) You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid?

a) My husband, my sisters and my dad. I'd have to think about when to tell my kids. b) Spend it with my loved ones, making memories. Write letters and take video for my kids for after I'd gone. c) I'm afraid of pain, and afraid of leaving my kids and how it would hurt/affect them, but I'm not afraid of death or dying.

73) You can only have one of these things: trust or love.

There is no love without trust, not really. So when I say "love", know that for me "trust" lives within "love".

74) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?

Get Happy by Judy Garland.

75) Who has your cell phone number (other than family)?

What a weird question. The kids' schools, our utility and mortgage companies, friends, the parents of my daughter's friends. Lots of people.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

SMMS2M: Dreams, Phonecalls and Whitney Houston

Yes, I am cheating on my resolution by backdating this, even though I did not post on Saturday and Sunday. It turns out I'm not perfect. Surprised? Yeah, I didn't think so.

So first let me say that I'm starting to hate the "and for this weekend prompt" at the end of every Friday's fill-in because so far if I put something on that list, it 1-800-doesn't-happen.

Secondly, I had planned on writing a post about both the ways that I parent exactly like my mother did and the ways in which I've made a point to do the exact opposite. For example: I read to my kids, every day. Always have, starting when they were in utero. Winter is 13, and I'm always on the look-out for something to read with her. At the end of last year we read The Last Dragon and Chime. If you haven't read Chime yet, stop reading this post and go buy it! Srsly, it's that good. Just follow the link...I'll wait here. Are you back? Okay--so that's one of the things that I loved when my mom did it for me (us) and something that I've made a part of my kids' lives.

On the other hand, when we misbehaved in the car growing up, my mom would reach back (without looking) and just start flailing around, whacking whatever and whoever she could reach. I remember thinking, "She's outta control!" So when I had my own kids, after I could be coaxed out of the backseat where I could watch them breathe, I made it a point to reach back and hold their little hands. Or a foot. Or pat a knee. Not crazy. My kids expect me to reach back and take turns holding their hands now. They'll probably grow up thinking, "She's so needy." Sigh.

Instead of writing a whole post about that kind of stuff, I stayed up late Friday night reading Precious Bane, loving the language and having my heart broken by the drowning deaths of Jancis, her babe, and Gideon.

I woke up late on Saturday and realized that I desperately needed to go grocery shopping. My sister called, so I invited her and Luke to meet me and the kids at Perkins for brunch. Then I lured them to my place with the promise of the use of my washer and dryer and we spent the day together.

While they were here, my Auntie Cheryl called and told me that she'd had a dream about my mom. "She looked beautiful," she said, "she looked to be in her thirties with that long, black hair. She was wearing a flowered shirt ('That sounds like Mom,' I said) and I said to her, 'You look happy' and she said that she was happy. I just wanted to tell you that." And I thanked her and told her how sad I am that when I dream about mom, we always fight. Not knock-down-drag-out fighting. Just everyday bickering, because in the dream I never realize that she's gone. And then I wake up and cry because I didn't tell her how much I love her and miss her and ask her to hold me one more time. And now I'm crying again, dammit.

Then Lisa told me that Whitney Houston died and I was heartbroken. Not only at the loss of her voice, but also at the thought of her poor, poor daughter, who has lost her mom at such a young age.

Lisa and Luke watched a few episodes of M*A*S*H with me and then headed home. Sissy had gone to her friend's house for a sleepover and so, having allowed the boys to crash in my bed, crawled in with them (kind of: wedged in and clung to the edge of the mattress is more like it! Amazing how two little boys and a miniature dachshund can monopolize a queen-sized bed. A thousand stuffies prob'ly didn't help.)

On Sunday morning I woke early and made pancakes for the boys and then talked with my dad on the phone for a long time. We ended up talking about Mom, and I ended up bawling over my grief and guilt over the last time that I saw her alive. I don't think that I will ever get over it. I don't cry about it often, now, so when it happens it takes me unawares. After my talk with Auntie Cheryl and the death of Whitney and that phone call with dad, I've been crying on and off since Saturday. I still feel like crap.

That's what I was doing when I wasn't blogging, and what I would've blogged about if I had. I have to go write and postdate Sunday's post and then upload a kajillion photos for today's Monday's Muse post. I'll try to do better next week.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Fill-ins: Feb. 10th, 2012

1. When it comes time to make a decision, I have learned to try to strike a balance between head and heart. When in doubt, I go with my gut. I try to go with my gut. I used to avoid making decisions, but after years of that nonsense, I realized that when I did that, the decision eventually "made itself" and that rarely turned out well, so: now I make a decision knowing that even if it's the wrong answer, at least I did my best to guide the outcome. Does that make sense?

2. I sometimes think that my boys are thinking, "Was it 'no hitting in this family' or 'no hitting unless Mom isn't looking?' 'No hitting if she's looking', that must be the rule!"

3. Mama says (/said), "Aaaaange! Bring me some popcorn and a Diet Pepsi!" And then I'd rub her feet.

4. I wish that everyone that ever told me, "You can be anything that you want to be! Women can have it all! The sky's the limit!" had mentioned that a) you can't have it all at the same time, and b) that whole "be/achieve anything you dream" thing requires sacrifice, wanting your goal more than anything and working your ass off. Thanks for making me feel like a failure until I figured that out, guys.

5. I never saw a dance line that I didn't like (love!)

6. I went to JoAnn's again and forgot to buy zippers to mend my husband's pants again. A shopping list, Angela: not a new invention.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching movies with the kidlets, tomorrow my plans include getting that gd bookcase into the garage (I will get the bookcase to the garage, by God!) and Sunday, I want to have the house picked up and lay out five outfits for the school-week for each of the kids!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love Thursday: Valentines From West

West made these for us after reading I Love You The Purplest in class at school. He was anxious because he was only allowed to make three, and he wanted to make one for his daddy. Luckily, Mrs. Thompson let him take an extra sheet home so that he can. :)

And here's a love song, sung by Nina Simone, because my husband loves her:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Yin and Yang

"Frick and Frack! Spick and Span! Mutt and Jeff!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beautiful Writing

I've been reading some beautiful things lately. Yesterday, I looked up some Anne Sexton poems, because the fairy tale poems in her book Transformations are some of my all time favorites, and came across some poems of hers that I'd never read before, like this one:

Her Kind

have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

~Anne Sexton

And then, while reading The Trumpet of the Swan to the boys at bedtime, I came across this phrase:

"In midmorning, when the sun had gained the sky..."

and I honest-to-god thought, "How beautiful. No one writes like this anymore," and felt incredibly blessed to be able to share those words with my children.

I recently (re)joined PaperBackSwap and just today received a book that I have been searching for for ages: Precious Bane. I caught the tale end of a BBC or PBS version of it when I was about twelve and so sought out the book and loved it. I remember talking with my ninth grade Chemistry teacher about it--she'd said that it was her favorite book. That was probably the only thing I was ever enthusiastic about in Chemistry class. I am going to crawl into bed and into Prue Sarn's world. Into Mary Webb's beautiful words.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday's Muse: I Need Another Project... I need a hole in the head. But the drive to create has been relentless, lately. If there was such a thing as AADD (artistic attention deficit disorder), I would definitely have that. Pinterest is no help, either. So in addition to the afghan for Lisa and the afghan for me and the dog sweater for Kate, which are mostly finished but not quite, and the knitted red stole and the crocheted afghans for next Christmas, which I have the patterns and yarn for but haven't even started, AND my Wreck This Journal...I have begun to gather the supplies to make the following projects that I found on Pinterest:

Altered Book Visual Journal

I'd originally hoped to find some foreign language books to use for this project (I kinda think it'll be easier for me to "deface" a book that I can't actually read) but no such luck. I found these two at Half Price Books for about a buck apiece, and have gathered various ribbons and findings from my stash that I think will be a good start.

Patchwork Bunny Guys

Okay, initially I had no intention of making these guys, but then Walker (deliberately) ripped a huge hole in a pair of corduroy pants that had already been patched. And I realized that I had pretty much everything but the safety eyes already. So I picked up some safety eyes and plan to make a trio of these weird little creatures for my kids.

Vintage Jewelry Framed Mirror

That thing is just so damn beautiful! My inner magpie screams with joy every time that I see that picture. Then Winter saw it, and her inner magpie went berserk, too. I have several extra mirrors in storage, and a ton of my Nana's flawed costume jewelry somewhere, so I figure that I'll gather pretty shiny brooches and buttons and stuff over time, and when we have enough, Sissy and I will make an afternoon of making an amazing mirror for her room.

Are you inspired, yet?

This has been a Monday's Muse blogpost, brought to you by Pinterest and my insane need to "make stuff!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Scribblings #305-Lesson

There is a page in my journal marked "space for negative comments*what is your inner critic saying?" It is blank. My sister brought over the journal that I got her for her birthday and while we were comparing pages I explained that I've left it blank because I don't like to make a place for those words and feelings in my life anymore. Then she said, "Well, that makes sense. Your negative thoughts are much...darker...than other people's." And I thought, "Hunh. Really?" and then, "Of course, really!"

I seem to have been born with a larger "self-destruct" button than the majority of the population. By that I do not mean the old, "I have an addictive personality!" thing--not at all. I mean that when push comes to shove, when I'm between a rock and a hard place, when I'm hurt or scared or angry (or, if I'm going to be completely honest, off of my medication) my knee-jerk reaction is to hurt myself. It's been years since I acted on one of those urges, but never more than a few hours since one of those urges has sucker-punched me.

And so, one of the lessons that I've learned, and that I must constantly re-learn is, "This is part of who I am." Like my curly hair and my crooked knees and my loving heart, this is something that I will always live with. It sounds so simple. If you call ignoring unwanted, rapid-fire images of self-harm simple.

Luckily, this isn't my first rodeo, and my loved ones and I have built a fairly solid line of defense, the first rule reading:

Don't give it your attention. Because it fucking loves it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Six Word Saturday/SMMS2M

Went shopping, bought "driftwood" Mom.

My mom had this thing about buying stuff; stuff that she was never going to turn into the projects that she'd originally envisioned. I humored her until...I'm not sure when it was...she brought home driftwood. Actual driftwood. She'd paid for it and everything.

" do know that you could've gotten this for free?" I said. "Like, on any beach?"

She was not fazed by my incredulousness. "I'm going to turn it into blah-blah-blah-I-don't-remember," she said primly.

"Um, no, you're not," I replied, firmly and pointedly.

"Well, you could..." she began.

"No, I could not," I said.

"Now you're just being mean!"

From then on, I had only to point at an object and say, "Driftwood!" to get my point across. I'd say, "Driftwood!" and she'd say, "Shut-up!" It was just one example of the shorthand we developed over the course of our thirty-three years together. An entire conversation condensed and encapsulated within two words. (Is "shut-up" one word? I'm calling it one word.)

So what have I found myself doing lately? Trolling craft stores for hours and leaving with a packet of googly eyes and a handful of embroidery floss. Saving ripped jeans and pipe cleaners to turn into projects that I found on Pinterest. Someday.


Turns out that Anne Sexton was right:

Some women marry houses.
It's another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That's the main thing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Today's blog post has been thwarted by...

...the fact that I can't find my glasses.

Also brought to you by...The Letter Q...

...and the number 8! (Ah-ah-ahhhh!)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

I had this whole post all planned out--all I had to do was find the pictures. After going over to Lisa's to eat cake and give her the copy of Wreck This Journal that I got for her. After coming home and cleaning the kitchen and fielding West's meltdown o' jealousy because Walker (who had completed his own meltdown earlier, his about being too sick to go to Auntie's and having to stay home with Daddy) got to watch the movie Bolt. Then, after finding the pictures and prying them out of the albums that they were (strenuously) taped into...I kind of wandered off and did some paperwork while waiting for Jesse to finish using the computer. Then it turned out that he was just killing time until I was ready to blog. We don't usually suck at communication, but I guess this was our day for it. So I'm getting this down so that I don't break my resolution, but I plan to come back to edit the hell out of this post tomorrow. There will be pictures! There will be anecdotes, and effusive happy birthday wishing! So...stay tuned for that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Father Raccoon