Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Pee-Pee

Phillip: We had the Pee-Pee tent up at school today.

Me: The what?

Phillip: The Pee-Pee tent, you know like Indian's used.

Me: Oh, the Tee-Pee.

Phillip: Huh...ya, I guess it's the Tee-Pee.

My Guy Sam

Last night, at the big birthday party with the family, wrapping paper flying everywhere as the boys all three open their presents at the same time, in total chaos, Sam says...

"Oh, I really, really wanted this. I have no idea what this is, but I really wanted it!"

It takes so little to make that guy happy, such a loving heart.

Day 15: I Blew It

Well, I blew it. I missed day 14. Even though that takes me out of the running for the contest, of which I didn't even really understand, I am going to go forward and try to finish out the month posting something every day. This may be impossible given my current work load, but I will try.

I got to my desk yesterday around 4:30AM and didn't stop until my head hit the pillow at 9:30PM. I worked, played tennis, worked a bit more than then got ready for and hosted our extended family for a combined birthday party for Phillip, Samuel and Andrew. Needless to say, I was and think I still am exhausted. 4:30AM again and I am back at my desk...must get to work! An interesting post later or tomorrow, I hope. However receiving very few comments, which isn't too encouraging when it comes to thinking of things to write about.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Day 13: Oh, That Sound!

I can hear it from a mile away. Click, Eeewww. Someone clipping their fingernails. Am I the only one in the world whose mother taught me that this and all other personal grooming should happen in the bathroom? The worst culprit seems to be older men. They pull their clippers out standing in line, at the Y, in restaurants, wherever.

I was recently in a meeting with an older man in a restaurant-a business meeting-and out they came. He clipped, trimmed and clipped some more, paying close attention to a stubborn hangnail. Just make a mental note to get it when you get home-in your bathroom! Same thing at the conference I just went to in Nashville. Smack dab in the middle of a workshop, out came the clippers!

Fingernails are gross. And, they are rather personal. Seriously, they hold DNA. Why would you want to spread that around?!?! Mothers of boys, let's all make a pact to teach our boys that trimming your nails is a personal hygiene habit, that while necessary and important, is best done in the bathroom.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Day 12: A Meme I Can Actually Do...I Think

I am back in Indy after four days in Nashville. Catching up on reading my blogs early this morning and I came across this. Despite the fact that I really don't like reading these kinds of things, I am going to post one on my own blog. I think this is one I can actually do, that requires little knowledge of pop culture or finite conclusions (although I admittedly edited it slightly).

1. What is your occupation? I describe this in many ways...depends on who is asking...and if I think they seriously want to know or are just being polite. To be brief, I am a consultant or a writer.
2. What color are your socks right now? White
3. What are you listening to right now? My kids watching "Air Bud," the soccer version, whatever it's called.
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Three buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup.
5 . Can you drive a standard? Yes, all women should be able to further reduce our need to depend on a man. One car is a six speed (Mini) and one is automatic (van).
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? blue, blue, blue.
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Jeff, my husband.
8. How old are you today? 34 and a half.
9.Favorite drink? I only drink four things: water, 7-up, coffee and apple juice. Water is my favorite, unless I see someone going for the tap to retrieve it (yuck!). Oh, and wine. I love a nice glass of deep red wine on a cool winter night.
10. What is your favorite sport to watch? Tennis or basketball
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes, of course...I am an American woman!
12. Pets? One cat named Kitty. She is available to a good home!
13. Favorite Food? Are you serious? See...this is one of those questions I just cannot answer. Which meal? Which season? Am I in Indiana or traveling? Who is cooking? Too many to choose.
14. What was the last movie you watched? High School Musical! "We're soaring..."
15. What was the last book you read? No doubt something about parenting.
16. What do you do to vent anger? Yell and blame others. :) Sad, but probably true. I eventually come to my senses.
17. What was your favorite toy as a child? Art Supplies or babies.
18. What is your favorite fall or spring? Spring.
19. Hugs or kisses? Hugs, followed by a kiss to seal the deal.
20. Cherries or blueberries or Strawberries? Strawberries, unless it has something to do with pound cake and homemade whipped cream, then strawberries and blueberries. Dried cherries on salads, but no cherry pie.
21. Living arrangements? Five in the house. Jeff and I share, Phillip and Same share, Andy is on his own and a guest room.
22. When was the last time you cried? It couldn't have been that long ago, but I don't remember (who wants to).
23. What is on the floor of your closet? Nothing. I hate things sitting on the floor.
24. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Stacey. We have been friends since we were five. Do the math! That is 29 years. Still exchange emails, cards, photos and visit (live in different cities).
25. Favorite smells? Another tough one. Food? Outdoors? Indoors? Natural? Man-made? I love the smell of anything vanilla. I love the smell of onions sauteing in butter. I love the smell of a cake baking, I love the smell of Hyacinths. I love the smell of spring or before it snows.
26. What are you afraid of? See previous post about irrational fears. My rational fears? In no particular order: Scary dogs not on a leash. Creepy men (and, you know the kind I am talking about). Loosing someone in my family. Going broke.
27. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheesy turkey burgers. The only beef burger I will eat is from 96th Street Hamburgers, about twice a year.
28. Favorite dog breed? Golden Retriever
29. Number of keys on your key ring ? house, garage, car and others to who knows what!
30. How many years at your current job? 6
31. Favorite day of the week? Tuesday
32. How many states have you lived in? Two...Indiana and Pennsylvania.
33. Favorite holiday? Christmas

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Day 11: Unpop Culture

I read all kinds of lists on blogs, but most of them I am not qualified to create for myself. For example, I saw a recent post of "pop culture" on She answered questions like favorite movie quote, favorite song from the 80s and favorite song intro. Okay, I cannot even name a song with an intro...see how non-pop culture I am?

You should see how many quotes she has listed from movies! I cannot even name five movies in theaters right now. The last movie I saw in a theater? I don't even remember. The last movie I watched on On-Demand? Probably The 40-Year Old Virgin. I don't really like movies as I don't seem to have the attention span for them. And, quite frankly there are so few that at the end, I feel like they were worth the investment of even half of my time. Walk the Line, okay, Walk the Line was awesome!

Favorite 80s song? Well, music really isn't my thing. I have plenty of timeless groups/artists that I love (U2, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, anything Motown or Philly-sound, and miscellaneous other artists that provide occasional listening pleasure. But, for the most part, I listed almost exclusively to NPR or Radio Disney when my kids are in the car. So, that means I am singing along to Arron Carter, Hannah Montana, Ashley Simpson, and Jesse McCartney. My favorite Radio Disney repeat these days is that song, "Unwritten." An ipod is simply an unnecessary investment for me.

Besides, in the the 80s, I was listening to anything but 80s music. Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bob Dylan, the Dead. I think the bottom line is I have never been in touch with pop culture and long ago gave up hope of every being in touch with it. I love to read People Magazine, but I know who less than 25% of those people are or what they are famous for. On top of it, I am not a black and white person--"Favorite" as in just pick one? Nope, that doesn't work for me. Never have been much of a "choose one" kind of girl.

I think I have come to accept the fact that I live in my own little word for culture and it ain't anywhere near pop. but, that is okay. I am sure I have lots of other great things to offer the world beyond the name of my favorite 80s hair band.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Day 10: Six...I Mean, One Degree of Separation

So, I am still here in Nashville at this conference. It is not too great. Enjoying the time away and taking a break from my daily responsibilities, but the conference itself sort of sucks. I think it hit me this morning that what I do is much different than what most of the people here do. I don't think these folks are exactly my "peers." I don't have much in common with them, I don't think. And, I don't mean that in an arrogant way, even if it may sound that way. I just mean it it in the sense that my primary focus is on something else, something different than most of these folks.

Now, the story I want to share. I am totally fascinated with the theory of six degrees of separation. And because I frequently strike up conversation with strangers, I always experience it...and I love it. Last night, I was having dinner in the hotel restaurant alone. I got a tasty glass of wine and was just relaxing, enjoying the moment. A woman was seated two tables down from me, also alone and obviously here for the same conference I was. She ordered and then I struck up conversation with her and invited her down to have dinner at my table.

She joined me and we went through introductions. She said she was from Springfield, Missouri. Wow, I said, that is amazing, my brother went to school in Springfield. Springfield is not the biggest city, so it was a bit of a coincidence. I told her my brother was a pastor and did his undergrad at Evangel College and went to seminary at the Assemblies of God seminary in Springfield. "That's where I work," she said.

Oh my goodness...I told her my brothers name and SHE KNOWS HIM! The world really is a small place. I love it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day 9: Me and My Irrational Fears

I admittedly have several totally irrational fears. In fact, for those of you who know me know that I have many oddities about my personality (but that is why you love me :)). Now, before we judge, let's just admit that we all have them...some more than others and some stranger than others, but we all have them. And, they certainly don't stop me from functioning, but they are thoughts that go through my head during certain routine tasks. Today I am going to share some of my most irrational fears (why am I doing this, I have no idea).

I remember about fifteen years ago, I remember watching Oprah one day when she had rape victims on. This young woman told her story and it forever stuck with me. She took a shower in the middle of the day at home and when she turned it off and opened the curtain, there was a man standing there. He grabbed her and violently raped her, then got up and left. To this day, I hate taking a shower at home, during the day or night, when no one else is home. I swear I always here things and peak out of the curtain to try and reassure myself no one is out there.

One night, we had dinner at someone's house with three other couples that we didn't know. Two of the three were memorably odd. One of those odd couples told the story of their young daughter tripping in the kitchen and falling backwards into the open dishwasher. The dishwasher was open, as they were loading it after a big steak dinner. In the silverware tray on the bottom shelf were several steak knives, which plunged into the back of their daughter's leg as she fell into the dishwasher. They said she stood up and several knives were sticking out of the back of her leg. Never forgot that story! I hate knives in the dishwasher (first of all, it is bad for the knives, but second of all--this!) and get nervous when my kids run through the kitchen as I am loading. I even make sure I put "sharper" dinner knives with the tip down.

Another in the bath tub. I don't have any "babies" any more and often walk out of the room briefly while the boys are in the bath (Sam and Andy usually take a bath together). Trust me, I can hear that they are okay; they are very active in the bathtub. Even though I can hear them in there and know they are fine, I always fear when I turn the corner into the bathroom I will find someone face down in the tub. I must know what I am doing is slightly risky and therefore expect the worse when I return. Of course, I never have thank God.

I have an irrational fear of anything related to vehicles backing up. Either me in a parking lot (it takes me a while to back out because I have to check so many times to make sure I won't hit something) or me or anyone else in the driveway where the kids are playing. I will be inside working on dinner, hear Jeff start a car and have to fight the urge to go out there and check to make sure no one is behind the car. This fear obviously stems from the number of running over stories I have heard over the years, including the one of an IPD officer (like my husband) who ran over his daughter. Typically, our policy is to take the smallest, hardest to keep an eye on child in the car with us as as back up. But, I still fear an accident. Maybe this one isn't so irrational.

Finally, my fears of vomit. This one is so bad, it is less like an irrational fear and more like a full-blown clinical phobia. In fact, it is a whole entry within itself. One day, I will take the time and the risk of disclosing my lunacy on this issue. On the irrational fear side, I would say it is safe to say some of my peripheral vomit phobia fears focus on issues like someone throwing up in the movie theater or at a restaurant, etc.

So, how about you? Got any irrational fears, anything that you know as a rational human being is most likely NOT what is going to happen, but that your subconscious still reminds you of? Public speaking? (I love that) Fear of heights? (I am sort of with you on that one, and it isn't too irrational, as hello....people die when they fall from high places) Fear of clowns or bananas?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day 8: Nashville

I arrived in Nashville tonight with two colleagues for a conference. I am exhausted...up since 4AM this morning, traveling, out to dinner, and moving hotel rooms three times. Yup...three times. As soon as I arrived in my room, I went to the bathroom and flushed the toilet and could tell something was wrong (just pee, folks). I had to flush three times just to get the toilet paper down.

I called the front desk, they sent up maintenance (or "engineers" as they call them in hotels). He said they would need to come tomorrow morning and replace the toilet. The whole toilet! My colleague, Stacie told me I really needed to change rooms. I called the front desk, they said they could move me and already unpacked I said let me think about it. I rested for a bit before we headed out to dinner. Then, pee again before we left. The toilet was even worse, I thought for sure it was going to overflow. Stacie is right, I had to change rooms.

I did, and they clearly "down-graded" me and put me on a smoking floor (nonsmoking wing of a smoking floor--whatever--it stank). I asked to be moved again. Well, I got an even wierder room, but I am going to make the most of it (or try). I am seriously disappointed. It's a Lowes hotel and I had seriously higher expectations. Lowes are usually very upscale and contemporary. This almost looks like it used to be something else and they turned it into a Lowe's. Either way, I am here.

More tomorrow, I hope. I am too tired tonight!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Day 7: Phillip's Fall Photo Journal

Here are some of Phillip's shots on a fall afternoon. In about twenty minutes with the camera (yes...our Nikon D70) Phillip took over fifty pictures. I will spare you the details and just share some highlights.

This is me in the tree, preparing to jump into the leaf pile. The boys do this and it just looked like so much fun. Of course, I got stuck in the tree and had a big bruise and scrap on my thigh.

Here is a shot of Andy walking through the leaf pile waiting for Samuel to climb and jump.

Samuel heading up the tree ladder.

Andrew enjoying someone's bottle of water (of unknown age, but at least days old).

This is a fascinating shot. Only to be out done by the next.

Finally, a view of the beautiful blue sky...a sky like this is part of what makes fall in Indiana so spectacular.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day 6: Three Uses for Pumpkin

I love baking in the fall. Warm breads, tasty treats, the smell of cinnamon. I spent yesterday morning baking several fall treats. I love anything pumpkin. Here are three uses for canned organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling).

1) Ginger Pumpkin Bread with Glazed Vanilla Icing (Phillip and Sam's pick).

2) Pumpkin Cake with Honey Icing (Jeff's pick).

3) A laxative for your dog. It's true. If your dog is constipated or needs to pass an object they have swallowed (like our old Golden who would eat anything, including bars of soap), give them a can of pumpkin puree.

See? Now you know. I saved you a $145 trip to the vet!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Day 5: Shabbat Shalom

We spent Friday night at my dad's house enjoying Shabbat dinner. Shabbat dinner is a celebration marking the beginning of the Sabbath, starting Friday at sundown (Sabbath for Jews is Saturday). It is an evening of relaxation, great food, a little ceremony and prayer, some wine and time with family. We had a great time.

The boys were "good," meaning from some people's standards, they probably looked more like wild animals, but they displayed relative restraint, periodic listening and most importantly, a real enthusiasm for just being there. My dad and his wife relocated to Indianapolis in May from Miami. When I think back to just a year ago, I never imagined I would be huddled up in my dad's house on a crisp Friday night sharing food and drink by the light of a fire. The boys were supposed to spend the night, but had changed their minds by evenings end. In time, I am sure they will be ready and more than willing.

I am so happy to have my dad here with me again. Most importantly, this further expands my children's network of unique adults who care for and love them deeply. Differences are important to me, so I am pleased that the experience for them of my dad's house is so greatly different than the experience at my mother-in-law's house or even my mom's house. Each member of their circle offers amazing and unique gifts to share with them, important lessons to teach them, and admirable qualities to instill in them.

They need to have many examples to choose from when deciding what kind of person they want to be. What I must do is provide the best examples I can, and for me...that is our family.

Jeff's mom brings to the table a traditional sense of family life, a real "Granny," a view of all things old-fashioned and lots of junk food. I am not sure "no" is in her vocabulary and she lets them stay up past 10PM! when they spend the night (they are almost always in bed by 8AM at home). Those are important things to experience.

My mom offers a lifestyle much different than ours. An apartment downtown, lots of pretty things to look at, an interest in building their individual personality and nurturing the distinct spirits in each. They walk, play in the park, play on the computer and actually try new foods (healthy foods). She brings a sense of relaxation, a total absence of urgency (unlike me who is always rushing from one thing to the next), and a spirit of curiosity.

My dad and his wife bring a worldly view of culture, religion, creativity and exploration. They teach the boys to look, notice and think. Ineke lets the boys try things above and beyond their limits, even if it means failure just so they can try and experience. They encourage creativity and my dad plays along with their silly games and endless potty humor.

Just the inner-most core of our large family circle, each of these individuals has qualities that I admire and that are critical to making my children into whole people, who will go on to do great things.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day 4: The Cucumber's Uncertain Future

I walked into Wild Oats today with a Lesbian couple probably in their late 60s. At some point during their shopping in the crowded produce section, they became separated.

Lesbian #1: Honey...Sweetheart, over here.

No response.

Lesbian #1: Sweetie, over here, I am over here sweetie.

No response.

Lesbian #1: Honey, honey...(hands waving).

Lesbian #2: Oh, I couldn't find you.

She says as she rounds the corner holding a giant cucumber.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day 3: 1-800-588-2300...Empire Today!

Have you heard that commercial before for Empire Carpet? Totally annoying commercials, yes. But I love Empire Carpet. About three years ago, we had just finished our first go-around of remodeling. The carpet in the family room was the last item on my list. It was berber. I HATE berber. It feels incredibly synthetic on your feet, traps dirt and is less than warm and snuggly to stretch out on in front of the fire.
It had to go. But, going to look at carpet was as appealing as a root canal. I saw an ad for Empire, saw they had like 24-months no payments, no interest. I scheduled the appointment for the next day at my house. The guy came out, he was super and very easy to work with. They really did bring the samples to my house and I could look at them in the very room the carpet was going to go in! It was wonderful.

We bought a mid-level carpet and yes...they really came and installed it the next day. Their contracted installers were polite, clean and quick. It looked beautiful. I couldn't believe it was really THAT easy!

We don't allow shoes in the house (I once read an article about the amount of lead you track in your house each year on the bottom of your shoes...that was it, no more shoes) and the kids cannot eat in front of the television, so the carpet stayed relatively clean, with the exception of the time Phillip threw up on it and the various spots where a naked potty trainer or baby would pee (okay and poo a time or two as well).

But, soon, mystery spots started to appear in places no one had peed, pooped or thrown up. In fact, I got the throw up stain out completely (with Capture carpet cleaner). Every six months or so, Chem-Dry would come and clean the carpets. The stains would disappear for a few weeks, but then they would always start to reappear. The carpet cleaner always had some lame excuse about what the stain was..."It is a sugary stain, must be apple juice." Likely story in a house with three children, but my kids don't even drink juice!

Finally, I switched carpet cleaning companies as I thought maybe I need the "deep clean" of Stanley Steemer. They went on and on about how horrible Chem-Dry is and restored the carpet to its original beauty. Then, they sold me on some "maintenance package" that was an extra $150. Soon, the stains were back.

Finally, the carpet started to look so bad I was embarrassed. I decided to call Empire and complain. I called the 1-800 number nearly three years after I bought the carpet. The operator took my name and number and said she would have the local office call me. I didn't have much faith in that one. Within a few hours, they called. I briefly explained the dilemma and said I knew it sounded strange, but it was true.

Within a few hours of that, they were here to inspect the carpet. He examined, smelled, measured, etc. We discussed how often I had it cleaned, the pattern of the stains, the size and appearance. He agreed that it appeared strange.

He brought in samples for me to look at in the event they were going to replace it. I picked out a new carpet (very similar to what we had) and he said he would be back in touch in a day or two. The next day, he called to say they were replacing the entire carpet and pad for free...Could they come tomorrow to get the job done. No arguing, no speaking to a supervisor, no letter-writing, no questions...just replacing the whole thing!

The installers came and once again, got the job done (these guys did even better work than the first guys). The installer echoed my thoughts on Empire and said they were a great company. He said that carpet can have defects during manufacturing, especially if you have stain protectent put on (as we did). It can clump in areas and actually end up attracting dirt. Or, he said, it could have just been a bad run of carpet. Either way, he said, the stains didn't look right to him either.

Amazing in 2006 to get that kind of service from a large national company, or any company for that matter. So, the next time you need carpet, call 1-800-588-2300, Empire Today!



Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day 2: Halloween

Halloween around here is a big deal. Of course, when I was little, trick-or-treating was a big deal. Halloween was still an innocent holiday focused on dressing up, pumpkins, and of course candy. In recent years, it has seem to become a religious holiday--according to those who don't celebrate it.

I never ever remember someone when we were little not celebrating Halloween because "its the devil's holiday." But, today it seems to be a hobby of many evangelical to share the good news with the children of the world that Halloween is the devil's holiday. Please, spare yourself. My kids love it and as long as I can keep that influence away from them, I will. It is amazing but true, after trick-or-treating my whole life, I am still not a Satan worshiper.

And so the adventure begins...Pumpkins? Check. Scary porch? Check. Costumes for the kids? Check. Costumes for mom and dad? Check.

Yes...I have started to dress up again. Part of the fun for me was always creating the costume and making it myself, whatever it was. I was Diana Ross, a punk rocker, a giant baby, a pair of dice with my friend, and even a sequined belly dancer that I sewed myself (couldn't have been older than thirteen at the time). Of course, I quit dressing up for a long time until two years ago when Phillip asked me what I was going to be. You think I need to dress up, I asked. Oh yes, he replied. And there folks, is where I was reunited with my love for costume creation.

Halloween is also a big deal around here because it is Samuel's birthday. I tried so hard to push him out before midnight, I really didn't want a Halloween baby, but it has turned out just fine. In the late afternoon we opened presents, here he is with his new soccer ball. He wanted this thing forever!

Then, we had buttermilk pancakes for dinner (his request), got our outfits on, sang happy birthday and ate cake. I made Samuel an ice cream cake--it has birthday cake smashed inside of it; inspired by Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake ice cream.

Then lots of pictures and heading out for trick-or-treating. Nevermind the appearance of the porch. It is new and currently under construction (hence the absence of cedar siding around the front door). Andrew is in a police costume I originally sewed for Phillip (Sam wore it too). He kept pointing at it saying, "Daddy." Yes, I would tell him, you look just like Daddy!

Jeff was a cowboy, but it was so cold, he had to wear a coat. And here is my costume...(Mary, doesn't this remind you of that time we..okay...I put that wig on in Philly and we took all of those crazy pictures...only this time, I wasn't smoking anything). Pajamas, bathroom, face mask, slippers and curlers.

It was funny, as I could tell many kids were unsure if it was a costume or not. Phillip originally told me not to do it, as it would "be too embarrassing." But, I was warm, comfy, cleared away blackheads and rehydrated my skin with an avocado mask. Sweet little Andrew, so confused by the whirlwind of celebrations would say "Happy Birthday" instead of trick-or-treat.

We had a steady flow of tricker-treaters here. Once the boys returned they were in charge of the door. They enjoyed that just as much as going out. One would open the door, one would scoop out the candy and put it in the bags and the littlest one would stand behind them and go "whooohoooo" at the costumes, with a little "Happy Birthday" thrown in there every once in a while.

At the end of it all, the boys sort their candy. They have yet to do that this year because we couldn't keep Andrew out of it long enough for them to sort it. That will have to be done one day during Andrew's nap or in a separate room under lock and key. I don't think I have ever seen a two-year-old so nuts about candy! So, anyway, they sort into two piles: keep and Candy Fairy. They turn the Candy Fairy bag in to us and we take it to Toys R' Us where the Candy Fairy lives and exchange it for a toy. The more the bag weighs, the bigger the toy they get. quite nicely for all holidays involving excessive candy.

At the end of the day, I tucked Samuel into bed and he said, "I had the happiest birthday" and planted a big wet kiss on my lips. What a wonderful boy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Post a Day in November: Day 1

Here is the first entry in the "a post a day in November" contest. You better read and we go.

Our week has been off to a great start around here. Yesterday, Phillip spent Monday afternoon down at my dad's wife's studio. She is a professional artist and has a studio in the Stutz building. He painted and drew all afternoon. He was focused, creative, and very intentional in his efforts. While I try not to be like this, I am so happy he has taken an interest in art. I love making and doing art and always have. My parents (both creative) nurtured that side of my brain and encouraged exploration.

I had an "art room" across from my bedroom, which was the spare room with a drafting table and oodles of real art supplies, plus all the junk I saved to make art with. I took classes at the Indianapolis Art League (now the Art Center...and the place where I had my first grown-up job). But, Phillip was never much into making stuff when he was little. His preschool teacher would tell me that he rarely chose art during free time. She assured me that was right on track for four-year-old boys, but I was always disappointed. (Yes, yes, I do certainly recognize the creativity involved in Lego play).

Now, he has developed an interest in it. He frequently asks for paper and pencil at home, draws elaborate pictures and describes his vision to us in detail, then asks for help spelling words for a title, such as his picture of life under the sea, entitled: God's Sea Creatures. There are the many Army scenes, but you should see this kid draw a helicopter! And the one he drew earlier this week of police chasing a bad guy with the police dog, but it had footprints, people, the dog-it was a real scene!

On the way home from the studio, he told me how much fun he had drawing so much and how nice it was to be alone in that quite place to draw. I am so glad he has discovered the joy of making art. I think creativity is such an important thing to nurture, it is just flat out handy in life to be creative and able to dream, visualize and conceptualize ideas. But it isn't something you can really "learn" in school. You sort of either got it or you don't. And, in my family, the creativity gene runs very strong; looks like at least ones got it!