Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Photo Shoot

We here at Chez DeLap are a silly bunch.

We like to have fun with things that aren't suppose to be funny.

Our jokes are sometimes sacrilegious.

I come from a long line of sarcastic, sacrilegious, humorists.

The faint of heart sometimes have difficulty with this.

We usually only share this love of shocking humor with people we love and trust.

But today I am going to share with the universe.

Holiday pictures that arrive with your Christmas cards tend to be very serious.  Very "honoring the Savior and trying to look good at the same time."

A few years back, we thought...what if we mixed it up a bit?  For one thing...let's send out Christmas cards.  For another thing...lets send out a card that is funny.

We bought Hillbilly teeth.  I am certain our lord and savior would be offended by hillbilly teeth.  I am offended by hillbilly teeth.

We sent out pictures, regular family portraits, with our card. But we all had hillbilly teeth.

Our friends thought it was hilarious...some family members were offended.  (Not my family.)

The really great thing about the project was that we had the best time doing it.  We laughed and laughed and giggled, and fought...ahhh, Chez DeLap at it's finest.

This year we were at it again.

I am not sure when I will get these bad boys printed and sent out, maybe by Ground Hogs Day.  When is Ground Hogs Day?

This year again, as all pervious years...we had a blast.  An evening spent together...laughing and fighting.  Ain't nothin' like FAMILY!
We fought because everyone wasn't doing it my way.  Maybe they will listen better next year.

Getting in the mood...

"Oh yeah right Mom!..."

Actually enjoying himself.

Here it comes...

You will never see us the same again...

I warned you.

Getting ready is where the fun is really at.
See how much fun we are all having?

Those of us with a sense of style and artistry  were really gettin' our grove on.

Happy Holidays from our dysfunctional home to yours!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Paper

There was a big fight last night...over a paper that was due this morning.
The High School Football Player knew about it since some time last week.
I found out about it yesterday morning.
I said I would help.
I like to write.
Knowing about it since last week did not encourage this kid to work on it over the weekend.
He told me he didn't have any homework.
He had a friend over, they stayed up until 4 am.
Then he watched football all day sunday.
Then it was Monday.
I hear nothing.
Yesterday, The High School Football Player stayed after school to work on math, then went to the gym for an hour.
He came home, ate dinner and then decided he wanted to write this paper.
This paper is one of four that he has to write every year he is in High School.
He has to pass them, or at least one.  I am not clear on the details, this is the first I am hearing of it all.
The High School Football Player pulled out what he had already been working on.
It was one paragraph.
Mother F&*%$#!
At 7pm he looked at me and said, "Which topic do you think I should write about?"
Son of B*&@%!
I responded, "How 'bout you write, I will read at the end for corrections and help."
9:30pm..."Mom, I have been working for like 40 min straight, I need a break."
What the hell?
"What have you been doing with the other hour and 40 minutes?"
"God mom!  Leave me alone, I don't need this right now!  Can you just read it?  I will be downstairs."  (Swinging a baseball bat in the basement, possibly breaking the overhead has happened more than once.)
I read the paper...not at all the assignment.
I am pretty demanding though, I don't think perfection is too much to ask of a 15 year old boy.  Right?
"What do you think mom?"
"This isn't what your teacher is asking you to do."
"God, you don't even get it!  I have to get this done."
"Dude...this work sucks though."
"I know that mom!  I just have to get it done!  I am not a very good writer!"
"Yes you are a good writer...but this sucks man.  You needed to be working on this over the weekend."
"God mom...can you just fix it?"
Dilemma, dilemma...
I chose to put the onus back on him this time.
I gave a few suggestions and then went to bed.
I then texted Marcus, who is out of town, and bitched and complained.
The High School Football Player went to bed shortly after me.
This morning, he got up and made his lunch and went to work on the paper.
He printed it out.
We will see how it goes.
Raising kids is so hard.
I want him to do well, I want him to learn, I want him to understand.
I don't want to do it for him, but I want to help him do it for himself.
How does one do such a thing?
He is a great kid, he does well in school, he does well at athletics, he helps out around the house.
Maybe I was too hard on him.
I may be the worst mother ever.
Someone should make me a cape with a huge CM...Crappy Mother, on it.
If raising a healthy independent teenager is an art...
I think in this round...I may have just made a macaroni necklace.
High School is a whole new ball of wax for me, I am certain it is for him too.
His grades mean a lot him, I am more interested in these little boxes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taking Santa Back

This the season...

for Joy,
for Love,
for Family,
for Friends,
for Cookies,
for Sharing,
for Giving.

I love this time of year and not just because of all the high calorie meals and treats,  I really dig the whole spirit of the holidays.

When my kids were in preschool/kindergarten, I went to a parent meeting where we were discussing Santa Clause and St. Nicholas.  Many parents were struggling with the concepts because they didn't want to "lie" to their kids.

Now I am a bit old school, I don't think kids need to know everything about how the world works right away, or even when they ask for that matter.  I like the philosophy of giving information on a need to know basis.  I guess it is a fine balance, but my personal opinion is that the information floating all around us is for us to process and then present to the children when they are ready, when we feel them to be ready.  I don't think preschool and kindergarten are the time to dispel the myth of Santa me old fashioned, but I like to keep a little magic alive.

Durning said meeting...I suggested that although we as parents all knew that the red suit dude who drops down chimneys and eats our cookies and drinks our milk is a fraud, that perhaps the real "spirit" was  alive and kicking.  Santa, like many beautiful, mythical notions, has been bastardized in the name of commercial doubt.  But if we all looked into the true meaning of who this spirit was, maybe we could vibe with it after all, and that it isn't a lie to bring this spirit into our homes/consciousness once a year.  I threw out that it really wasn't a lie...this Santa Clause...because as parents we allow this "spirit" to move us, to embody us, to work through us.  So the filling of the stockings, although it is us, the notion of "Santa Clause" is universal and of a higher more celestial  nature.  We simply facilitate.

So to say Santa really does bet!

Is he down at the mall handing out Applebee's gift certificates to the first 50 customers?  Yeah....noooooo...I don't think so.

Maybe it would  be easier to toss the whole thing out and tell the kids it's all a joke, that we have been fooling them.  Or maybe, we can take responsibility on embodying  this magical feeling and create this season something really magical, really special, really meaningful.

I suggest that we take Santa back, reclaim him from corporate greed, bring him back into our homes to share our holidays together and make a batch of cookies for the old lady down the street.  Bring the spirit to life...GIVE.  Give hugs, compliments, cookies, dinners, foot massages, little candies, flowers...give to fill your heart and spirit, and the hearts and spirits of those around you. Tell your kids stories of Santa, read them books about Santa, share giving with them.  And just once light a candle, turn off the lights, and watch your tree in silence.  (Leave the christmas lights on though, not so magical without them)

Tell your kids you invited Santa over for dinner.  Maybe then they will clean their rooms.

Consider yourself lucky if you are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or a godless can skip this whole Anglo-Christian tradition and simply enjoy cookies your crazy neighbor bakes you because they are channeling Santa.  La Heim!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Macy's Mural

Have I told you that my parents were artists?

Bohemians?  They were/are artists doing "The Work".  Translated into todays lingo...they were Keepin' it Real. really appreciate what I mean by that, I thought I might share this little clip with you.

I found it by accident while I was looking for pictures of murals apprenticed with my dad while on the internet. (Those will be coming soon)

This was the early 80's.  '81-82?  It says 1974 on the video...but that couldn't be...I wasn't born yet.  And I remember the project.

If you watch this you might understand why I was never tamed...why I am so wild.  My parents were wild...they couldn't help it, they were/are artists.

The video is pretty dad is the one in the red tank top and the bandana.  My brother is the one in the Addis t-shirt.

My dad was the lead on this project, meaning that it he was the one commissioned to paint it.   The butterfly was his concept and was a theme for him in many of his murals.  He got his friends, all well respected artists in their own right, to help him out.  He painted the butterfly, and the bottom story...I am not sure who painted the other three.  I will have to ask him.

It was called the Macy's Mural.

 Somehow those two worlds just don't jive in my mind.

I guess that is why they did's bohemian.

It is still there today on the side of the Macy's building in  downtown Sacramento, CA.

My dad didn't know that this was out in the ethers of the internet, so I sent it to him.

He replied, "Time goes fast, get to work mi hija (my daughter)."

That is the only thing he knows how  to say in spanish.  Silly dad.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Beer and Beef

My husband is a ridiculously mannly fellow.  He isn't a lumberjack, or rancher, or crab fisherman, but the guy can handle a chainsaw with ease and has no trouble finding his way around an engine.  That said, he can cook a meal, do laundry, pick out china patterns and rearrange a room with just as much ease.

 Okay, so we have never picked out china together because...we don't have china.  What would we use china for?  To put under our house plants or to use for cigarette butts when smokers come over?  Or maybe to catch candle drippings?  My life is so unsophisticated...drat! 

Anyway...Mannly Marcus...he loves beer.  He loves red meat.  Such a man thing!  This alternatly irritates me and endears him to me...depending on my mood.  But don't tell him it has anything to do with my mood, I might have to change tactics.

Every so often I want to do something nice for him...not so often...but sometimes.  And because Marcus is ruled by his stomach,  I usually cook something with him in mind.

I saw Jamie Oliver put this little thing together once and knew it was for Marcus.

It combines two of his favorite things.

Beer and beef.

I like to call this little treat Guinness Pot Pie.

These babies came from my garden...I found them while I was weeding and putting everything down for the winter.

Caramelize the onions and garlic with some fresh herbs.

Add all the stuff...

Pour in the beer.

Cover and cook for 2-3 hours on 300 degrees.

Oh my!

Make pastry dough...or just buy puff pastry from the store...way easier!

If you like to make things hard on yourself like I do...proceed with the homemade dough.

And then...oh my again!

It's pretty self explanatory if you want to make it.  You could even drop it all in your Magic Pot while you are at work and when you get home just pop some puff pastry or whatever you have around on top and finish off in the oven. 

I served this with a huge salad with a nice mustardy vinaigrette.

The family loved it.  I think Marcus purposed to me again that very same night.   I think it might have gone a little like this...

"I know you aren't pregnant...but would you marry me anyway?"


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Spirit

Well...the Holiday Season has officially started.

My season doesn't start until Thanksgiving.

 On Black Friday I am up at 2:00am stretching and doing my stoutness exercises to prepare for my whirlwind shopping spree at all my favorite mega outlet stores.  And the season of love and giving begins.

Okay, not really...I have never done the whole Black Friday thing.  I would rather stab hot fire pokers through my retinas than deal with any of that.  I won't go into the multitude of reasons my constitution doesn't align with Black Friday, but sufficed to say...I slept in, drank tea in my jammies and yelled at my the good lord intended.

The Holidays...I love them deeply.  The Holiday Spirit...I've got it.  I have always had it.  Almost always.  I love the lights, the trees, the shiny gifts, the cookies, the music, the special meals, the christmas stockings.

 But I remember the first year the feeling didn't show up.  I was 12.  I distinctly remember the warm fuzzy feeling being absent  and being sad that it was gone.  In retrospect that was just about the time the whole world became stupid because I knew everything already and everyone and everything weren't living up to my expectations, even though I didn't really know what those expectations were.   Ah...adolescence...what a wonderful time.

I already knew that Santa was a fake...a phony...a masterful lie perpetrated by adults to make us kids look foolish.  But something was truly missing and I could feel it.  I think the reality of my pending journey into the unknown loomed large for me.  I was a  kid with a destiny.  I had a journey ahead of me that reached right into the deepest darkest depths of the human soul, life and death, good and evil, dark and light.

Whilst I would emerge from this dark time in my life with much wisdom gained and a full life ahead of me, I felt my world and also my holiday spirit would never be the same.  A causality of growing up.

 My destiny while intense, also rewarded me a few miracles.  Two to be exact. (Actually, a few more than that, but that is another blog post) And it was through those two miracles that I found love and magic in my life again.  My spirit renewed.  (After I was done crying because they threw up all the time, always wanted to nurse and because the laundry became a living entity in my home)

Just a few short years into my motherhood, on the first day of Advent, December 1st, my mother died.  She died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  I was 25.  My heart and holiday spirit lost seemingly forever.  It was all I could do to breathe.

But time heals all wounds.

Although every Holiday season for me holds the warmth and magic of good ole' Saint Nick and all that the merry chap represents, there is a depth of heartache and longing to go along side it.

Such is life, such is the world.

The good and the bad, the happy the sad, all just along for the ride.

And at this, yet another season of joy and giving, I have learned that not all miracles come in 9lbs and 8lbs packages bearing endless diaper changes and mountains of laundry.  Some come quietly while preparing a turkey for brine.  Some come in quiet revelation.

This Thanksgiving was by far the most brilliant holiday I have had with my family.  It was just the four of us, no other family, no other friends.  We all made dinner together.  We all made evergreen garlands.  We all took a walk with the dog.  We all watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.  It was simple.  It was quiet.  It was brilliant.

 Even without my mother.  It was brilliant because of my mother.  Because of everything she was and everything taught and gave to me and my life.  Because who she was, is woven into who I am, the good and the bad, the happy and sad...all along for the ride.

And the Holiday Spirit lives on.

Mostly around the food...because that's how I roll.

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something Wrong...

There is something funky going on with the blog and I can't post new pictures...and I have sooooo many to post!

Please stay with me...hopefully by Monday all will be fixed!

There are four new jewelry pieces coming!

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gift Idea for the Holidays

I love have pretty things, and pretty things made by people I know are the very best.

This last Friday night I went to the opening of a local artist that I really admire.

She and a friend have been working together for the last three years (I think that is what they said) to bring this project to life.

I think they are beautiful!  I bought two decks, one for me and one for a super duper special friend who doesn't know they will be coming her way shortly.

I love giving things to people!

Anyway, enough about me...

Mara Berendt Friedman and Trinity Harris are the creators of this lovely project and if you are in any way inclined towards this sort of thing, pop out to the web site and order your very own deck!  You won't be disappointed.  I promise.

They would make great gifts for the impending Holidays!