Mother Blue

I photo. I take day trips. I lightsaber battle. I analyze the stuffing out of myself.

Category: Chaos


Sticker Mural by Jack

Sticker Mural by Jack

Saturday night insomnia.

My brain laid heavy in my skull as I tried to think on other things other than the things that were keeping me awake.

I have been spending most evenings meditating before bed. I laid on the floor and tried to focus on my breathing, but the words in my head were just too loud, no matter how aloft my thoughts longed to be.

I headed upstairs to do my nightly routine (face wash, teeth brush, other bathroomly things), but instead of making it to my destination, I headed towards the light in my son’s room. He must have forgotten to shut it off before he passed out for the night on the living room floor.

I walked in, sat down on his bed, and stared at the wall behind his headboard.

He asked us earlier in the day if he could put some of his own “stuff” on the walls in his room. He had his share of superhero and Star Wars posters but he wanted something else. Something non manufactured, I guess. (Even after having this house for almost three years, I am still afraid to put any kind of nail hole in the walls. I have an attic full of artwork still waiting to be hung.)

Jack’s request brought Randy Pausch to mind: “When I was in high school, I decided to paint my bedroom. I always wanted a submarine and an elevator… And the great thing about this is they let me do it. And they didn’t get upset about it. And it’s still there. If you go to my parent’s house it’s still there. And anybody who is out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedroom, as a favor to me  let them do it. It’ll be OK. Don’t worry about resale value on the house.”

Jack begged us not to check out “his masterpiece” before he was all done.

The mural he left behind was nothing more than stickers he found lying all over his room. Stickers from old school workbooks, birthday party sticker favors, stickers from the kitchen drawers, whatever stickery type thing he could get his hands on. There was no rhyme or reason to his design. It was rainbows and puppies and other unrelated nonsense. There were at least 100 of them laid across his wall in perfect kid formation. It was that and his own scribbled NO GIRLS ALLOWED sign. (He has since bent that rule when his friend, Emily, came over to play “let’s break some Guinness Records” with him.)

It wasn’t a remarkable presentation by any artistic standard, but it was brilliant in its own way and it was his. He didn’t care. He just wanted to take his white space and make it his own.

• • •

After school yesterday, he walked over to my computer and planted his face on my scanner. Bent over, knees on the floor, butt up in the air. He waited.

I said to him, “What on earth are you doing?”

“I want you to scan my face. It will be awesome!”

(What if the scanner burns his retinas?!)

I hesitated. Then I said, “Close your eyes.”

He knelt there motionless as the light bar moved slowly across his face. The first time he slowed down all day. He doesn’t usually stop talking or moving until exhaustion sets in, and even then he acts as if he is Rocky Balboa “giving it all he has got” until he is down for the count.

• • •

I have said it before… sometimes I forget.

Sometimes I forget that for him everything is still new. That every weird, terrifying, tacky, strange, dangerous, insert adjective here, thing/idea is new and brilliant and they believe they are the first people to have ever have thought of it. He asked me later if he could scan his butt. I said no with a chuckle. He has no idea that throughout the 1980s, people Xeroxed the HELL out of their butts in office parties around the world.

I do forget more often than I care to admit. I am tentative. I don’t indulge myself or him as often as I should. Part of our job is to keep them safe while they indulge in their whimsy. As I sat on his bed reflecting on his work, and as I watched him giggle as the scanner scanned his squishy face, I remembered that for every time I remember, too often I have forgotten to close my eyes and giggle… for myself, for him, and for them. I am thankful for the reminders.

• • •

Happy early birthday, Buddy. Eight is great.

Hand Scan, Fingerprinted Scanner

Hand Scan, Fingerprinted Scanner

Face Scan, Fingerprinted Scanner

Face Scan, Fingerprinted Scanner


Exploring Berlin, Waiting for Others (reminder)



Exploring my own “Berlin”. Wish you were here. Will call when I return.

Please Leave a Message…



Hope to see you soon.







Chaos Theory, Part 2: Fumbling Towards Extropy

A moment of calm.

EXTROPY: the theory that cultural and technological development will expand indefinitely and in an orderly progressive manner throughout the universe, the tendency of systems to grow more organized.


I cant not focus on a single linear thought for more than a moment or two without it transforming into background noise, telephone rings, iCarly theme music, chirping birds, laundry buzzers, or my son’s interjections, “just one more thing, mom…”

I could attribute this scattered thought process to simply being a parent or being an artist, but I would be lying to myself; I have always lacked a certain sense of focus in some respect. I equate my lack of focus to that falling sensation that sneaks up on you as your body relaxes and your mind drifts asleep. The one that tricks your mind into believing you are floating in space, about to overturn and causes you to violently grip the sides of the bed. It is almost as if my thoughts can not keep up with me, or my thoughts are moving too fast for the world, and focus shocks me back into reality.

I have five Mother Blue blog entries half started as we speak. I panic and wonder if I will ever post a single one of them…

My thoughts are constantly leaping around in an almost violent fashion as I multitask between homework, dinner, schedules, play dates, and the overall well-being of my family and household. Despite my nature, I try to give routine its precedence. And despite my best efforts, focus and routine sometimes fails me. In fact, this particular post is being published later than my usually Friday deadline. The tardiness was not due to lack of focus, but more to do with the chaos surrounding my routine right now. Chaos and focus seem to go hand in hand.

Always something to do. Always something to be done.


I often lament over the fact that our nighttime routine isn’t more structured despite our best efforts, but I really like chatting with my little guy and his greatest insights usually make their way to the surface when he is trying to find excuses to stay awake. My husband and I often indulge his inner and outer “intellectual” musings, especially when he really should be sleeping.

“When is going to be blue outside?” Jackie asked one night, after completing his bedtime routine.

The shade of blue that Jack is referring to is the color the sky makes right after dawn or right after sunset. It happens before twilight, before the night sky fades to black, or the color that evolves into daytime sky. It is a hard moment to catch, for you only have a very small window to capture that particular purplely blue until it merges into something else. For Jack, blue references the passage of time when the numbers on the clock still mean very little. Blue is when his friends go to bed. Blue is right before the street lights come on. Blue is when he has to wake up for school. Blue is everything.

After Jack is squarely tucked into bed, I often lie on the floor in the hallway right outside his door and let him speak about whats on his mind before he drifts to sleep. Usually it is all very kid adventure based such as what do you think would happen if (insert ninja type scenario here) or very stream of consciousness. His thoughts occasionally drift to his friends. He asks if they are asleep now and how many hours does he have left until the “blue” happens again. One night, I asked him if we could try to capture this blue on camera. He seemed to like the idea of this project.

My husband doesn’t get home from work until after 6 p.m. and we usually don’t start dinner until after the news. Dinnertime often coincides with the “blue”. All throughout the meal, we stare at the colors reflecting off the blinds of the bay window that resides in our dining room. Dave and I repeatedly ask, Is this your blue? Is this it? Is this it? “This is sort of my blue but not really.” Finally Jack gives us the go ahead and we spring into action. We run outside to the porch. Per his direction, I snap a few photos. Sigh. It still wasn’t the right blue. I could tell by his deflated tone that this blue was almost there, but not quite right. Chicken teriyaki has kept us from the “real blue”.

The almost but not quite right blue.

I had wicked insomnia this morning. I Netflixed for a while and stared at the mountain of things I needed to do today. I caught of glimpse of the bay window. The black light in the dining room was dissolving into blue. I grabbed my camera and headed for the porch. My heart swelled as I looked outside. From Jack’s late night descriptions, I knew it was indeed THE blue. I snapped as much as I could, all the while adjusting the color temp to reflect Jack’s vision and the accuracy of the setting. I found the right blue. I showed Jack the imagery on the next day. He hugged me around my neck while staring at my computer screen and whispered that I had indeed found it.

Jackie's blue.

The blue reflecting off the porch.

The blue fading into day.

The moment when blue becomes "blue."

My chaos theory is one of routines I should adhere to, of schedules I should maintain, of organizational skills that should be ingrained in me since birth. I grew up quite structured despite the chaos that surrounded me so I should be more apt. I struggle against nature every single day trying to adhere to the conventions of routine, but then late night conversations and the perfect blue remind me of the moments that only happen when you don’t plan things and simply let the organics of life take over.

Yikes, I just realized, this is my dining room table right now. My OCD is kicking in. I better go clean this up.

My dining room table.

My Gallery of “Chaos” or the things I am doing when I should be doing other things:

Two arms in one coat.

Jack asking for a hug but in reality he wanted to show me the turkey he ate for lunch.

Leftover water bottles and toys that need to be put away.

Dishwasher helper.

The towels in my hall that need to be put away.

Beach towels drying on the banister.

Fan experimentation.

Focus within the chaos.


and seek

Leftover feet when I wasn't looking.

One more pair for good measure.

Morning coffee amongst the cupboards.

A rare moment of calm and my sleepy face.