Friday, April 4, 2014


by Janin Wise

I like to keep my offspring unbalanced
as we walk this high wire of parenting together.
It's a beautiful view, mind, 
but we're all dangling 
so very free in the air
and it's a long rope we've got before us.

Sometimes, I'm the fun momma,
the one they help make cookies with
and everyone gets to lick the spoon
(but everyone has their own spoon);
the one that smotes them at board games
and GETS smote at video games.

Sometimes, I'm the strict momma,
who ensures homework is finished
and chores completed
and no you don't have to clear your plate 
but you sure better TRY it 
before you claim not to like it!

Sometimes, I'm the warpath momma
when we might just have to pop the ears off their heads
(It's not like they're usin' 'em anyway!)
Full of time outs and groundings 
and lost privileges lay scattered about me 
like trophies pillaged from my progeny.

Sometimes, I'm the gentle momma
snuggling close as we recount the highs
and lows of the latest day vanquished,
our triumphs celebrated together,
our miseries commiserated 
and understanding applied like a balm to our wounds.

Sometimes, I'm the no nonsense momma
when now is EXACTLY when things need done
and I'll brook no distractions
nor objections,
this is not a democracy
and the only reason needed is "I said so."

And sometimes, I'm the nonsense momma
who threatens smiting to children who have stolen my smiting pants,
whose scowl is more likely to illicit fits of giggling than tears,
who is absolutely certain she's TEER-I-FYING...
and could -almost- sell it
except that they fall out of their seats from laughing so hard.

Yes, I like to keep my offspring off balance
while we make our way 
across this tightrope of parenting,
'cause their returning the favor in kind
and a little off balance is the perfect reason
to hold hands along the way.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

#100 days of Happy (The Missing Days)

Fear not!  I've been keeping up with my 100 days of Happy!  But not all of them warranted their very own blog.  So here are the missing ones (so far).

Day 13 (: My sweet Patches let me (insisted on) love on her (:

Day 14:

Day 15:  wherein our heroine was worried she was going to break her "two new pieces a week" trend going to MidWest Con.... and didn't (: It's been an incredible day of making things (:

Day 16: where happiness is a full belly and cheerfully warm toes (:

Day 17:  Where happiness is NOT getting a new pet turtle! (While we were away at Con, a friend of the boys found a turtle in the woods and his dad wouldn't let his son keep it and ended up sending it home with my youngest.) Both the turtle and I are quite happy to be releasing it -back- into the woods.

Day 19:  (Okay, it's an iffy photo of a great moment.) I pulled up from a frustrating drive home, and my big girl Maggie came bounding up to the gate all excited to see me, (debris of my children playing between us) and her delight that I was home made it all better. (:

Day 20:  The weather was lovely and I took a moment to see what all was growing in the yard (:

Day 21:  Getting to have lunch with my guys on this rainy day (:

Day 22: My oldest wanted one of my designs on a pull over and it came in today, as well as my honey's Ogre game. We love our mail carrier (:

Day 23:  Today I got to see a lovely shade of sky-blue-pink on my way home for the evening (:

Day 24:  Today, I went around the day job -Twice- (: Lovely weather, up and down 4 flights of stairs, a chance to wear my tenny runners with a black velvet dress, and a moment to see -all- the businesses in the building (:

Day 25:  Today, I am happy to have critters that are happy to see me when I come home, extended family close enough to visit and do yoga with, children who give the bestest hugs, Sesame Street bandaids, espadrilles, and my new Girl Genius t-shirt (:

Day 26:  Thanks to the recent rash of Ronald McDonald Taco Bell commercial (which I find incredibly funny, btw) I drove home with a powerful craving for a grilled stuffed nacho. Now I gets to eats it! Nom!

Day 27:  Today, I was surprised by how well the azaleas survived last week's freeze and took comfort in snory puppy dreams.

So I'm going to take a brief moment here and cheer to completing 1/4 of this challenge so far (:

Here's to the next 3/4!

Today, 2nd poem for April

by Janin Wise

Today, I read of a woman
who spent 28 years
not knowing she'd been happy
until it was over.

Today, I heard of a man
who spent 4 months
in Iraq to come home
and kill three people yesterday.

Today, I yelled at my son
who couldn't spend 2 seconds
to help his brother
when his brother needed his help.

Today, I tasted sadness
and bitterness
and anger
and they filled my mouth
with their heavy acridness,
like poison caught between my gums.


Today, I read of a friend
joyfully celebrating 54 years young,
counting the blessings
that surround her daily.

Today, I heard an excited father
celebrate as his 7 month old son
decided that yesterday
was the perfect time to start crawling.

Today, I smiled at my sons
who took 2 seconds
to sincerely apologize,
hug and make up.

Today, I tasted gladness
and exuberance
and forgiveness
with their airy grace,
like a balm to my soul.


Today, I viewed the world
as a macrocosm diverse
in animosity
and generosity
both part of our human condition.

Today, I acknowledged
that our world is
an ever constant pendulum
of good
of evil
of all the shades of lost between.

Today, I realized
that emotions are fluid
and intense
and ever changing
in a spectrum too varied to measure.

Today, I experienced the world
as a microcosm personal
to me, to you,
to us, to them,
to her, to he, to we and I.

And so did you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Poetry Month

So I just found out that April is National Poetry Month!  (How did I not already know this?!?)

That might explain why I'm feeling very poetic today!  So I'm going to give a go at making a poem a day for the month of April.  (And if the resulting poem is -really- bad, I'll also share one of my favorite poems from some else to help salve the wound of reading it (;  (so it's a win/win!))

by Janin Wise

My darling, my love,
I think of your lips:
pressed against mine
and thrill to make thought reality.

For reality comes
with a heat
and urgency
mere thoughts cannot compare to.

My love, my light,
I imagine your kiss:
your arms wrapped about me
pulling me close.

Encasing me in your masculinity,
both protection
and claiming,
and I know that I am yours
...and you know that you are mine.

My light, my husband,
I remember our embraces:
Some full of tenderness
and others laughter.

But always
this remains constant:
I cannot get enough of your kisses
and look longingly
and delightedly forward
to the next, even as I savor the last.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Idea of Him, a From Left to Write Book Club Blog

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 1 as we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

“Are you following what you want or what society wants you to want?” “Go find your own answers. Trust that you can do it.” I look back and know that as a I child, I was blessed with a mother who did not put limits on what I could do or be when I grew up, and with (most) teachers who saw my love of learning and inclination towards creativity as an opportunity and not a burden. When I was five, I remember watching my Momma draw cartoon horse heads in profile. I thought they were absolutely beautiful and asked her to teach me how to do it. I still remember her teaching me to –see- that the eyes don’t look the same from the front as they do from the side. When I was five, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have told you “A Teacher!”. (In fact, that answer didn’t change all the way into adulthood—it’s just that the subject would change.) At seven, I remember curling up on the floor with my Grandma Betty with large rolls of brown paper to make all sorts of things and can still remember the day when seven year old me complained to her that I didn’t have a tan crayon when I wanted to make my Barbie coloring book have brown hair and a tan like me and my Grandma Betty taught me how to mix colors to make the ones I wanted. (In fact, I still love coloring books and crayons.) I was also seven the day I got my first pair of glasses and remember putting them on for the first time. My mother says it broke her heart that my eyes got so huge and I said to her in wonder, “Momma! THIS is what YOU see???” Everything was so crisp and clear! The first time I saw an impressionistic painting I felt an affinity for the painter, because right up to the moment I got my glasses, that was what my world looked like. (Truth in fact, if I take my glasses off, it’s what the world STILL looks like.)
When I reached my senior year of high school, I realized that I needed a teacher and class to help me get any further with art. I had gone as far as I could figure out how to go on my own. But I didn’t want to take the entry level class. I brought all my drawing with me that I’d been doing at home (I didn’t even know this was called a portfolio) and met with the art teacher, Mrs. Hardwick. I asked if I could just skip Art I and take II an III instead—and she let me. And when I grew up and got married and I took a break from art and did the grown up things. The things society wanted me to do. A regular day job. Stay at home Mom. Even being a live in care taker for my Grandmother in Law. But it didn’t make me happy (Don’t get me wrong, I adored being home with my boys when they were little…but all conversations can’t be fulfilling when they’re between you and a five year old and two year old, ya know?) and so I called Uncle and went back to school, terrified that I wouldn’t remember how to make art. And when I started it was with full intention of becoming an art teacher. I graduated college a year ago in December, absolutely intent on going to graduate school so that I would be able to teach art in college… but in this past year, I’ve gotten to make all sorts of new art and found a grown up day job that I adore. And I –like- where I am right now. (My husband has long since come to accept that I am a gut feeling kind of girl. Every job I’ve ever taken, I took because it –felt- right. And left for the same reason—I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore.)

I think I've found a great balance between what society wants me to do--and what -I- want to do. Here. Now. I'm happy. My family is happy.

And at the end of the day, that's the answer that matters.