personal project \\ six people twelve times \\ 10.10

(note from me: I have had the photos for October and November but not the words, until now. These are late, but that’ll do just fine.)


Here we are, on Halloween.

The boys: ketchup and mustard
Anna: afortunetellergypsywithabeautymark is how she would explain it allinonebreath.
Mckenna: Annie
Jeff and I: Mckenna and Uniqua

We gathered together on our back patio for a family photo before Drew headed off to trick or treat with his friends. It was the first time one of the kids left us for Halloween. When he asked me if it was okay, there was a part of me that wanted to say no. To make him stay with us. I’m a mama duck. I like my ducklings nearby, somewhat underfoot. But there was a bigger part of me that knew it was time, knew this is what happens, knew that it was just the beginning. I squeezed him in a hug before he left and joined the edge of the cliff all the other mothers of teenagers stand on, just waiting for their people to come home safe.

Drew turned 13 this month. He has crossed a threshold. I don’t see it in him quite yet though. I know I will soon.

I turned 34 this month. I didn’t want anything for my birthday, didn’t want to do anything special. I actually just wanted to skip it. I decided that all I wanted was to have a day where I could pretend to be a piece of furniture. I wanted my pillow to be the person who needed me most. So I spent the day lounging in bed. Snacks and yummy food were brought up to me. Kids flowed in and out of the room to see what I was up to. I read and watched TV and talked. I was serenaded by Drew. I had visitors who brought me flowers and stayed for drinks. Towards the end of the afternoon, Jeff plopped a box on my lap. I knew he had been up to something, but had no idea what. It was a record player. I have talked about wanting one for this house since we moved in seven years ago. We have a built in bookshelf under the stairs that I always thought a record player would be perfect for. I was right – it is perfect there. I have grown to love it so, so much – to be almost infatuated with it, because it adds something to our house that I didn’t know was missing. It makes the experience of listening to music something new for me. Slows things down, makes me stop and sit. You can find me many afternoons, listening to a record, staring at the sunlight on the couch as it moves up the cushions and onto the wall.

My first albums were also given to me and were: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons, and A Perry Como Christmas.

It feels like we keep getting hit with one thing after another. Weird things that pop up out of the blue. Our roof sprung a leak and the dishwasher is on it’s last leg. Our toaster stopped toasting. The hard drive on my old and beloved classic iPod bit the dust. I loved that thing. It was practically vintage and as heavy as a brick. The kids keep dropping favorite glasses and bowls and vases. All of this equals suburban housewife problems and nothing too terrible, but I am at the point where I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. After almost losing my computer in September I feel like there must be some kind of pox on my house. I am starting to wonder what’s around the corner and if I need to pack my children in bubble wrap. It’s like the plot of a punchy sitcom around here, without the laugh track. One knee slapping mishap after another!

While in one way the house seems to be falling apart, in another way it is being put back together. I have actually been hanging photos on the walls. I have been re-arranging rooms. I have been cleaning things out. The joy for doing those kinds of things is coming back to me. (I honestly think it has something to do with the record player – that thing woke me up from a long slumber.) For many years I have not paid very much attention to the old dear, and instead put blinders on and piled my ideas in the garage. I feel awakened. I crave change. I care. I pore over design blogs. I obsessively check Craigslist. I have big plans. The front room of our house has been mostly a catch-all for the time we have lived here. A rather large walkway. I am on the hunt and I have a few leads. I hope, (oh I hope), that they will pan out so we can have a cooler, more usable space.

From the cliff with love,



Join the Conversation


  1. I so feel where you are–not the teenager part….mine is 6, but the craving and awakening. The fresh year about to start helps that along I suppose.

    So funny that I have spent the last 2 days searching craigslist for a record player. Weird. ;)

    What kind did you get? I’m jealous. Enjoy, and thanks as always for sharing.


  2. you hang in there – you’ve had an amazingly interesting life – and you’re a strong woman! when you have an idea – DO IT!!!- I am sick of myself and my brilliant ideas – which just stay ideas!! I’m 50 – stay 34 forever! Brilliant, beautiful, creative, talented and LOVED!!! Good ole South African greetings xxxx

  3. I just love this project. Everytime I see one of these posts, I am envious of the moment you captured and the beauty in your words. Every. single. time. Maybe I should start my own. :)

    Also wanted to thank you so much for the great idea of Bernard. We had our own Christmas elf this year, and he was so much fun.



  4. I love this post. Felt like crying when you talked about Drew trick or treating with his friends. I can so relate. Also, now I want a record player! I didn’t know current bands sold albums… how cool is that!

  5. You don’t know how funny it is that you posted this now. I just thought to myself I want to move. We still haven’t finished the house (we’ve been here 5 years now) and we just found a hole in one bathtub and another one leaks, there’s some chipped paint on some corners and it just felt easier to say I wanted to move than to try to fix them……… I guess misery loves company but I’m glad I’m not the only one. You realy have a good attitude though, I hope it rubs it off on me!

  6. Just wondering if you would share the design blogs you pour over? And just so ya know…I love your writing. It usually makes me cry and nod my head a lot.

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