Friday, September 21, 2007

Painting wherever I can

Ava lives life out loud! She is a dynamo and a fireball... ready to
jump in and try anything, do anything, and meet everyone that comes her way. I love this about her but her laundry tends to reflect her enthusiasm for life! It is a constant battle to keep her clothes clean and un-stained. On the weekend I often change her clothes a few times a day to keep stains from setting. During the week she goes to group daycare, and when I pick her up her clothes tell the story of the day's activities. Especially on painting days.

They don't seem to understand that 'washable' paint means 'wash it immediately or else pre-treat & wash it 5 times and hope for the best'. And, they don't seem to understand that babies and toddlers should be changed or put in a smock before painting. So I struggle to remove stains and salvage her clothes. Very frustrating. The added twist, as an artist, I certainly don't want to hold back Ava's creative energy - I love that she loves crayons, painting, and all art projects.

My solution, fabric paint! I purchased Jacquard fabric paints, in a range of colors, did a few tests on old t-shirts and now whenever it makes aesthetic sense, will turn stains into patterns and designs on her clothes. Pictured is a lavender tank top that ended up with a large orange dot on it (it became the center of the largest flower)... never quite figured out what the stain was.

So, I stand with stain remover in one hand and a paintbrush in the other and say to Ava, "Go forth and meet life head on, Mommy is prepared."

Friday, September 14, 2007


Here are some of my random thoughts for the day.

1) Britney Spears IS NOT fat, and for a woman who has given birth twice in the past few years, she's downright ripped. Is she currently the leanest she's ever been in her life? Understandably not. Is she worthy of ridicule? Most certainly. From her choice of mates, to her "parenting" style, to her wardrobe malfunctions, to her ill conceived follicular decisions, to her seeming inability to remain sober for more than a few hours at a time, to ... America is a country that just loves to build idols up so they can later be torn down. As a celebrity who should credit sex appeal and slick marketing far more than actual talent for her immense success to date, I consider Britney Spears to be fair game for whoever wishes to mock her. The public has every right to put whoever they wish up on a pedestal, no matter how shallow the reasoning, and equal right to pull the pedestal away and laugh hysterically at the resulting crash landing. Britney can use her millions of dollars to wipe the tears away. But please people, let's not aid the afflictions of anorexia and bulimia by claiming that a woman with an extra pound or two on her frame is Porky Pig. There's plenty more material to work with if you have nothing better to do with your time than make fun of a former Mouseketeer.

2) If I've said it a million times I haven't said it enough. Bill Belichick is an ass. As an NFL addict, I really hope the Jets perform improbably magnificent this season. My fingers are crossed that I do prophetically well in the football pool I'm participating in. But what I most strongly desire for this football season is that it does not end with a Super Bowl victory for the New England Patriots. Even without another ring, I'm sure Tom Brady will have no problem when the time comes to move on from his current supermodel girlfriend to the next one. He won't suffer too much if the Colts repeat as champions and Peyton Manning commercials run 24 hours per day instead of merely the current 23.3 hours. But I'm pretty sure anything less than Super Bowl triumph is pure anguish for Belichick, and that's precislely what a cheater and all around jerk like him deserves. Other than that, since he's never done anything to me personally, I wish him well.

3) Bravo for medical advancement, kudos to the doctors and medical staff who treated Kevin Everett, and God bless that young man who seems to have miraculously escaped a lifetime of paralysis. We were all reminded how little sports means in the overall scheme of things as he lay still on the football field and reports later came that he was probably going to be a paraplegic. It did not initially appear to be a story that would have a happy ending, but an experimental procedure that utilized an ice cold saline injection to temporarily put Everett in a hypothermic state may have rewritten a tragedy into a tale of triumph.

4) It has been tough being a New York Knicks fan these past few years due to their display of ineptitude on the court. The previous general manager seemed to be trying to assemble the least athletic basketball team of all time. The current gm has simply reversed field, going after ballers who jump high and run fast but don't quite manage to play consistently well. They certainly have not been able to play particularly well together in spite of their individual talents, largely because they each duplicate the same skill sets (offense first / defense hardly ever). So they have settled for taking turns having good nights while regularly compiling team losses. They hired a Hall of Fame coach who by all appearances proceeded to try to lose as many games as possible in order to be elevated from the bench to the corporate offices. Only in America does one purposely do poorly in order to be promoted. The Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has tried to change his image as a selfish player by coming out with an affordable sneaker, but in the process of increasing his interviews and public speaking engagements to promote the shoe, he has further highlighted that he isn't the brightest guy in the world ("dog fighting is a fine sport, is it not?"). As if all of this wasn't enough, now we have the off season distraction of the Knicks gm/coach (as plain old gm he was quite ineffective at just one job, so it was determined he might do better if he had additional responsibilities) being sued for sexual harrassment. Last year he needed to improve the team by an unspecified degree to keep his jobs. This year I believe he merely needs to refrain from flashing his "credentials" to the Knicks City Dancers. It certainly has not been easy to defend being a New York Knicks fan since Isiah Thomas strode into town, but nor has it been boring. If they're not going to enthrall their fans with synchronized championship level play, at least they're entertaining us with Desperate Housewives type theatrics. Go Knicks!!!

5) O.J. Simpson - WTF????? You'd think the concept of keeping a low profile would have occured to him by now. No Johnnie Cochran to save his behind this time around.

I'm out like Members Only jackets.

- Roy Pickering (author of Feeding the Squirrels: A Novella)

Monday, September 10, 2007

September 10th

Tomorrow as everybody knows is the anniversary of a day that will be discussed in solemn remembrance until the end of time, which according to global warming conspiracy theorists should be right around next Tuesday. Everybody with the ability to have an opinion will have something to say about where they were and how they felt and continue to feel about 9/11/01. And everyone with the ability to publicly express their opinions (i.e. - everyone but my parents and the approximately 19-20 other people worldwide who do not yet have a blog/Facebook page/Twitter account) will jam up cyberspace with odes to the end of innocence. Rather than adding to the monumental 9/11 pile, I've decided to write about September 10th. Since the box on the calendar corresponding to 9/11 symbolizes all that can go wrong when you least expect it, as I see it, 9/10 symbolizes the bliss of ignorance that envelops us when all appears to be (and perhaps actually is) well with the world. It is the day before you're diagnosed with cancer, the day before your wife walks out the door, the day before the drunk driver ignores that stop sign, the day before you are downsized, the day before the postman delivers that rejection letter, the day before you realize you forfeited your virginity to a callous dirtbag, the day before she informs you that she likes you only "as a friend", the day before you learn you are pregnant, the day before you learn you are not pregnant, the day before the blind man can no longer see and the deaf man can no longer hear and the fat woman has hit the final note of her melancholy song. 9/10 is the day on which we still have hope, ambition, fearless wonder and unstoppable determination. It is the last day upon which we look forward with zero caution towards tomorrow. For these reasons it is a date that is equally deserving as 9/11 to be remembered and commemorated.

That is why starting today I will make a conscious effort to record and recall the remaining 9/10's of my life. I made a promise to myself on 9/10/07 to get back on the saddle of writing regularly. I'm starting with this blog entry. Later today, perhaps I will resume work on my novel in progress or get started on a short story that I have yet to conceive. 9/10/07 is the first Monday after the first Sunday of the '07 football season. My New York Jets started off slowly and have a 0-1 record to show for it. I was at the game and hated to watch them lose, but enjoyed the fine weather and company of friends and family. My wife was at home with our daughter, and my highlight of the day was when Erin sent a text message to alert me that Ava said "touchdown" for the first time. I am so delighted by her firsts. They are coming at a fast and furious pace, and despite her incredible memory she most likely will not remember them. But I certainly will, at least until the onset of senility which I'm hoping won't kick in until the day after I'm buried. If Ava becomes a Jets fan like her old man, 9/10/07 is the first of many 0 - 1 starts she'll have to endure. The beautiful thing about being 0 - 1 is that you have 15 upcoming opportunities to redeem yourself. Not a bad deal, or a bad thing to realize.

I made a mistake yesterday that I hope not to repeat on 9/10/07 or any of my days to follow. Now I know to always open the cover before turning on my grill to make sure nothing is sitting on it. By doing so I should never again partially melt the plastic handles of utensils. I may not be learning new things at quite as rapid a clip as Ava, but I am still being taught valuable life lessons. I greatly appreciate this because it seems to me that once once you're done learning about the world, there's little point of continuing to live in it.

On 9/10/07 I read about the MTV award show that took place over the weekend. Apparently the ex-husbands of Pamela Anderson got into a scuffle. This reminded me that even though passion is often misguided, it is as necessary a fuel to the soul as oxygen is to the lungs. I also read about Britney Spears' comeback performance where she failed to master lip synching or to display much enthusiasm through her dancing or facial expression. This served as a reminder that when the world knocks you down, even from all the way up on top of it, sometimes it's best to stay on the mat for a bit rather than hopping right back up. There will always be another battle on another day upon which you can emerge victorious. Getting up too soon is usually a surefire way to be brutally knocked down again. You can't win them all, but you can learn from each loss so as to minimize the amount of them.

I'm done for today with attempting to be profound. Time to move on to other things, like lunch. After all, 9/10 is not about being wise or making practical plans or chasing improbable dreams or buying the world a Coke. It is simply a day to appreciate everything you have, however little or much that is. It is a day to eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is no guarantee.

- Roy L. Pickering Jr. (author of Feeding the Squirrels: A Novella)