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Snow and Trip Recap

Here is what it looked like when we went to go get Joe from the airport on Friday night.

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Here is what it looked like the next morning.

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We drove home all day Sunday. I was a little worried about the weather but as we approached Southern Utah, I relaxed and the snow disappeared. I don’t like driving in the snow. I don’t like anyone else driving me in the snow. I tend to get white-knuckled and spend a lot of time perched on the edge of the seat, eyes opened slightly too wide and asking inane questions like, ‘You doing alright? Are we almost there? Was that a skid? Are those people going to hit us? Are you doing alright?’ I’m surprised Heather didn’t slap me a little or send me to the back seat to sit with Chuck the night she drove me to go pick up Joe from the airport. Instead she just kept smiling, patting my arm and telling me that everything was going to be fine.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to play with Leta. It’s not often I get invited into the world of a 3.5 year old and I soaked it up. Too bad I was so easily replaced. Right after Joe got there, he was invited to play circus and be the official Ariel DVD watcher with her. Oh, the fickle heart. I was crushed for a minute but watching Joe play with Leta was almost as fun as playing with her myself.

At one point, Leta grabbed her tape recorder and a tape to show off her dancing. Imagine my surprise when the tape turned out to be ‘Show A Little Love‘ by Janene Brady, featuring songs like Maybe You Laughed and The Words You Speak. I don’t know how to adequately describe these songs but, imagine if you will, the 9 year old version of myself wearing white roller skates with green wheels skating to this tape in the boom box as loud as it would go in the front yard with ALL MY HEART and feeling deep down in my toes how important it was to never tell a lie because you DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU WILL END UP except it will BE IN H E DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS. Some of these songs inspired crying spells where I was filled with so much emotion I couldn’t speak. Because some kids laughed at some other kids. WAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Anyway, I watched Leta do some excellent dancing and I sang along to all the songs which I discovered I still know by heart. Maybe next time she’ll let me dance with her.

Another trip highlight was the coffee. Jon and Heather have the best coffee machine in the whole world. It comes with its own attachments that foam the milk, shovel the drive and create world peace. I can tell you what’s high on my Christmas list.

But the best parts of the entire trip were the conversations. They were many and varied and long and sometimes deep and it was very satisfying to get to talk and talk and talk and listen and listen and listen. I miss that. We need some friends that live closer than Northern Utah.

Gingerbread Houses, er, Buildings, er, Somethings

After we got done gorging ourselves on turkey and stuffing and pie, we got out the supplies to make gingerbread houses. We used to do this every year but have slacked off the past few years. But this year – back on task.

As I pulled out bag after bag of candy, none of which anyone wanted to eat because they were so full (it’s part of the plan, yo) the kids got around the table and grabbed a ziplock of icing. We found out that we were missing one of the walls for the houses and we were 2 gingerbread men short. Most of the candy was too heavy for the icing and I thought – this is awesome.

Never, in any of the years we’ve done this, have the houses ever worked. They just don’t. The icing is either too soft or too hard and the house parts are too heavy or too brittle and the graham crackers that I buy to have just in case are broken. I mean, if the point was to actually make gingerbread houses, the entire thing would be a bust. But that is never the point.

Alex did hers on the tinfoil.

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Devon made a huge glob of marshmallows.

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Lacey made lovely designs.

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Tony did mostly all his candy on the inside.

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Tyler made some kind of bench out of gumdrops.

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And Alison and Tony made a Holy Moly roller church –

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that sacrificed gummy bears.

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All in all, a great success. Complete set here.

You Need To Hold My Hand (Or, Finally, Get A Tshirt)

Last week I went to Santa Barbara and had lunch with Eden. And why not, right? I mean, if you had the option of having lunch with Eden, you would, right? She’s funny and pretty and smells nice. She knows the best places to eat fish tacos. She wears cute shoes. Cookie licks her. In fact, if you don’t want to have lunch with Eden, I’d venture to say there is something wrong with you.

I wish I could say I JUST went there to have lunch with Eden, but in fact, I went because somewhere along the line I turned into a confused, tear-leaking mass that can’t find the right freeway exit or right turn after getting whittled away to nothing by a mean man. I turned into the lady that drives along in her car, weeping under her sunglasses and wiping snot on her sleeve because the box of tissues shot along the van floor and went behind the back seat when she made that last wrong turn. I’m the lady you feel sorry for when you glance over at the light and mistakenly think she’s singing along to music you can’t hear until you notice the quivering lower lip.

I’ve spent the better part of 2 months trying to find the right place to get Tshirts made with the Flawed But Authentic logo on them. I’ve talked to so many screen printers that I could catalog them at this point and tell you which ones made me cry and which ones just laughed in my face. Because I only want to make about 25 shirts. And that is unheard of, people. UNHEARD of. You don’t even start talking Tshirts unless you want 100 minimum order and it is beneath them to even talk to you. Or they will just charge you an arm and a leg per shirt. And who wants to spend $36 on a Tshirt? Not me. Not you, either.

So that brings us to the kind and great smelling Eden who took pity on me and drove me over to her personal screenprinter, Arosha, who did NOT laugh at me or make me cry and welcomed my tiny Tshirt order at a reasonable price. Yay for Arosha! And Yay! for Eden and thanks for holding my hand the entire time. Sorry about the palm sweat.

Please behold the selected choices.

You can have this extra long-bodied shirt by Kavio in a S, M, L or XL:

You can have this shirt by Hanes in a 1X, 2X or 3X:

They are both a basic black color and I have no idea why they look a little different.

And this is the logo:

And this is how we’re pretending that I’ve made one already and it looks like this:

See how great it accentuates the breasts?

How do you get one? Glad you asked. Click here for all sizes. I couldn’t get the sizes to work in the store so I’ll email you after I get your order to find out the size until I get that fixed. As soon as I have a minimum of 25 shirts, I’ll send the order in and then it takes about 2 weeks. Yay! for us!

I What?

Because I love the sound of my own voice (false) I made the first of what I hope to be the entire series of old columns in MP3 form. You can listen to me drone on and on about the planets in Lucky Stars, Bad Signs and Planets in Retrograde. Text version here. The awesome music you hear in the intro is a sample from a song two of my brothers did for my sister on her birthday some years back. The end song, which I included in its entirety just for the fun of it, is my brother, Nato, singing a song that us younger kids sang growing up called I Like You. I believe my sister Rhoda made it up one day as we walked to the swimming pool on a hot summer afternoon and we all started singing different parts to harmonize. In this version, Nate is doing all the parts himself. Kind of talented, isn’t he?

I have a little bit of a cold but I hope that makes me sound sexy, not drunk and sleepy.

The Heart Of Rockin'Roll

When I was fifteen my dad sent me to John Birch Society camp. The camp was in Colorado, and a group of people I’d never met before dropped by the house to give me a ride there. They all seemed a little odd but nice, in a granola kind of way. Granola that was extremely patriotic and wore flag shirts. I felt out of place the entire week.

There was a dance almost every night on the deck of the upper level of the main meeting hall. It smelled like trees and fresh and stars and snow, even though there was no snow at that time of year. The DJ, in an effort to not let in any Satan Music, played a lot of Huey Lewis and the News. It was better than the country music they played on the radio back home, so I went with it.

I slept in a cabin with 7 other girls. We all had our own bunks and sleeping bags and trunks that slid under the beds. I didn’t know any of them and most of them knew each other from years before. I was a little on the outside of the group but every time I started feeling sorry for myself I’d think, do I really want to fit in with these people? I’d feel better instantly and then visualize how awesome I’d be when I went home and told all my friends about how cool I was at this camp. In other words, lie.

Every girl in our cabin was full of their own personality quirks. One slightly heavy girl with acne took birth control pills but swore she was still a virgin. I didn’t believe her, but knowing what I know now, I wish I would have pretended to. Another girl, who had super long, dark hair and freckles and carried a Walkman with her everywhere, told lies and told us she told lies. It went something like this:

Her – ‘Hey, you guys. Last summer my parents took us all to Paris and then all around Europe. We ate crepes and frites. Do you even know what crepes and frites are?’
Me – ‘Um, ya, crepes are those thin-‘
Her – ‘Ohmygodyouguys, I lied! I totally lied. We never went to Europe last year.’

or

Her- ‘Once, when I was little, a snake got in our house and they found it in my bed.’
Me – ‘Did it bite you?’
Her – ‘Oh, no. It didn’t bit me. They got it in time. My dad got a gun and shot its head off.’
Some Other Girl – ‘Eww. That is gross. What kind was it?’
Me – ‘Did it make a huge mess and was you-‘
Her – ‘Ohmygodohmygodyouguys, that never happened! I don’t know why I said that. I’ve never even seen a snake!’

And then she would giggle for awhile, looking completely and utterly weird and the rest of us would just start talking about something else.

But the very most awesome girl there was a redheaded girl with natural curls that I was totally jealous of. She would tell us about fights she got into and then exclaim about how she had that redheaded temper. And she wore a red t shirt one day and told us that something about her complexion made it fine for her to wear red, in fact it looked great on her, when other redheaded people couldn’t.

The very first night, after we brushed teeth and got in bed, we all talked for a bit, said our goodnights. I’ve never been a heavy sleeper and I have a hard time going to sleep in the best of conditions. Sleeping in a new location with a bunch of new people, some of whom were mouth-breathers, wasn’t really conducive for my sleeping well. After about half an hour, everyone had fallen asleep but me. I could hear all their deep, heavy and sometimes slightly snoring rhythms and wished I could doze off.

Suddenly, the redheaded girl started talking. And not just kind of talking quietly, or a little bit of mumbling, either. I’m talking about a full-blown one-sided conversation with someone in her dream at regular talking volume. And it wasn’t even an interesting conversation. Something about going shopping and getting ready for school and getting her chores done before watching television. BORRiiing. Where’s the sex and the intrigue? I’d have at least liked a little mystery if I was going to be kept awake.

Eventually, everyone in the cabin was awake and telling her to shut it. But she wouldn’t wake up. She finally reached the next level of sleep and quit talking and everyone else went back to sleep. But it was the same story every night. There was talk of her being possessed by a demon. One of the girls, who’s father was a preacher, said she’d seen him cast out devils who did this kind of thing. I was impressionable then, and I might have believed her, except talking about grocery lists and riding a bike didn’t really sound that satanic.

So Much Less Than It Should Be

I’m not sure where the weekend, Monday or today went, but suddenly it’s 5pm on Tuesday. I’ve been doing stuff. New projects (would you expect anything less) job interviews, new writing gigs etc. I hate doing the flirt, dash and run update but I’m afraid that’s all I have in me at the moment.

Look, it’s my daughter:

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Umm, look! It’s Ants on a Log:

one of joe's favorite snacks

Look! It’s my genetic eyebrow showing up in my son:

the eyebrow he gets from me

Do you feel cheated? Do you still love me? Are you still coming over this weekend with a 6pack of Red Stripe?

The Shirt

A few people at BlogHer asked if I had T-shirts. Um, nope. I did not. But I do now. If you are so inclined, please go here to buy the very first official Leahpeah shirts which say “Flawed but Authentic.” Also to be had – a mug and a bag. I know, right?

Here is a close up of the design:

Flawed but Authentic

Now that I’ve started doing this, I don’t know if I can stop. It was pretty fun. And I haven’t even made a men’s version. Or a hat. Or a calendar or anything. I’m practically a N003. If there is anything you’d like made, please let me know. I’ll get’er made just special for you. I’m thinking a Goth design might be fun. Or maybe all primary colors. Or Spirograph!! Perhaps there is a better and less expensive printing option….?

Update: the Zazzle stuff is here. I had to use the name Leahpapeah because Leahpeah was taken. I swear it was by me last year but I have no documentation to prove it. Dang. : )

Peepshow

Everywhere I look there are flowers. I’m running and running and then finally come upon a swing set. Fabio turns to me and says, ‘Would you like a push?’ Without replying, (because I’m sure he knows my every thought) I jump up on a swing and Fabio’s big, strong (quite frankly, too large and bordering freakish) arms begin to push me higher and higher. The quiet creak-creak of the swing set gets louder and louder until it’s almost a deafening sound. I cover my ears with my hands and fall from the swing to the ground. Fabio won’t stop staring at me and it’s making me very, very uncomfortable.

And then I wake up and realize that there is someone outside my window peering in. My second story window. Peering in. At me. And making a sound that after a few moments I realize is tape. I just lay there, eyes tightly closed and willing myself to disappear. Maybe if I hold really still he won’t notice me! I do my best imitation of a turtle in the shell at midnight. The guy out the window says, ‘Good morning, Ma’am.’ And then I die.

I move my arm as slowly as I can so as not to call attention to myself, grab my phone on the bedside table and text Joe.

leahpeah: dude right outside my window.
leahpeah: seriously. can’t move. man right there! i’m in my underwear!
joe: hang in there baby.
leahpeah: how do i get out of bed? he can see me!
joe: i guess you cant.
leahpeah: oh well. there goes my day. and it was going to be a GOOD day, too.

Apparently, the owners are painting the exterior of the house. Good to know that it included a peepshow and that I could provide it, free of charge.

I Was A Wrangler At Blogher '07

Last year at Blogher, I commented on a distinct oogy feeling that permeated parts of the conference. This year, despite however much I was quietly alert for it, The Oogy did not appear. Blogher ’07 was fabulous and there was not one moment that the feeling wasn’t just loving, creative and supportive for everyone.* I spoke with Elisa on Sunday morning right before I left for my flight and asked her what she thought the difference was. She mentioned better internet access, better support through the hotel and services, better hotel in general (I don’t think anyone there last year has forgotten those charming rooms – yuck.), and a smaller jump in growth as opposed to last year when the growth rate was about double. I don’t think I had put all those components together, but I agreed with her instantly after she listed them. Congrats to Elisa, Lisa and Jory – the Co-founders of Blogher.

I got to meet Ree and have dinner with her the first night. I also met her mom and her daughters for a quick second. Wow, talk about adorable. Later, as Ree and I took a cab with Heather and Jessica to one of the cocktail parties, Ree looked mischievously at the cabbie and let out a burp like you have never smelled heard before. In fact, I think she might even win Heather and GEORGE! in one of their burping contests. It was THAT amazing. In the next cab on the way to the next cocktail party (I’m sure typing cock a lot today) Ree sang out one of her Ethel Merman specials (did you know she once did a Leahpeah Burp special just for lil’ol me?) and I swear that cabbie wanted to just dump us at the closest corner to get us out of the car. I think but I’m not sure because we were all laughing so hard. We demoed the new Wii game called Boogie at the Imperfect Parent Soiree. You can see what a great dancer Jessica is here.

BlogHer is like Disneyland (I don’t really like Disneyland, but you know what I mean, right?) for people like me that like to actually meet and interact with other virtual people. So many of the panels were wonderful and informative. I enjoyed meeting or re-meeting everyone there. Which brings us to my panel on Saturday, (did you enjoy that sweeping fast-forward through an entire day and a night and a morning?), The Art of Crafts. This panel would not have happened if Grace hadn’t suggested it to me. And if Natalie hadn’t asked Fred for Amy’s email. And Fred hadn’t decided he could trust me. And if certain unnamed people hadn’t vouched for me. And if Amy hadn’t said yes. Thanks, Universe.

The panel went great. I think I enjoyed it so much because of the great mix of women, all with their own strengths. Kristin Roach is fantastic. I wanted her for the panel so bad because she has this innate sense of sustainability in her work that is so important to me. As someone mentioned, waste is everywhere and it’s heartbreaking to see all the waste we generated at the conference when Chicago doesn’t even have a recycling program to help minimize the impact. Kristin reuses some of her grandma’s craft bits and reclaimed items from the thrift shop to make new items and it’s just inspiring. She hand-dyes yarn and sells kits to support her other projects so if you are in to that kind of thing, check it out. It’s beautiful, yummy stuff.

Natalie Zee Drieu was wonderful on the panel. She has this great over-arching perspective on the crafting community because of her position with Craft. She’s privy to the cool peeps and the hot links. (now I sound like a rapper.) She started an entry here at the Craftzine blog for anyone wanting to continue the conversation or people looking for great links or wanting to link to their own crafts. It was a little tricky for me to find the free registration, so in case you have any issues, sign up here to create a free account so you can comment. Nat has a huge Flickr set here, some images which have a story I’m sure I don’t remember. Thanks, free Oops! wine and Helenjane!

It was a real pleasure to talk with Natalie. She invited me to come along to have cocktails (see? again!) with herself, Kristen and Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway Season 2. Chloe and Natalie were talking high fashion during which I got lost a few times because high fashion? I think I don’t own any. (although Kristin made her awesome dress, which I think is pretty high fashion.) But I still loved listening and learning new things. Chloe was very sweet and told me the behind secrets including things about my beloved Tim Gunn. I still do the best impression of him you’ve ever seen. Seriously.

Kathy Cano Murillo was adorable. I had no idea I would like her so much because due to an unfortunate hot knife accident, she missed our conference call a few weeks ago. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess if I had to summarize her, I’d say she’s Glitterific. She’s one busy lady, what with her new product line with Duncan, her writing and crafting and her TV appearances. I’m so glad she found the time to come. (side note, I found out she’s friends with Laurie Notaro. Hi, Laurie!) Kathy’s heart is as pure as gold and she deserves all the success she’s reaping.

And then there is Amy. Amy Sedaris. I don’t even know what to tell you guys about her. I knew she would be funny as hell because I think she can’t help it. She has too much organic Jerry Blank in her blood not to be completely inappropriate and hysterical. But, I really didn’t know before hand just how smart, charming, kind, warm and authentic she is. At one point at the cocktail (16 times now, is it?) party, as the 8th person asked her to call a loved one and say something insane to their cousin Bill, I marveled at her ability to just keep being amenable and gracious. I asked her at dinner how she keeps her composure and if it wears on her and she said, quite genuinely, that it’s fine and she enjoys it. She said her fans are nice, not usually scary, and that she appreciates them appreciating her. She said it so much better than I just did, but you get the point. And smart. She knows what she wants and figures out how to make it happen. I guess you have to be super smart to get where she is and I should have figured, but something about her disarming public persona makes it hard to see sometimes. And authentic. She really and truly loves crafting and crafters and wants to support them. Yes, some of her crafts are on the silly side and she does some fun re-packaging of other products and puts her label on them, but she puts her love in to each and every thing she does, silly or not. I’m so happy to have met her. I can honestly say I enjoyed every second with her and that is kind of a rarity. Even as we were straight-faced lying as we waited for the shuttle to some really nice gentleman about how we grew up together in a small town cul-de-sac and how we’d been best friends forever and even when she dumped about a gallon of perfume on halfway through the book signing and blamed it on me and even when she yelled out CHING-CHONG to a Japanese lady and even when she made me take $40 for helping to sell all her awesome crap at the table – it was great. When I took this photo, (one of only about 6 I took the entire conference), Amy had just finished making a Bean Burrito (which she describes making in the podcast linked below and which she gave me as a gift when we left.) and she took the extra hose piece and slipped it on her hand. For the next few minutes she was just talking and gesturing with her hand to people as they came to the table as if it wasn’t even there and it was SO funny. She turned to me and said, ‘About that web stuff!’

The very nice Jennifer of Craftsanity made a podcast of our panel. You can listen here. And thanks to Suebob for being our great mic runner. Man, I was so glad to see her when I walked in the room. I knew I wouldn’t have to stress or do a lot of making sure she knew what I wanted before hand. It’s like she can read my mind.

There is lots more. I have no idea if I’ll write about it or not. I might be bloghered out. But thanks to everyone who came up and said hi to me. Leave a comment and say hi again so I’ll have your URLs. It might be days before I unpack and find all the business cards.

ps. links mentioned in the podcast:
– my craft trading site at craft.leahpeah.com
– Andrea’s jewelry from Superherodesigns.com
craftzine
creative commons

pps – the latest issue of Craft, Issue 4 shown here at the top, has my candle making article in it.

*Updated to add – I guess I missed the oogy and I misspoke. I should have said “there was not one moment that the feeling wasn’t just loving, creative and supportive for me.”

Updated again to add – Ariel from Electrolicious liveblogged our panel.

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