Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

I love surprises! Big, little, inadvertent, mistaken, all of them. I even feel surprised and happy when my order is sitting on my doorstep. Sure, I know what it is, but I suspend that reality in favor of the fantasy that I will open the box and find an unexpected gift celebrating my wonderfulness. Any old surprise will do.

Yesterday I received a wonderful surprise under the stairwell at my daughter’s house. This area is a Harry Potterish “cupboard under the stairs” kind of space minus the door, the lock, and the dust-stomping Dudley. There are shelves loaded with books, along with some colorful and comfy cushions where one (albeit generally a little one) can sit and peruse. And peruse is exactly what I was doing when I found this faucet. Faucet? Here? I still don’t have the story. After all, why would one need to water the books? But it did get me thinking…

Sometimes all it takes to shake the doldrums is the unexpected…the unexpected anything. Who would have dreamed that I would find a faucet in the “cupboard under the stairs?” But I did…and this simple little waterlogged irony was just enough of a surprise to ignite my creativity and my awe. How often do I get stuck in the sameness of my home, my car, my neighborhood, my easy chair, my thoughts? What does it take to jolt me out of my comfort zone, or my stuck-zone? What does it take to spur myself on, to take some chances, to answer the same questions differently, to look at each moment with a fresh perspective…one that expects to be surprised?

A faucet, just a little unexpected faucet…

Blast Off!

Tobi's Rocket

I love the way, with singular focus, my very energetic 7-year-old draws detailed pictures. For these creative moments, his mind is completely taken up with his task…to draw the image he imagines in his mind. He doesn’t say, “I can’t draw!” Instead it is as if he says, “I can see!”

Isn’t that the way it is when we are bumbling through our insecurities? We tend to say, “I can’t…” and then we don’t. But watching my son draw, and seeing his fearless vision come to life on paper, gives me the inspiration, the gumption, to try. And so, today, as we start a brand new homeschool year, this shall be my motto as teacher, mother, creative being: I CAN SEE! And in this space of learning to crash through any remaining boundaries of doubt and unknowing, I shall open my eyes to the incredible details of the beauty around me.

And then, with every moment I shall, with motherly pencil in hand, draw us a life of exploration, learning, creativity, enthusiasm, understanding, and all the sweet and savory details I can possibly muster. Here’s to you…the precious children who help me see what’s really here, right before my grateful eyes as we blast off into another dimension.


I’m not sure why, but each and every time I take a freeway exit that has two choices, I get flustered. Directionally challenged? Sometimes. But here’s the mysterious part: even if I KNOW which way I am supposed to travel, I am still sidetracked by the alternate option. Supposed to be taking Brookhurst North? Well, what about South? That looks interesting too.

This is a silly discussion, I know…but it is leading me to some deep thoughts about my seeming inability, in general, to stay on task. I have decided that I am a bit like the Laura J. Numeroff/Felicia Bond characters in the delightful children’s book series that includes, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and other such tales about one thing leading to another. My own version might look a bit like this: If you give her a task such as washing the dishes, she will ask you for some dishwashing liquid. When she notices that the bottle is empty she will go to the garage for a new one, where she will notice that the cat box needs cleaning, which will then cause her to notice the smell of a wet, molding towel. After starting a hot load of laundry, she will of course have noticed that the dryer is full of clean clothes. As she dumps them on the couch, the doorbell will ring and the UPS driver will hand her a package. She will open the package to discover that her new lens has arrived. She will open it, of course, place it on her camera, and immediately begin shooting, which will of course lead her to view the pics on her laptop, which will naturally lead her here, to this photo blog, which will remind her that she needs something to drink, which will lead her into the kitchen, where she might notice that the dishes still need washing.

See what I mean?