Monday, May 23, 2011

All the World's a Stage

Something really fun happened to me today.
I got a phone call from a friend (normal) who wanted me to help stage her home to sell it (semi-normal) because she told her Realtor about me and he is willing to pay for my work (so not normal!)
Now, I don't really care about the money.
But work- work is exciting.
I need a project to live. If I am not working on something I start slumping. And slouching. And wilting.
Yes- I can always reorganize my junk drawer AGAIN.
Or mop my floors AGAIN. (I think it's been an embarrassing number of months since I tackled that one to be embarrassingly honest.)
Or put my folded laundry away AGAIN.
But I mean a new project. Something I haven't done 13746817687163248273 times.
Something I won't have to do 20945794758273498758934725 more times before I die.
(Yes, I just randomly played with the number keys. But it was fun.)
So quick sum up.
I get to stage a house.
I get to make it prettier.
I might even make a little pocket change.
Which I will use to make my house a little prettier.
Daisies. Rainbows. Unicorns.
All that jazz.
And if you ever need a little hand making your house prettier- I always need a project.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

This one goes out to you, Jungle Jane.
Because- sorry, this will sound weird- you kind of think I am great.
At least, greater than I really am.
But in life we all need someone who thinks we are great(ish).
Even if they see our faults and totally understand the extent of our flaws.
When I set out with the grand goal to write a novel (a coherent novel, may I add) I wrote most of it for you.
Because I knew you would care.
I knew you would think I was brilliant (even though in reality, I am just a tad shy of brilliant).
And if nothing else, I wanted to finish it for you.
You invested so much time into caring about what I wrote that I couldn't just leave my characters eternally unresolved.
So the mediocre, but completed, novel sitting on my shelf is 99% due to you.
I wrote to the Cowgirl, but I wrote it for you.
It's hard to explain.
Your mental encouragement rippling across the Midwest all the way from Iowa to Kansas kept finding me and pushing my fingers on.
And the book doesn't mean anything. It is a stack of paper.
But your belief in me means everything.
Thanks for helping me to meet a massive goal. It wouldn't have happened without your love.

just so you know-
I think you're great, too.

Your loving sis,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Phillips or flat?

Last night the Dancer had an unfortunate run-in with a door.
She lost.
And I won't waste my breathe telling you how I had been pleading, begging and demanding that my children stop running and wrestling in the house.
I won't bother about the fact that I had just lowered myself up to my ears in a hot bath.
Or how I threatened their lives if they played tag in my bathroom one more time.
And I'm not going to bore you with how I had to jump out of said bath, grab my robe and run to the scene of the crime only to find the perfect imprint of a screw embedded in my daughter's face.
And I do mean perfect.
I could tell you what size phillips screwdriver the thing took.
Nobody listens to mom (WHY doesn't anyone listen to mom?!!)
Apparently she bit it right on the hinge of the Cowgirl's bedroom door.
Today she is pretty proud of it.
And they are still rough housing....
And today- I took two baths.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial- Do It Tapper Style

Tonight I am going to tell you how I survive a three year old fashion diva.
Just like the real fashion divas, she has no sense of what looks good.
She just wants to make a statement.
The Dancer's fashion statement is I am completely, totally, and always a princess.
So when I do something horrific like tackling her and forcing her squirmy body into pants when it is forty degrees outside- she gets traumatized.
I try to tell her that leggings are footless tights and princesses wear tights.
Well, you just look at her photo from this morning and tell
me if she is buying it.
She cried in bed until I distracted her by letting her take pictures with my camera.

I know- I'm a vision.
So how do I manipulate and outmaneuver her?
I lie a lot.
I pull it out of thin air.
Things like,
I saw Cinderella yesterday and she was wearing a red shirt
When you go to princess land you have to pack a jacket because every
princess has a purple jacket.
And I throw a lot of tantrums.
You have to wear it because I am the mommy and it is cute and you have to like it!
And I lose a lot.
I try to look like I don't know why the kid in the crazy outfit is following me around Target.

And every great now and then, the kid throws me a bone and lets me have my way.
So that is how I survive a lack of style Tapper-Style.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It was just a day when I had to

shed my shoes and burrow
my feet close to the earth.

It was just a day when I had to

lay down with grass in my hair and watch
the leaves speak to each other.

It was just a simple day.
Nothing monumental, life-changing or particularly memorable.

Just a day.
Sometimes frustrating.
Sometimes endearing.
And now, over.

And I find myself hoping that I can have
just another day

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We had seven hours of spring

Greetings from the land of cold weather and dead computers.
Good news is that I test drove a few laptops yesterday and picked out the one I like.
Bad news is, the Artist and I aren't impulse buyers.
We will now sit back until said laptop goes on sale. Or clearance. Or craigslist.
I think if we paid retail for something it would kill us.
Bad news is I am stuck using a glorified calculator to post my blogs.
Which is why I haven't much.
I will try harder.
I promise.

Anyhoo- Spring beat a hasty retreat this week and left us shivering in the forties and fifties and wondering where in the world the glorious, warm days went.
But in all fairness, we did have a warm day. And then two sweltering, muggy hot days near 100 degrees. So when I calculate it all together I'm coming up with about seven hours of beautiful spring this year.
Which makes this year a fair average for the Midwest.

But to catch you up on my life and to escape the fact that my HEATER is turned on and my FIREPLACE is burning on May 15, I will now wax nostalgic for last week.
I will call it the hot day.
To keep the Cowgirl and Dancer happy, I did what every wise mother does- I watered our grass.
The wise part is that I lied through my pearly whites and told my children that I was turning on the sprinkler just for them.
Two bathing suits later, life was good.
A little ridiculous.
But good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Did you give up on me?

Muchos apologies!!!
My computer took its last breath on Friday and went to that big Best Buy in the sky.
I am currently using a contraption that wants to be a laptop when it grows up, but we'll make do.
I was off the grid for Mother's Day!
That means I couldn't wish all the amazing women I know all the happiness and chocolate and pampering they deserve. Belated happiness to all the women who are mothers not just to their biological children, but to all the souls around them.
We did some celebrating on Saturday. The family went garage sale-ing with me on Saturday morning and then the Artist took us to the art museum where we ate in the courtyard and played frisbee on the lawn and tried not to disturb the people who came for the... art.

We also popped over to the Country Club Plaza for a little fun. We strolled right past Armani and Tiffany's and went for the good stores.
The toy store, of course.
So I don't have a coach purse. You'll never see me pining.
I look too fabulous in prank glasses to worry about silly things like designer labels.

But let me just say that it brings me inexpressible comfort to know that I passed these glorious genes on to the next generation.
We were laughing so hard that a toy store staffer came to investigate what was going on in the usually uneventful back corner.
No fear, Store Clerk, just some breathtaking girls dealing with their beauty.
All is well.

Happy Mother's Day, friends!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Valiant,

It is strange how many of my heartfelt thank yous stem from the short six months when I was sick. Only it didn't seem short at all.
It felt interminable.
Sometimes, right in the midst of it, I would wonder, "Am I imagining this? Is this all in my head?" Because I did not understand how a person could be so ill. I tried to tell myself that it was all in my head, just to see if I could miraculously rebound.
I really tried every trick. I was Houdini, looking for any impossible escape.
But there was no escape but time and endurance. And when I realized that I cried.
A lot.
And do you know what I remember about you? What I will always remember about you?
Your hands.
More specifically, your touch.
During that time, people rarely touched me. Even my family was frightened was touch me. But your motherly hands always found me.
You would reach out and take my frail, bruised hand, even when it was blue from failed IVs, and you would hold it.
When they wouldn't let me out of my bed in the hospital even to wash my face or hair, I cried to the nurses and begged them to wash my hair.
They said nothing could be done.
But you came and took my oily, unkempt hair and braided it with your gentle hands.
You knew that it still mattered.
You knew that I still wanted to look like I belonged to civilization, even if I didn't feel it.
When I was so lonely that my ribs ached I would stroke those braids and remember that someone was still willing to touch me and love me and help me.

Oh shoot, the memory of your hands just got me crying. I have to stop and mop up.

Valiant, I will never forget what your unhesitating touch meant to me. When I minister the sick I will always touch them. When they are dirty or oily or in pain, I will touch them like you touched me.
I will not cringe or shrink away from their suffering because I learned from you how to do it right. How to be human.
I learned that sometimes when you reach out and stroke a feeble hand, you heal a broken heart.
Thank you forever.
I love you.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do you think they make kids just for us?

I have this thought that keeps returning.
A few years now, I've been wondering...
Do you think God designs our kids just for us?
Because if I tried to dream up a face that appealed to me more than the Dancer's, I couldn't.
And I know that she is not a classic beauty.
But in my eyes, she breaks the classic mold. She exceeds it.
Because my little elf, my little waif, my little woodland critter seems like she was designed to be irresistible to me.
The picture in my head plays out a little like this:
God looks at the Dancer and thinks about me and says, "Make the eyes a little bigger. No, bigger. A little more. And just a little more. And make the pouty lips a little fuller. A little more. No, a lot more. And shrink the chin. Smaller. No smaller. Trust me, Tapper will love it."
And the Cowgirl- it's hard to even describe what I see when I look at her.
My favorite thing to look at in the world is a golden wheat field. It always has been since I was a child. I was the kid who got disappointed when we finally made it to Colorado because I thought the mountains blocked the view of the fields. That is not an exaggeration.
When I look at the cowgirl, that is all I see. I see the yellow light of afternoon seeping through the wheat color of her hair and reflected in the gold of her skin. And then, just when I am almost speechless at the sight of her, God added freckles. Not any freckles. The clearest, tiniest freckles that ever fell across a little girl's nose. They look like stars twinkling on her face.
So I get it- my kids are not for everyone. Not everyone goes for the almost-human elf look or the wheatfield look, but I can't help but think that they were designed just for me.
The exact beautiful that I could appreciate.
Which is good.
It keeps me from killing them.
Because I think they are slowly killing me.
But if they really and truly took off a year of my life whenever I said, "You are taking off a year of my life!!!" then I would have checked out about sixteen years ago.
So I just realized something. Children are proof that you really can't die from stress. We would all be goners!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh how the mighty have fallen

Remember how I said I care about how I look? And how my house looks? And how I knew that was bad?
Well funny, funny world.
I am sick.
Snot, germs, walking petri dish sick.
So my house is gross.
I am gross.
Glad you can't see old Tapper with her un-straightened hair in a messy pony tail.
Which, in a round-about way, brings up something that has been aggravating me for two days now ever since I saw a John Deere commercial.
I don't usually care about John Deere commercials, but I noticed this one.
It starred a thirty-something woman working in her yard with a fine sheen of sweat, dirt scattered across her perfectly fitted jeans and her curly tendril hair in a messy pony tail that reminded me a little of Taylor Swift. She had an I-have-no-idea-how-sexy-I-look-because-I-just care-about-my-landscaping air about her and I sort of wanted to kick whoever heads up John Deere marketing.
Because now we are so supposed to look carelessly beautiful while irrigating and edging?
People, what is going on?
Women get no break. None. Zippo. We are supposed to be perfect in our imperfections now.
I would snap a picture of myself in my old San Fransisco tee and my messy hair looking nothing like Taylor Swift, but then I run into the sick picture dilemna.
I went through that in the hospital.
Do you smile for a sick picture?
Or do you just look plaintively at the camera?
I always try to smile and then later I look at the pictures and remember how the IVs felt like fire going up my veins and how I hurt everywhere and I think, "Stupid girl. What are you smiling about?"
So to avoid the whole question, I'll just tell ya- I look about as sexy sick as I would driving a tractor. I'll leave the rest up to you.


P.S. Mom, thanks for the soup and cookies. Big hit.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Confessions! Wish I didn't care....

I haven't done a confession in a couple of weeks so let's get to it.
The question of the day is:

What do you care about more than you should?

Miss America answer:
I care so much about people that all suffering breaks my heart and makes it difficult to focus on my other incredible accomplishments. I wish I could care a little less, but I just can't.

Tapper answer:
I care way more I should. And I know it. I know better.
I obsess over every little accessory in my home, wondering if it's balanced, if it projects the right tone, if I'm setting the right ambiance and a bunch of other kitschy little words that mean I just want it to look good.
And then there is the pride and vanity of worrying about how I look. Whether I project the right tone. So long as you are clean and groomed, it shouldn't matter, right?
Then why does it?
Why does it matter that I find the right drape of shirt to hide my love handles or the right hairdo to hide my thin spots or the right necklace to pull attention away from areas I hate to a safe spot like my neck. (Hard for a neck to go too wrong on a thirty year old)
I'm pretty sure that everyone knows I have love handles or thin spots or problem areas. I'm pretty sure this is not coming as a shock to anyone. Do I really think Naughty Monkey four inch heels are going to hide it?
I really don't.
But I want to give people something pretty to look at. So I make sure the necklace is beautiful or the throw pillow is perfection.
And none of it matters.
The second I see the pictures of people standing next to the rubble that was their living room or a picture of my friend battling cancer rejoicing that her head is starting to sprout a fine fuzz, I know it doesn't matter.
So why is it, ladies, that when someone tells us we look pretty it sticks with us so long or makes us feel so good?
I tell the Artist that I would trade all his compliments about my mothering, cleaning, cooking, life talents and virtues for an occasional, "You're pretty."

I think so.
Painfully so.
You have no idea.