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February 8, 2012

I will be randomizing all entrants at 6 PM Mountain Time tonight. SO! If you want a chance to win the necklace above (fine silver, handmade, comes with a 16 or 18″ snake chain) please CLICK HERE and leave a comment on that post (not this one!!). I’ll announce the winner on the blog tonight. 🙂


Should you spank your kids?

February 6, 2012

Your kid isn’t always an angel…should you spank?

I was poking around online just now, killing time when I should be working, when I saw an article about a new spanking study linked on the top page of CNN.

The headline: Why Spanking Doesn’t Work

My first reaction was DUH! Don’t hit your kids EVER! But then, I reminded myself that this is still a point of debate, and thank goodness for studies like this one.

Some tidbits from the article:

If someone were to hit us to change our behavior, it might harm our relationship with that person. We might feel resentful. It’s no different for children. It’s not a constructive thing to do.

Children who are spanked may feel depressed and devalued, and their sense of self-worth can suffer. Harsh punishments can wind up backfiring because they can foster lying in children who are desperate to avoid being spanked.
It’s a great article, a valuable study, and a must-read for every parent. Check it out!
Coming later: 365 Creative–the parenting version (in case you’re at your wits end and feel like hitting your kid!)

Growing creativity! (365 Creative, February 3-5)

February 5, 2012

Ooooh….I want to make these!

Here are the directions.

These past few days have been writing intensive for me, and I’m about to get super busy with Tumbleweeds, an article for Local Flavor, and a big proposal for Daybreak Solar. Yes, these big projects will all coincide. C’est la vie, right? PLUS I’m shooting a wedding next weekend!

Life clumps.

The good news: these are all creative ventures. All things I love to do. 🙂

One last note, then I’m off to eat guacamole and watch the Super Bowl (rooting for the, um, Broncos! Yeah!!)…

THERE’S STILL TIME TO GET IN ON THE NECKLACE GIVEAWAY! Click here and reply to the post for a chance to win!

All the little pieces (365 Creative, Feb 2)

February 2, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about my identity these past few weeks, and wondering how the person I am now jives with this blog anymore.

When I started Non Compos Mentis Mama I was still muddling around in the rawness of motherhood. I wrote about trying to cook dinner amid chaos. Trying to drive amid chaos. Trying to do just about everything….amid chaos. It was glorious chaos all the time, and I learned–fast–how to jump from one thing to the next, never truly landing anywhere.

Now that the kids are so much older, things have mellowed. They can help with dinner, we all enjoy listening to music in the car, and they will even leave me alone for long stretches of time. Because life is so different, I have been contemplating my much-loved moniker. Maybe I’m just not Non Compos Mentis Mama anymore?

But after a few moments (well, days) of reflection, I realized that though things have certainly changed, and life isn’t quite as raw, I am definitely still me. Still muddled. Still scattered. Still about as non compos mentis as they come.

Now, my daily grind includes encouraging a certain reticent teen to put the iPod away and do some homework, dangit. It includes helping a not-so-small-anymore person figure out how to do a science fair project that involves chickens. It includes driving and driving and driving…because none of them are driving. Yet.

And on top of all of this, my daily grind includes trying to manage a bustling freelance business that seems to be getting busier by the second. This is, of course, great! But…I work solo. I am it. A sole proprietor wearing many, many hats.

So I forget shit. Today I almost completely spaced an important errand. A few weeks ago I almost forgot to pick up one of the kids from school (fortunately, this was the oldest kid, who hardly noticed that I didn’t show up on time).

Today, after remembering the important errand and successfully completing it, I sat in my car for a spell, all alone, and thought about things. Thought about organization, sanity, and my general feeling of headless chickenness. I’m definitely over extended, but this is not new. This is how I roll. Apparently.

While I sat and thought, I absentmindedly shot the pretty tree, above, with the billowing clouds behind it. A small moment of cell phone creativity as I pondered something larger. Something grand. Something….like a project.

Yes! A project! That’s what I do when I feel overwhelmed–I come up with even more to do.

BUT! This will be fun. It looks something like this: I need both a datebook and something in which to write lists and notes. Sometimes I think I also need a reminder to look at my reminders…but that’s another story for another time. Basically, I need an organizational system that makes sense to my scattered, frazzled brain. Something to capture stray thoughts, to do lists, phone numbers…the flotsam and jetsam of every day life. I haven’t found any sort of planner than is actually laid out the way I want and need.

So I think I’ll make my own. Something to hold all the little pieces so that I don’t fall apart.

Daybook for Dreamers? 🙂

And in case you missed it: I’m doing a necklace giveaway! For your chance to win this:

Click here and leave a comment after the post! I’ll take all the names and randomize them to get a winner next week!

Fail! A week of creative reflection + a recipe + a giveaway! (January 23-February 1)

February 1, 2012

From last Monday to today (Wednesday already??!) I’ve spent a lot of time in quiet reflection.

This is what happens to me when a creative venture fails twice. That bracelet I made that broke? I made another and that one broke too. When it happened, I had a mini tantrum. I had just about mastered the ability to put snaps on leather, to make the closure for the bracelet, and then…fail.

Round three, if I can even muster the strength, will be made with a stronger metal like sterling, bronze, or copper.

To lift my spirits again, I turned to an old faithful. I made a few pendants using my new stamps, then tinkered with rainbow patina painted carefully by hand. I like this…it’s a good reminder to dream and to keep dreaming, no matter what stumbling blocks pop up along the way.

Other things I did to lift my spirits this week:

1. Sat by a rushing river (the Rio Grande) and threw rocks in the river with Chris and Graysen.
The sun on my skin and the sound of the water rushing over the rocks was healing. Chris collected small black stones to drill and turn into pendants. The only bummer about this outing: people have trashed this bank of the river (near Diablo Canyon). Broken glass, plastic bottles, condom wrappers….yuk. There’s trash everywhere. Time to organize a cleanup crew, and go tidy up the banks of the river!

2. Went skiing. It was lovely, until I overestimated Graysen’s abilities and took him up the quad chair. One hour later, ski patrol helped him ski down without falling every two seconds. (No, he didn’t get hurt…unless you count hurt feelings when I lost my patience a little because it seemed like he was just goofing off.)

3. Experimented with random foodstuffs for dinner with no basic plan. And it worked! I made a lovely coconut lemon chicken soup that the kids adored. Here’s the recipe:
1 32 oz container broth (vegetable is what I used, if you prefer beef or chicken, those would taste great too)
2 cups water
1 T. Organic Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces if you prefer (I used the full pieces then cut them in my own bowl of soup)
1 can coconut milk
3/4 cup lemon juice (4+/- large lemons)

Heat broth, water, and bouillon in a large soup pot. When boiling, add raw chicken. Let boil until chicken is cooked through. Add coconut milk and remove from heat. For the lemon juice, I peeled a very large lemon and ran it through my Breville, but you can also use a hand juicer or just buy lemon juice (which, of course, is never quite as tasty).
I was out of all veggies when I made this, so I just put chicken in it. But this soup would be delightful with some carrots, greens, onions…be creative!

4. Shot the beautiful sunset…and a stunning lenticular cloud.

5. Worked out. I signed up for a fitness class at the community college this semester, and it started on the 23rd. It’s amazing what a rush of physical activity will do for the creative spirit!

Taking a break from this daily blog helped too, and I have emerged inspired to give away the necklace I posted at the top. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post! I’ll randomly select a winner on February 8 and announce the winner on the blog! 🙂

Creative highs and lows (365 Creative, January 23)

January 23, 2012

One of my essays was accepted for publication in the Santa Fe Literary Review today!


This broke:

I don’t make bracelets ever. The last time I did, it broke all to pieces. PMC is very brittle. This time I thought I’d aced it, and this one isn’t designed to go all the way around the wrist. Rather, I’ll make a nice leather piece for it with a lobster clasp or snap closure.

But I didn’t reinforce the back of this one in two key places, and it snapped in my hands when I was trying to adjust its shape very, very gently.


So I quick made another one, and put the broke down version in my scrap bag.

You win some, you lose some. Such is the creative life.


Make a Difference, and The Dumbshit Award. (365 Creative, January 22)

January 22, 2012

I made this today.

It’s the silver band for a bracelet that I’ll finish with a leather strap before I pass it along to a client. Here it is as it looked going into the kiln!

Tomorrow I hope to have time to make more pieces. My jewelry Zen time…but there’s much more to be done too. Two articles to write, and I’m gearing for my regular quarterly design project–Tumbleweeds, The Newspaper for Santa Fe Families.

But for now, I have to go down to the chicken coop to check and see which chicken earns what we’ve taken to calling the “Dumbshit Award.” This is awarded to the one dang chicken who doesn’t go in the coop for the night. Apparently, sitting on the coop ladder just outside the door and shivering in single-digit temps is preferable to huddling with your coop sisters….

My money’s on Titania. She’s the usual suspect. 🙂



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