Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bad Boy.

My partner was a bad boy when I met him 19 years ago. He was a bad boy when we broke up a year later. He was a bad boy 8 years later when we met again and fell madly in love.

I think I was always in love with him, even though as a 15 year old that’s hard to realize.

I remember the first time I met him and his mess of a head of hair, dark, dark brown half ringlet curls, half dreadlocks. And when I was close enough to him for the first time smelling his hair, the smell of his skin, sweat and soap and deodorant and smoke. And even closer to him, nose to nose, his hands in my pants, mouth on mine, kissing me just like I’d always imagined kissing was supposed to be like, looking right into the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Dark and light green with flecks of what has to be the finest gold on the planet. Inky black lashes framing them, dark heavy eyebrows above that making them all the more noticeable.

He was a skateboarder (bad boy) and he smoked cigarettes (bad boy) and he already had a swagger. He liked me though, really, really liked me. He smiled his crooked smile showing his one slightly chipped tooth…his top lips have two peaks, almost sharp and they’re not quite full but just right. Sometimes when he’s thinking his mouth opens slightly like he’s struggling, something is on the tip of his tongue and he’s just about to say something. This happens a lot when he’s playing the guitar.

Deep inside though he’s not a bad boy in the least. He’s filled with self doubt and speckles of self esteem issues. I remember being struck with total surprise at finding out this, how shy he really was, how the confidence on the outside was more just a side effect of being a teenager, of being a skateboarder. He had to be outgoing to find people to skate with, he had to be confident to jump off of stairs or over some huge obstacle, he had to have some front and some game to get a girl.

But on the inside he always thinks people don’t like him, even when it’s obviously not true. He’s suspicious of people’s true intentions and has a hard time initiating contact with anyone. I have always considered myself special because he let me in and let me love him and see him for who he really is, shared with me how he feels about everything. Sometimes I see it as a burden, loving the bad boy who is not really bad at all, sometimes I see it as a gift, something I have been blessed with. How lucky am I to have a man with the most incredible intensity, the most confident hands, the most broken disposition, the most improbably sexy demeanor…

And the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.


My kids joke that I am a vampire because my hands are always ice cold. I think it's because my day job consists of lots and lots of typing and my side piece (she's a foxy minx Dork Designs by Erin) involves my hands constantly moving as well.

It makes me sad though that all winter long all of my loved ones cringe when I got to touch their bare skin with my hands.

I have such a warm heart.

And the weather isn't helping things. This morning the kids and I pulled their winter coats out from where I had hung them up and stuffed them into the back of the foyer closet. It was a sad moment.

Every morning when I wake up I feel so incredibly warm from the inside out like a little coal furnace is puffing away in my center and the heat is just radiating into all of my limbs. My cheeks are rosy and I'm so comfy and happy like a little round bunny tucked away in her den, covered with grass and leaves and straw and dirt. I wrap my arms around the extra pillows on the bed and pull them into me, rubbing my face against the smooth jersey. A ball of complete contentment.

I stretch out one round arm and that incredible happy warmth starts to leave my body, legs straight out, toes pointed, more of it leaves my body in sad wispy threads. By the time I'm up out of bed and ready to go into each bedroom and wake each child for school my hands are already like ice.

And everyone cringes when I go to stir them awake with my chilled fingers.

Friday, April 17, 2015


When my mother was 34 I was 16 and she was pregnant with my baby sister, Hannah. When I turned 16 my mom was giant and uncomfortable and counting down the next seven weeks till she was due with her fifth baby, her last baby, my beautiful blond babiest sister.

When my daddy was 34 I was 12 and had long wavy hair and insisted on wearing giant oversized Pearl Jam t-shirts, cut off jean shorts and Doc Martens. He was pretty much the same as he is now except a little wild still yet and with a tiny bit more hair. He had some more oats to sow.

When Jeremiah was 34 we went through the second most horrible trial of our relationship. I was thinner and unhappy. He was brooding as usual but much, much angrier. The last three years have mellowed him exponentially. And with his mellowness I've gained some weight.

When my beloved Grandma Bert was 34 she was a mother, a worker and living a life similar to mine in some ways. She had three children from a previous marriage and two with her husband, my pappy, the love of her life. She was struggling, there was never quite enough money. They fought, they had fiery personalities, they loved each other explosively. In the end they mellowed out as well and had a happy life. Trying at times, yes, but in the end she was happy. At least, she said she was happy.

I turned 34 yesterday. My mother tells me I was born a little after 10:00 PM, just long enough after 10:00 to keep my grandma at the hospital with her and not at a card game. Last night at 10:00 I was in the arms of the man I love, digesting ice cream cake and mushroom pizza, watching Babadook in our dark gameroom underneath an electric blanket while my children were in bed in their rooms above us.

When I woke up this morning I didn't feel all that much different. I did fall asleep a little earlier than I usually do and Maxine Jane and I were dragging our feet before school and she had to run down to the bus stop. I had half an english muffin, a honeycrisp apple, a big mug of coffee. The sun is not out, the air is slightly damp, my hair is curly and unruly, the dog needs brushed and there's much, much work to be done before end of office hours today but I am happy.

And I'm 34.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Curse

Blood. When Maxine Jane's nose bleeds I freak out even though it happens often and with gory results. I've taken her to the doctor and they tell me it's normal. My brother Joshua and I both had nose bleeds as children all the time.

But every time she comes to me with her hand filled with snot and blood and clots of thick mucus streaked with bright, bright red I feel faint and panicked at the same time. Calling for Jeremiah, running for the paper towels because tissues just don't work, soothing her when she doesn't really need soothed.

So you'd think my monthly bleeding might freak me out a little...but really until very recently it hasn't. I've always had light, short periods and I have no idea why. I also have no idea why in the last five months or so I have had painful, emotional periods with copious amounts of blood. I know we as a society don't like to talk about this but hey, it's my blog...I'll talk about what I want.

And what I want to talk about is why I now see why menstruating is seen as a curse, The Curse. I feel like I need a nap and I hate naps. I feel like I'm in early labor which after having four children, trust me, that fucking sucks. I snapped at Olive this morning and I cried when I found Elijah in bed with a stuffy nose and a mild fever. I didn't get any of my morning work done, I didn't stuff any of the bunnies or bears I have to finish by the end of the week, I didn't make my morning smoothie or the french press espresso I had been looking forward to the night before. Everything seems... wrong.

I am fully cognizant that this curse gave me the ability to have my four beautiful children. It stills sucks.

I had promised myself that I was going to have a cheery 34th birthday this Thursday, that I was going to shed the malaise that has been coming over me since my 30th. But now with this curse I'm not sure I'll be able to.

Maybe if there will be cake! Cake that I didn't have to make, of course.

Friday, April 10, 2015

This is Me

I've always been vain.

And at the same time I'm not entirely sure that's accurate. I think self obsessed because of an issue with low self esteem is probably more applicable...but yeah, vain.

A few years ago (and some of you out there might remember) I lost a great, huge deal of weight, around 80 pounds. I went from around 220 to around 135. And I have been working really hard at getting back up towards that 220 again since then! So yes, I could be healthier and yes, I certainly could exercise more.

But with the weight issues also comes this fear of looking different as I age. I like my looks. I like my eyes and my mouth and my cheeks and my hair...I am totally petrified of looking like someone else, an older version of me that people don't recognize. Like I could run into someone at the store or on the street and they would just walk by, that couldn't be her! That woman is much, much older than Erin! 

So in the last few months I haven't been dieting or exercising any more than usual. I haven't been taking better care of myself any more than usual. I haven't tried to change up my wardrobe any more than usual. I've just been trying to come to terms with change. The permanent wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes, the gray hair that my sister plucked from my head, the creases on my chest between my breasts that were never there before. 

I just keep telling myself everyone is different, everyone is different, everyone is different. I remember when I did weigh 140 and not 190 I still thought I looked huge! I can't believe how hard I was on myself. And I was even harder on myself when I was 18 and 115 pounds.

So this is me, my problem, something I have to deal with and come to terms with.

This is me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Teenage Drama on the Erin Front

For some unforeseen reason teenagers like me. And to qualify that I mean teenagers other than my 16 year old sister and my 14 year old daughter. I have some uncomfortable run ins with teens before but generally speaking I've noticed that teens like me and like talking with me.

That being said I usually can't stand them. Any of them. My oldest daughter Rose has one passably ok girlfriend who I have had a lot of pretty good interactions with. She makes me laugh. But as time passes I can't help but side with Rose when the two of them argue and I also can't help but dislike her more and more each time. 

One teenage girl I have met fairly recently makes me cringe daily but also makes me feel an incredible empathy towards her. I would never want to be under 20 ever again or certainly as much as I love my parents would I ever want to live with them again. 

I know this girls mom and like her very much too. I can see the same naive and sweet quality in them. They're just interested in what's going on around them but so unassuming in their character that you know they both have been screwed over in different capacities.

The mom looks into my eyes when I am talking to her and when I falter trying to explain something she lifts her chin up in this very supportive way like the way a parent looks at a child struggling to read a word they're unfamiliar with. 

I have a bad habit of 'falling in love' with people and obsessing over them. I think it comes from being the oldest of five children, all of my siblings much too young to be my friend or confidant. So I have always been searching for that best friend, that soldier on the Erin Front fighting for me. So in a defense against my nature and the times I have been screwed over because of it I keep most people, even people I like very much, at arms length. 

Regardless this teen girl and her friend had a cringe-worthy conversation I overheard this afternoon that I have been going over again in my head. 

It starts with my erstwhile teenage sort of friend whining loudly:

"I need a job. I need money. I want to get my hair cut and my hair dyed like now. Omg life sucks."

"I need money too!"

"What!? You have anything you want. You have like money to show. Like Cat says she has all of this cash and she ain't really got nothing."

"You should just like ask your mom to get your hair cut. Like she could take you or something."

"She doesn't let me dye my hair. That's why I need to get money cause she won't give me none."

I know this is an innocent conversation and I am well aware that I probably had several million conversations in my young life that would make me gag today if I heard those conversations retold. But something today made me want to scream and shout. 

We are living in comparative poverty as the 99% while our government and the 1% are stripping us of our rights and our ability to make a fruitful living! 

College educations are worth nothing because of the masses of educational debt plaguing us! You can be paying on four year degree every month with a payment of $300 plus that never ends while you're making $10 an hour! 

Youths are being shot in the street and outside their homes because of their color or their economic standing by a violent fraternal order of police who act without fear of punishment or retribution. 

Politicians sit high on the hill ruling us like a fucking oligarchy while we sit idly by thankful for our roads and the aforementioned corrupt police force. 

Don't you see what is falling apart around us while you're dicking around complaining about your fucking hair? 

The youth should lead us! 

Or wait. Here's where the anger and annoyance leaves me completely. It's not this girls fault. It's not her friend's fault or her teacher's fault. 

It's my place to start demanding change and standing up for my rights so these kids will learn from my example. I am the adult! I have the power and the intelligence and the wherewithal.

Then again I wish my mom would give me money so I could get a haircut too. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dork Designs by Erin - Shipping now included

Advertising is a strange task. On one hand I feel like I'm asking people for money and on the other hand I know I have a quality product made of the best materials that I have worked very hard at making... I'm torn.

Regardless I haven't been into using Etsy as of late. I am just not that great of a photographer and don't have the tools accessible to me readily to be able to make the types of professional listings I think would compete well on that site. So I have been selling to local shops, and here and there through Facebook and other medias. I posted this post recently about examples of what I do for Dork Designs and a list of custom order prices.

Here's a round up of the handmade stuffies I have available after the Easter onslaught. All bunnies and bears are $40 including shipping and measure approx 14" from tips of ears to bottom of their toes. Each bunny and bear is made of hypoallergenic fibers and fillings with love by me.

Message me at or like Dork Designs by Erin on Facebook and message me there for ordering info!

"Cousteau" Bunny

"Sweet Tart" Bunny
"Bertie Mae" Bunny
"Butterscotch" Bunny
"BubbleYum" Bunny
"Wicket" Bear
"Simon" Bear

Friday, April 3, 2015

Maxine Jane

At the end of the month Maxine Jane turns 10. 10 years with her has been the greatest gift and challenge of my lifetime. I could link you to the many posts on this blog that illustrate the struggles she and I have battled through together but instead I choose to move forward with hope rather than muddle through the mire of our past.

It's been hard, it's been amazing, it's been surprising and fruitful. I am also certain that I have varying levels of PTSD from all of the challenges she's presented to me. And at the same time I'm fully aware that it could have been much, much worse.

A pediatrician told us she was autistic, a therapist told us that she had ODD and other burgeoning personality disorder traits, yet another pediatrician told us she was malnourished. But she's none of those things. She's just Maxine Jane, Max, Trouble, the light of my life, the bane of my existence and the human being that is most like the person I wish I could be. Strong and impossible to bully, to intimidate, brave and always true to herself. And loyal, oh so very loyal! The kind of little scrapper that defends her older sister at the bus stop, who doesn't back down, who works to right wrongs, who tries and tries again till she succeeds.

But inside down deep she's sad sometimes and is missing something, something that I've never been able to fill, to help her deal with. Despite hours of talking and cuddling and giving love, as much love as I've ever given anybody ever, I've never been able to get down to the core of why she acts out, why the fits come and the anger manifests and the controlling nature just won't back down.

All of my other children say she's my favorite child and that's not true. 

She's just my soulmate. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Advertising Me: Fickle Un-Business Like Woman...Almost 34 Years Old

Well my life has been in a tumult of twist and turns as of late! But one thing is constant and strong in my life: my inability to pick something and stick with it. I mean I do some things pretty well.  I can read the shit out of a book. Just eff that book up and know every single thing about that book. I can crochet like a madman, tear that fiber up yo. I can literally make anything with my hands as long as a crochet hook is involved. I can binge watch shows while crocheting like a boss. I finished like six projects and watched the whole Season 3 of House of Cards in like one day and half a night. Beat the crap out of Netflix and our data plan with the cable company. Those pansies didn't even see me coming and pow! I sat on my overweight ass and watched TV for like 13 hours.

One thing that has stayed consistent over the years is my small business Dork Designs by Erin. I do custom crocheted gifts for people who like to buy handmade goodies that are just too damn cute for words. I started doing cold weather accessories over five years ago and have since moved on to stuffed animals, bunnies and bears and other little creatures. My most popular order is a custom bunny/blanket set for a baby shower gift, child's birthday, etc. Each handmade creature is then named by my children...which is always interesting. I haven't shared any of my new custom order photos in a really long time so bear with me and hopefully you can share/like my Facebook page for Dork Designs. I mean, if you want to.

Pricing of some of the stuff in the photos below:
-Custom bunnies: $60 (prices may change depending on which fibers you choose for your bunny)
-Bunny and small blanket:$140
-Crib sized baby blanket alone with applique of your choice: $120
-Custom bunny with matching baby/kid hat: $90
-Custom squids are $40. 
-If you see a bunny, bear, squid or any creature on my Dork Designs Facebook page that is currently for sale it is $40 which includes shipping. Just message me and I will send you an easy to pay invoice! For example this bunny is for sale: "Bertie Mae" Bunny
And this one is not: "Razzle Dazzle" Bunny