Monday, November 30, 2009

Introducing Gretel

Gretel brings so much joy into my life. She knows when my bedtime is, and she comes to have her ears scratched before I fall asleep. Regardless of how irritating my day has been, I fall asleep happy, listening to her purring. In the morning, my husband looks for her, and gives her "talks" about her obligation to end mouse lives. He brings her presents from the dollar store. Watching him fall in love with Gretel makes me think he will be a very good Dad to a baby.
I had to sign up for my health insurance benefits today, which also makes me think about babies. I want to have two more, but I didn't plan the first two, and so I have no experience in planned babies. It's all new! How much money do I need? When is the right time? Now? Later? Never? What should I do? How much does prenatal care cost? How long does it take? When will it happen? What if I don't like the thing, can I send it back? Apparently, there is a no return policy. My worst fear is giving birth to an asshole.
My best friend freaked out today when I talked about this with her. She has a strong opinion: NO MORE BABIES! NO! NO! NO! I think in her worldview only truly insane people have more than two. For me, I feel so enriched by my girls, and I feel like having a big family would be a dream come true. Even after every ounce of excrutiating hell I withstood in my divorce and ensuing custody nightmare, that never obscurred the joy that I get from my kids. To me, the experience was hell/mothering is AWESOME!
I want to experience what it all would be like with a loving, stable, rational partner, too. I missed that when my girls were small. I want to build a beautiful tribe, and have that be part of my legacy. My mom warns me that the age difference between the girls and whichever children we eventually have will be difficult. My mom had one in highschool, one in middle and one in elementary, and was very, very tired. My husband, forever the optimist, says who better to help the children navigate the situation than me, having lived it myself?
Sure, there is money and time and resources to worry about, and I'm taking the time to worry about them this time. I'm trying something new: Looking Before I Leap. Thinking Before Acting. Plannnnnnnnnnnnning.
Shrug. We'll see. Family planning gives us the illusion of control, but still there are an infinite number of uncontrollable variables. There, exactly, is the point where I contemplate the role of The Gods. We'll see.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Hello from the parenting trenches. Whoo0-ya! I'm a parenting marine today! This hippy granola school that I so intelligently enrolled my children in is really busting my chops. I need an AUTHENTIC pocahontas costume by tuesday, I need a native american dish to serve four, I need a poster with 5 pocahontas facts, 3 pocahontas pictures, and a timeline with 7 events. The timeline must be memorized. I need one hundred paper plates and signed report cards to bring with me on tuesday for parent teacher conferences AND there was also a book report to do, due Monday.

It started at seven am with the "mommymommymommy, are you awake? Let me put the ass of the cat in your face!" There is nothing like waking up to the wrong end of a cat to put me in a great mood.

My husband was doing color commentary for a double header today, and took my beloved truck. No problem! Off we hiked to the drug store for posterboard. We cut and colored and copied. I can do posters in my sleep. We used genuine fall leaves, just for pizazz.

Then it came down to the costume. The real Pocahontas was naked. John Smith commented in it in his journal. All the boys were turning cartwheels, and she wheeled around with them, completely unaware of her heathen nakedness, to paraphrase. You can't go from the disney pocahontas, obviously. What does a 17th century Algonquin girl wear? That I have in my house?

Nothing. I can't find any useful resources online. Everything has seventeen years of beading and animal pelts involved. I get out the movie The New World, and the girl wears leather dental floss. I can't send my kid to school in that. I begin to get frustrated. I take down an old bedsheet, and start cutting and making fringe. Hours pass. Complete disaster. My elder daughter tells me she can't wear it. I say fine and sulk in the bathtub, grumbling fuckthisschoolandtheirgoddamnauthenticnative
organicyogurteatingbunchoffuckingassholes, etc.
Now I'm out the material I was going to use, and the kids want dinner. I order chinese, and take down my husband's brown curtain in "The Man Room". Too bad. If you hadn't abandoned me and taken my truck, your window would still be dressed. I put in a completely child inappropriate movie that I like, tell the kids not to listen to the dirty jokes, and get out a needle and thread. I try to psych myself up. I can do this. I sew all the time. I got a B in home ec in eighth grade. I make dresses ALL THE TIME, if by all the time you mean never.

So, sew sew sew, eat a steamed dumpling, sew sew, check the book report, sew. Here is the finished product. It ain't no great shakes, but let me assure you, it is well, WELL beyond my capability. My daughter totally loves me, and tells me that she will remember this when she becomes a teenager and is tempted to hate me. She better.

I give you....Pocahontas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting There

Last night my husband and I went on a date. I had woken up in the morning crying. I dreamed about my friend who had passed away last spring, and every time I think of her, I think of her young family, just like mine. I think about the fact that my time on earth is limited, and I am not yet what I want to be.

All day I was in a bad mood. I have a gong that goes off inside me, chiming "Get there. Get there. Get there." I don't know where there is. I only know it isn't here. It is tormenting.

So, on my date with my man (he is SUCH a good man!) we talked about the time when we first met. Only days after we met, I found myself in the emergency room with a 103. 7 fever. I had just returned from a trip to the Adirondacks. I had just met my future husband, and had pulled an all-nighter (or two?) just to spend time with him, and then I fell sick. I thought I had been biten by a poisonous spider while I was camping because I had a welt the size of a lacrosse ball on my rear end.

When I got to the hospital, they whisked me inside, and all of a sudden, just like on tv, there were six people on me, poking me and proding me, and giving me ivs. They diagnosed me with MRSA, and coursing with antibiotics, they sent me home at about 3am.

I got in my car and drove to Wegmans, the giant 24 hour grocery store. They have a cafe inside, and there I sat, hospital bracelet on my wrist, eating eggplant parmasean in the wee small hours of the night. I chuckled to myself over the absurdity of it all.

"WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME!?"interjected my husband. "I would have been awake!"

"I only just met you! I didn't want you to see me. I had a contagious, life threatening disease." So, I waited until the next day.

What I remembered then, falling on my head like a bucket of rocks, was that I had no one. My ex was still in full-on attack mode. He had the kids half of the time. My family was all the way up in northern New York. I had no one to call.

Now, only three years later, my house is full. I have full custody of my children. I am married. I have lovely in-laws five blocks away. I have my aunt and uncle on the farm only 45 minutes away. I would never have to drive myself home.

So, maybe I am "getting there". Even though the pushing mantra plagues me, I have crawled up and out of the pit without even taking the time to look backward. I have built something. I have grown. I have evolved. I am not going to take a break and rest on my laurels, though. I've got a lot to do.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Dear Old People,

Old people irritate me. I know, I'm going to hell, but I want to address some specific issues with you "Goldie Oldies" directly.

Say that you are 135 years old, and you know that you are deaf. I know you know that you are deaf! Don't act like you don't know! You get the indication that you might be deaf when you have to say,"WHAT!?" every time someone speaks to you. Not sometimes. Every time. If this is your situation, Do Not Call Me On The Phone. It's ok to be deaf. I embrace your different-ness. It is time to step out of denial. You don't even have to go so far as to get Miracle Ear. WRITE ME A LETTER. Do not ever call me on the phone again if you cannot hear a truck load of elephants smashing into a glass factory.

Speaking of correspondence, don't act horrified if I ask if you have an email address. I have to ask. It's my job. I find it pretty funny too. I know you don't have email, but please don't act like you don't know what email is. Don't explain to me the reasons that you don't have email. Don't tell me who in you family has email, even though you don't. Don't tell me that you have never have had and never will have email, and that you feel that you are discriminated against because coupons are available on the internet. Your argument doesn't hold water. Sorry that you are old.

As a concession, I give you permission to continue making fun of my name. It cracks me up every time some person born around the time of Christ says,"What? WHAT!? Are you kidding me? That's your name? REALLY?! Your mother NAMED you THAT?" I laugh especially hard when you say,"What ethnicity ARE you?" and then, "Well, ok..." like you've just given me permission to have my name. Go to town. I won't name my kid Lois, so we are even.

The Management

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Husband's Stitches

There is a before stitches picture that is even worse, but I will leave that to your imagination.

Laryngitis can be fun

Today I had no voice.

Last night I woke up at two am. My throat hurt, and I was coughing and snotting long ropes of green phlegm at an alarming rate, as I have been for the past week. I thought I should probably get into a hot bath and steam myself clean, and just like they say on those medical tv shows, "try to open an airway." I got into the tub, and it was there that I discovered that my voice was missing. I tried singing a "DoReMiFaSoLaTiDo", like you usually do when you are taking a bath in the middle of the night because you are covered in snot and suddenly discover that you have laryngitis. The strange squeaky honks that came out where my lovely singing voice should be startled the cat. The scared cat struck me as humorous, so I started laughing. It didn't come out nicely, what with the laryngitis and all, more gaspy and squeaky and odd, but I enjoyed a good cackle from the bathtub at two am last night. I don't know why people think I'm insane.

I can't fall asleep again until, you guessed it, just before it's time to get up. I still have no voice, I'm still coughing and snotting all over the place, and yet I decide it's a really great idea to go to work. My reasoning be that if you go to work, they give you money.

I must have looked really horrible because people just said to me,"Are you sick? Stay away from me!" and put file folders over their faces. Seriously. Grown adults. More than once. My missing voice evoked a lot of pity, too, and they gave me a data processing job that I could slink away into a corner and work on in silence. This made me pretty happy, so even though I wasn't much for jokes, I worked like a busy bee all the way to the end of the day without catastrophe. A nice lady even gave me herbal tea.

I really am fine. Its just a cold with some really cool special effects. It's payday tomorrow. My truck has new brakes. I have a giant bunny. My friend's biopsy is cancer-free. I'm feeling positive. Just quiet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Are My Sunshine.

I know I've been calling myself a displaced hippy girl who wants a yard and a farm and a goat in my livingroom and everything. I know. But, I stumbled across this little loft in the downtown ghetto area, and for the past three days I can fantasize about nothing but these hardwood floors. 15 foot ceilings. Wait for friendly. The girls could still be bused to their school. I'm just saying. Did you see the exposed brick? Ohhhh.

Damn you, craigslist! I mean, it is very unrealistic. It's expensive, and it's in the hood where one could actually get shot. My children could get shot. This does not solve the long bus ride to school problem whatsoever, yet I dream of ((((((((((((beautiful lines)))))))))))). I always wanted beautiful lines. This loft is like a sportscar when I am in the market for a minivan.

Ooohhhhhhhh....15 foot ceilings.
ANYWAYS, today was my youngest daughter's 1st and 2nd grade fall concert. Exciting! My mom always used to go on and on about how much she enjoyed the school concerts, and now that I am a mom I understand. Love 'em, dorky as it is. Love my little daughter in her dress with the maroon taffeta bodice and floaty white skirt, dotted with little rosebuds all over. Love her little pigtails tied with white ribbons. Love her frog tattoo which some teacher made her wash off. Love the spastic kid on the riser next to my daughter, who just could not CONTAIN his glee in singing You Are My Sunshine, and turned it into his own performance art piece centered around his! feelings! of! enthusiasm!!!!! Until he fell off the riser. But he came right back up! Yay! Love that they covered the floors in real fall leaves that you could crunch in all the way to your seat. Love that all the children marched to their spot following a man doing a native american chant, and all the children echoed him. Love that they had a real live accordian player. LOVE IT!
They sang,"Here We Go Loopty Loo" and "Biscuits In The Oven" and the aforementioned "You Are My Sunshine." My only criticism is that they underestimate the sophistication of the average second grader. Raffi? Dude, so preschool. In their old school they sing They Might Be Giants. But, I digress, the school has been open only two months. Slack is deservedly cut.
The multipurpose room was recently completed, and it was broken in with due reverence. The kids' art hung from clothes pins overhead. The walls were gleaming white and pillars supported a ceiling dotted with skylights. I felt proud of the little, new, school, and proud of my kids for being there.
The cat is still good, thanks for asking.
I am a bright star in the creative firmament. Or a loft with hardwood floors. Either one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sermon Preached To Myself

In case you were wondering, yes, I am still a bright star in the creative firmament. There is a tattoo on the back of my neck that says ART NATURE SPIRITUALITY. I have not been focusing on any of these important pillars of my psyche, and for that, I feel shitty. My immune system has gone on strike, AGAIN, and nothing is fun.


Nothing is fun and I am coughing up chunks of green phlegm of impressive density.

My coworker asked me...
do you exercise?
do you take vitamins?
do you drink water?
do you eat beef?
do you drink wine?


That's probably why your immune system went missing.


Those things are true, but all of that healthy and happy stuff is knocked out of alignment because I am not working on Art, Nature or Spirituality. Scoff if you must, but I figured this out at fifteen, and it has worked for me. If I don't have A, N, or S, I have Sick and Depressed. When I'm doing good things, feeling excited about getting up in the morning, taking care of myself all falls in line.

Right now, I'm wonky, and the profuse dripping from my nose is only the tip of the iceberg.

I am wonky because I am focused on the frustration of not having enough money, bickering with my husband, wishing my work hours would pass faster, aggravated by the children's needs, the dirty house, the clutter, the broken cars, etc, etc, etc. My days are overflowing with, for lack of a better word, the uncool. Or, to sound more Dickensian, D R U D G E R Y. The Got Tos. I do everything all day long every day Because I Should.

I cannot focus on the frustration. I have to find the love. Frustration breeds frustration. Love opens like the lovely lotus flower, expanding in goodness. (((I'm not even stoned. I'm like this regula'. )))

I have a thing. I was trying to write one of those Mission Statements, and I never quite got all the way there, but I found that I want to be CREATIVE, COMPASSIONATE, and CONFIDENT through ART, NATURE and SPIRITUALITY. That's it. It isn't pithy. It will never pass as a sound bite, but it has reached down to the marrow of things, and what kind of person I am on this planet to be.


Those aren't things to own, or jobs, or awards. Those are core values. Even in a prison camp, I can cultivate my core values. At the end of the game, I want to be the most creative, compassionate, and confident soul on the block. I can hone these skills by finding my way through art, nature and spirituality.

Yet, I get mad about money, about my job, about things breaking, leaking, rusting, sagging, and molding. I get mad about my husband not agreeing with me on which direction to steer this family's ship. I get mad that things don't change fast enough. I get disappointed that I am only normal.

I fall into a cycle of being PISSED OFF.

I am really good at pissed off. I can be pissed off longer, harder and stronger than most anybody. I am pissed off right now! I don't take breaks. I can multi-task PISSED OFF.

But, that's a waste to fight hard to get out of. I want to get back to practicing being IN JOY. In Joy is like being In Love, but you don't need a partner. In Joy is just being silly and consumed with the pleasure of life. I want to be in that cycle, not this one.

What do you think?

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am a bright star in the creative firmament.

I had a lovely, lovely talk with Anna tonight. She is such a sparkly bit of crunchy goodness. She told me that I am a bright star in the creative firmament. This might possibly be the nicest thing anybody ever said about me, and I am going to tell myself this over and over until it sticks.


I want to paint it on my ceiling in cursive handwriting so that when I wake up in the godforsaken-bad breath-alarm clock morning, that pleasant thought will be the first thing I see.


It's just delicious, isn't it? You can be a bright star in the creative firmament, too. There's lots of room on the creative firmament.

What else? What else?

I called and complained about my Hagen Daz last week because it had been melted and refrozen and was not enjoyable. They sent me a replacement coupon, and this evening, after a comforting dinner of vegetable soup, bisquits and baby carrots, the girls and I kissed Peach goodbye, and went for a walk into the dark, coupon in hand, toward Hagen Daz.

It was about a mile to the drugstore, and we crossed busy streets, playing the magic streetlight game, chanting,"ONE! TWO! THREE! TURN GREEN!" which, everyone knows, forces the light to change. The evening was pleasant and warm. A fancy restaurant is being deconstructed on the corner, revealing a huge USED CAR SHOWROOM sign under several onion skin layers of siding. We peered into the dark windows and investigated the building permit, but found no clues as to what the renovations will unveil. A dentist? A petting zoo? A monastary? We just don't know.

A walk is a very good time to talk with one's children. I heard about who is a snotty friend and who is a nice one. Who's parents volunteer at the school and who's middle name actually is Peekaboo, after the skier. I learned that Peach is a very nice step-dad but he has a particular way of sighing that makes anyone, even a child, want to strangle him. We all agreed on this point, but also mutually decided that this flaw, for now, would be forgiven.

We walked by daycares, pizzarias, bathroom fixture emporiums and a huge empty space where a hardware store once was. We passed a man hanging christmas lights. Or maybe Thanksgiving lights. Not sure. We decided that neighborhoods are vastly improved by trees, and a good neighborhood became a bad neighborhood after the trees were removed.

We got our Hagan Daz for nothing, and hurried up hill to get home to our spoons. We argued the question of whether every walk could end in icecream. We decided we would walk even without it. I felt grateful for my family.

My day was generally bad, but my walk was good.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The One Where My Husband Cut His Hand

The integration of a feline into our household has been a resounding success, particularly on the part of my husband, who is completely in love. The first night the cat cried from 1 to four am, and nothing I could do soothed her. She paced back and forth outside my bedroom door and said,"Meow! Meow! Meow!" and then, promptly at four, fell asleep. The girls decided that she was afraid of the dark and must be put to sleep with the light on. "Isn't that ridiculous? A cat afraid of the dark?" I said.

"Well, perhaps she was traumatized by being outside at night because she couldn't get back to her home. There are predators out at night!"

"Thankyou for psychoanalyzing my cat,"I responded. We've become THOSE people, yet whatever the cause, the cat sleeps fine with the light on.

In other news, my husband came to pick me up from a truly terrible day at work, and had a wad of bloody toiletpaper around his thumb. "I cut myself a little bit. I'll show you when we get home. It's no big deal." He was totally casual, and so we drove all the way home before I saw that he had sliced a three inch long, one inch deep cut into the meat of his hand, and that muscle and fatty tissue was gaping open like one of those plastic change purses that you squeeze on the ends. After he showed me, he layed down on the bed, and almost passed out.

"Hey, guess what! We are going to the ER!"

"I'm fine,"he says, eyes rolling back into his head.

"Did you bleed a lot?"

"No, not at all,"he tells me.

"Doesn't it hurt?"

"No, it's fine."

"Come on, get your ass in the car. Come on, kids, this will be fun!"

He argued with me all the way there. Finally, the only thing I could tell him was,"I've heard your opinion on that," and put the pedal to the metal.

They took us right inside despite the lines in the ER. I guess the change purse effect made an impact on the triage nurse. Then my hubs had to inform the physician's assistant that he has a little issue with needles. It's not that he's afraid. Really he's not. He has some sort of biological reaction where he passes out. Oy, with the passing out again!

So, they give him a shot of lydicane. His eyes roll back and out he goes. He comes to, but joy of joys, the pain killer has no effect. So, they need to give him more lydicane. He turns green, and starts sweating and shaking, but doesn't pass out this time. He starts heaving. They take away the little bean shaped bowl they give you at the hospital usually to throw up in, and come back with a larger bucket shaped thing for him. His body has this kind of violent reaction to shots, and no one can explain why.

Still, the pain killer takes no effect.

"Do you want another shot?" the P.A. eagerly asks.

"For the love of god, just stitch him up!" I say.

So, with no pain killer worth a shit, they start jabbing the wound with a needle to sew it up. The wonderful miracle of hands is that they are so amazingly packed with nerve endings. They are designed to feel with pin point accuracy. They are sensitive instruments.

My husband was roaring like a lion. It was like a scene from a civil war hospital. The steely doctor, the useless, hand holding nurse (played by me), and the soldier screaming like a maniac. I had previously hidden the children in a nearby corridor with a tv.

It was only seven stitches. The cut was very deep, but relatively short. Soon over, and out the door we go, prescription in hand. By the time we got to the pharmacy, the man was pretty ok, opening and closing his hand and going,"Well, now it's numb!"

I apologized profusely. "I shouldn't have told them to go ahead and stitch you. But watching you have that reaction to the shots, I thought that couldn't be good for you either! And they wanted to give you another!"

"How could you know?" he said, shaking his limp hand in amazement. "It's over now. I could have taken care of it at home with superglue."

"Next time I will seriously, seriously tell them no shots. My god!"

"I know. Been like that my whole life."

Now he's got a lovely gauze wrapped hand that he carries elevated at all times, like an indian saying,"How!" Even when he's sleeping, he's still saying,"How!"

So, that was my friday night. How was yours?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We seem to have a cat.

Re: an earlier entry, the fifth puerto rican dog is named FRIDA after Frida Kahlo.
1.Blanca Nieves
4. Luna

For some reason those five dog names give me a kick.

You just never know how a day is going to turn out. I did not wake up in the morning with the idea that I was going to go to sleep the proud owner of a stray cat, but I that is indeed what happened. I lost my debit card. I went back to work to look for it. At work they had a beautiful, grey kitten that had been crying on the doorstep all evening, and I took it home.

We are shopping for names. The girls are interested in spanish now because they are learning it at school so we picked out some spanish names. Right now we are thinking about Milagro, Miraposa, Alma, Reina or Ed Gein. I think savage murderers are appropriate because I hope this cat will be a mouser.

The cat is a true beauty, and totally amiable, like a dog. She is a brindle grey color, with short hair, and a white face. You know how I am with jumping into things, but if disaster ensues, my neighbor promises to take sweet Milagro/Ed Gein off of my hands. She even likes the bunny! So far, so good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Love is all over the place

It is another tuesday night in my life. The moon is glamourous in the sky tonight, full and sparkley like a 1930s moviestar. The whole family went for a walk after dinner, bundled into our winter coats which still seem odd in their heaviness. My father always likes to walk the suburban streets of my hometown at night, and holding onto my husband's hand reminded me of being a small child walking with my dad. I remembered being so little that his hand seemed huge when I held it, so I only held onto his pointer finger.

We could all smell that someone was burning a fire in their fireplace, and it hurt my heart a little with wanting my own . Sometimes I am consumed with longing for a completely different life. Consumed-with-longing sounds ridiculously dramatic. Emily Dickinson was consumed-with-longing, right? Not a debit card sliding, cellphone using woman of the current era like me, but I really do ache with wanting some things-

a fireplace, pit, or woodstove

a garden

a dog

a house with a yard

to see my best friend

to go back to Puerto Rico

to get back to tattooing

Sometimes I get scared that my oldest daughter will grow up too fast, before I had a chance to provide her with all of the wonderful childhood I planned. Slow down, damn it! I'm not ready! We still need to go horseback riding! I need to erase those nights of dragging you home at two am from the daycare and we have to learn how to do cartwheels!

It is silly, though. My eldest daughter went to Paris and has been canoeing and has taken violin lessons. She is creative, kind and compassionate, but not only for her, but for the whole family, I kind of panic sometimes and think We Can't Waste Time Here! We have to suck the marrow out of life!

I am not built for a cubicle.

It is not really being unhappy with what I have. It's a desperate fear of missing something.

I appreciate what I've got. I got these awesome new shoes from walmart: My husband got some very promising news about his business and was exploding with optimism today.

I have youtube and can indulge my obsession can listen to all of the Ani Difranco music I want.

I found out that there is nothing wrong with my computer and that it was the monitor all along. I found the nearly forgotten ancient beast of a Trintron buried in the bottom of the closet, hooked it all up myself, wires flying here and there, and it's workin' like the indestructable model T ford that it is.
This song says it:

Love to all you guys. Look at the moon.