Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sweet Dreams


A while back The Mayor woke in the middle of the night screaming.

Bad dreams.

K went to The Mayor's room to check on him and found him stirring restlessly between sleep and wakefulness.

"Are you okay, Mayor?" K asked.

"I had a scary dream, Daddy" The Mayor said.

"Hmmm," K thought. "You know what I can do? I can put a special necklace around your neck to protect you."

"Okay," The Mayor agreed.

K fastened the invisible protection around The Mayor's neck.

"This necklace is made entirely out of my love and it will keep you safe from bad dreams," K told The Mayor. "They won't bother you now. Go back to sleep, my sweet boy."

The Mayor closed his eyes and didn't wake again until morning.

Last night, K tucked The Mayor in to bed and, as he was leaving the room, he said,

"Sweet dreams, Mayor."

"Dad?" The Mayor called after him.

"Yes, Mayor?" K said leaning back into the room.

"I've still got my necklace on."

When K told me this story I asked him to fasten one around my neck too.

We're all wearing them now.





Friday, April 25, 2008

1970's Movie Goer

Catherine is it again with the Friday Flashback writing prompts.

Today's theme is... well... let's just say that
Catherine is really pregnant at this point and the theme is something about movies of your youth, the first movie you remember seeing or a movie that moved you as a young person.

Something like that anyway.

The first movie that came to mind for me was
Pete's Dragon.

What I remember is the AWESOME soundtrack (heh) and that I had a massive crush on Pete, a dirty faced, red head with masses of freckles.

[What was I thinking?]

See for yourself.





The next film I vividly remember loving was Escape to Witch Mountain.

My first thriller!

[I feel compelled to link to Michael Jackson.]

[And now, because that is the only youtube version of "Thriller" that I could find, I feel even more compelled to wonder about the racial politics of what I just linked to... the video has running commentary about the song's pop cultural influence provided entirely by white people. Um... hello? How about a little diversity of thought? People of color don't have an voice in this analysis? What a load of crap. Listen here, I ain't no tool of the man, people.]

This is the deep end.








This is me fallen off of it.

Anyway, here is a slideshow of the real deal in kiddie thrillers...




The next film that came to mind was Born Free.

When K and I were in Kenya we visited the home of Joy Adams.

K had never read Born Free, nor had he seen the movie so I had a hard time explaining why I was so EMOTIONAL at her house.

I mean, the home of Elsa? Come ON.




Finally, I remembered that my childhood friend Tomi and I were obsessed with Pippi Longstocking.

I was a card holding member of the Pippi Longstocking Fan Club.

I'm not sure why, because looking at some of the online clips now, I think...

My GOD, what is this odd sh*t?

Case in point... this next clip seems to be some sort of Launch to The Campaign Promoting Childhood Obesity.






************************

To join in and publish a post on this theme, copy the list of participants and add it to the bottom of your post -- and don't forget to add yourself!

For more posts on the “Something about movies when I was a kid…” theme, click these...


Mrs. Flinger
Oh The Joys
Mamalogues
Sweetney
Izzy Mom
Frances
Irishkat
Assertagirl
Parenting Toys
Posts from the Playground
The Bean Blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Getting Organized


Confused about our upcoming joint-family trip, I called our friend to confirm the dates.


"What nights are we going to the beach again?" I asked him.

He told me, then asked,


"Why? What's going on? You guys can still go, right?"


"Yes, yes, we can still go, of course. K and I are just sitting here at our desks with our blackberries and our calendars doing a little family planning... you know, getting ready to HAVE SEX."

Encapsulated in a split second, I saw the complete performance of a one act play on K's face.

First, I saw his total shock, then his mortified embarrassment and, finally, a shrug of acceptance and resignation.

He married a shameless clown with no boundaries.

What can he do?

Meanwhile our friend, knowing the two of us and our propensity to be overly organized, control freaks roared with laughter.


"That WOULD be foreplay in YOUR house!" he laughed.

Oh... oh... oh... you. are. so. ORGANIZED, BAY-BEEEEEEEEEEE! YES!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bambi Jungle Queen


Reciprocating their hospitality, we invited The Wife Who Snorted (and the rest of the family) to dinner over the weekend.

I'm starting to think that snorting might be a theme in our relationship with this couple.

During dinner, The Mayor decided to discuss the finer points of the film Bambi with the couple's nine year old son.


"We have the movie Bambi," he said. "Have you seen it?"

The nine year old had not.

"It's about deer," The Mayor told him.

"Oh," the nine year old brightened. "Is that like, Bambi, Jungle Queen?"

There was a pregnant pause before the snorting started.

The Wife Who Snorts somehow managed to say,

"Uh, no. Bambi Jungle Queen is a different movie ENTIRELY."


Which was followed by uncontrollable grown up snorting and laughter.

"Why is that so funny?" the children demanded.

We couldn't answer them.

We were too busy imagining how Thumper might be portrayed in this alternate version of the enduring classic.

Bow chicka BAMBI!



Monday, April 21, 2008

When You First Understood Death


The grandmother of one of Rooster's daycare friends passed away a few mornings ago.

Rooster's friend has two older brothers - one is nine and the other is twelve.

Until about six months ago, their grandmother was actively involved in this family's lives,
regularly taking the kids to the zoo and often out to dinner.

When I picked up Roo today, I stood in the play yard talking with the children's mother.

We talked about her husbands grief and the way grief just goes on and on, coming and going like the ebb and flow of ocean waves, rising and falling.

We talked about how her children were reacting to the news. She thought maybe it hadn't fully hit them yet... or
that maybe it had.

The nine year old keeps asking not to talk about it.

How we hide from hurtful things.

Talking about her children's reaction to the death of their grandmother made me remember my own first memory of death, the moment I understood the idea that someone I loved could die, was dead.

I was nine.

My mother called me into her room in our house on Farewell Road in Columbia, Maryland.

She told me that my Pop, my Father's Father, passed away.

The next moment is such a vivid memory for me.

I smiled.

A huge grin spread across my face.

I was old enough to feel ashamed of that, knowing it wasn't the right response, but perhaps not old enough to know the right way to respond.

When we went to my the funeral, Pop's body rested in an open casket.

I remember playing with my cousins among the mourner's chairs.

Eventually, one of my parents took me to stand beside the casket and say a final goodbye.

Maybe it was my Dad.

He might have given the waxy face, that looked like Pop but wasn't, a kiss.

I might have said Goodbye, I don't know.

The next thing I remember is my Grandmother finding me under the sink in the ladies room crying and crying.

That was the moment I understood.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oh, My Largesse


I strode through the airport wearing my iPod and listening to my favorite songs on my way to a business meeting in St. Louis last week.


I felt an overwhelming benevolence for my fellow humankind.


I opened my eyes to the unique, heart-breaking complexity of everyone around me.


I found the intrinsic, sometimes hidden, beauty in every face.

Then, when my colleague met me at the gate, I took the iPod off and we boarded the plane.


A mother and her three year old boy were seated across the aisle from me.


Knowing from experience what the mom was going through traveling with him, I thought about helping her out by interacting with the boy.


But I realized then that I'm not
all that benevolent after all.


[I should really keep my iPod ON.]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Collages

Remember when we used to write in private journals with lovely covers and thick, rich paper?

I used to write in spiral and hard bound journals instead of out here on the Internet.

Similarly, before I had photoshop I used to do collage.

A few days ago I wrote about a collage that I made.

Some of you
asked me to post a photo of it, but I don't have one.

The piece is really large and doesn't fit well in a single photo frame.

Every time I try to take a photo of even one of the female figures, the glare from the glass makes the image impossible to see.

[Maybe I have to invite Angela over to get a proper photo of it.]

Anyway, as I trolled through my photos to see if I did have any of this particular collage, I found the sketch that I did first, the drawing that led to the collage.

I'm terrible at drawing.

In the collage that hangs in The Mayor and The Rooster's room, the figures are built out of pieces of pictures that say something about each of the four mothers.

Kind of like this...




Some of it is just whimsy, like this...




The last thing I found was a sketch for a collage I intended to do, but never did.

It was going to be a portrait of myself.

I planned to make my face out of a map of New Mexico, the place my ex-husband and I visited on our final vacation together.


It was the last time we were really whole.


In the collage I planned, my hair was going to be made entirely of text using all the different words for crazy.

[All the names my ex-husband called me in the end.
]

Looking back, I guess I didn't make this collage because I never really believed him.

Our relationship didn't end because I was crazy.

It takes two to kill a relationship.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eleven Windows

jen did this post called seven windows of my soul.

It inspired me.

Although... this one goes to eleven.

[In no particular order.]

Windows to My Soul

1. Sitting on my grandparent's back porch and seeing the tree line on the horizon beyond the pasture.

2. Flying and feeling weightless high above the Zambezi river and Victoria Falls over Zambia & Zimbabwe. Seeing a 360 degree rainbow, a full circle.

3. The stare of a young Rajastani woman's kohl lined eyes through my dusty bus window in the Indian desert.

4. Watching the night sky from the Wat in Doi Mae Salong, Thailand as it filled with streaks of light from a Leonid meteor shower.

5. My frozen memory of my grandmother’s face at the very last moment of her life.

6. Alone, swimming into the sunset at Kendwa Beach in Zanzibar.

7. Walking with lions on the veld in Gweru, Zimbabwe.

8. Visiting the grave of Stephen Biko.

9. Watching the twin tower's fall.

10. My first look at the faces of my children.

11. Holding hands with my love on an autumn walk in Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, New York.






************

jen didn't offer an explanation about how "windows of my soul" should be interpreted.


I think that's what prompted me to write on the topic.

What does it conjure for you?

You are welcome to join in this writing prompt. Simply add the links below to the bottom of your post and let me know to add yours to the list!

jen with seven windows of my soul
Jessica with Eleven Windows

Tracy from Tiny Mantras
Defiant Muse from Musings...
LSM with Windows
Mrs. Prufrock
Sugarplum's Mom
jakelliesmom
Arwen
Faking It
Sophisticat
Magpie with windows
Katy with windows
Mary with seven windows of my soul
BA with come to my windows
Slouchy with there are places I remember
Ivy Brown's Stoop
Dragon Woman


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not the Center


I had to take her with us.


It was spring break, I had both kids and no daycare.

The Mayor had to go to his occupational therapy appointment so he could work on repairing the nerve damage in his hand.


The Rooster had to come too.

Of course she wanted to do everything The Mayor did but
the physical therapist wouldn't allow it.

She wouldn't let poor Rooster... join in any hand therapy games.

[Oh, I keeeell myself.]

Rooster couldn't touch anything in the therapist's full-tilt, super-fun, play gym.

As any two and a half year old would, The Rooster became frustrated after hearing the word "NO!" so frequently.

I wanted to watch The Mayor's treatment, but I finally had to take The Rooster out of the room.

I headed for the bathroom because, well... I had to go.

[I should have kegeled.]

Once we were in the bathroom with the door closed, The Rooster burst into tears.

She sobbed and sobbed as if in dire anguish.

"What's wrong, Roo? What happened?" I asked, worried that she had somehow hurt herself.

"Her... her... her...," she gasped.

"Tell me," I coaxed.

"Her... is not... paying... attention... to meeeeee!!!"

Oh, my sweet muffin.



[BTW---The Mayor is making great progress. His hand therapy visits have been reduced from twice to just once
per week. He needs to re-build his overall arm and hand strength, but he's largely mended. We can finally exhale.]


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh, the Geriatric Pele


This weekend we arranged a play date at the park for The Rooster and one of her friends from daycare.


I played soccer with the nine year old brother of Rooster's friend while the other parent watched the girls on the playground.

I used to play competitive soccer when I was in elementary and middle school, but I’m pretty sure my last season was when I was in sixth grade.

Nevertheless, I was impressed with my speed and agility.

[Look at me go!]

I kicked the ball with amazing force and precision!

[I am an Olympic Soccer Super Star!!!]

I played so hard and ran so fast that I wore the nine year old out. He got winded and had to quit first.

[Ha!]

I was feeling really proud of my self and, because I am not very mature, I taunted my nine year old friend.

“I a-am faster. I a-am stronger.” I sang while shaking my butt in little victory shimmies.

He grinned, rolled his eyes and told me to shut up.

However, I am a serious idiot.

Oh, my aching HUBRIS!!

I am in desperate need of some sort of butt massaging device…

...and a walker.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Shower Gifts


When The Mayor was less than a week old, my mom noticed that his inner thighs were completely black and blue.


We called the pediatrician and they asked us to bring him in.


The intake nurse was pretty disconcerted when she saw his legs.


One after another, the pediatricians filed in to have a look.


The Mayor seemed fine, didn’t appear to be in any pain and didn’t wince or cry when the black and blue spots were touched.


The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.


This weekend, I went to my friend Tomi’s baby shower.


Seeing all the tiny newborn clothes reminded me of The Mayor’s shower, being close to the end of my first pregnancy and being a new mom.


I thought about his tiny, little diapers.


At the baby shower that my friend Michele threw for me, the guests were given a marker and a stack of newborn diapers.


Each guest wrote messages and drew pictures on the diapers so that K and I would be amused during 3:00 a.m. feedings.


The diapers were hilarious.


They were especially funny when one of the pediatricians examining The Mayor’s legs finally looked at his diaper.

“Hmmmm,” she said. “Do you think it might be magic marker?”

Doh!


Friday, April 11, 2008

Dance of the Four Mothers

There’s a collage hanging in The Mayor and The Rooster’s room that I made around the time I was getting a divorce from my first husband.

In it, there are five women standing on a plain white background.

The first four women have mermaid tails but the fifth woman is standing up on two legs with her mermaid tail thrown over her arm like a shawl.

Each figure in the collage represents one of the women in a family photo showing the five generations of women alive when I was born – from my Great, Great Grandmother right down the line to me.

My Great, Great Grandmother lived to be 100 years old.

In her lifetime, she saw transportation shift from a horse and buggy to a rocket to the moon.

In the collage, one of her hands holds a whole solar system and the other holds the ripples from a single drop of water in a still pond.

I used to sit by her bedside at the end of her life listening to her stories and trying to absorb the wisdom of her experience.

My Great Grandmother appears next in the collage.

Her picture is made from photos of farm land and her hands hold plant roots and Earth.

She was a dairy farmer’s wife and she was beyond kind.

Her legacy was one of hard work and love.

The next figure is my Granny.

Her hair is made of stones illustrating the stubbornness that I inherited from her.

Her hands hold framed photos – one of a pregnant woman and one of five women dancing together.

Granny was the one to ground me in my family, to help me understand that I am made of all those that came before me.

My mother is next, holding a clock and a fist.

She was the first woman in her family to earn a graduate degree and lead a successful career in the business world.

Finally, comes the figure that represents me, the one holding her mermaid tail.

I was twenty eight years old, childless and getting a divorce when I made this piece.

My foremothers all had children between the ages of seventeen and nineteen.

I understood that if I ever remarried and had a daughter, there wouldn’t be four generations of women alive to greet her.

My holding the mermaid tail was supposed to symbolize the divergent path my life was taking.

It turned out that when The Rooster was born, there were three generations there – my granny, my mother and me.

We recently lost my Granny so now it's just my mother and me.

Still...

Though I struggle with faith, I have always believed that my grandmothers watch over me.

They are my guardian angels and they are always with me.

The remind me of who I am and where I came from.

They help me find my center when I lose my balance.


When The Rooster woke up this morning she called to me and I sat on the edge of her bed.

I have never talked to her about the collage, but this morning she
pointed up at it and said,

“My angels!”

I beamed.

“That’s right, Roo. That’s exactly who they are.”


Oh, The Prom

I don't remember much about my junior prom.

My mom made my dress, we didn't have a limo, he wasn't my boyfriend and nothing happened.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I went to my senior prom with a boy named Jim who had only recently lost his baby fat.

Until our senior year he was, well... short and round-ish, but then he grew forty five feet and his extra weight spread out across the new length of him.

Suddenly, he was
[kinda sorta] cute.

He took me by surprise when he asked me to prom.

I was deep in the process of shifting into my I wear black and am too cool for everything phase.

I was certainly ABOVE the prom.

But then... he asked.

All of my (also too cool) girlfriends seemed to be coming up with last minute dates, so I accepted.

Though my mother made most of the dresses that I wore to school dances, I didn't give her any lead time on this one so she had no choice but to take me shopping.

I somehow ended up with a pink and black number that incorporated a crinoline underskirt.

Oh, the pretty.

At the after party at the Airport Hilton...

(I know, I know... can you think of anything more LUXURIOUS?!)

... my girlfriend and I went down the hall for ice and stayed away for a long time talking.

When we returned to the room, Jim and her date were on the beds wearing nothing but their underwear.


"Look at our TOWER OF BUDWEISER!" they shouted.

Four cans formed a tilted tower on the night stand.

My girlfriend and I grabbed pillows and blankets off the beds, threw them on the floor and ordered a pizza from room service.

[Roll Music: Barbara Streisand's "Memories."]

In college, Jim would go on to form a punk band known for throwing raw meat at the audience.


***********************


This post was written as part of Catherine’s writing prompt --

"Prom (or not Prom) memories: What did you do (or not do) Prom night?"
Feel free to join in and publish a post on this theme. All you are asked to do is copy the list of participants and add it to the bottom of your post -- and don't forget to add yourself!

For more posts on the Prom theme, click these...


Mrs. Flinger
Oh The Joys
Mamalogues
Mean Girls Need Not Apply
A Fine Frenzy
Assertagirl
Julie Pippert
Mamma Loves
Man Prom!
Alpha Dogma
Don Mills Diva
Supermama

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mother Groove

It’s spring break at daycare, so I’ve been home with the short and loud people this week.

[Hence The Incredible Lightness of Posting.]

As a working mom, I never had the opportunity to learn the stay-at-home-mom Zen that so many of my peers seem to have.

If I am honest, I have to admit that spring break used to scare me.

How on Earth would I pass the hours? How would I keep my sanity?


Don’t leave me alone with them!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

[Roll horror music - ree! ree! ree!]

I don’t know if I finally found my mothering groove or if my kids are just easier now.

Maybe it’s both.

Regardless, I’m grateful that I’ve spent most of this week pushing swings, brushing sand off little fingers and riding the mini-train at the zoo.

It’s a privilege and a gift to have this time with them.

Today I think we'll take a walk around the block. Who knows what we'll discover...


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring Is Worse Than Tequilla

Driving home from the market tonight, I noticed the scores of spring blossoms flagrantly waving themselves at the passing traffic.

Sluts!!

All the cars and even the streets themselves were dusted in bright yellow pollen.

Oh, what a whorish season!

I came to a stop at a red light and looked over at the car next to me.

The passenger had these giant, chocolate brown eyes.

[Oh, swoon!]

He was staring at me in this intense, way.

His look seemed so innocent, so full of pure love.

I found myself grinning dreamily at him.

I might have imagined it, but I think I saw his ears perk up at my smile.

The driver, a man who had eyes that matched the passenger's, turned to look into my car.

He totally busted me...flirting... with his dog.

Oh, saucy season of Spring! What have you done to me?

I was left with no choice but to rush home, burst through the door and shout...

"Bark like a dog, sweet husband!"


[Bow chicka bow wow!]

Sunday, April 06, 2008

When Married People Snort

Saturday night we were invited to dinner by a couple we don't know well, the parents of a girl that Rooster plays with at daycare.

Until Saturday we had never socialized with them beyond running into them at the school and the odd meeting at the local playground.

I like them both, but I was a little nervous.

[How long would it take for these cool people to figure out what a complete and utter dork I am?]

When we arrived, their daughter (my daughter's friend), appeared at the top of their staircase to greet us.

She was completely naked.

She stretched her arms to the heavens and spread her legs wide apart.


"Ta DA!" she yelled.

Her mom blushed.

"Ta DA!!" she yelled again jumping down a step.

She jumped down one step at a time and with each landing she announced her impressive nakedness with another,

"Ta DA!"

Her mom hurried her back up the stairs to dress her, but before she went she told us that her husband was taking a shower because he had just finished cooking.

In an act of extreme culinary ambitiousness (in my opinion) he prepared home-made tamales.

Now I LOVE tamales, but for the love of HAY-SEUSS!

You have to make the filling and then hand tie it into corn husks AND make sauce.

Oh, the over-achieving dinner host!

[I now have performance anxiety about returning the favor and inviting them to our house.]

When both parents and their re-clothed daughter joined us again, the husband started making a pot of noodles for the kids.

[Yes! More tamales for ME!]

While he cooked, I asked about his work teaching political science at a local university.

I asked him what his area of focus had been lately and, as he told us about it, I asked a lot of questions.

When he offered to e-mail me the two most recent papers he had published, his wife snorted.

I mean, she SNORTED.

Unable to ignore the snort, K and I turned to look at her.

Something about our noticing the snort sent her over the snorting edge.

Her husband stared at her in disbelief as if he was thinking,

"Did she really just SNORT at the idea of me sharing my published papers with our dinner guests?"

With all three sets of eyes trained on her, her laughing became uncontrollable. She was laughing so hard she was practically crying.

Which of course made K and I start laughing uncontrollably.

Our male host's jaw hung open and his gaze stayed fixed on his wife while the three of us HOWLED.

Steam from the noodles rose up and seemed to come straight out of his ears.

Tears streamed down our cheeks, poor guy.

Slowly, slowly an embarrassed smile spread across his face.

Oh, the universal realities of married life.

Only your spouse, who has both
seen you naked AND heard your professional spiel a billion times, can so openly snort at you like that.

[Scout's Honor, I'm interested in his work and WILL read his papers... that is if he sends them after all that.]



Friday, April 04, 2008

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

The Rooster has a doll named Baby Stella.

She meant to bring it with her to school today, but she forgot.

Because I wouldn't go back and get it for her, I had to suffer Tennessee Williams all the way to daycare.

Oh. Mah. Got.




Thursday, April 03, 2008

Oh, The Bovine

For the last three days I've been facilitating an out of town meeting for work.

The participants were bowled over by my facil-ee-tay-shun skillz and could barely contain their enthusiasm for every topic I introduced.

They were rapt, rapt I tell you!!


The only down side to the beautiful meeting location were the swarms of biting "no see 'ums."

I don't know why they're called no see 'ums, I mean, I could TOTALLY SEE 'EM!

Anyway, the bugs bit me incessantly.

One of the meeting participants (that I had just met) said,

"Well there's one in every herd."

"Excuse me?" I said.

"In every herd there's one cow genetically predisposed to attract biting bugs, you know, to keep them away from the other cows. You must be the cow that protects the herd."

Um... is it me, or did she just call me a cow?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Skipping Blog Town

Oh, uh.. Hai!

Did I forget to blog?

I must have been out of town.

Like, for work.

Where it was really beautiful and distracting...