Thursday, January 28, 2010

some days

Behind every closed door. . .

is a memory of what might have been. . .
And some days, the girl in the carpool who's trying desperately to find saddness in order to be emo takes her toll on you and you find it all for her.

Monday, January 25, 2010

in the caul

My littlest.  Born eight years ago tonight.  On time.  Still in his sac.  A good luck charm.  A winning baby and a terrific little boy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

snow day

Sometimes commuting has its benefits.  There was snow in the city north of here where Mister works, so he got to stay home with us.  He only wishes he had orange boots like these.

When T was trying to convince E to go to his favorite greasy spoon for lunch, he said, You can get that Mexican bacon that you like.

She and I looked at him and furrowed our brows.  Mexican bacon?

E scratched her head.  You mean Canadian bacon?

Whatever, he said.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

what I knew about love

I learned from television.  My childhood education on everything from fidelity to negligees was provided by a few favorites, including:
  • Three's Company
  • Dukes of Hazard
  • Heart to Heart
  • Love Boat
  • Dallas
  • General Hospital
  • The Dating Game
Never, in a million years, would I have asked my mom or dad, sitting right there watching with us, anything about the nitty gritty.  Conversely, our kids don't watch TV, certainly not any prime time network sitcoms or melodramas that might provide topics for conversation and I am asked if I've ever given a hickey and to whom and in what location??!!  Maybe my parents knew exactly what they were doing. . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

candlelight for no reason

I've been working on an essay about my dad.  I usually don't write anything autobiographical, but I'm so grateful to the folks at Viking for suggesting it because I got to think about him in a way that I don't often.  Grief teaches you very quickly that if you open the door, it will sit on your couch all day long.  So, my strategy has been to just wave at it from the driveway, when I'm taking out the garbage or see it in the crosswalk; like a pushy neighbor, you must keep your distance.  One thing I remember so clearly about my dad is him lighting candles.  On special occasions like birthdays or Thanksgiving he'd light candles on the table and maybe even some in living room.  I can still see the way his fingers looked opening the matchbook and striking the flint.  Like everything he did, it seemed to hold so much ceremony, so much gravity.  After dinner tonight, E & T used the lovely candle snuffer our friends gave us last year and I thought how much my dad would have liked that gift.    

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

they think i'm being so generous

but really, if I let these two sweet ones sleep in the big bed with me, that means I get to snuggle and cuddle and READ beginning in 10 short minutes. . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

morning grump

I'm really not a cheerful person upon first waking.  If this fact reveals something deeper about my character, so be it.  Mister, on the other hand, is naturally jolly in the morning.  He wakes us all up with hugs and smiles and nudges toward humor.  I'm trying really hard while he's away to step into those awfully big and happy shoes.  But after I've awakened the children with as much enthusiasm as I can muster and I enter the kitchen to make their breakfast, I realize that there will be no coffee today.  I have no idea how to make it and I don't want to learn.  I want my Mister back soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

no idea of his limits

We travelled to Santa Fe last night for a little birthday party and somehow the dog was left in the van in the garage while we were away.  Probably within seconds of understanding his fate, Harry got down to business and ate the entire bag of protein bars that E. keeps stocked in the car for people we see who look hungry.  Chocolate peanut butter protein bars.  Maybe five or six of them.  When we found him, four hours later, he was having some major buyers remorse.  I was certain we were on our way to the late night vet, but he seemed to feel better after a couple trips to the yard and few bowls of water.  He's been hanging his head all day, ashamed by this foolish, regrettable binge.  Or maybe he's looking for his next opportunity. . .

Friday, January 8, 2010

the 'stache

I made this mustache pillow a while ago.  I threw it in the recliner the other day--my Dad's favorite chair that I inherited and is the perfect place for a Sunday snooze--and it cracked me up because it almost looked like there was actually a man in the chair.

The children gussied me up tonight for a date with the mister.  E gave me eyeshadow and eyeliner and she couldn't contain how proud she was of her work.  T lotioned my hands and marvelled at his sister's use of the make-up.  You look all bruised, he told me.  You look beautiful, she said.  And there it is, folks:  the eye of the beholder.

Later, after the date officially ended, when our breath was garlicky and terrible, we snuggled those two little beholders, all of us in one twin bed, and it was the very best part of the night.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a few forgotten resolutions

I wrote them down, I promise.  The four of us sat around the booth and I wrote them down beneath the others I told you about.  So why did I forget?  Because we are are going to try (and maybe fail) to do two things:  go an entire month without eating out a single time AND go an entire month without buying any new item.  Obviously not in the same month--that might singlehandedly deliver the death blow to the US economy.  February is the shortest month. . .

But I have one more.  When spring comes around, get your hands on as many peonies as you can--new, used or edible.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Can you see the little bird on my dining room chair?  He flew in the house this summer and I completely panicked in front of my nephew and my own two kids.  I was so terrified when he flew the wrong way, back through the living room, into the kitchen, nowhere near the open doorway.  Why was I so scared?  I didn't believe that he would figure it our before the worst happened.  I had no confidence in the bird's abilities to find the exit.

At a school meeting tonight, I was reminded of this bird.  (Does is seem like everything in my life relates to wildlife recently?)  We were talking about the benefits of giving kids praise for hard work, mistakes and earnest efforts rather than for being quick, smart and perfect.  One theory is that this kind of praise allows children to find all their talents, even those that are not obvious on the first or second try.  And it gives them the reassurance that their truest ability is within their control.  They determine how hard they try, regardless of any innate gifts.

I think I'm kind of guilty of praising quick brilliance.  That bird found its way out of the house, but not because of its perfect sense of navigation.  It tried and it failed.  So here's to failure, which is one step closer to a success.

No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.  -Samuel Beckett

Monday, January 4, 2010

flour + water

I know all the resolutions about less white flour, sugar, etc., but we have no heat in our kitchen and I need an excuse to turn the oven on.  I'll be baking bread--and not the whole grain, oat-filled variety.  But we have resolved the following:

  • more candlelight dinners, 
  • more walks for the poor, neglected dog, 
  • a trip to the Grand Canyon and 
  • I think a dance party or two can substitute for time on the treadmill.