Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010 - it's a wrap

So, Halloween was a complete success - complete with cold windy weather, Claudia had to wear a turtle neck underneath her leotard and sweatpants under her tutu - both pink of course, Alicia was an eager trick-or-treating cow, and Alex was a very cool and studly Storm Trooper.  I absolutely love Halloween for so many reasons, but not as an adult, as in: I can't wait to dress up as a tarty school girl/nurse/cop/bar maid/witch/you name it, but as in, I cherish the nostalgia of it for my kids sake.  It is a magical time of freedom and maturation for them.  I believe this.  Our friends saw us and chided that we didn't bother to dress up and of course I just smiled and said some line about yeah, not this year, blah blah blah, but truthfully, I could care less about dressing up - it's my kid's turn to be kids and have the fun.  I'm happy just to take in the senses - the cold air, the sun dipping down, the stupid decorations that people bother to put up around their front doors.  It's all community fun.  Anyway, I'm proud of myself for giving my kids a great Halloween this year with decorations, pumpkin carving, seed toasting etc... having my aunt here made it that much more special to share the time with. 
And now, it's November....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So so sooooooo tired

My brain is just flat-lining. The house is so quiet, I can hear the sound of the clock ticking, the dog breathing, (yup, he's still here) and my 18 month old wake and fall back to sleep, (thank you). Had a long conversation with a friend today on the phone. Wish I could stay in closer touch with all my friends. I miss being close with them, but life takes everyone on a different path and sometimes it takes more effort to stay close. How did life get so busy?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween is coming and I 'aint got no costume

Halloween is just two weeks away and I have to put together costumes for the entire family. The baby is at least set with a hand-me-down, homemade cow costume that I created for her older brother when he was two and the only kid in the family. So, with the help of good storage, the baby is set - we've even got the bell. \

Last year I managed to pull together costumes for everyone, even Daddy, (Indiana Jones) for a wild party we attended ("we attended" - yeah, it was in the basement of the firehouse) but this year, I don't know if I can pull it off. The three year old keeps changing her mind. The boy knows what he wants to be, but the mom knows that that particular costume runs about $40 at Target, so she's holding off hoping he might change his mind to something simpler, like say....a hobo?

The weather is getting dramatic, the air is crisp and cool. I love this time of the year, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my birthday is coming in two weeks.

Yes, in truth I still love my birthday. Big deal or small, I actually love sitting around a table hearing people sing happy birthday to me. Is that narcissism or do I merely have a case of Peter Pan Syndrome? Wait, could that be right? Peter Pan never grew up, so how could he have had birthdays?

my boy, the scout

We went to the "Thunderbird Games" today up at Croton Park. It was fairly mild and sunny, but the wind was whipping something wicked and the Hudson River was full of muddy chop. Alex and I wore our uniforms, so new they still had their original creases in them. I haven't put our patches and badges on yet, because I made an attempt to sew them on and, well, that just wasn't going to happen, so I need to go out and buy some liquid stitch or badge magic - one of the two.

The Thunderbird Games are huge - there are thousands of kids and parents participating in all kinds of cool activities from the stuff I can describe without much trouble (archery, sling shot, bouncy castle) to other stuff that would take a really long time to explain, (a kid is on what looks like a fashioned together easel that is tethered at the top with 5 ropes that 5 leaders are holding onto the ends of, trying to balance this kid as he moves across the field...? huh?).

Alex was into it, I could tell, he tried a few of the activities and I stood and watched, beaming with pride I've never felt before. I'm a den leader now, that's where my life has brought me, and as long as my son has curiosity and enthusiasm for this, I will be right there with him.

I actually led my first den meeting last night - nearly all our scouts turned out which was 10, though I think we have a few more that have signed up. I was up to the task and had done my homework, which paid off because the meeting moved along pretty well with our cub promise reading, our pizza making, and our discussion about conifer and deciduous trees. Part of me felt like a complete geek and part of me felt like Supermom, holding the attention of nearly a dozen 6 year old boys, making them laugh and follow my lead. The honest truth is, I'm just doing this for Alex. I hope he enjoys it and has a good experience. I think he has all the makings of a thrifty, brave, and reverent kid. At the moment though, I think he's just into the cool uniform.

By the way, for those of you who are curious, the dog is still here. His paw is pretty bad, but he still manages to swipe food off the table when no one is looking, and today he barked a rabbit out of the neighbor's yard.


On 21, Ani DiFranco grates music out of her guitar and sings her poetry in front of a small and devoted audience of mostly females without make up / on 22 Jacques Pepin makes a chestnut cream Mont Blanc and uses some truffles a friend gave him, he uses a peeler to make thin slices while gnocchi begins to swell in a pan...

I believe Edward R. Murrow was one of the original minds behind public television. He knew there should be programming on television of a quality and standard that mustn't be tainted by the need for ratings. Programming that provided art and information, that told the human story with public diplomacy was necessary, he thought, to make good television.

I think if there were more PBS viewers, the world might be a better place. I seriously believe one of the things wrong with us as a society can be found in "Dancing with the Stars." I couldn't tell you exactly what that thing is, mostly because I don't watch it, but I'm almost certain I'm right.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

too much living

Life is getting in the way of blogging. I started this project to make time for myself and alas...

I've had some thoughts I wanted to write about...

1. My garbage collector looks a lot like my ex-boyfriend. This gives me a wicked sense of glee.
2. Babies are like lovers, you can't seem to get enough of them, you hold them, snuggle them, smell them, and cherish every strand of hair on their heads.
3. Politics is so depressing for the reasons of the pathetic politicians and the idiots who vote for them.
4. Waiting for society to figure things out (ie: evolution, homosexuality, global climate change) is tedious and unfair to the rest of us who are worried about real problems (clean food and water sources, renewable fuel).
5. Laughing with a friend is worth its weight in pure gold. The sensation of having to pee due to excessive laughter is like the thrill of going on an awesome roller coster ride.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the door doesn't fit

After the man returned from a week away on business, he spent his first day back doing a screw-it-up-yourself-home-disrepair. The new garage door was going up and he was going to do it, (dag nabbit). It took him all day, but by 10:30pm, the damn thing was up - and inoperable. Excellent.

He's now on his fourth trip to the hardware store.

What's that thing they say about owning a boat? It's like a hole in the sea you just pour money into? Same goes for a house; one project after another.

Soccer game in 30 minutes, I pray my son, Ferdinand the Bull, will chase after the ball on the field today, not the sea gulls flying overhead.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

blow wind blow

Tonight the air is tropical-warm; the kind of night air you feel when you are on vacation in some lovely place that makes your skin glow. I've felt "breezes" like this in Mexico and the Caribbean, but in New York, wind this strong is unusual, with the kind of gusts that make you pause for potential impact. The wind chime on the front porch tells me in spastic fits when it's getting nutty out there. I have had two completely different friends, (different states, different time lines, different history) give me the exact same wind chime - several years apart - how nice is it when your friends know you in such a way that they would pick out the very same whimsical item such as a wind chime? I love the sound it makes, like a buoy on the water, the sound of growing up. Joseph has been away all week, with luck he'll be home tomorrow afternoon, so tonight is my last night of a wild week of single parenting. And now the winds are testing my fortitude.

I love foul weather, it's like something to survive, something to be sharp against, (got the flashlight handy? Matches/Candles? Got enough water and food provisions? Batten down the hatches, call on those who may need a hand). One of the best vacations I ever went on was a cruise. Not one of those bloated, floating shopping malls with swimming pools and food courts, no, a sailing vessel with a trim crew of 30 persons. The man who would be my husband, in a fit of rare spontenaity, once booked us on a trip through the islands and we had an adventurous blast; complete with night kayaking through a fosforescent laden lagoon, rope swinging over a beach bar, rock climbing through shoreline caves, and making fast friends with strangers.

The best night of all though, was the last night. One that, if it were an option on a pre-package menu I would have paid extra for. The captain had been legitimately steering our ship away from a tropical depression that was making it's way around the islands. During the course of the cruise he had to use avoidence tactics and did not port at one of our arranged destinations as the island was getting clobbered by winds, and on this night, the storm was gaining on us. So here we were, on our last night together after 9 days of a roucus good time, a night when we were all to attend a lovely formal dinner, with champagne (even the crew dressed special) and we were starting to pitch and roll. Several of the other passengers were not digging the thrill, but with each increasing rise and fall, whenever a bottle tipped over on the table or a glass hit the floor, my excitement grew.
Dinner ended prematurely for many, and I took this as an opportunity to become a kid again and disappear onto the different decks of the ship. I searched for the first mate, and when I found him, I pleaded for permission to shadow him on his rounds. He agreed under the condition that I stay the hell out of his way, and that at any time he could order me below. I was like a friggen kid at Disney World, (and I've never even been to Disney World, but I could sure as hell imagine that it might feel as thrilling as this did). The air was warm and soft, but the rain, coming from all directions stung my cheecks. I silently followed the first mate and another crew member as they went around the ship making sure sails were trimmed, lines were tied, and all communication was clear. The sturdy, roughly 300 foot vessel weathered the storm with our bearded captain at the helm as if this was all standard stuff - well, to them I suppose it was. After two hours of walking the decks and taking the wind and rain in the face, I retired to my cabin (ha ha ha, retired to my cabin, who am I, Ysmael?) where my then boyfriend probably thought I was either a wacko or the coolest girlfriend he ever had. (I think he thought I was the coolest no? He ultimately proposed marriage didn't he?)
By morning we had arrived to port in Puerto Rico and I felt like we beat it. We survived the storm. What a ride.
Sadly, a year later, that notion would turn vividly tragic, as I heard news that an actual catagory 4 hurricane took down one of the fleet's other vessels and the lives of 31 crew members. Not long after that, the company went into bankrupcy and the family who ran it spiraled into lawsuits and scandal.

Tonight, I skipper this homestead with my crew safely tucked in, the hatches battoned, and the eerily warm September wind blows.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bright Lights in the Big City

Once in a life time chance to go see West Side Story on Broadway - now, I know the reviews were, to be kind, "mixed" but I had to witness my favorite production live; so there was no question when we were given a choice - it had to be W.S.S.

So we showered and dressed, and sent the children (all three) to Grandma's house (blessed, blessed Grandma) and drove into town. Found street parking on 48th - what luck, and walked to Times Square....

It has been a long while since I've even seen Times Square, and on Friday night it was like visiting another country. In fact it felt like Tokyo. People swarmed - like moths to a front porch light on a hot summer night - SWARMS of humans walking, wandering, standing, glaring. I couldn't help but feel sad for the old Times Square of five years ago. It was nutty then but it moved. This Times Square just halted - it was like swimming in a fish bowl. Lit up ads and signage everywhere; the night sky barely has a chance to suggest that it is no longer day. We moved through the human soup towards our theatre...will call...concession stand...$16 drink and chips, ha ha that's funny.

I sat in my comped orchestra seat staring at the heavy red curtain, my hands holding onto my playbill, my ears filled with the din of the Friday night house, the orchestra just beginning to warm up....delicious anticipation. Then, the cell phone announcement, the lights dimmed and...then came the sound, that whistle, and the chills went up my arms the first of many times that night, I didn't dare blink so as not to miss a second.

From pretty early on, like in the first three minutes, I realized what I was in for. The bad reviews were not wrong. But the dancing was undeniably the best I'd ever seen outside of Lincoln Center (save one Fosse review show I saw years ago with Joseph). The men leaped with such grace and suspencion and landed so softly they looked completely effortless. The voices were lovely, of course, but the acting was so bad they could barely tell the story outside of what Bernstein's music dictated them to do.

There were so many things wrong with the production, beginning with the casting, most of the issues I had were directorial, but there were a few lighting gaps, and no joke, the orchestra hit a couple of cracked notes. The cast was young and mostly new (many Broadway debutes) but I don't know what to use as an excuse for the men who played Krupke and Lt. Schrank. Oh well, they were all doing their very best...

As bad as it was (Director Arthur Laurents, my deepest respect, but this one really needs help) I refused to be disappointed because, well, it's Goddamned WEST SIDE STORY - a fucking Opus of a piece of art. However, I will admit, that for the first time, I didn't cry when Tony died.

After the show, we poured out into the city streets and tried to come up with a plan for dinner - when we didn't really have one. Joe Allen came through, it was close by (on 46th) and we were seated right away, which was a good thing because I hadn't eaten a thing all day except a carrot and a handful of dry Cheerios. I love Joe Allen restaurant. Not for the menu (Steak tartar, or meatloaf? - you choose) but because it is such a New York joint. It was filled with mostly theatre people (possibly musicians, possibly crew, and waitstaff of all talent) and some theatre goers like us - but above all it was filled with New Yorkers. I breathed a sigh of grateful relief after the fishbowl experience at the start of the evening. Here was old New York, unchanged, unfettered, un-influenced by media and commercialism. I ordered the pepper steak over fresh spinach, Joseph ordered the meatloaf and mashed potatoes...it was hot and yummy.
I love New York.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Number 1 is at school (hallelujah), #3 is napping (damn straight, she had me up all night), and now, the gift...#2 has found her own personal Wonderland at the neighbor's house next door. And bless her, my neighbor delights in our charming 3 and 1/2 year old...Bless the Lord my soul it's the gift of a silent house for 90 minutes...in mommy time that's like, like, that's like a cocktail, compliments of the handsome gentleman at the end of the bar.

Of course, because it is so rare an opportunity (as in, it never happens) I don't know what to do with myself, so I end up having lunch (hummus and carrots) while standing in the kitchen and drinking a light beer (in the middle of the afternoon - sakes alive) while I do the dishes...living on the edge.

I have Friends who still work in the industry I used to work in, they meet dozens of people every week, their day is fired up, productive, full of accomplishments (that result in a bi-weekly paycheck) and I can barely admit that the highlight of my day is sipping a Corona Light in between washing and rinsing. Maybe this is all too sad to admit. Maybe I should just tap that delete button. Nah, I don't give a rat's ass. I'm embracing this life of mine. It may be dull, but it's mine.

So publish, and onto the next big adventure. This one is no joke. I'm going to finally get to those weeds out front, AND I'm going to plant the bulbs I bought today. Look out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Slappin' the Bass

One of the saddest trade offs of becoming a "grown up" and in particular, a parent, is the loss of spontaneity and benign irresponsibility. Coming from one who enjoyed and cherished her wilder days, conjuring up thoughts of some of those glorious shenanigans is most lamentable. Of course looking back on what was hilarious or some of the "best times" at age 18 or 22 is now pretty embarrassing to admit, (well, who could deny the beauty of a broccoli and cheese crossiant sandwich from Duncan Donuts devoured in the back of a van returning from clubbing in Providence, RI at 3:00am on a weeknight...really who could deny it?) but nonetheless, those silly times were mine, so I might as well own them.

But wouldn't it be great, really really great, to retain or gain (depending on your stock of friends) one of those friendships with whom you can absolutely be the most relaxed and candid version of your self? A relationship where you can be the total loser that you are; let your geek-flag fly. A relationship where you can share the simplest of lifes joys like say...blasting a Duran Duran album without a hint of shame or irony, (or Ozzy Osborne, or Aerosmith, or Human League, whatever your pop poison of choice). Or actually go climb trees and sit in them and talk about anything, making sense or no.

I know there are some grown ups out there who have this. Perhaps some of them have married their best friends and can act like complete dip-shit assholes in front of them. To those lucky few, I tip my hat. Cudos to you, you uninhibited, easy-going lolly gaggers. My honest admiration. Anyone listening?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

...and now I get it, I understand why there are women out there who are evening alcoholics whose children refer to the wine bottle as "mommy's soda," why they pop a few pills to get through each day and go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper. (Doctor please, some more of these.) And worst of all why, however horrific, some mothers lose it and do insane acts - because they have gone insane.
I can imagine that in the many "walks of life" their are things that are the most frustrating to people. Maybe if you are a statistician the most frustrating thing might be when the numbers don't add up. For a baseball player, maybe the most frustrating thing is when your injury won't heal and let you play at your best capacity. Maybe for a politician the most frustrating thing is on the one issue you haven't actually manipulated and lied about, no one will be believe you. I don't know. But I do know that as a full time parent, the most frustrating damn thing is when I cannot get anything accomplished because of a constant stream of interruptions.
Recent example:
Prepare to sit down to finally register online for volunteer job I have volunteered for...put infant to sleep and set remaining children up with various games, toys and other. Announce to remaining awake offspring that I am sitting down to a project and do not want to be interrupted. Sit down. Type in three words - Respond to panicked request to kill a large spider that is crawling on the floor. Answer ringing telephone. Fix broken toy. Run upstairs to find three year old bouncing in the crib with now wakened infant. Toss three year old out of the room (she begins to cry). Attempt to sooth infant back to sleep. Listen as eruption of tears come from six year old downstairs because of another "broken" toy. Bring now wide awake infant downstairs and try to go back online to finish registering on website required for new volunteering....website shut down, user names and passwords lost. Mother: exasperated.

Maybe this blog should be titled The Bitch and Moan Project...

Whose idea was it to start a family? Whoever said getting married was the thing we should all want most in life? What is so wrong with serial monogamy?

I am trying to envision that time in my life when I will look back and see how wonderful this all was, see how my children have grown into beautiful adults and have gone out into the world to build lives of their own...I look forward to that idyllic moment. I hope I am lucid enough to appreciate it. At the rate I am going, that moment may come as I sit in a sterile room wearing a bathrobe while my grown children speak in loud, clear voices telling me that they have brought me some ice cream, "PRALINE PECAN, YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR MOM, OH BOY!"

I got a phone call today from another mom. She was embarrassed to admit that she feels she is on the brink of loosing it. (She might be right, she recently went to the hospital due to a panic attack.) I calmly soothed her into telling me what was really bothering her. I listened with zero judgement. I got it. I empathized with her completely. Of course it was easy for me to listen, express my care, and give her small doses of advice and encouragement because her problems are as simple and clear as the summer sun. As for my own problems - solutions allude me like the prospect of a size 6 dress.

After a bit of decompressing, I find my three musketeers behaving themselves as if they were in a Disney movie. Even the under slept infant is blowing me sweet kisses from across the room. My heart swells and I become eager to make them lunch and give them leftover birthday cake.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bypassing Revolutionary Road

The crickets chirp on a cool summer night. We hang at a friend's house, talking all things vital and inane. Small children move about, underfoot, making needs known, adding charm to the cheerful evening. We talk of recipes and where to get the best frozen burgers and how best to cook them. We share travel tales, what we saw, what we did, how much fun it was, how long the ride home lasted.
We talk about family members and how we love them and how we fear the roads they travel. Sometimes love is not given tenderly, but tough. We discuss the past and how it made our lives so. We offer one another empathy and compassion for what we have overcome despite all the hard turns.
We crack open bottles of beer and bottles of wine, we pass out ice cream to the already satiated children. When the candles are lit, we draw close, our words becoming more intimate. We tell things that we might never say at any other time to any one else, or we repeat, repeat, repeat.
Driving home it becomes clear that perseverance is half the battle. And sometimes, on certain Saturday nights, it is more than enough. It is everything.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

walking under a bright moon

Took Jackie Brown to the vet, and after a good consult, we are at ease that though yes, his tumors are going to continue to grow, he is doing fine. Got a prescription for some ointment to put on his paw, bought some new stuff to wrap it up good and he is doing well. He is still limping and taking it easy, but he is happy to hang out with us and still eagerly looks for good crumbs from the kids.
Went running tonight in town, I finally filled my shuffle with some good tunes. The great thing about running is, when you are doing it right, your mind just...clears. Somehow running through an unlit park with great music in my head made me feel weightless and unstoppable. Trick will be to keep that feeling going for a while.
As I came home, I walked down my quiet street where we live. I saw the moon rising up from behind the trees. It's been cloudy lately, so to see it again after a while felt good. It was one of those bright beautiful moons. As I stood, my heart rate still high, my leg muscles tight, I wished for all my friends to have good sex tonight. What an odd thing to wish.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Higher Threshold

Perhaps I have a natural tendency towards disorganization. Perhaps I have a higher threshold for chaos. I don't choose to live in squaller, I just....nearly do. Perhaps, like Neil Young once sang, A man needs a maid, and so too a woman. "Just someone to keep my house clean, fix my meals, then go away. This little passage is no less than the key to nirvana as far as I am concerned.
I'm just really tired, like, all...the...time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

the brown dog still drools

Jackie Brown is still alive. He had an appointment with death on Friday that we just didn't make. It is clear he is not ready to go anywhere despite the doomsday message from our neighbor about his suffering. Sorry, this dog still gets excited about the prospect of a pizza crust, he is not suffering. I put a sock over his bandaged paw because his daily activity started to focus around chewing it off and dragging it around the house, (did I mention this is all disgusting? I'm not sure how I am stomaching it.) I will spare a description of his paw; think about it for a second, that's what it looks like, enough said.

Now, he looks a bit like Barbaro, post-op. By days end though, my handy taping job inevitably comes loose. The white gym sock with blue painter's tape just flops this way and that as he pads around the dinning table then, he trips on it which makes me feel bad because well, like he needs one more thing to deal with. He doesn't complain. I take him outside in the evening and like a horse in the paddock, he just hoofs around the front lawn, former-Kentucky Derby-champion-like then settles down in the soft grass. He and I spend a few minutes just sitting together taking in the summer night air. As I pat his soft brown head I tell him everything I want him to know about how we love him, how loyal he has been since his days as a pup, and we have a few laughs recounting some of the zany misadventures we've had together....Ah fuck it, I don't really do that...perhaps in my mind I do just a little.

The truth is, John Grogan wrote the story of our lives...well at least the part about the dog...and the three kids...and how life has a way of becoming something you could never have guessed.
I'm sure somewhere inside my eternally insecure and unstable soul, I am grateful for it all. But despite the grounding that being married with a family provides, I still feel like that balloon, floating down the hallway half full, the morning after a grown up paid a dollar for it at the Chatham Band concert. Whenever a door opens or closes, or someone walks past it, the balloon swishes and bobs along with the moving air, without direction, without the strength of helium to draw it up to the sky.

I am never not fascinated (one could say I am always fascinated), by people who have the ability to live their lives well. Who are not preoccupied with self loathing and shame, and move about the world with a natural inclination towards deservedness. Some of this I have overcome, but not without a fair amount of work, (some would say with a fair amount of work). I admire those who have built a life for themselves, however seemingly simple to them. It is an achievement to have a family, to be obligated to the lives of others and through that obligation, support them with love.

Okay, time to end the emotional ramble. Point is, the dog is fine even if just for right now. Yes, his condition has made me a bit reflective on the journey we've been on together since he entered into our lives 12 years ago. Yes Joseph and I went through our ups and downs before we even realized we wanted to marry. But we married, and JB was there, with a not-too-silly silk bow tie, he was there on our big day. He was there each day our three children arrived home from the hospital by the river. He was there for every celebration, for every row, every night I spent alone and needed a watch dog, he did his best 10 foot dog impression. He ran away, jumping into neighbor's pools, he ate everything off the counter he could reach from hot steak fresh off the grill to two dozen chocolate cupcakes....then he puked up everything from his stomach and then some. He drove us fucking crazy every one of those 12 and a half years. But...but......a fuck it, I am either just too tired, or just too damn incapable of any worthy bit of wisdom at this point. Besides, Grogan already said it in a whole damn book. Which they made into a movie with some big time actors. You can see it on cable.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Three Little Angels

...And then there are those moments when they are as sweet as any three children in the world could be. Their smiles beam, their laughter bounces from room to room and I remember that I am a blessed person. I am blessed to have the privilege to raise these three young, and innocent people. Each day is a day filled with hope and promise. I hope I can do right by them and give them what they need to take on the world, and I promise never to give up, even on the days when it seems so very difficult.

Yes little ones, I love you to the very marrow of my bones, I would do anything in this world to protect you and give you all that I have to give.

I just sometimes need to say a few bad words and silly things once and a while to keep the pipes clear, ya know what I mean? Kind of like pouring toxic chemicals down the drain to clear out the clog in the sink. Hmm, not sure that's what I mean to say...remember, chemicals are bad, instead, use vinegar and baking soda. It's more like opening the windows after a long cold winter and cleaning out the black junk that collects on sills, yeah, kinda like that.
Thanks little angels.

love, mommy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

well done, mommy dearest

Nothing in the world sounds quite as horrific as the sound of one's child hitting the ground with a booming smack. When it's one's baby, say a 14 month old who has yet to walk but who loves to climb everything including the stairs; and who goes tumbling down what might as well be Mount Everest and lands at hard, wooden, uncarpeted, base camp while mother is taking a bite of a sandwich in the kitchen...well it's the stuff of haunting memories, isn't it.

It was an especially harmonious afternoon. All three children were playing and carrying on well, while mom and dad were actually getting a few projects done (Jackie Brown got what will most likely be his last backyard bath). That is when I took a moment to check in with the Kardashian sisters on "E" and make a sandwich in the kitchen. Alicia was hanging out with me, Claudia was moving around from kitchen to den, and Alex had gone upstairs to play with his latest collection of mighty beanz. Alicia crawled out of the kitchen and turned right- heading for the den, according to my eye-exam depraved vision and Kardashian-clouded brain. I had taken one bite of turkey and cheese on whole wheat when I heard the stairs erupt with thunder. The sound being created by my baby's body tumbling and hitting each step before finally reaching the bottom. Within a nanosecond, I knew it was going to be bad, but quickly prayed for the possibility that it was an inanimate object rather than an animate one. Perhaps Alex was working out some physics with his entire wooden firestation? As I turned the corner with adrenaline pumped tork, I got the special horror of seeing Alicia slam her tiny body down then lift herself to make her initial wale.

Her sweet baby nose had a curve to it as it instantly began to swell. Blood appeared in both nostrils. She quietly gasped for enough breath to release a scream filled with pain and fear to reach every corner of the house. Why this didn't have my husband bounding down the stairs I will never understand, so I called to him four times, each time my voice increasing with panicked demand. I was certain her nose was broken, I prayed her brain was sound. Her limbs pushed and strained against my hold (certainly to say, "piss off you worthless, neglectful parent!").

I held her dearly, frightfully wishing I could sooth away what had just happened. But no, I had in fact allowed my baby to crawl away from my supervision, to the stairs, to begin a 14-riser-and-tread ascent...solo. It didn't matter how many times before I had been there for her. It didn't matter that I had explained the danger of her climbing the stairs to the other two children and how they had complied by calling to me whenever they saw her head towards the stairs. Any preliminary cautions that were taken were all for not, because this time, she slipped, and no one was there to catch her bottom and guide her through her determination to reach the top. I was a wreckless mother for never insisting on a gate at the bottom. And because of my carelessness, my little one ended up at Westchester Medical, examined by whom I can only describe as the kindest and most thoroughly professional doctors I've ever met. (Dr. Patel, how I wish I could hook you up with one of my girlfriends in the city; Dr. Diamond I truly apologize for not asking you even once about your obvious neo-arrival.) They politely assured me she would be okay, except for a possible fractured nose which cannot be determined until the swelling goes down which will take about a week.

I stayed with her in the hospital for three hours before they released her. My mother-in-law appeared half way through with the calm, reassuring, nurturing skills only a mother could provide forgiving me my sin and allowing me to absolve myself in our curtained confessional.

Now the morning after, I hold my baby with a feeling of undeservedness. I pray to God with humble gratitude for...everything. Then I silently go to Mommy-Defcon 4.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dirty Laundry and Dying Dogs

Why does it feel like everyone's dog is dying? Suddenly our dog, our faithful dog of 12 years has turned a corner, and we are now faced with the too-soon reality that he may need to be put down. Everywhere I turn it seems someone else is telling me about their sick dog. What is this, and why then does everyone who has had a dog die need to tell me in great detail about their dog's untimely (or even timely) deaths? And like other people's children, I could care less about other people's dogs. (This is not entirely true, if anyone I know, and some who I do not know, has a sick child - I certainly care.) Jackie Brown is dying slowly, and we have been told how cruel we would be to let him continue to die this way...but for now, his tail wags at the sound of our voices, and his ears pirk up at the prospect of food, and I'm not ready to say his time has come.

So here he is, lying on the floor next to me, he has settled down from licking the growing tumor on his front right paw as he rests his weary body from a double limp - his back left leg has a torn ACL and his front right is growing to the size of a baseball. He can't go upstairs anymore, so I'm sitting downstairs typing, sharing the space with him, as I wait for the vacation laundry to complete it's cycle.

The sadness I feel for his aged state is accompanied by the lowness I feel about my sister and her family returning once again to Singapore after their summer visit. Like the sound of cicadas signal the approach of summer's final days, with their departure, so goes what few family members I have close to me, and so goes summer.

When I was younger and without dependents, I would cry away sorrow...now I quietly eat through my pain. I tumble into a pint of ice cream or a bag of something salty...or whatever other horrid snack that was meant to be just that: a snack, not a meal's quantity of sustenance.

I can feel the magnetism of the remaining chocolate bars from smores night on the Cape. The kids loved them and we didn't even have a fire pit to toast the marshmallows. Like true kids, when given a table full of graham crackers, Hershey's chocolate bars and a bag of "Jet-Puffed" (they loved jet-puffed) marshmallows, they dug in and had good, raw smore fun. They could care less if their marshmallows were toasted to perfection on a stick or right out of the plastic bag.

Parenting forces you to act selflessly. I am grateful for this. However, sometimes the constant bravery of selfless parenting, backfires with the byproduct of loneliness. So tonight, while my worn out swimmers slumber in their beds, the loneliness I don't allow myself to feel during their waking hours creeps up into my consciousness and it occurs to me that I'm sad. Sad about my sister, sad about our dog, and the approach of the turning of the seasons.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a difference a day makes. Took a breath and started anew...Mom skills were churning on all 6 cylinders today. However I still needed to spend about 45 minutes at the end of the day watching youtube videos of Ricky Martin singing Vuelve and Te Recuerdo as well as Enrique Iglesias singing on the Today show with some lucky lucky lady from the audience. The kiss he planted on her face at the end of the song made me...well, made me think she was a very lucky girl. That was a long sentence.

I suppose listening to Ricky Martin sing brings me back to high school Spanish class with Senora Steiner and very very cute Scott McCoy on Monday mornings regaling to the class stories of his weekend partying and flashing me his special smile as if to suggest he cared that I was listening. Of course, I listened to every word, cute Mr. McCoy.

Still a geek after all these years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get This Woman Some Chocolate - STAT!

You've heard it a hundred times before, "hardest job in the world!" Some little nugget delivered with a chipper tone and a happy face. It's been a long time since I've wanted to punch someone as badly as I want to tonight. "The toughest job you'll ever do!" Fuck off.

What no one will ever tell you (my dear unwed, un-mother,) is how the "toughest job" will tap your very soul, to the point of emptiness. It will bring you to the edge of your sanity, to the darkest place you never thought existed inside you - you'll have thoughts you wouldn't wish on a stranger.

I love my children, I love my family....but when I've run flat out of resources, when my patience is '86, I become the worst version of myself. I become a person I would take away from my own kids.

The problem here is the 24-7 aspect of this existence. There is no "weekend" there is no clocking out. It just keeps going - morning into afternoon, into evening, into middle-of-the-night utter-fucking-blindness....then, it's morning again.

Is it that my kids are still young? (1, 3, & 5)

Is it that I lament a loss of control over my own life? I'm not exactly sure. Even in the days when I was working full time for horrific bosses (I've had my share) was I more content then with my overall lifestyle? hmmm. I need to think on that one. Maybe it's becasue what I'm doing matters so very very much. I'm trying to build humans here. I fuck this up and it's like sending three dysfunctional beings out into the world to fend for themselves and goodness knows what damage they could end up doing.

Maybe I just take life too seriously, I watch far too much cable news. The human race can feel hopeless when one looks too closely or thinks about too many things at once. I should watch a few sitcoms once and a while. The Daily Show has been on re-airs, without Jon, all is bleak!

My sense of humor is so far away tonight - I don't even remember what it is to say, or do anything funny. I can't remember when was the last time I laughed. A tragic state of epic proportions.

Maybe I should just try some ipod therapy. Better luck tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A beginning by any other name is still a beginning.

Driving home from town in the driving rain...you know those nights. It's really dark, the wipers are frantically dashing back and forth kicking off the fat rain, everything you can see is a blur of red and white lights, sporadic lakes cause you to think of all that you learned about hydroplaning while in driving school when you were 16...I'm trying to stay focused but my head keeps doing what it has been doing for the past several weeks, maybe even months. My narrative voice starts talking. I practically start talking back, "Ssshhhh! Don't you see that I'm driving in some serious conditions here??" A minute or two pass, and I'm back to thinking about what I'm going to blog about when I get home. "Just get home in one piece please, for heck's sake..." No, that's crap, I never say "heck" I'm just about as salty as one can be. My mouth is so foul I have to work at not swearing around my children just about every day. You know that part during "Inside the Actor's Studio" when host James Lipton reverently asks some terrifically famous person what their favorite swear word is and they think on it a moment or two then deliver their answer with delicious revel? My answer is: I love and abuse THEM ALL. There might be one or two I tend not to frequent, (let's see: shit, piss, crap, fuck, motherfucker, fuck all, fucking cocksucker, shithead, asshole, that's most of them, I'd say cunt rarely rolls off my tongue, but I don't hold it against those who favor it - except Mel Gibson when refering to the mother of his latest child, what a DICK!) but they do help to release daily tensions....

And that brings us back to why we are here; DAILY TENSIONS - yes, that is the cause of this random verbage. I have been a woman on the edge for far to long and this blog is my last ditch effort to save myself from utter mental collapse so let the healing begin....

I certainly thought, but where should I start? Of course one of the obvious answers being: It's always best if you start at the beginning, (thank you Glinda, I will never forget your sage advice) however, that is such a long story. At times a very sad one. There will be plenty of time to go over the sad parts later. Right now I'm interested in disclosing some basic current facts.

One, I've never done anything like this before. What I mean is to say, I've never posted my personal thoughts "publically" to "an audience."

Two, I don't expect anyone in the world to give a crap what I have to say.

Three, I know next to nothing about blogging. As in, I don't know of any blogging ettiquete, rules, or norms.

So that basically leaves me wide open for screw ups, accidents, offenses, personal and otherwise, and other general faux pas. Perhaps as my inevitable offenses land here on my blog like hot scrambled eggs on a dirty kitchen floor, I'll quickly pick them up and then figure it out as I go (like Indiana Jones) and with any luck, someone might toss me hint once and a while as tact has never been my strong point.

Anyway, tonight as I write, I find myself a wife, a mother of three, a suburban resident, and other things I never thought I'd actually be, and I'm well, grappling with my reality. Wait, isn't there a Talking Heads tune that says all this? So I need to channel some of this pent up energy and thus, a blog.

I don't expect much, I certainly don't expect my life to change, I just hope. I hope that with a little channeling of this narrative voice in my mind, I'll free up some head space to accomplish a few other goals. Mostly, I just want to be a decent person, a good mother to my kids, fuck knows they deserve it. There isn't a kid born on this god forsaken planet that doesn't at least deserve that.

11:00pm, time to go see if The Daily Show is live tonight. I'll always hold a spot in my heart for you, Jon Stewart.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

stealing time...

the water is on the boil, children need to be fed, and I am on a quest. I am determined to stay on this side of sanity. I would like to find my sense of humor on the way. We shall see what degree of success I may achieve. Stay tuned...