Friday, November 18, 2011

There are no windows in this room, except for the transom over the double doors, and the two panes in the doors themselves.  The building is on a hill, and outside these windows, the land falls away steeply so that all I can see from where I sit is pine tops lifting from the mist.  It's always misty here, except on the mornings when it's foggy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Go, baby, go!

Tonight, this happened!  Thea pushed aside a grilled cheese sandwich and reached for the plate of raw veggies we serve with dinner every night.  All is right with the world.  Anything is possible.

I can relax now, bounce clear-eyed grandbabies on my knee under the Bodhi tree. 

Fuck yeah!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eye on the prize

I've got two colds dueling in my head, if that's even possible.  They feel distinctly different, yet conjointly miserable.  In fact, I still detect last week's mere single cold yet lingering, if merely a ghost.  Get one, or all three of them from me.  Go ahead, guess how much I care.  I don't.


I'm back on the road.  If still somewhat a diminished runner, my plans are grander then ever.  I applied to get a team into Hood to Coast 2012, and was denied.  It was a brutal stomach-ache of a week, repeated texts for my account balance, page refresh requests, internet stalking, tight-lipped lottery -- my iphone swiping finger is unbelievably sore.  I'm in the grief stage, the bargaining, raging, denying stage over and over.  It's done now.  I'm setting my sights higher.  Marathons again, ultra-marathons even.  Maybe someday ultra-ultra-marathons, someday when no body needs me anymore.

In the meantime, my head is a plague hole.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Last year, my high hopes for Halloween were dashed by teething pain and over-tired crankiness.  This year, celebrations went a little more smoothly.  By that I mean, we took a bunch of feral cats, tied their tails together and took them trick-or-treating.  In the end, we had candy... and not a few wounds.

Thea was a little more obliging this year.  We prepped her for a few days, anticipating the reluctance we'd face trying to suit her up, and it worked.  I try to script everything with her anymore because her toddler sense of control and independence is so easily corrupted by unexpected events.  She does not at all like being yanked out of her busy busy world without warning.  For candy included.  We've been a mini-mob here, call-and-responding not for peace, nor for economic equality for the 99% (though we do want that, very much) but for the ritualized menace that is Halloween!



Just before dark, John and Anita came down with Leo in the stroller for the evening's event.  We decided, fuck it!  Let's bring two riotous dogs with us as well!  Add to that the task of chasing Willie back in the house, posing toddlers for pictures at dusk thereby forcing the first waves of trick-or-treaters to march across our Brand-newly Seeded Lawn to get around our camera tripod -- and oops! there goes Willie again!  PETA will not approve if she is sacrificed! DON'T LET THE KIDS CHEW THROUGH THE GLOW STICKS.  WHO THREW THEIR BEER CAP IN THE CANDY BOWL? 

We finally left to do our own trick-or-treating, dragging the kids, the dogs leaping, leashes twisted around each others necks.  Predictably, it didn't take long for Thea to figure out exactly the perks and limitations (as in, how badly I wanted to be out trick-or-treating with her and therefor how infirm my stand would be, if I even dared to risk the taking of one) and when she did, she informed me with a pert NO that she was NOT going to say "thank you" for candy.   She looked so sweet and shy at the door that invariably each adult indulged her, charmed into replying "oh that's okay, you don't have to say thank you" to my milquetoast prompts.  Thanks for the back-up adults!  Come on!  Let's stand here uncomfortably in the cold with this stranger until her darling little mouse can find her manners! Whaaat!  Why not??

My sweet sweet revenge is that whatever I don't eat of this candy myself, that you spent your hard-earned money on, is going straight into the garbage.  In fact, most of it will.  THANK YOU! 

After just about an hour of trick-or-treating I gave Thea a half of a mini kit-kat bar as we were headed home.  I've read that science has debunked the cocaine effect of sugar on children, but what then would explain the next few hours of my life??  The excitement alone?  Perhaps.  Once we got home it was a full-on fracas.  Our bedtime routine proceeded as it usually does, at vastly exaggerated volumes.  It wasn't a fight exactly, just a exuberant howling child whose willingness to go through the motions of brushing her teeth, potty, jammies, and good-night kisses was secondary to her otherwise completely consuming, rapturous commotions.   

Clark and I retired to the front room to drink beer and pass out candy to whoever was left still knocking on doors.  The storm raged from her crib.  The trick-or-treaters stopped coming.  The howling did not.  I fell into bed, exhausted.  The child waged her war against all things peaceful.  Just before 11pm the chattering yammer stopped, mid-sentence.  A booming vacuum of Silence!  I waited a few minutes and snuck downstairs to see her tucked in proper.  She'd been sitting upright in her bed when, apparently having stopped to take a breath, fell forward into her own lap, dead asleep. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ticking girl-shaped bomb

Aquarius Horoscope for week of July 21, 2011

You really need to tell your stories. It's not just a good idea; it's downright urgent. There's a backlog of unexpressed narratives clogging up your depths. It's like you have become too big of a secret to the world. The unvented pressure is building up, threatening to implode. So please find a graceful way to share the narratives that are smoldering inside you -- with the emphasis on the word "graceful." I don't want your tales to suddenly erupt like a volcano all over everything at the wrong time and place. You need a receptive audience and the proper setting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

art haus

This hotel makes an impression. It's very futuristic -- hive-like with silent elevator pods zooming up and down the 47 floors of the atrium.

I'm lonely and awkward in a crowd. I left the reception party to take arty pictures of the skyline from the 24th floor.

Thea's first documented, confirmed dream. I was not there and she held a chicken and it bit her. She talked about it all morning.


Ahem: This above, it was not intended for posting. What I do? I save everything and publish nothing - but I hit publish instead and it seems disingenuous to unpublish, especially after having been commented upon. Here, have some pictures.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The flight deplaning at the gate behind me is clearly from Hawaii. Everybody is tan, nobody alone, traveling in family groups wearing straw hats and tropical print shirt. They are carrying DOLE gift boxes, and wearing island mu-mus. Just my luck, this tropical breeze over my shoulder while the smell of decay wafts from my own gate, just a little ways down where there are no outlets available. Me and my dying battery.

It's not exactly despair I'm staring down, but it's something not unlike it, here... laid over... alone... for hours... traveling for reasons I hope to be convinced of. Right now, I expect the best I can make of this trip is to be alone in my hotel as often as possible.

Expect to hear from me.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

surgical situations

In case you were wondering, the surgery I am referring to (in my last post) is the plate-removal surgery Owen had about three weeks ago. Normally, after a TPLO surgery the plate would stay in unless there was some sort of complication, such as an infection. We had planned to have the plate removed because he retrieves in ice cold water during the winter duck hunting...blahblah... I know I said it all before...

I am glad we did because he never seemed quite right after the first surgery and still limped a bit now and then -- most days actually -- even though he was still eager and able to give it the pepper chasing tennis balls.

After the second, less complicated, less invasive surgery, Owen was immediately and obviously improved. He was walking tentatively on the leg that same day and running within a two or three days.

We don't know why the plate was causing problems (there was some obvious inflammation in the connective tissue on the x-ray), but for whatever reason, removing the plate seems to have recovered him completely. Unfortunately, as relatively easy as the surgery was, he was still defrocked of his fine feathering.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bad mothering

Thea has been caught drinking out of Owee's water bowl. I am certainly to regret this, but after judging her determination, I gave her a bowl of her own water set on the floor, just like a dog. She has never drank so much water, nor so happily!

Clark has reservations, of course, as any decent parent would. He isn't sure we should be encouraging this behavior, to which I say CHILL, SHE WON'T BE GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL DRINKING FROM A DOG BOWL. This is my standard assessment tool. Will she be sleeping in our bed when she graduates from high school? Peeing on the floor, less that three feet away from the potty when she graduates from high school? Chewing up food and intentionally letting it dribble down her chin when she graduates from high school? Writing incomplete sentences when she graduates from high school? (probably) If the answers is "no," or at least "probably not," I am going to pass on causing myself undue stress.

With regards to this current problem/solution, I wonder if I am lazy, callous, reckless, lacking imagination -- or all those things. I don't want to fight with this very determined little dog-bowl drinker, and besides, with her own (clean) water bowl how bad can it be? At least she won't be drinking cat poop backwash. As a matter of previous instruction, we have not been able stop her from drinking her bathwater even when she repeatedly gets an uncomfortable soapy snort up her nose.... and kids, they all get bonked now and again and certainly ingest disgusting things. Right? Besides, I am a little ashamed to say, it may be that I am slightly amused by this behavior.

This is going to come back on me, right? All over the internet infants expire in a teaspoon of water and discussion boards are alive with the virtue of boiling water for anything that might touch a mother's child. Meanwhile, I'm teaching mine to drink like a dog. Will she get worms, assuming all dog bowls are drinking vessels? Is she going to do this at the family reunion? Probably. I'm steeling myself for the humiliation.


Speaking of dogs -- Owee ran his first post-surgery 5k the other day. I should knit a leg warmer for his drumstick, something to keep him warm through this frigid spring, till the hair grows back.

Monday, April 04, 2011


We had a day of temperate spring. It was enough to mow down the lawn, throw up the windows, shake out the rug. It was enough for some playground business. Today, despite crack of dawn birdsong and unbound joy yawning in my chest, it is nothing like spring.

I do believe it is spring, despite strong empirical evidence to the contrary. I thought I heard "winter storm warning" on the radio, in the background, but I am not sure. 90% chance of rain for the next few days and a cold April, that is all I can find on the internet.

The bad weather stays in the background. That's the secret to living in this climate, on the days when you don't find slate gray churning skies thrilling. It's a brilliant bright day above the clouds. My mom will see that when her plane breaks through. She flew away early this morning.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

This modern life

Sometimes I wake up at night thinking about bees, about colony collapse, enmeshed with exponential glacial melt and chemically dispersed oil spills, about my graying hair, and my very young child, thinking -- something has got to give -- but it actually doesn't, does it? I'm not owed anything giving. When I run, when I am running and fighting inward against it, curling my toes, my mantra is "one has no reasonable expectation to comfort" which is to say, no there is no actual basis for thinking I deserve to be or ever will be comfortable. Usually, I get preoccupied by parsing the sentence, over and over I try to make sense of it for even if it is grammatically correct, of which I am not certain, it does not immediately, intuitively make sense. I can't remember where I adapted it from, a Buddhist idea at least I know. What I find every time is, exactly as it is means exactly what I want it to mean.

Does it seem harsh to remind myself that life is harsh? It feels kind too. There is a cloying, and deeply flawed, lulling sense of entitlement about this modern life. I was recently listening to a radio story about dish-washing machine soap, how some states have banned phosphates in detergents because of their adverse effects on streams, fish, eco-systems, etc. The company of course, found it not feasible to manufacture two kinds of detergent, and began selling the same phosphate-free detergent in other states where there was no such ban in place.

The reporter was interviewing a woman who was outraged, OUTRAGED that her dishes were spotty when they came out of the dishwasher. She bought trisodium phosphate from the hardware store and mixed her own detergent. The reporter says "so you just can't do with out them phosphates?" and after she (baselessly) dismisses the science (whatever!) she answers "the dishes weren't coming clean." Ipso-facto, the world can burn! I felt a very un-Buddhist, compassion-less desire to throttle her. That sense of entitlement reminds me why I have to force myself into discomfort, why I want to be the one who inflicts it. The truth is, if I don't run I see a future of decrepitude, of aches, atrophy, and regret -- a pain far worse than the discomfort of getting out of a warm bed on a cold, dark morning. Life is going to take it's pound of flesh. I find some dignity is standing up, accepting that it will, and choosing how I give it.

My dishes come out clean so maybe I don't know much about the heartbreak of dirty dishes. I haven't checked the ingredients on my box of detergent to determine its phosphate status, so who am I to talk about sacrifice? I am not qualified, its true. It could be argued that I run for vanity as much as health. It might be true, but the truth is, what keeps me going is the fact that I have pain due me and the only thing I can do about it is decide how I take it.

This is a good example of muddy thinking. I'm still not clear, even to myself what the hell phosphate-laden streams have to do with running in the morning, but for some reason, these analogies submerge from my subconscious, conflated, to argue against doing the easy, dishonest thing. Life isn't easy. You aren't owed clean dishes. Your dishes are not more important than fish in streams. Fucking get over it. Get out of bed. Go. Run.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a vexation brought on by overlooked mushrooms

I wanted to make soup tonight. I set out the wheat berries to soak in water last night, counted my garlic bulbs, checked that there was enough vegetable stock -- but came home and realized I was without the shiitake mushrooms. The other ingredients languish, the kale is wilted in the fridge. There is no way I am going back out.

The most artistic thing I can do anymore is cook. I don't remember my dreams, I fidget when I sit to write, I can't sneak-read more than a paragraph at a time, I run in short bursts -- it seems reasonable to conflate my need to create things, however imperfectly, with the need to feed ourselves, having thishere family.

Left-overs are fine then I guess. Clark could care less for the artistry of food. He will eat whatever someone is so kind to put in front him. Thea is his diametric opposite in that regard...being that: things are not eaten specifically because I put them in front of her. I foil this plan by packing her off with a lunch bag of lovingly tended-to foods that other people put in front of her who, later, more often than not, report back that she ate everything with relish. I figure if I can manage to foist her off on the babysitter, on a friend or on the grandparents at least four days a week at which time she will eat, my parental duties regarding corporeal nourishment are being met. That does not prevent me from beating my breast and wailing... fistfuls of hair at a time. I should spare myself the drama -- she isn't going to starve to death willfully skipping the small percentage of meals we share. Still, I was disappointed tonight that I'd forgotten the mushrooms, for the soup... follow me?

Speaking of that small percentage --- Last week I thought I was clever, teaching her to count to three by throwing her, swinging hammock-like in my arms to the count of three first, onto the bed to land - POOF - in a swallow of down comforter: once (ONE) twice (TWO) three times (THREE!) WHEE! And within a few minutes she could count to three.

A few days later I started counting to her really slowly, enunciatingly -- the way you would to someone you didn't think was getting it (I say in hindsight) -- ONE, TWO and she said TREE FOW FIII

I was a little shocked and very very proud because of course part of me just automatically assumed she had "inherited it" from me in the same unexamined way that, when I was pregnant, I used to jump to, and draw myself up short from, wondering if the music in my earbuds was too loud or abrasive for a developing fetus.

oh! duh!

NO SHE DIDN'T LEARN IT FROM ME! I work all the fucking time these days (sometimes not even for pay (see me seething over unpaid $1600 invoice 75 days late?) grr) -- there is WORK in a way I can't seem to escape.

She didn't learn it from me.

So what. She didn't learn it from me. I soldiered on. I'd count to five, matter-of-fact and then say SIIIIX, SEVEN and she says AYYT NIIIY TEYYN

motherfucker. ELEEEVEN I say -- less game, more caution... FOWTEE, FIFTEEE, AYETEE, NYTEEE, TWAY.

So, yeah, I am a little dismayed because I don't dream and I don't write, and I don't read and I don't run (as I'd like) and I don't socialize and on top of all that, I can't make my soup and my daughter is counting to twenty(!) without me (excepting a few omitted numbers). I am going to sing to her those tough numbers 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 till she knows them well and that's all I need... these six numbers, and the chair, and my soup, for sure.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm surprised to see all the things I haven't posted here, that most of the accounting of my life is tucked away, unfinished in the drafts folder -- isn't that a woeful metaphor? This is what strikes me most about having such an irregular presence, is that when I load up my page I read fossilized moments. I suppose the animate intimacy of this blog died a long time ago.

There is still a lot of me here, if you see that or not. I have been posting for more than 7 years, which is longer than any other thing I have ever done. Is there any sense of time passing?

-My neighbor died and was buried between a holly and a rhododendron on a wet, wet gray day. The mud soaked through the leather soles of my husbands shoes. She was 99 years old, my age when WW2 ended, retirement age when Clark's parents brought him down to meet her as a new-born baby.

-Sometimes I have these awful days that just go on and on, punctuated by arduous cross-valley car steerings and driver-seat picnics. Today was that day. When I got home, Thea was all grown up, sang me songs and said "love you" for the first time as I squeezed her door shut at bedtime. Okay! Yes! It was me! She said it to me first!

I've been doing this since forever. This blog is a touchstone, one steady thing that time swirls around.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I do believe the daycare question has been answered to satisfaction, but only very very recently.

Just before New Years I found a woman who was farther away, and more expensive than I was prepared for, and after an interview and second home visit I agreed to sign a contract for care. It all came together with no time to spare before the start of the new term.

Almost immediately I regretted it and for the next two weeks was a tortured, remorseful buyer. I really tried to separate my anxiety from what might be real issues -- but honest-to-god my Best Intentions are a wildly insufficient parsing apparatus. Surprise.

Finally after I'd become more and more contorted in our interactions, even having Clark brush me down daily, the daycare lady sat me down with a cup of coffee and said MY FEELINGS DON'T GET HURT EASILY, LET ME HAVE IT -- TELL ME HOW YOU ARE FEELING ABOUT THINGS.

In that case, a lot of my concerns seemed sort of incoherent and shadowy, easily disinfected with just a little daylight. I'm a total nutjob, getting all worked up over here. Oh god, please somebody tell me which parts I was making up, which parts I was over-reacting to, which parts were completely non-existent, and if anything was real. At times like this, I am fervently glad I am not a single parent. Not because of all the things I would have to do alone, but because there is a rock solid human-being who keeps me from blowing away.

Anyway! Thea seems fine getting dropped off and picked up, expected toddler coping stresses notwithstanding. I'm working a LOT, up running early in the mornings, and for the first time in my life, nodding off on the couch at 9pm.

I'm full of this feeling that I'm getting better at life all the time. I mean, at least this time I knew I was being crazy.

Singing "up above the world"

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Don't forget the black eyed peas for luck in the new year please.


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