Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mark it on the calendar

Today we are all well. Unless you count Sam being on an antibiotic and me still not really being able to eat without feeling sick. But other than that, all four of us carried on our normal, everyday lives today. Hoorah!

Just saw Stranger Than Fiction, and I was amused. Not the best movie I've seen, not the worst either. Very clever. Reminded me a lot of Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author," which I haven't read in about 15 years but I remember liking a whole lot when I did read it. Emma Thompson was really good, I thought. Very believable. And although DH thought the cast was "odd" (Thompson, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah and Dustin Hoffman) I thought it worked quite well. It especially spoke to me as a writer, as I'm one of the annoying ones who often says that when I really get going I don't write the story, the characters do. Except that this character Harold Crick, didn't. But the idea that the character is an entity separate from the author--that's it's out there beyond you--I wholly subscribe to that (Derrida, anyone?). Or is it structuralism? can't remember. It's the theory that once a work is published and out there, there is no author anymore, and author intent is null and void. Ah, Foucault. Charlie Shepherdson, where are you?

Apparently at SUNY Albany

Thursday, December 28, 2006

This is news?

Seriously. Front page news on the web site for the Dayton Daily News, the local daily for our new home town. Well, technically, there is a Springboro paper, but I'm not sure if it's a weekly or a daily. And there isn't much in it. I think the editor writes the entire thing (curbgirl, don't take offense, it's nothing like your weekly--trust me! this is about 12 slim pages of nothingness).

Guess Ford dying is just yesterday's boring-ness compared to today's pantless wonder!

We are, by the way, healing slowly in these parts. DS has a scary cough and icky runny nose that hasn't quit for days. He is on Amox for possibly pneumonia (doubtful, but possible), while I slam Sudafed to try to combat the impending sinus infection.

I will let all (four) readers know when we are all four healthy, so that you can mark it on your calendars as a red letter day!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry F***ing Chrismukah

Chrismukah is what my brother and his wife have christened their holiday at this time of year.

I am in a crappy mood because a) I have not been out of the house in 48 hours b) I have Scrooge blood running through my veins c) I have had my dear daughter home in my presence since 11 am on Tuesday morning--almost one full week of sheerly blissful, sick almost 4 year old. witness the grey hair sprouting on my head with each whiny half-syllable of complaint out of her tiny, fever and cough-ridden body.

I am also fighting a major virus. Ick. Sore throat and fatigue.

I am also ready to hurl the television out of the window. If I have to watch "Franklin's Magic Christmas" one more time, I will lose my mind.

If you find it, please let me know.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

even cowboys get the blues

Somehow, despite the increasing insanity as the holidays grow nearer (or perhaps because of the increasing insanity), I managed to watch Brokeback Mountain today. Yes, I am probably the only Oscar-watching person on the planet who hadn't yet seen the film, but I will remind all readers (all three of you, on a good day) that my darling son was less than a year old when the movie appeared and the younger the child, the fewer films you get to see.

anyway, imagine me, crying my eyes out on my couch for the last 30 minutes of the film. i felt bad all around--bad for the wives, bad for the kids involved, and bad for the cowboys who couldn't find it in this life to be together. i just kept thinking "this is what happens when you try to deny who you are and live to someone else's standards." and i just wanted to shout and scream at the tv, "c'mon bud, admit your damned feelings already. c'mon. you know you want to be happy." and i know that rationally, in the time, he just felt he couldn't, but damn, jack had to go and die (sorry, spoiler alert is too late, for the one remaining person that has been living under a rock next to me and hasn't yet seen the film) just as he was getting there.

and honestly, to live with that kind of passion. wow. it blew me away.

it's midnight. darling son is crying (his teeth, I guess). must cut this short.

oh for the love of two cowboys...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

i'm ba-ack!

we have officially moved our house and all its crap (and there was a ton, believe me) to our new location. visually, i feel like puking everytime i walk into a room because of the insane mess everywhere i look, but i know it is temporary. at least i hope it is temporary.

i won't bore you with mundane details, except to say that since we moved in four days ago, the dishwasher is no longer working, the ceiling fan/overhead light in our bedroom isn't working, we've lost two lights, we can't figure out how to get many of the electrical sockets to work, despite having switched numerous switches on and off in dizzifying combinations, and the toilet in the kids' bathroom is broken. we knew about the toilet though, so that is no surprise.

i have learned how to light a pilot light on a hot water heater. i have learned that with gas furnaces with automatic pilot lights, the covers have to be on 'just so' in order to have heat. that took me a while. i have learned that young children are not as resiliant as everyone says. i have learned that important things, like screws for your bedframe, should ALWAYS be taped to the frame before moving. well, i knew that, but someone (ahem, dh) didn't listen.

i also learned that i have more clothes than i will ever wear in a decade, so i will be trimming my wardrobe very soon.

oh, and i learned this little tidbit today: Greg, the yellow Wiggle, is retiring due to health problems. Many of Sydney's friends will have a very difficult time with this news.

It's raining. ick. but i'm back, on my own computer, in my own office.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Where oh where has my little blog gone?

I can't believe I haven't written an update in a month. A whole month. That's a long time. 30 days. We move in less time than that. But life gets busy and blogging gets relegated.

Anyway. Here's an update:

I'm training for the Thanksgiving Day 10K that's happening on, well, Thanksgiving, as the name implies. Pre-Sam, this would not have been an issue. I've run the race twice before. But now, my body has changed so much and finding the time and energy to train has been a real challenge. I have scaled back training to running three times a week and stretching occasionally, even though I "should" be cross-training and lifting weights as well. But there are only so many hours in the week and I don't feel guilty. Except that my two long runs of the last two weeks have been SHIT. Last week I walked the 4.5 miles instead of running it (and to give you an idea of how unbelievably slowly I run, I finished the walk in almost the same time I would have finished the run). It felt okay. Then yesterday, I set out for my 5 miles and foolishly forgot to take any fuel with me. Duh. So after about 45 minutes, my body decided to go into glucose-less mode and I had to concentrate on merely putting one foot in front of the other and just making it home, since I don't tend to carry a cell phone on my runs. I made it home eventually and scarfed a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain and felt better for about five minutes, after which I was ravenous again. I will no longer believe myself to be super human (despite thinking I could fit right in on "Heroes") and set out to run more than 4 without fuel to keep me going. I almost decided to bag the race entirely on the trek home, but after the PB and banana, I decided fuel, rather than giving up, was the way to go. So I'm testing my fuel theory on my 5.5 run this weekend. And I've resolved to add the cross training back in at some point after we move--hopefully before February (when Sam goes to school two days a week) but it's all up in the air.

In other news:
I am living amid boxes and boxes and more boxes. Par for the course for moving, I know, but to my anti-clutter mind, it's simply maddening. I have to bite my tongue and my lip and everything else within my teeth's reach to keep from lashing out at the kids and Marc (unfairly, of course) because I am frustrated with my surroundings. I keep inwardly saying "it's temporary, it's temporary" and I keep hoping that eventually it will sink in.

But that brings up the whole "how do I really feel about moving" dilemma. There are things about this house that I can't wait to say goodbye to. For one, I can't use the toilet in the master bath because apparently I don't have the right touch when I flush it and it spews water out of the tank if I attempt to flush. It's a long story. We know what's wrong with it, but the part isn't cheap and Marc's rationale is "we're moving--why fix it?" Whatever. So anytime I have to go, like before a shower, I inevitably forget and then get ready to shower and then have to go to the hall bath to go and then back to the master bath to shower and it's a pain. So I'm looking forward to that process ending soon.

I'm also looking forward to having no mature trees. I love mature trees--they are beautiful to look at. But they suck to have to mow around and the leaves are a pain when they fall. Since our new house is only five years old and the neighborhood's age matches, the plethora of leaves from mature trees will be conspicuously absent for a few years. I know I'll miss the shade in the summer and I will probably complain about it, but for the moment, amid many more leaves than I can shake a rake at, it's something to look forward to.

I can't wait for a first floor laundry room.

I'm looking forward to meeting new people. Well, in theory. In truth, though I may appear outgoing to the average person, my hearty gusto and witty party quirks are merely a cover up for the insecurity I feel when meeting new people. In my subconscious, I figure, well, if they're going to judge me, I'll really give them something to talk about. It's left over from my college and acting days, I guess. Inside, I hate large gatherings and small talk. I'm really bad at both of them, which is why I was miserable in my sorority and eventually quit, and why I tend to despise large gatherings in general. Which is one of the reasons I do the Thanksgiving Day race, by the way--so I have something to talk to all those relative about. But I digress.

I will miss my community here, but it's hard to think that way, since we will be about 1/2 hour away from it when we move. Close enough to get back when I want to. But I know that to really "move," I need to make an effort to meet new people and make the new community my home. So I'm going to try and do my best.

If you are still reading, I commend you for fortitude. This has got to be boring. But I'm making up for a month of not blogging. The move date is Nov. 27, if you're keeping score.

In other news:
My daughter woke me up at 6:30 this morning to a) get her a cup of water and b) do a monster check. Grudgingly, because I knew I wouldn't get any peace until I accomplished these two tasks, I got up and did them. No sooner had I rearranged the covers and snuggled in than she called out "Mom! Can you start my story?" (she listens to Winnie the Pooh stories on CD to fall asleep. I can't fault her because I do the same thing with Harry Potter sometimes) I feebly called back "no," and then her voice escalated in decibels and rather than have her wake Sam, I pulled my weary, sore ass out of bed and pushed the button. My hip is killing me from yesterday's run/walk and I have to locate a tennis ball in all the mess to rub over my left IT band if I have any hopes of running this week at all.

Today's agenda involves a trip to the Children's Museum with a friend and her two kids. We have tried to do this for almost a month, every Monday, but it has yet to happen because of one of the four kids always being sick or having a previously scheduled doctor's appointment. So we'll try again today. After that, I will come home to do some laundry in the basement (sigh, only two more weeks of that), and then cobble something together for writing class tonight, since this is the first writing I've done in two weeks.

I could write about my voice recital or the public read-around, or the "discussion" (fight) that Marc and I had last night about the value of my staying home with the kids vs. getting a job to increase our income and make our lives a little more financially comfortable, but I won't bore you with details. Instead, I will post a pic of the kiddos at Halloween. For the uninitiated, Sydney is Angelina Ballerina (char in a children's book--a mouse who has great ballet ability) and Sam is Angelina's cousin Henry. My stepmom made some of Syd's costume and all of Sam's.

And I will just mention that I finished High School Confidential, which was a really interesting and scary read. I haven't been out of hs that long, and I recognized some of the stuff that went down, but damn, I'm so glad I'm not there now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stewart/Colbert in 2008

Okay, I know it says a lot for my psyche and my political leanings (any surprise there?) that I do learn more about what's going on in the world from watching The Daily Show and occasionally, The Colbert Report, than I do from watching other news programs. I guess I just like a dose of humor with the incredible crap that happens in our world.

As a caveat, I should add that I do listen to NPR on a daily basis, even though I was starting to get a little ticked at their lack of coverage on the Israel side of the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

At least I'm watching something besides reality tv, right?

Happy Birthday

To LUCY! My wonderful sister-in-law who is living out in rainy Seattle at the moment (we miss you!).

It's the big 3-0!


A little celebration dance--we got an offer on the house, which, after some wrangling over price and closing dates (they wanted Nov 10 with occupancy on the same date--hah, right!), we accepted!

We are still having showings in hopes to cull back up offers (two yesterday, if you can believe it). Now we're just waiting on a homeowner's inspection and termite inspection... fingers crossed!

Now of course, we have to find a new place. And move out by Dec. 1. But nevermind!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the obligatory standing 'o'

Finally someone else who agrees with me about the stupidity of the now nearly-obligatory standing ovation:

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We are the ones

A poem in response to a prompt from writing class last night. The prompt was based on a quote from Jean Shinoda Bolen, which I will have to look up and post later. But here is the poem.

We are the ones
Who hold the center
When everything falls apart
Around our ears.

We are the ones
Who make the difficult phone calls
And have the confrontations
When no one else wants to do it.

We are the ones
Who mow the lawn
When the grass grows above our ankles
To keep the homeowner's association police away.

We are the ones
Who scramble eggs
And make grilled cheese
And microwave broccoli
To get a healthy meal on the table.

We are the ones
Who sacrifice our own classes
And lessons
So that our children might learn
In our places.

We are the ones who
Answer the 4 a.m. calls
Provide another kiss
And another sip of water.

We are the ones who
Clean up the pee
When they don't make it in time
And the vomit
When our Halloween candy admonitions go unheeded.

We are the ones who
Gas up the car
And schedule its maintenance
For the two hour window during preschool.

We are the ones who
Plan playdates
And grate carrots
And play outside
So that our kids will know something
Beyond TV and computer screens.

We are the ones who
Pretend to act surprised
When we are "surprised"
With an impromptu birthday party
In October
Even though we were born in May.

We are the ones who
More than once
To bring children into this world
And hold their hands
As they birth their own.

We are the ones who
Read for knowledge
And understanding.

We are the ones who
Keep the pulse on the relationships
And sense
Where things are headed.

We are the ones who
Clip coupons
And make sure
There's enough milk in the house.

We are the ones who
Censor radio and TV broadcasts
For young ears
And spell out
N-a-p-s and c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e
So as to remain undetected.

We are the ones who
Make the doctor appointments
And keep immunization records
In our underwear drawers.

We are the ones who
Give extra kisses
When a friend says
'I don't want to play with you,'
And then let them win
At Candyland.

We are the ones who
Make and keep the rules
But bend them once in a while.

We are the ones who
Keep our family's histories alive.

2 oct 06

Saturday, September 30, 2006

little whinging, ohio

i am in that obnoxious phase of sick that nothing feels right, tastes good or feels good, but i crave to be comforted. like i want comfort food like chicken noodle soup or macaroni and cheese or other carb-based, non-plant foods, but when i go to eat them, they taste like unrefined metal. and i want to sleep, but my body is too achy to relax and i can't get comfortable. and i want to do stuff--like walk or run or read or crochet or knit or write or anything to stop feeling like a blob--but i'm just too damned tired. i don't have a fever; i'm just tired and achy and nasal and coughing occasionally and i have recurring headaches--probably from not eating what i should be eating.

everyone in the house is sleepy. sam just went down for his third nap of the day. syd is napping on the couch, having fallen asleep in front of the disney channel. marc tried to lie down unsuccessfully. my dad says it's the constant weather change that makes us all sick, but i would attribute this illness to a cold marc gave me that i really didn't want and tried hard not to get. no mind, no matter. whatever. i'm just tired and bored, and cranky and hot, and what is up with hot flashes at 33? please don't tell me it's early menopause cause i just can't handle that. but the hormones seem to be all whacked out, ever since i had sam. i should probably talk to someone about it, like my ob/gyn, but my next appointment isn't for a couple of months yet.

i hate the pressure of having to keep the house clean, or worry about keeping the house clean. three showings this week, and no offers. no second showings, no decent feedback--only that the house is "too small." it's 2000 square feet, which is average for this neighborhood--on the large side of average, but what do i know? the realtor wants to have an open house next sunday. oh joy. can't wait. cleaning and cleaning for three people to walk through and decide it's not for them.

i took some sudafed and it's not helping.

it was a rough week all around, with a late afternoon trip to dayton to cart syd to and from ballet, and feed her and sam and get them to bed while marc had a board meeting. that set me off, and i've never been the same. i think i'm feeling the physical effects of stress (or, as cymbalta commercials would tell me, the physical and emotional effects of depression. whatever).

i'm meant to be atoning, and meant to be finished by monday, when i will fast to empty my earthly vessel of sin and be cleansed and hopefully inscribed into the book of life for yet another year. so if i've wronged any of you in cyber space and i haven't apologized, i'm sorry. please forgive me my transgression and i'll try not to do it again.

sam just woke up and he's upset. only one of us can be upset at the same time, so i'll have to let my major annoyance with the physical world go for the moment and see to his needs.

happy weekend, everyone. i'll try to be more positive next time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Support your favorite non profit!

Last night at Women Writing for (a) Change, I learned about this search engine that donates a penny a search to the non-profit organization of your choice. While I am tempted to start my own non-profit entitled "Allyson Jacob's vacation fund," until I clear the 501(c)3 paperwork, I will be searching so that WWf(a)C can benefit. I would encourage any and all readers out there to do the same, so that we can make some progress on this capital campaign.

The process is easy. Go to the search engine, and in the box that says search for your group, type "women writing." That should bring up WWf(a)C. You only have to do it once (or, I guess, as often as you clear your cookies), and your pennies can come our way.

Apparently, we are 1/4 of the way to our goal of raising $1 million to buy our building, make improvements, and fund scholarships.

Thanks for your time, as always!

Friday, September 15, 2006

$76??? Who are they kidding?

Short post today, as work beckons. At least I have work to beckon. I found this in CityBeat's cool issue (let's not talk about the title):

Humorist author David Sedaris presents his spoken word show at Procter & Gamble Hall. 7:30 p.m. $76-$125. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. 513-721-3344.

I would love, love, love to hear and see David Sedaris in person. I am sure that there are many, many others like me in the area who would. But who can afford this ticket price? I know Annie Proulx, when she hit the tri-state, was (is? can't remember if that speaking engagement has happened yet) $125 a ticket, but it was a benefit for the mercantile library.

I'm sure some of this is Ticketmaster and other corporate management charges, but if Sedaris really caters to his demo, how many of us can afford this ticket price???

Sigh. I will just re-read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim with a cuppa and wish for more work. :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


back on home soil, thanks to God and lots of airport screening. we were sent through agriculture screening upon arrival, presumably because of sam and the baby food, and the invisible sign above my forehead that says "harass me. harass me now." lots of loading and unloading of suitcases multiple times through multiple checkpoints, then carry on screening in which i was allowed to take milk through but not water. go figure that one out. it was a very long day and i am very pleased it is finished. hopefully i will not have to repeat the rigamarole for two years.

my beef this early morning (thanks to jet lag) is not with airlines but with the post office. short version: we requested our post office to resume delivery on our mail yesterday. they didn't. longer version: after receiving five pieces of mail along with a cryptic note that said "RAIN. Mail tomorrow." from the carrier (and to my knowledge, there was no rain in the sky yesterday afternoon), i called the national p.o. (hmmm initials are the same as pissed off. interesting that!) and got the number of our local branch and spoke to a woman there. i explained the note and asked if i could come up to pick up the mail. she said of course. loaded snorty sam in the car and drove to post office, only to be told that the mail was still with the carrier on the truck, and that the young woman with whom i spoke on the phone didn't understand the carrier's note to me. well there's a surprise. the employees all shrugged and half-laughed and said "yes, that's jan." i guess so, if she can see rain that's not there and deem it okay for me to wait another day for my mail.

i sound crotchety, i know. jet lag. sorry. and it's not like there's loads of exciting prospects in the post, except for some work docs i'm waiting for. but i had to release the steam.

sam and i have to leave for the hospital in 45 min so he can get his tubes. wish us loads of luck and lots of prayers. everyone keeps telling me it will be fine. i hope so.

i've been following the rosie/barbara/the view/blog conversation that's been bandied about by people online and other sources. it's interesting to me that barbara has the power to tell rosie not to blog, and not to blog about the show. in some way, i can understand not blogging about the show (that can be put in a contract of sorts, i guess), but not blogging? that seems a little of an infringement on 1st amendment and a little too big brother. thoughts?

i also read dude, where's my country by Michael Moore on the plane. very interesting, except when he advocates Oprah for President. i particularly like chapter 10.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

afraid, but nevermind

it's nearly 12:30 a.m. uk time and i am hopelessly awake. don't really know why, but thought i'd take advantage of my moment of opportunity to update the blog. nice that it took my bro-in-law's computer a whopping 20 freakin' minutes to start up and cycle through all of the crap it has to go through to open. i don't even want to know what is on this machine. if it's illegal, he's into it. nevermind.

sam is snorting in the room, sleeping restlessly, and at this point, i have no idea if its adenoids or ears or teeth or what the hell. he was up numerous times last night and he has been pulling on his ears, but i think at this point it's probably teeth, unless the omnicef didn't work. sigh.

the title refers to all the fears that i harbor underneath that like to surface when i'm in insomnia mode. so here goes the random list. i'm afraid of:

1. sam's surgery. he's getting tubes two days after we return and i'm scared of his going under and not returning. really scared. irrationally so, as i know it's a three minute operation and millions upon millions of munchkins undergo similar surgeries on a weekly basis. but i'm still scared. he's my kid, after all, not a million of a million. i keep telling myself that this is going to make things better--no more ear infections, advancement in walking and talking and pulling up and doing the things he should (but isn't) doing. so far i haven't convinced myself.

2. dying in a fiery terrorist plane crash on the way home from london on monday. again, irrational, but it's late and i'm freakin' tired.

3. syd's not ever returning to normal. she has been so indulged here and has gotten so mouthy and obnoxious. she is hitting me every day and thinks it's hysterical, and she is just given whatever whenever. she will be in for a shock when we get home and the cookies and the chocolate and the crap are no longer lurking in every corner.

4. syd's language not returning to normal. she has adopted british pronunciations for words like 'bath' and 'dance' (think bbc proper) and 'water,' and now asks to go to the toilet instead of the potty. and in only two weeks, no less. i shall have a lot of undoing to do.

5. never having enough money to go on a proper vacation (eg not staying with relatives or sleeping on the floor)

6. not getting work again

7. not fitting into my clothes again, due to copious amounts of chocolate and crap on the vacation, and more italian food in the last week than i have eaten in the last year.

8. never publishing anything fictional

9. snakes. on a plane, in a car, in museum displays and in aquaria. hate them. all.

10. fish. irrational.

11. birds. or in particular, large overfed pigeons that lurk in every corner of london waiting to crap on my head or fly into me.

12. that our house will never sell or that we will be forced to sell at a significantly reduced rate.

13. that the move to dayton is going to suck because i won't make any friends and i won't meet people who think about life beyond their children (which i do, even though it may seem otherwise)

14. dying without making a difference.

15. not living beyond 44.

that's enough for now. it's been a rough couple of days here, although not without high points, to be sure. but i think more than two weeks living with inlaws should be illegal in most countries. it just isn't healthy. we have lots of people under one roof, few bathrooms, very little privacy and not enough valium to go around.

germany was aces, although there wasn't a whole lot to see in baden-baden. no prostitutes, to the boys' dismay, but an interesting bath house with lots of different pools and sauna experiences, and a nude bit that i opted not to experience. it was a beautiful area of europe, very picaresque, and if driving on narrow, mountainous roads didn't make me so nauseous, i probably really would have enjoyed the black forest. we did manage half a day in strasbourg, which made me ache to want to return to france for a longer period, but there you go. it rained a fair amount, and the last day i opted for a modern art gallery with a cool chagall exhibit, and a cup of coffee and my journal, rather than wandering off to see nothing and climb loads of hills to get there. and why could we not have gone to a beach, you might ask? our travelling companions, dh's cousins, don't like them and live within walking distance of one. next time i shall be more insistent.

we took our nieces to the west end one day this week and caught glimpses of big ben, the london eye and various other southerly sights. we ducked into the victoria and albert museum for a moment to get out of the rain, and then spent an hour pondering our existence and our dna in the science museum. we revived our legs in hyde park with a rest and some sandwiches, and later ate a bit of dinner before heading off to see Footloose in the west end. cotton candy fun but nothing to write home about.

yesterday, i set off alone to meet my friend claire in the west end (she came down from leeds on the train). i hadn't seen her in seven years or so; it was good to catch up and only awkward a couple of times. she was in lyon with me 12 years ago and brought some photos to prove it. too many drunk, laughing pictures, but what would you expect from a year abroad? we saw a bit of the tate modern and then had lunch, and i managed to score a single, front row ticket to avenue q, which was wonderfully hysterical. claire and i met up with celia, her sister, around four and the two of them went shopping while i checked out the national portrait gallery. very cool. some interesting warhol portraits of the queen that i didn't know existed. i spent several hours wandering downtown london, and wasted time in a bookshop thumbing through '1001 books to read before you die' and decided that the editors were way prejudiced against american writers. i mean, seriously, do we need to read everything jane austen wrote? i'm in the middle of sense and sensibility, and while interesting, it is not as good as pride and prejudice. they can't all be winners. anyway, it was on to avenue q with great music and puppet sex on stage, narrated by gary coleman, and then home on the tube at 11 p.m.

of course sam was up most of last night but there you go. today we visited dh's grandma and aunt, cousin and cousin's daughter, which was tedious but necessary. then my mother in law took me and my sister in law out for italian (big surprise!) and dh went to play snooker with an old friend (he's still not back and i'm trying not to worry, though it's nearly 1 am and the pubs all close at 11 pm, but never mind.)

tomorrow we are going to camden market for a bit. then we have to see lots of random people before we leave on monday, hopefully not dying in a fiery terrorist plane crash whilst en route.

i realize i have left out an entire week (prior to our going to germany) but it was seriously nothing of record--family gatherings with lots of relatives whose names and faces disappear from my memory from year to year, a drink at a pub occasionally, a little shopping, and for me, lots of reading, crossword puzzles, knitting, internet surfing (which takes ages) and sleeping, since there are so many extra hands about. now that both of dh's brothers have moved back home (at 32 but nevermind), it is truly a full house.

i apologize for the length and randomness of this missive, and for the lack of linkage. maybe when we return home, following sam's surgery, when i have some sort of gainful employment, i will find the time to link or post pics. but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tagged--not it

Lazy Sunday morning (ha!) before heading on a plane Tuesday to the UK. Lots of prayers and happy thoughts that we make it across without incident.

Legion tagged me (argh) and since it's about books, I thought I might be able to answer. Perhaps. Althought when I think of books, everything intelligent (if there ever was anything there) goes out of my head. I'll try

1. One book that changed your life: Diaries of Anais Nin. I learned that it's okay to write about erotica and intimacy. Of course, now that I read what I wrote back then, it's a little sophomoric, but hey, it was in a formative time period. Another book was Skylight (well, it's a play) by David Hare. Love the structure, the minimalism. Lots of influence on my dramatic writing style.

2. One book that you have read more than once: Harry Potter (all of them) at least three times each, if not more.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Uhhh, nothing's coming to mind. A big, empty journal? Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

4. One book that made you laugh: Lamb: the complete word of God according to Christ's childhood friend Biff. Hysterical. And Bridget Jones's Diary.

5. One book that made you cry: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. So freaking sad. Hard to stop crying.

6. One book you wish would have been written: How to Sleep, Be a Mom of Two Children, Be a Wife, and Still Pursue Your Artistic Passions (or how to clone yourself and retain control of all the clones, while simultaneously enjoying the experiences of each clone as if they were your own).

7. One book you wish had never been written: The Mayor of Casterbridge. Thomas Hardy. One of the most boring things I have ever been subjected to. And as an English and French Lit major, and a lit teacher, I've been exposed to a LOT.

8. One book you are currently reading: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Wanted to remember what all the fuss was about.

9. One book you have been meaning to read: Uhhh... I read when I mean to. When I have time. Not often. Dickens? I don't know.

10. Tag some others: curb girl, lucy.

And legion, you should start with Ulysses (if you haven't already read it) before Finnegan's Wake. I've heard the latter is utterly incomprehensible, but the former is more so with assistance. I can recommend some resources... :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

personality test

since i don't have anything better to do with my time (ahem), i took the personality test that Legion posted on his blog. Here are my results:

interesting, no? i love how it's "like all men..." but i'm not going off on a tirade.

if you test too, let me know your results.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Life is too short to wear cheap underwear

Life is too short to wear cheap underwear
To not take care of your body
To stay mad at your kids
Or friends
Or family

To pass on chocolate
Be it cookie or cake
To not follow your dreams

This is turning into a hallmark style card
Or internet forward
Which is not what I intended.

The intent was to capture
A la WCW in This is Just to Say,
My thoughts as they spun
In my underwear drawer this morning
Wondering what to choose
And deciding
Last of all

I have no underwear
Worthy of a Monday in July
With shining sun
Sleeping child
Freshly painted toenails
And 20 minutes to capture
A thought that will not leave
About underwear
and Life.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Free the press, the free press

An interesting perspective that I never before considered. If the public had been made aware of the atrocities of WWI, how would things have been different?

It is becoming common knowledge that FDR was aware of the Holocaust and the camps, and didn't publicize. I am not judging this supposition. I am merely wondering about the increased role of the press from WWI to WWII to Vietnam to today.

In the world of TMI, are the sources from which we need to hear being surpressed? Spin doctors work on both (all) sides of the political spectrum, but I think we sometimes get lost in the messenger's presentation and lose the message.

How to sort it all out and avoid future atrocities?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chemistry quiz answers

Because curb girl wanted to know (although I think the quiz can stand on its own, using your imagination for the "right" answers), here are the correct answers in my world to the previous post's chemistry quiz. Please keep in mind that Chem was my absolute worst subject in school--the only D I ever earned was on a Chem final. Moles are critters in the ground, not whatever quantity 6 x 10 to the -23 power is. Or 6.02. Whatever. I got a D. That's the important lesson. NEver trust me with chemicals. Or children and chemicals. Or a batch of fresh-made chocolate chip cookies, because I will inhale every single one of them until I am sick.

Anyway, the answers:

1. Liquid. The cereal has congealed with milk by the point that the 3 year old loses interest in it entirely.

2. Solid. The liquid falls through the cracks in the booster seat leaving the solid mushy contents on the chair.

3. Liquid if you catch them in enough time. Solid if they have time to bond with the three day old cheerios stuck to the side of the chair.

4. Solid. There has been a chemical reaction which no amount of stain remover can undo.

5. Gas. Of course. That was an easy one. Apple-prune juice's prime function in a baby's life is to relieve constipation and the by-product of that relief is gas. Usually given off at a most inopportune time, like in the middle of a movie or in the car when it's pouring down rain and you can't open the windows.

6. Fucking mess. Actually, it's a liquid-soaked solid. If you get there in enough time.

7. A trick question. A mother in this scenario has no brain to speak of, so technically, it's a vacuum.

Who's up for babysitting and cookie splitting?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Solid, Liquid or Gas

Okay kiddies,

It's time for a chemistry quiz. The process is simple. For each of the questions below, decide if the answer is a) solid b) liquid or c) gas.

1. When a three-year old "accidentally" throws a pint-sized bowl of cereal with milk on the floor, the contents that reach the floor are _____________.

2. When said bowl of cereal makes a pit-stop on the booster seat, the contents are __________.

3. When the baby tips over a bottle of apple-prune juice and then wedges it into the gap between himself and the side of the highchair, the contents on the high chair are ____________.

4. Given the same scenario, the contents which have become a part of his new khaki shorts are ________________.

5. Given the same scenario again, the contents which result from ingesting some of the juice before wedging the bottle are ___________.

6. When a three-year old decides to "go potty" on her own and, after several minutes of mysterious quiet, comes back into the room with a sly smile, and upon finding the contents of the bathroom trashcan AND a full-sized bath towel stuffed in the toilet with the rest of her, um, potty doings, the result is a ____________.

7. When all six of the above events happen in one hour, much less one day, the contents of the mother-in-charge's brain are __________________.

The first reader with all seven correct answers is exempt from ever babysitting the Jacob children. Anything less than that and you will be locked in a house with two children with two double ear infections in less than a month which antibiotics won't clear up, no ear plugs, a limited quantity of milk, and a cookie that you must split "exactly" in half to please both children.

Ready, set, go!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Trust the process

I am trying. To trust it. To believe that I really don't have to find another freelance gig. That we can survive easily on one salary. To set myself free to write the way I want, the way I should be writing.

My writing teacher at WWfaC would say to "show up at the page." The rest will come, she would say. And I know it's true. So much does come when I merely "show up." But the fear of nothing coming is paralyzing. I am becoming a huge cliche.

The words of "Working," the musical based on the book by Studs Terkel about different folk and their jobs, are running through my head, even though I haven't heard the song since I was about 16. "All I am is just a housewife, what I do is kinda boring, that's my life... take the kids here, take the kids there..." I know that's not me, but I fear that's what I might become. Not having a "job." Not having an "identity" beyond Captain Mommy, helming the crazy ship to fruition. That in and of itself is a huge job, but for some reason, I keep forgetting that.

Voice lessons are probably ending. It's been a good almost 10 year run. Finances are limited. I can't justify spending the money to study (even though I really really enjoy it and hope to go back to performing one day) when I haven't auditioned in years and probably won't for many years to come.

Maybe this is the "stripping down" that successful (financially, anyway) writers talk about--when you strip life down to the basics and take away all distractions so that you don't have any choice but to focus on the page (or screen).

I need to take the internet off of my computer. And my computer solitaire. And everything else.

Speaking of distractions, Sam's awake.

I need a patron. Anyone up for the job? It'll be worth it, I promise!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A new blog

I'm not abandoning Fallout; I'm adding depth to Fallout in Fallout With Gratitude.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Captain Mommy is losing her mind

oh the illness we've had in our family.

As I told curb girl yesterday, our family is a current walking poster family for birth control, or rather, locking your kids up until they're five and not letting them interact with anyone and bring scary diseases into your house. double ear infections for both children--loverly. It's so fun to try to figure out what's wrong with a 10 month old who doesn't talk but only screams in pain. And the helpful doctors give antibiotics and he gets an ear infection on top of the antibiotics. Poor little guy is on his second full round in five weeks, with a trial of a different one in between.

His sister, whom I suspect is the culprit in bringing Coxsackie or whatever the hell this is into our usually happy home, also has a double ear infection. I have been on the losing end of a sore throat and earache for several weeks and I am currently doing my time in the medical world of drugs as well. Now all we need is for DH to come down with it and it will have run its course. Of course, the World Cup is on, so he would have a perfect excuse to stay home from work to watch it. So far, knock on loads of wood, he is well. I'm waiting for the shoe to drop this weekend.

Packing. Amid boxes. Storage. We have way too much crap. I am as guilty as the rest of the family. Since we haven't yet ruled out the possibility of a third child (although I am leaning towards NO!--see above paragraph about poster family for birth control), I am hesitant to part with so much baby paraphernalia that has found its way into our home. I have tried offering it to my one friend who is pregnant with her first child but she doesn't want it. I have considered selling it to the local baby resale shop, but I know I won't get anything for it. I have thought of donating it. That looks to be the best option. But then if we do have another munchkin, we just have to buy new stuff. Or borrow from our friends, all of whom seem to be finished having children and are in the process of getting rid of their stuff as well. That was a quick age-shift (from having kids to being done with having kids), if you ask me.

And then there are the books. And the toys. And, if you are my husband, the 100s of soccer videos, DVDs, programs, books, bobbleheads, pins and other assorted crap that has "magically" found its way into our home. He will have to rent a separate storage unit just for his "collectibles." Have I mentioned the three full-sized arcade games in the basement? How about the preschool table and six chairs that we just "had to take" when one of the local preschools closed? We have more furniture than we have room for and every time I try to get rid of something, I hear "but it might be worth something."

And he keeps buying. I cringe every time I know he has been to the dollar store, wondering what other crap he will bring into our already overstuffed home. He likes to give our kids presents. How about the present of time? I spent an hour outside playing pirate adventures--"Captain Mommy, let's go search for treasure!"--and working rudimentary soccer drills with my three year old last night, which DH sat on the couch and watched World Cup that he had DVRed. I guarantee that she valued the time I spent with her more than the piece of plastic toy or the 29th puppet he bought the last time he went to Deals. And Rabbi Shmuely (from Shalom in the Home, another program he felt the need to DVR and subsequently watch last night) would agree with me.

On an entirely different note, does anyone out there in cyberland know how to set up a sub-blog on a blog? I have another series of stuff I'd like to post but it doesn't go with the mish-mash of this blog. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

If you haven't read Doxie's blog-book about bathing her dogs, you absolutely MUST. I cried. Fortunately, Leigh, whom I've never met but who I feel I now know intimately, is working on making publishing connections. Maybe she can hook me up!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Where do I want to be today?

This is a weird freewrite from March in response to the prompt "Where do I want to be today?"

I want to overflow with words
Tip them out of my soul
Give up TV—
Except for “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Write at six
Then again at 10
Run far and fast
Sprint if I can

Fly above
Burrow below
Snuggle with the kids
Then let them go.

Sing and sing
And sing again
Songs of praise and
Songs of sorrow.

Movement comes up
Then down again
Willing me; go
Pack some more

Donate books
Box up clothes
Portion out pieces
Of ourselves.

Unknown set before
The past behind
The twilight above us
All in the mind

Home-gazing; Fuzzy,
On three winged trees
Shakespeare’s words
Ride gently next to me.

Feet of iambs
Hands of clay
Are you going to die today?

Without knowing what is right
Dreaming what is true
Seeing us grow up

What has become of you?
What has become of you?

Monday, May 29, 2006

dixie and yankee in one fell swoop?

Your Linguistic Profile::
60% General American English
15% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
10% Yankee
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Sunday, May 14, 2006


To the woman in her SUV
Who flew past me this morning
At approximately 9:45 a.m.
And was probably late for church
As I was running on Duke,
Speed limit 35,
Putting in my miles--

Who gestured angrily
As she swerved on the deserted road
To miss my rain-soaked body
An accusatory finger
Pointing at the concrete sidewalk
That lined the asphalt.

Her face twisted into an angry
The silver grate on her behemoth
Echoed her emotion.

I could not flag her down
At 45 m.p.h.
To plead my case of aching joints
That like deserted asphalt
Slightly more
Than cured concrete

I carried her angry face
And finger
With me for three miles
Before releasing them
In the wind

Feeling cleansed
By the rain,
I could only hope
She reached her destination
On time
And that one day
She would know
Running in a rainfall
Joints happy
Chest heaving
Watching the cars fly by
As she kept her own time
Her own pace
On the road.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Button, button who's got the button?

For my fellow Monday-nighters, here is my button story:

For my non Monday night readers, the prompt was simple. Choose a button from a glass jar full of buttons and write as the button, to the button, or about the button. This is the result.

Mama wore her red sweater with the gold-brass buttons in the winter when it was cold. She would cozy up to the fire in her creaky wooden rocking chair and sit, silently stabbing the canvas with her needle, creating patterns in basketweave and longstitch that never saw the light of day. The gold buttons glinted in the firelight and threw dazzling patterns on the opposite wall. She would finger them occasionally, while waiting for my older brother Jody and father to return from the fields, long past dark, when the thresher had been put away and the hay neatly stacked into bales, ready for selling.

We buried Mama in that red sweater with the golden brass buttons that glittered in the lamplight. When God took her to her heavenly home, Daddy said that when she got there she would be cold. Mama was always cold. So he shrouded her chest in worn, off-red wool, kissed her temple and brushed the steely locks from her forehead one last time. Then he went out to milk the cows, while Jody dragged wood in from the lean-to. It was my job to keep Mama company until the preacher arrived. I stared and stared that those golden brass buttons like they knew the answer.

The next day, I took Mama’s needlepoint and hurled it into the river way down by the Halpern’s place. I wasn’t going to sit by the fire and stab at a canvas until I got old enough to be a mama myself. I wasn’t going to cook and clean for the menfolk the way they wanted me to. I was getting out of Jethro’s Island.

Before the closed the lid on the coffin and hauled Mama away, I asked to tell her one last secret. Daddy looked at me with flint in his eyes.

“Go on, then,” he said, pushing me forward.

I had concealed Mama’s sewing scissors in the palm of my hand. I quickly slunk to the coffin, bent down as if I was telling her my deepest, darkest secret, and snipped a button from her sweater. Then I blew her a kiss as she did me every night since I could remember.

I kept that button on a golden thread, first around my neck, and later on my wrist, in my pocket or under my pillow. It was with me when Dickie took away my childhood. It kept me company on the long road out of Jethro’s Island, and it stayed in my hand when I went to collect my M.D. at the end of last year.

Now Mama’s button is on my own red sweater. Unlike hers, mine isn’t a shroud. It’s a shoulder of opportunity, a link to my past and a reminder of the woman I could have become.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A gentle kick in the pants

Lest I ever complain about my work life. I do, sometimes. But nothing is as bad as it was when I was teaching. I like what Keillor has to say. I wonder what inspired it. And the quote below is one of my favorite parts of the article.

"Clarity is hard. Honesty can be hard. Comedy is always chancy, but then so is profundity. Sometimes one winds up as the other. Illness is, of course, to be avoided, and also megamalls and meetings involving vice presidents. But writing is not painful, no more so than a round of golf. "--Garrison Keillor


I am facing the icy challenge of the paper and just writing. I have lots of projects to work on, yet feel scattered and unfocused due to the morning’s rush. Not a dance this morning—a full-fledged, oh my god my alarm didn’t go off and now I’m late, rush. Not my alarm. I set it for 7 a.m. and was awakened 30 minutes prior by Sam’s cooing turned fussing in his crib. I scooped him up, brought him in to bed in hopes of catching a few more minutes, and dozed slightly while he breathed in his own funny little way next to me, occasionally grabbing my nose for comfort.

I know there will be much undoing by bringing him into bed, but I just couldn’t bring myself to remain in a prone position. At five til 7 I turned off the alarm, which hadn’t had a chance to sound, fished my running clothes from the pile beside my bed and resigned myself to a run-walk that only made me more tired. But I’m hoping for an energy blast later in the day—either due to exercise or caffeine.

When I returned from my run around 8 a.m., it was too quiet. No shower noise, no television that I could hear, no children crying for milk or clean diapers. A gentle snore rose in the distance.

I called to Marc to let him know the time. “Marc?” I questioned tentatively, “it’s 8 o’clock.”

A sleepy voice answered. “It is? Shit. What time did you leave?”



The starting gun sounded and we were off. I threw some water in my mouth and hoped my glycogen stores would last another hour until I could make the time to eat. Syd and Sam were languishing on the bed; he had finished his milk and she was lollygagging with hers, cuddling a pillow. Her pajama bottoms were next to her and a quick peek revealed that she had changed from her nighttime diaper into her underwear. One hurdle cleared.

I searched in Syd’s closet for something appropriate to wear. The radio station that had accompanied me on my morning slog said that the high would reach 77 today. I wasn’t sure that I trusted it, but you can do a lot with capris.

We’re in this funny between seasons and between sizes stage with Syd and her clothes. I managed to pair a bubble gum pink pair of denim capris with a non-offensive medium blue short sleeved top, grabbed some socks and headed into my room, where Steve was trying in vain to figure out Blue’s Clues. When will the man learn? If you just look for the pawprints, you’ll find the clues!

The outfit wouldn’t pass any fashion tests, but it would keep her fairly warm and covered through her playing indoors and out today. The fun part would be getting it on her wriggly body.

“NO!” she screamed, seeing me approach with her clothes in my arms. “I don’t WANT to get dressed. I want to watch TELLY!” Multi-tasking has not yet entered her vocabulary.

“We have to get ready for school,” I stated. “Daddy’s running late.” I had thrown some food in her lunchbag while guzzling my water after my run, and my goal was to get her dressed and started on breakfast before Marc got out of the shower. He usually stands under the spray for about 20 minutes, even when he is running late, so the goal was specific and achievable, provided I managed to keep Syd in one place while I was trying to dress her. Chasing her around the house while carrying capris and a t-shirt significantly cut down on my time.

Fortunately, she was somewhat engrossed in that morning’s episode and it only required a few extra tugs on my part to get her flannel pajamas over her head. Socks went on next, as they were the path of least resistance, and the capris, which had looked so cute on the hanger but always proved to be such a struggle in donning, were last.

I accomplished my post-run stretching routine easily while trying to get the child into her pants. Huffing, I allowed her to climb back up on the bed for a moment while I found an outfit for Sam.

Not being able to speak, Sam has little say in what goes on his body every day. This is a true blessing, and I am hoping that his lack of concern over clothing will continue on into his teenage years. Not that I want him to be a schlemiel; I just don’t relish the idea of dropping hundreds of dollars on low riders, high tops and basketball jerseys that seem to be the envy of all teenage boys these days.

I picked a simple pair of pants and shirt for Sam and got him dressed without incident. He did try to get his socks off the moment they were on his feet, but the kid has to have some pleasure in life.

Both kids were dressed. Second hurdle cleared. It was time for breakfast, and wrenching my little darling away from the idiot box was a task I despised.

“Syd! Breakfast! Let’s go!” I called.

“But MOMMY!” she wailed, “I want to finish watching Blue’s Clues!”

“We can turn it on downstairs,” I relented, hoping she would forget about the show on the journey between the two floors. I gathered Sam, his now-empty bottle and her sippy cup from yesterday in my arms and ran down the steps, pausing only to deposit Sam in his high chair and the milk containers in the sink.

Fluidly, I glided towards the pantry, chose some cereal for all of us and set to work. Bowls, spoons and Cheerios flew. I sprinkled a few Cheerios onto Sam’s tray so that he would feel included, which he promptly threw on the floor. I mixed some rice cereal with water for him and searched for a spoon. I put some Life in a bowl for her and called to her again to come downstairs and get some breakfast. Lastly, I poured myself a bowl of Kashi and quickly dug in.

In between bites, calling for Syd to come downstairs and picking up Cheerios, I somehow crafted a grocery list. Finally, she appeared in the doorway, with her bird’s nest of hair and her stars blankie. She is too young to look like a zombie in the morning, I thought to myself. Mornings are supposed to be fun when you’re a kid.

I lifted her into her booster seat and put the bowl of cereal—and a spoon—in front of her. “Mommy,” she said seriously, “this needs milk.”

Well, of course. But I wasn’t going to take the time to explain how Life cereal goes disgustingly soggy if you put the milk in too far ahead of time. Instead, I nodded and grabbed the gallon from the counter, slopped some in and sat down to finish my cereal and glance through the first four pages of “Newsweek.” It was quiet, all of us were eating and the third hurdle was behind me.

Finishing up, I tried to give Sam a few spoonfuls of the rice cereal but each one was rejected. He knew it wasn’t his usual and he wasn’t happy about it. Throwing caution to the wind, I grabbed a wagon wheel from the pantry, even though technically, according to the packaging, infants are supposed to be “crawling on all fours” before you allow them the delicacy of puffed carrots and apples shaped into, well, a wagon wheel. He was scooching. Did that count? It would have to.

Sydney asked for more cereal. Even though she had more than enough in her bowl, I decided to forgo the argument. I put another small handful in her bowl.

“Now I need more milk,” she said.

“No, Syd, there’s plenty of milk there. Just eat your cereal,” I countered. I glanced in the bowl just to be sure. It seemed to contain the proper cereal to milk ratio for her age group.

“More MILK!” she stated firmly, her voice rising in pitch.

I didn’t want to engage, so I ignored her. She started a temper tantrum and I continued to ignore her. “Newsweek” was so much more engrossing. Screams of “DADDY!” echoed to the top floor of the house.

She pushed her bowl away and I let it stay where it was. After a minute of more screaming, she grabbed the bowl again. I saw where it was headed, and, as if in slow motion, I grabbed the blue plastic vessel when its angle reached 45 degrees. Disaster averted and hurdle cleared.

Syd sat and sulked when she didn’t succeed in overturning her cereal, making a mess and proving her point. After a few minutes, I asked if she wanted more of her breakfast. “No!” she barked.

I cleared the dishes, checked to be sure Sam wasn’t choking on his wagon wheel, and went on a search for her shoes. Pink canvas slip-ons with velcro, they usually stayed wherever Syd managed to get them off the day before. I thought back to the previous day, our walk outside and sidewalk chalk artwork. She came in and promptly fell asleep on the couch. And there they were, nestled by the side of the ottoman next to the fireplace. Hurdled cleared.

I put her shoes on her feet, checked that her face was not too full of milk and grabbed a hairbrush to get her now grown-out bangs out of her face. To minimal protesting, I achieved my goal. Thank God for “No more tangles,” I thought to myself.

By this time, Marc had appeared in the kitchen doorway. “What was all the screaming about?” he asked.

“Breakfast,” I said, not wanting to rehash the details. “It’s all good now.”

Syd plopped herself in front of the television, blankie in hand. She knew that Daddy’s appearance in the kitchen didn’t signify a quick move to the car. She was ready to go and I was willing to let her watch a few more minutes while I got the dishes in the dishwasher, cleaned the wagon wheel off of Sam’s face, and guzzled another glass of water.
”I want to finish Blue’s Clues now,” she announced.

“Sweetie, I think it’s over,” I said, glancing at the clock. 8:29. Blue was definitely finished; Max and Ruby, another one of her favorites, was due to start.

“But I want Noggin!” she whined.

“Just a minute,” I said, searching for the remote control. “How do you ask?”

“Please?” she responded.

I flipped on her beloved Noggin and listened as Max and Ruby started their adventure at the pretend doctor’s officer. “Mommy!” she squealed, “it’s a new one! We haven’t seen this one yet!”

Well, I had, numerous times. It was the one where Max gets a red marker and draws dots all over himself, and Ruby and her friend Louise freak out that he has chicken pox. But I didn’t want to spoil her elation so I murmured, “Uh-huh.”

Marc puttered around the kitchen, making a quick sandwich and forcing four pills down his throat. When he asked where his phone, keys and wallet were, I knew we were in the home stretch. The last hurdle would be actually getting Syd to the car.

“Syd, come on, we’re leaving,” he called, in between looking for his things and giving his face a final once-over with an electric razor. “Let’s go. It’s time.”

She was too engrossed in Max’s red spots to respond.

“Syd, your friends are waiting,” I said, running a broom over the floor and sweeping up last night’s rice and this morning’s Cheerios. “Sydney! Darling!”

My increased volume broke her out of her stupor. “But Mommy, I want to finish watching Max and Ruby,” she cried, voice rising.

“It’s time to go to school, Syd,” I said again.

“Syd, I’m leaving without you,” Marc called at the same time.

All three of our voices were escalating in pitch. Sam had covered himself with wagon wheel goop and was adding his tones to the mix. I swept up the pile and reached for a cloth to clean him up.

Marc appeared in the doorway once again and made his way over to her. “I’m going to do something very special for you,” he said to her, taking on a false sense of sweetness that belied the growing annoyance building in his belly. “Something I don’t do for anyone else, ever.”

“Except yourself,” I editorialized.

He pretended not to hear me. “I’m going to tape the end of Max and Ruby so you can watch it tonight when you get home, okay?” he stated, with a small pleading note.

“Okay Daddy,” Syd said, scooting herself off the couch.

“Give Mommy a hug and a kiss,” he instructed.

I leaned down to embrace her, checking one last time for breakfast residue. Marc kissed me on the cheek as I stood up and finally, the door clicked shut behind them. I collapsed in a chair. The last hurdle was behind me.

“Sam,” I said, picking him up from his high chair. “Let’s go start the morning.”

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Poem for a Sunday night

The Morning Dance
created 13 March 06
revised 23 April 06

To the incessant tick
Of the clock in the corner
The hum of the razor
The smell of soap lingering in the air
We dance the morning dance.

Rubbing tired eyes
Slip-shod feet
Wriggling fingers
In and out of pajama tops
And too-small bottoms
Snaps and fasteners
Little socks and tiny shoes
We dance the morning dance.

To margarine crackling on toasted bread
Coloful characters playing on the screen

Yogurt, applesauce and pretzels thrown in a bag
And milk—always milk—
In bottles and sippies
Gushing down night-parched throats
We dance the morning dance.

Looking for misplaced keys
Hidden phones
Forgotten toys
Extra diapers
Lists and money piled to one side
We dance the morning dance.

Stolen kisses
Double speak
Dinner plans and
Calendar gazes
We dance the morning dance.

Slamming the door
One last kiss
Oops, I forgot…
Full tummies.


The morning dance is done.

I wait in the wings,
Stone-cold coffee in my hands,
For my dance to begin.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

While my pretty ones sleep...

Readers 'o' this blog (all three of you), I have been neglecting you. I apologize. It will happen again, though. Never fear....

The end of Daylight Savings Time caught me unawares. Usually the talking heads on the major local news networks remind me, ad infinitum, to spring forward and fall back. In my penchant for removing off-putting local news that is nothing but inflammatory crap devoid of any real news, I have been turning off the telly. Had I been in the car, I probably would have been reminded by the trusty old souls on NPR, with a ten minute story on the history of daylight savings time (I think it was a WWII era invention). Alas, I have not been in a car on my own since Wednesday. Shame for me, good for the gas guzzler and the environment. The reminder is probably on the calendar somewhere, but all of mine still say March.

Things are slow-going at the household, thanks to a back injury on Wednesday. Sparing long and gory details, I zigged when I should have zagged and ended up on the floor, a la 'help, I've fallen and I can't get up!' for more than an hour until help arrived. Too many steroids, muscle relaxers and pain pills later (G-d bless Vicodin), I can now sit, stand, walk and lift non-essentials with minimal pain, as long as I don't bend from the waist or twist. Every day provides more mobility. But damn, if this is what getting old feels like, I don't want to go there.

I'm in laundry up to my ass, dishes up to my elbows, and I've been living off of cheese cubes and whole grain pita. There are worse things, I realize.

My doctor empathetically listed with me when I sat in his chair on Thursday and received the diagnosis. Then he calmly told me that he, a 25 year running veteran, gave it up because of the pounding on his joints. Ack. I still want to run a marathon one day. Getting to the mailbox now feels like a marathon, but in my mind, that doesn't count. I'm exploring the Galloway options--I need to shed a few more pounds to give my back a well deserved break--and I might need to invest in a double jogging stroller so as not to have to work around dh's ever-increasing work schedule. But first I have to heal. Nothing like taking away basic movement that motivates you to get off your ass and want to do something. Gentle stretching, then walking, then....

In the midst of house repair quotes (oh joy!), storage boxes and the like. A move is somehow now imminent. Not far--Columbus or Dayton, me thinks. Still, we have nearly seven years of crap to sort through and store or throw away (I vote for the latter, dh votes for the former). And oodles of baby clothes for both sexes that I'm keeping because we haven't made that final decision on more children yet. I can't fathom it at this point, but you know, seasons change....

And plus, other family members and friends are having children and hopefully will have children in the future. If I can pass along some of the vetements less traveled, I would love to. If not, eventually, some lucky vets group is going to get a heck of a donation.

ds is stirring and will soon need nourishment. dd is asleep in my bed--I don't really want to know when or how she got there. I've no idea, thanks to the power of Vicodin. dh has to leave for work in just over an hour and the three day marathon will begin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sam, you made the pants too long

A little bit. In one spot.

Here are some snaps of the trousers I made for my son Sam. Knit, with Rowan Denim. I don't remember what size needles--they've been in his drawer for a while since he had to grow to fit into them. But he looks pretty cozy.

Monday, March 13, 2006

mea culpa

ah yes, legion, it was paul haggis, not altman. my bad. blame it on my lack of sleep or being up with current events, since i have very little life outside my four walls at the moment.

altman is helming 'prairie home companion' at the moment. i am not a garrison keillor fan (at least on npr. i like his writer's almanac site), but i might have to see this one, just based on lily tomlin and meryl streep's little shtick. since i do like altman....

Monday, March 06, 2006

where have you been?

not on the planet. but here i am.

so i just burned some soup. so i'm wondering, how in the name of all that is holy, is it possible to burn soup. from a can. on the stove. i put it on to heat and turned the temperature up to 7. and now it is stuck to the bottom of the pan. and i am a bit mortified. i should have stuck to the directions and microwaved it. but i didn't want to find a bowl that was big enough, and a pot was handy. so on the stove it went. and now it's stuck forevermore. i was finishing up an assignment and left the kitchen (about five feet to my right) for maybe ten minutes. burned soup. it was lentil, btw, if you're keeping track.

so i was watching the oscars last night--i know, sorry me, but grey's anatomy was pre-empted and i don't know sunday tv other than the housewives and stupid meredith and her stupid 'i'm going to sleep with george and cry about it. so i watched. beautiful nicole kidman and her porcelain skin and no hipped body. vivacious salma hayek. rappers winning an oscar for best song and wearing jeans--now that was cool

and i LOVED jon stewart as the host. i was afraid most of the audience was going to crucify him, especially after the mock smear campaign commercials he ran for best actress and other assorted candidates. reese witherspoon is just such a great american name, and so on. hy-ster-i-cal. it was odd to hear ed helms (i think)'s voice outside of the realm of the ds. and the barbs on cheney and clooney were great. at one point, it looked like clooney was going to run up on stage and get into a 'i'm clooney an actor, director and producer, and i own hollywood so shut the f*ck up' fight, but alas, it didn't happen. i am not a clooney fan, if you hadn't noticed. give me george from 'the facts of life' over any of his more recent shlock any day of the week.

sadly, it would have helped if i had actually seen at least one of the films nominated for any given award, but with two youngins at home and babysitters non-existent, yeah, well, that didn't happen. i have to hope that the films make it to hbo sooner rather than later, as even my video rental budget has been depleted. i was at one point interested in seeing 'capote' but after seeing a clip and hearing philip seymour hoffman lisp and do his thang, i might just need to give it a miss, if he does that for more than an hour and a half without break. and, as we were informed last night, he stayed in character between takes and during breaks, i can only assume the lisp thing was present for the entire film. joy.

i did have a suggestion for the academy that would make viewing the oscars infinitely more compelling: use broken-up couples to present the awards. i felt a little bad for jennifer aniston, up there all by her lonesome, looking so proud and strong and single. and i giggled at the idea of her and ex-golden boy adonis having to be civil enough to present an award to someone. could they get through it without hurtling barbs at each other, fighting over possessions and resorting to sly, off-the-cuff undertoned remarks to cut the other off at the knees? wouldn't that be better than watching presenter after presenter squint at the teleprompter, read some sorry copy that an 11th hour hack sneezed out, and deftly hand over a "surprisingly heavy" golden statuette to the winner? think of the pairings we could watch: tom and nicole, bruce and demi, jennifer and ben, brad and jen... and everyone else who has seen their personal life torn to shreds in the tabloids. recounting the tension on stage would be a hell of a lot more interesting than listening to hours of post-show fashion police oohing and aahing and slagging off every dress that made an appearance on the red carpet. it would give dr. phil something else to do.

and speaking of teleprompters, what the hell was up with lauren bacall? girlfriend needs some bifocals or an ear prompter. i had no idea what we were supposed to be watching with that whole 'film noir' montage anyway....

normally, the 'in memoriam' part is interesting to me because i'm always curious who has died that i didn't know about, or forgot about since the previous oscar ceremony. call me morbid. it's the same reason i read the obits in the paper--and try to glean the ages. who else died young? tragically? so that's what drugs and alcohol will get you... etc. sadly, other than chris penn, richard pryor, anne bancroft, doris day and a couple of others, i didn't recognize many names. am i getting old? out of touch? or were we short on bodies this year?

i fell asleep before best film was announced, but read headlines this morning that 'crash' pulled off the upset. i do like altman films on the whole. i haven't seen crash, but i admire altman's other work. but seeing as possibly every voter in the academy was in 'crash,' is it really that much of a surprise that it won?

next up: the bearcats, huggs' departure and reappearance at senior night, and a rebuttal to the cbssportsline moron who thinks that kennedy's homage to huggs will cost him the head coach position. Go UC!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Battle Wounds

I am war-weary. I am fighting the battle of potty training and I am just barely winning at the moment. The "experts" would say that I should not think of potty training as a battle, but rather a shared activity that will bring my daughter and me closer together, bonding over the little toilet and the cute soap. Whatever. I don't think the "experts" have seen life inside the trenches with an almost three year old and a six month old (happy half birthday, Sam), mounds of diapers in our wake, big girl "underwears" lying pee-ridden by the side of the potty, waiting for the medic to come and take them to the big washing machine in the basement.

Just as I had relinquished fighting the toilet fight, my daughter woke up the next morning, looked me in the eye and told me she wanted to wear big girl "underwears." We had tried this venture once before; she put on a pair after I suggested it but then refused to sit on the potty. Messiness ensued and I gave up when she cried and wailed and screamed "but I want to wear diapers." For some reason, the kid enjoys sitting in her own sh*t. Go figure.

This time, when she herself asked for the change, I looked at her and said, "now, you know what this means, right?" And she said "Yes, I have to sit on the potty." Well done, right answer, and we were off.

I went a little overboard the first day (Tuesday, Jan 31, a red-letter day when I could actually see a decrease in the weekly grocery bill looming in my midst), setting a kitchen timer and putting her on the potty every 15 minutes. Through story time, lunch out a restaurant, and a trip to Target to increase our underwear munitions, the timer accompanied us and we dutifully trotted off to the potty when it rang. Around nap time, she was ready to kill me. Even with her reduced-sized plumbing, no one has to go every 15 minutes.

I put a pullup on her for her nap, and intended to go to trying every 30 minutes when she awoke. When I showed her her big girl "underwears" she immediately burst into tears and again repeated the request to go back to diapers.

I am of the opinion that once you enter into this battle, you don't retreat. So I told her that diapers were not an option, other than for naps and overnight. I reminded her of the purple hearts awaiting her after her bout with the potty (bits of chocolate and cookies, depending on the seriousness of the campaign), and that seemed to motivate her to give it a go. We got through the entire first day with a single casualty, when I forgot to set the timer after her nap.

Day two of the battle was easy for me--I had reinforcements in the ranks thanks to her teachers at school. She got through the day without casualty and returned home in the same clothes and underwear I sent her to school in. Yee-hah.

Day three (today) proved to be much more of a challenge. And I now feel I am losing the battle. It started off well enough for the first few hours, but she resisted the timer once again, and I forgot to remind her to go, resulting in our first underwear casualty of the day. I was careful not to make a big deal of her leak, and just put her in another pair and reminded her that we need to use the potty, not go in underwears. We fought the good fight until after naptime.

Once again, she did not want to go back into the trenches after nap. She again requested diapers, and I again told her no. The logical thing to do here would be to axe the diapers completely during the day, but I really don't relish casualties of war that include bedsheets and waterproof pads as well as tiny underwear. So pullups it will be.

Much kicking and screaming ensued. With lots of bribery (more purple heart promises), she again sat and we read lots of stories, passing the time in the trenches together, keeping each other company. All seemed back on track.

The next time it was time, she refused. I decided not to push, thinking that maybe she did know when she needed to go. Nope. More casualties. And then she didn't want to put a new pair on. I'm running out already, since I sent five pair to school with her yesterday. Fisticuffs ensued, with my face on the losing end of the battle. I am now sporting tiny teeth marks on the right side of my temple thanks to our struggle. I don't think she broke the skin, but damn, it hurts like hell.

So I resorted to stealth tactics. I ignored her. She got mad. She wanted me to talk to her, to read a book, to watch TV--anything to spend time with me. I refused, and point blank delivered the final blow, reminding her what she needed to do to once again gain favor. After a few minutes of resistence, she gave in and I heard a wail. "I hurt the door," she screamed. I questioned the logic of her tactics. "I was trying to get into the bathroom."

She relented and I at last had a small victory.

I could only savor the glory for a few hours. After dinner, we went back into the trenches once again. And waited. And waited. No action from below. Then a small stream of fire. Finishing up, we hiked the stairs to the bathtub. She played in the baby's room while I filled the tub, stopping only to call my attention to the last casualty of the day.

I am so glad this day is over. Tomorrow--once more my friends, into the breach!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Waffle (with no bacon)

My writing class started up again Monday night. It was so good to be back into forced practice. If you haven't yet checked out Women Writing for (a) Change, you can take a look and see what the school is about--it's pretty cool.

So here is my response to the prompt: "I'm making space for..."

I'm making space for forgiveness. Forgiving myself my imperfections and allowing the "work in progress" idea to dominate. Forgiving my food transgressions. Forgiving, or allowing myself to screw up, to try, to breathe, to soar. I so want to soar above the grounded earth and make my life sing.

I get mired in the day to day; I lose sight of the bigger picture. That is what has happened in the time I have been away. I have missed the mind setting.

I'm making space for reading good books.

I'm making space for breathing air into my lungs, inhaling deeply and letting go.

I'm letting go of potty training, food insistence. I'm tempted to let go of bedtime struggles. But that lack of structure might just kill us all.

I'm making space for outdated clothing, old recurring thoughts and new dreams. Renewal with my husband and making time to rediscover what drove us to date in the first place.

I'm making space for moving my body, for spending money on babysitters, eating chocolate extra-decadently.
French verbs
Birthday cake icing
The number 33
My parents' quarrels

I'm making space for big dreams and bigger goals, smaller garbage piles and more organization in my writing space. I'm making space for space, if that makes sense at all.

I'm making space for enjoying my children
Valuing myself
Validating my true friends
And letting the others lie.

I'm making space between myself and those who drain my energy, make me tired and sap my strength.

I'm making space for good beer, fine wine and comfort food. Comfortable food. Oh mac and cheese, oh how I miss you.

I'm making space for breathing in and breathing out, over and over again.

So, what are you making space for?

Monday, January 23, 2006

An interesting perspective

So the other night, I read The Lovely Bones cover to cover. I didn't want to read the book at all, actually. I had picked it up and put it down about a dozen times at various bookstores and at the library. Something about the idea of a child being raped and murdered at the beginning of the novel didn't exactly reach out to me and say "read me!"

But at the end of my writing class last semester, we had a book exchange, and I received Alice Sebold's book. It had been on my shelf since then--for over a month--staring at me everytime I sat down at my computer. I was bored for five minutes on Saturday and was looking for something to read. So I gave Sebold a try.

I still can't say I'm in love with the book. The content gave me lots and lots of problems on a personal level. I shed several tears. But the one thing I will say is that Sebold does a really good job of telling a story from a unique perspective--that of her protagonist who is in "her" heaven, looking down on earth and her family and friends, and trying to make sense of what she sees. Since she was young when she died (I'm thinking 14 but it might have been 11--there were several young female victims profiled in the story), she never "grows up," so to speak, but she does mature in a weird, distant way.

Sebold's writing of Susie (the protagonist)'s view of heaven is fascinating--basically, if you want something enough in heaven, you will get it. But everyone's heaven is different, as a result. Some intersect and others do not. It was a comforting notion--especially having lost someone so significant so early in my own life. It would be nice to believe.

It was interesting to see the way that Susie's parents and siblings handled their grief, and how some of Susie's acquaintances' lives were shaped by the incidents surrounding her murder. Plotwise, the story moved. Writing-wise, it was worth savoring. Sebold writes as a poet in novel form, but not in a way that makes you want to smack her and yell, "get real." She knows how to craft a phrase. And Susie's perspective reminds me of an innocent Huck Finn at times (without the local color, of course)--reporting on what she sees without necessarily understanding it all.

You feel for Sebold's characters. You care about what happens to them. You get angry. At least I did. When the murderer is finally brought to justice, for me, it wasn't enough.

I read until 1:30 am which was stupid, since I had to get up the next morning. But I was so disturbed by the story, I had trouble sleeping. I know I have an overactive imagination, but....

Anyway, it was a good read.

Other updates--Sam's pants are almost finished (knitting project), which is good because if I don't finish soon he will be too big for them.

Sam is rolling now, although not consistently. He gets halfway over and gets frustrated and cries. Just like his mommy!

Syd agreed to wear "big girl underwears" today. I was ecstatic. But then of course, when it came time for her nap, she refused to take them off and put a pullup on. So I know when she wakes up, I will be changing sheets. She wants to wear them, but doesn't want to sit on the toilet. What's a girl to do?

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Fours

If you haven't played before, this is like one of those emails so popular with teenage girls where you "learn all about your friends" by answering some inane questions. Except that these questions aren't as inane as the ones in the email--they might actually make you stop and think.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life: High School English teacher and French teacher, Barnes and Noble bookseller, Discovery Zone referee, camp counselor.
Four movies you could watch over and over: When Harry Met Sally.... (collectively now: AWWWW!), Men in Black, Bridget Jones's Diary, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Four places you’ve lived: Cincinnati, OH; Lyon, France; Columbia, MO; my parents' house, which is its own country with its own rules and regulations.
Four TV shows you love to watch: Friends, Queer as Folk, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives.
Four places you’ve been on vacation: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; Bonita Springs, FL.
Four websites you visit daily: The Cincinnati Enquirer, WebSudoku, AroundCinci, Bloglines.
Four of your favorite foods: Fettucine Alfredo, Chicken, Cactus Pear's Nacho Salad, Pizza.
Four places you’d rather be: Asleep in my bed, on the beach, in a quiet and padded room, singing.
Four albums you can’t live without: Rites of Passage (Indigo Girls), anything by Diana Krall, Achtung Baby (U2), Songs for a New World (Jason Robert Brown)--those are the four that come to me immediately. There are probably others.
Four to pass this meme along to: Lucy and Tracy (my only other blogging friends besides Legion)

Legion, what is "Scart?"

Which Housewife are you?

So the stupid thing says I'm Bree, which, to anyone who knows a whit about me, knows is COMPLETELY FALSE. But then again, I'm not as oversexed as Gabrielle, as ditzy as Susan, as psycho as Edie or as overworked as Lynette. But still, Bree?

Who are you?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Day in the Life

Or, why two children are better than one

1. You get to use all of the stuff you absolutely HAD to have for your first child all over again--the swing, the pack n play, the bouncy seat, the boppy, the exersaucer, the high chair, the booster seat, the diaper pail, the crib, the bassinet, etc.

2. You will understand what your parents went through and have a new appreciation for them. The phrase "man, mom and dad didn't have a clue" suddenly vanishes from your vocabulary.

3. You find yourself turning into your mother and uttering such things as "because I said so," "because I'm the parent and you're the child" and "you don't have a choice about this," which you SWORE you would NEVER EVER say when you became an adult.

4. You will eventually have someone else to pawn off lawn mowing, snow shoveling and leaf raking ceremonies onto.

5. You have a real reason to watch kiddy movies again.

6. You will be shocked by the content of said kiddy movies and wonder aloud how your parents could have let you watch them as a kid.

7. Kid-friendly (read: non-nutritious) food suddenly makes its way into your once additive-free kitchen.

8. You haven't really lived until you've been peed on, spat up on, and/or thrown up on. You can earn bonus points if the last is of the projectile nature.

9. Middle age starts looking really good, especially when you think about being able to sleep in past 6:30 a.m. on a regular basis.

10. Every time you tell your two-year-old "I love you," you hear "I love you too, Mommy." Don't expect this to last beyond preschool.

11. You can justify wearing sweats, leggings, yoga pants and workout clothes out of the house (see #8).

12. You get to memorize the timetable of Noggin, and discuss the demise of your child's favorite show that was pulled without warning with other parents. They actually understand how this is huge in your child's life, and they don't look at you as though you are speaking Greek.

13. All knowledge and ability to speak Greek leaves your head the moment the TV timetable enters it. Don't mourn--you'll have the opportunity to relearn everything you forgot as your children go through school.

14. You are verbally reminded every day that you shop too much. Evidence: your child knows how to read "Kroger," "Meijer," and "Kohl's" on the side of the building.

15. Your dry cleaning bill goes down drastically (see #11).

16. You have a brand-new appreciation for "date night" with your spouse. After years of complaining (pre-children) that "there's nothing to do tonight--except dinner and a movie--yawn, yawn," you are eager to see just about anything that comes out at the multiplex as long as it doesn't have a cute character or a catchy, repetitive theme song that your child memorizes within five minutes of exposure.

17. Forget critiquing literature. Your critical thinking skills are put to much better use by debating the educational value of the myriad of kids' shows on t.v. Every playgroup or play date affords you the opportunity to debate these values with other moms. Lucky you! And you said you never got to use your brain.

18. Fortunately, with two children, the older one always has someone to play with. Unfortunately, with two children, the older one is usually playing with the younger one.

19. All the toys you loved as a kid have suddenly come back into vogue for the new generation. Unfortunately, they aren't nearly as fun to play as an adult.

20.You will never, ever, ever in a million years be bored.