Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Poem For Ever Elizabeth

here i am taking a moment
to write a poem for you.
you are sleeping-
it is midnight.
your hair is sweaty, 
stuck to your forehead
your hand in a relaxed fist.

you are only four.
four years old!
that is almost, nothing!
to a star, or a universe.
to me, your mother,
four years irrevocable, all.

nothing would do without you.
we are together day and night
sometimes, i want to spank you.
you are naughty in the following way:
you don't listen,
you are very loud very often
you move even when you aren't moving-

how do you do that!?
a vibration surrounds your still frame
as you watch cartoons.
this vibration says:
i am not moving,
but i could be.

you also attached a bag clip
to Maybelle's black and white tail
and she screamed and hissed
and bit me when i tried to help.
your eyes were enormous.

oh and you leave the water running,
and sneak snacks.
today i opened the pantry and saw:
four almonds and two cashews
in a tidy row,
the nut jar open with the top left off,
one half eaten marshmallow
and a few Cheerios
all left on the shelf.

you make me laugh so hard
i almost pee myself.
when i was crying, you petted my head
so sweetly, and opened your tiny mouth
' Mommy don't cry, you don't suck, Mommy,
you don't suck at all.'
Well.

your arm has the most precious elbow crook
i've ever seen.
and your armpits, or Muffin Pits, as i call them
are white and fat and adorable.
i like to pry open your arm and kiss your
Muffin Pits, to hear you laugh.

your butt is ridiculously cute. 
even your sister says, who has a butt that perfectly round?
your daddy calls it ' toughbutt ' because you are tough.
i smack your botto all day, because i love it.

then to consider your hands. 
still tiny and shrimpy, harking back to the days
i fondly hoped you might be a midget.
i know it's politically incorrect,
but i just wanted you to stay so small,
your proportions so short, 
compared to your siblings.

you were a fat, short baby
and i almost ate you up
burp
because i could hardly stand
how cute you were.
your earwax was the best!
it smelled so good. sniff, sniff.

then your nose, oh i love your nose!
it is the perfect nose for kissing, smoosh.
and in profile, looks like a doll.
your cheeks are so fat!
oh my goodness i love your cheeks!
squeeze, kiss,
and the freckles dusted across them-
well, i always wanted a child with freckles.

your eyebrows are very expressive.
you make hilarious faces, like
Oh?!
and
Hmmmmm
and 
Not so fast haha gotcha!
faces.

your legs, your short fat little legs!
i eat them like corn on the cob,
i love them so.
sometimes when you are playing,
i reach over and just give your calf
a little squeeze.

your shoulders are so tiny
that the cuteness and vulnerability
make me want to punch something.

then there is the best,
your big old head, and crazy wonderful
halo of hair,
which is long and curly half way down
and makes your big head
look even bigger
on your little body
which is just too adorable for words,
and your sister and i are pretty much
obsessed with it.
'look at her head!' we squeal every day
like annoying fans.

your smile is so cute
i could faint just thinking of it.
when you smile big, which you do all the time,
like a million times a day,
i want to give you every single good thing
that every existed and ever will exist.
but instead i just hurl myself at you
like a maniac, and hug you and yell
I'M KISSING YOUR FACE OFF YOUR FACE
which is practically a family motto.

you're used to it. i'm your mom.
your voice is like a cartoon character. 
if a cartoon character was totally awesome.
which you are.

you tell jokes and play pranks.
last week, i bought new socks.
you asked if you could put them away
and i said 'sure'
the next day, i put on my sock.
hm.
this is odd.
there is a giant screw in my sock.
and in this sock, and this one, and this one!
you put a screw from Daddy's toolbox
in every one of my socks.
now that is genius.

we sleep together every night, 
sometimes you throw a leg over me, 
sometimes you wake up scared
for no apparent reason other than thousands
of years of humans being afraid at night,
and you say
Mommy??
and i say ' Mommy's right here '
and it is the most perfect and natural thing
that ever happened
and you go right back to sleep, totally secure.

when you wake in the morning you are radiant,
like Wilbur the pig.
you leap out of bed and say MOMMY WAKE UP
IT'S TODAY!
i grab you and kiss your face off your face
and smell your delicious stinky breath
and think every single morning,
how lucky, how lucky, how lucky i am.

everything you do delights me
even when you are really pissing me off.
i can't explain it,
but that is love.

i love you forever.

Friday, February 27, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood




Take a seat and read!




Reaching out to a troubled teen daughter with poems in a shoe. I love this so much.

Mr. Curry just went here for work. Extraordinary, the pockets of this wonderful crazy fascinating world, all over. These photos are amazing. Slab City

Great reporting on a horribly fascinating subject matter: when your father is a mass murderer

How online comments have changed everything for female essayists.

I was absolutely riveted with this information. It makes me think long and hard about the 10% gluten I let myself eat, even though it always comes with strange and random symptoms afterward- swelling, or an odd weak feeling, fatigue, brain fog. Gluten Ataxia

Emily is a young woman who has cystic fibrosis and is racing to assist researchers to find if not a cure, a treatment to slow it down. This campaign video follows Emily and discusses her disease. She asks that you watch. 

Lizi Gilad wrote this truly outstanding essay, Systems Terse, evocative, deeply felt writing.

The studies of Non Specific Effects of vaccines are almost non existent. We know vaccines mostly work to prevent the diseases intended, but we don't know much about what they are doing to the long term health of our children. Here is one story.  I follow the research of Dr. Peter Aaby, a leading vaccine scientist and the only one producing a body of research on the NSE of vaccines.

An adorable and talented teen dancer does a youthful version of Beyonce's 7-11. I love this song- it's on my running playlist.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Ocotillo Wells






Ocotilla Wells, February 2015

We went to the desert for a half day and one night and left 8am the next morning. Ever puked on the way there and was a such a trooper about it. So were the rest of her family :) Arriving, we brought the pain. As soon as we had unpacked, the wind began to blow, and blow, and blooooow, like that Winnie the Pooh episode I watched with Dakota a million times ( blustery gust! ) We went on a desert hike that was really lovely, and then Mr. Curry got up all in that and figured out how to light the stove, after creating a wind barrier that MacGyver would have been proud of. Our in-laws and SIL and family gave up trying to cook, so we fed our in-laws while the SIL and gang ate in their mini-van. I also started my period within ten minutes of parking the car, which pretty much set the tone. The winds got up to about 50 Miles Per Hour and after trying to console Ever in our black and wailing tent, I gave up around 11pm and took Lola and Ever to sleep in the car. I wish I could re-create for you the enormous everythingness of the sound of that wind in our tent. It was like trying to sit in a tiny raft in the middle of a hurricane. We had to shout to hear each other. Half the tent collapsed ( with Mr. Curry inside ) and a huge hole was ripped in the fabric ( of the tent, not space and time…or was it… ) and basically none of us got much sleep. We stopped at a Starbucks in Ramona on the way home and it was really good, really good, to be somewhere else doing something else with my family. We needed it, even if it was a ridiculous humperdink. 

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Over the weekend Purple Clover published my latest short piece on how not quitting, just a little bit, changed my life: Good Girl, You Finished This!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Things I Did Instead of Send This Christmas Card



…instead of deep cleaning and reorganizing our closet, instead of organize the mess of a garage, instead of deep clean my car, instead of walk my dogs every day, instead of organize a capital P perfect birthday for Lola but a regular, pretty cool one, instead of do my makeup and hair every morning, instead of spending plenty of girl bonding time with my friends, instead of volunteering at the children's homeless preschool downtown I keep eyeballing:


Make home-made organic dinners 5 nights out of 7, then sit with the kids to eat and do our family tradition of Best and Worst of the day.

Shower. Every day.

Work out 5 days a week.

Work. My job.

Write. My novel, here, and my freelance assignments.

Spend time with my kids talking and riding bikes and going to the park.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep.

Do mother stuff like sign papers, attend meetings, find lessons, give advice, snuggle.


That's it. My life is not grand at the moment, it's not full of adventure or surprise. But it is a dedicated work of art. It is an exercise of love. It is a discipline for a ship of fools. It is a good time. It is a river of sorrow. It is a work in progress. 

I have finally gotten to the point in my life- late thirties, it was- where I can prioritize effectively, meaning that I don't walk around in a state of guilt and half-panic all the time, thinking of everything I am not doing. That feeling is now reserved for pockets of time, or a bad day, or `Mondays. 

There is so much I don't do. And someone else may think I could do more, do it better, and sometimes, that someone is myself. Most days, I think it's amazing how far I've come, when I look back on myself in my twenties, so agonizingly unsure and full of not only self doubt, but self hatred. I leaned on love, in every facet and meaning, in every action that it can embody- including the self love of therapy, nutrition, nature and exercise- and tried to reflect back toward myself the kind of love I was instantly and irrevocably able to offer my children. And it wasn't some pie in the sky. It was what saved me. And here I am, a published author, finishing my novel, raising my children, working my ass off, dancing naked in my room whenever possible, still full of faults and doubts, but more me than I've ever been. Making my dreams come true.

Lola has had two friends whose mothers have left home this year, one for almost a full year, and the other for a week. Both moms left their kids safe with their fathers, but we all know that children don't care about our struggles- not really- or our excuses anymore than we care about theirs when they haven't come home on time for the hundredth time. They just want us here, and OK. When I became pregnant at 18, I wasn't OK. And I wasn't OK for a long time after that either. But I fucking killed myself trying. I killed the old me. I made a new me, one worthy of raising these children. There are things I did or choices I've made that my children- especially the oldest two, who had Mr. Curry and I as parents who essentially grew up alongside them- will not understand, not for a long time or ever. But it amazes me and is incredibly beautiful to see that what I fought for, I made happen. 

When I burn dinner because I'm working on an essay- this week, Monday night, the chicken- or when I compare my house to someone else's or when I don't have enough money to do some extra thing for the kids, I doubt myself- I can feel insecure, inadequate.

So it's good to remember the things that have worked. The love that stayed true. The courage it took to have even a tiny sliver of faith that I could make a life worth my child. 

One of Lola's friends cut herself a few weeks ago and called Lola, saying she felt like killing herself. I took the phone and talked to her quietly for a few minutes before I made her put her mother on the phone. And in those few minutes, I said to her, I was where you are. I understand. Things can get better. They can get so much better that the idea that could have given it all up is horrifying. Don't ever give up on yourself or life. There is so much waiting outside of this pain.

I hope she believed me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meet Gib



and nobody loves you baby / the way i do 

hmmm, mmmm, mmmmm the music comes from out of the shower, muffled behind the wok-wok shhhh of the shower-water, Lola in there, washing the blue out of her hair.

if only it were that easy.

my novel inches toward completion and i love it hard now, love it deeply, not because it is perfect, but because it is my creation, one i have devoted years to, hunched over a keyboard and exacting from each sentence the maximum perfection of mood and propulsion that i intend for it to convey. 

meet Gib, Parish's ( main character ) uncle:


   The knocking woke me this time. I sat up, sealed shut: to the right of me, the left- opened eyes to the ceiling before I realized I was awake in my house, in bed; someone was knocking loudly on the front door.  Adrenaline squirted from the exhausted gland in my gut- I imagined it looked like withered eggplant: lopsided and purple. The door knocking/ panic/The phone ringing/panic/Life/panic. Pulling on black sweats and pulling up my hair: ‘ Just a MINUTE! ‘
   Just a damn minute. The grey crepe light came through the window. Miserable sky outside. The bushes fell sideways and haphazardly all along the backyard fence, a large glistening crow hawked his way through the trees, turning his head to look at me. I shook my head, feeling hungover. The door pounded.  ‘ I’M COMING!!! ’
   I pulled my face taut with both hands, held my eyes sideways. Wiped the sleep from my eyes and a cot of white from the side of my mouth. Moved my tongue around. Bit the side of my cheek; opened the door.
   Immediately the whipping sound of helicopter filled the room.
   His big face was tan, his sunglasses small and cracked. Long black hair was pulled into a ponytail which then looped in hairbands the way down it’s slick dark line, past damp armpits. A black and white tattoo of a beautifully pouty woman’s face with large, heart shaped sunglasses climbed from the neckline of a short sleeved tee up to his grizzled jawline. A massive tarnished watch lay in the thatch of his wrist hair like a treasure stolen and placed into a bird nest.  He smelled of sweet Pintanto cigars and breath mint. The sky slumped behind him.  His mouth opened in surprise!: ‘ Parish-  Hello! ‘  The helicopter’s whoomping and whirling began to fade. Gib.

Monday, February 16, 2015

an interesting life

There's a feeling I get when I don't have a feeling and it's not quite like a 0 or the shape of sky through a portal of rock but it's close, because it is representative more than actual, a meta experience of emotion: Thinking about emotion. Tracing lack of emotion.

I hugged myself when I got out of the bathroom the other day because I was crying and there is nobody in adult life who is around to take care of you on a regular basis in this way because that's what it means really to be adult IF you've been lucky to have what we define as a childhood, where people were taking care of you wherever you were vulnerable, wherever it hurt, there was a  bandaide or a kiss of a place in bed for you; when you grow up, one day it hits you- maybe in the car, driving and listening to music and your eyes fill with tears and you realize in a broad and encompassing way that no matter how close you are to your family your children your friends that grown ups aren't children and aren't taken care of. Cared for, hopefully. And then follows, maybe, the realization that this is a gift, because those adults who do need to be taken care of are often suffering, from mental illness, addiction, brain injury. And then follows, maybe, the realization that  if you want to be OK, you can't ever let yourself get to the point where you need taking care of, unless in small increments, where you can be fit in; where you want to be lazy and allow the dark black blue to overtake you and the easier sullen broken inside of you demands equal footing, you can no longer allow this. Self-care becomes mandatory, unlike the black sheep cousin, self pity. You store a thousand black humored jokes in your hands like card tricks, songs and books and long still looks at the night sky- you are aware of the pointlessness of rage and the inevitability of rage, and allow for both. And then follows, maybe, the realization that you can live in that neediness as an adult, without these other parameters, and it's called co-depedance, and you've been there and done that and it is living on the edge of suffering and blame, falling over the edge, tap-dancing back to the edge, always one step away from heartbreak because no one is ever going to make it all OK all the time. And then follows, maybe, the realization that you've been incredibly lucky to have had a balanced love, a love that was not dominating though it was infused, a love that was not childlike nor codependent but adult in the best way of that word, and of course you would mourn that. Of course you would. And you hug yourself for one moment, observing your face in the mirror, freckled and tired with circles under the blue eyes, still pretty but worn, still with a crooked mouth and teeth with calcium deposits, and the breasts that hang beneath, still gorgeous after years of nursing, bouncy and upright like curious cats, unclear what to do with themselves, still so full of vitality and sin, yet tucked day after day into proper bras and released to clean white sheets and sleep every night. Nipples slightly larger and darker from baby mouth after mouth nursing night after night. The stomach miraculously free of stretch marks but skin that rounds gently, three surgeries, four babies- one of those babies lost at 13 weeks, emerging silent and blue in the emergency room of your town with your husband's hand in yours, and a strange and comfortingly solemn doctor whisking baby away. A bellybutton pocked with scars. Public hair that floats in the tub exactly as it did when you were fourteen, a tiny trill like a musical note. Moles, scattered and some scraped to view the cells. Hands that were never lovely, hands like your fathers, peasant hands, now with lines at the wrists from carrying babies and toddlers your entire adult life. Legs strong from running. Twenty pounds heavier than you were in your twenties, more muscle and more fat. You used to be a skinny, bony girl, with a ribcage so small your husband used to circle it, over and over, like a wedding ring.  Still you after all these years, but lucky enough to have been worn down by the hands of the people you love, like a stone, rough, unlovely, but struck with the abundance of experience, the ancient Chinese curse of an interesting life. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

never grow up


Saturday, February 7, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood














take a seat and read!



Something adorable and charming: Fox Village in Japan


This young German author gives a complex and interesting ( though short ) interview: A Book Can Save Your Life 


Would you like to live on a floating greenhouse located mid ocean?


Where Babies Come From: I love, love this beautiful poem by Karen Skolfield 


Humans of New York represents the best of the net. Reminding us of how we are the same, instead of different, and taking the social power of the site and using it to affect change. Wonderful.


Loved this: This Is What Burnout Looks Like by Emily Ballard


Fascinating: The Dying Russians by Masha Gessen I've had a fascination with Russia and its history and people since growing up reading Russian classics and spy novels from my parents library.


Lynn Fuller was set on fire by her boyfriend. She  needs financial aid. You can help here


More on the link between gut bacteria and anxiety 


I love these animal egg cups





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