Monday, February 28, 2011

Someone To Watch Over Me

I spent my life trying to find shelter for my heart
. Growing up in a non-religious and non-spiritual household, I had shaped my ideas on Christ and church through Sunday services at my best friend's house of worship, my children's Bible- because although we did not talk about God, books were the ever present elevated beings in our home- and a small, simple and tender book called The Child's Book of Prayer given to me by my Nana. Lying in my bed alone at night, six, seven, eight years old, I found that by simply reading sentences about things that mattered to me to a higher power called God I felt better. I didn't know if I 'believed' in God. I wasn't worried about finding out if I did or not. What concerned me was finding solace in my pain, relief from my constant anxiety, love when my family was as distant, as mysteriously scary and sad as the full moon.

“I don’t follow it. I wish I could get with it. It would be a big help on those dark nights.” - Woody Allen said this in an interview with the NYT, regarding the Jewish religion, but based on the totality of his comments in interviews, this applies to all religion. " We all need some delusions... " he said. I had Dakota at 19 and turned my desire of sanctuary inside out, needle by bloody needle thread, sewing myself together by mothering my son, by creating a world in which he knew beyond any doubt that I loved him unalterably and that I would do anything to help him through life and to keep him safe. I can say I succeeded in passing this on. He knows. And for a while, I felt safe. It's amazing the vast difference between I was safe and I felt safe. In life, you can never be promised safety. But feeling safe? What can offer this? What can create an 'invincible summer'? Mine passed as my short lived faith in God was replaced by sheer terror with the thought that instead of creating safety in my love with and for my son, I had now created a way to experience new levels of suffering I had never imagined in my traumatic childhood home. The death and suffering of ones self is difficult to come to terms with, find peace with; the same for our children? Unthinkable. The only way I have ever been able to contemplate how this could be bearable is to imagine that there was something I could offer my children so that they, no matter their fate, could harbor a place of peace.

Holly Mcrae, Kate's mother, has said in her blog that Kate's faith that she will 'go home to Jesus' if she dies is the only thing that keeps her from losing herself to panic completely. This is not simplifying the enormous terror and pain I hear in her every word in her every post. Her faith is not healing her pain, saving her daughter, or making everything OK. But it is a ballast against the vast and terrifying darkness that can descend when a human being believes that life is a meaningless chaos of matter and energy clanging into each other.

My desire to create this safegaurd is intensified a thousandfold because I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder- GAD. Or PTSD. Or panic. Whatever particular psychological labeling I fall under, I have had enough fear, panic and sheer terror of soul in my life to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of how to avoid it, which brought me quickly to the realization that situations this awful can't be avoided. The only way out is through. The only answer is to re-learn my entire view of the world, the Universe, and the meaning of life. In modern society as we search for peace or happiness we forget that philosophers and dreamers since the beginning of time earned their great wisdom and peace through great trial, through great study, great effort.

We forget that peace is not a well run household or smart and kind children or meditating twenty minutes every morning. True, deep soul serenity is the work of our lifetime. It cannot be bargained for suddenly when tragedy comes to our door. As Mr. Curry and I held Ever in the Pediatric Oncology and Respiratory Unit, I desperately wished for something to give my children to lean on while they waited for us in the outside world. Especially Lola. You know she struggles at times with a fierce and keen anxiety. We need something more to offer them than platitudes and loving thoughts, I told Mr. Curry. He agreed.

I have always struggled to give my children a depth of real to lean on, walk on, learn through. In small ways, Mr. Curry and I have done good work for our babies, taking in friends who had bad situations, feeding and clothing the immigrant workers in our neighborhood, mentoring a foster child that has grown into a wonderful adult, talking about the belief systems of the world, and over and over in every way that occurs to us emphasizing that the ultimate meaning of life is love, and that to love deeply and well is what brings meaning to life and ultimately, inner peace.

What is missing is a community, and the chance for them to explore if they believe in God. Because we cannot truly say we have allowed them to explore what we are not enabling them to learn. And if I can't have an abiding faith, I have to say I'd be delighted if my children could, because of the peace I have seen it bring so many. My aunt E. rejoined the Catholic church after leaving it some 20 years before, and the most fundamental reason struck me not as cheap or shallow, but as beautifully simple as a child's: she wanted the beautiful music and ceremonial gatherings in her life because it made her feel better. And she wanted it for her children. Boys, my cousins, who have now grown into young men who are liberal, pro-gay rights and pro everybody's rights- but are also Catholic. And have faith, with all the doubt and confusion and human problems that go with is, surely, but still, faith.

Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Universal Unitarian, Nature as God-

What can I give my children that will be there when I am not?

I don't know the answer, but I am about to begin the journey to find out.

Which is why, on a Sunday soon, when we are all well and the skies clear and the winds feel right, we will be taking Lola and Ever to church.

Justice for Henry Granju

Most of you know I've closely followed Kate Granju's journey since losing her son Henry at age 18 to a combination of drug overdose and an assault that resulted in brain injury. Kate is fighting for Henry, to see that the people who were involved in his death are brought to justice. So often, we see horrible things and wish in futility we could do something to help those suffering. This is a case where you can do something, you can help, simply by leaving a comment on Kate's posts about Henry- start here. The authorities are paying attention to her blog posts and the collective voice of readers urging the investigation to continue is important. Please take one minute of your time to leave a simple comment of support for the investigation to continue to justice. Thank you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome SPONSOR: The Little Pea

Welcome Flux Capacitor's sponsor The Little Pea, a children's shop with absolutely gorgeous 'couture' children's dresses ( advertised as flower girl dresses ) tutus and baby bottoms
** Oops! Forgot to add: Save 10% by writing 'save10' in the message box, and free shipping on all orders over 30$**

If Carrie from Sex In the City had a daughter as a flower girl, the dress would look like the above!!!

Yeah baby!

Sigh. Dreams do come true. Buy a little dreamy dress here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Everything Hard, Harder

We moved to a motel in Pacific Beach, up against the alley that snaked grey and sad with homeless. I was in the 5th grade, my sister two years behind me. We were white headed girls plucked like cotton from Jackson, Mississippi and set to wilt in the briny aired community, stuffed into the single room with our parents and two cats. In Jackson, I had been one of a few white kids in my school, the only one in my class and on my block. I had to earn love- but it was there for the earning. I had skipped rope and roughed up my white freckled arms with black skinny arms for the right to skip rope with the neighborhood girls. Abject poverty lived next door, the difference between us and them only that we had the money for maintenance, whereas Loralee next door couldn't afford to fix her molding ceilings, cracked tubs and crazy sideways porch. When I arrived at our home for a year in Pacific Beach, I felt some kind of alternate universe descend over me, like a great bowl turned upside down. This was a different kind of poor.

The teenager who roamed the complex's center was more ghost than girl, eyes spinning in vacancy, her tiny waist tucked into leggings and tanks. We ate lentil soup more nights than not, but I wondered if she ate at all. Wanna one? she slurred at me, smoking her fat Marlboro Reds. I nodded no, slunk away. I was less afraid of the crazy man in the alley way than I was of her. She was too close to my kind of pain. The homeless man in the alley had a long, white beard stained with tobacco and food. I snaked down the cement path to the alley and lay on my stomach, watching him. I wasn't allowed, but I was fascinated with him. He lived in a box. He never changed his clothes. He talked to himself. Until he saw me. My wife was a pig, he screamed. I ate her for Thanksgiving dinner! I moved so quickly away my arms were bloody from scraping the pavement.

Each person in the motel gave away their suffering differently. The single mom upstairs had one daughter and a rotation of dates. She wore thick purple eyeliner and red lipstick underneath which her face sagged and complained. She played Neil Young on Friday nights and slept all day Sunday. The two men living together directly across from us were obviously gay but called themselves roomates or pals. I didn't know the word gay but I knew the way the one with the glasses put his hand in the tall one's pocket wasn't palling around. I watched them at the laundrymat down the street, where I went to get candy from the vending machines. They always came out of their apartment separately and arrived home the same. I thought the way they laughed and leaned together was sweet. I heard them complaining that they couldn't go to the community Christmas drive together at the tall one's work. I wondered what it meant when two men loved each other. I wondered what it meant when they had to call the one they loved a pal and couldn't go to the community drive together.

My mother was beautiful with red red hair and a mysterious smile, and I kept a particular eye on the one I thought of as Mr. Chinese because of his constant take out from Chopsticks. He wore oversized suits that puffed femininely at the shoulders. His hair was glossy with gel and he smelled like cheap chewing gum. I hated the way I could see his socks when he moved and the false turn of his mouth when he smiled. I hated the way he looked at my mother. Mr. Chinese never had a woman over that I could see, and he often knocked at our door to deliver some useless piece of helpful information or drop off a newspaper no one had asked for. At night when I prayed, I prayed hardest for him, because I was stricken with guilt over my suspicions and his lonliness. I imagined him making coffee in his badly lit kitchen with the pale yellow backsplash and it was so sad and horrible a feeling I cried.

Our motel was colder on cold days and more forlorn in February. Everything hard harder, everyone weeping heard for miles. I felt the lack of nature more keenly than the lack of children. I longed hourly for the wet trees and fierce soils of Mississippi, the forest beyond the grass of my Grandmother's backyard, the long swinging ropes hanging from trees. The tick of beetles replaced with the buzzing of cars, the pushing of wind against shrub and flowers was now the pushing of wind against rain pipes, tile roofs, scattered pieces of paper on concrete. I hid behind the bush next to our motel room, scraping my face in the tangle. I imagined I was a wild thing, surviving on berries and leaves until I could find my home. Orange carpet. Linoleum. Crumble topped ceiling. Yellowing paint. Every play structure was built against a backdrop of sprawl, and every tree underfed and looking stark naked in the middle of a block of sidewalk and business.

Everywhere I turned there was a hollowness and an illness of silence, the kind of silence that arrived far away from peace, that arrives from poverty of the soul. This was the final tide that dragged me deeply inside myself. I began to create a world that could keep me alive until something broke it open.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Say What? SAY 100: Flux Capacitor made the Say 100 Top Bloggers That Matter List!

I was excited to be informed this morning that Flux Capacitor made Say's Say:100 list as a top ten voice that matters in the Parenting catagory, picked by Dana Wood, author of the book Momover: The New Mom's Guide To Getting It Back Together and blogger at Momover

It's wonderful to be in the company of the great and powerful Dooce, and how cool that Jane Pratt ( founder of
Sassy, oh I loved Sassy! ) is the Style judge? Go see the ten lists, which include Thought Leaders, Food, Technology, Games, Travel, Design and Business.

*I always wanted someone to say I'm edgy. What a cool thing to hear when your writer's brain is being swamped by a mother's life. Thanks for that, Dana!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

new shit has come to light

In a house dominated by children one woman stands alone. She is partially shaven. She is leaking. She is bent over. Not a porn star. Not a cat ready for a hysterectomy. Just a woman who holds on to her beliefs with integrity, with passion, against all information and common sense.

Beliefs like, I will lose the last ten pounds of baby weight, and it won't all be from my breasts.
I will still enjoy sex even if it's with condoms and the wizened face of my baby five feet away. I will simultaneously have two teenage boys, a pre-teen daughter, a baby and remain interesting, engaged with my friends, sexy, a good conversationalist, and someone who can return phone calls within a reasonable time period. I will revel in all signs of age with feminist glory and self-love. I will forsake all cultural distractions which are not nourishing to the mind and spirit. I will eat healthy foods that spring from the bosom of the earth. I will not use products sold with a bald pirate wearing an earring on the front. I will use Earth friendly products only! I will perfectly balance the needs of my family on one hand while wearing clean underwear on the other. ( ? ) I will finish writing my novel with the 5% brain matter currently available for my use. I will not be concerned when the only thing to make me smile all day is a crude fart joke with vaguely sexist undertones. I will stop dropping off my children and hauling Ever to Starbucks in my slippers while pretending to myself that no one can tell they are slippers.

I Pity The Poo- Mr T
(my idea of what should be written on the butt of baby bloomers)
( these are the kinds of ideas i have now )

I CARE if I do something that's SPECIAL!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

*another* Top Ten Reasons It's You and No One Else

1 When it rains, he dashes through the rain, maybe with a newspaper over his head. No umbrella.

2 He drinks his coffee black, in a styrofoam cup, like Spenser, or Johnny Cash.

3 He reads while cooking. Wearing a pink apron. With a heart on it.

4 He carries Ever in a Bjorn.

5 He reads in the bath and I find piles of wet paged books next to the tub because he couldn't
decide on a book.

6 He calls me from work every day.

7 When my Grandpa M.D. was in his seventies, he wasn't supposed to be walking far. Of course, he did anyway, and one sunny afternoon he fell walking down the big hill on the main road. Mr. Curry happened to be driving by. We weren't married yet, but he recognized my Grandpa and pulled over and gently helped him up. When the ambulance drivers arrived, he was the one who could talk my contentious, arguing Grandpa into calming down.

8 He believes it's unnatural to let a baby or a child cry it out. He doesn't believe in spanking.
He thinks the right place for a baby to sleep is with or very near the parents, not in a crib
in another room.

9 He watches the news every morning.

10 His hands are large and callused.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

101 Ways To Smile: Visit a Nickel Arcade

Pouring rain, headed out to Nickel City
$2 per person admission
$5 bag each (minus Ever and I) to play equals a pretty cheap date

This sign fascinated Ever, as seen below

Saturday, February 19, 2011

101 Ways to Smile: Build A Blanket Fort City

Last night we started building a fort in Lola's play area. So far it's looking good! I found a wonderful set of instructions here on Apartment Therapy, and am trying to figure out how to hang lights inside. Once we get finished I'll take a picture and report back. If you build one in your house, take a picture and do a post and let me know!

Lola inspired this on Friday nite. She had been pretty sick with the stomach flu, and was recovering. Laying on the floor, surrounded with blankets and art supplies, she began drawing beautiful images, and said to me I'm going to cheer myself up by making beautiful things. I perked up. Damn skippy. If my 9 year old can do it, so can I!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

where the car disconnects from the rails

a counter-intuitive photo for this post: goofy in the face of sadness

I'm in the downward loop of the roller coaster, the part where your guts gets gone, where the disconnect between you and the rest of the world is disconcerting. Depression is not how, it is why. Depression is not when but who cares when? I drive and the music plays and the muted sand colored suburban houses flash past me with the blinkered cars beeping and my baby in her carseat and my children/husband/body well, all is well. I had dreams last night of tidal waves and killer whales chasing after me as I held my children and ran. Each time I'd come to the point where I realized no matter how fast I ran or where I hid I could not save them and blink the dream would start over. When horrible things happen those most closely affected wonder what is the meaning of life, why do we do anything? For me, this is highlighted during January, February and March, followed closely by the rest of my life. I have always closely related to Anne Sexton here in My Friend My Friend:

And if I lie, I lie because I love you,
Because I am bothered by the things I do,
Because your hurt invades my calm white skin:
With no special legend or God to refer to,
I think it would be better to be a Jew.

For the comforts of religion and more so faith. Although many including I have decreed the subjugation and at times dehumanizing rules of certain religions, I cannot deny that there is a weak and wounded part of myself that would like to be bullied into behaving, that would like to be scorned into productivity, ritual, that would like to exchange freedom and self-creation for rules created thousands of years ago. Some ballast against the incredibly daunting and at times, terrifying enormity of the Universe and my appallingly minascule place in it. My mother told me once, in a brilliant stroke of observation, that many people get into marriage because they want, secretly, to have someone to provide rules and to provide a God like meaning to their lives, and they are, to their own confusion, increasingly angry and let down as the marriage reveals that they have in fact only harnessed themselves to another mortal being, capable of failing even themselves most profoundly. Even the most staunchly individualized person can find themselves desperate for a larger rulebook than their own moral compass when confronted with life's inevitable losses and random, swift blows to the heart.

Maybe it was the constant fear and lonliness of my childhood, but I have always had an extestential evaluation going on inside of me. When I turned 15 and became, overnight, immensely appealing to boys (and troublesomely, men) I scorned each and every glance, whistle, appreciative remark. They have no idea what matters in life, I thought. ( This clearly explains why I felt so many million of miles removed from my friends. Who thinks like that at 15 without a Pope telling them to?) I've always known what matters in life, and then underneath that, there has always been The Question:

Why does it matter?

I look to those who act when meaning is challenged. When I read Holly's latest update, I wonder intensely how she is going to survive this, most particularly how she is going to survive getting up, doing her makeup, her hair, making breakfast, vacuuming, framing pictures, running errands: the minutae of life. I cannot understand how people make themselves do these things after the loss of a child. I suspect there is some profound and irrevocable place inside of me that is missing what these people have. I have barely held up enacting the mundane in my life as is. The common refrain you do it for those you love falls inside of the deepest well of longing in my heart but for them, what either? If tragedy can and will cut them down, because life ends, for all of us, and because, most importantly to me, this part of the question- because we suffer so very much, then why?

I suspect the only way I could survive this kind of tragedy would be to alter my life in such a dramatic and enormous way that it reflected even in some small way the enormity of the loss.
Move to Africa and campaign for malaria protective tents. Move to Alabama and start an organization for abused children. Polly Klass' father started an entirely new life after her kidnapping and murder. I carefully watch Kate for clues at to how she is doing what is, to me, the greatest feat of strength a human heart can endure- continuing on after the death of her child. She has other children, some very young- Georgia just 6 months- and a husband, a house, a job- she couldn't just upend her entire life and start over without dragging all these people she loves with her. So how, in the face of constant reminders of her loss, underneath the weight of an emotional pain so intense and degrading I cannot imagine, how does she do it? What does she believe about life that keeps her going?

Small beliefs flicker inside of me, but I have always been a person driven deeply by emotional instinct and a primal desire to survive. I had only a few years of childhood that were innocent and happy before the day to day became painful, lonely and scary, and we had no religion or faith. I had only what I created out of novels and my imagination. Some part of me is simply satisfied enough to be the kind of person who perseveres to keep on going when things feel impossible. I wonder what if? What if there is more to it all than I can see? Possibility. And sometimes, that is enough. Our unity is a kind of religion. We are all in this together, the human family. We all live and we all die. And sometimes, that is enough. I have four children and I want more for them that what I have, more faith in a larger meaning than I have. I crave for them what I do not have. And sometimes, that is enough.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome SPONSOR: Tilly Whistle

Baby shoe heaven! = Flux Capacitor's newest sponsor, Tilly Whistle

She has an eye for color and pattern that results in these adorable baby shoes

She also makes charming little girl sized wallets

So cute!

Family Hike In Rancho Penasquitos Preserve

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Sigmond Freud

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~Clara Ortega

The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. -Mario Puzo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baby Face

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Bloody Hands, The Rabbit's Foot

Have you ever wondered how someone got so lucky? How they ended up so happy? How they ended up so loved, so surrounded with support? Have you ever looked at someone's life and wondered what they did to have these amazing things offered to them, laid out like a fat platter of oversized donuts and chocolates for plucking?

I have.

I could say I don't know what I did to get so lucky. But I'd be lying.


First there was heartache. Confusion. Lonliness. Self-hatred. Drug use. Heavy drinking. Running away. Anorexia. Bulimia. This sounds like the life of an exhausted middle-aged burn out, but it was simply my slow, agonizing descent from childhood to late teenage years. I came from a home full of pain, various kinds of pain all meshed together in the bodies of four separate people who were, to the rest of the world, a family, but who we knew to truly be simply four desperate souls being repeatedly smashed into one another until the pieces shattered, so far flung and willfully ejected that I have not spoken to my father in twelve years, my sister in seven.

Then there was Dakota. I was nineteen. This is the beginning of my luck. I choose to have the best thing that had ever happened to me happen. I birthed a baby boy on June 22 1994 and birthed myself in order to raise him. I began therapy with Dr. T, who I found with my through cold calling therapists out of the phone book for a good month, in order to find one who would take my next to nothing payment for some help. I was bold. luckI need help, I explained shamelessly over and over. I had a terrible childhood, and now I'm supposed to be raising this child. I think I'll fuck him up really badly. Can you take $50 a session? I kept picturing the impatient doctor on the other line, pushing their glasses up their exceedingly long nose, thinning their disapproving mouth, tapping a pencil on the side of the phone to the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song until I stopped talking in order to say I'm sorry, I can't accept that measly pittance of a sum. Finally, there was Dr. T, with her large owl eyes and ridiculous height, her twinkling beautiful eyes brimming with compassion and intelligence. She took my pittance and spent four years helping me to grow up. Grow through.

Then there was the relationship. I had a boyfriend, beautiful and loyal to me who loved me as much as he could love anyone, also completely emotionally unavailable and damaged to such a degree by his dead mother ( who he found, dead in her bed after overdosing on pills and alcohol, when he went to her room to ask her money for our date to the movies. we were seventeen. he never recovered. ) who had been a mean, abusive alcoholic, that he could never offer true intimacy. My girlfriends all thought I should keep him. ( he was a beautiful shoe on display? a diamond ring on my finger? a large iguana> ) Keep him, they said. He never cheats on you. He loves you. He doesn't hit you, or scream at you, or tell you you're stupid or fat. Most importantly, he was devoted to Dakota. Tender and patient and loving and attentive to Dakota. Well, I thought, if you're going to have such high standards. The pressure to stay in the relationship, both external and internal, felt large. I was terrified to be alone. My whole life had been alone. I had found someone who may not be perfect, I thought, but who is? And my dear, practically perfect Dr. Thorpe, after seeing how much he loved me ( he came to therapy many times, only to sit with that endless depth of emptiness in his eyes as his mouth moved and make me want to weep ) said the same. No one is perfect, she said. But he loves you. I had met Dr. Thorpe's husband. Even heard a bit about him. I looked at her wise beautiful face and thought I know your secret. I know why you say that. After two years I got lucky enough to leave him. Two years of praying, two years of facing hard questions, two years of facing my fears and wondering if I was strong enough to defy the advice of even my wisest leader.

And then? Lola. Pregnant with the same man that I never married the first time I became pregnant with him, pregnant when I was in full time school at night, working part time days, living with my mom so she could watch Dakota for me at night, pregnant when I had been day tripping to L.A. for acting auditions and had just been paid almost $200 dollars to do nothing but dance all night with Justin Timberlake: I was knocked up, but not just so, really so, life altering so, like the scene in This Friday? When he says: You got knocked the fuck OUT! I wept for a month. I prayed. I prayed morning noon and night and didn't do much sleeping. I prayed over and over for the strength to do what was right. I prayed to know what to do, and then have the strength to do it. I was so lucky. I had my Lola Moon and the second next best thing to ever happen to me happened. My radiant girl, our Snow White Lola Moon. I thought I was ending everything I had wanted to have this child. I gave up acting and Hollywood and the promises that came with those opportunities, the ones I needed my freedom and beautiful young body to utilize, the two things I'd give up to have this baby. I was giving up sex, too, and dating. I was no good at it, obviously. I kept getting pregnant!

Marriage. Mr. Curry and I fell in love, you all know the story, we are so lucky... after being best friends since 19 we fell in love halfway through my pregnancy and sealed it with a kiss when Lola was a few months old. We were married before she could walk, and a year later Mr. Curry had his breakdown and told me he wanted a divorce. I wept, I railed, I grieved, but I fought. It didn't make sense, and I wasn't going down that easy. A year later he was diagnosed with Bipolar 1. Oh. Lucky. Now it would all get better. We knew what was wrong, my friends said with smiles, great! The next four years we spent in the up and down clenches of that fucking disease, that brain eater, and I watched my entire family squirm under it's growth. No marriage can be summed up in a paragraph, but both of us were willing, in turns, to be brazenly honest with ourselves, humbled, trusting when it was terrifying, to repeatedly open ourselves to each other, to work. Mr. Curry left me again, came back, and we kept trying new medications, new therapists, I read every book on bipolar and talked to everyone I knew ( or didn't know ) who had dealt with it, and finally we paid $500 cash to visit an expert I found online, who worked ONLY with Bipolar patients and who had published in many important magazines, and he gave us the elixir that worked the best so far. Lucky! Our marriage is full of desire, amazing sex, loyalty, intense intimacy and understanding, trust and the best friendship I've ever known.

Anxiety. I've been sick with anxiety for as long as I can remember. As a little girl I was afraid the alarm clock next to my bed might have a bomb in it, planted by some sinister man, and I'd creep out of bed in the darkness, hide the alarm in the far corners of the house, and lie back in bed knowing at least I'd done what I could. Of course the man I was really afraid of was lying in bed in the room next to me, and everyone said he was my father, although it didn't feel that way to me. I've had anxiety and panic attacks so severe that dying sounded like a relief, so severe that Mr. Curry has had to take me to the emergency room, so severe that I was hospitalized for a week at age 17, so severe that I spent an entire year convinced I was dying of some horrible disease because the anxiety was causing a host of symptoms in my body, most disruptive being terrible pain. Sometimes, my doctor said concernedly, I just can't make patients like you feel better. I read about women like me who had fibromyalgia and spent years of their lives disabled with pain. I knew I was heading that way- taking disability checks while I writhed on the couch, unable to pay attention to my kids or have sex with my husband or experience freedom from this pain. I researched. I read. I scoured the internet and spent hours and hours drinking coffee on the bookstore floor reading books. I made a plan and I did it. I exercised every day. I took massive amounts of fish oils and other very specifically geared supplements that I had researched hours and hours to choose, and which ate up money we didn't really have. I prayed. I meditated. I did yoga for twenty minutes every night. I did energy healing. I saw an acupuncturist. I dramatically changed my diet. (hard! oh hard.) I practiced breathing techniques. I revisited therapy. I took zoloft. I escaped the pain. Lucky.

Ever. Stage Four Endometriosis, Mr. Curry told me after the surgery, his enormous hazel eyes full of worry for me, the doctor said if you don't get pregnant won't be able to. Ever.
After this, one year of research. More coffee on bookstore floors, more internet scouring, a notebook full of notes. I picked a specialist. I had two more surgeries with him, flown out of town to do so. I again made dramatic dietary changes and tweaked my supplemental regime based on extensive research to find what foods and nutrients supported healing of internal wounds (endometriomal lesions) and fertility. I spent a lot of money on organic foods and vitamins. I worked out regularly. I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks. You remember. And I was lucky. I became pregnant with our baby, and now we have Ever Elizabeth.


All my life I have wanted to be loved. And here it is. I wrote that in a poem about my husband, but it might as well sum up my entire family. I've had women read an entry here and tell me how lucky I am. I've had girlfriends reminding me how lucky I am to have my marriage, a husband who absolutely adores me and who I adore, children who are beautiful, kind and intelligent, healthy. I always wanted a large family and I always wanted this kind of marriage. I never had any idea that all the hard but beautiful choices in my life would lead me here. I was a single mother of two, riddled with anxiety, broke and sick. That's one way to look at it. Or I was on my way.

If you ever wondered how I got so lucky, now you know. I worked my ass off.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Top Ten Favorite Children's Books

Top Ten Favorite Books For Little People

Ultra-violet catastrophe!: Or, The unexpected walk with Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle
Besides having one of the best book names EVER, this was an essential read for me as a little person. The heroine has crazy messy hair, climbs trees and skins her knees, doesn't fit in, and finds a completely heartbreakingly sweet messy adventure with her Great Uncle Magnus Pringle, who also doesn't fit in.

The Jolly Pocket Postman (The Jolly Postman)
This was one of Dakota's favorite books as a little boy, read to him so repeatedly it's unfortunately fallen apart a bit. I'm not sure why the price on Amazon is so high- can the book be valued this much? Maybe we bought a book that became rare and classic without knowing it? We did buy the original in 1996 when Dakota was just two. It's a charming story with tiny envelopes containing even tinier letters and lists on every page that follow the story of this little postman on his adventure.

Good Night, Fairies
The story is told in a rhythm that soothes and feels like hot chocolate and fireplaces and trusted loved ones and happy days, and the illustrations are absolute heaven if you love detailed drawings and fairies. One of MY favorites.

Eloise (Eloise Series)
I am Eloise. I am six.
" One of the most entertaining, charming characters in children's literature, drawn from the same lines as the great Pippi herself; Eloise is smart, sassy, awkward and interested in everything. The illustrations are absolute heaven. My favorite is when her shirts are too little and ride up on her belly, still round with fat from her almost-grown-out-of baby years.

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings
A must have for every child. Shel Silverstein understood children in a profound way, and every poem is directed to their mysterious world, where magic is real, sadness is as common as happiness, and grown ups think babysitters
'sit upon the baby' and there is a creature that lives in your nose that will bite your finger if you pick your buggers. The illustrations, simple line drawings, are absolutely brimming with wit and close observation. I have read this since my childhood and never stop loving and quoting it.

The Relatives Came
Lola loves this book!! A fairly new book to our family, bought two years ago and loved and well read since. I'm happy when Lola picks this to read to her, because it captures my attention as well as hers. A family in a mountain home welcomes a huge carload of their relatives, and a lot of really cute hugging, eating and sleeping goes on until the relatives leave. The illustrations get to the heart and make us smile- my favorite is the one with family piled up all over the house in ridiculous positions, snoring away.

Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River
I loved this as a child and now my children love it too. Something in this story of Scruffy- the little tugboat who makes his way from the tub to the wide wide world, eventually through the big dark boots of men at work, the chopping waters and slapping of boats- something about it captures the feeling of childhood looking onto adulthood: the wide wonder, the innocence, the eventual landing into the arms of love. When I read this to my children there is a hush that falls onto them.

Miss Rumphius
Oh. This book is a rare gem, a wise and beautiful story that never fails to bring tears to my eyes as I read it. I won't give too much away, but Miss Rumphius is the story of a girl growing into a young woman, an adult and then an old lady, and more so, it's about intellectual curiousity and wondering at the natural world, perseverance in the face of suffering, about finding beauty, meaning and love and giving it back to the world, told in the most gentle way possible for young hearts. Gorgeous. Lola loves this one, too.

My Pony
A little girl longs for a pony, falls asleep and rides through lands on her pony, Silver, until she wakes up. But her pony will always be waiting. It's that simple. As a little girl who had a Pony Fund to save for my future horse, the last image in this book, one of a silver horse head gazing through the little girl's window with the words ' He will be waiting. Always. ' made me choke up the first time I read it so that Lola said " What's wrong, Mommy? "
Nothing, I could have easily replied, this is just the power of a good book.

Buford the Little Bighorn
Bill Peet is a genius. His children's books have a special place in my heart, none more so than Buford the Bighorn, my sister Lura's favorite childhood book. Little Buford can't climb around the rocks like all the other bighorns, because his horns are a little TOO big. This tenderly told and illustrated story brims with compassion and depth. All of Bill Peet's books are to be highly recommended.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Nebulizer

Everiscongested again. The wait begins, again, to see if her breathing will become worryingly compromised- and all that comes with that- or if she just has a stuffy nose that will go away. I do the nose sucker in the middle of the night, prop her up on a firm pillow next to me, give her these Albuterol/nebulizer treatments, vacuum daily to rid the house of dander, open windows to air out the rooms, keep her warm and out of cold air as much as I can, and we all wash our hands and resist kissing her mouth. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO RESIST KISSING THIS MOUTH?

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