Saturday, March 30, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!

I'm going to make this beautiful crown with Lola this weekend.

Penelope Trunk writes one of my favorite blog posts ever, because of the straightforward, balls to the wall no nonsense charming writing: What it's like to have sex with someone with Aspergers

Who's Going To Want Me?   "I do not know who will want me. I can let that stop me and not write my book and not try to publish it or I can write it and have a deep knowing that someone will take it and if they don’t, they don’t. I will then keep going. I will not use it as some sort of empirical proof to say See? See? No One Wants me."

I think I'm meant to work writing with Lena Dunham one day. Until then, I read everything about her and watch her interviews. This one with Chelsea Handler is totally charming, and she tells an awesome story about how she met Judd Apatow. 

7 Reasons To Power Down Technology  "Our world may be changing. But the true nature of life is not. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic. And the love is real. But if we are too busy staring down at our screen, we’re gonna miss all of it."

NPR tells my family's story: American Winter

Anna's list of what you can do to help a grieving family. Anna lost her son, Jack. 

And lastly, one of my favorite blog posts ever, on parenting, from a pastor: To Parents Of Small Children
I needed this.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Daughters and Rebels

Today Ever threw herself on the floor, hands over eyes, feet kicking, wailing and thrashing and generally having a complete and total fit because Lola put her foot one inch over on the bed. That's the kind of day it was. I woke at five am with my side and lower back hurting. After not falling back asleep I made tea and read Hons and Rebels in my closet with the closet door shut and light on, continuing my infatuation with the Mitford Sisters. Hons and Rebels is a relatively famous book written by Jessica ( Decca ) Mitford, the second to youngest of the Mitford children. My arms ached, my legs ached, I felt the autoimmune storm climbing through my muscles and tendons and swelling the knots of my fingers and toes like an arthritic old lady. When I woke a few hours later, even the side of my armpit was swollen. A fleshy sea. Swelling hurts. Bursitis- that's a kind of swelling. It also sounds like a vegetable, the kind no child likes and few adults. 

Lola was mopey and driving me crazy by refusing to stop antagonizing Ever, who was melting into shrieks and tears in regular intervals. We tried dying Easter eggs but as Lola sat with a pinched mouth and squinty eyes and Ever screamed from her booster seat, I realized it wasn't what Jesus meant when he said 'let the bunnies lay eggs, and the little children shall eat them.' OK so Jesus didn't say that, but I know he wouldn't approve of my mothering skills today, so I loaded us all into bed and we put Wreck It Ralph in the IMac and Ever nursed and we had a moment of peace.

Today was one of the most pain filled days I've had since my last surgery for Endometriosis, which ended the pain I was in at the time, and my dietary changes ended the other kinds of pain- the headaches, nerve pain, mouth pain, all of it. Walking and feeling pain clinging to my legs like a shitty little monkey, I remembered how it was to move through the world like this all the time, day and night, to always be fighting the tide of pain, to always be aware of it's red brim spilling over into my life. It's hard to speak kindly to the kids, to be patient, when pain makes everything else a dull roar and itself the most important person in the room. It feels like in order to manage it, you have to focus on it very carefully and devotedly; if you don't, if you take your eye off the levitating woman, she will fall to the floor with a powerful smacking noise and break bones. As I write this, my arms ache, my legs ache, my side hurts, my stomach is bloated and sore. A steady music, a marching band playing the same song over and over again.

I tried to drink tea and almost threw up. Almost lets you know how close you came to The Noun or The Action: very close. Almost there!

Tomorrow will be better, Mom, Lola said as we walked back from the dogs we are sitting for. Their owners are out of town on an RV trip to the Grand Canyon with their in-laws. Their two dogs are at home, getting a little crazy. Lola is being paid to dogsit for the week and they happen to live in walking distance. We held hands on the walk there and back. I hugged her close and smelled her hair. It might not be, I said, but that's OK.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

only the luckiest

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

one night in september in a dark room

one night in september in a dark room

your beard moves in a shush.

your eyes are everything,
we have to begin with this.
the bramble scratch of your thicket
fingers across my breast. divinity.
for this i do everything, the staying
when hating is hard like a bullet,
like a blood clot, a dagger, a silver sword-
a pen that signs goodbye.
bright eyes, glow from the bed like a fox
in our den. the room is violins
and like the teenagers we were
we hear them at the same time and they keen
of still here. still body to body.
place this wafer in your mouth
still your eyes the bright place.
your breath on my mouth
the light like a slip through the shades
the cars outside alone
a motor hurls through space.
a bright star in the camping sky
the owl call from bent branch
when the suburban streets penetrated
my pussy harder than you could wash away
your eyes bring the curious cry of thing in the wood.
you left a bruise inside my thigh
i love you, i love you, i love you.
old porches, mississippi houses underwater,
pieces of fossil no one buys
imprinted fish into rock.
your heart a canyon full of the wild world.
a list of things so mundane they'd make you cry.
a list of things so impossibly wonderous they'd understand why
i love you, i love you, i love you.

maggie may ethridge

A Priority { Scenes From A Marriage }

When anxiety comes and winds around me like a python, an old and powerful fix is to draw my children close. The most potent antidote, having all four of them under the same roof, here at home with me, where for a moment in time I can pretend that nothing can hurt us, that life is safe, that we are all safe; the python unwinds, I can breathe, I can press their chests close to me and kiss their cheeks and call them the nicknames and pry the phones from their hands after they've fallen asleep and I am fortified. And now Dakota is moved out and is hours away, and Lola is down the roads at my mothers, and Ian is at his other home, and the only child I can claim and hold is Ever, asleep in my bed, her mouth still red and blossomed from nursing.

I bought a children's book years ago by Maya Angelou called Life Doesn't Frighten Me and hoped that by osmosis my children could absorb more of that courage, that hutzpah, that gorgeous vitality. Today I am drained and old as only fear can age. Ever fell on her head and the image of her lifeless body flashed through my mind. I slipped a half step on our stairs and saw myself dead at the bottom, like a Dallas cast-off from the 80's. I replayed a message from Mr. Curry and the sound of his voice triggered a deep and violent bell, warning of our mortality and the cruel and unfathomable nature of death. I watched women moving on television, their eyes flashing with purpose and energy, their hairlines pulled to a glossy seal, their eye makeup sharp and black as ink, their clothing simple and fitted, and I wondered if I would ever face the world again so composed, so energized, so sure of my place and purpose and worth. As the mother of a two year old nursling, I feel important and simultaneously invisible: a stand in- Maggie as ' The Breast ', Maggie as ' The Wife Making Mr. Curry's Lunch ' Maggie as ' The Supportive Mother Over the Phone ', Maggie as ' The Back Scratcher ' Maggie as ' The Smile and Head Nod ' Maggie as ' The Tired One In the Kitchen ' -- 


My husband works an exhausting job that he rises before light to attend to, showering in half darkness and steam lit by florescence. He comes home and plays with the baby, swings our older daughter around a few times, sometimes he makes dinner, takes out the trash, watches the kids while I write. He hugs me, tells me I'm beautiful now and again. And every now and again we have a night of pure and complete crazy ass passion, the last in the darkness of our hallway when all the children but the smallest were gone, and the intimacy was as pure and honest and real as the fingers on my hand. We have a friendship that is the best of my life, an unreliable but exceptional sex life, a deep love. And -- I want more. I want to be adored and held when I am sad. I want to be understood when I can't explain. I want to be heard when I can't find the words. I want to be a priority- THE priority- sometime. Not when it's convenient, but when it's necessary, for me.

Myself as the stand in wants my real self to be unzipped from the bag, taken out and seen, as a woman with needs beyond children, house, schedule, my husband's moods or work problems, my family, my job- even sex. 

So tonite we had the night alone with Ever and my mood was blue and my heart was sore and Mr. Curry, recovering from being ill all weekend, exhausted from his job, was just a regular guy who wanted to eat dinner, and that wasn't enough for me. I wanted to be the priority. So the night ended with sore feelings and frustration, and we went to bed separately. 

As the years go by in our marriage, fighting has become more difficult. Not the mode of fighting- we actually fight more cleanly now- but the real problem can be obscured, the stories conflict, the memories are two and not the same, the argument is less linear and wants to wind like that python around our necks until we are both confused and angry, neither feeling heard. Keeping the argument about what the argument is actually about is harder every year, as more history builds and inevitably there is more detritus left in the road.  That almost unbearably sweet adoration of falling in love isn't present every moment anymore, definitely not when we argue, and the empathy that must take its place is hard to find when we are both feeling distracted, which is almost all the time. It's exhausting work when the long road of it lands on your shoulders, as it is prone to do occasionally. At times the work of marriage is infuriating. I want to move the mountain of everything and just be loved.

You aren't supposed to weigh the categories of a marriage: who says I'm sorry more often? First? Who does more chores? Who gives more back rubs and head scratches? Who puts aside their frustrations more to be there for the other? Who sacrifices sleep or work or other people more for their wife or husband? But I do. I do. And sometimes, when the scales feel weighted, I get a horrible, horrible feeling that the world MARTYR might be starting to glow from my forehead, like a scar from He Who Cannot Be Named. And that makes me feel angry, and being angry makes me feel desperate, and feeling desperate makes me sad, and feeling sad makes me cry, and crying makes me feel alone and frustrated and cold. This is how women freeze. My kind, we do it slowly, with blue steel inside. So to thaw, I force myself to remember three great things my husband has done, three loving things, and if I can't think of any recent ones, I get a stomach ache. 

Signing off One Glass of Champagne at 11:37pm, 

your dutiful reporter of honesty and marriage, 

in good times and bad,
maggie may ethridge

if i can't think of one, a standby is always that he accepts that i write these kinds of posts with the utmost grace and unselfishness. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Four Girls Sunday Swim

We were supposed to go camping early Saturday morning, the whole family (minus Dakota, sniff ) and E., Lola's best friend, pictured here. Instead, Mr. Curry was the last of us to get the stomach flu, and Friday  morning had to pull over in Albertson's parking lot to puke on his way to work. An entire day of chills, fever, and other assorted unpleasantries I won't mention here later, we realized the camping trip would not be. Poor Lola. This trip was for her, a belated Birthday celebration. She had planned a party but instead, last minute, changed her mind and wanted to go camping.

Saturday we thought 'today, we'll make up for it!' and planned a day of fun and frivolity. One thing after the other went wrong and Lola spend a large portion of the day crying. She's 11. She cries kind of a lot anyway, so this extra crying was hard for all of us. The day ended at about 6pm with Mr. Curry, finally feeling better, Ian, Lola, Ever and myself all hanging in the living room contemplating our luck. ' Sometimes you just have to accept that things are shitty,' I announced. ' You have to say to yourself, MAN THAT WAS SHITTY. And Lola laughed, and agreed, and we all agreed that Subway and a good movie were in order and as Captain Picard would say. MAKE IT SO, so we did.

And Sunday was even better. I have these pictures to prove it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!!

This website is the neato pasquitos. MORE LOVE LETTERS is a beautifully executed idea to send love letters to strangers who desire them. I'm so in!

If you don't want to laugh your ass off, whatever you do, don't watch this.

As a mother and a writer I deeply loved reading Maureen's words about the delayed birthing her first poetry book. Relating hard.

I think most of us need this reminder from Jennifer Pastiloff from time to time: I Don't Like You, But I Want You To Want Me

You know the actor Dax Shepard, from Parenthood? He writes a blog, and this last entry about the death of his father is an absorbing, funny, emotional read. 

Lena Dunham is absolutely, 100% the most exciting woman to come along in words in a long time. I have a 100% verified obsession with her. Playboy interview: I don't want the body of a Victoria Secret model, mine is more powerful

The Things I Did Before I Found What I Was Supposed To Do is a short testimony to the importance of experimentation and faith in a process.

My Budget Fashionista feature on Diane Von Furstenburg for Women's History Month. What a force she is!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tom Waits, Cheap Avocados, Kids and Art

Hello everyone. Here we have Lola painting with watercolor, amazing 50cent avocados from the Farmer's Market ( must eat now, very ripe, hence price ) and $3 flowers from same Market. Tablerunner from a million years ago at Target. I love Target.
I'm listening to Tom Waits this morning. 

Kids I'm caring for and Ever, painting and drawing in the afternoon. Ever's little bus she tied a belt to and drags everywhere on the floor. The tin foil stars Lola and I made five or so Christmas' ago hanging from the lights.

My kitchen. I love this kitchen.

Late afternoon dishes. Our dishwasher doesn't work and after the third time the same guy came to 'fix' it I gave up bothering our landlord. My teas on left. We drink green tea for health and peppermint tea for any stomach upsets. I give it to the kids from the time they are little in hopes of instilling a life long habit. Green tea pretty much helps to prevent everything bad from happening to you.

Our wall of art from my daycare kids and my own kiddos. I love Lola's little illustrations of people filled in with marker or watercolor. The top right drawing she did after Ever was born, it's of all six of us. I love it. The left middle is her schedule fro when she gets home from school ' Get a snack, do homework...' 

Oh my babies. This is when Lola was maybe 2, and the boys were about 7 (Ian) and 9 (Dakota). The love.

My wall next to the fridge of beautiful rooms and Lady Gaga paper doll. Plus knives and organic olive oil.

M. and Ever playing blocks. I got that rug about 4 years ago at an Estate sale. It's so yuck now.

My fridge. Top left is Ian as a baby and Dakota at 2. <3 :="" a="" after="" and="" assigned="" best="" blonde="" card="" chocolate="" dakota="" day="" e="" for="" friend="" from="" grateful="" had="" hair.="" helped="" holds="" hot="" i="" is="" justin="" list="" lola="" magnet="" math="" much="" nbsp="" paper="" particularly="" pic="" s="" snotty="" so="" stand.="" stationary="" td="" thank="" the="" them="" things="" this="" timberlake="" under="" was="" when="" with="" you="">

Early dinner, so we could go on a long walk afterward. Mr. Curry was behind me. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Poop, Gum and Pee

Ever is so obsessed with nursing that her way of coping with my new 'scheduled' nursing plan is to beg for ' just a yittle bit? ' and then when still told no, not until xyz time, she says 


Well OK. Gum. I am sure that Stacey would never be so stupid as to give her 2 year old gum, but she also probably wouldn't have a kid old enough to have stinky feet who is still begging to suck on her boob every half hour. Stacey is the mom of four little kids, while I am the mom of four kids spread out all over the age contium. I've noticed that having so many littles crammed into a few years makes for a much more disciplined household, or complete chaos. If I had had Dakota, Ian, Lola and Ever all in a short time span, I have a feeling I'd be nowhere near as together as Stacey. Although there is this post, where she ends up answering the door with poop smeared in her hair, holding a naked baby and yelling at her other son to hold his penis down, not realizing that...well, you have to read it find out. It reminds me of the time I was hugely pregnant and had bronchitis, a dislocated rib and was trying to make it to the bathroom when my pee pad ( you wear things like pee pads when you're pregnant for the third time) went flying out and Mr. Curry had to carry me to the bathroom, pee, pregnant and all. Ah, glory days.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Slipped Ribbon Of Time

The world is so enormous it's terrifying. It is exhilarating. Terrifying. Exhilarating. Timeless human responses to the vastness of places and faces that can both lift us up and set us free and also send us tumbling through time and space, lost. 

A familiar sight can be the most brilliant rejoice of our life.

A lost object, a slipped ribbon can terrify. In dementia, the grandmother searches endlessly for the pink ribbon. She runs her hands through her hair and then pats the bed, over and over. But it was just here! Did it slip out? Hand her the ribbon. Tell her it fell right here, next to her lap. Remind her of the sunshine on the day she wore it as a child, the way the heat of the sun felt on her cheeks, her brow, the roughness of her father's callus as he held her hand in line, the tickling of baby hair from her little sister's head as they sat in a row on the train. Remind her she was loved. Remind her that she is loved. That ribbons may fall away, but her cells carry the sunshine, the press of her mother's mouth behind her ear, the love. If you have never met this old lady before, simply close your eyes and think of someone you love more than life itself, and imagine they have forgotten you love them. Open your eyes and give whatever you now have, palpate it with your fingers and lay it on her knees, tell her how they all love her still, how you know they do. Because if you know about deep, timeless love for yourself, you know about love for everyone. Press your fingers on her skin and smile. She was a beautiful baby, you are sure of it. You can suddenly see, perfectly formed in a blaze of haloed light, the profile of her little face as her sister once saw it, and you are shocked to realize that you love this strange, mad little old lady as much as if she were your own child, though you are half her age. You throw your arms around her shoulders before you can stop yourself, and the strangest thing of all is how she nods and pats your back, telling you It's OK sweetie, I love you too, and her voice is so happy and simple that you know you are riding through that Spring light with her, on a day long ago, when the world was still large enough to be thrilling and small enough to be safe.

One day a long time ago,  you were a baby who waved goodbye on a train, you say. Now you are a little old lady in a bed and all the people who ever loved you are inside of you. You don't have to look for your ribbon anymore. You aren't lost. You are safe. And because you say it with the entire conviction of a totally insane person- or a person transformed radically by love- she believes you, and she lies down smiling, eyes closed, beatific. You leave the room with tears on your face and you can still feel the radiant warmth from her eyes and her smile, transformed in love.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

Ivie Baby is an Etsy shop filled with baby sheets, blankets, bumpers etc. that are truly exceptional. They are some of the cutest designs out there and even better, made by a fellow blogger who is working two jobs to help support her family, alongside her husband. Like myself and Mr. Curry, this couple lost a business, and they are now reinventing themselves. Plus this stuff is truly adorable and hand made and lovely. *

Kirker Butler's essay on Americans being offended pretty much echoes my thoughts on the thing.

I love this piece on George Bush's recently revealed painted self portraits, and how the author actually likes him MORE now than he did before. 

Top Five Tips for natural hormone balance

This searingly reserved list ' 15 Things '  is this blogger's experience being attacked and sexually assaulted in her own bedroom; very scary and important to read. It begins:
--  At around 1:30am on Saturday, a man broke into my apartment and tried to rape me. 

I was so moved by The Feminist Housewife's accounting of the unexpected events in her life recently. Sometimes the internet brings you swiftly and repeatedly close to illness and death, and this last week I read more accounts of terrible loss than I can really stand. I cried, I told Mr. Curry, I prayed, I tried to remind myself of anything true I know about life. Because it is short. One of my favorite poems became so when I read it in my father's little book of poems by Robert Frost he gave me as a child. I've probably read this a handful of times a year since I was 10:

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of the easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

Are you looking for someone to help who desperately needs it? Little J needs help.

* I was not requested nor compensated in any way for this mention or link. Just fyi.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Father Daughter 80's Dance

They went, they danced, they conquered. You can see who Mr. Curry is, right?.. A guy from a little movie called The Breakfast Club. Lola held Mr. Curry's hands while they danced to prevent as much embarrassment as possible. Alas, he still did Gundam Style, AND the sprinkler AND the shopping cart. They'd never gone to the F/D before, because Lola didn't want to- until this year.

She burst into tears as they left. He asked what was wrong, and she said
I am sad I didn't want to go the other years! 

They went to ice cream, and both came home with their faces lit up in happiness and I don't think Mr. Curry will ever really know what that means to me.  It was obvious what it meant to the two of them. I love these two!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Autoimmune Cluster. This is not a cookie.

Overnight I am transformed. I wake to Ever's fat cheeks trembling as she imagines she is nursing- in sleep, she nurses with arms and legs completely still, unlike the wet cat ferris wheel she is awake and in my arms. I wake swollen. My fingers ache and pulse with fluid and are fatted up, slightly shiny in their too tight skin wrappers. My feet are swollen, too, and ankles, and face. I can feel my ankles sloshing as I walk to the bathroom. The muscles in the long smooth of my thigh ache deeply, as do my arms, my ass, and my lower back. A slight headache sounds like a trombone. Low jazz. My eyes burn. My tongue is ridged and hurting. My abdomen is swollen to 5 months pregnant, and painful, painful. I can't think of the names of objects, I can't remember if I am 37 or 38, I am exhausted in a way that I have never felt when well, no matter the lack of sleep or the illness. 

When my autoimmune disease kicks in, I am tired in a helpless, scary, sickening depth that barely responds to water, coffee, vitamins, tears. 

I have endometriosis, last dx at stage four. I have hypothyroidism. Both are autoimmune, although the endometriosis inclusion into the autoimmune cluster of diseases is coming slowly and its wave has not reached all doctors yet. Any specialist will tell you that's what it is. In addition to having its own nasty set of symptoms, endometriosis often parallel plays with another autoimmune disease- my pairing of hypothyroidism is one of the most common. 

I spent the years between 14 and my late twenties in this state of misery, and much of those years I was creating many of my symptoms with the food I put into my mouth. In my early twenties I ate a lot of sugar and white bread, and as I began to grow up and eat better, my symptoms did improve, but in inches. It was not until I was diagnosed with endometriosis and began the long slog of research that I discovered how much food had been affecting me. Strangely enough, my habit of smoking- something I quit at 30- ( yes, I quit for my pregnancies, and I smoked only outside and once I had Dakota, I smoked usually only at night, and once I got into my mid to late twenties, I smoked only a few cigarettes a night ) was probably helping many of my symptoms from endo., because smoking suppresses estrogen and stress hormones. This incredibly human ( only humans can devise an unhealthy way to balance their hormones ) habit ended when I turned 30, and my worst symptoms began.

Only after two years of research and many false starts and leads did I come across a healing program that eventually brought me back to almost full health. For the first time in my adult life I had energy! I could think clearly! I wasn't puffy, or in pain, or swollen. I took a number of very purposeful supplements, each geared toward addressing a different deficiency, and I switched to a diet comprised largely of whole foods. My struggle to get my sugar intake under control went on for over a year and was probably the hardest part of the entire program for me. I am a sugar addict, my body craves it like the drug it is. Eventually, I decided to go gluten free temporarily, and that last step brought me to a freedom I remembered only from early childhood- the freedom of good health. Luckily, at that time we had a plentiful income and I was able to more easily make these changes.

One of the most frustrating things about the rigorously disciplined eating habits and relaxation ( yoga, mediation ) and exercise program I have to do to stay well is that those very things become even harder to do under a great amount of stress, and my life often has a great- sometimes enormous- amount of stress. I am incredibly blessed in many ways and I am very grateful and happy for my family and friends. And, my life has many emotionally exhausting challenges that require great amounts of emotional energy and focus to address. You all know of many of those stressors- my panic disorder ( which has been under control since after Ever's birth when I had a relapse ), general anxiety disorder, Mr. C's Bipolar, the loss of his business years ago and our continuing financial crisis, etc. Trying to keep the stress from overwhelming me is a daily duty, one that consists of strict choices. 

When I look back over the last handful of years, I am proud of myself. I have never given up my choice to eat whole foods, low gluten, to exercise and to do yoga and meditation to reduce stress. I have taken my supplements religiously. I have taken my thyroid and anxiety medication the same. And, I have had periods of time where stress- often lack of sleep from Ever contributing- and finances have ended up getting the best of me and I eat more gluten or sugar than my body can/should process. 

My endometriosis kicking up again is not the result of me 'cheating', because this started before I began splurging. I think that something about my C-Section or breastfeeding or lack of sleep or all of above has caused my system to become unbalanced and gave the disease a foothold to grow. Endometriosis is a notoriously impossible disease to control, and many women end up having hysterectomies. Luckily, I am aware of how powerful diet and lifestyle choices are for my symptoms, and I know that right now my symptoms are triggered very easily. This means I need to dig my heels in and work even harder to put the right things into my body.

As I've been feeling ill again, I've been looking back and thinking over what makes it more likely that I will not make the best choices, that I will give in to eating the easier, cheaper thing ( a sandwich ) over the better thing ( green salad with chicken pieces ) or consume too much sugar. For me, comfort foods ARE comforting! I get a lovely feeling when I eat a big fat sandwich with tons of PB and honey and a big glass of milk. I feel full and happy and almost get a 'buzz' off the pleasure. Or chocolate cookies, or ice cream, or bagels, on and on. There are delicious substitutes for those things but they are not cheap. I cannot afford to buy more than one or two gluten free products. Gluten free bagels for example are three times as much as the store brand regular bagels from Albertsons.  I do buy whole foods that naturally don't have gluten in them, but those are not replacements for bread or bagels that add that filling bulk to a meal. For example, we eat quinoa, brown rice and corn tortillas, but those do not replace pancakes, waffles, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, etc. 

Leading me to my first challenge- to figure out how to eat even better on the less we are working with. As grocery costs have gone up, our needs have not changed. I have done research in the last year on lowering my grocery budget, and I have done so successfully, but I can't find much on how to eat gluten free and whole foods on a tiny budget. Organic strawberries and cream are a great healthier dessert, and that costs three times as much as a pack of cookies. Organic milk cost twice as much as regular, as do the eggs. I've cut out many organic purchases so that I can continue to buy healthy foods for my family, but eggs, milk and thin skinned fruits or veggies are a must buy organic for me. ( to each his own, there is a LOT of research and conflicting information out there, i have done an enormous amount of reading on the subject and feel this is what I need to do for my family. ) 

Even without the organic consideration, food is so much cheaper when it's junk. One banana nut bar and a glass of milk fills for two hours until another meal and costs under $5 for the whole box of bars. A box of mac n cheese is $1.50. Bagels $2.00. To eat whole grains and chicken and nuts and fish and veggies and fruit all the live long day would be amazing. And, I find that when I try to buy as many vegetables and fruits as my family needs to eat to feel full without 'filler' foods, I cannot afford to. I know there isn't a way to have everything we want to eat, but I am sure with the right advice or information I could do a little better than I am now. Room for improvement!

This post has been kind of all over the place! I am basically saying: When I get stressed and hungry it becomes very difficult to follow such a strict dietary routine on our little budget, and I want to work on making sure each choice at the grocery store is the best one for our family and grocery budget.

Talk to me. What challenges are you finding with your families nutritional needs and grocery shopping? How have you addressed them? How do you think you are doing supplying enough vegetables and fatty acids ( fish, avocados, almonds ) in your daily menus? What do you eat that is a comfort food but not terrible for you? Do you have any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


make me think of jewels, spilling into the ocean. then
the sun on their stinging faceted backs, do not interrupt
their backs, with this great trunk sand paper across my skin.
tear myself apart clinging to shark, his slim knot of eye
the quiet observation of God, the infuriating detachment. make
me think of my body in this body, my skin inside this skin,
my hair inside the sea of hair, your thumbs heavy purple
roses on the white of my thigh. make me think of your eyes,
and i will never forgive you. forgive and forget are sharks.
let me forget, let me forget. i will not allow you here, ( spreading
hands in front of breasts ) or here, ( pulling hair from scalp )
or here ( pressing finger-flesh to sex ) or here ( covering face )
wherever the existence lies, you follow. like the tide you are
pulled inside of me, and i am asking for the impossible.
you are the cell inside my cells, my uterus aches and burps
and bleeds, here you come birthed back
 wrapped in plankton
i cannot bear to hold you, i cannot bear

to let you go, the sea places eat you back again, make 

death become the barnacle and my hands and feet the rotted
hull. open my mouth, i am full of jagged shells. open my hands
i am stuck place each place with bottom dwellers. they cling to
the pink flesh of my fingertips and the bones are bright and sharp,
pointing outward, like sun bursts, baked to death. open my ribs,
Adam, i am glutted with the muck and sludge of the dirty
human ocean, that slides from the wick and wet of my heart
it's poor stupid mouth still open in stunned surprise.

-maggie may ethridge

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why, I Never

Ever Elizabeth is 2
Lola Moon is 11

Lola calls Ever 'Kin-ah', which is,without realizing it, a tip of hat to her Southern roots. Kinaahh.
Ever calls out  ' Lola! Lola pmon!!! ' And usually, Lola pomons.
They play princess dress up. They brush teeth. They bathe. They go to the special place outside in between the condos where there are bushes and dirt, and they make pies and leaf houses for fairies and pile rocks.

They wrestle.
They get hurt, or mad, or irritated, they yell, Lola says ' Ever stop that! Dat hurt me! ' And Ever says  ' No Lola! I never tell you that! '  Ever is ' I never' everything, as in: 

Ever, please eat your dinner.
No! I never have that!

Ever, let's change your diaper.
I never change my diaper!

Ever, let's put your socks on.
No mommy I never have that one!

Ever I love you.
No I never love you!

Those are her angry words: I. Never.

Again, tip of hat to those Southern roots, my girls. Why I never.

If Ever is upset at something I'm not letting her do, or the tone of my voice, she calls out plaintively, pathetically, ' Lola? ' And Lola comes and says dramatically ' Who hurt my Kins? ' and picks her up and holds her close and Ever wraps her legs around Lola's waist and wraps her arms around Lola's neck and Lola makes soothing noises and Ever scrunches her face deep into her sister's long pin thin collarbone and closes her eyes and if anyone, anywhere ever looked more smug, I've never seen 'em.

In the morning sometimes Ever wakes first and walks wobbly with a briar brush of morning hair and sits on Lola's face and says ' Lola? Lola what are you doing? ' 
Not sleeping. 
But then she leans over and kisses Lola's eyes and holds her face with her tiny fat hands and says ' Oh I love you sooooooo much Lola. You my best friend. ' and Lola's enormous blue eyes open to the day where the first thing she sees is her sister's face and the first thing she hears is how loved she is, and who could resist that?

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