Tuesday, March 31, 2009

House in La Jolla, California

Lola took this above picture, I photoshopped it, I think it turned out beautifully!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mrs. Whilshey on Stoppat Street

12244 Stoppat Street, the long curved loop of a neighborhood. Like a rope, or a snake, curled tongue to tail, with houses all along the outside and the inside, across the street from each other. Entering the suburban street, houses on both sides, you drove until it started to curve right, and this was where the apartments were, strangely mixed in with the houses; if you kept driving straight instead of curving right with the road, you'd head down an incredibly steep driveway (where I once busted open my knees and arms over the front of a chubby friend's bike as we stupidly attempted to fly downhill on 40$ of thin metal and plastic handlebars) into an underground parking structure. The parking structure was both jail and playground for all the neighborhood children, a place where bullying and terrorizing could happen as easily as hide and seek and Doctor.

Along the right hand side of the street was an embankement that went uphill of trees we kids used for climbing, swinging, breaking arms, making forts. I once lost my stuffed Tiggy there for two horrible days, before I found him and swore never to take him out in the neighborhood again. ( I didn't, and I still have him.) After the curving loop to the right, on the left hand side there were more apartments, where we began living, my mom, dad, sister and I. This was where Mrs. Whilshey lived, a bitter, miserable old lady who probably looked much older than she was due to her constantly pinched and dissaproving expressions, and penchant for overlarge dark clothing and reading glasses. She lived alone, and I always thought of her as the kind of woman who might have poisoned any unfortunate husband with arsenic in his tea, after he left his trouser belt laying on the bed one too many time, or left the sugar lid off again. Mrs. Whilshey could not stand the clamorous and numerous neighborhood children, and my sister and I went out of our way to stay out of her way. We bothered her in every aspect, our playing in the sprinklers in underwear over the hot summers disgusted her, our laughter and screaming infuriated her,
our toys in the common lawn angered her, our obvious lack ( to her ) of appropriate parenting and discipline confirmed her low opinion of us.

She had to pass our small beige apartment to get to her car, and everytime her black pratical shoes slapped by us on the pavement we could feel the radiation of her dislike lapping over our backs like a nuclear pulse. She sniffed and snotted, curled her mouth and curdled her already curled face even more, to be sure we were fully aware of her feelings. We slunk a few feet away and kept playing. One afternoon, I had left my silver wheeled roller skates on the path, alongside my Green Big Wheel, and she knocked like the Wicked Witch on the door, three sharp raps. RAP RAP RAP, my mom was having coffee with the Indian neighbor who was attending medical school alongside her husband and who left their small son Armound in my mom's care while attending class. I stood behind my mother as Mrs. Wilshey spoke.

' Your children are leaving a MESS everywhere. Did you know they were out in their panties
earlier, in the water, and left water everywhere? ' ( Can you leave water when playing in water?
Were we to suck it dry with our mouths? )

' Mrs. Whilshey I'm sorry they left their toys on the walk. I'll- '

' I know, Maam, what you will do. It is what you won't do that concerns me. '


' So? '

My mom crossed her arms. ' Mrs. Whilshey? Don't ever come to my door again complaining
about my children unless you would like me to file a complaint with managment about your
continual harrassement of the neighborhood children, which I'm sure the other parents would
be happy to sign. '

Mrs. Whilshey colored sour red, turned, and left.

The next day I sat in my room, flushed with summer heat and bored. I thought of Mrs. Whilshey's mean face, her constant harping, her words to my Mom. I took out a notepad and pen, and began to write:

Dear Mrs. Whilshy

You are a men lady. You are men to all of the kids and we dunt like you. Go away frum
all of us and be a quit persun.



I put the note in an envelope and took my 5 year old self over to Mrs. Whilshey's door as stealthily as I could manage. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, I slipped the note under her mat, and ran.

That evening, there was Mrs. Whilshey's distinctive knock on the door. RAP RAP RAP
My mom sighed, put down the wet dish to dry her hands, and opened the door. Mrs. Whilshey stood, sour red again, trembling with strange delight.

' Do you know what your child has been up to, do you? That one- ' she said, pointing at me, behind my mother again. I felt sick.

My mother said nothing, and Mrs. Whilshey pulled out a small envelope from which she pulled out a small, badly written note. ' Your child has been writing hate mail! ' She crowed triumphantly.

Mom looked back at me, face unreadable. ' I apologize. ' What? Why was Mom so sure I did it?
Wasn't she going to argue, defend me? ' I'm sorry, Mrs. Whilshey, and we will talk to Maggie and punish her. Thank you. ' and she shut the door firmly.

She turned to me. I looked up at her. ' I didn't do it, Mom! '

' Maggie, ' she sighed. ' You used your Dad's stationary. It has our name and address printed right on the top. '


Years passed, and I was in 4th grade, living in an entirely different neighborhood and part of town, where a small old woman lived down the street, in her small decrepit house, alone. I walked by her house often, the front overriden with climbing vine and weed, dirt on the pathway, her windows shut. Occasionaly I would see her come out of her house and open the chipped mail box to retrieve her mail, then head back in. I watched her. I thought of her.

One day, I wrote her a letter.

Dear Lady,

I get really lonely sometimes and I am very sad, you don't know me but I am. And it looks like
you might be sad and lonely too and I wanted you to know that you are not the only one. If you
are mean I'm sure it's because you are just too sad. I hope you feel better and open your windows.


I left the letter with some flowers in her mailbox.

image by Gabriol via Flickr
story by Maggie May Ethridge March 29 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Children With Cancer

If you have an Etsy shop (or any other kind of product, or simply money) that you are willing to donate, please consider the below link for your donation, for children with cancer.

The Backyard

'Our' spider, Charlotte, died, and left behind this egg, which sat nestled in the safety of Charlotte's web protection all winter, and will be hatching soon.

xoxo Maggie May

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Flux

Maggie May Spend Half of Income on Booze

Below hilarious excerpt from Pipes.org :

"After writing my introduction entitled Quaker Gone Bad I was contacted by another pipe enthusiast of 35 years from the country of Jordan offering free tobacco to help further my initiation. What followed was amazing! Then there was Smokin' Grandma!
It is an unusual world we live in, but sometimes we need to be reminded of just how fine a place it can be. I was contacted by a gentleman who had read my first post and he felt inclined to offer not only tobacco, but a pipe as well. At first I thought perhaps someone was pulling my leg, but the more we corresponded the more I came to realize that the man was quite sincere. So, I sent off my address and declined the pipe offer as I had been acquiring a good many in the last few months. But, still, I was not prepared for the tobacco tins that arrived by Fedex about 2 days later. Enclosed was the finest assortment of tobaccos I had ever seen in one place outside of the smoke shop." -italics are mine

From New York Times:
"Now here’s a trend you don’t often see: apparently, it’s Cindy Sherman ex-lover month at the movies. “The Feature,” an experimental memoir by Ms. Sherman’s ex-husband Michel Auder, recently played at Anthology Film Archives. And now “Guest of Cindy Sherman,” by Paul Hasegawa-Overacker (a k a Paul H-O), offers an even more intimate look at the personal life of Ms. Sherman, the photographer."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Setting Free the Bears

When life is hard, then harder, then fossilized into a shell over your skin so tight and so fragile it breaks with the smallest tapping of the new thing trying to be born,

then there are things that must be done. Firstly, right yourself. Are you sleeping enough? Your mother told you. Your doctor told you. Even your Uncle Alfred who farted and belched loudly after turkey dinner told you - you must sleep enough, or simply nothing works just right. Your brain is your gateway to reality. If you close off the energy force the gateway will not work, and your entire perception of reality will be tilted, see- just so - just enough to make you slightly wonky. I'm already wonky on my own, born and bred, and need no help in that direction. Next,

are you eating healthy? Every meal should be protein, veggie, healthy carb (nothing white, but brown rice, multigrain breads). Eat in intervals that feel natural to your body. Drink water. You don't like a shrively pruney lemon looking face, do you? Well you don't want your brain this way either. Drink. Then there are the essential caretaking measures: shower, shave, scrub your pits. If, because of lack of hygiene, you happen to randomly and repeatedly catch a whiff of your own sour stench repeatedly during the day while trying to interact with other life forms, you might find you like yourself a little less. ' Anyone worthwhile, ' you might think ' would not smell like pig ass when they have a perfectly available and working shower, equipted with the latest modern miracles like razors and soap. ' Shower. Lather. Make large, ridiculously cheerful bubbles, and sing. I recommend singing a rap song in operetta. I do, and it makes me happy. Also,

don't forget to wear clean clothes that fit well. Now you are fed a nutritious meal, showered and shaved, dressed and standing tall. Let's begin by setting the mood. Music Please... and
Flowers. Pick some, buy some, just get em, anyway you can, and spread them around your

places. Your places are usually work,
home, maybe a lover's apartment,
or your psychotherapist- wherever
you spent a lot of time. Put them there. Also, while I'm on the subject,
be Naked. Often. Get in touch with your body, as a living breathing beautiful form, not just as a clothes
hanger or food hamper. Have Sex.
If you have no one to have sex with,
have it with yourself. Do something
that feels good, and feel good about it. See? Your 8th grade Religious Studies
teacher was wrong about masturbation, because I have neither 1. pimples nor 2. scales on my hands.

Take every opportunity to Dance * yes dance, dance i said, not only you sexy people, all you sly muthas, just get out there and dance- Dance, I Said!* Salt and Pepa knew. So should you.
I dance in the shower ( not while soaping and singing. that might get tricky. ) I dance in the car. I dance at work, to the amusement of my co-workers ( Yes you, Stephanie and Heather ) I even hurt my right butt cheek dancing to Michael Jackson in the sun room two days ago.
Remember White Nights? How could you not want to tap and leap your way into life!

Now we are somewhat refreshed. Here is where we begin to think of how we can be of Service to one another. To the people around us. I had my son at 19, and learned one of the greatest lessons of my life in his birth: acting in behalf of another human being is one of the greatest healing actions available to us. Not the daily 'allowances' that we make for one another- these things that we confuse with service to our friends and family but really are only small ways to drive ourselves crazy- the constant yes when no is meant, the answering of phones at any occasion or time, the need and demand for availability ( IM, Chat, Facebook, Phone, Cell, Email), this kind of thing. To care and love in a healing way means that we keep our eyes open for the person who needs and desires it. This is stopping when a flustered, near tears elderly lady cannot find her money and paying for her coffee, taking on a mentor role in a young person's life, volunteering an an Assisted Living Facility or Pediatric Unit at the hospital, making dinner twice a week for the family of someone undergoing cancer treatments- these and million other actions are what unite us as a people and bring peace and meaning to our lives.

Then there is the indomitable Spirit. As a writer and poet and passionate person in general, I have only once in my adult life felt disconnected from my spirit, and I fought tooth and nail to regain my whole. I believe that literally the act of holding your head up is a physical way to pull the strings of the spirit. I will NOT look down at the fucking ground. Everything we do to nourish our spirit is reflected back eventually. I am a huge believer in taking positive action even when you cannot see the results. The lack of results is a facade. Holding your head up, repeating marching orders to yourself ( you will be able to do this, yes ), reading about the particular issues you have in life, talking to friends, a therapist, service - it all becomes part of the gust of spirit that will eventually blow through you and lift you back up where you belong. So,

finding what nourishes the Spirit is an important part of growing up. I'm 34. Am I grown up yet?

Can I Set Free The Bears?

Next time we will discuss:

Vacationing in ill-mowed and unkept squares of green (otherwise known as my backyard)
The in-house prescription for cheer
Sticky notes of love (not what you might think)
Animals and their furry hairy magic
Children make good clowns, there for your amusement

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon. -Woody Allen

Maggie May

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Soul Tonic

This post, this girl

I Love You Nie Nie

Slyvia Plath's Son Hangs Self

From the New York Times:

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR Published: March 23, 2009 Nicholas Hughes, the son of the poet and novelist Sylvia Plath and the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, killed himself at his home in Alaska, nearly a half-century after his mother and stepmother took their own lives, according to a statement from his sister. Mr. Hughes, 47, was a fisheries biologist who studied stream fish and spent much of his time trekking across Alaska on field studies. Shielded from stories about his mother’s suicide until he was a teenager, Mr. Hughes had lived an academic life largely outside the public eye. But friends and family said he had long struggled with depression. Last Monday, he hanged himself at his home in Alaska, his sister, Frieda Hughes, said over the weekend. “It is with profound sorrow that I must announce the death of my brother, Nicholas Hughes, who died by his own hand on Monday 16th March 2009 at his home in Alaska,” she said in a statement to the Times of London. “He had been battling depression for some time.”

This is such a profound acknowledgment of how mental illness can slide through a family like electricity through a frayed wire, how the suicide of a parent grips a person through and through, increases the chances of suicide for those who knew it best.

What a strange and horrible time for Frieda, as the last of her family of four, Sylvia of course gone so many years, head in the oven, Ted gone in old age, a man who lost not one, but two wives to suicide, and the second- Assia- who killed herself taking along their small toddler with her. Now Ted has lost two children to suicide, one on the beginning loop of the wire, the other on the end. Even more bizarrely, today is the 40th anniversary of Assia's suicide, considered a copycat of Sylvia's.

Still, a friend says this: “Nick wasn’t just the baby son of Plath and Hughes and it would be wrong to think of him as some kind of inevitably tragic figure. He was a man who reached his mid-forties, an adventurous marine biologist with a distinguished academic career behind him and a host of friends and achievements in his own right. That is the man who is mourned by those who knew him.”

Here is Sylvia's poem on her infant son:

Nick and the Candlestick

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears

The earthen womb
Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs

Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.

Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,

Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish -
Christ! they are panes of ice,

A vice of knives,
A piranha
Religion, drinking

Its first communion out of my live toes.
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,

Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses,
With soft rugs -

The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,

Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,

You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.


Things have been sandpaper between Mr. Curry and I. I won't go into it, because he's not the one deciding to expose his entire self in a blog, but it's not One Event that caused A Fight. It's more of a Series Of Unfortunate Events, if I was going to pick a fitting children's book title, that is leaving us adrift from one another. We haven't had an easy marriage from the very beginning. We've had periods of ease and lightheartedness, but between Mr. C's bipolar and business collapse, and my period of anxiety attacks and surgeries and ensuing medical debt staggering is not to large a word for the amount of money owed With Insurance we have never had a period where life let up it's relentless drumbeat how are you going to keep your house how are you going to pay for his new shoes how are you going to fix the car what are you going to do about the creditors there is no money for health insurance you are the adult make it happen make it better how are you going to pay the IRS how are you going to live

e are now at a stale mate of sorts. We could not solve the issues in conversation, anger and frustration on both sides bubbling over, and we seem to be coming from different sides of the Elephant lately. ' Hey that's his tail! ' I cry, ' No that's his EAR! ' he shouts back. So we are agreeing to focus on our selves for now, and let our relationship have a break, as far as the romantic. The practical, of course, remains and so it goes, the children still have us functioning without any noticeable problems, and I have actually felt lighter since we took to our corners to lick our fur. I have always found marriage to be both an incredible sanctuary and also a trap, not because of Mr. Curry or anything he does, but because of my own nature, temperment and desire to 'be comfortable' emotionally, to be safe- a feeling that has always been amplified for me since my childhood of a terrorizing father with a bombastic temper. My father was- is- a tall man, 6'3 and solid muscle, broad shoulders, a gorgeous man, actually, with a deep and booming voice. His physical stature combined with a volatile temper was terrifying, and years spent feeling afraid led me to what has been so far a continous need to feel safe. This feeling, this motivation, is what leads me to find marriage a cage at times- my own self, my own burrowing into the safety of love and it's harbor can keep me from moving forward. It is a constant see-sawing I have done in every relationship.

I have never known what is normal. I have never known a scale to judge myself, my behavior, my expectations, or a lover's - because the scale I was given was ill-tilted, and never suited for the human heart at all. Four years of therapy with an angel ( Dr. Thorpe, you are an angel, you know ) and reading countless of hundreds of books on human psychology and functioning, Life!, has helped me have some kind of idea how to judge myself, my behavior, my emotions, my thought process, but it is still very confusing when I profoundly disagree with someone. Not that profoundly disagreeing is easy for YOU. :) But maybe it is! If so please tell me your secrets.

Times are hard. I am keeping my head up and my heart open. That is all I can ask of myself.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bibliophile: The Water Babies: A Fairy Tale For a Land Baby

"Once upon a time there was a little chimney sweep: and his name was Tom." - So begins The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, written in dedication to his youngest son Grenville Arthur, and to 'all other little good boys'. This classic and achingly beautifully illustrated children's book was a household staple in our family. My cousin Amalia had a copy at Grandma Elizabeth's, and my sister Lura and I had a copy at home.


HENCE, unbelieving Sadducees,
And less believing Pharisees,
With dull conventionalities;
And leave a country muse at ease
To play at leap-frog, if she please,
With children and realities.

The Water Babies was first published 1863 in it's totality, after being published in magazine excerpts. The book quickly gained immense popularity, and during the early 1900's was a staple of children's literature. Water Babies was a favorite of Queen Victoria, who read it to her children. The book was sheer mysterious magic for me as a child, and retains that quality as an adult- hence it's enduring worth. The story revolves around a poor little chimney-sweep named Tom, a little boy sadly with a cruel master- the wonderfully named Grimes- and a life of little food, hard work and no love or kindness. Tom meets a little upper-class girl named Ellie, and soon after falls into a river and drowns. The mystery of this book begins here-- I will never forget the powerful intellectual and emotional effects on my young self as I read of Tom's drowning ( trying to understand that an adult had trusted me- a child- enough to tell the truth of something awful ) and his transformation into, yes, a water baby. Tom's adventure begins for real now, and the magic of the illustrations, of which there have been a few sets, is crucial to the story.

He did not remember having ever been dirty. Indeed, he did not remember any of his old troubles, being tired, or hungry, or beaten, or sent up dark chimneys. Since that sweet sleep, he had forgotten all about his master, and Harthover Place, and the little white girl, and in a word, all that had happened to him when he lived before; and what was best of all, he had forgotten all the bad words which he had learned from Grimes, and the rude boys with whom he used to play.

That is not strange: for you know, when you came into this world, and became a land-baby, you remembered nothing. So why should he, when he became a water-baby?

Then have you lived before?

My dear child, who can tell? One can only tell that, by remembering something which happened where we lived before; and as we remember nothing, we know nothing about it; and no book, and no man, can ever tell us certainly.

Blogger Steve Holland has a wonderful post on the Water Baby comic strip mystery, and the discovery of Italian Water Baby playing cards...

And then there is this magnificently magical photo exhibition, telling the Water Babies story

you must soak up this book, yes?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday Flux: The Benefits of Recession

photo via visual candy

"Okay. But back to the recession. Amazingly, it turns out that less money equals more sex. I am not totally sure why this is, because the research comes from what is now one of my most favorite resources, Durex condoms, a site that does provide a lot of qualitative analysis for their statistics. Still, Durex reports that drugstore sales of their condoms were up 6% during the time Lehman went under. And sales in the New York City sex toy emporium Babeland increased 25% in that same time period. So the deeper the recession, the more sex people are having."

"But rough times sometimes get people to focus on what matters. And, under Mr. Dutoit the Philadelphia musicians played this Dvorak staple as if nothing mattered more. This was not the most incisive or tautly structured performance. But Mr. Dutoit’s restrained tempos allowed him to draw out the Wagnerian resonances of the music. The strings played with a richness that has long been a Philadelphia trademark. Yet there was uncanny clarity, despite the warmth and body of the string sound."
-new york times, regarding the Philadelphia Orchestra

images via New York Architecture

"According to University of Manchester historian Dr Charlie Wildman, recession can prompt unusual levels of creativity. Having studied Liverpool and Manchester archives from the 1920s and 1930s, Wildman has concluded that the Great Depression spurred a period of unparalleled creativity leading to, among other innovations, the development of the modern high street. Ironically, the same high street to which the current recession is laying waste. Wildman found that during the Great Depression, councils invested heavily in public transport, civic and commercial architecture, civic exhibitions and official celebrations, with municipal rulers, civic leaders and businessmen acting as spurs for what she calls "amazing levels of confidence, innovation and civic pride." She believes that this civic investment acted as "a form of opium for the masses", with its innovations representing a pragmatic response to the threat of extremist politics, as people struggled to cope with the reality of poverty and unemployment."
-The Work Clinic blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nathasha Richardson, In Remembrance

image by christian witkin

The stars, a brief string of shining charms
Rushing in right out of our arms
Into the drifting dark

This life, this life and then the next
With you I have been blessed
What more can you expect

This life, this life and then the next
I finger the hem of your dress
My universe at rest

lyrics, Bruce Springsteen

Natasha Richardson, 1963-2009
Left behind two beautiful young sons and her husband of 14 years, Liam Neeson
Lived a quiet life by any Hollywood standard, and a loving life by anyone's standard.
Possessed an impeccable heritage and epitomized the phrase 'classy broad'
Was much too young to die.
Let's say a prayer for her husband, children, family and friends.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mini-Boden, Lola's Summer Wardrobe

self portrait, Lola Moon

This dress is beyond cute in person, and the quality of all Boden clothes (no they are not paying me a hot red cent :) is so that when Lola finishes with a piece, it is passed on to someone else in great condition.

We bought this lovely skirt in white, and it will be worn all summer, from beach to playdate
Lola has these shoes in white. She is a difficult child with shoes and these are perfect- they are cute with everything from skirt to pant, and slide on easily as to not offend her sensibilities :)
Thank you Grandma Mary, for your help paying for these lovely summer clothes! :)
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