Wednesday, September 29, 2010

pregnant women are smug

thank you Dari, for hooking me up with this laugh :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

31 Weeks Pregnant With Ever Elizabeth

Our Ever,

Your hair color is a constant wondering around this house. Daddy and I both have redheaded moms, and your Auntie Kristi has a redheaded son, your cousin Jacob. So it's very possible that you, little miss, will have red hair. could also easily have blonde, like Aunt Lura and I, or brown, like Daddy and his Daddy. Your eyes could be green like Aunt Kristi's or hazel like Daddy's and Ian's or blue like mine and your Lola and Dakota's. You could have the freckled sweep of cheeks that Aunt Kristi and I have or the clear fair skin of Aunt Lura. I don't know. But it's fun to guess. I can see your face. I cannot see the features, but it's like a close up- I can't see the detail but I can see what it important, the essence of you, what I will feel when I look into your face. Your nose may surprise me but your spirit will not, little girl. You weigh about 3 pounds now and I bet you are going to be about 21 inches like your brother and sister were, from how you manage your little feet up underneath my right rib cage while your tiny hands press into my low abdomen. Last night I ate dinner at Grandma Mary's and she fed me a cold veggie and bean salad on greens with chicken and homeade french fries and I ate it all and you kicked and kicked to show your delight. Then I took all my fish oils because your brain is in a big hurry growing right now. Today, I came home on lunch break and made out with your Daddy for a good half hour before rushing back, late to work. Totally worth it. You were very sweet and kept totally quiet the whole time. Thank you for that. :)


Sunday, September 26, 2010


I see pictures of how I want things to be, imagine they could be, just were only a brief time ago, how they should be, I believe, and this is how anxiety breaks my heart, because it tells me in a very upset, loud and terrible voice that I am not good enough, my marriage is not good enough, my family is not good enough. It takes the hard things that happen and wrings them by the neck until they scream or go limp in submittal. It mimics my mother's insinuations that while she realizes there is something going on with him right now, perhaps, If I had just taught Dakota how to argue better, things would not be quite this bad. But it's too late now, she said in a sad voice, too late to worry about that now. Well. Well. Suddenly I look at our uphill battles and our earnest attempts at betterment and they are all very very small, in fact not even close to being enough to enough.

Mr. Curry I believe tends to go the other way, when things become high pitched and unbearable he minimizes and withdraws in order to stay in control, while I catastrophize and catch each dirtball square in the gut, where it really blows the breath out of me. But I've caught it, I've seen and felt it, it's not getting past me to my family without my scrutiny and without my shaping. I will evolve that ball of dirt so hard it's little microscopic feces self will turn from a ball of shit into a goddamn garden of delights. I have a fear of not diving head first into everything but not quite the skill set for doing so in a composed manner. So I do all the footwork necessary during times like these, I get it all done- the paperwork, the phone call, the faxes, the emails, the research, the meetings, the confrontations- but I do it with a nightly bout of crying, with my teeth clenched, with a severe and uncomfortable expression I'm sure, with a strained tone of voice. If only, my Mother helpfully had mentioned, you could look more confident.

If only.

I am dealing with one, two three balls in the air, all of which are enormously important and serious and have an urgency to them. Sometimes you can't say ' this can wait ' because sometimes- not most of the time, but it does occur- you really have to just suck it up and do what needs to be done even when it's pretty much impossible to do it. I can't drop one of these three balls because they are my family, in one way or the other, flying through the air up there, and it's my heart's work to secure them. I spent three hours doing research at the bookstore today and every time Ever kicked me I thought, ' I'm sorry little girl. ' My pregnancy has taken such a back seat to everything, and that makes me very sad. Then I tell myself, no use in being very sad about what just is, but then I go ahead and feel that way anyhow. In waves. Large waves of sadness. That's when the anxiety raises it's rattled tail and starts shaking and hissing and leaves me in chills and Braxton Hicks late at night, because I'm afraid of anything in my life being not good enough, not healthy enough, because nothing about my childhood was good or healthy even close to enough, and I'm afraid of ever accepting the same. If the ideal is to have a pregnancy still worshipped by my husband and adored and doted on by myself and Mr. Curry and I falling asleep with What To Expect between us each night, we are failing. And that just kills me. Is what remains...enough? How the hell do I know. I really don't. My feelings are so tied up with anxious rattles that I can't hear the whispering voice of reason behind all the noise, whatever it's saying.

Our family could be viewed as champions with handicaps. Sometimes I can see us that way. Not thouroughbreds- our lineage would never allow that with it's mental illness and alcoholism woven so tightly into the DNA. Mr Curry and I both started out with the race fixed and blinders on, with our diagnosis and our childhoods and our 'learned behaviors' and spend our twenties climbing through those things, with medications and therapies and good ole fashioned love helping us along. And because we never give up I can feel a fierce and protective pride. But that same scrabble and grit can feel immensely depressing when the efforts feel inadequate. I have a quote up on our mirror right now from Helen Keller- it says ' We must not ask for tasks adequate for our abilities, but abilities adequate to our tasks. ' I love that. Because it's true, it's the only thing, just to attempt to be worthy of the shit life throws at you, to be a champion. To overcome the fixed race, the handicap.

No matter what your mother says.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Same Family, Different Lives

Lola looks like my sister, and a small bit like me. She owns, like Lura, a four letter lyrical name beginning with L so it was meant to be. Her arms and legs go on forever, slim and coltish. She tans in a blink. Her eyes are huge and blue and framed with delicate blonde eyebrows. The nose is shaped and interesting, not as small as mine but not as large as Dakota's. Her mouth- my sisters, bow shaped and smallish, expressive and keeping secrets while singing away the world.
She has my sister's delicate chin and my sister's awkward, adorable way of walking and swinging her arms and trotting endlessly on those lean legs. Long feet, long piano playing, artistic fingers, so unlike my farmer's wife hands, wide and utilitarian like my fathers.
Lola was born underwater, and when the midwife lifted her dripping, squalling self to my chest, the first thing I saw and caught in my hands were her hands, her fingers, so incredibly feminine I didn't need to see anymore to know this was a girl baby I was holding. My Lola. My girl.
Lola rolls along as the third in our family, experiencing, the way kids from larger families do, an entirely different childhood than either of her much older brothers, and different than Ever's will be as well. Dakota and Ian were born into parents just barely out of teenage years, parents who had no money and less common sense than they do now, parents who were less mature and less wise to the navigation of an adult life, with adult feelings, experiences and joys. The boys saw me when I was still a smoker! I quit years ago, and Lola or Ever will never remember that I smoked... Mom smoked? they will echo when the boys bring up a story as adults. The boys experienced some things I wish I could create more faithfully for the girls- a looser, freer and more experimental childhood, with more random trips to bookstores and less expectations. But they also went through things I'm grateful the girls never will- court with the ex's, their parent's quicker, younger tempers, and our mistakes made from ignorance when handling certain childhood challenges in school or behavior. Because of course, we plan on not making ANY mistakes with the girls. We are very realistic now, all grown up.
Lola has a Snow White beauty about her spirit that lights up our entire family, especially during times of stress. She sings to herself off and on throughout the day, in the shower, outside on the sidewalk- beautifully unselfconscious in a way that brings tears to my eyes, knowing how shortly time will allow this. Play with her hard fairy toys or doll babies is still completely easy and comfortable for her, at 8, on the precipice for so much change. She is aware of the different, various lives her friend's lead but does not compare her own to theirs, yet. Her largest difficulties in life arise when the family around her is under a great amount of stress, and she feels it. She is private in the way my sister was, and yet very open when asked the right questions by a caring person. When pressed, she can articulate her experience of life's stresses quite well.
Mommy, I feel really sad when you and Daddy fight. I get a knot in my stomach.
What are you worried might happen? What are you afraid of?
Well I am concerned that Daddy will get really mad at you and you will start crying. Then you might go into the bathroom and cry and I hate it when you cry. And I hate it when Daddy is mad because I love him so much and I don't like how his face changes when you guys fight. And I hate it when you don't want to talk because you are sad. But sometimes I like it because Dakota comes in my room and reads me a story.
That is understandable. That is hard. But it doesn't happen often, right? We don't fight often?
And you know we always work it out, and even if we are mad, we love each other very much?
So even if we have feelings that are hard to have, nothing bad will happen because of it. Everything important is hard. Marriage is one of the most important things for us. Sometimes when you are married you get angry, and that is OK.
Lola? What are you thinking?
Well, it's OK to get angry and cry, but it still sucks.
What can I say to that? Nailed.

I keep thinking about Lola these past weeks, her position in our family and how it will be changed by the birth of her first sister in November. Not only will she not be the only girl anymore, but she will not be the youngest, the baby of the family, even at 8. While many things will stay the same- things I have reassured her about, like nightly storytime and cuddling- many things will change. The energy of family life will alter, and how it is directed toward her. I know a lot about some of these changes because Dakota was almost exactly Lola's age when she was born, but I don't know how it feels to be the only girl, and then, not. There will be many happy changes from this, and Lola has begged us to have a baby for years and is a very mothering little girl to all her friends. She has come with me to my preschool for years and the littles there adore her. Lola was a first word of one of our babies in the infant room! And still, as with everything, there will be an uncomfortable shifting, painful emotions and moments, losses, life moving it's inexorable river of time over our family.
As her mother, I can offer her the solace of conversation, hugs and kisses, alone time, and understanding. And I'm sure Lola in her honest and charming way will inform me of her emotions. I can imagine-
Mom? Remember how I wanted Ever so bad?
Well last night when she was crying and you had to stop reading to me and nurse her I really wished for a minute that I hadn't wanted her so bad.
That's OK.
It is?
Sure. Feelings come and go. Loving is not always easy and it doesn't always feel great. Sometimes you can love someone and really hate their guts for a minute.
Oh. Good.

prefer peace to hegemony and terrorism

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

People In Your Neighborhood: Kind of a Sideshow


Meet the three siblings: Tara, Donny and Kathleen.
Woody Allen could have made them up, but he didn't. They exist
and they have a blog.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

calender of impressions

a failure at the party a failure at the party a failure
control yourself this is the priority of all mothers
for clean counters and the figure you will endure
or white teeth or properly respectful children or
the friendly face most of all the friendly face
your son is miserable making us miserable where
is your friendly face

trapped in his teenage brainstorm: and mom
the way he mouths it into something grotesque
someone squall faced and bitch balled and far,
someone with a broom who says why did you
leave this mess pressed flat with the arguments of
everyone i love and everyone who loves me and
wants me to

you didn't call me back and my grandfather has cancer
you were fifteen minutes late
you never emailed the address
you forgot to buy butter
you never gave your husband a blow job
you don't have enough money for her club meeting
you never you always you don't you didn't
your face is miserable i'm going to watch tv i can't

i can't talk about this anymore.

stop crying.

we called you and never heard back
i'm sorry your boss didn't like those interruptions
but someone has to deal with this
*mrs. this is simply the only date and time we
are available so let me know if you can make it
i'm sorry your boss is frustrated but you have to decide
please bring your child early to school tuesday, late on monday
but you have to decide what your priorities are

a failure to control yourself a basic failure
of infrastructure a noticeable lack of control
a wife needs to a pregnant woman must a mother
has to a friend requires a daughter should always
your son is absent third period your son is weeping
your son is screaming your son is drowning where are you
you are not a martyr get it together fail
blow control email pay listen smile stop crying

maggie may ethridge

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Welcome SPONSOR: O&El {children's bags and hair accessories}

Please take a moment to welcome O&El to Flux Capacitor! I came across these adorable bags on Etsy and fell in love...and when one came for Ever in the mail I was doubly impressed with the quality- nice and roomy, soft and very well made, I'll be using it for Ever's diaper bag :) Each bag can be monogrammed with the baby or child's name. Ever's is turquoise with an elephant blowing heart bubbles !

This pear print is charming, and there is an apple bag too.

If I was having a little guy, I think I'd get this adorable robot.

The bright color and lantern reminds me of the Chinese New Year :)

OandEl also makes hair accessories, clips and beautiful flower headbands like the one below!

Color and style can be requested, so stop by and take a look :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

super sad true love story

* title appropriated from my current reading material

I struggle to find the words for what is happening in our family right now. I owe deep and careful consideration to each of my children, as a writer here, for how much I reveal about their lives in the light of my own. As they age their need for privacy becomes more paramount. Writers over time have handled this differently, some with a dismissive efficiency and brilliantine lighting and others with complete avoidance. Ryan over at Pacing the Panic Room decided to stop blogging about his stepson completely once he hit a certain age- but Ryan is not a writer born and lived, but primarily a photographer- this is how he captures the world and brings narrative to his inner life. Writing is how I do that, and writing TO someone is imperative. I spent most of my life writing for my own eyes only; since elementary school throughout middle, high school and my twenties I wrote feverishly and prodigiously for my eyes only. Now? I am not a closet novelist. I brandish my sweltering poor novel begging to be born like a sword, sharp and swinging through the crowds, inviting attention and commentary.

This blog is the same creation. I write here about my life and often end up enlightening or calming- or admittedly
embarrassing or startling- my own self, letting the cracks of light shine through where the broken parts are. It is in honestly sharing my life- the truth of it- that matters to me. My children are the heart and bone structure of my life. What comes during birthing Ever will be as fundamental and meaningful to me as what comes now with my son Dakota, at 16, as things are not all right, and Mr. Curry and I are working the murky waters of parenthood with a water blistered map and shaking hands.

As many of you know, I was pregnant with Dakota at 19, recently broken up with his Dad, living with my mother and sister in a one bedroom apartment, recovering from my life so far, completely unmoored- not passionate or moved by anything but the obsessive love and thoughts I had for an ex-boyfriend, J. I had Dakota and my life began. I woke up. Literally I do believe that my brain woke up during my pregnancy and delivery. I had been in a coma beforehand, a protective skim and skin that kept me safe from the complete and total and terrifying ' awful rowing toward God ' that my soul had been doing. I asked people to repeat themselves frequently. I thought slowly and often, stupidly. I had no hobbies or passions outside of my private writings and reading. I moved carefully and clumsily. My self esteem was non existent and every expression and communication I reached out with carried that void. I felt slow. Suffocated. I could drive by the same pink house for months, years, and if someone mentioned it as a point of reference I would ask What pink house?
So when this miracle happened to me- one of the truest miracles I know of, the daily miracle of new life- and Dakota was born, I shook myself like a wet dog nearly drowned in the river and headed toward home. Home was my son. I built who I am today by imagining what I needed to be to be a great mother. I began with the foundation of all writers- the books I had read and adored up until then with the ideals about human life contained. I read every parenting book that could offer even one idea that would be worth knowing. I began- and continued for years- serious therapy. I took up exercising for the first time in my life, as a way to teach myself discipline. I enrolled in community college and started bankrolling the A's. I prayed, I meditated, I fought my demons- which were terrifying. In my mind there was nothing that could touch us, my son and I, because my love was pure, unconditional, and fiercely protective of my son- not myself, not my ego or insecurities. I had no desire to protect myself anymore. I wanted the self that I knew stripped, rubbed raw and like a burn victim, built anew from within. If my entire life until then had been about fear and survival, this new life would be about the selfless bravery of love. Not perfection- I wasn't expecting I"d never yell at him, never snap, never say anything I'd have to take back or apologize for, never make a mistake or hurt him. I was expecting that what I did, how I parented- the AP, the nursing, holding, gentle discipline, open discussions on emotion and being a living example of how to handle difficulty, the structure firm enough for stability but open enough for unique personhood, the years of barely surviving to pay for private school- all my carefully culled ideas and actions- that they would protect my son from some of the very things he is feeling and thinking and experiencing right now.
I based this one one belief: that the emotions, suffering, pain and agonies of my childhood and youth all came from my troubled parents. Without the abuse, trauma, conflict, I didn't know what I would have been, but surely not a pot head, a drinker, a girl who carved SLOP ( smoke lots of pot) into her arms with a pocketknife and at 15 spent weekends in the local house of drug dealing men in their twenties. Surely not a girl who hated herself, who didn't know herself. Surely not a girl who flunked school, who cared less what happened to herself as long as the party never ended and her friends were close. Not a smoker since 15, not unusually- even for a teen- preoccupied and terrified every breathing second of what everyone thought of me, and not passionless and drifting. Not a girl who screamed at her parents, slammed doors, refused chores and ran away from home at 15 until she was caught and dragged home.
And now that belief has been unearthed and shaken by the neck and flung to the floor underneath my feet. I don't know what to make of the swirling vortex of responsibility and blame and confusion and theory that eats me alive as I try to comprehend what I missed or did wrong to bring my son into his pre-teen and teen years so unhappily. I don't know what the rules are that I am to follow here on this blog as I walk through one of the hardest times of my parental life while preparing to bring new life into our family. I don't know how to find faith in myself as a mother or a person when the oldest leading the pack of our children is not all right. How can I trust that what I did was right when it's ... not? I see as the days go on how uncertainty is beginning to shadow me again.

The small choices that you make as a parent that can have such looming consequences, choices based around discipline ( hard lines are too hard, make room for age, personality, circumstance- or is the hard line what keeps them safe from the void when the teen years fall and their own lines are too blurry? ), expectations ( accept each child as the best they can be, C's are OK if that is the best- or does that attitude lead toward a loss of faith in ability and eventually a lack of investment? ), priorities ( support and encourage all interests to build personal esteem and self knowledge- or is that simply supporting self absorption and momentary fancy instead of hard work and perseverance, so essential to success in most any aspect of life? ) and time ( I must write this novel to model self investment and hard work to my children- or must that be set aside because we have chosen to have a larger family and the children need me to focus on them? ) .
Not black and white, of course, but in the moment, the decisions must be made, and they are often black and white, and the learning curve is incredibly steep.
Dakota and I have always been extremely, even unusually close, but I knew the dangerous and unhealthy dependence that can form between a single mother and her son, so I was careful not to put my adult needs on his small thin shoulders. I had friends, and a boyfriend, and my mother, and my therapist and prayer and my writing and books. But mostly, day to day, it was he and I. He came to work with me until kindergarten, and his complete confidence, preternatural emotional communication and polite ways brought compliments everywhere we went. I still have the note from his preschool teacher ( he went a few mornings a week at 3 ) saying that he was the most well adjusted, polite and happy child she had ever taught. But despite the external validation, I watched Dakota to tell me how well I was doing my job or not. I listened and watched and supported and guided and every sign said I am more than OK- I am exactly who I am supposed to be in this world. You know, not a Buddha, not a child prodigy, not anything or anyone but just perfectly himself.

Every picture I have of us over the years reveals the love and trust between us, taken for granted every moment by him, and not a single one by me. As it should be. And now I cannot reconcile the two. The past and present. I do not have the answers but I have, as always, the absolute and complete conviction and love guiding and motivating me to find every answer under every rock in every secret room, even if it is to my detriment, even if it scrapes away the burnt layers of skin I have carefully cherished as my own all these years. So without the needle through thread, the detail of the shape, I give you the outline: a very young, very sad, very adrift mother has a son by herself, and raises him the very best that she can, and for a while it was beautiful and all was well, until one day it was ugly and nothing felt right. And then she called every number and knocked at every door and banged down every Google lead until she found the right places and people to help. Because that I still know: If you are a mother and you don't know what to do, you find someone, anyone who does.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the secret life of women

M. is in her thirties, married with two children under the age of five. She has metastasized breast cancer. Recently she had an operation on her brain to remove scar tissue from the cancer that had been killed with radiation. She has cancer in her lungs and her liver. I see her often. She wears mom jeans and button up shirts and plain practical shoes and if she ever wore makeup as a mother, she has quit now, with the swelling and bloating of her face, constant running eyes and stinging skin that her weekly chemo regime has given her. She picks up her children with a smile every time. She chats with the other mothers and teachers and laughs often. She asks for practical life and children advice and quotes lyrics from songs that she loves. She's dying. Sometimes, she posts on FB and people say ' keep your spirits up! ' or, ' you can do it, M! '. I wonder what she thinks of all this. She married her high school sweetheart and has prom pictures with her hair teased up and her slim girlish body tucked into a black dress. Her husband's face is more exhausted every time I see him. He can barely meet my eyes now to say hello. I wonder what he thinks of all this, and his wife who must keep her head up and 'do it!'. What is she supposed to be doing? I'm not sure. Keep living the way people are used to her living until she dies, I suppose. Anne Lamott says some things are unbearable, and we just don't want to believe it is so, so we encourage and support in the face of the most monstrous realities, effectively denying the person the right to sharing their real experience. I'm not sure what the other ideas would be, but it's worth thinking about.

L. is a young, married new mom. She comes from an Orthodox Jewish family who immigrated here from South Africa. She grew up observant but not truly Orthodox in ritual. She does not wear a wig or eat only kosher. She does not sit away from her husband until a Rabbi has assured her that no drop of blood is left on her underwear from her time of month. However, she was expected to seriously date and marry only Jewish men. In her early twenties, she met and fell head over heels in love with a non-Jew, and became seriously involved. Her father and mother issued an ultimatum: either break off the relationship, or we will no longer have anything to do with you. She would not. They did. For two years her parents did not speak to her or see her, a family that until that time was incredibly close knit and spent much of their free time together.

After the two years she gave, and left him. Now married to a nice Jewish man, her relations with her mother and father again are constant and by all appearances close. They spend an evening with the family every week, often for Friday night feast, take a plethora of pictures that are then framed and hung in all houses, and spend all major holidays and occasions together as well. Her parents dote on their granddaughter and the family is whole again. I watch her talking and laughing with them and wonder what her heart feels now.

The women in my own family hold close to the vest their hearts. Fears, desires, passions and motivations are silent. Intellectual pursuits are paramount, and discussed vigorously. Family stories are acceptable as long as they are completely innocent ( hard to come by unless we are discussing the newest generation ) or cloaked in 'joking', which is often, to me, more painful and awkward than the truth itself. I am not the kind to ever joke to make a hard point, and it is hurtful to me when it is directed my way. I am silenced. I don't know how to respond to the secret message, so I don't respond at all. I don't know where I came from, some strange clockwork of relatives I do not know or never met, with a passion for revelation and stories told out loud. Of course like any family, my family of origin works differently around each other than they do with anyone else, unfortunately- not that everyone would agree with me- for the worse, with strange and cruel dynamics often brewing in the pot, spoiling the goods and leaving the truths of our lives silent. Not every dinner is for bare bones truth, not every meeting for the spilling of the heart, but when the environment is so disjointed that these things can never, or almost never happen, it is the end of the expansion of love or intimacy. I love my family of origin, but with rare exception don't really know any of them. My attempts at honesty with my own thoughts or emotions have often been met with open derision in the form of sarcasm or direct mocking, or aggressive interrupting and talking over me that is exhausting. Maybe the political pundits can accomplish a meaningful exchange this way- maybe not- but I can't.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've Got a Crush On: Gisele Bunchen

For some reason she's always caught my aesthetic eye. There are models more beautiful, more creative, more involved in the world, more whatever- but she is one of the few models I know by name, because ever since I saw her in Vogue years back I couldn't stop lookin. She's got the hair I model my own after, color and wave. Something about her look immediately appealed to me as the apex of the very look I partly have and partly attempt to cultivate- light makeup, smallish eyes with fine bone structure, slight freckles, wavy light brown/blondish hair, jeans and a cute tee with flats or cute boots, great sunglasses and a shitload of confidence. And now, she's got this little guy she brought into the world like some mad superwoman, with apparently a Mary Poppins kind of ' now then, let's do what is perfectly natural to do ' kind of practicality to the process of labor and birthing that boggles my mind ( after doing it twice au natural I still have to say...OUCH HOT DAMN THAT HURTS! ), and is nursing and Mommying him in a way I recognize as my own- without the million bucks and the football famous husband. Anyway, I dig her. Crush.
why am i cursing so much?
i don't know
maybe it's the pregnancy hormones?
let's go with that.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome SPONSOR: Krispy Banana Kids!

So delighted to welcome Flux Capacitor's newest sponsor: Krispy Banana Kids!!!
For the month of September, if you mention Flux Capacitor on ordering, you will receive 20% off all orders :) Look at the darling set I received for Ever in the mail, below. Not only is it adorable, but the quality is fantastic, and the fabric is divinely soft.

This below is a favorite set of mine. The print is perfection.

For boy or girl, this is sweetness.

This Amy Butler print is modern and classic all at the same time. Lovely!

This bib? Just plain adorable.

Please visit her here and see the goodies.

Thanks for supporting women owned small business!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scenes From a Marriage: Ten Reasons It's You and No One Else

Every Sunday morning he wakes and goes 10 minutes over town for my iced vanilla latte from Coffee Bean, while the kids and I are still sound asleep. Then he returns home and makes breakfast- bacon, eggs, toast and waffles, juice. Later the same day, because Sunday is our family cleaning day, he vacuums and scrubs and washes and sorts.

He has always insisted I have the best, most beautiful breasts on the planet Earth. I also know if anything ever happened and these breasts were gone, he wouldn't stumble the dance moves- I'd have the 'best ass on planet Earth' or 'best legs' in replacement. And he'd mean it.

No one would ever guess, meeting our family, that he is a 'step' anything. Lola loves him and trusts him and depends on him completely. Everything that I wanted and never had for myself as a little girl with my father has been realized with the two of them. The snuggling, the joking, his involvement in her Girl Scouts, her view of him as invincible ( at night when she's scared she reassures herself out loud that no one could possibly hurt her with her Dad around, because he is the biggest, strongest man ever and would never let anything hurt her ) ... the other day she said Mom, Daddy is the best man I know.

Ever show that is or has been my favorite TV show is his, too. Arrested Development, Six Feet Under, House, Thirty Rock, Dexter, Rescue Me- and the Sopranos, especially The Sopranos- all shows we have sat and watched together, in complete agreement about the meanings, the humor, the darkness. It's not every show I like that he likes, or vice versa, but the ones we love- those are the same.

He really likes a co-worker of his named R. R is a former gang banger who went to prison and has teardrop tattoos on his face, which usually implies a terrible violence or murder. R says fuck about every third word. R is now married with grown kids and grandkids that he takes care of every weekend. Mr. Curry judges R on what he knows. What he knows is that despite the outer observations- hardcore tats and constant cursing- R is respectful, a hard worker, honest, and a family man.

He has walked through the last few years with Dakota. He has risen to the hard, painful occasion over and over. It's an uncommon grace, to marry a man who is a step-parent to your son and who can go through the disrespect, the fear, the explosions, the school problems, the financial strain and emotional overwhelm of a troubled teenage boy with such devotion, focus, heart and determination.

He watches over me. Last week we'd had a particularly painful, rough day with Dakota. I was at Rubios with Lola, trying to take her out for some 'fun time' despite my aching heart. On the phone with Mr. Curry, I was suddenly overwhelmed with fear and grief. I have to go, I told him, I'm in public, I'm with Lola, I have to keep it together. We hung up. About 15 minutes later, he was walking toward our table in Rubios, slid next to me, put his arm around me and said words of love and comfort. Whenever I see this man walking toward me, my heart leaps.

We have the same sex drive and how do you say...profile.( Does that make us sound like criminal deviants on some police report? ) We are perfectly matched skin to skin.

One time, he filled up an entire bedroom ( couldn't see the ceiling ) with brightly colored balloon, each of which had a different reason he loved me written on it.

He is innately respectful, and not only that, but highly curious and interested, in the vast array of differences between human beings, men women cultures religions, the whole shebang.

And that'll do for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Middletown, America

This remains one of the few books I have read on 9-11 since 9-11. I can't ever bring myself to willingly plunge into the heart of darkness that day was, even in my beloved books. This one came along at the right time, in the right format for me; this is not a book of political arguments ( although it contains many ) or intelligently structured explanations- this is the story of a handful of women ( and their children ) who lost their husbands that day, and the forty or other so people interviewed and involved around those widow's loss, including fireman, police, neighbors, co-workers and on. It sits on my bookshelf and every now and then I look at it, glad I read it but never re-reading. I am sure one day it will be the right time and the right book again, and I will pick it up. Until then, maybe one of you would like to read the human stories of that day. If so, I recommend this book. Buy it here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh Baby! Attachment Parenting

Lola is eight. This means I'm circling round again with Ever, the long way, back to the primal basics of mothering, back to birth, breast, body- the care of a baby. My Aunt Elizabeth was a big granola mommy, taking the teenage me to sloppy health food stores downtown and changing her cloth diapered babies on my lap in the car. My red headed cousin Simon was my first experience with cloth diapers, and somehow it seemed as natural as hanging clothes on my Grandma's line in the Mississippi backyard. I watched Elizabeth nurse her babies past the point of true babyhood, sleep with their sweaty sweet bodies next to hers at night, carry them in slings against her abdomen. I was a teenager. It was a shrug. OK- this is what mothering is. I just took on good faith.

Elizabeth had her second son, Aaron ( who changed Aaron, officially his middle name, to David, officially his first name, as a pre-teen ) at home in her small apartment, with Simon in the next room. My sister Lura was there. I asked her how it was. She shrugged. Brutal, her reply. OK- this is what birthing is. You lay down on your bed and scream and push a baby out. I just took it on good faith.

And then I was pregnant at nineteen, before the world had a chance to chip away at all that. I had Dakota Wolf in a hospital, what my insurance provided, and it was not what I wanted ( induced with Pitocin but refused drugs ( OUCH ) episiotomy and then a plunger on Dakota's head leaving two devil lumps for weeks afterward ), until the moment he was born when it was more than I had dreamed I deserved. I nursed him and partial clothed his tiny butt and slept with his latched mouth on my breast. I carried him and slung him and came close to eating him up, my devotion and my heart having until that time, no place to hone it's skills. Dakota came along and I had some kind of hippie love orgasm! I loved EVERYONE! I loved this world! Most of all, I loved my baby boy. I was gobsmacked head over heels in love, and the nursing and sleeping and all of it seemed again as natural as breathing and as a clear representation of love in action as I knew to do. I had no idea there was a name for it.
Attachment Parenting. I stumbled across Mothering online, and months later became part of the newly formed APU= Attachment Parenting Utopia, we called it. It was my first experience bonding with other mothers, and my first understanding that what I was doing was considered weird by some, even offensively wrong. I was living with my mom in suburbia, and shortly after venturing out into the suburban world with my baby and meeting other mothers, I realized how lucky I was to have found this sanctuary, a place where women didn't look at me aghast when I talked about the way I lived with my baby. APU became my most essential and trusted resource for information outside of my beloved books and my mother. I brought every question there, and soon was bringing my heart and soul too. A hundred or so of us bonded on a level I would have thought impossible through pixel. I had women lawyers at my fingertips to discuss the fact that I partially vaccinated, expert nutritionist moms to discuss Dakota's allergies, new moms, old moms, conservative and decidedly NOT so moms- moms of all kinds who remain to this day the most intelligent, passionate and fiercely devoted group of women I had ever had the privilege to love and be loved by. The picture I posted here is of one of those women.

We went through life and death together. For nine months one of us carried her baby boy, and I will never forget the post announcing that he had been born still, the day before. Just like I will never forget the post announcing that one of our mothers, an incredibly gentle, sweet souled mother of five, had lost her oldest son Jordan as he slept. Or when Ashley, the newest APU baby, was diagnosed with leukemia after her Momma posted a picture of the weird lump on her head wondering what she should do. I will never forget the threads that went on for pages of laughter. The Christmas exchanges! I will never forget the outpouring of love and card and gift every time one of us was in pain. I will never forget the other babies born during the same year as Lola, and still see updates on many on Facebook. One of the APU women came down from LA and was the doula at Lola's birth in the Best Start Birthing Center here in downtown San Diego.

The arguments, the passions running high, the daily updates.. all with the connective thread of Attachment Parenting.
I learned that in general, AP Parenting consists of Dr. Sears list: co-sleeping, gentle discipline, nursing and baby wearing. Other behaviors regularly ran with these, like organic eating and serious enviromental awareness and action, but aren't part of the 'definition'. I also learned how limiting a definition is, because in a pack of women this size there were many ways of representing for AP. So when Ever's born, I will be again long term nursing, co-sleeping, baby carrying, partial vaccinating, the whole shebang.

Feeling her miniature muscles moving and testing against my body as she is held against my chest while I walk, wash dishes, talk. Watching her watch me as she nurses. The trust built between someone helpless and tiny as you bury your needs and meet theirs.
Her tiny tiny face blinking up at Mr. Curry and I between our bodies in the deep pouring darkness of midnight, when she wakes to nurse. Mr. Curry half waking, smiling at me, at Ever, kissing her face, rolling over to fall back asleep. This, to me, is intimacy. This is falling in love, making a family.
I can't wait. It's as natural as breathing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

List: Things I'm Worried About When There Are Much More Pressing Things To Worry About

1 Saying could you.... followed by mundane daily household chore. Notice I said daily. You'd think anyone else could pick up on that. Or maybe no one else minds overflowing trash cans that the dogs will inevitably get into and drag across the floor or piles of dishes that bear all kinds of maggoty flying creatures. Maybe my family actually wants the creators of Hoarders to call. Maybe they'd like a little free publicity. Maybe they see an Anthropologie shoot in the shades and shadows of crowded dirty plates and cups, a sweet modern family life photo op? Who am I to judge? I'm just Rosie Robot. Ritchie-would-you-move-so-I-can-dust-this-vase?
2 I'm the CEO of this company called Curry and Family. I go to work pregnant, sick, stressed or otherwise, and mostly, my job gets done. I have a co-CEO named Mr. Curry. He works hard under all kinds of circumstances. What I'd like to know is why no matter how much we do, how hard we work, how balanced we attempt to be, it's never enough? I'd also like to know who decides it's enough? Is it really me, like you all are going to say, or is that a joke between women, who really know that the deciders are the teachers, the neighbors, the kids, the bosses, and everyone else who wakes up in the morning and goes You know what? Maggie May Ethridge is just not doing enough, and today is the day to let her know.
3 I haven't shaved in a week, including my pits, which never happens. I desperately need a hair cut, some third trimester pregnancy clothes, and this.
4 What about this? It makes me afraid for the future, sad for now, upset- What am I supposed to do about it? How come they never include that in the headlines? I use natural cleaners and products. That's all I can think to do. Is that ENOUGH? Is that....all there is.... take it away, Divine Ms M.........

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Welcome SPONSOR: Hazel Village stuffed toys

I am happy to welcome the newest Flux Capacitor sponsor, Hazel Village
Her adorable stuffed toys have the kind of unique personality that make for lovies that stand the test of time and take on distinct personalities and charms in your child's mind- plus they are made of organics!
And Hazel Village will refund 10% of every stuffie when you mention Flux Capacitor in your order!

Mortimer Mouse

Each stuffie has a sweet story of it's own:

Mortimer Mouse enjoys baking and tending his sourdough starter.

He is 15" tall and is made of gray organic cotton jersey. He is stuffed with washable fiberfill and has a beanbag in his torso, the better to sit up. As you can see, his eyes, nose, and whiskers are hand-stitched with cotton thread. His ears are lined with striped cotton shirting.

Mortimer's cardigan is stretchy knit fabric. It is a delicate shade of red with little white dots knit in. The other animals tell him is really flattering to his gray fur. Like all Hazel Village animal clothes, it is removable so the animals can share and trade.

Mortimer comes packed in a special cotton bag. He also comes with a lavender and mint sachet whose smell reminds him of home. If, in the course of events, he gets drool, cookie dough, etc. on himself he can be hand washed and air dried.

He says he will be happy anywhere, as long as he gets the occasional starchy treat.

As I mentioned to Ms Moon, Owen Fox

Flora Fox (look at her sweet tail!)
ps it's not Flora's fault she looks a little strange, the image was stretched a bit
so view it on Hazel Village to get the right idea :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

the living room is a staple of the American family

you don't remember (how can you not remember)
this is how a mother speaks
memory, speak

your eyes are lit in 16 year neuron firework
i am reaching toward a
nursing infant

the door slams so closely against my face
i feel it's soft sob and shake

the great cry of your unknown heart
pouring in drywall
in staccato

the Mormons at the door assure me
God will protect

all night the living room we hold hands, look
toward your room
the tv

silent, the perfect Poltergiest
a vortex in the place of
our faces

my worst fears live inside the couch
they eat our sweat
like candy.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

27 Weeks Pregnant With Ever and Everything Else

With the pulled rib I am careful and conscious of every motion, the swing of my arms, turning of my trunk, the way I bend over to turn on the hot water for dishes. A miscalculation and I hear and feel the pop! like a slippery chicken tendon sliding over the bone, and then pain, and then the pop pop pop with every motion for hours afterward. Ever moves like an octopus now, over 2 pounds and a foot long, with her hair color in place and eyes open, swallowing amniotic fluid, hiccuping:
I feel her move along my pubic bone and up against my lungs at the same time, push her tiny bum into the rib cage and kick quickly in swift karate chops. She moves more when she hears her Daddy's voice and her sister's voice, the two most common now outside of mine. Lola talks to my stomach as if it's actually her infant sister there, without the enormous globe of my ( still completely free of stretch marks, something small to celebrate ) stomach and distended belly button in the way. She kisses where Ever's head might be, talks to her about how much she loves her.
Most of Lola's intense fears about what will change after Ever is born have dissolved, she is looser finally, less snappy, tearful, argumentative, demanding. Relaxing into our reassurances that she will still have her routines with Mr. Curry and I, still be an individual, our special daughter, our Lola Moon, and not just the sister. She gets sent to her room for five minutes a few times a day for MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM when Mr. Curry and I are talking, or CAN I NOW CAN I NOW CAN I NOW when we ask her to wait a minute for an answer. Having two teenage brothers brings a certain snap and brat to her facial expressions and tones that need instant pruning less she turns into the kind of girl who wears I'm a Brat, So What tee-shirts and actually thinks it's cute. When I pick her up from school and see her shining blonde head and sweet expressive face, long long limbs and distinctive walk I feel a leap of joy, every time. Even when she has a look on her face that says don't even ask.
Ian's second family is breaking up, and that's all I will say about that here, except for that he is an exceptional child, with exceptional self discipline and intelligence so that I would not be surprised if one day I'm telling people I can't tell you what he does, it's secret, but he's very high up in the CIA. Ian has an uncanny knack for spotting and most impressively dishing out the most logical and fruitful path toward a goal, not something that 14 year old boys are normally known for.
He was on the phone with Mr. Curry tonight when his little sister in his second home, Evangeline, apparently climbed up on top her dresser, grabbed her glass piggy bank and threw it one the floor so that it broke into a thousand shards. One second later, baby William came crawling along the thousand shards, and Mr. Curry was quickly hung up on as Ian went into rescue mode with his mother in the background having a moment, as she took in the scene.
Note to Self: Do not give Ever a glass piggy bank
Dakota's VET ( Very Expensive Testing I keep mentioning here ) was carried out on Tuesday. On Wednesday his drug test came back positive for pot smoking, also with a huge dent in the area that shows Yes or No, which Dakota attempted at first to explain by saying he was - let's see if I can quote this directly- Trying to make the results come back faster. Hm. Let's see how stupid Mom is? How tired she is, how pregnant and stressed and not wanting to believe what her eyes are showing her? Sorry, son. Not that stupid, not that stressed, not that tired.
Finally an hour later he came into where I was washing dishes, flushed in the cheek, and admitted he'd been smoking pot. Oh my boy. My boy. Dakota is grounded until a drug test comes back clean. Outside of that, we are in holding pattern until receiving his ( now possibly invalid but not telling the school system that, because we are spending A LOT of money, way TOO MUCH MONEY on this testing to have the school refuse to make adjustments because the test is considered invalid ) results at the end of the month.

Now survival mode. We must survive living in a small house with a 16 year old boy who hates being in school all day and is as agitated as a mountain lion with a burning rope attached to it's tail led in circles with dripping meat it cannot ever actually eat. We must attempt to keep him busy with Grandma and MMA after school and the rest of the time try to avoid the smashing of any holes in the wall, the calling of the police, the running away in a fit of despair, the screaming match or any other stressful and miserable acts brought into life when you are sixteen, and
don't know what the hell to do with yourself. Dakota is many things, many beautiful, unique things, and he is also chronically dissatisfied. Something wild in him will not tame. It is our job to help him. We are helping. It doesn't mean it will work. That is what you have to live with as a parent of a troubled teenager, and it can keep you up nights holding your guts and mewing like a wet kitten. Trying to protect Ever in my womb from the poisons embedded in this environment is easier than trying to protect one healthy loved teenage boy from himself.
Your dad is an addict, we plead with him. We've taught you how these things work. You've had dinner with my friends husband, the DEA agent who busts young men like you who go to jail for a long, long time. We pulled you from one school and put you in another. We found the perfect therapist. We give you multivitamins and fish oil every night. We make your lunches. We have family night every Friday. We never compare you to anyone. We don't demand you get great grades, just pass. We got tutoring. We keep you active. We...we love you. We love you. Please. Please stop.
Robert Downey Jr. said, It's like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of gun metal

Seeing the positive strip on that test did something to me. It took all the anxiety from me and formed it into a weapon of mother fucking power, which is what happens when you alert a mother that her child is in danger. I am calm. I am focused. I am laser minded. I am going to do everything that is possible under the sun for this boy, and then I will wake up and do one more thing, and one more after that.

Ever will be born into whatever position the planets of this family take. She might be born into struggle, or pain, but she will be born into a unit. A family that may spend Family Night arguing, but at midnight is eating ice cream and whooping at Monopoly victories. A family that will never leave one of it's own on down on the battlefield. A family that will tell the truth.

Never give up. It's the battle cry of the human spirit, and I take it seriously.

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