Sunday, July 31, 2011

Into The Tunnel and Out Again

Friday. Work, babies crying, long day, normal day. A normal day is usually a day where I stop at one point or another and notice the lack of panic in my body and stop for a still gratitude at normalcy, for a day that is routine; my family is safe and sound. Through the fog of this depression I feel the gratitude, the joy that is waiting for the weather to shift and the wind to clear the docks and my limbs and heart to be freed. Until then I am stable in the long yawn of this black cat with nowhere better to be than in my brain. I take my fish oil, exercise, hold my husband close, nurse my baby. Friday.

Ever begins to feel sick. Sick earlier in the week, I had taken Mon. and Tue. off work. She had a slight fever that left, and I returned to work. Since the RSV, each cold moves into her chest and becomes a throaty, snotty mess, with or without fever. Friday night we head out for family night, come home, watch a movie, head to bed. Ever begins this routine: fuss, latch, whimper, detach. She is fidgeting and mewing and I am the milk leaking mother holding her, comforting her. I sleep in short dark blacks and blues of dreamplays: A rowboat is pitching, I am a man, my children are in the rowboat and I have to save them from the wave that reaches so far upward from the ocean it touches the Golden Gate Bridge, and then a new dream: Mr Curry is dead, and I awake nursing Ever, confused and on the verge of crying. The room is pitch black and I cannot bear it. I turn the T.V. on close the cabinet doors around it so that only a small light shines through. I am not afraid of burglars. I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of myself inside the darkness.

Saturday. I wake at eight am. My brain is wrapped in cotton. Mr. Curry takes Ever and I walk to the kitchen. Toys on the floor. Dishes in the sink, on the counter. Pizza boxes on the stove. Dog hair on the floor. My arms prickle, throat thickens like a scar, my jaw hurts and I am biting on nothing. I sigh loudly. I hate it when Mr Curry sighs loudly. I do it again. What, honey? he asks futilely. I rub my face. He holds me. For one moment my body lets go and I smell him and feel his arms and I am safe from myself. Metallica shouts from the boys room. Lola is playing with a friend. It is humid and overcast and the skies are grey blue. Sleep, he says, and takes the baby, and I do. I awake two hours later and nurse the baby. As soon as I walk into the living room I am angry again. My brain has filed a list of complaints that are being read rapid fire repeatedly throughout the day. We can't keep up this pace. I can't do this. I can't do everything. This house looks like shit. If our dogs pee in the kitchen again I'm going to scream. Why can't Lola put her clothes anywhere but the floor? I can't work and exercise and clean and nurse and write and love I can't do it i can't do it ican'tdoitican'tdoitican'tdoit- like so.

Mr Curry has purple around his eyes. He worked a fifty hour week and fell asleep on the couch and woke at four am and could not go back to sleep- and- is almost as exhausted as I am. We try very, very hard to be nice to each other. A hard edge enters my voice and I fight each time I open my mouth to soften it. We move carefully around the house. Mr Curry feels a weight in his heart and mind. He is strong and fighting it with the skilled expertise of a man. I notice this and silently embrace it. We have come far. The day is so long. The sky is heavy. It rains. It gets darker. I am in a dreamland and the baby fusses and the dogs bark and the boys stomp in and out and Lola plays with a friend and finally it is twilight and we snap at each other while the baby fusses and cries in his arms. It only takes ten minutes before he apologizes and I apologize and we are so tired. We are so tired. Shadows begin to lay on the furniture and floors and we realize it is later and we have not turned on any lights. I nurse the baby with one hand across my face. Mr Curry moves in and out of the room with a tightness across his eyes. I walk barefoot into the kitchen and fill with rage that my feet have dirt and dog hair sticking to the bottoms. The kitchen door has dirt and strange colored splashes. I think of the novel where the protagonist, a suburban wife and mother, burns her house down to be done with all of the doing. We answer Lola's questions and play with her and our voices sound orange and red and strange splashing around the house. Lola sleeps and the baby finally sleeps. I have a drink and Mr Curry has a drink. Across the edge of the bed while the baby sleeps above us he takes me in his hands and moves my face and we have sex while the T.V. flashes across from us. How American, I think, before I have no more thoughts, and then we are together and everything is quiet and dark and good. Still, I cannot fall asleep in a dark room. My heartbeat is very loud.

Sunday. So tired. We are still so tired. Nothing is done, we exclaim all morning in different languages. Nothing is taken care of! I say, and Mr Curry shakes his head, no, no. Look at the baby, the children. He is better at this than I am. But then I am better at it than he. It is his turn.In the grocery store we stand looking at bread on sale. Twenty brands of bread. I look at Mr Curry and ask Do you love me more, or better now, because we had Ever together? He blinks. What? Um. What? I think so? I don't know? I tell him, I don't think I love you more. I love you the same enormous and forever way I always have, since it started. He nodded. That's how I feel too. I say, I've heard a lot She had my baby and now I love her even more. I thought, maybe we should be feeling that way? Mr Curry shrugs. No, he says. I have always been in love with you like this. We look at Ever. Both willing to die for her. Both in love with her with our full and entire selves, forever. We look at each other. What is on sale, I say. I'm not sure, he replies. Let's see.

Later that afternoon, we are walking with Lola and pushing Ever in the stroller. We are in the park. We play frisbee and walk more. I take Ever alone around the half mile circle. The sun is beginning to set and the light is bright and clear and soft around the bright parts. I push the baby stroller into a stream of light and Ever's hair glows coppery. I am filled with what I can only think of as awe and humility. Thank you, I say to the world. Thank you so much for letting me have this one more baby. I have been feeling conflicted about not having another. Feeling greedy and unable to stop wanting more. Or the idea of more. That is pulled away from me into the light and I am exposed to my luck and blessing in it's true strength. Thank you so much for my precious baby. I am in awe of the random strokes of luck that can decide an entire lifetime of thought or feeling. When we come home the house is a little cleaner, but not much. What do you want for dinner, I ask my daughter. Mr Curry is on the couch. Feeling sick. I see Lola's top on the bathroom floor. I love you, I tell her. I love you, I tell him. I love you, I tell Ever. We eat sandwiches for dinner.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

oh everkins!

ever elizabeth will be 8 months on the 2cd of August. this is pretty cool. here is most of her family (minus dakota, who is seventeen after all, and not home like he used to be) heading out to yogurt on family night
ever is now famous in our family for her 'sexy baby' pose. she does this all day. and every time she does it, mr. curry says sexxxy bayabyyyyy in a singsong voice that completely delights her. now everyone in the family says it, and everyone at our preschool. she's wearing her teething necklace made of amber, which i love, an outfit from grandma mary which we love, and a hair clip from one of my sponsors on the side, the little girl avatar. i am addicted to these hair clips. they are cheap and adorable and make her (me) happy.
ee in her crib at preschool.
ever reading. she has learned how to wave hello, make a grasping motion for 'picky up', says Da-Da and sits up. she just started moving forward in a military crawl, instead of rolling around or moving backward. no teeth yet.
my heart.
daddy's heart.
watching harry potter.
every morning we go to Starbucks. it's my big indulgence in life. ee loves our routine.
covered in organic sweet potato and using her first sippy cup. all things awesome.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blogstar and Kirtsy Present: Sunday Afternoon Crafts

Invited by Blogstar to create simple (but special) Sunday afternoon crafts, 10 clickable-ly famous design bloggers made pretty.

We’re sharing these easy, in-an-afternoon pleasures on to celebrate its return to the stage, with a gift for you. is offering $10 off your first purchase at Giggle Daily Deals when you sign up.

My sweet and talented friend ( and mom of four also! ) Caroline has an awesome craft featured in this collection. Take a look!

101 Ways To Smile: Make Chores Like A Disney Movie

Pull up all the sloshing water, gloves and rags
Blast old school big band music
Grab a broom and start dancing through the living room
Chores take a little longer
and you are out of breath
So have a beer and lay around on the floor
Admiring your hard work

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Prayers For The Very Young

I have nursed the baby for the sixth or seventh time that day, and it is evening. I am holding her as close as I possibly can without harming her, her mouth open still against my nipple, a smooth slow of milk making it's way down her cheek. Her body is pressed against my abdomen; I am on my side and the sag of my stomach makes a soft pillow for her legs, her feet. She smells like earwax, baby shampoo, breastmilk and the sweet sweat of my baby. I inhale her over and over before calling to Mr. Curry. I hear him talking to Lola, then Dakota, then Ian, before he comes into the room and gently lifts Ever into his large workman's hands. He kisses me briefly and leaves. I am in the blue room alone, on the twin bed alone, listening to the house. Twilight is in the house and up against the walls. There are no lights on to manhandle the dusk. It sits pretty and soft and the blue is somehow part of the noise of our fan, turning it's head back and forth, back and forth: there is the blue, the fan, the children, my naked body on the bed, and twilight. I watch the shadows on the wall and remember what it was to be a little girl in my room watching shadows on my wall, remembering the peace that is special and one time only, the peace of not knowing about everything and only knowing your things: your family, your pain, your suffering, your love, your needs, your neighborhood. You do not know that in your state two families died that summer of carbon monoxide poisoning. You do not know that children are starving. You do not know about AIDS or cancer or the rate of child abuse in America. You don't even know that your dad owes money to the landlord, or that your own sister is hurting in silence. You have just realized this year that your body is yours alone, and in the tiny yellow prayer book your Nana gave you there is a poem that says something like Thank You God, For This Body You Gave Me and you found yourself inexplicably crying reading it, overwhelmed with gratitude for the Universal generosity which gave you this body, this life. It was your first conscious realization that you weren't alive before, but instead were somehow miraculously plucked from nowhere? somewhere? and given a body and a place to arrive. And now you are a grown woman, 36 years old, with four children of your own, all with their own walls, prayers and realizations. And once again you are overwhelmed with the enormity of the gift of life you have been given, and in the twilight and blue room with the fan nodding and nodding and the wind on your naked body your eyes fill with tears and your breath leaves with the light and you are hearing your family voice as you say a prayer of thanks for life.
I'm not religious, but I like God and he likes me. ~Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Private Lives of Teenagers: Drugs and Your Sweet Baby

We live in a very suburban suburbia, personified by the characteristics of blandness, a total of 5 cars driven by everyone, a plethora of Starbucks, children that were conceived via in vitro or surregacy ( the rate of twins is wow ) to older moms, constant roadwork, lots of sports fields and a profound absence of African Americans. Our neighborhood is middle class, even though we aren't- we don't really 'make it' living here, and we aren't even good at looking like we do: once, I had no car for months because I smashed up our minivan and we couldn't afford even a miserable wreck of a replacement. We live here ( if you know me, you are probably wondering why in the hell we do live here ) because of shared custody, grandparents and the safety and kid friendliness of the place. Most people here have kids, and revolve their lives ( obsessively? ) around them, worrying endlessly about every decision from when to take the pacifier away to what teacher they have for fourth grade

-And in my experience, completely and often willfully ignoring the number one concern of teenagers in our ( and most ) communities now: drug abuse.

Totally ignoring it. Blackout. As in,
maybe that grubby looking ear stretched kid I see hanging out on the corner of the high school smoking cigarettes is popping pills, but my kid's not.

Let's see.

Overview of Reasons I've Come Across That Parents Believe Their Kid Isn't Using Drugs *

too old - too young - too focused on college/hisband/herart - there's no way Coach x would let him/her get away with that - not interested - we told her/him he/she could always talk to us - we don't abuse drugs or drink heavily - our family is really close - he/she is so smart - he/she is always home - he/she doesn't have friends who do that - too innocent - too busy ( ??? really? ) - too religious - he/she knows someone who is an addict and doesn't want to be like that - he/she isn't around drugs ( ??? ) - her/his mentors are sober - too happy - too confident - and most frustrating to me personally ' he/she told me he/she would never, ever use drugs'

When I was a little girl I clearly remember telling my Mom that I would never, ever be the kind of kid who smokes cigarettes. I remember also that during that same year I was still picking my nose and wiping them on the wall next to my bed, but apparently that didn't stop my mom from being shocked when at 15 I took up smoking. Our children grow up, but not only do we not see them as grown up ( outside of rarefied moments of illumination, usually during some kind of ceremony where everyone is pointing out how grown up your child in fact is, and you sit dumbfounded for a moment, seeing them in that light, and then the next second you remember how on a five dollar dare they ate the goldfish you bought them for their 10th birthday, and how they spent the next entire day pouting and alternately screaming because you refused to buy another ) we refuse to see that they are creating an entire private life inside of themselves and outside of our house, the same kind that we did yeah, but surely, they aren't like
us. Because we aren't our parents! So.

I'll let you think on that while we move on and consider what the private life of a teenager is. It's
private. This means we don't know shit about it. Your teenager's private life is not a sexless and sober hangout where everyone is playing video games, kissing, skateboarding and practicing violin, I swear to God. Regardless of looks ( preppy glasses or pierced eyelids ) background ( Egyptian or American ) home life ( shitty or fantastic ) your teenager's private life is steamy, dangerous, ridiculous, embarrassing, rule breaking, game changing and sometimes seriously illegal. Teenage years are when even if you think you've just figured out exactly who you are for a second ( I'm an athletic/partier/lesbian ) a big weekend or even, hell, a movie or novel( ghostgirl?) can leave you reeling, realizing that the world is much bigger and more exciting than you ever knew, and you have no idea what you want your place in it to be. On top of that are the enormous and healthy flashes of rebellion that teenagers experience, those biological boosts to independence, where suddenly everything your parents taught you feels suspect, and you wonder why the hell you were just taking it all in as gospel, when maybe they were just making it up on the fly.

And it is in those moments and those weekends and those gaps between teenage maturity and teenage craziness that teenagers use drugs, even teenagers who completely and totally swear, Mom and Dad, that they won't and never will
ever want to.

And there are no absolutes, so there will be the rare teen who doesn't ever want to and doesn't. One of the problems is that every parent wants to believe this is their child.

Dakota said to me once
I always saw you taking pills. I never thought anything about it. You talked to me about drugs like crack and pot but never about pills. I just thought it was no big deal. Like a party drug, whatever. No big deal.

I take 50mg zoloft for anxiety and a drug for hypothyroidism. That's it, not a pharma going on here. But those and the supplements add up to a lot of throwing back pills in my mouth, and then there are the surgeries and the drugs after that, and the all over impression is a casual one. I think this is true for many homes.

Pill popping is becoming the number one problem in our community of teenagers, as far as I can tell. This year my son's high school had a pill overdose death, and my son has told me a few stories of girls he knew who were or thought they were overdosing- one girl crashed her car and another fell off a balcony and busted her mouth open. Ecstasy and oxycotin are huge, and easily- so easily- obtained. Simply stepping foot on a campus day after day ensures that your teenager will be aware that if they want to- ever, even if one afternoon- they can get their hands on drugs.

From the CDC :

While illicit drug use has declined among youth, rates of nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication remain high.9 Prescription medications most commonly abused by youth include pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and depressants.9 In 2009, 20% of U.S. high school students had ever taken a prescription drug, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax, without a doctor's prescription.6 Teens also misuse OTC cough and cold medications, containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM), to get high.10 Prescription and OTC medications are widely available, free or inexpensive, and falsely believed to be safer than illicit drugs. Misuse of prescription and OTC medications can cause serious health effects, addiction, and death.1

Think of how easy it is to throw a pill into your mouth. Swallow. That's it.

I just thought it would be fun at a party. Like to hang out and chill.

I wanted to have sex but was too scared, so I took it.

I was sick of being me.

I felt depressed and wanted to feel something else.

I was angry at my boyfriend.

I was angry at my parents.

I just wanted to have one night to remember, to totally go crazy and do whatever.

I don't know why I took it. I really have no idea. I can't explain it to myself.


Without exception every single parent that I have spoken to in the last five years of my oldest son being a teenager has reacted to the topic of teenagers and drugs with what I can only describe as the greatest of ease. The shrugs, the half smiles, the raised eyebrow and, in the face of reality, inexplicable comments " Kids are so much more innocent than people believe " or " Teenagers have a bad rap, most are good kids " leads me to believe that parents either refuse to believe their child would ever use drugs or refuse to believe that using them is a problem.

Dakota has many friends whose parents let them smoke pot and or drink. As long as they get good grades. As long as it's at home. As long as they don't sell it. It's the biggest load of bullshit ever. Marajuana is a gazillion times more potent than it was in the 70's, let's say ( look it up ) and now it's often tampered with ( like crop spraying with a slight misting of cocaine ) to make it addictive. Major news outlets just did a story on the rising deaths in marajuana caused car accidents. I knew of a handful of kids in high school- all boys- who died at a party or right after a party of drinking related causes. The thought of Dakota going to a party where a parent supplies kegs and let's my kid get wasted makes me FURIOUS. I rarely get angry. Even more rarely, like the winged unicorn, do I get furious. That makes me furious.

I could link you the news stories to make my point. The one that Mr. Curry told me about where the parents supplied kegs and the kids got drunk and beat the living shit out of each other, to the point of hospitalization. The one in the news right now where a young girl was drinking at a slumber party and never woke up. But you know. You can find them. These stories are everywhere.

Stories of kids, good, sweet kids who play guitar and sing and made up plays as kids and tell the funniest joke you ever heard and have the most beautiful artistic sensibilities and who are going to change the world because they are so caring and passionate, kids who didn't make it.

They are next door to our hearts.
Add on top of that these two crucial points:

Teenagers brains are highly subject to whatever is put into their bodies. An example: drug use can instigate bi-polar disease in a kid who was predisposed to it but didn't have it yet. Not that it's good to be a drug user as an adult, but it is definitely less immediately damaging to the overall picture- emotional and mental health. If you have the years of 'growing your brains' before you add chemicals, you might be able to go through addiction and come out still you. Have you ever met a drug addict who started young and kept using? Even if they become sober later in life, they are lost in a more profound way, because their brains never grew up.

You don't know if your child will become addicted quickly, or take a little bit longer. PILLS ARE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE LIKE TO THE MAX. A kid who has an addict's special brain makeup can become an addict in ONE USE.

I know our children are, and always are, our sweet babies. We look at them and see the first curls of hair, smell their vanilla necks, feel their legs wrapping around ours on sweaty summer nights. For the love of God, we have to let go of our desire to not see, and see what is happening in our communities, so that less and less kids get hooked on drugs, get hurt, get killed. We can't prevent use every time, but we can sometimes. We can't prevent addiction, but we can get them help. We can't prevent every death, but we can prevent many. Let's do it. For our sweet, sweaty teenage babies.


*especially "
not popping pills. i mean, my kid's not a dumbass druggie."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Russell Brand's letter ' For Amy ': Addiction

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.

I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.

I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.

Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.

I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.

Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

I'm On Google+

come find me!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

we keep doing stuff. i take pictures. then we come home, and i put them online. it's a vicious cycle.

ever is seventh months and every single one of us loves her as the last ( ? ) baby of a family is due- as the Queen Babycakes. she rules. she is awesome. she is everything. she is shining eyes and toothless smiles and giggles at midnight and laughing when you were about to cry, she brings her 14 and 17 year old brothers to baby talk and her 9 year old sister to adoring coos. she nurses like a champ and travels like a chimp. or maybe the other way around? anyway, here she is at the bayside Curry Family Picnic Reunion ( yearly ) in her bearie cute ( i'm sorry! i'm sorry! oh God the humanity! i am so disgusted with myself. all i can say is I read wayyyy to many Strawberry Shortcake books to Lola when she was very small ) jacket that Auntie Kristi gave her
the youngest four girl cousins include Lola and Ever. Lola looooves these two cousins. she cried when we left. in fact, she stomped angrily to the car after receiving the last hot dog of the day. she wasn't too mad to eat the hot dog, though.
seven of the gang of cousins. Mr. Curry is part of the generation of cousins that just gave up their title of 'the cousins' not too long ago. the new generation of Curry cousins is about 9 strong, around there.
Dakota wrestling with the little cousins. they were THRILLED to the maximum of thrills. Dakota was a good sport and got summarily stomped into the ground for a good 20 minutes. Jacob's (the redhead) middle name is Yohan and his Dad said he's a Viking. after watching Jacob wail on Dakota- at age 3- I totally agree. he's old school.
Jacob, Ever and Reefy hanging out.
Ever is under that blanket there, nursing, and this is our end of the day picture. Isn't my necklace purty? Target, a much better last minute purchase than at the wedding. If you know what I mean. xo Maggie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

front yard, La Jolla, California suburbs

Lola with Ever, Dakota holding cousin Jacob, Dakota's best friend E.P. holding cousin Reef

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

i'm like, so happy

I think of ants. Or soldiers. Or early 1900's workers. People who knew only to wake before the sun, clean, eat, work until their bones could slide out the skin and the muscle was tender and torn, arrive home at sundown, eat, clean, talk, smile and pinch children, sleep. I think of them and how much easier it is, what Mr. Curry and I are doing, how much luxury we have to make our journey more comfortable. I used to be addicted to comfort. Carrie Fischer says in her book Wishful Drinking that all addicts are obsessed with feeling comfortable from a young age. I was always mortified by anything difficult. Anything hard. I thought I had no strength- so wrong; I had no esteem for myself. I thought I was a dirt clod. An ugly dirt clod. I scratched at the freckles on my pug face, sucked in my round cheeks, blushed furiously when my name was said out loud. pleasedon'tnoticemepleasedon'tnoticeme Strength, I had, but it was all being used for survival. I kept myself in the lowest frequency possible, so survive the long winter. If you are in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean with one loaf of bread, how many bites do you allow for each day? I allowed enough energy to wake, for school, for play, and even then, barely. I complained constantly of being tired and having stomachaches. When I was very small I was tormented at school. Once a little boy in my grade tripped me ( on the same playground where I once stood, stock still in the middle of recess, and had the slow horrible realization that every single child there would one day be dead ) and I broke my wrist. He tripped me on purpose! I don't remember an apology, or any trouble he had from it. -What I wanted from life was just to be comfortable. I obsessively thought about every single thing that made me feel comfortable, like soft cotton shirts, sheets, hot chocolate, cake, candy bars, sitting ( not standing ) being driven places, riding on a bike in gear down a hill, watching T.V., listening to music, lying on my back in the grass, looking at trees, floating in the pool ( not swimming ) falling asleep.

Life now is uncomfortable. It is loud, raucous, dawn to dusk, 24 hours a day, 8 days a week, it is my lunch break at work equaling one hour of a crying baby in a carseat, picking up various children and delivering them to various places and grabbing a burrito and heading back to work, it is dirty bathrooms and kitchens, it is laundry everywhere, it is two very sore backs, it is diminished sex, it is constant tiredness, it is brain fog, it is that frustrating kind of horny where you know nothing's going to happen so calm the hell down genitals! no one is coming for this fire! It is bad timing for talks, it is talking over shouting/crying/cooking/dogsbarking/phonesringing/children bellowing/music playing at 110 decibles on a it is falling asleep sitting up, it is saying sick sound system, Mom,God I'm sorry I forgot for the millionth time or I never got to it, I'm sorry, it is getting to a million things but still feeling crazy you forgot THAT ONE REALLY IMPORTANT THING It is cooking, picking up, nursing, 'just a minute' four hundred times a day, it is 'we'll talk later' it is 'maybe I'll check the calendar' It is Mr. Curry's broken pinky finger, sore back, torn up feet, 13 hour days, and taking Lola out for special time after work, it is weekends of cleaning and running errands and children and evenings where we are too tired to talk and a full time job and a full time life.

It is so uncomfortable. And it is the most soul and heart satisfying work I have ever experienced, and I thank God every day for all of the empty space that no longer exists inside of me, and the crowded house of my family.

I have never worked so hard or been so exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed and rock solid with love and satisfied and determined all at once.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jaycee Dugard's Memoir: A Stolen Life reviewed by Janet Maslin

image from New York Times

Jaycee Dugard has written a miraculous memoir after being abducted, raped and forced to bear and birth two ( innocent and hopefully much loved ) children beginning age 14 to her demented captor, X. The man (and his wife, co-conspirator) deserves no recognition. Jaycee was eleven when she was tasered, dragged into a car and brought to live for the next 18 years in his backyard. The fact that she survived mentally or emotionally intact enough to even begin to address what happened to her, much less write a memoir about it- is a miracle, and a testament to her resilience and strength.

Her story has been reviewed in The New York Times by Janet Maslin, a short review with a brisk style of summarizing one of the most emotionally brutalizing and maiming life stories I have ever encountered. I thought a few times, reading the review, that Mrs. Maslin was underwhelming in her interpretation of the memoir, the author and the experience that Ms. Dugard was recalling; Mrs. Maslin left out emphasis terrifically important when considering this memoir; she approaches once only the subject of trauma's wounds to a person's brain:
“With some help, I have come to realize that my perspective is unique to abduction,” Ms. Dugard writes at the start of the book. That means that her memories are fragmented and incomplete, since she often had only a narrow idea of what went on around her."

A Stolen Life is also a stolen mind- the wounds of severe, ongoing trauma are as profound to the brain as they are the soul. Every example that is criticized in Mrs. Maslin's review must also be seen through the lens of this understanding to be correctly reflected on- criticisms such as:
Her diary entries include the lines “I would do it all again,” “I don’t understand why I’m not happy” and “What do I have to complain about?” But “A Stolen Life” almost makes sense of those words.

Almost? Understated in the best light, the use of the word 'almost' is almost insulting to anyone who has experienced great emotional trauma. The brain will do amazing and miraculous, confounding and horrible things in the wake of ongoing suffering, and the kind of deeply neurological confusion and shadow-playing that her heartbreaking diary lines reveal does not warrant minimization like that. To be taken ( from a home that was so emotionally barren that Mrs. Maslin asks 'Where would she go?' if Jaycee had managed to escape) and dragged into an alternate universe where you are raped by a man who then gives you 'privacy' to clean yourself up is to test the boundries of the mind to comprehend reality. Adults in torture imprisonments often lose grip on reality. - Jaycee was eleven.

Mrs. Maslin goes on to write: As it progresses from the shock of Ms. Dugard’s early years with the Garridos to the weird domesticity of her later ones, “A Stolen Life” makes enough sharply insightful observations to offset vapid ones. This is a fascinating critique. How can the point of view of a young woman severely degraded and abused for her entire coming of age, kept in solitary confinement with the exception of being raped and then forced to give the name Momma to her rapist's wife, how can her observations on her life be, at any point, vapid? The words may be vapid. But to take the words out of the context of the author- Jaycee Dugard- is to rip the soul out of the book, to deny the great and powerful mangling of a human being's capacity for 'normal' thought and feeling when repeatedly viciously abused as a child. Mrs. Dugard asks 'What would you do to survive?' and I think the only fair and honest answer any of us can give is along the lines of I don't know. Anything and everything, nothing- I. Don't. Know. And only those who have the horrible key to that answer have earned the right to judge.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Little Girl and a Pony

"Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about fun kid photos and the stories behind them. Enter Plum's "Babies for Yum Caption Contest" on Facebook and you could win a $100 gift card or Plum goodies."

ever elizabeth july 2011

Ever comes to work with me every day in the infant/toddler room of the same preschool that Lola attended her fourth year, and every summer the kids gather in the grass (ie: dirt) yard around chickens, geese, ponies, rabbits and a goat named Daisy. Daisy has curly strings attached to her tail and a surprisingly good attitude toward little people. The chickens and rabbits huddle scratch and screetch and sniff in their pen while tiny hands pat pat pat ( verrrry softly, the caretaker says over and over, squatting next to them ) the fluff and feathers. Summer brings sweaty babies and waterplay and snacks in the yard and farms to your school!

I had no idea when I dressed Ever in her little pony dress that this was the day an actual pony would come to school, and didn't realize the correlation until I sat her up on the kind and mopey pony and made the connection. Pictures ensued. Ever ( as you can see! ) loved the pony, and by this I mean she had no idea what was going on at all. My idea of her running thoughts: Hi Mom! Oh look at the trees! That nice lady is singing. My seat feels funny. My butt hurts. I'm wobbly! Hi Mom! Look at the trees! And at the very end, she looked down and looked back up and opened her mouth in a little oval and howled. Moooom! What am I SITTING ON!!??

I pulled her off the pony (oh my God LOOK at those fat fat little leggies!!!munchmunchmunch) and as we stood and petted the gentle creature, I had one of those peak moments where happiness is so shining and clear and strong that you become still like a little rabbit, straw stuck motionless in mouth, eyes fixed on nothing but the bright light of love for life. For my Lola, who was so recently the baby in my arms. For my children. For my place of work, like a second home. For my co-workers, so familiar, so comfortable. For my husband, always, always with me, wherever I am. For the little baby that we lost at 13 weeks, always, always our baby. For sunshine, green grass, dirt and little girls on ponies.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

all along the western front

grab me with summersummersummer electricity i'm bound and gagged with hormones as clear and true and painful as if i were thrown into the basement corner, hands tied, mouth bruised with cotton, left to silent spider dark while the rest of the world screams, fights, works, drinks, feels. here i am. in here somewhere, wiping baby shit, flipping clean white cotton sheets over mattresses, brushing back fine blonde hair, hungry for the grazing unshaven cheek of my husband against my belly and thighs. here i am. amongst the smell of chlorine baby bodies, sunblocked back of necks, loads of dirty tee shirts and the tight skinned square hands that scrub scrub scrub sinks, cabinets, tables, floors, hands, children. here i am. dreaming womanly dreams, incubating. here i am. the place that finds me true is next to my husband, beyond the world, taken into a small space that becomes unfolding and unfolding unto the universe and until there is the baby's questioning squall rising toward us, there is nothing but the electric feel of that. space.

i dream the strangest dreams, saturated with hormones. i can see in my dreams, the skyline lit neon and midnight blue, where the waking world lies beyond that lip, my life, behind the shadows of mind, my dreams, where i am speaking in a southern accent and my Nana is there in her small heels and powder and there is a town where hours are houses and houses are stories and streets are movie screens.

in my dream i am naked but i am not afraid or embarrassed. i am powerful. this is saying to me you am going in the right direction

dinner is chicken and squash, baby needs bathing bubbles, along the wall there are webs of bugs and hair of the dog that my hands will smooth away, inside behind the quiet stillness of my eyes and mouth and stern set of my features inside i am still here

here i am

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hey Honey Let's Read A Good Book

I Was Destined To Alienate My Family

Continuing to take a pounding, the writer writes. Knowing that somewhere, someone is reading who is bound to be seriously pissed off or bound to tell someone about what they read here who is going to be pissed off. Either way.

I'm so tired of feedback on my blog. ( to be clear: not talking about commenters. talking close to home situations. ) I am feeling pounded into the pavement. Maybe I should simply post naked pictures of myself and strings of random curse words in front of a symphonic soundtrack and drive away everyone until I can have this space back to myself, in the big black eye of the internet.

Look. I told you when I was growing up, if you don't want to to be immortalized in words, don't be a fucking asshole!

And this: I promised you a rose garden. No one ever promised me one, that's for fucking sure. I never got one either, until I dug the dirt up with my own bare naked hands and teeth and made one.

As it is, I'm leaving out everything. And everyone who was there knows this is true.

List of Things I Am Not Writing About That I Want To But I'M NOT:

details. paragraphs. entire chapters.

I can't demand anything. I can keep it real though. That's what I do best. And what is real, right now, is that I'm letting you, and you, and especially you know that I'm going to keep writing what I write the way I write it. I'm really saying this to myself of course. A mantra. A reminder. Slightly desperate. I can't be quiet NOW, for godsakes. I made it out of the endless winter and the reason I did was because I had a voice in writing.

All the way up. All the way out.

Dave Eggers wrote it.
Sylvia Plath wrote it. Anne Sexton wrote it. Erica Jong wrote it. Henry Rollins wrote it. Ayelet Waldman wrote it. Anais Nin wrote it. Henry Miller wrote it. Anne Lamott wrote it.
Write it, damn you! Write it! What else are you good for? -James Joyce

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome SPONSOR: BerryCool ☀ Hairclips!

Welcome Flux Capacitor's sponsor BerryCool Designs! Her hairclips for babies and little girls are adorable, I have three for Ever and they have gotten so many compliments and ooos and ahhhs over the months as she's worn them, and at only $5 a pop, they are a completely affordable indulgence in baby cuteness.
The clips come in sizes perfect for a baby with fine hair ( Ever when she started wearing them ) or an older girl with a full head of hair!
The quality is wonderful. The clips are made sturdily and seamlessly and Ever's still look and function as well as the day I received them a few months ago.
Come visit :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacation at Paradise Point Resort, San Diego California

We have planned this mini-vacation ( two overnights ) for months, thanks to the generosity of she who shall remain un-named -not like Voldemort, more like Mother Teresa- to Paradise Resort on the bay. It's 40 odd acres of private island up against the bay waters, made to look like a Hawaiian paradise; Dakota just returned ( with his biological Dad and grandparents ) from the actual Hawaii two days before this. Above is the main swim, colored like a ruby and filled with enough chlorine to kill not only bacteria and feces but possibly a child with a cold and lowered immune system and a propensity for drinking the pool water. Gorgeous to look at, with alternating Hawaiian/eighties music filling the warm air, and the lip of the pool comes to a sandy alcove on one side, it is smartly the first thing you see when pulling into the resort.
We arrived after 4pm, the checkout time, chipper and excited, nervous energy completely deflated as we greeted the wary bell hops and check in staff to be told Our computer system is down, we can't check anyone in, so sorry, here's a pool key? - said like that, as an apologetic question slash irritable command, half I'm so sorry this sucks and half What the hell do you want from me, it's not my fault and I'm sick of rude tourists! We aren't tourists, but we weren't happy, with four kids including a seven month old baby who needed to nap and a truck stuffed in the back with our stuff, nowhere to lie down, nap the baby, nurse comfortably. OK. Regroup. Mr. Curry and I looked at each other over the heads of our grumbling children. Vacationing with four kids ages 7 months to 17 is possibly the stupidest thing we've ever attempted, making all of them happy with good attitudes at once so impossible that we might have been better off paying the boys to stay in a cheap hotel for the nite. But we proceeded stubbornly ahead, as any American family would, becuase GODDAMNIT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN IF IT KILLS US So we headed, after some fitful wandering around and edgy group discussions ( this being one of THE MAJOR pitfalls of having your children so far apart, the older two feel like they have to choose between being associated with the young kids or the parents, and choose us, ie: they think they are a parent, with all the power that comes there and of course, none of the responsibility ) we ended up at the pool.

Mr. Curry and I set about Setting A Good Example In The Face Of Things Not Going Our Way and I gave myself an internal scolding for being ridiculous to feel so put off when I'm in the middle of a beautiful resort. We ordered drinks and all loosened up, began laughing, enjoying ourselves. Time passed. More time passed. More. Time. Mr. Curry and I huddled privately. Check: We attempted a huddle and failed. It was almost 7pm. I went back to the front desk, and no, the computers were not up, not yet, and no, they had no way of informing us of when they would be. I felt like crying, and I felt like crying partly because I felt like a failure for not being able to feel happier in the circumstances. I was failing the Make The Best of Things parenting job, and my kids could feel it, little co-dependent buggers. I put on my best face and made chit chat but still- Mom, what's wrong? Why does your face look like that? Oh my sons and daughters, one day, your face too will age approximately three thousand years a child, and you will be equally unable to hide the scrunchy tell tale lines that fall across your eyes and mouth whenever you fail to 'perk'. My mother met us for dinner, and was obviously unhappy with the wait at the restaurant, and the fact that the computers were down- making our wait-time possibly a mystery. I rallied at the restaurant. But at this point, something else had gone on, because I can't emphasize enough that our older two? Are now entire human beings with entire personal internal and external lives that are very. complicated. The emphasis is for me, not you. It's hard to catch up when your oldest becomes this complicated person and you still see him with a fire truck in one hand and your hand in the other, curls tumbling into his blue eyes, saying ' Momma what we do next? ' Instead he had a host of his own wants and needs and upsets that all had to be addressed. So I took off from the table and sat with my boy and we talked. We worked it out. We said I love you and hugged. By the time we arrived back at the table, the room had just become available. It was 8:45pm.

Above you see four children at 9pm at night who are trying to be on vacation and have fun. They were trying. Sweeties. The hotel offered us a $50 credit, and I said No thank you, I think our room should be comped! We didn't even USE it for five hours! Except I said this very calmly and nicely. Oh, they said, not surprised at all, we'll have someone call you. She called later, and bargained. How bout $100 credit and late check out? OK, I said. I didn't and don't agree with that, but I didn't feel like using up any more of my vacation time feeling stressed out.
We refused to be stressed! And we relaxed, and had a blast.
The girls slept with Mr. Curry and I on the King bed and the boys on the pull out Queen couch bed, and we watched Arthur and had room service dessert. It was relaxing. It was vacation.
The next night was 4th of July, and it was one of the top three best fourths I've ever had. We had let Dakota leave to go stay with his friend Jake in Pacific Beach, whose parents ( who are 'cool parents' ) were having a party, and so after spending the day mini-golfing with us, Mr. Curry very nicely drove him the fifteen minutes there and came back. So it was us five. The resort is on the bay, as I said, and so we walked two feet to the sand (not literally, but close) and sat down on our blanket around all the other resorters and their kids, next to the bonfires and cookouts, and watched the fireworks from the Yacht Club. Lola made easy friends along the shore and ran screaming while Ever sat in my lap, perfectly happy and not scared at all. Ian and Mr. Curry sat next to us, and we watched the sky, silent. Back at our room at 10pm, we ate from the cooler of foods and snacks we had brought, and played this game that Ian had picked out at Target, laughed a lot, and fell asleep exhausted.
Lola took three of her best dolls and cared for them most carefully.
Mr. Curry ripped his foot open on something at the restaurant that first night there. Natch.
Dakota seventeen, Ever seven months. She's wearing the dress he bought for her in Hawaii!! Where he turned seventeen <3
We swam for hours, both days. The girls loooved it.
Ever's new suit :)
I love this picture, total goofballs, and Ever is licking Daddy's arm, which she does to all of us.
My new swimsuit. I was reallllllly nervous to be in a bikini. I mean, like I felt like crying. I have lumps ( you can't see them but they are there ) where I never did before, bruises all over my legs from anemia, my stomach is not as beautiful as it once was, my thighs are jiggly and I have cellulite. But Mr. Curry made me feel confident and loved so that I could see the beauty in myself, and that's what love will do. I ended up tan ( despite sunblock ) and comfortable.
A lovely place.
Thank you. You know who you are.
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