Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Knew Her For 9 Years Before We Ever Met

 ...such is the strangeness of the Land Called Internet
 We traveled a while back to L.A. and stayed in a hotel to meet up with my long known but never seen friend, Maura, from APU.  Her daughter Eva ( we were pregnant with Eva and Lola at the same time ) was dancing in an Irish clogging competition, and so we drove to L.A. and they flew from Denver, to meet.
Lola and Ian were awesome to Ever and incorrigible to one another. Ian relentlessly poked at Lola and Lola persistently overreacted. It was so meta.
 Ever had fun, though. :)
 Mr. Curry drank too much and passed out.
 I drank a little. Enough for this to happen.
And here we all are at Downtown Disney, after a delicious pizza and beer meal where Maura and I finally got to catch up. It was truly magical to meet someone I've cared about for so long but never seen face to face, and Lola and Eva connected right off the bat. As we left, Eva bought a friendship bracelet and gave Lola half. Life is kind of awesome.

Sick Girls

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Dream

This Christmas was not one I could hold in my mind. Lola says Mommy look at me, take a picture with your mind and I blink, but this was not a Christmas I could hold. It slipped by me in tumbling piles of wrapping paper, laundry, sleeping bodies, my two girls in their matching pajamas I was so excited to pick out, to order, to have them wear on Christmas and then I never took a single picture. Blink.

Ever sick, her little chest out and in and out and in like a body builder, the pediatrician, the breathing treatment, the steroid  I don't think she will need it but just in case, the next day, the steroid, necessary, a modern marvel. Every night is Ever's body on top of my chest, her head turned sideways, her mouth open and on one of my naked breasts, breathing with the fever's own pulse: hothothothothothothot Lola sleeps at the end of the bed horizontally, like a faithful dog. I put my feet across her abdomen. Snuggle me, Mommy, she asks at 2am, after Ever falls asleep during her breathing treatment.  I was supposed to have Lola go to her own bed, but I didn't. We all fell asleep to the Kardashians. I think of my mom You let her watch that? I lie with the baby over me and the machine in my  hand, holding tubes with one hand and Ever's head with the other. I'm sorry, sweetheart, I can't, I whisper to her.  I love you, I tell her. I love you too, Mommy. After Ever's treatment ends I pick up Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me and my reading light blinks off and on every odd page. 

Christmas Eve we eat an early, amazing dinner at my mom's. Shrimp with sauce, gluten free noodles underneath, an amazing salad, avacado chunks, champagne, freezing cold, warm wheat bread with butter, and pie. At home we pile on the bed and watch Miracle on 24th Street. I cry. Dakota falls asleep in his room, Ian is at his moms. Mr. Curry and I stay up late wrapping and walking Ever. She breaths in raggedy humps. Momma, she says in her sleep.  She loses her voice and tries to cry for me.

After all the presents were open, after Mr. Curry and I watched Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Lola and I carefully wrap up each ornament off the tree. We've been to our new place three times, we love it more each time. This is sad, Mommy, she says. I know, I say, but it's exciting too. I am so tired now that everyone speaks from a different level. I am 5D. You are 3D. I am asleep. You are awake. I am too tired to even feel guilty that I have spent Christmas week in a daze. At least we saw the lights, got hot chocolate, decorated, had a tree, I count to myself my maternal accomplishments. We sang, we listened to Christmas music in the house and the car, we shopped, we had fun. Mr. Curry is a machine of moving: he makes boxes, he talks to his dad in the important, strident way that men do when they are organizing something, he speaks louder. I want to tell him shhhh. I want to tell him a long list of things he is doing that are annoying me. I am very, very tired. Mr. Curry wakes at 5am to go to work, and sleeps alone in a child's bed because one of us has to get some sleep and he is the one. I hate him for this. I would also kill him if he tried to take my baby from me at night. He can't win. I am very, very tired.

Tomorrow I go back to work. 

Friday, we move.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lola's Musical Theatre Night

 Lola took a musical theatre class downtown; Grandma Mary took her every Wednesday and afterward, they grabbed a burger together. Lola's last class, all of us minus Ian came to watch her dance and to celebrate.
 Ever was so thrilled during Lola's dance with her friends that she couldn't sit still- she kept squealing and dancing in my arms, until everyone watching was giggling.

 They love music and dance so much!
 The burger place is right down the street, and man, they make a mean burger.
 Blurry, but heartfelt, love.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Love Grandma

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Downsizing: Found Our Home, Moving In January 1st!

After tears, a few fights, a near miss collision, crazy laughter late nights and passive-aggressive derision, after financial ruin and verging on despair, we came close to a home- but no- not there. Day after day socked in the gut, bad credit from medical bills, we are fucked. But keeping on, keeping on, fighting the good fight, we talked and we planned and we drank heavily. { Wait, that didn't rhyme, did it. } We found ourselves an adorable three bedroom condo, for rent we could afford, and did the walk through looking casual and bored. Oh well, we tried to project, it's cool if we do or we don't get it, What liars! We sweated and planned and worked for two weeks, until finally the damn realtor stopped dragging her feet, and turned our application in to those with the say, and they said  YES! Hooray! So we're moving soon to this charming 'Maine cottage' styled condo, with all wood floors downstairs, a brand new all white kitchen, beautiful white wood plantation shutters on the numerous windows, a patio, a garage, deep bathtubs and a large white wrap around porch on the front of the house, big enough to put two chairs, a small table, and a wicker basket with the girls outside toys, and everything works, and it's adorable, and across the street from our large community park where those last set of pictures took place and a block from the markets so we can walk the girls to pick up milk or whatever, and we are SO HAPPY.  Oh my God, this month isn't even over yet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Old Poway Park at Christmastime!

 Freezing cold and with Mr. Curry and I struggling to be cheerful, { this month is kicking. our. asses }
we arrived at the Old Poway Park Christmas Celebration, jam packcd with peoples and foods.
 We had hardly been there a moment when I heard Mr. Curry?! and turned to see a beautiful, beaming face that turned out to be Darcy, of 365 Degrees  ! She recognized my husband first ;) who as I have mentioned in past posts, is a very sweet guy, easily approachable. It was awesome to say hi to her and meet her husband and their cutie boy, Dax. I think I look like a chipmunk in this picture, but the court says it must stay.
 The Santa Claus'
 Lola was a little anxious from the crowds, and Ever had this kind of stupefied, overstimulated look on her face, while Ian was relaxed the whole time- I think they all managed to have fun though.
 Us. Hanging in there, together.
 All of us, minus Dakota, who at 17, is slowly becoming harder to find at family events. Sob.
 Lola held a thrilled Ever while they listened to the choir from Lola's school. By the time we left, after the snacks, coffee, running into friends, watching crafts and roaming, I was at 100 on the Christmas cheer meter. I'm such a HUGE Christmas dork. I love it!!
As we left the crowds, these girls held up a FREE HUGS! sign. I couldn't make a shy Lola do it, but I gave them a grin and a photo, which they giggled wildly at.  Good times!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I've Got A Crush On: Leslie Mann

Leslie Mann is a comedic actress and she makes me laugh my ass off in every movie she's in. She's brilliantly unique, her own wry, quietly outrageous way;  black and dirty humor sneaks up on you in a pretty and sweet spoken package with a baby girl voice, until she's doing something that catches you off guard and makes you laugh out loud. Even her smaller roles are memorable, and her marriage with Judd Apatow has provided her with opportunities to work with some of the funniest scripts of the last ten years. She was wonderful in Funny People and Knocked Up, and I hope she keeps pushing until she gets her own starring role. I'll be watching.

Friday, December 16, 2011

People In Your Neighborhood: Essays

{Take a Seat, For Your Reading Pleasure....}

Year Two: The Henry Granju Christmas Tree Project by Mamapundit

 For Bee by Sweetney

Not a Crafty Mom by The Happiest Mom 

I hit our Car With a Shovel. On Purpose. by The Girl Who

cookies! by fever 

blindness isn't a tragedy _guest post at_ Rage Against the Minivan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Working Poor: Our Numbers Increasing: 99%

A big flashy study I found here tells us that the working poor are increasing, that the amount of money made by both the lower income bracket and working poor is edging toward the lowest end, and that some politicians are afraid we are going to suck the life out of 'the government' by taking money while we hang around with our large houses, big TV's and easy lives.

Let me tell you something. You can have a huge TV, two cars, and a big house and be broke as shit. Your "huge" TV can be from the dark ages and obtained free through a gift, so old that you can't sell it on Craigslist, your car can be 1. bought from relatives at a very cheap and kind price and 2. given to you through your employeer:  and your large house? Can keep you scrambling to keep up, taking in roomates, letting go of many things, until finally you just can't do it anymore, and you have to move. And let me tell you something else!: Your husband could have worked his ass off, 60-80 hour weeks with labor and paperwork, building a new business, only to lose the entire thing because his workman's tax went up threefold! in the span of one month, and running his kind of business became a lost cause. And like that, your entire life- his wife, staying at home with three kids went back to work, his truck repossessed, affordable health care- changed. The numbers showing that way, way to many Americans- 62% of lower income families-  are using one-third of their income for housing cost alone. Do you know how much full time infant daycare costs? Here, in California, it is around $1,100 for a center, and a few hundred less for a home daycare. And you have to be really, really poor to get government help. If you aren't poor enough, but teetering in low-income bracket, daycare will push you over the edge.

Politicians that speak about the working poor taking advantage of any help the government gives- or, as some crazy people like to call them, tax provided programs that we poor people pay into our entire lives- are so unprofessional, so embarrassing, so ignorant.  Do your research. Take a class from Eleanor Roosevelt and get out there, mingle with the common man ( I know, scary, you might catch THE AIDS or THE POVERTY ) and closely observe those living a life you know nothing about. Read a few stories about how hard working Americans lose everything and keep going.  Study not just statistics, but the entire ecosystem of those stats: how do the statistics relate the actual experience? What is cause, and what is effect? Who are these people?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blue Collar Christmas Love Letter

Dear Mr. Curry,

I am driving. I stop at a red light, and to my right is a Christmas tree lot, surrounded with white twinkling lights and populated with a few straggling couples and families, making shapes and measuring with their hands, cold in the December evening air. I watch their breath go in and out. The wind blows in gusts across the tops of the palms and the firs, and Christmas music plays from our local radio station " Christmas Music Around the Clock ", the tagline. The sky is silver and blue and white, and a small flock of common birds move up and down in formation over cars. We have to move, and we have little money. You lost your business years ago, and it still hurts you. It hurts you that you lost something you fought and worked so hard for, because you wanted to give it to your family, like a gift in hand. You wanted to take care of us, like all good men want to do. You want to protect our children, and I want to protect our children. We want them to have dental work, and tutors so that they can catch up in subjects that are difficult, so that they can get good grades, so that they can get scholarships and go to colleges and grow up to be able to pay for good dental work. We want them to have health insurance that doesn't break the bones of our family budget, we want them to thrive. The Kaiser ads: THRIVE. We count the four beautiful heads of our children, and each Kaiser ad that demands they thrive but omits the cost, $200. each head.  We want to protect ourselves, too, from the weight and stress and fears that keep us awake at night; but we will not move our children from here, from this town, where they have the best schools and the safest neighborhoods and most importantly and significantly, Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma. Those older and kinder and doting faces of the family that loves them, that watches them in hourly timed increments from the time they are in size 2 diapers and cut their first teeth.  We will, at almost any cost, find a way to stay here. Your business, my faulty hormones and three surgeries, medical debt, and choices we made and didn't make, long ago- here we are, with so little.  We might argue about the cost of Christmas presents, or who will make dinner, or the lights left on, we are moving in less than a month and don't know where we are going or what will happen, we might be dancing around each other, or screaming silently, or holding our breath in separate rooms. Lola chips a tooth. As I hold her and look at your face over her sobbing, I know we are both thinking about that dental bill. We might fight about it all until each of us has torn down everything best in the other. We could, but we don't.

The sky darkens while I wait for the light to change and in the back of my mind, behind the music and the bells, and inside the shadows that fall across my swollen hands on the cold steering wheel, I hear Ever's cry. She is with my mom, but I can hear her, miles away. I'm coming, I think. 

And that's it. That's all, I just think this one thought, and I am filled with joy. It hits me with a force as palpable as your hands raising Lola higher, higher, higher to see Santa walking the line last night, that I am blessed beyond all measure, that I am in fact, filled with abundance.  You and I, honey, are always there for our children, and they know in their filament and molecule, that they are safe, and loved inside our family. Abudance. Our children are with us. they are safe, they are healthy, they believe in our eventual ability to solve all problems, even the older ones!-  and the more we rise to the occasion, every time we find a way, every time we love gracefully, every apology, every moment that could have been lost but is instead embraced, we become stronger, and more of a pack. Our pack is together. This is the meaning of the holidays. We say words that are gold emellishments on greeting cards we send other people and we forget their absolute integrity, power and truth. Peace and love are not a greeting card, or a present, or a diamond ring, or even, my sweetheart, a big house in the suburbs. 

Peace and love are our two daughters watching Christmas carolers last night, in the park of our town, surrounded by other families, cold faces and hands, coffee, hot chocolate, lights, lights, and music. Peace and love are the two, three, no four times we ran into people we know and care for who care for us, and greeted with smiles and hugs. Peace and love are Ever's face watching Santa for the very first time. Peace and love is our family all together Friday night, stuffed onto couches, watching a movie and laughing and then crying and then laughing because we are all crying. Peace and love is the tickle war between our kids that ended with a chipped tooth. Peace and love is your body on mine our couch late last night, next to the Christmas tree, after rum and eggnog, while our girls slept. It is Lola's faith You and Daddy always make everything good, it Dakota's choice to be with us, at 17, on a Saturday night instead of with friends, it is our family bed, it is our inside jokes about poop ( Lola calls them butt guts! ) and the tender words we all write on cards for birthdays. It is our family chore day, it is our constant refrain to be kind, to be honest even- especially- when it's hard, to think of the group and not just yourself, to give, to pray even if maybe faith is short or prayers feel silly, it is the small- Lola's love notes for us- and the large- Ian's special birthday present to you. It is you working Saturdays for extra money, and me giving up new clothes so Lola can have a Girl Scout trip. Nothing can ever, ever duplicate, replicate or equal the importance and meaning of our family and how we choose to live our life. We can go anywhere, we can live anywhere, but we cannot love like this with anyone. It is us, it is you, and your strength over the years, your steady work, work- you work harder than any man I've ever known- your dedication to us, you pushing yourself beyond personal limitations and making new of yourself.

We have everything we need or could want to be joyful this Christmas. We will stress, we will worry, we will fret, but we will not feel lack. So darling, for Christmas, I want to give you the safe and sheltered feeling you have given to me, when I had surgery, when I was afraid of flying, when I struggled to sleep, when I mourned my Grandmother, when I feared for our eldest, when I doubted myself. I give it all back to you now, when you need it. Everything irreplacable is here. Christmas is you picking up our daughter's from my Mom, and Ever's jubilant jump into my arms to nurse, and Lola's long scarf tangled around you as you hug. Christmas is Dakota's long lanky arms hugging us, Ian's tucked head grin while we laugh, it is our stupid dogs, barking. I love you. I love you.

Merry Christmas, Baby,

Mrs. Curry 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

magical distractions Christmas hair

via allons y allon-z

Saturday, December 10, 2011

warrior spirit

We are moving by January 1st.
We still don't have a place locked down.
We can do this!
It will be great in the end.
Lola chipped a tooth last night.
Her front, adult tooth. 
A big chip.
She was wrestling with Ian.
Ian felt horrible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grow Up, America

If Alec Baldwin can't get by on Sex and Awesomeness, then what is left for the rest of us Shmendreks to hope for? I wouldn't kick him off a plane. For playing a rip off Scrabble game on an Iphone?  I'd pat his thick thighs beamingly and ask him if he wants a vodka, stiff. It's Christmas ladies and gentleman, anyway- It's the Christmas season, fine. same/same  Either way, we should all lighten up. Light our menorahs, loosen our tightened, penny pinching grimaces that brighten into painful half smiles when we are being viewed. We need to live like adults, real adults, back when adults knew how to be properly adult: Drink, Screw, Entertain, Work, Family, Sleep. Repeat. We need more sex, more drinking, more sleeping, more loud sweaty working, more loud and obnoxious gatherings of people we aren't sure we really like until we're all drunk, checking on the sleeping kids down the hall nights! Grow up America; have some booze and sex already. Think Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Parker Posey. Think A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Think True Grit.  Wrap gifts from the dime store in brown paper and string. Belch during Church. Play Christmas music. Play jazz, old swing, the blues. Unfold the Sunday paper and look through with your kids. Drink hot chocolate. Drink coffee. Curse. Give away the ten dollars in your wallet you were going to buy lunch with, and eat a sandwich. Invite your cranky neighbor over for coffee. Carol. Make an enormous breakfast and eat it with everybody while you watch cartoons. Stay up late making love and then shout at the kids to be quiet already while you try- and fail- to sleep in. Moan the state of the country over the paper and then cry with your hand over your heart while you sing God Bless America. Watch a sport. Play a sport, and spit, profusely. Hit your kid with a water balloon. Bring your elderly neighbors home made cakes. Bitch about your boss and your job, make circles with your thumb and thank God for your boss, your job. Wear belts, suits, dresses, heels, ties, and hair gel. Wake up and face the day. Pretend you are the one in charge, then hide and smoke a cigarette. ( you quit years ago! ) Break something and throw it away. Tell no one. Slap your significant other on the ass. Stop paying someone to mow the lawn and mow it yourself. Give toys to needy kids. Tell your kids to expect less and give more. Give money every time there is a box asking for it. Read grave, important news and pray, even though you don't really believe in praying and in fact, tell everyone you never pray. Spend time with your family, all of them, even the crazy ones, even if the crazy ones are your only family. Wear clean underwear. Brush your teeth twice a day. Swish with vodka, count it. Repent. Water things that need watering. Cook. Get a signature swear word. Wear cologne, perfume. Be gracious in defeat, humble in victory. Except for video games, then scream, either way. Play checkers. Drink while you play checkers. Have sex four nights in a row. The last night, get really drunk and cry when you orgasm. Tell your partner a secret, and watch it absorb into his skin and become part of the ties that bond. Watch his face transform, feel a love so powerful you close your eyes. Wake the next day and brush your hair. Scoot your kids around playfully. Smile. You have a secret. You are an adult.

Grow up.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The True Knot: The Birth Of Ever Elizabeth

 One year ago, almost to the day, on December 2cd, 2010, Ever Elizabeth Ethridge Curry was brought into this world via C-Section.  Do you all remember how she had been turning, and turning...and turning? My doctor said she had never seen a baby flip like that, right up to the actual moment of her birth. Our other children were born vaginally, and Lola, our last birthing, came into this world completely naturally, in a tub, in a simple bedroom after a hard but relatively short labor. Ever wasn't having it. She turned like a ballerina, and turned like a water baby, and turned like she was determined to find a new way out, until finally our doctor gave up trying to decide what position this little girl would end up in, and scheduled a C-Section. I was overdue the date of her C-Section, enormous and swollen to 184 pounds of water, blood and baby.  My anesthesiologist wore gold chains around his neck and had a bristle mustache that moved vigorously when he talked. Your husband can be there, he said. You'll be fine. So Mr. Curry was there while the needle pierced through my tattoo into my spine, and my body went numb from breast to toe.  While the cut, Mr. Curry told me memories of our life together. I cried a little, panicked some, breathed, breathed, breathed. Feeling numb while bringing a baby into the world was completely contradictory to every experience I'd ever had or come to expect of childbirth, and it's still not something I'm happy about, but as it turns out, it was a miracle.
 I felt the great tugging, tugging, tugging, as they yanked her gently from my womb, and then waited, holding my breath, until I heard her cry- a cry I can recall with clarity and joy to this day. She sounded like an angry kitten, a scratchy, beautiful calling out that brought tears to my eyes. I kept my head up and called for her as Mr. Curry talked to her while he cut the cord, while she was weighed, and bundled, until finally, finally, they placed her next to me, and I could kiss her face, her tiny, perfect, adored face. I think the pictures tell it all.
 Mr. Curry kept his head next to mine and hers, as we all kissed each other repeatedly through tears of joy. After a moment, he kissed my cheek. Maggie, I want to tell you something, he said. The tone in his voice alarmed and confused me. How could there be any concerns? Here she was, safe and healthy in our arms! It turns out, he went on, that Ever had a knot in her cord. And the knot she had is actually rare, it's called a True Knot, because instead of a kink in the umbilical cord, or a loose gathering, she had an actual sailor's knot, tied up tight. Do you want to see?
 Look at it! A true knot! All that turning that Ever did, all that ballet, led to this amazing creation in my- our- umbilical cord. According to the nurses, it was a blessing that we had the C-Section, because labor, especially with my scar tissue ( from surgeries for Endometriosis ) would have been dangerous for Ever, and most likely would have ended in an emergency C-Section.  When deciding if we should OK a C-Section, I kept coming back to one thing the doctor had mentioned during a checkup. Sometimes it seems the baby keeps turning because something is wrong, and they know it, she said. But who knows?  Maybe this baby knows, I thought. Maybe she's trying to tell us, and we're not listening. I'm so glad I heeded that voice- her voice.
 She was brought into the world safe and sound, and her Daddy could hold her and kiss her face.
 I began nursing her immediately, and she latched on like a champ- a champ who needed a little help, but still, a champ. I wish I had known that C-Section moms often have a delay in their milk let down, because mine didn't really come in for three days! I was starting to worry about my ability to nurse Ever, when really, I just had to keep nursing and send those signals to my body, and sure enough, the milk came in.
 I felt dazed and already a bit anxious, the beginning of a long ordeal of post partum anxiety for me, but I could feel still the world shifting in my cells, the way it does when we fall in love with our children.
 This is one of my favorite pictures of the entire day, because it captures the exact first moment the kids walked in and saw their baby sister for the first time.
 Lola was immediately terrified ( by me, swollen and dazed ) and completely in love ( with Ever, tiny and perfect )
 Dakota was soft voiced and tender handed. Later he said he was surprised how emotional it was for him.
 Ian surprised me most with the depth of his tenderness. He is so, so attentive and loving with Ever.
 Suddenly, we had FOUR KIDS!!!
 My mom and her second granddaughter. Ever's middle name- Elizabeth- is after my Grandmother, my mom's mom. We miss her so much.
 My mom teaching Lola how to hold Ever. My mom took care of the kids while I was in the hospital, which  meant lots of really good food and presents!  We waited so long for Ever. We went through so much, including the loss of a baby at 13 weeks that we still all mention, love, and think about. Ever truly completes our family. Happy Birthday, baby girl!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

night sky

via into the surreal

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