Friday, June 29, 2012

not a princess

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Incredible List of 10 Steps To Create A Magical Summer For Kids

1. Start with a soundtrack  In the car and home, having one or two CD's of music that play off & on all summer layers the summer experience for your children; it is a way of sealing experience into memory that gives it an added layer of texture: sound. Music. Pick a type of music that maybe you haven't listened to often or at all. We've done bluegrass, swing, French pop, Michael Jackson (his own catagory), and this summer we are listening to Starbucks New Orleans blues jam at home, and in the car a Disney song CD that has classical music as its underlying presence, layered with Disney voices singing random songs (not from Disney movies) like ' Your Library '- a song that completely delights me and has even hooked Lola and Emily, who are ten. To a thundering string section we hear ' how far away is Neptune? / just what is a blue moon? / What did famous men say? / anything they said you'll find it here! / your library! / something to rely apon! / your library! / take a tip from Ludwig Von! ' What is important is the repetition: the music must be played often and all summer, to seal the summer light, heat and laughter inside of it, to be released for the rest of their lives when they hear it play or remember the sound.

2. Find water. Enter. Repeat. The summer must include water play. Living in Southern California, we have access to beaches all year long, but nothing compares to the summer experience of a blistering hot day, the smell of sunblock, brightly colored towels, shouting, splashing, the feel of cold water against your skin, burning your feet on concrete, stuffing your face after swimming. Swimming has a particularly wonderful effect on children, both energizing and exhausting them, and even the most timid swimmer finds joy sitting in a foot of cold water and flexing their toes. Eating after swimming is incredibly wonderful, food tastes better and you are inevitably starving. Sitting in the kitchen wrapped in a towel, music playing quietly while eating black bean burritos with avocado and cheese, my kids are blissed out. We use the complex pool, but before we had one we used the community pool, and when we didn't use that we had a Wal-Mart plastic pool and a slip and slide out front on the lawn. All are awesome.

3. Surround them with books. A few times a week I load whatever kids are on hand and head toward Barnes and Noble. We go in the middle of the afternoon when it is blazing hot and after we've eaten lunch, and enter the air conditioned book sanctuary with a sigh. I order hot coffee, the older kids maybe have a cookie, maybe not, and I follow Ever around in the kid section while the other children browse and read. We usually end up staying for hours. Every now and then I squat and read Ever a book, but at 18 months she usually only follows along to one or two before she's ready to move. After a while, I hold a book or magazine in hand and read while following Ever. Sometimes at the end, Lola watches Ever while I browse. The books smell delicious, like nothing else. The effect of being surrounded with books is also like nothing else: an entire corniaopia of ideas, worlds, thoughts, experiences, hope, despair, hilarity, adventure, discovery, science, every fascinating thing you can think of is packaged and piled on the floor, on bookshelves and countertops. Whatever Lola is interested in, I find a book on it and drop it off with her casually ' you might like this... ' Last year she read a ton about sharks and Helen Keller. Dakota used to read animae, Calvin and Hobbes and books on dragons. Ian loved anything about old wars, guns and ninjas. Sometimes a child will find a book that sparks an interest they never even knew they had, and they will cry when you have to leave.( OK, so that last part isn't so amazing. ) At home, we have books for adults and kids in every room, bookshelves in every room, and making quiet time almost every day where the groan ' nothing to do ' can be met with ' find a book ' is important. Boredom is the precursor to a lot of exploration, imagination and delving into things otherwise left alone. I also pick a few books to read out loud to my kids every summer. Right now I'm reading Bambi to Lola (and Ever by default)

4. Do nothing. Time to drift, to imagine, where the T.V. and computer and pads of I's are not allowed. Time where ' what should I doooo? ' is met with a SUPER ANNOYING shrug from Mom. Time where the house is quiet and maybe the baby is sleeping and the kids find themselves lying on their backs staring at the ceiling in total silence, after Mom threatens to ground them from T.V. if they ask again to watch it. This is good. This is very good. Make sure there are pockets of this every day. This is the time when, as a child, I created a newspaper/newsletter that I ended up working on for a few months. This is when I wrote poetry, journaled, made elaborate worlds for potato bugs, took naps I didn't know I needed, prayed, found corners of my yard that were perfect for playing fairies and dressed up my dogs. This is the time when a child's mind finds more deeply and profoundly what the world is to them without any interference. It is when spirituality, creativity, intellectual curiosity and self control can be navigated.

5. Spend lots of time in nature. Sit underneath bushes and push toes in dirt. Climb trees. Take hikes, slow and watchful, fast and exhaustive. Crash through waves at the beach, hunt for sand crabs. Swim in a lake. A relationship with the wild is one of the most important aspects of life I hope to pass on to my children- nature is all of our church, is is the true universal language. I myself have a particular affinity for trees and lakes, out of all of nature's offerings; spending time at Lake zaca at my girlfriends's wedding was restorative for all of us. Watching Ever and Lola waddle around the edge of the lake, getting muddy and falling, rolling strange objects in their hands, looking through the long grasses, I was reminded of how powerfully nature absorbs us. The look of intent on Ever's face when observing a fly, the lengths she went to track it and the absorption with which she followed it's flight was beautiful. This is the opposite of ADD. Nature is healing for our souls and our physical bodies, and I want my children to have an instinct to seek out nature when they are lost in life, and when they need to reconnect with peace and acceptance, and to use their bodies the way our bodies were meant to be used when created. Moving amongst the world. Spending plenty of times out doors in the wild means that our children will care more about what happens to our planet, and it is easier for them to understand the environmentally concerned choices that we are making at home. Every summer I take my children hiking, to the beach, the local lake and the local park which has a stream and plenty of trees, birds, small fish and water plants.

6. Watch foreign films and documentaries and amazing animation. We have developed a rhythm where the summer is a time of more experimental fare for viewing. While we watch foreign films and documentaries the rest of the year also, it's nothing like the ratio of summer viewing. Over the summer the T.V. is generally not allowed on until the evening, and then we scroll through the On Demand, after a long day of summering. We are tired and cozy and fed, and I cuddle up Lola while Ever drifts off. During the school year Lola is allowed T.V. at 7pm, and usually watches Disney channel for an hour. Filling the summer with more exotic filmmaking gives the summer itself a more exotic feel; it helps highlight summertime as a special place of magic, where girls speak fluent French and teach in Germany, or we learn how a tiger protects her young in the wild. Last weekend Lola and I watched The Hedgehog, a French film based on the novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog . The narrator is an eleven year old girl who reminded me physically quite a bit of Lola, and is only a year older. The story is a dark, but in my house this is all right, as long as certain perameters exist, which they did in this movie. We had a wonderful talk about life and death and French girls and history after the movie. Oftentimes these movies provoke questions that can be answered later that week at a trip to B&N, where we find a book to tell us what we want to know. It's good for children to have to follow along while reading the dialogue, even if they miss some or get lost at points. It's a good study of human behavior to see how much they understand of what is going on even without the 'explanation'. Usually they follow right along even if they miss a few lines. I ask a lot of leading questions, to help their imaginations and logic come together and lead them to conclusions, or better questions!*

7. Make A big ole awesome craft.  Now I am close to the least crafty person in the world. While I love a good collage, that is as far as my crafty instincts go. But still, every summer I tackle one or two really cool crafty projects with my kids. This summer we are building a giant cardboard castle. Not only does it provide a time to work together as a team, it creates another dimension to the summer, a 3-D cardboard pop-out that comes to mind when the kids remember summertime.


8. Explore your neighborhood and city. Maybe you don't have gas money to go all over the place every day- we don't. But we can visit the park ten minutes away that we've never been to, or go once to the nickel arcade, trapse through the pet store we've never been in that has all the huge snakes or spend an afternoon in the library one town over. Learning to be curious about the world around you can start with actually taking time to visit that world. Kids only get to go where you take them!

9. Have your child set a goal and accomplish it by summer's end. Summertime is ready made for goal setting- a tidy chunk of time in which many things can be accomplished. Lola desperately wants an Ipad, which we can.not. afford no way no how. But we can help her to earn money. She made blocks of frozen treats that are currently filling the freezer and will be sold, and is spending some time at her grandma's working to earn money. Her friend in the complex is also working with her, and they will share the Ipad on a schedule and agreement they've come up with my help. Not only is this awesome for self motivation and confidence, it slowly and non-threateningly builds independence.

10. Make magic. Be ridiculous, creative, silly, boldly magical. We hung a fairy banner we already owned on the front porch, spray our hair colors, go on mud hikes, play shaving cream in the bathtub, dance half naked in the kitchen, paint our nails, stay up half the night talking (last night!) , make cookies and watch a movie, eat dinner outside often, compete for weirdest dance move, whatever we can think of.  I try to let joy loose on a regular basis. It's the best magic I know.

* true story- i also say SHHHHH a lot.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Monday, June 25, 2012

Breakdown Of The Nights of An Insomniac Neurotic

Food consumed this weekend:

Doubleshot 1/2 caf. with soy
Kind bar (raw nuts and fruits)
Linguini with crab
1 stuffed small mushroom
Corona Light
Doubleshot, 1/2 caf. with soy
Egg and turkey bacon sandwich 
2 black bean avocado and cheese burritos
1/2 a Pacifico
1 bag Oreo 'chips' (some Weight Watchers thing that is delicious)
Cup of Noodle
Rocky Road Ice Cream

So. Yeah. Pretty sure I'm not making premium breastmilk for Kinny with these ingredients.

Stress. Eating. Stress. Eating.

Lying in bed at night trying to sleep. Keep feeling like I have head lice and scratching head. I have no head lice. Give up. Turn on T.V. It's 2am. Ever is sleeping next to me. Lola is asleep on the small bed pushed up next to my bed. Mr. Curry is sleeping on Lola's bed in Lola's room. Turn on T.V. Realize You've Got Mail is just starting, feel tremendously happy. Love  You've Got Mail. Perfect antidote to fearful, neurotic brain: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, snappy dialogue, sweet, New York, Meg's apartment, Meg's bookstore, the computer messaging back and forth, Parker Posey and Greg Kinnear as the nevermeanttobes, love. Tell self I will fall asleep during movie. Stay up and watch entire movie, minus a break where I spend 20 or more minutes searching for fleas. Find and kill five fleas.
Borax and vacuuming is working, yes. Downstairs for food, back upstairs. Read A Stained White Radience. Fall asleep 4am, neurotic worrying brain finally overcome with fatigue. Wake early, give baby to Mr. Curry, back asleep until 11am.

Ashamed to admit I watched half of Waterworld.

Watched three episodes of Investigates...  and 48 Hrs. etc all which included brutal, in house murders.
Checked downstairs at 1am including closets and laundry room, holding a kitchen knife. Realized I was heading for crazytown and am not allowed to watch those shows anymore, indefinitely. 

List of Worries
Mr. Curry
my sister Lura who I haven't seen in 9 years
my lack of job
heart attacks
babies crying in cribs and no one is picking them up
kids getting abused and no one knows
the boy who lives in my complex and is fat and everyone at his school is making fun of him and his dad said he tried to stop it/had meetings with school/nothing is working/son is miserable, keep thinking what can i say to him to help? 
the Supreme Court and health care
my lack of insurance 
Dakota's friend who I believe is very sad
the two women I've read about online in the last week who died of breast cancer and were only in 30's
my novel
babies throwing fits and people getting angry and yanking them
all the babies that cry so much at daycare and preschool because there are too many babies and not enough teachers and i can't believe this is normal/acceptable but it is

Then I start over again with my family. 

This is the last few nights. Melatonin, I"m looking at you. 

West Coast!
(Dakota made me say that)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Little Boy Turns Eighteen


Eighteen years ago. I held you and had a spiritual experience. A storm front rode though the white, sterile hospital room as clearly as if I could reach out and thrust my hand through the thick condensation, breath the cold, wind whipped air. At nineteen, only one year older than you are now, I had been the in the perfect state for complete transformation: changed, but not blossomed, clear but lost, hopeful but terrified, seeking but unfindingunfindingunfinding: then: standing in front of full length mirror with your Aunt Lura and your Grandma Mary- only in her mid-forties then, with long wild red hair- I said this: My breasts look funny. Purple. Hm. Grandma Mary turned to me from the closet, pulling on a sweater, and said Oh Maggie, could you be pregnant? And like so many times in my life, I Knew. I knew at that moment, as I shook my head 'no', then corrected with words ' Well Maybe... ' that I was pregnant, and then, to my astonishment, I knew that it was the best thing that could happen to me; I was briefly  overwhelmed with terror, which I quickly recognized as obligatory, and then suffused with joy. 

I think you will find that this is not the reaction of most 19 year old girls who find they are pregnant while they are unmarried, jobless, living with their mother and sister in a one bedroom apartment and recently broken up with the father. I'm not most girls.

At 20 I lay in Pomerado Hospital in complete bliss, the state I was the entire last few months of my pregnancy, again, the opposite of what you would expect. The last few months normally being a puffy, water retaining, back hurting, sleepless and anxiety producing time of constant peeing and random pains. I felt wonderful. I never have felt so completely calm and joyful at the same time, so excited about the future. I did not have dreams of college at that time, those would come later, any dreams of mine, but your life given to me, your spirit placed with me, was the gift that woke me up from a long, dreamless sleep. As soon as I held you in my arms I felt as they say Fathers often feel about their baby girls: I was taken, completely, you owned me. I knew I was yours completely and that my love for you was limitless. At that moment I felt God. Throughout my life I have been spiritual and then agnostic and so forth, switching around like a lost lamb. I will never fail to report what the truth of my experience is, and while you were being born, and afterward, I clearly felt the presence of something else with us. It felt like this:

When you are out in the wilderness all alone underneath trees, and it is dark. The full moon is out and you feel a cold breeze across your face, in your ear, through your hair, and your cheeks hurt. You are waiting for something wonderful but it is not there. The sky is purple and black and stars are shot through like pinpricks of diamonds. The trees are singing in their tops, murmuring to the sky, swishing. An owl flies over and then nearby and then to your astonishment, lands on a treebranch directly in front of your face. He is two feet away but you can barely see him but his eyes, the enormous saucer yellow eyes of an owl. He hoots at you and stares at you solemnly. The wind blows. The trees murmur. You begin to cry, and the owl hoots again softly, dips his head, and flies away.

When you were born I felt the great owl and the night and the air and the presence of those enormous eyes on me. I felt that the entire cosmos was celebrating your birth, and I thought that if I were deeply religious I would think ' This is how it felt when Jesus was born ' and then I thought that not being deeply religious I was still having that same thought. And then I knew that this is how the world rejoices every time a baby is born. Although the faces around a particular birth may not reflect it, it is there. 

I think back to that day often, and how the feeling that I had did not disappear immediately, as I feared it would, but took years to fade. I was graced, graced with the gift of that emotion, because it protected you from the worst of me, parts of me that were so damaged that I needed, and got, intensive therapy for the first four years of your life. Without that overwhelming, spiritually ecstatic love that I felt every waking moment the first long length your life, the demons that I carried would have hurt you. That was my own personal idea of hell, that I would brand my children with my own pain. If I have ever received divine intervention, that was it. 

It seems impossible for me to tell the story of you without talking so much about me. Your birth and  your life has tremendous meaning. Not only did it save my spirit, it also has graced your brothers and sisters with a mother more healed and more stable than I would have been able to give them were I not forced to grow so quickly to better parent you. Your spirit reflects the enormity, the meaning of your birth as well as it's endless joy. 

You are beautiful.  The very essence of life and it's joy and possibility radiates from your wide, crinkling blue eyes and smile. Young manhood carries you like a sword, sharp and sarcastic and intelligent and brash, bold and arrogant but deeply felt and considered. The lyrics you write for your music reflect not only your wit and intellect but the depth of your reflection on life. Your laugh is one of the most cheerful, energizing things in my world. Your very walk is one of young life- long brown arms swinging, so often laughing, smiling, swimming, skating, running, playing bass, moving like the  young do move. You meet each person you greet eye to eye, as I always taught you to. Hold your head up, son, I'd tell you over and over, and look people in the eye. Smile, because it lets them knowyou mean no harm. To this day you meet people head up, smile open, eye to eye. You honor character, courage, loyalty, integrity. Last week you found a wallet and waited with it in hand until the old lady in our complex came back, frazzled and upset, and found you standing with it open palm. 

Your friends are made fast, as if you were still five. You make friends with babies to old people, police officers- like the one you met and ate lunch with on the East Coast this summer- and hoodlums, gang bangers and business men. You talk to hobos and learn their life stories. Your favorite books when you were little were Calvin and Hobbes, the enormous comic collections that you read so often they are brown and worn to scraps. I read them to you so often I know all the stories. You love music, girls, your family, your friends, bass guitar, writing lyrics, skating, people, Hawaii, San Diego and plan to get a San Diego tattoo on your back soon. You discern character quickly, something I like to think you inherited from me.  You are very funny, something I know you inherited from your dad. You are cautious but brave. You were afraid to bungee jump but did anyway. You were afraid to stay overnight with Grandma in L.A. when you were a little boy but told me tearfully on the phone, I know I'm never really away from you, Mommy. But I miss you anyway. You are interested in every person you meet, a fabulous quality. You love and dote on your little sisters and are comrades with your brother. You are at times volatile but like a man does, you are learning to restrain. You mostly hold back when I see you want to bark at me. You are growing up. You are grown up. Oh....

my sweet boy.

I could type a thousand and five words on this page and all would just be representations of the same
three words:

I love you
I love you
I love you

You are eighteen June 22, 2012. You are going to have a wonderful, love filled, interesting life done your own unique way.

Always and Forever,


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who's On First?

Ages and Names of Key Players 
Lola / 10
Dakota / 17
Ever / 1
Me / 37

Lola: Who is in the bathroom? -sounds slightly irritated and aggressive, like a football coach wondering why a play went wrong.

Me: Not me -distant voice, as I am on computer- But I need to use it! Why don't you just use this one? -meaning the one in my master bedroom-

Ever: Wola! Wola! (this means Lola)

Lola: Because the floor is soaked Mom. Did Ever pee in here? Well who is in there then? -more aggressively

Me: Don't be rude, Lola.  And no! Ever didn't pee. It's from the shower. Your shower, I believe.

Ever: No! No! Noooo!! Mommy.

Lola: Well I have TO GO pee Mommy.

Me: Hmmmm.

Ever: Pee! Pee! Crying?

Lola and I simulatenously: No one is crying!

Lola: I hate it when you say 'hmmm'. It's so annoying.

Me: -in warning tone- That's enough, Lola.

From Bathroom, Dakota: Lola! Chill out! I'm using the bathroom. Use the other one and stop complaining so loud!

Ever: -high pitched loud voice, puts hands in fists and shrugs her eyebrows and shoulders- No! No! Wola! Oh mang! -this means 'oh man'

Lola and I: laughing

Lola: Dakota can I please use it now?

Dakota: God! Stop being so loud! I'm trying TO USE THE BATHROOM

Ever: God! Wola! Mang!

Dakota: laughter

Ever: Crying?

Dakota: laughter

Lola and I: No crying!

Ever: Oh mang.

Baby Butt!

If there is a master list of Cutest Things On Earth, baby butts are DEFINITELY on it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You Call Your Baby WHAT?!: Nicknames

My family likes to give offhand, nonsensical and sometimes downright rude nicknames to everyone and everything in our orbit. Mr. Curry's beat, cantankerous old blue truck (which I miss but him, not so much) was Blue Thunder. My first picture with Ever was taken in front of Blue Thunder- she was only the size of a blueberry. Sniff. My car back in the day was white and the kids could not understand why we couldn't name it their brilliant idea: White Power. Again. Not so much. At the time we had a legion of cats and they were all named after Harry Potter characters (sniff) and had truncated names- Hermione 'mimi' Mr. Weasley 'weasel' etc. Our dogs, who are still around and SUPER ANNOYING* are Bodie: Bodes Muchaches, King of the Wild Frontier, and Wolfgang: Wolfie Toofie. 

Here's the rundown of the kids;

Dakota: Doda (what Lola always called him before she could pronounce his whole name) and a brief stint as 'Cody' in his younger years which didn't stick because he is SO NOT a Cody

Ian: Ian the Brain, Ian Genius (when he was little, nobody calls him that anymore. he has a sizeable head which is necessary for his genius level brain. Ever also inherited this oversized brain/head)

Lola: Yoya, Lola of the Moon Clan, Lolacoaster

Ever: Everkins, Kinny (we call her this all day, maybe more than her real name) Kinnykins, Ever Ysabeth (based on her name Ever Elizabeth, I tend to call her this when she is doing something sneaky and I'm warning her) You Old Fatty Baby, Fattykins

So what about you?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Testing: Can You See This Crazy Person?

Tell me if this video is working.
If it is, then...
now you know.
I never promised you a rose garden!

Friday, June 15, 2012

ms basilworth's files

gone to ms basilworth's files

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Toddler Propoganda

Have children today and you have immediate cultural relevance, because half of all advertising ( this is based on my obsessive consumption of all things pop-culture ) is geared toward parents. Specifically, making parents feel that they absolutely must buy THIS NOW if they are possibly going to have charming, successful*frolicking modern child that can function normally in society or I need this for adorable Facebook pictures. That's not what the ads actually say of course, but what K-FKD in our heads ( thank you Anne Lamott for naming that particular station ) is announcing. I'm the worst with this because I am a major sucker for packaging.Take a piece of shit and put a big pink bow on it and have it hum It's A Small World After All when you jiggle it, and I'm sold.

After Ever was born I tried desperately not to fall into rabid frothing consumption, and at first, I succeeded. I was on maternity leave and we were broke, and in the beginning Ever still had enough clothes and trinkets and doodads to satisfy a small orphanage thanks to my baby shower. Then I went back to work, and we weren't so broke, and Ever started growing out of her infant clothing and toys, and became a toddler, and I have a blog that could be leveraged for trades, and I know where Etsy lives, and Target was five minutes from my house- is that even fair play?- and so, I consumed. Mmmmm. Feels good, doesn't it? 

So let's look at what Ever has had from 12-17 months, and then at what she needed. 

What Ever Had From 12-17 Months

crib mobile
crib blankets
hair doodads
baby shoes
snot sucker
stuffed toys
hard toys
jingly toys
car seat
car seat toys
music player
wooly lamb music player large
wooly lamb music player small
baby wipe warmer
nursing cover
baby food blender
baby food glass jars
baby snack jars 
baby clippers
baby brush
baby shampoo
baby bath toys 
baby songs CD

What Ever Needed From 12-17 Months

boobs (mine) (not even included on first list)
snot sucker

Admittedly, a few of the above listed thises and thats made life a LOT easier these last months, mostly the car seat toys, baby CD and her teethers. And the rest of the things, well, they made ME very happy. Because I am totally a slave to the machine.

*What IS a 'success' at being a child? Lord.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This morning I woke to Ever and Lola laying low and folded in clean white sheets and blankets and beautiful light falling in glowing white envelopes from the shutters, and then, with my eyes closed, I heard Ever's tiny bebe voice squealing flea! flea! I rolled over and squeezed open my eyes to watch Lola pinch a tiny bebe flea off of Ever's fatty arm. We have fleas. We don't have money for Advantage. What we do have is a venti Starbucks cup with soapy water and about a million dead fleas lying at the bottom. At night I lay my Fifth Witness down and place my swollen feet on the carpet. I wiggle my toes. They are bait. The fleas jump and twitch and bip and make me sick. They congregate. Last night I was sitting in my thong in my close on the floor, eating chocolate pop tarts and reading Anne Lamott's  Traveling Mercies and and I looked down to see four fleas closing in on my vagina. I don't know if this has ever happened to you but I highly recommend against it. It's the closest thing to action my vagina has gotten in a while though. My life feels very random and scary right now so controlling the flea population of my bedroom does have some satisfaction. When I put on the lamp and lay a blanket over it to dim the light, the fleas wiggle butt upward out of the beige carpet fibers and begin doing their ticky dance around the heat of the bulb. It's like pulling crops from the fields. And then drowning them. I washed the dogs last week and the amount of fleas on them was staggering. I don't know how life as we know it will end but when all is desolate and still, I expect tiny black flecks of fleas to begin popping up from the scorched earth. I feel like Mrs. Hannigan- kill! kill! kill! That woman knew how to be depressed. I need a gin bath, red lipstick, a scratchy record player and a penchant for rich bald men with muscular necks. And in the end I'll be good enough anyway, and everyone will sing around a large fountain and give me free liquor and my lipstick will be red but not smeared and I won't ever put little girls in closets again, or drown fleas in suburban Starbucks cups.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Put the Camera Down and Look At Me

Ever is seventeen months old and I am obsessed with her. I am not as much an infant mommy as  I am a toddler mommy- my love and adoration turns into full blown goo goo ga ga ridiculous, dopey, stars over my head love. Everything she does or is charms and delights me. Her belly button smells wonderful, like a cookie, her earwax ( waxsacks as Lola calls it, which makes me laugh every time. say it out loud. you'll see. ), the bottoms of her stinky feet. Her expressions strike me as particularly and UNUSUALLY charming, impish, intelligent, delightful. I'm in love, and it's just as disgusting and ridiculous and irrational as romantic love- maybe even more, because adult partners don't throw tantrums in the grocery store over being unable to once again, chew straight through the plastic bag AND the avocados. Or if they do, that's over pretty quick. I hope. 

Whatever it is she is doing, I want to document it. Ever look over here, I squeal at her while she's pulling off the petals of a flower. Ever look at mommmyyyy! I cajole while she kisses the dog on his big wet stinky nose. Ever see me? See me? See me? I repeat like a crazy ape, jumping up and down waggling my arms in an attempt to crack a smile out of my daughter, who is minding her own business concentrating on her puzzle. She looks up at me slightly irritated and wary. I think it's SO CUTE and have to immediately get a photo!!!

After the third time my entire group of children had left a room, disgusted with my photographic insistence and hauling the baby on their shoulders, I slowly began to accept that I had a serious problem. Like most writers I've always documented life in my mind as it went along, and having children has taken a natural inclination and turned it into something else- a fixation.

So much of my adult life has been about erecting barriers between myself and the people or experiences I love, and then working my ass off to dismantle those barriers once I realize what I'm doing. Photographing my children became one of those barriers. Instead of sitting on the hot concrete, feeling the sticky pull of dried soda on my arm, hearing the dog two doors over bark his deep, throaty complaint, and watching my baby girl explore each grass blade with the meticulous, absorbed intention of a neurosurgeon, I placed a camera in between myself and my consciousness, and let the camera be the focus. clickclickclick A photo can be a beautiful window into an experience you want to remember, and it can also be a momento of an experience you barely remember because you were so busy documenting. Instead of being a memory keeper at all times, I want to simply be Ever's mommy. 

(and get some good photos, sometimes.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read

At Huffington Post > Kristen writes about the day she went against her rule and let her son play with guns. I totally relate to the underlying premise of this piece- that flexibility, the willingness to see what is most important to our kids- is just as important as following 'rules'

At Vodkamom> A hilarious tale of warning

At Boston Mommas> Great weekend moving tips from a pro

At Sassafrass> Jessica writes about her 'ninja squad' ie the people you need on your side during a divorce

At Sweetney> Tracey shares some Pema Chodron quotes- a Buddhist monk who eases the mind and spirit

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Even Assholes Were Babies Once

This morning I woke up and put the girls in the car and drove Lola to school, per usual. And as usual, at some point, someone was an asshat on the road. This particular someone happened to be driving a large jacked up truck, Hispanic, wearing sunglasses and a white sleeveless tee and had a handlebar mustache. I looked at him as he took my turn at the four way stop and suddenly, there he was, a big bobbling, crying baby head with a handlebar mustache, driving a truck! 

I decided that for the rest of the day, everyone who annoys or insults or otherwise displeases me is going to instantly- a la Ally McBeal- be changed into the bobble-headed crying baby version of themselves. 

What are you doing today?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Internet Just Erased My Memory

I changed comments to Disqus, as you all know, and it seems to be working, yay! BUT. It also has erased every single comment ever left on my blog. I actually feel like crying. Some of the pieces I wrote that were extremely personal had an amazing number of comments that were packed with some of the best encouragement and advice I've ever been lucky enough to receive.

Does anyone know of any way to get them back?

I'm going to try to contact someone at Disqus.

wedding by the lake part 2

-these last two pictures are not mine, a friend of taymar's took them xo

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

a wedding by a lake part 1

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sleeping In The Dark

Over the weekend we were gone to the mountains and the lake and the place where the wild things go and the humans follow, where there are trees dripping into the shores of the shimmering lake and thick husks of rope hanging to swing into the water and splash next to the orange and yellow fishes. One of my dearest friends got married there, and I will soon regale you with that story, and the gorgeous pictures of really the most magical wedding I've ever attended. Clue: the invitation said Dress: Forest Elegant.  I'll have to also tell you what kind of person this woman is- the kind who when planning her wedding thought about how expensive it would be for everyone to drive or fly in and do the normal wedding tromp, and so planned a wedding where literally our only expense was the gas to drive there and back. Lola was a fairy flower girl and not only was her dress made and ready for her, so was a crazy gorgeous flower wreath for her head. My friend is a mad fairy masquerading as a regular human, and I'm so blessed to know her.

We made our way up toward the mountain and then up more and in, driving through the fog of a long mountain night to reach the log cabins settled right up against the lakeside. It was 1am and the baby had slept, cried, nursed at the side of the road and repeat for most of the drive. We were exhausted. Mr. Curry drove for six hours at the end of a long day of work and after hauling our things into the cabin, dropped heavily into bed. I let Lola lay with us for a handful of minutes, acclimating. After lots of snuggling I shooed her to the top bunkbed, over Ian, and we switched off the vintage table lamp.


It has been a long, long time since I have experienced that kind of dark. It lays across your face like a blanket and presses into your eyes like, I couldn't help feeling, the very hand of God telling you to sleep. It is the entire Universe collaborating to tell its children to sleep. And so we did. We fell asleep, all five of us, in five minutes. One minute per person. And the next night, the same. Lights out, and darkness, and no whining, moaning, complaining, water drinking, potty breaking, teary eyed complaints- just sleep. Blissful, heavy sleep. Ever slept better than she does at home.

Which made me wonder: Are we sleeping with too much light? 

The night sky of Nature can have it's brilliant light- but it is of stars shining from hundreds of years away, the light of time. Our lights are man made and piercing and demanding and remind us of waking life. They are not lights of spirit but lights of obligation. 

The Alarm Clock Light- Your going to have to wake up and take your kids to school at the crack of dawn!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

The Computer Light- Your novel is unfinished, you didn't answer your email, oh my God look how long it's been since you Tweeted, they probably think you are TOTALLY IRRELEVANT 

The Cable Box Light- I'm green and pointless and tiny and super mega annoying. You forgot to record Girls, by the way. 

Our master bedroom is the hub of the house at night. Everyone is in and out of here, showering, bathing, watching the freakishly enormous and so outdated we couldn't sell it on Craigslist TV of ours, or browing online next to the fan, or playing with the baby on the floor, or rolling around on one of our two beds. At bedtime, everyone disperses but often the computer is still on, left that way in case I can make myself get back up and work- which I do, 80% of the time- and the alarm clock is set and facing us, and the cable box is glowing, and oftentimes the closet light is on just to help me stay awake and get things done.  Ever sleeps in here and mostly so does Lola, on the little bed next to our bed. On top of all this light, our windows- we have three in here- are closed with gorgeous white shutters which still let in light from the streetlamps. That's a lot of light.

So tonite, I've draped a shirt over the alarm, Ever's pants over the cable box, and a small towel over the computer box. Melatonin, the hormone our bodies produce to make us tired, is created only in the absence of light, and I know that people who sit in front of glowing computer screens (ahem) quite a bit can have problems with sleep, and I'm sure our hormone production has much to do with that, along with the way our brains work. 

Part of the problem for me is that I don't have any light to read by. I can't just lie down, barely tired, in a dark room and go to sleep, because ANXIETY. So to wind down, I'm often watching TV right before bed, or online, and although this feels relaxing, I don't think my brain agrees. If I had a reading lamp, I would read every night, which is what I've done most of my life until... I didn't have a reading lamp! I'm going to buy one, and add that to my sleep arsenal. I also like the influence it has on my kids to see me reading every night, especially since I read less right now because of Ever. 

Maybe we will sleep more, and better.  I'll let you know.

*couldn't find source for image
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