Sunday, June 30, 2013

Google Reader Shuts Down Tomorrow


Google reader's last day is July 1st. To learn how to switch to Bloglovin, go here. To follow me, go here.

Ever and I are getting ready to go downstairs with Lola and make the house cute for Dakota's late birthday celebration. He's here from Long Beach and we're all going to eat and then come back home, where we are going to do a monkey piƱata and enjoy the Spiderman decor I picked up at Wal-Mart :) Silly summer fun.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

Take a seat next to 2 year old me, and read. Boy, I look serious.

I think about the parents who lost their children in Newtown a few times a week. This article tells the bitter truth through one Newtown family about life after the violent loss of a child.  '..into the lonely quiet'

A happy Tumblr all about bikes.

More on Marie Calloway. I am looking forward to reading her new book.

So Dena Rash Guzman's debut poetry book that I reviewed, Life Cycle, sold out at Powells. While they are restocking, you can buy it here 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer 2013- Slip and Slide

Music: Joe Santana oops, it was Stevie Ray Vaughan
Eats: cold pizza, grapes, ice water, popsicles 
Injuries: One hard landing
Tears: None
Piles of Dog Poop that had to be picked up: Three
Cousins Over: 2
Neighbors Over: 2
Weather: 90

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Barnes and Noble And Dead Fish

Mr. Curry loved his Spiderman poster on Father's Day. He's a huge Spidey fan- a comics fan, a Batman fan, but especially Spidey. He hung the poster in our garage. I love it there. I like pulling into the garage and seeing him swinging there in his bright red and blue superhero outfit. 
Those fish? Are dead. We bought three fish. Minnie ( Ever's ) Crystal ( Lola's) and Princess ( M's ) and three fish died. I tried. One night, years ago when Dakota and Ian were the age Lola is now, I stayed up until three am trying to keep an eel alive in a fish tank. He died anyway, and I cried myself to sleep like a little kid. Dakota loved that eel, and I let it die. That's how it feels when you are mom. 
The Etch a Sketch is Lola's drawing of me nursing Ever to sleep while I read my book. I love it so much. And Lola took a self portrait which I found on the camera, with Ever and I behind her. See the star underwear on Ever's stripey butt? Those are from Old Navy, a last minute emergency purchase because about ten minutes after we entered Barnes and Noble, Ever filled her undies with a load of poop so enormous the underwear she had on buckled under the weight and slid, stinky and clumpy, to her ankles. She was wearing, of course, a tiny little skirt that fluffs right above her butt, so after I spent a half hour in the restroom of Barnes and Noble cleaning Ever ( I'm so sorry, whoever changes the tiny little brown bag that is supposed to be for sanitary pads. I had no choice. Her underwear had to go. ) we scooted across the parking lot to buy a package of underwear, and scooted back. Ever then marched up to a perfectly angelic looking baby- barely walking- and said in a stern voice with her arms crossed, ' MOM. THIS BABY HAS MY SHOES. ' --Well yes, dear, those are the same shoes as yours, but they aren't YOUR shoes, are they, because yours are on  your feet. If you think that logic should work, join my club. If you think that's one of the stupidest things anyone has ever said, join Ever's.
The weekend ended with Mr. Curry having a tooth pulled.
He is now spitting blood into a little cup, but I won't take a picture of that and put it on here.
Unless you want me to.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

This birthing video and pictures are gobsmackingly gorgeous and illuminated with love: Welcoming Theodore from one of my favorite bloggers.

Stephen Colbert's tribute to his recently deceased Mother made me cry. It's the meaning of life. 

'Black Hockey Jesus' wrote this, and I think you should read it. 

Someday I'll tell you more about why, in this family, we adore Sublime's music now more than ever. Meanwhile, read this.

Francine Prose ( an author I really enjoy ) reviews the movie What Maisie Knows based on the Henry James' novel. Although she says the movie falls far, far short, I still want to see it.

I wrote How To Accessorize Your Bikini for the Budget Fashionista. Even though I can't afford to buy more, I am obsessed with bikinis this summer. They are so gorgeous these days.

Draw Your Life on Know Your Meme

A really depressing reminder that drowning can happen within a minute and is usually SILENT. We listen for splashes, yells or sounds of distress but we shouldn't= we have to watch.

Friday, June 21, 2013

wake her every four hours

ache arms when i am afraid,
a stone lodged for drowning
in my throat.
Advil, prescription dose.

there is a disease i have
yet to own. it climbs
rung by rung.
my cells sing choral lung.

i set the table for five
another boring martyr.
i am sick
my paste face, dingy freckles.

the fifth rib unsticks
i feel a turgid longing
for vomit
for redemption.

every doctor says the same
fine, fine, fine.
blood alkinine
and smooth, crisp as a green apple.

what makes this hard crust?
these blurry shapes,
rapid cresting tides
of vertigo leaping side to side?

the awful ache and slow contraction
without Vicodin,
without Xanex.
bring my pills direct to the gut.

i cannot swallow.

maggie may ethridge

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini: In Memoriam

I wrote this piece at the conclusion of The Sopranos.  Never has a television show meant so much to me. Never has an actor inhabited a character on televison with the power of James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. Mr. Curry and I fell in love watching Sopranos and eating bad takeout. We both count it as our favorite television show, ever. Thank you Mr. Gandolfini for what you gave us. Rest in peace.

The Sopranos, Greatest Show Ever on Television

I have never been so sad to see a show end  - The Sopranos closed the season with a nod to the mystery, a closing eye, a fluttering lid- we do not know what stirs beneath.

As Norman Mailer said, the Sopranos was akin to great literature. Large in scope, as a VF article said, like many octopus arms, each long tentacle reaching outward toward some other facet of being human.

Tony Soprano. The acting by James Gandolfini was so magnificent it floored me- I have never seen anyone inhabit a character like that on television. His physicality was an enormous part of his role, in a way usually reserved for stage. The heavy breathing, shuffling in bathrobe, large shoulders bowed in grief, rubbing of bald forehead in times of stress, the way his face could swerve wildly from looking piggish and fat to dangerous and intense, even sexy, was thrilling to watch. I couldn't take my eyes off him in a way that does not happen to me with other actors who are acclaimed as magnetic for their sheer beauty. Tony Soprano was made magnetic by Mr. Gandolfini because he brought the internal struggle to the outward feature. A twisted mouth, a belt adjustment, the pull of a sweet cigar- each gesture was revealing.

The rest of the cast were brilliantly convincing in their roles as well. Edie Falco as Carmella, the wife of Tony, was never stamped out by the enormity of her husband, neither in size nor in the role he played in the family- or families. Even during times of quietude, Carmella was clearly not serene, but forcing her fears and unhappiness underground. This, in fact, was a running theme of the show- the way we try to compartmentalize our emotions; the way we fail. Tony's deep unrest at his lifestyle gave him panic attacks ending in dead faint,  large eruptions of rage under duress; some of the most painful scenes to watch were Tony's transformations to his demons, when his face would slide from conflicted to remote, a dark still water in which his eyes went dead and black. This was the signal that he was no longer connected to himself as a whole person, but only to the part of him that was a thug, a murderer, a brutish businessman with decisive and murderous violence at his beck and call.
His enormous, bear like hands made fist.

Again, struggle- the dominating theme of The Sopranos. Tony struggled the entire show to understand and control himself; his therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi were fascinating to watch as the blunt repression of his mind came up against the sharp, painful knives of memory from his childhood, his dead father, his psychotic, manipulative mother- another brilliant characterization. There were moments in therapy, rare but precious for the depth given to such an unlikeable man, when Tony was overcome with the past, when the reality of what he had grown up in dawned on him, and the pain brought a gravity to his thuggish face that was a fine piece of acting, a slender thread of humanity Tony fought to hold onto, and ultimately failed.

As the show moved forward, the theme of death became pervasive. Death in all forms- small daily deaths of character, large sweeping deaths of hope, human death in the toll a mob life takes from all it's participants. When Tony's mother dies, he goes through a profound struggle trying to accept that this means he is indeed completely adult, ie- the next in line to die. Life moves swiftly through the most dangerous currents.

The murder of Adriana, Tony's cousin's girlfriend and a highly entertaining, hopelessly sad character, propelled the show forward in a gruesome, heartbreaking scene in which Adriana, over the period of a pick up and car ride, realizes she is to be killed. She runs through the forest, sobbing and tripping in her heels, as she is gunned down by a man she has known and socialized with for years. The forest swallows her in it's great silence, and we understand at that moment that there is no recovering these people. Occasionally they try to run away and make a new life, to build something new- a massage parlor, a homosexual life in a new town- but they never escape. No one gets out alive.

Most of the characters in the Sopranos seem to be functioning on small intelligence. The depth and accomplishment of the show lies in the writer's understanding that keen intelligence is not necessary for a full range of existence. The dullest characters still suffer, struggle, reach for mysteries they cannot understand. Tony's son A.J. is perhaps the most shallow of characters, but his sluggish life, devoid of passions, still runs on the small pools, hitches, reverses and sudden understandings that occur in life. Even he cannot escape some internal desire to understand his life.

The mystery that is pervasive throughout this entire show is what captivated me entirely. As a poet I operate on the presumption that there are mysteries everywhere and inside myself, mysteries I try to explore or trace in poems, and these mysteries were touched here in this show, with great reverence in the attention to detail, honesty, and respect for the ultimate loss of each and every character. In the end, even Meadow, possibly the most intelligent and modern of the group, becomes entrenched in the dogmatic sublimation of humanity that the mob demands. She protects her father, and loses herself in doing so.

The dream sequences were the most profoundly moving scenes I have ever seen on television. The grey, wet cold chopping of ocean. Boats rocking. The sky, remote and removed, all seeing and uncaring. Sounds that transport us to somewhere else, another time. Faces that become other faces. We are confused, we are lost, we know not what we do. We love. We hurt. We fumble and reach for things beyond our grasp. We find consolations. We endure. We fear. We weep and we laugh, we hold on to what we can never hold on to. This is life as we do not understand it.

Sopranos, you were the greatest show I have ever known.

Thank you David.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Music Forever- Blue October: Worry List

i love love love this song. i love the singer's voice- reminds me of Peter Gabriel- the instruments, the rhythm, the raw emotion and lyrics, the video. oh man. i love. a band new to me and i'm in heaven to find them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fuckin Nuts

Ever couldn't find her Dinosaur Train DVD. I was working out in the living room, doing my lunges and squats, dutiful and uninspired, watching her carry the DVD around. My turn next, Momma. You worked out. Everkins watch Dinosaur Train. Not my turn yet! Not yet! ' Yup,'  I huffed back, ' that's right. '

I finished my workout- The Firm- and moved into the kitchen for a quick drink and handful of nuts. I told Ever I'd get her show on, just a minute. She marched in the kitchen with her hands on her hips, pigtails flopping weakly. She raised her hands and announced:  I can't find my DVD. Fuckin nuts! 

Oh. The shame. Her first curse word is FUCKING? It can't be something more friendly like ' crap ' or ' dammit ' or even ' shit '? It has to be the proletariat F bomb? 

She marched over to the fridge and flung it open, grabbed a grape and stuffed it in her mouth, turned back to me and warbled:  Fuckin nuts! Where's my Dinosaur Train?!

I will not laugh.  ' Ever, Mommy will help you find your Dinosaur Train. Come on... ' and into the living room. She marched behind me with her rear swinging sassily and hands up in teensy cups- as much sass as one tiny two year old could possibly contain being barely contained. Fuckin nuts. I can't even find dis Dinosaur Train, she said to me with her chalk drawn eyebrows raised.  ' Welp, Mommy found it! ' I announced. I plugged it in and headed upstairs.

' Ah ... honey? ' Mr. Curry was in bed, naked and curled up with his two hundred pounds of blankets he requires to sleep, even in California summer, which requires the air conditioner to be on. He was reading Robert Parker. ' So Ever ... ' I told him the story and finished, ' so because of you she's saying fucking nuts! ' 

He made a face. ' Me? No... I don't say that. ' I immediately had the following thoughts: he doesn't curse in front of the kids like I do, and I've been in a horrible mood this last week, therefore I probably said ' that's driving me fucking nuts ' at some point, which could have been referring to, off the top my head: the dogs peeing in the living room, the clouds of cigarette smoke on our porch from the sweet neighbor, the smoke alarm installed above the stove in the kitchen that goes off- in a pitch so high it rings my brain stem- every time we cook anything or the toilet upstairs that keeps running unless we remember to turn it off.

Ever walked into the room. I happened to be sitting on top of Mr. Curry while musing who was responsible for our child's foul mouth. Ever looked at us and opened her eyes big. Mommy, she said, pointing, you are crushing Daddy's peanuts!!!

Aw, nuts.

LAW First Show In Long Beach- Dakota's Band!

I didn't nap Ever so that she'd sleep the drive to Long Beach.
Which she did.
San Onofre. They finally closed it, but supposedly, it will take a decade to get all the radiation moved from where it is to the containers, and then move the containers to undecided location. It's scary to think of all that movement going on so close to my home.
We arrived early and hung out with my mom, Corinne ( my mom's BFF, my second mom since I was five, her daughter and I met in kindy and became best friends ) her friend, Jake's grandparents, Jake and Nick- the other band members- and of course, Dakota.
The venue was this cool little pizza joint slash bar that's been around for fifty years. We prettied up for our  boy's big night.
The pack.
Ever showing us the way into the show. I could hardly eat I was so excited :)
My mom, Dakota with his bass on board, Mr. Curry with Ever and Jake with his guitar. I love this photo.
Dakota and Jake getting ready, and Ever inspecting the goods.
Mike Watt was playing after LAW.  Mr. Curry is a fan from way ago.
One of Jake's family friends has her tattoo all fancied up, so fun!
My mom sittin with Lola, who is holding her American Girl she named Olive.
The boys in the band.
So the night was awesome.
I was so proud I literally felt like I was going to bust open.
Just to see him pursuing his dreams so determinedly makes MY dreams come true.
Every person I met could only tell me how amazing Dakota is, what a respectful, hard working kid he is, how unusually COOL he is, and I"m like
Yeah. I know :)
OK I didn't say that. But that's how I feel.
He and Jake have been best friends since Dakota was 15 and Jake 14, and now almost 4 years later, they
have done exactly what they said they'd do when they were kids:
move to Long Beach, start a band and live together in an apartment.
The whole night was magic for Mr. Curry and I. We stood the entire time for their show, shaking it and filming and Ever danced, too. I cried a little in the end of it all, just for how full my heart was.
So here's an original song:
( Dakota on left on bass/rapping, Jake singing/guitar, Nick on drums )

Friday, June 14, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

something beautiful

Brainpickings: Debbie Millman's advice on courage and the creative life

Miranda July's new project

Awesome website MAKERS : ' compelling stories- unknown and known- from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow ' - I will be watching some of these stories with Lola this summer

A story of health and our health care system I Had a Mysterious, Debilitating Undiagnosable Illness

One of my favorite blogs, ever. The Road Is Home

10 Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar - we swear by this stuff for any stomach ailment. It also cleans your lymphs. 

I guess this is a porn blog? I find this blog, and her, fascinating.  Not sure what I think about it, I just keep going back now and again to read/look. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Letter To Lola on Her Graduation Day

Lola Moon

I always go to write 'my' when I start a letter to you. It's a reflex born partly of what I think is a fierce and beautiful truth- that you were mine, first, before you were here with the rest of the animals and humans, that you were loved more deeply by me, it feels, than anyone could ever ( even your dad, although that is surely not true, it feels true, because despite being a writer with a vivid, sometimes disturbingly broad imagination, I see things from the same ' I ' place as most of us do ) - and partly from a place of reminding, the way a mother wolf reminds her cub not to walk close to a cliff by nipping his flank. The word is more revealing of me than I care for, of my tendency with all my children to want to hoard them, to keep them close as a pack, forever. In this new world we are expected to toss our children out to the depths of the ocean, the heights of mountains and vast stretches of cities that speak languages I cannot understand, with no strings attached. I am not this kind of mother, and never will be. I hover determinedly over my desire to claim you so that it does not stunt you, or my relationship with you, but I will never be ashamed of or refute my deepest instinct that the love of a mother for her child is a claim that can and should be made for life, because it is in being claimed in the beginning that we can free ourselves truly in the adventure between.

Like most truths in relationships, it has a twin. I claim you, I free you. I do this every day, every week, every year, over and over, and it is the singularly most difficult part of being a mother. It is the singularly most breathtaking part of being a mother. You are eleven. You have graduated today from the Fifth Grade. A monumental occasion in your life, the past five years you have been in the same school, with the same teachers and for the most part, the same circulating group of girlfriends. Your principal, a sweet hearted, kind and strict man, has remained the same, and the line you que up in for lunch remained the same. This summer begins for you in one day, after school ends tomorrow, and you look toward middle school with anxiety. You tend toward anxiety, and today at your graduation I looked up at you on stage with a mix of pride and guilt. I feel badly that you inherited my anxious disposition, the same kind of nervous, jittery snappiness that I remember from my Grandmother, my mother, myself as your mother. I work hard to soothe my anxiety, I eat right and do yoga and read Buddhist books and write, all to calm the beast and see life as it is, and not through the filter of fear. I pass my skills on to you alongside those bad genes, and as I watch you navigate through your worries I know that you are learning well. Although you stood on stage with drawn cheeks and your mouth in a line, you knew to tell me, later " Mom I'm just anxious. I'll be fine when we get out of here. There's too many people. "

This year, your fifth grade year, you matured with a rapidity that surprised me as it filled me with joy. Your friend who had moved away and out of school, then moved back, moving into your circle again, she called you filthy names on your Ipad messenger, and you threw yourself into my arms sobbing, hardly able to talk, to tell me, show me. You were devastated. The very next day, after I walked into the school office and reported this,  you began creating a film about bullying. You created a script, held auditions at lunch and recess, and filmed an entire movie about the different ways that kids bully in elementary school. You were the writer and director. You see what I am saying, sweetheart? You are an artist. This is what artists do: take life, and create something from it. This is what strong people do. This is what you did.

You danced in the talent show with two friends, facing your fear of audiences and diligently creating your dance moves and practicing for two months before the show. Your smile beamed from the stage. You loved your baby sister with an utter and complete devotion, sniffling her feet, tickling her tummy, yelling at her in anger when she drags your beloved American Girl dolls from their carefully made beds in your room, bathing with her, reading to her in bed, smacking her booty, kissing her with 'chunky kisses', pulling her hair tight into ponytails while she protested, picking out outfits, cleaning up her messes, holding her hand on walks, criticizing her father and I when we make parenting choices you don't agree with.

This year you dealt with the complex, baffling and sometimes cruel social entanglements between young girls. I watched your sweet and innocent demeanor slowly harden a bit. You are no longer innocent in the way you were before this year began, before girls tore you apart and spit you back out, at one point walking alone at lunch for a handful of days, no one to talk to. You began to internalize some of what you were experiencing instead of working it all out with me, which is what happens when you are 11. Some places inside of your mind and heart are becoming private. I look into your eyes and see those tiny rooms where I am not allowed, and I thrill with the excitement of seeing you blossom at the same time I give a small sigh of sadness to watch you move away from me. 

It was a long end of the year, the last few months you watching your friends, one by one, hurt and harass and call each other out. At times I had to remind you, ' Don't be bossy '. Another trait of mine from childhood, my mother tells me, though I don't remember. You want to control things when they get messy, like all of us. The hardest part of this year for both of us was how your loyalty and love were discarded by certain friends. Once you love a friend- and you do love, not just 'like for this week'- you are loyal, to a fault. I tried not to lecture you- and failed- a number of times on how loyalty to someone who is kicking you when you are down is actually disloyal to yourself. It was physically hard to restrain myself from hunting down some of these girls and scaring the shit out of them, a la This Is Forty. I wanted to. I really, really wanted to. I didn't. In some of these girls, many I've known since they were five, I see reflected in their mannerisms and faces and speech the shallow cruelties they feel inside themselves. Silent wounds that they do not refer to directly, but indirectly in the name calling and bullying and hair flinging mocking of other girls. So it begins.

You are gloriously creative, off beat, loving, kind, imaginative, generous and true blue. You are funny, quirky and a beautiful singer and dancer. Your older brothers adore you and protect you and stay up late watching Saturday Night Live with you. Your dad tickles you and kisses you and takes you to the ballgame for a dad/daughter date night- he is a little terrified of you suddenly, the way you are terrified of middle school. He is a man approaching middle age, and you are an 11 year old girl who, we were told for the first time, a boy who lives in our complex 'likes' now. Everything is changing, and yet what is essential remains. Your family. Your soul. My girl.



Monday, June 10, 2013

The Bright Side Of Now

Lola graduates this week. She's a ball of cat scratch and dropped bowls, frustrated with her own body, the constant fighting between friends at school, and a blow off from one of her best friends. Ian is head down in trenches last weeks getting work done maybe I'll save for a car this summer. He can work for his grandparents, and for Mr. Curry at the moving company. Ever is two. Two is pure existence, pure moment to moment, the ultimate Buddha. As long as she has us, nothing else matters much to her, the world is endlessly fascinating. This weekend we took a break from talking and spent time together just being. Music played. The days here in our little town in Southern California have been ridiculously glorious, a My Little Pony of sparkles, rainbows, clear crystalline blue skies, sun hot enough to warm your muscles but not so hot as to sicken your gut, bright green trees and hills, a slight wind. We swam Friday, Mr. Curry barbecued, we stuffed our faces with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, ice cold beer, soda, and watched an old Steve Martin/Goldie Hawn movie. Bed. Rise Saturday, walked the kids out to the train, stood in the longest line I've ever seen at our train station, Mr. Curry rode the train with the girls while Ian and I sat in silence. Home, nap, rise, pool, barbecue, movie, sleep. This depression is responding to my relentless exercise and diet regime ( work out four days a week, eat little sugar, no gluten but once a week, small breakfast, lunch, eat whatever I want for dinner, don't eat late ) alongside the yoga and Buddhist readings. In small increments I am accepting my emotions instead of having emotions about my emotions. I feel what I feel and fighting it was increasing the suffering. So I turn into it. I face it, let it envelop me. I wait and listen... do I need to cry? If I do, I go to the bathroom and stop fighting and cry, quietly, wipe my face, come outside. I feel brave. I think this is what adults do. Face it. Feel it. Move in the moment. Trying to move outside the moment was making me ill. I can only be where I am. I am sorry if you think I should not be angry. It is so unfortunate if you believe I should not be sad. If you feel I should be in gratitude for all I have, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you. I am proud of myself. It is so hard to face what I'm thinking and feeling- I would rather look on the bright side. Instead, I will see things as they are. And in that place of where I really am and the life I"m actually living, I see the blue sky. I see Ever sillhouted against that layered blue beyond. I feel the sun on my legs and shoulders and face, the freckles climbing on top of one another to pop out. I hear the voices of my husband and children intermingling. I see the doves fighting over a grasshopper. I watch the shadows climbing across the living room as dinner plates sit unwashed. I hear the cars whooshing by our little home. I feel our dogs old, thick fur underneath my fingers. I taste the meat and pickle and beer and bone. I feel rage, and grief, and gratitude, and peace, and joy, and love. I am alive. It was a good weekend.
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