Monday, July 31, 2006

I just feel stuck sometimes

Clown nose

Her new hero, Pat Ferri of Wreckage-O-Rama, gave Annabel a clown nose of her very own. And though she won't wear it she also won't let it out of her sight. Her favorite thing to do with her "nose," is to hang it from the dimmer switch in the dining room, and use it as she might a sling shot.

Often the motion of drawing it back by the bulbous red orb and letting go doesn't bring about the desired result. Instead of flying through the air and smacking me square in the eye, the gag appendage just wraps around the post tighter. No laughter ensues.

That's kind of how I felt this weekend when dinner and a movie turned into dinner and a documentary.

Jed WANTED to see this film, and I wanted to AVOID this film, but in the end An Inconvenient Truth won out.

See my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to the science of global warming. We each believe that the way we live now is killing the planet. We each believe there are things we can do as individuals to mimize our impact on this Earth. But where we disagree is our personal reaction to the information as presented.

Even before the film, Jed was ready to install solar panels and a wood-fired boiler to reduce our dependance on oil. Even before the film, we were shutting off lights and recycling. With the cost of petroleum through the roof, we've been cutting out unnecessary travel. He's even considering the consequences of his trip into Chatham with Annabel for an ice cream.

But where he is seeking out the things we can do, I look at what we can't do and what we won't be doing: We can't give up Jed's big diesel engine rigs, after all they are how he makes his money; I am still going to drive more than 50 miles a day (after all, that's how I make my living and keep our health benefits); We are still going to be burning wood, it alleviates our dependence on oil but it still puts carbon into the air; we are still going to live in a suburb where driving is necessary for virtually all trips.

In a nutshell, he is optimistic and I, apparently, throw in the towel.

I don't think that my shutting off the lights and deciding not to go to yoga on Sundays (75 miles round-trip) will do as much to save the planet as the people at the TOP finding alternatives to gasoline-powered cars, not to mention coal- and oil-fired energy plants.

But it's not that I'm throwing up my hands and saying "global warming be damned, pass the Hummer." It's not as if I were saying just let the lights burn day and night. I just think putting the onus on the individual is in the same family as "Just Say No" was in the War on Drugs. It just ain't enough.

So as we bickered all the way home, I just felt more an more helpless. "Look at the mess we're in," I scream. "We have people in our own country who are still homeless a year after Katrina; we have a government that squanders and misuses it's place at the helm and then tells us we need less of it; we have corporations guaranteed individual rights and there are people who can't afford to eat decent food, let alone buy a hybrid car. Why are we pushing hybrids anyway? Why aren't we looking past oil altogether? Why? because there's still enough oil for the people in power to make a killing. They don't care that it won't last forever or that it's killing the planet because it will last for now and when the planet implodes they won't be around to clean it up."

Maybe I'm missing the point. In all reality, I'm sure I am. But I can't help but think the world needs people like both of us: I'll be the letter-writer and he'll be the one who turns off the lights. And we will tip the balance eventually.

Of course, as we agree that we are, in truth, of the same mind when it comes to the issue at hand, I can't help but fume at the nice evening lost in argument.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Welcome back, Ubermale

As Matt Lauer heralds the end of the Metrosexual Male in some fluff piece on morning TV, and my husband strutted around the kitchen, a cock in celebration, I could help but cheer for his return, too.

You see, I secretly hope the return of the retrosexual means the fashion of "DAD as the NEW MOM" is on its way out, too.

Don't get me wrong, I love that my husband is the primary cook and that he's as comfortable with Annabel as he is with his soccer pals, it's just that I think society's urge to make him new-age-sensitive-dad is sometimes making it unnecessarily difficult for me to be a mom.

I got to thinking about this as a result of a bulletin board posting about one husband in particular, whose need to share in the experience of parenthood 50/50; even-steven; 'I am father, hear me roar,' from DAY ONE was tearing apart this family not yet delivered. Instead of a laudable urge to be an involved parent and protector, he wanted equal opportunity for his family tree to root at the hospital and in their home because it played to his thoughts of what was fair and equitable. 'Why should MY family be turned away? Am I not important? This isn't just happening to YOU you know, It's happening to me, too."

While he fought for his parents to have equal and unfettered access, his wife's emotional well-being crumbled as the clocked ticked down on her gestation.

I wanted to be snide. I wanted to put this man in his place with a sledgehammer. This new-age-sensitive-man who feels that the woman he married is dissing the woman who raised him and usurping his rightful place as a 50-percent equity parent in the birthing room. I wanted him to realize, that an ounce of sperm does not a equal partner make when it comes to pushing out a phesant-shaped someone from a hole roughly the diameter of a lemon.

I formulate a list of things I want him to understand:

1. No one is going to be peering into your vagoogoo every half-hour to see how big it is.

2. No one is going to cut your vagoo so a baby can come out after hours of painful labor, then stitch it back up.

3. No one is going to cut open your abdomen and take the baby by force if numbers one and two have to be abandoned.

4. YOUR hormones won't fluctuate uncontrollably, making it 1,000 times more difficult to act human for at least a few days. Being NICE to the mother-in-law isn't going to be in you're wife's ability. Sorry, but no matter how well they get along normally, civility won't be possible.

5. Unless you have incontenance troubles, it is NOT likely that you will soil the sheets or vomit during the course of the labor.

6. You will not be having a baby sucking on your tits for the next six months (not to mention RIGHT now when it's new to the two of them and there is a steep learning curve). ANY Helpful suggestions, be they nursing, swaddling or diapering, will feel like admonishments. I reiterate. Civility won't be within her reach, it's NOT her FAULT it's HORMONAL.

7. WHY, if you love her and want to be a family, would you PURPOSELY make it MORE difficult to have that bond? Your wife DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME relationship with your mom as she does with her own. And SHE is going to PHYSICALLY go through a rollercoster ride of not-so-pleasant things? Why on Earth would you even consider making that HARDER?

Let me explain more from a personal standpoint: As a pre-natal and post-natal patient, we women undergo some seriously daunting hormonal challenges, and we are likely to be in a situation that makes us feel terribly vulnerable. For instance, I'm not ashamed of my body, but I don't want to be exposed in front of my husband's father. I don't want to vomit in front of my mother-in-law. I still had a need for dignity and privacy, especially when these are people I see at holidays. The last thing I want to think about at Christmas dinner is whether my father-in-law saw my vagoogoo or if I swore a string of explatives in the direction of my mother-in-law while I was being possessed by the demon hormones.

We don't want to believe we, in this day and age, have roles that are gender based. But I assure you, we do. There will always be exceptions. There will always be circumstances that buck the norm, but for the first few months, usually it's mom at center stage.

I think what's happening is that men have gotten confused about their roles, and fear that if they don't assert themselves somewhere in the family early on they won't have a place other than the distant, breadwinner they might remember their fathers to be. The problem is that they want 50 percent of the baby and not 50 percent of the family. Sometimes they want to have a say, even to the extent of being contrary, just to have a voice.

It comes down to this: Perhaps a reason more men are flexing their parent muscles in the wrong direction is that they are physically unable to tend to the needs of newborns the way birth mothers can. Here the "OTHER" parent often feels unnecessary. And that, I think comes from their own insecurities rather than immediate external sources. Patience and understanding, and trust that the other "OTHER" parent isn't going out of their way to undermine you is what family building is all about, isn't it?

So I've revised my snide list to something that might be more helpful:


REALIZE THAT YOUR MOM AND DAD AREN'T UNLOVED or SECOND CLASS FAMILY. But don't compare them to HER parents at a time like this. They didn't raise her, nor do they have the same feelings of unconditional love for her that they have for you. This is a potentally life-threating situation, even in this day and age, and it's only NATURAL for a daughter to want her parents. Have your parents stay in a hotel, let them visit occasionally and then make them understand that your wife and you need time to bond with each other and the new soul. There is a lifetime when it won't be as difficult to show off the kid. Why risk bad feelings that could last its duration? It's time to protect your new family from bad feelings, and realize what it's really all about.

MAKE SURE RELATIVES REALIZE that while their advice MAY be welcome in the future, your wife has instincts and you need to protect her ability to exercise them. Hold off on dispensing pearls of wisdom until asked for them.

ACTIVE HELP: Make dinners, do laundry, wash dishes, change diapers. Make sure mom has the opportunity to eat, have liquids and bathe. Let her sleep a little longer. Be vigilant about not allowing guests to overstay their visits. There will be plenty of opportunities down the road, when things aren't so hectic.

I guess that list still doesn't sound too manly. But rest assured, to your wife you'll never look like a bigger man.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pride and prejudice

ITTYBIT: Mama, wiwl you tum ere. I dot to show you sompin. I colored sompin fo you.

SOMETIMES SHE'S SHWAN: On the wall? Oh, baby, we don't write on walls. Only paper. Ok? Only Paper.

ITTYBIT: Oh. I'm sorry. I done know what I'm doing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

She's a bad, bad, mean mommy ... like me

100 acre dinner date and and lulla-bee get's a timeout for eating with his face instead of utensils

And so, it has come to pass that Ittybit, Tigger, Eyore, (Raspberry Bear) Pooh and Lullabee have finally sat down for nice meal together. But all was not cosy in The Hundred-Acre Wood. As insects are wont to do, Lullabee's table manners tore the evening assunder.

"You hafta eat your dinner. ...
No. No. No. Not like that. Like this. Here, watch.
You are not making me very happy, Lullabee. You need a time out."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

An eye-opening experience

"My daddy was a baby, too," Ittybit tells the nice woman who takes our paperwork and looks it over for any spaces left blank. "That's right. He was a baby, too," she adroitly replies, rustling through the sheets, not finding the small card: "For Emergencies, Contact ... "

"Oh that one always gets caught on the bottom of the envelope," she chuckles.

As I fish it out from underneath the flap and hand it over, I think about all the things Ittybit's statement doesn't explain. It doesn't explain that her father slept in the cradle that she slept in when we brought her home from the hospital, or how wide her eyes got when he told her the story. It doesn't explain how miraculous such a notion must be to her that she's announcing it to the world in six itty bity words -- my, daddy, was, a, baby, too.

It also doesn't explain the mind boggling reality that Ittybit is now, officially, a pre-schooler. And that, come September, she'll be attending the same nursery school I attended as a tot.

She's looking forward to school, I could tell. Her eyes were as wide as mine as I looked around at the tiny chairs and tables, feeling like a giant remembering being a lilliputian.

She runs and plays with the toys as I speak with the intake coordinator about what our new roles will be as pre-school parents. The school is a cooperative, which means the tuition is reduced for parents who pitch in to assist in the classroom, fundraise or maintain the property as needed.

The intake coordinator's eyes open wide when she sees what I've checked off on the "expertise" portion of the form.

"You have a power washer? Oh that's great. That's wonderful. We were worried about that this year. We have to clean all the playthings in the backyard and no one seems to have any abilitiles in that department. We were sure we'd have to hire a professional."

And off we go to check out the yard, which is filled with all manner of ride-on toys, climbing towers, slides and playhouses. There is even a real fiberglass boat sunk into ground at an angle that makes it look as if it were sailing an imaginary sea. Again, Ittybit's eyes bulge from their sockets as she stands stock-still, not knowing in which direction to hurl her tiny body first.

The DAD's eyes lose their usual almond shape and turn into saucers, too, as he surveys all the tiny repairs that need attention. "Something tells me I'm going to be very popular around here."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Laugh tracks


A friend of ours, Pat, is planning to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh next month, and he wanted me to make a slick magazine advertisement for his show. So, last night we spent an hour in the "studio" trying to get the story straight and make it look funny.

Annabel watched the photo shoot holding Milton's red nose and laughing as Rory got pummeled, but good, by Phillipe, the gay dancer, over the wily charms of the fair Helga.
"You funny, Pat."
Clearly, this is an improvement from the day before at a planning session when she demanded he BE funny. (Never ever, under any circumstances, tell a comedian to be funny ... bad juju.)

Jed helped out with perspective by wearing a white Tyvek suit and taking part in the "fight scene." When I processed the pictures as she slept, using a little Photoshop magic to expel Jed and paste Rory in his place, and showed her the results in the morning she was not convinced I had succeeded:
"That's Phillipe's beating up my daddy," she said pointing to Rory in the shorts.

"No honey, they are all Pat now. I took daddy out.

"No, dis is daddy. Pat's Funny. Daddy's not funny."

What's happening at the other mom's house ...

Ladies and Gentlemen ...

She's practicing intonations, just in case Ringling Bros. calls.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Next weekend we're taking her to a strip joint

I'm having a bit of trouble with the appropriate-inappropriate dynamic as it pertains to toddlers. When my husband's right eyebrow arches upward, I know I've dropped the ball and it's rolling away faster than you can say: "That's prolly not a good I-D-er."

Some folks outside of our household have already expressed surprise at the following parenting faux pas:

  • We take Annabel to the pub on a weekly basis.
  • She has eaten cake for breakfast on more than one occasion.
  • We let her watch Shrek (even though the characters are rude to each other). Ditto for Pinky and the Brain (brain, brain, brain).

I try to answer her questions as accurately as possible, although I often slip up with things having to do with science, mainly because I don't think my answers are adequate. When she says she doesn't want it to be dark out, I watch the hairs on Jed's neck stand up as I tell her the sun has to nap sometime, otherwise it couldn't shine as brightly.
And so, another note for her future therapist must go on the permanent record:

"Mama? You wanna see a stulpture, mama? Tum on."

Art Omi's Open Day. Thirty artists from around the world spend three weeks in this adult summer camp making art that will help them make the transition from emerging to established in the art world.

Every year there's something that makes your head spin: A memorable one a few years ago came from a woman from Tokyo who stained Kotex mini pads with a red substance and affixed them to the wall of her studio. That was fun.

This year's eye-popping works were life-sized, papier mache body casts of people writhing in pain. One showed its head exploding from the back. Another had two men in a pose that appeared ... to be ... well.

... Damn Jed for foisting this studio visit off on me.
"Mommy what is that man doing with the baby?"

"Uhm ... that's not a baby, baby. It's another man. And-what-he's-doing-is-called-fallatio. ... Oh look, lemonade ... Let's go get some, OK?"

"Mom said he was doing fat-a-pio, daddy!"

"O ....K ... You explain fellatio but you tell her the sun takes a nap? What's up with that?"
Yeah ... Tune in next week when we'll be taking ittybit to a strip joint. ... Can you say 'They're playing my T-H-O-N-G?'

So much for culture.

Is it time for a shot?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Heritage, Part II

All she wanted to do was dance with Cinderella. From the moment she woke up this morning until the lights dimmed on her first live theater experience, all her thoughts were dancing with the princess. She even washed her face, picked out her prettiest dress and planned on wearing her purple "slippers." As serendipity would have it, one was even missing.

Oh the questions:
"Can we taked the errplane, mama? "
"Can I dance wit her? I wanna dance wit Cinderedda."
"Where are we? What is this place? Who are all these people?"
"Where is Cinderedda?"

And the comments:
"Hey, they ripped my chicket."
"I wanna sit with you, Mama."
"Hey. I tant see. TURN ON DE LIGHTS."
"He's a good guy, Mom. De Prince(ess) is a good guy."

So, in addition to sleeping in a crib her father slept in (something she understands and now informs me of daily) and being enrolled in a pre-school I attended as a tot, Annabel has now been in the audience of a theatre I went to for the first time when I was a few years older than she is now (I saw Sleeping Beauty). And no. It wasn't the same. After the show, there were so few audience members they'd invite us on stage and we'd all dance. I even remember the rust-colored corduroys I wore as I held hands with Beauty and skipped a circle around the stage. Storybooks come alive, it seemed, just for me.

These days the audience is packed. Wall to wall children, and taking a turn on the dance floor with the star of the show just isn't practical. Instead they gather outside to sign autographs. We file outside and wait in crazy lines that overlap and move to the left when we weren't looking. As I stood there pining for Annabel to have the experience of my childhood, she broke free from me and, holding her pencil and her autograph book against her chest, tunneled her way through legs and elbows right up to Cinderella.

"My name is Annabel. Tan you sign this peas?"

It was a remarkable display of tenacity for such an otherwise shy little girl. But as her idol signed, I could see this new nerve drain away.

"I wanna da dance with Cinderedda," she whispered as we walked to the car.

"What if we go back and dance next to her. How would that be?"

"Oh, I like that."

So that's what we did. And it was wonderful, too.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stop the ride, I wanna get off

I can't believe I'm "going there." But as I've established previously, I have a tendency to rubber neck at train wrecks.

Early this morning, (insomnia early) a reader commented on a post I wrote months ago in homage to our beloved babysitter, "Yaya."

This is what she wrote:
yada yada yada. Beautiful story- but it will end bad. Trust me. I know. Anyone willing to take care of children is untrustworthy by definition. Maybe it will end with her sleeping with your husband. Just trust me. For a long time I thought I had it good and considered my nanny my best friend. Then my boyfriend told me to put spyware on her computer and holy hell- She was sending emails to my sister about my "neglectful" parenting. She was tattling on me for calling my five year old a "fat ass". A home is a very private thing and one thing I demand from my servants is absolute respect. And no questions asked and no judgement. Good luck to you. My advice is just to hire a new nanny every year or so. My kids were way too attatched to my nanny. She had been with us 8 years when I fired her and the girls cried for months. Months. Do you know how insulting that was to me? Their mother?
Blink. Blink-blink-blink.

I wasn't sure how to react. Was this a joke? Could someone actually write:
  • Anyone willing to take care of children is untrustworthy by definition
  • She was tattling on me for calling my five year old a 'fat ass
  • My kids were way too attatched to my nanny. She had been with us 8 years when I fired her and the girls cried for months. Months. Do you know how insulting that was to me? Their mother?
and be anything other than a satirist?

Blink. Blink. Blinkity-blink-blink-blink.

So I followed her trail here, and damn if my eyes aren't stuck in flutter mode. Reading her blogger profile, which lists her occupation as "heiress," I can't help but think this is definitely The Onion of all mommy blogs.

The trainwreck just worsens, and I continue to wonder 'is this for real?' and alternately doubting my sanity and my ability for reasoned thought.

A quick and dirty Google search get's me here, and I read through more heart-wrenching stories from the perspective of the fired nanny.

I considered what to do. Had this been some site I stumbled upon accidentally in my neverending search for comfortable shoes, I wouldn't have felt the need to gossip this way. But she came to my little backyard in the ethosphere and, like some tea-cup pooch, dumped the tiny load on my lawn.

So, taking the tact that this is, in fact, legitimate (I wince as I use that word under the circumstances) I have spent much of the day pondering the arguments and the counter arguments. Not to mention the mother's seemingly masochistic tendency to dot the internet with kernels of incriminating blog comments, which, incidentally, bring attention to her rivals' point of view.

But no matter how much I bristle at the attitude of this sad figure, who demands respect as if it too were a trust fund -- inherited and not earned. And no matter how much I feel for nanny, who was spied on and fired, the only side I can truly understand is the children's. Everyone in their life -- even the people who cared for and about them -- ultimately let them down.

I still cling to the hope that this is some kind of comedy satire gone awry, especially since mommy dearest bemoans "home is a very private thing," then goes on to blog about what happens there, presumably, herself. Nevertheless, even if it is a farce and none of the characters are real, it has me thinking about my own public journal.

I have to wonder: What will Annabel think when she finds her named splattered all over the internets one day? Even with the best of intensions, is it really the best idea to tell the world (or the world that's reading) what she said to the neighbors or the toll-booth collector or the amas and papas in her life?

Perhaps a detox is in order.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yes, Annabel, dogs have their own doctors

This morning, after two days of preparation, Annabel and I took the dogs to the veterinarian. I usually let this task fall to the man, mainly because his schedule is more flexible than mine but also because I can't take the anxiety. (For the record, I think it's patently unfair that dogs have a beach-romp life of 15 years if they are lucky while a tortoise can lounge around for 150 years with hardly a pat on the head.) But it was past due, and I couldn't, in good conscience, leave it any longer.

What follows is an edited transcript of our discussions:

my best friend


Sometimes She's Schwann: Tomorrow we're going to take Maddy and Maggie to the doctor. They have to be examined.

Annabel: Oh, Ok. Tan we do now?

Sometimes She's Schwann: No, honey. We have an appointment for tomorrow morning.

Annabel: Who's dare doctor?

Sometimes She's Schwann: The animal doctor is called a VET-ER-IN-ARIAN, and she's a special doctor for animals.

Annabel: Vetidarian? Who aminals?

Sometimes She's Schwann: VET-ER-IN-ARIAN. ... A doctor for dogs and cats.

Annabel: Who else?

Sometimes She's Schwann: Sometimes farm animals, like horses and cows. Sometimes exotic pets, like snakes and birds.

Annabel: Oh. Tan we do now?

Sometime She's Schwann: Their appoinment isn't until tomorrow. How about we read to them about Corduroy's doctor's visit.

Annabel: OK. So they won't be stared of the doctor?

PREPARATIONS: (6:45 a.m., appointment at 9:45):

Annabel: Mama. De dogs hafta do to the doctor. We dotta do NOW.

Sometimes She's Schwann: We have to wait a while before it's time. Let's get them ready, ok. We need to brush them and take them for a walk.


Annabel: Who's her. Is she the doctor?

Sometimes She's Schwann: Yes, baby she's the veterinarian.

Annabel: What is her doing?

Sometimes She's Schwann: She's listening to Maddy's heart and her lungs.

Annabel: Now what is her doing?

Sometimes She's Schwann: She's taking blood for tests, and she's giving them a shot.

Annabel: They not like that.

Sometimes She's Schwann: No ... but aren't they being brave?

Annabel: Yeah, they are. (To veterninarian) My dogs are my best friends. I lub them.

$200, five tests, 20 toe-nail clippings, one lyme disease diagnosis (Maggie) and three prescriptions later:

Sometimes She's Schwann: So what did you think of that?

Annabel: Pretty good, but Torduroy's doctor is a bear.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some lives are simply worth more than others

It is a sad day for science. It is a sad day for Americans.
Today, President Bush brandished a pen, which, as it turns out, was mightier than any sword in striking down legislation to ease limits on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

What scientists already know is that stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types. Serving as a kind of repair system, stem cells can divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. The thing is, only embryonic stem cells do this indefinitely. Adult stem cells and those culled from cord blood, while important, are not as encompassing.

There is enormous potential that could come from the study of these amazing cells, specifically embryonic cells. But Mr. Bush seems to be worried about only one: Cloning.

Instead of saddened, Americans should be irate.

The only thing Mr. Bush has done by vetoing this legislation is send a clear message that the United States of America cares only about the potential for human life and not the quality of life for humans.

The problem is that we do care. We care deeply. The mainstream wants to make life better for the living, too. We want scientific discovery to continue to serve us as we struggle.

What we should be looking at is why should he care? He is not a man of science. He is a man of religious conviction, which includes an End Times belief widely held by Evangelical Christians called The Rapture. The Rapture is an occurrence wherein all properly saved Christians will be taken from Earth by Jesus Christ into Heaven by a celestial force. Only the non-saved will remain to deal with Gods wrath. No, he's definitely not a man of science.

Nor is he, it would seem, a man of complex morality. Isn't it ironic that Mr. Bush will fight tooth and nail over frozen embryos that will never become living breathing people but he is willing send young men and women to war, prisoners to death, and thwart research that might ensure a better quality of life for people with debilitating disease? And yet, by his own accounts, he sleeps well at night.

I think it is unconscionable to value life so narrowly. To look at the babies born from invitro fertilization peppering the audience behind him for effect as he addressed the press with his signature smirk, one can only imagine he would advocate next that every drop of sperm in this country be federally protected, too. Rest assured, embryos will not disappear for those who wish to conceive.

Perhaps federal funding of stem cell research won't come about under his watch, but the research will continue privately and in other countries. And eventually, under another administration, our government will get onboard and pony up some cash. And I trust when it does, and when cures exist because of the research, Mr. Bush will not avail himself of the fruits of this labor should the need arise. Afterall, he's got his moral standards.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Questions to ponder

"Mama? Who painted the sty?
The sty. It's blue. Who painted it?"

I know her father would like me to explain the science behind why the sky is blue, but I can't help but think how much more pleasing it is to imagine the sky actually were painted anew each morning, noon and night by the star that heats and lights the Earth.

Sometimes a little magic can get you through your day.

Can you feel the love?

He sure could. It felt like a pinch before toppling over onto the ground and fumbling around, limb over limb, to get back to an upright position. The good news is they both managed to get to their feet laughing.

Take me to the river

river walk

In this place, more than 30 years ago, the water ran blue - I'm talking the blue of a Rocket Pop or Tidy-Bowl toilet cleaner. Presumably the opaque jewel color stemmed from runoff from a nearby chemical plant, and as some tell it, the pretty hue stained your skin if you happened to be lounging in the water at the time of discharge.

A seachange has happened since then. The factories have stopped knowingly dumping things into the streams and rivers that ought not be there. And the world looks a little cleaner. The roadways aren't filled with trash, and few of us will see remnants of Happy Meals and road food released into the air from the car ahead.

But every once and a while, as we sift through stones in the current, we happen upon a rock wrapped in a color nature never intended. If you haven't ever thought of it before, the sight makes you wonder: Just what are we doing to the planet?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Everybody loves a parade ... except the people who get stuck in traffic ... and, apparently, the people marching

**Another in a continuing, if not sporatic, saga of ... Should Have Iterated Thusly

This afternoon, Annabel and I were in Chatham, not getting lunch (because when we met the man he's already eaten someplace else) -- S.H.I.T.

I suppose I should have made it perfectly clear that "Hey, I'll meet you for lunch" is virtually the same as "Let's meet in a place and eat together sometime 'round about noon."

My other purpose for going to Chatham was to buy a present for my mother's upcoming birthday. Since going shoping with a toddler is in the same ballpark as bringing a pet billy goat to a China shop, smearing it with glue and setting it loose in the glassware aisle, I had hoped the man could entertain her at the ice cream shop. I did not intend for him to let her down in the same store I was perusing, where all she wanted to do is hang from my shirt and cry, or stack Le Creuset crockery in reverse order -- smallest to largest. S.H.I.T.

I suppose I should have made it perfectly clear that "Entertain her while I go shopping" actually means "Take her someplace else and don't bring her back. I will find you when I'm finished."

Surprise Party! I'll kill ya: Unbeknownst to us, turns out it was fire department day in Chatham, which means a long parade of trucks and marching bands meander down Main Street toward the fairgrounds. We discuss whether we should move our cars, which will surely get blocked in and erase our option to leave midway through should a meltdown arise. We finally arrived at a conclusion: I would stay for the parade and he would go home to nap. S.H.I.T.

Perhaps you might have explained that a 'Family Day,' is technically the same as sitting on the couch watching a "Sopranos" marathon. Double S.H.I.T. I will need to remember that the next time I volunteer to melt in the heat with a toddler who covers my eyes, pulls my hair and won't hold my hand.

I suppose I should be grateful. Afterall, we need more alone time, isn't that what he said last week? Course I thought that ment sans baby, avec each other.

Oh, and participating fire departments? S.H.I.T. After waving our fool heads off, clapping and cheering for you folks I've come to the conclusion that it might ACTUALLY kill you to smile or wave back. I had no idea a PARADE in your language meant Pissed And Rancorous Autocade Dourly Exercising. After standing for a while with the kidlet on my shoulders kicking me in the back, I began to keep track of a few things: Six people out of the entire hour-long lineup smiled in our direction. Only four of them waved.

Oh, and back to that alone-time, datenight thing? S.H.I.T. I forgot that it is a term that means the mom must arrange babysitting and come up with a plan for stepping out on the town, otherwise the word means the husband is going to poker night.

I know no one likes a complainer but S.H.I.T. It's not like HE reads anything I write anyway. When he does, he just lets me know the first graph is a little too complex for people to get into. Also ... the funny bits? They're really not that funny.

I suppose I should have explained when I printed out my essay and shoved it under his nose that he was supposed to tell me, in NO uncertain terms, that I am BRILLIANT. There are times when a little lie wouldn't hurt.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The children mommy blogs forgot

oh, hello madowin, do tum in.

A friend of mine in the publishing bidness asked me to work on a photographic children's book with him. I would provide the photographs and he would write the text.

It would be all about my dogs -- Madeline and Maggie.

His idea was simple:
"Take about 48 photographs of them playing together, spread them out on a table and we'll come up with a story about "Best Friends."
I stopped cold, realizing that with all the photographs I've taken over the years there are very few of the wonder twins together. Ok, they're not twins and we are actually a step-family. He came to the relationship with Maggie and I showed up with Madeline. And it was a rough start.

Maggie, a year older that Madeline (who for the remainder of the essay I will refer to as Jerk Monkey Hose Dog because she's too smart for her own good and has always gotten into trouble) would have nothing to do with the little pest for quite a while. She'd snap and growl and slink away to anywhere that would be puppy free. Maggie always seemed mature beyond her years ... for a Lab.

My friend's request also made me realize that even if I could get the grrls to play together, my first babies -- the furry loves of my life -- are not as photogenic as they once were. They have benign bumps and skinny haunches, puffy bellies and graying fur. Though they are still beautiful to us, the industry might not agree. And too soon these creatures, with whom we've shared a combined four homes, will be only memories -- especially since the early photographs (and negatives) may have been lost in a move (grrrr!)
"That's even better," he said jovially. "We'll do a children's book about coping with the loss of a pet."
I look over at Annabel as she splashes in the pool, it dawns on me that the past two years have really brought about an amazing transformation of our entire family, fuzzy members especially. They have gone from being standoffish and frightened of the pink little bundle that made all kinds of strange noises to being watchful and proud.
"Oooh, this is even better," says my friend. "I see morning show bookings in our future."
I realized we'd better get started. She'll be at the perfect age to mourn their loss when it's their time to leave us. And it'll probably take me that long to figure out what I'll wear for the interview.


mommy and me
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She's sorting it all out, gathering more facts and filing them away ...

"Every day, after you leave and we wave goodbye, she tells me: 'That's my mommy. Sometimes she's Shwan'."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The One-Armed Men's Club

weekend excitement

"We have to stop meeting like this," I laughed and winked in his direction.

But his cherubic face, Panama hat and tiny, drool-stained t-shirt were a magnetic combination. He giggled. The one-armed guy he was attatched to began to laugh, too.

It occurred to me then, as I passed another similarly disabled shopper -- his charge in a ball cap, eating shell peas from the bag -- there is a club to which I cannot belong.

Fathers at the grocery store -- a kid in one arm and a grocery basket in the other -- is apparently the new black.

It's something I might never have noticed, though, had it not been for the fact that it was 8 a.m. Saturday morning and we were out of milk. After all, my husband usually does the grocery shopping.

Where the supermarket was once the bailiwick of the harried housewife, juggling bottles and sippy cups and corralling children aisle by aisle, I am noticing more and more men taking their place in line at the checkout.

As I push on the skins of melons and paw through bags of grapes for one with just the right amount of globes, I notice the one-armed man going through pretty much the same motions with the lettuces, inspecting the leaves.

We trailed each other through the store, missing each other in some aisles and meeting up in others. I wonder to myself: 'Is mom at home, enjoying a much needed break?'

I smile in line at the checkout when his items bump up against mine on the conveyor belt. I think of my own husband at home with our kidlet, and how he's probably done the very same thing with some other mommy who'd managed to sneak out of the house for some quiet, alone-time grocery gathering.

By the time I reach my car in the parking lot another one-armed man makes his way toward the market. He stops to greet the man with whom I'd been doing the grocery store shuffle just moments ago.

I started to pack my trunk with my purchases, taking extra time and trying to handle the bags gently so the rustling wouldn't impugn my ability to eavesdrop on their conversation.

What were they talking about? I imagined they were discussing the best baby foods, sleepless nights and the-cutest-baby-in-the-world-has-changed-my-life small talk. But I couldn't make out all the words. It was as if their club had a secret vocal tone only dually sworn and initiated members could hear.

I stopped trying to hone in on the discussion, but kept my attention in their direction as I snapped the trunk closed and returned my cart before slipping into the driver's seat. I told myself I'd just be disappointed if they were talking about beer, or porn or who's headbutting who in major league sports.

They were still locked in conversation as I eased out of my parking space. I couldn't contain my curiosity, though, and I lowered the window as I approached, just in case a few words fell into my car as I passed by. They just shifted the weight of their still-smiling kids from one hip to the other, and, with a wave of their hands, parted ways.

It figures that they'd have secret handshakes, too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Look, Mama ...

When I was about Ittybit's age, possibly older, I rode my tricycle down our cellar stairs. My mother never let my father forget he was supposed to be watching me when it happend.

"Men don't know anything about watching children," she explained. "They think they are little adults with adult reasoning in tiny bodies. He just assumed you'd stay away from the stairs."

Of course it probably doesn't help my father, who is truly a nurturing soul, to know that EVERYBODY in my life has heard the story.

Oddly enough, it's a story that I sometimes forget.

Recently, when he was taking care of Annabel for the day by himself, he called me at work for advice and I was reminded.

"So we were walking down the stairs to go to the park and she brought both hands to the railing, hauled herself up and swung away from the steps. Then she said: 'Look, Papa. I'm a Monkey!' She did it for each step ... Does she ever do that with you?"

"No, dad, she hasn't yet. Please don't let her ride the tricycle, OK? ... Oh, and dad? You're doing a great job."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

With a song in my heart

"We are horrible, inflexible people."

That thought, coupled with another: "what ever made us think we could be parents," run through my consciousness on some hideous perpetual loop as I wait for my husband to get into the car.

It's a cold Saturday in November and we are on our way to the hospital, one month before the due date.

We had opted for the bootcamp version of child birth class because neither one of us could peel ourselves away from our busy, independent lives long enough to attend the more civilized, four-week program of two-hour classes on Tuesdays - TOGETHER. I don't remember what was playing on the radio because the soundtrack in my mind continuously blasted "BAD MOMMY, BAD MOMMY, BAD MOMMY."

I didn't want to do this. I am not sentimental. I haven't a romantic bone in my body. I LOVE PINK FLOYD and FISHBONE and THING FISH: I had nothing appropriate for motherhood.

As we parked the car and walked into the hospital, I had pictures in my mind of women in Bermuda shorts and Argyle socks sitting on the floor between the legs of their husbands, who read from some playbook and rubbed bellies while some woman with a whistle walked around the room urging everyone into a hyperventilating tizzy of WHO-WHOs and HE-HEs.

It seems funny to me now, how we sat there as if in a zoo, checking out the other couples. Measuring their dedication by swollen ankles and dark circled eyes.

We went through the motions, and did the breathing. I was surprised to learn that deep breaths were valued over the hee-hees. I also learned that yoga had made it possible for me to slow my inhalations to three per minute, subsequently earning me a spot on the remedial breathing crew after class.

Then it happened: The DJ/nurse/educator made us do The Baby Dance.
"... Mmmmm Mmmmmm mmmmmMmmm m."
Israel (IZ) Kamakawiwo'ole ... crooning "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW." And we are instructed to hold on to our husbands as if we are slow dancing at the wedding. Turning in circles to the music, inspite of myself, I started to feel the rhythm of this new life, and thinking perhaps the soundtrack wasn't that bad after all.

I didn't know then that in that same hospital, a month later, there would ultimately be a c-section performed as Kate Bush's THIS WOMAN'S WORK" pushed all the lulling melody of fairy stories from me and replaced it with sheer terror.

"I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking
Of all the things that we should have said that were never said
All the things we should have done but we never did
All the things that you needed from me
All the things that you wanted for me
All the things that I should have given, but I didn't ...
Oh, darling, make it go away."

The "BAD MOMMY" anthem, the song that had hijacked my internal airwaves for nine months and threatend to stay with me for a lifetime, was back.

Oddly enough, when I finally saw her face and introduced myself, it was the Rainbow that won out in the end. Jed still can't hear that that dreamy intro without tearing up. I never told him how Kate was with me in surgery, but I'm thankful IZ was with him, and that we were all together at last.

Family portrait

*For writing prompt at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas


playdoh monsters
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Monster Mash

Cookie Monster had a party with Annabel and Kermit and Zoey. Annabel was AMAZED at how much Cookie could eat. Cookies and cake and pizza and hotdogs. ... Notice: Only Zoey eats healthy snacks.
*Zoey is also the only one who went back in the cup the same color. The others are now a grey monster mash.

she kills me

Monday, July 10, 2006

OH the HORROR ...

variation ... made some adjustments

It was bound to happen.

I can no longer hide my bad parenting behind a silent daughter.

Now that her words are sprouting words, our little announcer has recently started announcing my faux pas to the world.

Let me set the scene for you: My father took care of Annabel all day Friday, and this was my mid-day report:

PAPA: When I put her down for her nap she asked for 'hot milsh' but I didn't give her any. I told her: 'No, you can't have milk in bed. How about some water'?
And what do you think she replied?


Oh jeeze. There it is. She's way too young to be untruthful so I can't really tell him she's making it all up. She's just organizing how things work and trying to get what she wants by telling him how it is around here.

I. AM. GUILTY. Please, GOD, don't let the teeth rot out of her head because I am a bad mommy.

It's not as if I could ever hide my flaws from the true scruitinizers; the rubbernecking, tsk-tsking been-there parents who are watching everyone from the next table at the coffeeshop and passing judgement.

I couldn't control what people thought of me, and for that matter what one woman actually said to my husband when Ittybit was first born and we took her out into the world on the coldest day in history, but I could let it go. I KNEW I was a good mom: I breastfed in public, she nursed for nearly two years and I made all of her first foods with a grinder and a sieve. I knew I loved my little girl. I felt so much like SUPERMOM back then that I even started wearing primary colors.

But for some of us it's easy to be a good mommy when you are in control; when your little princess only requires her basic needs met -- Hungry, check; Tired, check; Wet, check.

There are occasional slip ups for sure. There will be the time you forgot to change a diaper quickly enough, there will be temperatures too hot or too cold, there will be mismatched clothes and going two-days between baths. But no one knows but you.

Today, the mid-day report from Yaya made it perfectly clear who's running things around here:

YAYA: "Opps. Poop."

ITTYBIT: "YeME see it!"

YAYA: "No, that's yukky."


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saint of the garden hose

saint of the garden hose

Dear Ittybit,

This afternoon, after your nap from 2 to 4, we lounged around on the bed in our room. You switched on Winnie the Pooh even though you barely looked in the direction of the television. You wanted me to read to you.

For the first time in I don't know how many months, I had been engrossed in a book that contained no pictures or simple life lessons for you to study. Laying in that bed, with you comfortable in the crook of my arm, I didn't want to get up to find "Homemade Love," or "Little Badger," or "Where the Wild Things Are." I don't know what possessed me -- perhaps laziness -- to open my book and begin reading from the place I'd left off:

" The worst thing was lying there wanting my mother. That's how it had always been; my longing for her nearly always came late in the night when my guard was down. I tossed on the sheets, wishing I could crawl into bed with her and smell her skin. I wondered: Had she worn thin nylon gowns to bed? Did she bobby-pin her hair? I could just see her propped in bed. My mouth twisted as I pictured myself climbing in beside her and putting my head against her breast. I would put it right over her beating heart and listen. 'Mama?' I would say. And she would look down at me and say, 'Baby, I'm right here'."

-- The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

As you lay quietly in my arms, your hand resting on my own beating heart, you were perfectly still and content. I stopped reading and looked down at you just as you looked up at me. I was wondering what was keeping you from tearing at the pages, tearfully demanding something more appropriate. Something with happy colors and fluffy creatures and happy endings.

"Mama? ... I love you all day and night."

Is it any wonder I think you are lovely and amazing?

I love you, too, baby -- all day and all night.

- Mama

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just what the doctor ordered (by mistake ...)

i'll take your temperature

The first time I experienced a medical error it was the result of the computer program designed to reduce them -- I kid you not.

I was about three months post-partum and suffering my third bout of mastitis. (The first one required antibiotics and the second miraculously went away on its own.)

I suppose I should have known when the doctors' office ordered a two-day supply (in powdered form) instead of five-day pill form (the usual dose for Zithromax) I should have spoken up. When the infection came back after the weekend with a vengence -- changing the shape of my upper torso into a scene from a sci-fi movie -- I got my own sneek peek into the future of healthcare now that the "infallable computer" is on the job.

Where am I going with this?

Since writing a list of things I hate, I have apparently unleashed a demon in my soul. The inner depression that was hiding behind the random anonymity of the internets, feigning happy well-adjustment, has been momentarily (I hope) embolded by choking on something that must have been a Lamisil tablet (because that little fugus freak from the commercials is the cartoon form my demon takes in my spinning mind).

So let me tell you that what's really bugging me starting in aisle 6 of the pharmacy that has no VOWELS in its name:

Why, oh why, anacronymic excuse for a store must you put the over-the-counter home tests in a locked cage? I know the sign says that in doing so you are keeping theft at bay and the prices down, but really your prices are higher than other places that DON'T make a person locate some pimply-faced community college freshman (who obviously believes he belongs at Yale -- not to mention far, far, far away from this inner-city legal pharmaceutical peddler) so he can call over a loud speaker for some other (equally tactless) person to come to the cashiers' station and help this obviously pathetic secondary infertile procure an EPT. ... Pleaaaase?

I know I've been grammar and punctuationally challeged since I learned to read and write, but the one thing I've never done before is suffer from having too many periods. So there you have it. We've been trying to make a sibling for Ittybit for nearly a year. Nothing. Nada. Nil.

This is one of those things I hadn't planned to tell you, all six of you who read these ramblings, but it feels so good to get it off my chest. Finally. Which leads me to something else I need to say:

People, some of whom I love (pronounced LUUUUUV), who think it's funny to push the issue of procreation are driving me to drink. Some of these folks have been at it since Ittybit was born. At first, when we were planning on life with only one pea pod, I'd just answer that somehow we'd managed to make one better than we deserved and we weren't the tempting-fate types. But now the jokes just seem altogether unkind.

Let me offer some advice for talking to people about their plans for parenthood: Don't Do it. EVER. Please? Don't ask someone in a flippant way if they're going to make a brother for another. If you are close enough you won't have to ask, otherwise it can be hurtful. So leave well enough alone. I'm trying not to hold it against you, but truly and deeply, my heart feels like it's breaking each time I literally piss away another $5.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Not even the sight of this photograph cheers me up

flips on gama's bed
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
It's official: I must be depressed.

I woke up yesterday morning unable to remove the weight from my shoulders. All day long it was more of the same. I felt heavy and sad, and not really concerned about either emotion.

You ever get the feeling you could sleep for a week and still be tired?
That you'll never finish that book that you started to read last summer?
That you'll never write (or do) anything as good as that thing you wrote (or did) last year at this time?
That you are alone in the universe, and not in a good way?

Do you ever feel like there must be more to happiness than just being happy?

There are so many things we hold over our own heads that drag our heads under water.

Here's a little list of things that have been hanging over my head:
  • I can't clean my own house.
  • I have no interest in cooking.
  • I am too fond of flickr, where all my friends are "imaginary."
  • I look at the weed of a sumac tree covering my doorway and I just brush past it as I schlep things inside. I've watched it grow into a menace since it sprouted this past spring. Cutting it down is too much effort.
  • I don't want to play another toddler game.
  • I watch too much TV.
  • I can't concentrate on reading novels and feel guilty when I try.
  • I haven't been on a walk in weeks.
  • I don't care about my appearance anymore.
  • I want someone else to be the mommy for a while, but I'm afraid they'll be better at it; in fact I'm sure they will.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Surrounded by history

gama miller's bed
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
We started our day with a breakfast of surgared fruit in Concord, Mass., after a night of driving underneath the sparkle of fireworks and manufactured "sound effects." Though she drank and nibbled some, all she really wanted was the fancy cake in the cafe display case.

And thusly, pushed out of a lazy breakfast by the howls of our toddler in tow, our day of diversions begins.
Diversion #1: Walking in the sun with one of mama's many floppy hats; the soft one that nicely obstructs your view will do.

Diverson #2 and #3: Off we go, window peeping into closed shops; plugging pennies into parking meters, listening for the beeps and watching for numbers that blink.
Crossing the streets is safe here so long as you know what you are doing. No dawdling, make sure they see you to stop. Walk like you mean business.

Diversions #4 and #5: Climbing stairs at the post office, meeting Ama on the ramp, halfway back down. Dodging small dog droppings to collect the ancient baseball on the lawn. You throw it into the street in front of an approaching car and your daddy follows after to get it back: This is a part of your history now.

More closed shops greet us on this side of the street. Three, to be exact, and a gallery or two. In the alleyway a window box surprises us. It's filled with tiny porcelain horses perched atop their original card mats, which show the place of their manufacture. We stop to study them more closely. A unicorn is hidden therein. On closer inspection we find some token dogs, as well. Perhaps a cat, too, though we are not sure. One thing is definite, though: nothing as earth bound as a cow is among this odd stable of animals.

Diversion #6: Keep walking. Past a toystore with its giant horse in the window, it's $400 price tag and steiff-like fur soaking up the summer sun. I don't think it has a song in its ear, or even clip-clop sounds. There is no justice.We turn left, back onto the main street, past Sally's bake shop. Closed for the holiday.

Diversion #7: A parade is coming but instead of marching bands and majorettes, there is only the silent running: sinew and bone swifting past us. Just the cushion of shoes against hot pavement from the leaders, the chatter of neigbors in the middle and a sparkly antenae man bringing up the rear. We cheer and slip into the cemetary, where two and three hundred year-old stones wait for us to play hide and seek.

It all reminds me of how history makes us human. Here, in this historic place, I am reminded that sometimes history is more personal than one could imagine. How it sometimes gives us 94 birthdays, tremendous highs and lows, and cakes without sugar. Sometimes it dances on beds, smells of burned popcorn, tries on great grandmother's shoes and measures our temperature with a blood pressure cuff. It is unpredictable.

If all goes well, history tells us when we leave that we were not only loved but we are liked as well.
"I like you all day and night."
What more could one ask?

concord cemetary

Monday, July 03, 2006

Splashdown 10 ...


Things I learned this weekend:

Annabel will follow grandmotherly types anywhere. ANY-WHERE. She will even initiate an introduction and a handshake ...

"I'm AN-NA-BEL; was you're name?"

2. She likes green tea with citrus.

"This is lemony, mama!"

3. Definutely no fruit should ever, under any circumstances, be mixed into pancake or waffle batter. EVAH! You may put strawberries and blueberries on the side but not in the batter, shankyouverymuch.

4. Upon seeing skewered shrimp sizzling on the barbeque at Bill and K's house, she begged for "Tigger Tails." I'm not exactly sure how I should feel about the fact that she is willing to eat the tail of an inhabitant of the Hundred Acre Wood, especially since neither her father (allergic) nor I (not fond of shrimp) have ever made a point to explain that the little pink crustaceans are indeed edible. After much hemming and hawing and pulling out of hair, I figured now is as good a time as any to test for a negative reaction so I popped one in her mouth. After much chewing and more clammoring, we are pleased to report she doesn't seem to have inherited her father's shellfish allergy. However, the bad news is, contrary to popular belief, "Tigger Tails" did not enable her to bounce higher.
5. I firmly believe if we were able to conduct a two-hour yoga class on Sundays, Annabel might warm up to the kids and actually participate during the second hour.

6. Pools rule. They are cool, and they are so, so, very, spectacularly fun.

7. She can't wait to see her Ama Linda on the fourth and make her a "special."

She loves her Pooh and Tigger swim diapers. ... Because, as we learned in #6 above, POOLS RULE!

She knows what a microphone is, how it works and how to look cool singing in front of crowds of toddlers (when no one is looking).

10. She loves Supa MB's mix tape for June. LOVES it. Thank you, Supafine!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Where I am from ...

This little writing exercise comes via the lovely and amazing 8 Hours

I am from chipped coffee cup hidden behind trinkets of Happy Meals on a lower shelf.

I am from seaweed, slick and tangled around your ankles.

I am from the red barn, old and meandering, standing despite the ravage
of time.

I am from the spiky cactus dahlias, morning glories and errant tulips in the grass.

I am from self consternation and indecision, from Zita of the pots and pans and genius mothers and others. I am famine fed.

I am from the nomads who took root in the working class.

From ghost stories and secrets and lies that showed the soft underbelly of truth.

I am from nothing and everything. Little girls with white dresses and
veils standing in a straight line waiting for a host.

I'm from the collar city and before that the land that time forgot. I am lamb shanks and potatoes, plentyful and bland; sweet milks and sour creams.

I am from the carnage of worry, the horse that helped her crack her head open and a momentary lapse of memory when she came to consciousness again. I am a frown of neverending anxiety.

I am from cardboard boxes and reused envelopes with stamps peeling off. I am lost and found and lost again.

If you try it, please let me know, I'd love to learn about where you are from.