Saturday, December 22, 2007

Better Than Being in the Kitchen

Snow fell.
Virginia Woolf is on my shelf and I am lucky enough to have a room of my own. And windows with beautiful distraction, peace.

Whenever We Drive By Target, My Child Leans Out the Window and Screams: I Love You, Target!

We're in the van and my guy is in prime form.

Stryker farts the alphabet, burps The Star Spangled Banner. Wisdom bestowed to his four year-old brother? "When you swear, timing is everything." Good thing he had a few juicy examples to spell that out.

He picks up something hard and brown from the floor and offers to eat it for twenty dollars.

At a red light, he opens his window and yells loudly--authentically: "Help! The alien family has me! Call 911!"

At which point, he leans back and says (fondly, disparagingly, wryly), "Somebody disown me, please."

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Won Something

Sure, a drawing doesn't mean I had to actually perform or do something. But I just like to win (and announce it).

And now that I've dipped my toe into the world of blogging, I am finding some blogs I love, like Derfwad Manor. Check out the post on Huckabee.

He actually scares me more than any of them.

Control Freak

Just when John thinks he's competent in areas stereotypically (and typically) maternal, I must move in, swiftly, to prove him wrong.

Take packing up the school backpacks. This morning.

Because I am very busy re-gifting, moving piles of cookies that somebody else baked onto a big platter to take in to the children's school, John offers to load the backpacks.

He will do it incorrectly, of course.

"That would be great, honey," I say.

Not one to let pathological interpersonal dynamics go unrewarded, Scarlett screams: "NO!! Don't let him! He'll forget something!"

But John is certain. He is confident, unbeatable.

I grill him as I totter out the door under all those cookies: Snow pants? Secret Santa envelope? A mitten for every hand? Hats? Teachers' gifts?

"It's all there."

I shake the entire drive to school. And then . . .

"Merrick's shoes! I bet he forgot those! Scarlett?"

She is already joyfully, triumphantly, ripping through that backpack. "Nope! He forgot the shoes! He forgot something--again!"


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Remember last week's 'uh-oh'? That would be when my dentist (who lives in a Bottomless Pit of Mary's Money) broke one of the movie star teeth he was trying to screw into my head?

Consider that mission finally accomplished!

I look mahvelous, darlings.

This wasn't sheer vanity. As a child, a poorly executed gymnastic move knocked my teeth every which way--including up (into my nose!) and all over the gym. Blood, mayhem and concussion were involved. When I tell people about that back handspring off the balance beam, they say: "Wow, you must have been good."


Guess that explains how I knocked out all those teeth.

When my old fake teeth needed replacing, my dentist suggested a fashionable caffeine and nicotine yellow, the color of my remaining natural teeth. But if the Matron is going to fork over a month of hard-earned salary, she is going to look damn good later.

So we're all bleach and bling.

And happy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When He Comes To, I Get This

We went to a neighbor's holiday open house last night and a couple there commented on how wonderful it was to have grown children.

As in out of the house, completely.

Me, with more enthusiasm than socially acceptable: "Wow. Having your kids out and on their own. That sounds great!"

There's a tap on my shoulder. It's Stryker who says, "Woman, you have no idea how great that sounds, actually."

I'm not sure which should unsettle more, his eagerness to flee or penchant for "Woman" as maternal salutation.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Best Writing You Haven't Read

Every time I post something by Joyce Sutphen, I get email of the 'where have you been all my life' sort. 'You' being her, of course.

She's every bit as good as Mary Oliver or Sharon Olds. Big literary shoes, bold claims, yes.

Her two best books are Straight Out of View and Coming Back to the Body, both published by New Rivers Press. Although I once heard her read on A Prairie Home Companion, she's an artist who hasn't gotten the acclaim she deserves.

I often think of Mary Dutton, who wrote one heart-shattering book which was published in 1967: Thorpe. How much do I love this book? John and I were locked in mortal combat over naming our only daughter.

Thorpe or Scarlett.

Either way, we were saddling her. Thorpe doesn't fall easily on the ear. Scarlett carries much cultural freight, heavy with both race and gender.

Of course, we gave her the cultural freight and prettier name. And it suits her.

Anyway, I think about Mary Dutton quite a bit. The book's back jacket tells me she was s a housewife, volunteer and sometimes teacher with three children. Took her ten years to write that book.

Sounds awfully familiar.

That was in 1967. Where was her fame? Her acclaim? I hope she enjoyed some small spotlight during her lifetime. Thorpe is every bit as good as To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe better.

So here's my shout to the under-appreciated artists, the ones with the gift who don't get tapped by fame.

You will thank me if you read any of these three books, too.


I'm listening to MPR and someone who knows more than I do is talking about human evolution and how it's still happening, how the current crop differs every generation.

Aging, I am much more concerned with my own personal evolution(s).

Like those missing breasts I keep mourning. I blame Merrick, who nursed far too long. Some day I will psychologically damage him with this information.

Now, many friends who know me in the real world object to my lamentations. They say "it's not so bad."


Try to imagine this on a visceral level: when I go on my daily four mile run, I do not wear a bra. This presents no bounce, no problem, no pain.

I rest my case.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friend, Today is Your Birthday

And this poem reminds me of your spirit:


That woman, she said, could rattle a bird
right out of the sky; that man
could spell a row of corn backwards
and forwards. Their children (all ten of them)
could tell you how to add leaf to branch
or divide the sky cloud by cloud.
They were a talented family,
a most gifted group.

And when they wanted a vacation,
they painted a wall full of mountains
and climbed the highest one,
they carved a coastline along the sidewalk
so that they could gaze out to sea
beyond the garage's shore.

They could sing harmony to a song
that was only, just then, being composed.
They believed in things that no one--not
even God--would have asked them to believe.
They knew how to keep stars
shining and they still do.

Joyce Sutphen
Coming Back to the Body
New Rivers Press